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"Brigadier Jarrow Rusher. I carry eight battalions running medium artillery, laser, and missile. I've worked jobs for you for years. But I'm an independent operator..."
―Jarrow Rusher introducing himself to Daiman[src]

Jarrow Rusher was male Human mercenary who lived during the Republic Dark Age. He was the brigadier of the mercenary group Rusher's Brigade which operated in the Grumani sector during the New Sith Wars. During his youth, he had worked as a mercenary under the banner of Beld Yulan, a respected independent military operator who adhered to a military code developed by the Sith Lord Mandragall which emphasized autonomy and mutual cooperation. After Yulan joined the Sith Lord Odion's nihilistic death cult following the death of his children and began to send his men on suicide missions, Rusher parted company with his mentor. Jarrow Rusher gradually assumed the rank of Brigadier and then started his own independent mercenary operation, which became known as Rusher's Brigade and operated from the modified starliner Diligence. Rusher would work for several different Sith Lords throughout his career and earned a reputation for his efficiency and reliability.

In 1032 BBY, Rusher became caught up in a scheme by the Sith Lord Daiman to lure his estranged older brother Odion into a trap on Gazzari. Rusher agreed to take part in the operation and planted an ambush on the volcanic planet. During the subsequent battle, Rusher's forces sustained heavy casualties after Odion deployed his mobile siege weapon known as the Death Spiral. While on Gazzari, Rusher also crossed paths with the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt, who was operating as a "Knight Errant" in Sith Space. After much cajoling, she convinced him to take a thousand student refugees that she had rescued on Gazzari. These refugees had been sent to the planet by Daiman as bait, under the pretext that he wanted to purchased an arxeum—a mobile war museum—from the Quermian Sith Lord Ayanos Bactra, the ruler of the Bactranate which had substantial corporate holdings. Daiman had offered in return to provide these students for the arxeum. In reality, this had only been a ruse to lure Odion to Gazzari where Daiman planned to kill him in retaliation for the destruction of the Black Fang research facility on Darkknell.

In the end, Rusher reluctantly took Kerra's students and fled into hyperspace on the Diligence. Meanwhile, Odion and Daiman turned on Bactra and invaded the Bactranate, after receiving orders from their grandmother and Calimondra family matriarch Vilia Calimondra, who felt that Bactra had outlived his usefulness. Following an acrimonious and strenuous journey, the Diligence finally arrived at Byllura, an apparently pleasant world where Rusher had hoped to drop the students. However, the planet was part of the Dyarchy, a Sith dynasty ruled by the twin Sith Lords Quillan and Dromika. The true power behind the throne was their Regent Saaj Calician who had used their Force powers to mentally enthrall his subjects. Kerra and Rusher successfully resisted attempts by the Dyarchy to assimilate them, setting the stage for a climatic confrontation at the Loft, the nerve center of the Dyarchy. In the end, Kerra kidnapped Quillan and escaped aboard the Diligence.

The Dyarchy was then conquered by the female Sith Lord Arkadia Calimondra, the twin's older sister and the ruler of the Arkadianate. Arkadia was warm and hospitable towards Rusher and Kerra, offering to give the crew and passengers aboard the Diligence shelter within her realm. After traveling to her capital world of Syned, Arkadia took Rusher and Kerra on a tour of her city Calimondretta as part of a propaganda effort to convince them that she was a benevolent Sith ruler who had forged an enlightened society built on rotating people through different jobs through their lives. She initially won Rusher over through her charismatic personality and offer to take the student refugees aboard the Diligence. Since she did not need the services of mercenaries, Arkadia had also promised to give Rusher safe passage out of her territory. While Rusher was open to such a deal, the Jedi Kerra was suspicious of Arkadia, suspecting rightfully that she had ulterior motives.

Kerra's suspicions were proven right when Arkadia tried to recruit the Jedi to assassinate her grandmother Vilia. When Kerra refused, Arkadia had her imprisoned. She then reiterated her demand that Rusher bring the refugees over to her in return for being given hyperspace coordinates leading out of the Arkadianate. In reality, Arkadia had planned to kill Rusher and his mercenaries by sending them to the Nakrikal Singularity, a black hole. However, Rusher and Kerra were saved by the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane, who was secretly working for Vilia. In return for being given hyperspace coordinates into neutral space, Ka'hane convinced Rusher to work against Arkadia in order to create a diversion that would allow him to escape the Arkadianate with Quillan. As agreed, Rusher hijacked an icecrawler and used it to infiltrate Calimondretta, before attacking the fortress from within.

Meanwhile, Ka'hane rescued Kerra from her prison and then escaped to Vilia's planet with Quillan. After using the Diligence to destroy Arkadia's massed fleet and tractor beam emitters by dropping its massive cargo assembly arms on them, Rusher rescued Kerra, who was engaged in a lightsaber duel against Arkadia. He used one of his artillery cannons to fire a precision shot at Arkadia's museum, creating a hole in the dome which allowed the Jedi woman to escape. After rescuing Kerra and bringing her aboard the Diligence, Rusher also evacuated 500 defecting Arkadianate citizens. Having escaped the Arkadianate into hyperspace, Rusher reconciled his earlier differences with Kerra and developed a closer friendship with the young Jedi woman, promising to help her out in the future by giving discounted trips. They subsequently returned to the Republic where Rusher was able to safely offload the refugees from Sith Space.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

"A little history comes in handy."
―Jarrow Rusher[src]
Yulan

Beld Yulan, Rusher's former mentor

Jarrow Rusher was born and grew up during the Republic Dark Age, the last century of the New Sith Wars. During that period in galactic history, large areas of the galaxy were controlled by various Sith warlords while the Galactic Republic had been reduced to a rump state around the Galactic Core. Rusher grew up in one of the systems ruled by the Sith Lord Mandragall. Unlike his contemporaries, Mandragall had extensive knowledge of ancient Sith history and used this knowledge to devise a new military model. Citing Elcho Kressh's historic precedent of recruiting armies by absorbing individuals with different skills from outside cultures, Mandragall forged a polyglot army consisting of pirates, mercenaries, and alien species that held a grudge against the Republic and his Sith rivals. By the height of his rule, more than three-fourths of Mandragall's armed forces consisted of independent operators, who had fled enslavement by other Sith Lords. Most of these were willing to fight under Mandragall's banner in exchange for autonomy and getting access to recruits and resources.[2]

In 1052 BBY, the female Sith Lord Xelian—the mother of Lords Odion and Daiman—conspired against Mandragall by seducing him and then killing him. However, Mandragall's vaunted army proved ephemeral due to its unique composition and none of his rivals were able to seize control of his armed forces. Rusher lived during the Mandragall era and was greatly influence by Mandragall's military strategies and tactics. At some point, Rusher became a mercenary under the Tarro mercenary commander Beld Yulan, who operated from the starship Perspicacity. Beld Yulan had previously served under the Mandragall's banner and was strongly influenced by his ideals. Besides developing a reputation as an effective commander, Yulan also became known for taking good care of his men. Under Yulan's tutelage, Rusher developed an interest in military history and came to respect the older man as a mentor. However, Yulan descended into a great depression following the deaths of his children, who had succumbed to the Candorian plague on Fostin Nine. Following an encounter with a female Claimer, Yulan subsequently underwent a secret "religious conversion" and became an Odionite, a follower of the nihilistic Sith Lord Odion who glorified death and destruction as a solution to the pain of existence.[2]

Yulan's conversion led him to cease caring for his men and sending them on suicide missions with more soldiers being left behind each time. Rusher left Yulan's mercenary group after the latter announced that the brigade would be taking an assignment from Odion. For Rusher, this confirmed his suspicions that his formerly beloved mentor had embraced Odion's nihilistic doctrine. Rusher then established his own mercenary group called Rusher's Brigade, which would be employed by several different Sith warlords in the Grumani sector. As the leader of Rusher's Brigade, Rusher held the position of brigadier and operated from the modified troopship Diligence. The Diligence had previously been the Devaronian cruiser liner Vichary Telk which had been modified into a troopship. It was mounted on top of a superstructure that bridged two massive cargo pod clusters. Each of these modules faced outwards in four directions, allowing them to hold several cannons. Ryland Dackett served as the shipmaster of the Diligence. By the time of the Chelloan affair in 1032 BBY, Rusher's Brigade had grown to approximately three thousand personnel.[2]

The DaimanateEdit

The new recruitEdit

"Of course. It will be...difficult. All we produce is for Daiman, of course.",br>"And that's who we're fighting for."
―Rusher successfully convincing Lubboon Senior to sell him starship components[src]

In 1032 BBY, Jarrow Rusher visited Darkknell, the capital of the Daimanate—the fiefdom of the Sith Lord Daiman. Daiman was one of the Sith warlords that emerged in the Grumani sector following the death of the Sith Lord Chagras in 1040 BBY. His death marked the collapse of the short–lived Chagras Hegemony and led to a series of family feuds known as the Second Charge Matrica. The Calimondra family matriarch Vilia Calimondra did nothing to mediate these conflicts between her grandchildren but instead encouraged them as a means of preserving her own rule.[2]

Daiman carved up an autocratic fiefdom that was run according to his own personal philosophy. The narcissistic Sith Lord saw himself as the Creator of the universe and believed that all other sentient beings were soulless automatons created to carry out his bidding. Daiman had an acrimonious relationship with his Sith neighbors particularly his estranged older brother Odion, who had styled himself as the Destroyer of the Universe. Throughout the Republic Dark Age, the Grumani sector remained in a constant state of warfare and borders frequently changed hands. During these years, Rusher's Brigade would take jobs as mercenaries from several of these Sith warlords. Despite profiteering from the Sith's endless wars, Rusher was careful to make sure that his Brigade remained independent of Sith control.[2]

Rusher's Brigade had visited the planet because they needed to purchase six new hydraulic drives for the Diligence's offloading lift assemblies. These massive hydraulic accumulators enabled starships to lift-off planetary locations prior to embarking on their travels. Rusher and his helmsman Ryland Dackett visited Lubboon's Plasteelworks in Xakrea, Darkknell's largest city and Daiman's capital. Lubboon's Plasteelworks was a key supplier of starship components to the Daimanate. Lubboon was a Duros administrator and was the first Duros to manage the factory's operations.[2]

During that meeting, Lubboon and his wife took that opportunity to recruit and train his son Beadle Lubboon as a mercenary. Like many Daimanites, they had become dissatisfied with Daiman's autocratic rule and wanted a better life for their son outside his job as a laborer. Rusher offered to train the teenaged Duros as either a gunner in one of his artillery units or an administrative staff member within his headquarters unit. Rusher also claimed that his operation had no shipboard fatalities due to a policy banning any Sith from his troopship Diligence.[2]

During the meeting, Beadle himself entered the room having finished his work shift. To the embarrassment of his parents, Beadle leaned against a cart carrying several pails of dirty water which toppled over. During the ensuing mess, Beadle ended up with a barrel stuck to his head. For Rusher and Dackett, Beadle's clumsiness gave them a poor first impression of the Duros youth's capabilities. Dackett silently whispered to Rusher that it would be best for the Duros youth to be assigned to the headquarters unit, which was considered to be a soft posting. Rusher concluded that Beadle would probably be lucky not to take out an entire ammo magazine. After Beadle had extricated himself from the mess, Rusher explained to Beadle that war was not a "talent show."[2]

After receiving assurances that his son's well being would be looked after, Lubboon Senior allowed Rusher to enlist his son as a new recruit in Rusher's Brigade. Rusher then returned to his task of purchasing new hydraulic accumulator units from Lubboon Senior's plasteelworks. However, Administrator Lubboon was unable to sell the technology to Rusher since all produce at his factory was only sold to Daiman. Rusher was able to negotiate their purchase by claiming that as a mercenary he was indeed working for Daiman. After finishing the transaction, Beadle accompanied his new employers Rusher and Dackett back to their flagship Diligence which was undergoing repairs at the city's spaceport.[2]

Rusher's crew including his team of engineers led by Prenda Novallo had been working on repairing the Diligence for the past day and night since their arrival. At the spaceport, Rusher assigned Trooper Lubboon with the job of fastening rigging around a hydraulic accumulator unit that was being installed onto the vessel. Despite the Duros' assurances that he was familiar with operating such machinery, Beadle did not fasten the heavy unit properly which caused one accumulator unit to break lose. After apologizing, the Duros youth went to a refresher unit to attend to his own needs. While chatting with Dackett about the repairs to the Diligence, Brigadier Rusher received a message from a holographic statue of Lord Daiman instructing him to attend an audience at the Sanctum Celestial, the Sith Lord's private palace in Xakrea.[2]

In the creator's presenceEdit

"And that's the problem. You worked so many complexities into this universe, Lord Daiman, that's its hard for us lesser beings to cope. Not all organics are up to it. You created us specialists to manage these systems—and our own affairs—for greater efficiency. We're like anything else you created to work your will. Just a little different. And you know what's really amazing? It all works. The variety you're designed into the universe is really something. Genius, really."
―Rusher attempting to appease Daiman[src]
Lord Daiman

Lord Daiman, the self-styled Creator of the Universe

By taking up Daiman's errand, Jarrow Rusher would become embroiled in the Sith Lord's grandiose schemes. In 1032 BBY, Daiman's researchers had been developing a new prototype warship known as the Convergence at the Black Fang research facility in Xakrea, main city on Darkknell, the Daimanate's capital world. However, Daiman's enemies—his estranged older brother and Sith Lord Odion and the lone Jedi Knight Kerra Holt obtained intelligence on the Convergence project and sought to sabotage it. Odion dispatched the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane to obtain its military secrets and to destroy the complex.

Following the destruction of the Black Fang, Daiman's Correctors had captured the Bothan spy Narsk. Despite Narsk's denials, Daiman rightfully suspected that Odion had a role in the bombing and concocted a scheme to lure Odion into another trap on Gazzari. Daiman approached the Bactranate Quermian Sith Lord Ayanos Bactra with an offer to buy an arxeum—a mobile university dedicated to war research—from Industrial Heuristics. In exchange, Daiman offered to provide the students for the university who would be transported to the planet on four transports provided by the company.[2]

Earlier, Daiman had allowed one of Bactra's corporations, Industrial Heuristics, to recruit students from Darkknell and elsewhere in his territory—known as the Daimanate—in exchange for the fruits of the students' research. To seal the agreement, Daiman granted Bactra safe passage through the Daimanate to strike at Vellas Pavo, a gadolinium-rich planet. Bactra agreed to deliver the arxeum and the students to the volcanic world of Gazzari,[2] on the frontier of Daiman's border with the Odionate—Odion's territory.[3] During the meeting, Daiman arranged for Narsk to listen to the meeting at irregular intervals. He then arranged for Narsk's escape so that he could lure Odion into the Gazzari trap. [2]

Having set the first part of the trap, Daiman then summoned several militia leaders to the Sanctum Celestial. He wanted them to provide fire support on Gazzari in order to minimize casualties among his own forces. Besides Rusher, other militia leaders who were summoned to this brief included Mak Medagazy, Kr'saang the Togorian, and a Nosaurian mercenary. Due to the nature of their work, many of these mercenaries had fought against each other at different times. Since Daiman was still meeting with Bactra, the militia leaders waited in the palace's lobby. While waiting for Daiman, the mercenaries chatted about Daiman's rivalry with Odion and his decision to employ their services rather than fighting Odion's forces one on one. Rusher also witnessed Narsk being wheeled out in his torture wheel but took no interest initially since he felt that this matter did not concern him.[2]

During his second meeting, Daiman outlined his plans to trap Odion on Gazzari. As part of the plan, the mercenary battalions would depart Darkknell at sunset, each making hyperspace jumps to different destinations. In four standard days, they would reassemble on Gazzari. On Gazzari, the mercenaries would assemble their forces including several large artillery cannons around a massive caldera and await Odion's arrival. As planned, Bactra's arxeum and the student transports would land within the caldera. Odion's forces would then invade Gazzari and the mercenaries would use their firepower hold them at bay until Daiman's regular forces arrived from hyperspace. Daiman then planned to trap Odion's forces on Gazzari and kill his estranged older brother once and for all. Daiman's battle plan was controversial among the mercenaries and at least two individuals voiced their objections. [2]

The first dissenter was the Togorian Kr'saang who demanded that his men only participate in direct confrontations rather than ambushes. Daiman was unmoved by the Togorian's recalcitrance and personally killed Kr'saang with his lightsaber. He then ordered his aide Uleeta to send several Correctors to appropriate Kr'saang's shock troopers and his ship, the Dar'oosh, making them a part of his slave army. Rusher was the second dissenting voice and objected to Daiman's idea of using the young students on ethical grounds. When Daiman demanded to know his identity, Rusher complied but also reiterated that he was an independent operator. Enraged, Daiman began Force-choking the brigadier. However, Rusher managed to save his life by claiming that he was just trying to serve his Creator's will.[2]

After Daiman released his Force grasp, Rusher managed to convince Daiman that he was an 'autonomous force' who was still carrying out Daiman's will albeit in a unique way. Rusher also explained that only 'autonomous forces' like himself understood the complexities of operating an artillery brigade; also adding that the complexities of Daiman's galaxy meant that it was difficult for lesser beings to cope. Satisfied with Rusher's explanation that each of his creations had a specific function, Daiman agreed to provide the mercenaries with payments of ordnance and fuel before dismissing them. Unable to change Daiman's mind, Rusher reluctantly agreed to participate in the Gazzari operation.[2]

The Gazzari deceptionEdit

"Aim high and lob'em over! Energy weapons crews, target Bad Brother's vehicles and personnel. Rolling barrage—don't let 'em across!"
―Rusher during the Gazzari trap[src]
Odionhead

Lord Odion, the self-styled destroyer of the universe

Jarrow Rusher would come to regret his decision to work as a mercenary for Daiman as events on Gazzari unfolded. Upon arriving in Gazzari, Rusher's Brigade landed their ship Diligence near a massive bowl crater spanning several kilometers across. Meanwhile, Daiman landed the Era Daimanos but left the rest of his fleet outside the Gazzari system. Upon disembarking, Rusher's eight battalions—Coyn'skar, Dematoil, Flechette, Rantok, Ripper, Sat'skar, Serraknife, and Zhaboka—assembled their Kelligdyd laser cannons on the eastern ridge of the bowl crater. Meanwhile, the Nosaurian mercenary positioned his Brock-Eight cannons on the northern ridge, and Medagazy's battle droids were arranged among the crevasses inside the crater.[2]

Due to the constant ash and rainfall on the planet, the floor of the crater had turned to a thick tar, which made landing a starship or building a structure virtually impossible inside the crater. However, Daiman and his mercenaries built several temporary structures to give enemy vessels the opposite impression. Daiman's forces, invisible from orbit due to the thick clouds of volcanic ash, lined the ridge on all sides, surrounding the crater, where the trap set for Odion was to be sprung. Daiman also established a command post in the battlefield.[2]

Prior to the battle, the Bactranate fleet arrived in the Gazzari system along with the arxeum and four Industrial Heuristics transports carrying the student refugees. As Daiman had planned, Narsk found his way back to the [Odionate and told his master about Daiman's planned meeting with Bactra. Despite Narsk's concerns that Gazzari could be a trap, Odion took the bait due to his lust for blood and destruction. For this battle, Odion's battle order included one quarter of his home defense fleet and his most important weapon, a massive siege tower called the Death Spiral. Odion also brought along his Givin navigator Jelcho and the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane. Unknown to Odion, Narsk was secretly working for Vilia, the matriarch of the Calimondra family who dominated Sith politics within the Grumani sector.[2]

As planned, the arxeum and the Industrial Heuristics transports carrying the students landed in the crater. The escorting Bactranate fleet meanwhile remained in orbit to observe the battle. Shortly later, Odion's flotilla arrived in the Gazzari system and formed an orbital cordon around the planet while ignoring the Bactranate fleet. The Death Spiral then exited hyperspace and landed in the crater where the Daimanites and mercenaries had set up position.[2]

The Death Spiral was a key Odionite war asset which functioned as both a mobile artillery platform and a troop carrier. During the Battle of Gazzari, it deployed substantial ground forces including speeder bikes, airspeeders, and three-legged armored walkers. The Death Spiral landed in the crater, directly between the Industrial Heuristics transports and the arxeum, cutting the students off from their intended destination. After deploying ground forces, it opened fire on the arxeum, destroying the mega structure within minutes. The Death Spiral also raised a powerful energy shield which jammed signals communications in the battlefield.[2]

In response, the artillery units of Rusher and the Nosaurian mercenary emerged from their hidden positions and began to pummel the Death Spiral with laserfire. Prior to the ambush, Rusher warned his men not to shoot any of the arxeum children and threatened to personally execute any who fired at them. He also reiterated that their main target was Odion's forces particularly the Death Spiral. Despite their efforts, the Death Spiral continue to move and fire. During the fighting, Rusher demanded a damage assessment from his spotter, Sergeant Wenna'lah.[2]

Wenna'lah reported that the Death Spiral had taken no damage, and Rusher ordered Ripper and Sat'skar Battalions to concentrate projectile attacks on the Death Spiral. He also commanded his energy weapons crews to fire on Odion's vehicles and personnel, which were fanning out across the valley toward the arxeum and the Industrial Heuristics transports. Once Odion's forces had landed, Daiman's fleet made the hyperspace jump to Gazzari, hoping to trap Odion's forces in the system. On the surface, Odion's Thunder Guard—many on speeder bikes—engaged Medagazy's battle droids, which were charging the valley from the east. [2]

The Death Spiral meanwhile continued to rain fire on Daiman's forces, and disabled many of Rusher's Kelligdyd cannons. Tun-Badon, commander of Serraknife Battalion, was ordered by Rusher to unload the Gweith Brothers concussion missile launchers from the Diligence. However, the constant fire from the Death Spiral had knocked Serraknife, Flechette, and Sat'skar Battalions out of action. While Rusher searched for a safe route to pull his battalions back to the Diligence, Ryland Dackett, the Diligence's master, led a recovery team to Serraknife's position, hoping to salvage equipment and survivors from the battalion.[2]

Although Dackett had intended to stay on the ship, the presence of Odion was, unbeknownst to many, causing troops on the battlefield to act recklessly, even suicidal. Dackett was injured before he could reach Serraknife, but he was rescued by the clumsy Duros recruit Beadle Lubboon, who pulled him to safety with a cargo crawler and a makeshift stretcher. Having sustained heavy losses, Rusher ordered a general retreat, using the battalions on either side of the Diligence to protect the ship and the forces returning to it.[2]

Enter the Jedi womanEdit

"Do I look Sith to you?"
"You look crazy. That's enough!"
"You see a lot of Sith carrying green lightsabers?"
"Depends on who they kill!"
―Rusher's first meeting with Kerra Holt[src]
Kerra Holt

Kerra Holt, the Jedi woman

Unknown to either Rusher or Daiman, the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt had also stowed aboard Daiman's flagship the Era Daimanos, with the intention of assassinating the Sith Lord. However, she was unable to locate Daiman aboard the ship during its journey to Gazzari. Upon reaching Gazzari, Kerra Holt left the Era Daimanos and made her way to Daiman's command dome, intending to use some baradium nitrate in a bandolier to assassinate the Sith Lord. However, she abandoned her assassination attempt after witnessing the arrival of several Industrial Heuristic transports carrying children. Realizing that they were being used as bait, she resolved to save their lives.[2]

Kerra eventually reached the arxeum students and convinced them to follow her, promising that she would lead them to safety. On several occasions, the Jedi woman also fought off several Odionate troopers, who were intent on killing the children to fulfill their master's nihilistic bloodlust. Kerra also encountered Odion's Givin navigator Jelcho, who was riding a speeder bike. She incapacitated him and tied him to his speeder bike which was then loaded with explosives and sent on a one-way trip to the Death Spiral's speeder bays. Once the explosives were inside the speeder bays, Holt set off the explosives via remote control, destroying the siege tower. She then led the arxeum students to the east, where the laser fire from the Death Spiral had created a path to the top of the ridge.[2]

Following the destruction of the Death Spiral, Rusher ordered the surviving members of his brigade to withdraw from the battle. His men began loading their weaponry back onto the Diligence. During the fighting, Rusher's forces had sustained heavy casualties and lost five-sixths of his forces, including the entire Dematoil, Sat'skar, and Serraknife Battalions. However, the Coyn'skar and Zhaboka battalions survived, and managed to return to the Diligence with most of their weapons. Meanwhile, Teamp Ripper was returning from the northernmost part of the ridge which Beadle had just returned from. Despite the destruction of the Death Spiral, Odion's ground forces still remained on the battlefield. Rusher regarded the battle on Gazzari as a catastrophic disaster, with his three thousand-strong force being reduced to barely a thousand personnel. His shipmaster Dackett was also grievously wounded during the fighting and would later have his arm amputated.[2]

While staring into the horizon, Rusher caught sight of the remnants of Team Ripper led by Zeller dragging their eight Kelligdyd artillery cannons up the ridge. They were immediately followed by the arxeum students who were being led by a lightsaber-wielding young Human woman riding on a speeder bike, who turned out to be Kerra. The children and youths came from a diverse mixture of species and quickly poured up the hill into the Diligence's eight cargo-loading ramps. Rusher ruled out ordering his troops to turn back the student refugees since they were heavily outnumbered by the crowd. Accompanied by Zeller and three troopers, Rusher confronted the young woman, asking about her identity and what she was trying to prove. He also introduced himself as Brigadier Jarrow Rusher and the commander of the ship.[2]

After the young woman introduced herself as Kerra Holt, she tried to commandeer the Diligence in order to evacuate the refugees and escape the fighting on Gazzari. Rusher was initially uncooperative, maintaining that the Diligence was a military vehicle on an assignment and claiming that it may not have enough space to fit all the refugees. However, Kerra countered by pointing out that the Diligence was a modified spaceliner. Rusher then asked if Kerra was a Sith, citing a long-standing maxim that no Sith were allowed aboard his vessel. Kerra was able to convince the brigadier that she was a genuine Jedi Knight by displaying her green lightsaber. In return, Kerra confronted him about his previous collaboration with Daiman as a mercenary, reiterating that she had seen him at Sanctum Celestial.[2]

She then added that the student refugees had been brought by Daiman to Gazzari and repeated her ultimatum that she evacuate them before they get killed by Daiman and Odion's forces. While sympathetic to their plight, Rusher was unwilling to take the younglings and teenagers aboard the Diligence, citing that he had been contracted by Daiman solely to provide fire support against Odion and that this excluded evacuating civilians from a conflict zone. Kerra then responded by pointing out that Rusher and his men did not look like they were providing fire support but were actually preparing to go offworld. Finally, Kerra made eye contact with the Brigadier and stressed that he had always known that it was Daiman's intention to use the children as bait all along. Rusher then realized Kerra had been present during his initial meeting with Daiman and had witnessed his opposition to Daiman's plans to use children as living bait for a trap against Odion.[2]

Accepting Kerra's arguments, Holt finally agreed to evacuate the student refugees aboard the Diligence. He ordered his engineer Prenda Novallo to begin starting the engines and Zeller to take the refugees into the barracks. Seeing Kerra kneeling beside the Sullustan Tan to assure her that the Brigadier was going to evacuate them offworld, he reiterated his promise that he would get them out safely. He also told his men to leave the remaining artillery pieces and focus on getting the remaining stragglers aboard. By that stage of the battle, the Bothan spy Narsk had received a transmission from his true employer Vilia, ordering him to send a transmission to her grandsons Odion and Daiman. In this transmission, she ordered the two Sith Lords to cease fighting and to turn against Bactra since the Quermian Sith had outlived his usefulness to the Calimondra family.[2]

Odion and Daiman's forces complied with this new command and attacked Bactra's fleet, destroying six warships and forcing the remainder into a retreat. The Sith Lords then ordered a joint invasion of the Bactranate. While departing the Gazzari's atmosphere, Rusher and Kerra witnessed this battle unfolding from the bridge of the Diligence. Since they were unaware about the complex dynamics of the Calimondra dynasty, the two were greatly confused by this sudden development since there had been no previous precedent of military cooperation between Odion and Daiman. They were also attacked by Odionate starships which mistakenly thought they were still working for Daiman and Daimanate warships who mistook them for one of Odion's warships since they had not expected one of his mercenaries to withdraw from the battle.[2]

The DyarchyEdit

Rusher's arkEdit

"Where are you running off to this time? An emergency on the bridge? Another brewery to bankroll?"
"I had been drinking, young lady. I needed a walk to clear my head before attending to your very important problems."
―Kerra confronting Rusher over his alcoholism[src]
Diligence art

The Diligence, Rusher's flagship

Jarrow Rusher managed to bring the Diligence out of the space battle safely along with his surviving crew and the student refugees, who he had been forced by Kerra to take along. By then, his helmsman Dackett had reported back to the command deck after completing a combined headcount of Kerra's student refugees and the crew, which amounted to a total of 1,717 individuals. Meanwhile, only 560 of Rusher's original crew of three thousand had survived. This figure included the remnants of the Ripper, Coyn'skar, and Zhaboka battalions along with those whose assignments had kept them aboard the Diligence while on Gazzari. After Daiman had transmitted new orders to his irregular forces via hologram to reassemble for an assault on the Bactranate's capital Jutrand, Rusher initially tried to comply with his employer's orders and ordered his crew to depart for the Bactranate, citing that they had been hired to fight a battle for Daiman and that it was still not over.[2]

However, Kerra successfully challenged Rusher's orders, arguing that half of his mercenary crew had already perished and that it was thus wasteful to attack the Bactranate. She ordered the navigator to belay Rusher's original order. This led to a lengthy argument between Rusher and his Jedi guest. In a fit of rage, Rusher threatened to dump Kerra and her students back on that ridge in Gazzari while the remnants of Rusher's Brigade departed offworld. He reiterated that despite their losses, he and his men were still professionals and that they still had a commitment to Daiman. Rusher added that Daiman could still be in the system. However, Kerra stood her ground and interjected that Odion and Daiman had already departed for Jutrand on those cruisers that had come to pick them up. She added that she could sense through the Force that they were no longer on Gazzari.[2]

At that stage, Rusher realized that Kerra was actually a Jedi but regarded her as some kind of "knight errant" who roamed Sith Space saving students. Kerra agreed but added that she usually saved planets. Rusher personally thought that Kerra's remarks confirmed his initial suspicions that she was crazy. Seeing reason in Kerra's stance, Rusher complied with her wishes and ordered the navigator to ignore Daiman's orders and plot a way out of the Gazzari system. Since they lacked any access to reliable hyperspace routes due to the disruption of hyperspace relays in much of the wider galaxy, they had to travel to the nearest terrestrial planet: Byllura. They needed to fly to another location where the Diligence could receive repairs and their ammunition and munitions stocks could be replenished. Due to the heavy losses on Gazzari, Rusher also needed to recruit more mercenaries. Following the battle, Vilia arranged for a bequest and assigned Narsk to work for another one of her grandchildren: the female Sith Lord Arkadia Calimondra. She knew about Kerra's movements since Narsk's stolen stealth suit automatically connected to her information system whenever it was disconnected.[2]

The voyage to Byllura would last several days and would be remembered by Rusher as a stressful and hectic experience throughout his career. To cope with the increased stress, Rusher took to drinking lum ale, an alcoholic beverage. The large number of student refugees aboard the Diligence created a serious overcrowding problem since there was insufficient facilities and beds to accommodate all the refugees. Rusher was too exhausted by the battle to deal with these problems and fell asleep, leaving Kerra and the Duros recruit Beadle Lubboon to manage the problem. Most of the crew were hostile and indifferent to the newcomers. Meanwhile, the grievously-wound shipmaster Dackett underwent surgery to removed his infected left arm and to replace it with a set of prosthetics. Thus, Kerra was forced to recruit some of the older students to help attend to the younger refugees' needs. Kerra's problems were compounded by the lack of adequate numbers of refreshers since the former liner had been designed for male Devaronians. The diverse interspecies mix of the student body also proved volatile due to the vast physiological and cultural differences between certain species.[2]

After recovering from his earlier battle experiences, Rusher began compiling an inventory of the casualties that Rusher's Brigade had sustained during the Gazzari trap. After assessing the damage, Rusher had his forces reorganized as two battalion-sized units—Team Ripper and Team Zhaboka—which had to be augmented by the survivors of other units. The laser-equipped Team Ripper was re-equipped and re-staffed with personnel from Coyn'skar while Team Zhaboka would serve as the missile battalion. This marked a historic precedent since Rusher had not commanded such few numbers throughout his entire career. Ripper and Zhaboka each had one side of the ship's two main extension cargo ramps to themselves. Rusher was concerned that the depleted number of Rusher's Brigade would make his independent operation vulnerable to being forcibly enslaved by the regional Sith Lords, who had a reputation of enslaving independent mercenary operators for their own war effort.[2]

During the journey, Kerra approached the shipmaster Ryland Dackett at the solarium with a list of demands for the refugees. The shipmaster listened and then offered to go into Rusher's cabin and smooth the way for her. During Dackett's private meeting with Rusher, the two men talked about the acute shortage of beds created by the refugee problem. While the Diligence still had enough food stocks, supplies were running low and Dackett stressed that even rationing would not work due to the large number of refugees. Unlike other mercenaries, the students had nothing to give to augment the existing stocks aboard the ship. Both men agreed that they needed to find a place to dump the refugees, with Rusher toying with the ideas of releasing them through the airlock or poisoning them. Dackett also expressed his bitterness towards the new Duros recruit Lubboon for accidentally crushing his foot during the rescue attempt on Gazzari. Rusher defended the Duros by stressing that he had saved Dackett's life. As shipmaster, Dackett then emphasized the growing tensions between the members of Rusher's Brigade and the newcomers. Finally, he reiterated that they needed to find more recruits to replenish their numbers.[2]

At that point, Kerra entered Rusher's cabin and repeated her demands and concerns to Rusher himself. Annoyed at the Jedi's requests, Rusher excused himself to the refresher in the adjacent room on the pretext that he needed to relieve himself. However, the refresher was actually a service access-way leading to a ladder which eventually led to a wardroom. For the next three hours, Rusher entertained his own men by re-telling a story about an old battle. When Kerra found out about his ruse, she confronted him while wielding his walking stick. During a walk in the corridors, Rusher asked her about her business in Sith Space and she talked about her work under her Jedi Master Vannar Treece. As Kerra explained her Jedi work in Sith Space, Rusher became more sympathetic towards her cause. In returned, he shared more details about his the Diligence.[2]

Getting back to business, the two talked about the refugee problem. She criticized his willingness to get rid of the passengers and expressed her distrust about someone who had worked for the Sith. Rusher retorted that he had no one to work for ever since the Republic had closed all their branch offices in the Outer Rim. Rusher also revealed that the Diligence had made six hyperspace jumps since their departure from Gazzari but still had not found a single suitable port. Kerra also expressed her concerns that Daiman had wanted the children for his "military-industrial brain trust" and that he would still be looking for them. In response, Rusher retorted that Daiman was too preoccupied with fighting Odion to be bothered with the children.[2]

An exasperated Kerra asked whether they could just go to the Republic. Rusher then asked his Mon Calamari navigator Ishel about traveling to the Republic. While there was a lane to Daiman's transport center near Chelloa, Kerra ruled out that option since she wanted to avoid Sith Space at all costs. Since the Republic had shut down all subspace communications relays in Sith Space, there was a lack of reliable information on safe hyperspace routes throughout much of the galaxy. After reading through a list of hyperspace routes listed in a holographic display, Rusher found one leading to Byllura, a purportedly unaligned planet. Kerra was initially resistant to that idea since Byllura was situated farther away from the Republic than Gazzari. However, Rusher responded that they had little choice.[2]

A false paradiseEdit

"This is Sith Space, Jedi. We're not going to find our way out—and we're not going to find the paradise you're looking for. You just have to settle for the best we can find—and the best is the least–worse."
―Rusher responding to Kerra's concerns about Byllura's safety[src]
Saaj Calician

Saaj Calician, ruler of the Dyarchy

While there was little extant information about the political situation in Byllura, there were rumors that Byllura was a Sith principality ruled by children with a regent running the realm on their behalf. According to one of Rusher's friends who had visited the planet, they had been in power for at least five years. As it turned out, these rumors proved to be true. Byllura was the main territory of the Dyarchy, a Sith realm that was the home of Quillan and Dromika, the younger children of the late Chagras, the former ruler of the Chagras Hegemony. These two Sith twins had a powerful affinity with the Force; with Quillan having a powerful farsight ability while Dromika could send out strong hypnotic commands that would compel other sentients to do her bidding. Under the guidance of their Regent Saaj Calician, the twins had used their Force abilities and a network of enslaved Celegians to directly impose their will on the inhabitants of the Dyarchy, turning their subjects into thralls.[2]

As the Diligence entered into the atmosphere above Byllura's capital city Hestobyll, Kerra and Jarrow were relieved to encounter no resistance. Jarrow was granted permission to land via commset by an unidentified individual dubbed "Deep Voice", who was actually the Celegian "One". Upon arriving at their allocated hangar platform, they were surprised to find that there was no welcoming party. Believing Byllura to be a safe destination free of any Sith presence, an optimistic Jarrow ordered the crew to deploy its cargo ramps to allow the refugees to disembark. Jarrow attempted to lead the refugees out but was stopped by Kerra, who reiterated that she needed to check out the place first, adding that it had to be a proper reconnaissance probe of the surrounding city rather than simply observing the surrounding platform area.[2]

This sparked an argument between the young Jedi Kight and the mercenary leader. Citing a datapad entry on Byllura, Jarrow tried to argue that there was adequate shelter for the refugees in Hestobyll city and that there was no sign of danger. Kerra responded by arguing that they had little intelligence on who actually controlled Byllura, and angrily accused Jarrow of not caring for the refugees. In return, Jarrow argued that the refugees were an inconvenient dead weight. In the end, the two reached a compromise when Kerra managed to get Jarrow to give her one hour to do a proper recon probe of Hestobyll in return for returning the refugees onboard the Diligence.[2]

However, these developments were being sensed by the enslaved Celegian "One" who had transmitted the information back to Calician. While Calician was aware that the ship's captain had indicated a readiness to off-load his passengers on Byllura, he became suspicious about a potential threat to the Dyarchy when an unidentified person (later revealed to be Kerra) got the student refugees to re-board the ship. Calician suspected that this was a Daimanate trick and quickly dispatched a contingent of Unifiers to investigate the Diligence under direct orders from Dromika, who was in turn being telepathically controlled by her twin brother Quillan. Still, Calician regarded the arrival of the Diligence as an opportunity to hasten his plans for galactic domination, beginning with several of Daiman's unguarded systems.[2]

While Kerra conducted her reconnaissance probe of Hestobyll, Rusher stayed aboard the ship. Meanwhile, he assigned thirty two of his crew including the shipmaster Dackett and Prenda Novallo outside onto the landing platform to make repairs to the Diligence. Despite Rusher's orders that the passengers remain on the vessel, the Sullustan girl Tan sneaked out of the ship, determined to follow Kerra who she idolized. In response, Rusher sent the Duros Lubboon to bring her back. Rusher had planned to leave Lubboon behind with Kerra since he regarded both of them as a liability. An hour later, the Diligence received another transmission from "Deep Voice" on the commset that the Byllurans had seen the refugees on the platform and were sending people to help with their situation. According to "Deep Voice", the refugees would supposedly be "directed to a center for assigning quarters." Seeing it as an opportunity to get rid of the refugees, Rusher contacted Kerra who expressed her distrust of the local authorities.[2]

Due to her awareness about Sith relocation practices, Kerra was surprised that the local authorities had gotten wind to their predicament and warned Jarrow to be careful since they were in an unfamiliar place. Kerra's suspicions about Byllura's Sith presence were confirmed after Tan and Lubboon were captured by several red-clad Force-sensitive enforcers called Unifiers, which she dubbed "Scarlet Riders". She also found that the people were being enthralled through mental manipulations emanating from some Force-users. Kerra also noted that the Celegians in floating platforms situated at strategic points of the city formed a mental telepathic network which relayed these commands. Kerra attacked the "Scarlet Riders" and pursued them across the city. This pursuit ended at the Loft, a large palace on a mountain opposite the harbor that was home to the Dyarchy's twin rulers.[2]

Prior to her clash with the Unifiers, Kerra managed to warn Rusher in time about the dangers on Byllura. Several minutes later, a party of Unifiers and their airspeeders arrived at the Diligence's platform hangar. These Unifiers were led by a Trandoshan who ordered Jarrow to open the vessel and report for assignment. They had also captured several of his crew who had been in the landing platform making repairs to the Diligence. In response, Jarrow dropped an anchor on the Trandoshan, sparking a vicious battle in the spaceport. When Rusher tried to have the Diligence lift off, the Unifiers attacked by trying to jump onto the vessel and slash at its hull with their lightsaber-batons. In response, Rusher ordered his Khil helmswoman Zussh to lift the ship into the air and give it a spin in order to shake of the Sith climbers. Rusher then ordered Zussh to switch off the thrusters, causing the ship to slam into the platform, before reactivating them.[2]

The scarlet Unifiers then launched a second attack by ramming their airspeeders against the upper decks in an attempt to rupture the windows. Though the Diligence had little operational armament to bear on these attackers, Rusher came up with the clever tactic of slamming the non-working gun emplacements on the Diligence into the swarming speeders, easily destroying their attackers. After eliminating the Sith opposition, Rusher succeeded in rescuing all the crew at the landing platform including Dackett, Novallo, and the thirty other stranded crew who had been on the landing deck. The Trandoshan commander was also killed by Dackett who personally beat him to death with his regenerated arm. With the Dyarchy's fleet lifting into space from their underwater hangar bays beneath Hestobyll's reflection pools, Rusher ordered the Diligence out to sea and away from the chaos. [2]

Rusher then brought the Diligence to the Loft to recover Beadle Lubboon and Tan Tengo. Amidst the fighting upstairs, Tan and Lubboon were sent to the hangar under One's orders, who had been ordered to do so by Kerra. Lubboon managed to start-up one of the airspeeders and was floating outside the hangar bay. However, he was unable to move far with it because he only knew how to go forward and stop the vehicle. Meanwhile, the Sullustan girl Tan sat on the ledge of the hangar's landing port. Brigadier Rusher was in the cargo deck of the Diligence when he witnessed Tan and Lubboon outside the hangar bay through the monitor. Rusher flipped the switch to lower the cargo deck's hangar bay and he contacted Luboon. When Rusher asked Lubboon why he picked up Tan but left Kerra behind, the Duros replied that he had started the speeder before she could escape the palace and that he only knew how to make the speeder move forward and stop. Rusher was about the reprimand the Duros trooper for losing his headset when Lubboon revealed that the Brigadier had already lent it to Kerra for her recon probe.[2]

When Rusher asked if Lubboon and Tan had killed those Scarlet Riders lying on the floor of the hangar bay, Tan replied that Kerra had attacked the Loft after their arrival. Meanwhile, two of Rusher's soldiers leapt from the cargo deck into Lubboon's airspeeder to help him control the aircraft. Since Rusher was unable to land the massive Diligence on the Loft's hangar bay without its stowed cannon barrels jabbing the cliff wall, he told the Sullustan girl to wait while his men backed the airspeeder up so that she could get on. He instructed Tan to hop into the airspeeder when they reached her. However, Tan refused to go unless Rusher promised to retrieve Kerra as well. She explained to Rusher that Kerra was inside the Loft and told him to go in after her. Rusher was initially reluctant to storm the Loft and rescue Kerra. However, he changed his mind after witnessing several droids being thrown out the window from the penthouse. Tan and Rusher then realized that Kerra was at the penthouse above the Loft.[2]

After rescuing both Lubboon and Tan, the Diligence flew to the top of the Loft's penthouse. At that point, Kerra had broken away from Calician and the twins and was fighting for her life. Rusher again used his tactic of slamming its heavy frontal gun emplacement, this time into the penthouse's windows, providing Kerra a distraction and means of escape. In the ensuing chaos, Kerra kidnapped Quillan and brought him onboard the Diligence, fleeing an enraged Dromika who had by then picked up one of Calician's lightsabers. When she tackled Quillan and brought him aboard, Rusher was furious since Kerra had violated his cardinal rule of never allowing a Sith aboard his ship. His fury was short lived, though, as the Diligence reached orbit and all aboard witnessed the appearance of Sith Lord Arkadia Calimondra's fleet. At another Sith's mercy, Rusher had no choice but to surrender his ship to her forces.[2]

The ArkadianateEdit

Guests of a SithEdit

"What are you talking about?"
"Ever since you met, you've been orbiting her like a satellite."
"Well, her is a handsome woman. And she's created all this. You don't see anything to admire there?"
"She's a Sith"
―Kerra Holt and Jarrow Rusher discussing their perceptions of Lord Arkadia Calimondra[src]
Arkadia Calimondra portrait

Arkadia Calimondra, ruler of the Arkadianate

Arkadia had the ship follow them to her capital planet Syned, where Kerra and Rusher met the Sith Lord face to face on the icy surface outside her capital Calimondretta. Arkadia was initially warm and hospital towards her guests and claimed that "she was here to help them". She also intended to promote her "enlightened" Sith regime. Arkadia managed to impress Rusher with her efficient society, knowledge of history, and her beautiful looks. She also informed Kerra and Rusher that she was the older brother of Quillan and took the adolescent Sith Lord into her custody, openly claiming to care for his welfare and needs. Finally, she managed to convince the Brigadier that she could provide a safe home for the young refugees, who would then become useful and contributing subjects of the Arkadianate. However, Arkadia was unwilling to hire the services of Rusher and his mercenaries under the alleged pretext that mercenaries were too single-minded and rigid to her liking. However, she promised to allow Rusher and his crew to depart Syned after delivering the children. Rusher liked her offer and agreed to help transport them to the city. Arkadia also managed to impress Rusher by providing a large stock of food supplies to feed his crew and passengers, who were running low on supplies.[2]

While he and Kerra were having an audience with Arkadia, he met the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane, who had worked for several different Sith Lords but was in fact an agent Vilia Calimondra, the grandmother of Arkadia and the matriarch of the Calimondra family. Narsk demanded the return of his prized Cyricept Mark IV stealth suit, which Kerra had stolen during a mission to Darkknell. However, Rusher was initially uncooperative in helping the Bothan obtain his stolen property but confirmed that the stealth suit was back on the Diligence in the room of Tan Tengo, the teenage Sullustan student whom Kerra had met during an earlier mission on Darkknell. However, the Bothan was undeterred and kept on pestering the Brigadier for the return of his stealth suit.[2]

While Rusher was completely taken in by Arkadia's seemingly warmth reception, Kerra refused to trust her because she was a Sith whom the Jedi did not regard as being fair players. She criticized Rusher's plans to drop the student refugees on Syned, leading to a heated argument between the two. Rusher accused Kerra of being unreasonable, maintaining that the Diligence was his ship and that they were foreigners on Arkadia's planet. He also argued that they lack sufficient knowledge of any safe hyperspace routes back to the Galactic Republic. In response, Kerra criticized Rusher for his willingness to work as a mercenary for different Sith Lords and suggested that his energies could instead be put into into working for the people. Rusher interjected that he had more important things to do like accommodating feeding his 560 member crew and 1,700 passengers. Their argument was interrupted by the arrival of one of Arkadia's Citizen Guards who invited her inside Arkadia's museum for a private meeting with the Sith Lord.[2]

Brigadier Rusher was instructed to wait outside once he had finished discussing transporting arrangements for the student passengers with the Arkadianate engineers. Kerra's meeting with Arkadianate turned out to be an attempt by the Sith Lord to recruit Kerra as an assassin to kill her grandmother Vilia. During the early part of the meeting, Arkadia allowed Kerra to view her family bequest where the young Jedi woman found out that all the Sith Lords in the Grumani Sector were members of the Calimondra family, a powerful Sith clan fractured by internal rivalries. Vilia held a managerial position among the sector's Sith warlords and used the Bequests to dispense patronage among her grandchildren. Arkadia tried to justify killing her grandmother by claiming that he was behind the death of her father Chagras and that she was responsible for the internecine conflicts destabilizing much of the Outer Rim. Kerra turned down the offer on the maxim that she did not work with the Sith. In retaliation, an enraged Arkadia had Kerra taken into custody and imprisoned.[2]

An unlikely partnershipEdit

"It is a problem. But there might be a way. We're both in the same business."
"What's that?"
"Demolitions."
―Ka'hane and Rusher discussing their plan to escape Syned[src]

Meanwhile, Narsk attempted to convince Rusher to return his stolen stealth suit but the latter was uncooperative, arguing that they could wait until the refugees were being transported to Calimondretta on the icecrawler. Rusher and Narsk were present when Kerra was being taken away by Arkadia's Citizen Guards as a captive. Arkadia then demanded that the refugee passengers aboard the Diligence be brought immediately to Calimondretta. A large icecrawler was waiting outside the large atrium known as Patriot Hall to transport Rusher back to the Diligence. She also reiterated her promise that Rusher and his mercenaries could leave Syned after finishing their errand. She handed him a set of coordinates in a datapad which purportedly led to the Galactic Republic. In reality, she intended to kill them by sending them on a one-way journey to the Nakrikal Singularity, a black hole.

When Rusher queried about Kerra and offered to take the Jedi offworld, Arkadia replied that she would be imprisoned and then executed. The Sith Lord was unwilling to have an enemy Jedi creating havoc in her domain, just as she had done so earlier in the former Dyarchy. Arkadia intended to interrogate the Jedi woman on any intelligence on the Republic and other Sith warlords before executing her personally. She also recruited Narsk to carry out the task of couriering her younger brother Quillan to Vilia and then assassinating the matriarch; completely unaware of his true loyalties. . In return for his services, Narsk got Arkadia to order Rusher to return his stolen stealth suit. Rusher had no choice but to comply with Arkadia's command. Through unknown means, Vilia discovered her granddaughter's plot and sent a transmission to Narsk's implant, ordering the Bothan spy to turn against his "current" employer Arkadia by launching her own "counter-plot".

Cognizant of his new orders, Narsk approached Brigadier Rusher, who was uncomfortable with the fate of the captive Kerra. However, the Brigadier was unwilling to balance the lives of a thousand student refugees with that of one person. Still, Rusher tried to assure himself by dismissing his anxieties as not being part of his job. Narsk convinced the Brigadier that following Arkadia's orders would pose a danger to his crew by citing the developments that occurred during the Bequest. The Bothan added that they could use explosives to damage the tractor beam emitters within Syned's atmosphere, allowing the Diligence to escape the Arkadianate. For this escape attempt to succeed however, it would require the full support of Rusher and his mercenaries.

Rusher agreed to cooperate with the Bothan spy's plans and arranged for one his mercenaries Beadle Lubboon to transport Narsk's stealth suit and Kerra's lightsaber to Calimondretta. For his plan to succeed, Narsk also needed the support of Kerra to provide a second diversion for Arkadia's forces. Narsk modified the settings on Rusher's comlinks, allowing him to relay the instructions to Lubboon while evading detection from Arkadia's sensors. In return for Rusher's cooperation, Narsk paid him by giving him half of the coordinates that led to a safe hyperspace lane which ended at a jump-point in neutral space leading to the Galactic Republic. Narsk also presumably explained to Rusher that the earlier coordinates which Arkadia had presented earlier was actually a one-way death trip ending in a black hole. Finally, he promised to give the second half of the coordinates to Kerra on the condition that she helped create a distraction that would allow both parties to escape the Arkadinate.

Narsk Ka'hane

Narsk Ka'hane, an unlikely ally

The surprising giftEdit

"What do you think you're—"
"We'd like to have you meet Bitsy...Fire!"
―Manager and Rusher prior to the assault on Calimondretta[src]

Jarrow Rusher was able to fulfill his part of the bargain. First, he dispatched Beadle Lubboon to deliver Narsk's stealth suit and Kerra's lightsaber to the Bothan. Lubboon was able to evade Arkadianate security by hiding the suit in a pouch and the lightsaber in his left arm; while feigning a broken arm from a fall. While Narsk was being briefed by Arkadia on the details of his mission to assassinate Vilia at Embarkation Station 7 which involved using a modified shuttle and a hoverchair fitted with the neurotoxin Chagras's Blood, Lubboon entered the hangar and returned Narsk's stealth suit. He then departed for the infirmary on the pretext that he had broken his left arm. Shortly later, Narsk joined Lubboon at the infirmary where the Duros was waiting with the lightsaber. Following the meeting, Narsk departed early on the pretext that his Bothan physiology was allergic to the nerve toxin that was to be deployed against Vilia and Quillan during the assassination attempt. Chagras's Blood was a nerve toxin extracted from Synedian algae which had been developed for Arkadia's war effort.

Keeping to his side of the bargain, Narsk was able to free Kerra from her prison cell in the Impound before she could be exposed to Chagras's Blood, which Arkadia had planned to deploy as part of a planned irredentist military campaign following her grandmother's death. Narsk was able to get Kerra's cooperation by explaining that Rusher was collaborating with their escape attempt from the Arkadianate and that he needed her support in order to escape to the Republic. The Bothan also gave Kerra the second half of the hyperspace coordinates leading to the safe jump point. The second stage of Rusher's plan involved hijacking Arkadia's icecrawler and using it to transport an artillery cannon into Calimondretta to launch an attack with the aim of creating a diversion that would keep Arkadia's forces preoccupied, which would allow Narsk to escape offworld with Quillan.

As part of the escape plan, Rusher worked with the Arkadianate Citizen Guards to drive the icecrawler to the Diligence. To transport the student refugees, Arkadia's staff had suspended several levels of metal scaffolds at the rear of the icecrawler. The Arkadianate driver was a male Nazzar, who had been promoted from a rumble car driver to being the icecrawler's driver. Rusher's crew had removed the cannon barrels on one side of the Diligence to enable the icecrawler to connect with the liner by extending its bushing towards the liner's entrance hatch. However, Rusher had secretly made arrangements with his crew to hijack the icecrawler. On the other side of the tunnel, Team Ripper led by Zeller was waiting to launch an attack on the Citizen Guards. After the door opened, Rusher's crew attacked the Arkadianates, quickly wiping out all resistance. Meanwhile, Rusher personally killed the Nazzar driver by breaking his neck.

By the time the pressure between the two vessels had equalized, Rusher's mercenaries had seized control of the icecrawler. Rusher and his crew then removed the metal decking and loaded the icecrawler with two artillery cannons including Bitsy. Rusher's hijacked icecrawler Crawler One then traveled through Calimondretta Control without encountering any difficulties. They proceeded towards Patriot Hall where several Citizen Guards were waiting to receive the “passengers.” Rusher also ordered his mercenaries aboard the cargo hauler to prepare for a ground assault. During the first stage of the attack, Crawler One was greeted by a chubby depot manager who demanded that its crew open its frontal hatch. When the ramp lowered to disembark the "refugees", Rusher's troops had the cannon "Bitsy" ready to fire deep inside Calimondretta, killing several staff and causing significant interior damage to Patriot Hall. After deploying "Bitsy", Team Zhaboka fanned out to damage the atrium's interior with their missile launchers and deploy anchor bolts into the icy floor in order to stay afoot. Meanwhile, Team Ripper led by Zeller pushed the Brigade's remaining Kelligdyd 5000 cannon. Since this attack was a lightning raid for a diversionary escape, the cannons would be left behind following the attack.[2]

As part of the second stage of the attack, Team Zhaboka's missile launchers destroyed the screen protecting Patriot Hall from Syned's arctic climate, causing the atrium's warm temperatures to melt the transparent roof, which had been composed from metallic power. As planned, this caused Calimondretta's automatic durasteel doors to close in order to prevent a loss of heat and oxygen. Several Citizen Guards trapped outside Patriot Hall clamored on the barriers to be let in. Rusher then ordered his gunners to breach the durasteel barriers, leaving the underground city exposed to the frigid climate. While the remaining Citizen Guards retreated into Calimondretta, Rusher ordered Ryland Dackett, who was captaining the Diligence to launch the third stage of the attack. Rusher was also away that Kerra was still inside the city. For the Brigadier, the Siege of Calimondretta was a milestone in his career as a mercenary since it marked the first time that he had assaulted a fortress from within.[2]

The great escapeEdit

"Sounds like we took part of that operation out during our little rampage."
"By accident. You didn't even know it was there!"
―Rusher and Kerra discussing the effects of the raid on disrupting Arkadia's biological warfare production[src]
Knight Errant novel

Calimondretta, Arkadia's capital city which was damaged during the 'great escape'

Rusher's attack created enough diversion to allow Narsk to escape on the modified shuttle with Quillan. He also foiled Arkadia's plot to assassinate both Quillan and Vilia by switching the red hoverchair containing the nerve toxin with a harmless brown one. During the escape attempt from the hangar, Narsk activated the nerve toxin which killed the ground crew before they could stop the shuttle from departing. Keeping to her side of the bargain, Kerra created another diversion by fighting several of Arkadia's Citizen Guards in Reflection Prospect, a large public hallway adjacent to Patriot Hall. Unlike other soldiers utilized by other Sith states, the Arkadianate's Citizen Guards were not Sith wannabes but were rather ordinary sentient beings devoted or trapped within the Sith Lord's military-industrial complex. After Arkadia's Citizen Guards blocked the exits to Patriot Hall by detonating thermal detonators, Kerra was forced to retreat into Arkadia's museum. There, she encountered the Sith Lord Arkadia and the two engaged in a lightsaber duel. [2]

During the third stage of the attack on Calimondretta, Rusher's shipmaster Dackett flew the Diligence towards the now breached Patriot Hall. Dackett saw the tall conical observation tower containing the tractor beam emitter to the north of the city. The tower's crew saw the Diligence approaching and immediately deployed their tractor beam which dragged the modified liner and its attached cargo assembly pods towards the parking area, which was packed with Arkadinate warships that were on stand-by to launch blitz raids on the Arkadianate's neighbors in the event that Vilia Calimondra was assassinated. Arkadia hoped to exploit such a crisis to further her own irredentist ambitions of ruling the Grumani Sector and then the galaxy. These ships were also loaded with shells of Chagras's Blood, a nerve toxin harvested from Synedian alga.[2]

As the Diligence struggled against the tractor beam force, Rusher ordered his crew to shed one of its massive twin cargo assembly pods. These multi-ton pieces crashed onto Arkadia's parked military fleet and the tractor beam emitter, destroying them in a massive conflagration. This effectively sabotaged the second stage of Arkadia's conspiracy by ending her expansionist goals for the moment. The destruction of the tractor beam emitter would allow the Diligence to escape Syned's orbit into hyperspace. Satisfied with his work, Rusher then used his encrypted comlink to issue Arkadia an ultimatum that she release the Jedi woman Kerra or he would destroy her and her city.[2]

With their job done, Rusher ordered his troops including Team Zhaboka to cease action and board the Diligence. He was also reunited with Beadle Lubboon who informed his employer that he had successfully passed the lightsaber to the Bothan spy. However, he had not seen Kerra whom Rusher had needed because she held the second half of the hyperspace coordinates. They were unable to reach Arkadia's museum in the southern part of Calimondretta since the explosion unleashed by Arkadia's thermal detonators had damaged the passageways. The Diligence then lifted off and headed for Arkadia's museum. They also disabled Arkadia's second tractor beam emitter by ramming the second cargo assembly into it, removing dead weight.[2]

Having succeeded in helping Narsk to escape Syned with Quillan, Rusher then turned his attention to finding Kerra. Since he had attached a tag to her lightsaber, Rusher was able to trace her signal to Arkadia's museum which was situated near near the planet's surface. He then sent the Diligence to fly over the museum to confirm that it was the top of a deep and massive dome. With the help of Lubboon and several members of Team Ripper, Rusher then heaved the cannon "Bitsy" onto a cargo sled behind an abandoned trundle car. They then fired a precision shot at the museum's dome-like roof which created a hole in the dome. This blast saved Kerra from being killed by Arkadia who was just about to launch a final charge with her twin-bladed lightsaber. After stealing Arkadia's lightsaber, Kerra then managed escaped to Syned's surface but fell unconscious due to fatigue and the thin amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.[2]

While scouting the battlefield, Rusher found an unconscious Kerra and personally carried her to the Diligence and brought her into the medical bay. The Diligence's mercenary crew and passengers were also joined by around five hundred Arkadianite laborers wanting to defect to the Republic. One of these refugees was the Twi'lek Warmalo, the supply clerk who had earlier helped Rusher restock the Diligence's food supplies before being promoted to a metallurgist. However, Warmalo did not regard this as a promotion. He and the other refugees resented Arkadia's policy of continually rotating her subjects through different jobs to preserve her grip on power.[2]

Parting as friendsEdit

"You carried me?"
"Barely, you're heavier than you look. All muscle, I know."
―Rusher chatting with Kerra about carrying her back to the Diligence[src]

After Kerra regained consciousness, Rusher explained that the Jedi woman had gone on a long walk without her spacesuit. He then explained how he had destroyed Arkadia's museum with a precision shot in order to enable Kerra to escape. Rusher then recounted the details of their escape from Calimondretta including how he had used a hijacked icecrawler as a trojan horse. For Rusher, the assault on Calimondretta marked the first time that his forces had ever been deployed inside a building. He also explained that the attack had been used to coerce Arkadia into giving up Kerra or enabling her to escape. Rusher then recounted how he had personally carried Kerra back to his ship, adding the comment that she was heavier than she looked due to her muscular frame. Due to his bad leg, Rusher had to use Arkadia's stolen twin-bladed lightsaber as a makeshift walking stick in order to maintain a perfect lurch ratio for that mission. During an earlier argument, Kerra had broken his original walking stick.[2]

Jarrow Rusher also mentioned to Kerra that her student refugees had been rejoined by several hundred Arkadianate defectors. Rusher also related how their attack had destroyed part of Arkadia's neurotoxin operation, sabotaging her efforts to launch an expansionist campaign in the event that her grandmother was assassinated. Since Rusher's Brigade had used up all their ammunition and left behind their cannons, there was now enough space to accommodate approximately 2,200 refugees. Since Rusher had shed the cargo pod clusters, the Diligence was back to being a spaceliner again for the moment. While Rusher's engineer was unhappy with damage wrought on the starship during the fighting, Rusher was happy that they had managed to escape with the rest of the ship still intact.[2]

Finally, Rusher revealed that they were now using hyperspace coordinates given to them by Narsk to travel back to the Galactic Republic. Earlier, the Bothan spy had scrawled half of these coordinates on Rusher's arm and the other half on Kerra's arm. Unlike Arkadia's coordinates, Narsk's ones led to a jump-point in neutral space which led to a hyperspace route which led directly to the Republic. Upon reaching the Republic, Rusher planned to disembark the refugees who would then be resettled in "greener pastures." Rusher also planned to embark on a spending spree in the Republic in order to upgrade the ship's systems and to recruit more mercenaries and materiel in order to rebuild his mercenary operation. In return, Kerra shared with Rusher the top-secret information she had learned from Arkadia about the Calimondra family and the Second Charge Matrica. Kerra got Rusher to provide her with a recorder in return for using her connections to arrange for the Brigadier to have an audience with Supreme Chancellor Genarra.[2]

Rusher also joked that he hoped that he could barter the information for enough funds to refit the Diligence with four new cargo clusters instead of two. The mood among the refugees had cheered after news of their final journey to the Republic was announced. Kerra reported that the Sullustan Tan was so excited that she had been unable to sleep. Rusher also shared with Kerra that the Duros recruit Lubboon along with several of the former student refugees were keen to remain aboard the Diligence as members of Rusher's Brigade. Many wanted to join the mercenary force as a means of liberating their families from Sith rule in the future. Kerra also shared with Rusher on how she had evacuated 63,000 refugees during the Chelloan affair. As a gesture of goodwill, Rusher finally offered to drop Kerra off on Tramanos on their way to the Republic so that she could continue her mission. He also remarked that should the Jedi woman ever choose to hire the Diligence, he might cut her a reduced rate.[2]

For Lord Arkadia, Rusher's attack on Calimondretta had dealt a death blow to her ambitions of killing her grandmother and exploiting the crisis to further her own ambitions. Due to the extensive damage to her capital city, Arkadia had also been forced to recall significant forces from Byllura to rebuild and garrison Calimondretta. As a final insult, the Sith Lord had also lost her prized double-bladed lightsaber. Meanwhile, Narsk made it back safely to Vilia's planet where he received treatment for his ears which had been damaged by the acceleration of the shuttle's engines. The failure of Arkadia's assassination conspiracy preserved the status quo in the Grumani Sector with Vilia remaining in her managerial role as the Sith family matriarch. Vilia also assumed custody of both Quillan and Dromika, with the latter being spirited away from Byllura by two of Vilia's other agents.[2]

Personality and traitsEdit

"Exasperating jerk!"
"He says the same thing about you."
―Kerra and Tan Tengo discussing the former's difficult relationship with Jarrow Rusher[src]

Jarrow Rusher had a fiercely independent streak and lacked any true allegiances to any of the major powers during the Republic Dark Age. As brigadier, he was an effective commander who was well respected by his crew. Despite his willingness to work for any party, Rusher also adhered to some basic moral standards. He objected to the Sith Lord Daiman using children as bait during the Battle of Gazzari. During the fighting, he warned his mercenaries not to target the children on pain of death. Despite these positive traits, Rusher had a fierce temper and was also prone to alcoholism in times of stress.[2]

Throughout his career as a mercenary, Rusher saw himself as an independent military operator. While he worked for several Sith warlords in the Grumani sector, Rusher did not see himself as a Sith. In fact, Rusher personally detested any Sith due to their volatile and aggressive nature. While Rusher was willing to work for the Sith in return for being paid, he was unwilling to allow any Sith adepts on his troopship Diligence in order to protect the safety of his crew. He was a firm adherent of Telettoh's maxim, an ancient Republic Navy protocol dating back to the Jedi Civil War which prohibited any Republic naval personnel from carrying Sith passengers aboard their vessels.[2]

Initially, Rusher also disliked the Jedi for their idealism and dualistic worldview which clashed with his relativist outlook. Rusher had a difficult and volatile relationship with the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt, and the two often argued on several different occasions. Rusher initially resented Kerra for bringing a thousand student refugees aboard his ship which created a serious logistical problem for his crew. Rusher was also annoyed by Kerra's demands that the student refugees be evacuated to the Republic due to the difficulties of navigating through Sith Space. Rusher and Kerra also disagreed on the former's decision to accept the "enlightened" Sith Lord Arkadia's offer to shelter the student refugees. Despite Rusher's dislike of the Sith, he did not share the Jedi view that all Sith were malevolent and destructive.[2]

Despite his initial animosity towards Kerra, Rusher came to grudgingly respect the Jedi woman for her perseverance and uncompromising dedication to her cause and values. When Kerra was imprisoned by Arkadia, he was concerned enough to help the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane break her out of prison. His decision to cooperate with Ka'hane and turn against Arkadia ultimately saved the lives of both Rusher and his crew since Arkadia had provided them with rogue hyperspace coordinates leading to a black hole. This action also allowed Rusher and Kerra to obtain access to a safe hyperspace route leading to neutral space.[2]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

As a mercenary, Jarrow Rusher was proficient in the arts of combat. He was also an effective leader who was also well respected by his men. He was skilled in melee combat and also knew how to operate artillery cannons. Rusher was also a proficient tactician and knew how to allocate his manpower and resources to maximize efficiency in combat. Due to an injury, Rusher had damaged one of his legs and needed a walking stick to support himself when walking.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

Jarrow Rusher first appeared as a supporting viewpoint character in John Jackson Miller's novel Knight Errant, which was first released on January 25, 2011. While this was Miller's first published novel, he also developed the script for the Star Wars: Knight Errant comic series, which is closely tied to the novel. To date, Rusher has not appeared in any of these comics. However, he was briefly mentioned in the Knight Errant entry in The Essential Reader's Companion which was released in October 2, 2012.

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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