It describes Maarek Stele's life and his recruitment to the Galactic Empire, beginning with the events of 3 ABY. The plot follows his training, through which the reader/player learns the basics and instructions of the game. Presumably, the goal was to merge the game instructions into the story, making a novelized manual.
The story was later expanded and included in TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide.
…elsewhere, battles have been fought. The great Death Star—destroyed. The Rebel Alliance—with Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca the Wookiee—has celebrated its first major victory against the Empire.
The Emperor and his chief vassal, Lord Darth Vader, plot to expand the Empire's power and to wipe out the Rebels. In the Hoth system, the Empire strike back. Discovering the Rebels' base on the ice planet, the Empire attacks in force and the Rebels are forced to evacuate.
But the Galaxy is vast, and news sometimes travels slowly. Even slower are the winds of conquest which blow the center of civilization to the outer edges of what is known as the Rim.
In the Taroon system, two small worlds engage in a decades-long conquest. Few people bother to recite the original causes of the war. It simply exists, ravaging the cities and the countryside. The economies of both Kuan and Bordal are in ruins, their people living under martial law. Systems like Taroon are ripe for conquest; ready to welcome the iron hand of the Empire...
Maarek Stele was in the middle of a swoop-bike stunt over the ruined high-rise structures, during which he damaged his bike. He then returned to the staging area to find the authorities were raiding the area and he decided to flee to his Swoop Garage without any money. While examining the damage to his bike, his friend Pargo knocked and informed Maarek of some characters at the Maze that might be Bordal spies that might know something about his father Kerek Stele. Both agreed to meet in three hours.
Maarek returned to his hidden home, where his mother, Marina Stele, was waiting for him to inform him that his stunt was broadcast and that they know his real name. They were in the middle of suggesting that they move to another place to hide when Bordali agents breached the door. Marina killed an agent and took Maarek with her to try to escape, but they were soon captured by agents and were taken to a shuttle, which left Kuan. The two were introduced to Gwadj, who explained that they found Maarek by questioning the swoop gang and then captured and interrogated Pargo, whom they brought into the room and explained that they needed both to ensure Kerek's cooperation. Suddenly there was a disturbance, which prompted Gwadj and a female Bordali to leave the room with just one guard. The guard decided to put Pargo into some restraints when Pargo, despite his tortured state, fought back and overpowered the guard, putting him into restraints and freed both his friends. They were discussing the next step when the shuttle lurched as it was caught in a tractor beam controlled by the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Vengeance. Gwadj came into the room moments later to assess the situation, and everyone—including Pargo, at Marina's insistence—decided to stand down.
Imperial stormtroopers boarded the shuttle and brought everyone on board. Stele was separated from the others and was in a cell when an Imperial officer informed him that the Empire has pacified the civil war. He proceeded to question Stele about his abilities, to which Stele, after being told that his mother was fine, told the officer about his skills as a swoop pilot and mechanic and his knowledge of science and astrophysics.
The next day another officer, Lieutenant P'arghat, escorted Maarek to an amphitheater to which afterwards he saw Pargo, then Marina Stele, among others, some Stele recognized. Admiral Mordon arrived. introduced himself, and explained the history of the civil war and the "opportunity" to serve the Empire. After the briefing, Maarek and Pargo chose to stay on the ship, while Marina decided to stay on Kuan to search for her husband.
Three months later Maarek became a mechanic for the TIE Series and was proficient at repairing them when they returned from combat missions. One day he was piloting a newly repaired TIE Interceptor, near the Planet Farboon, to test it when he picked up a distress signal from a Lambda-class shuttle that was under attack from Rebel starfighters and its escorts were destroyed. Stele flew in and engaged the two Y-wings; soon two X-wings arrived and gave chase, but despite the situation growing desperate, reinforcements arrived and the situation was soon under Imperial control. Stele returned in his damaged fighter to the Vengeance, to realize that the shuttle he had saved carried Admiral Mordon. Mordon praised his performance and nominated him to perform pilot training.
Maarek was brought to an Imperial base to be trained under Sergeant Jona T. Stark. During his training he was reunited with Pargo, who informed him he was going to be a stormtrooper. After learning that Maarek was going to be a TIE pilot, both commented on the dangers of their career choices.
Stele was then given a tour of the Star Destroyer's concourse by Brick, and after some time in the Combat chamber he was on a routine training mission in a TIE Bomber with Captain Trox, who went over the ship's features such as the Scanners and the CMD and how to manage weapons, shields and engines.
Maarek's first mission was a routine inspection assignment at a waypoint. Temporarily based on a Corvette, there he met Cadrath, who was putting on his suit and showed Stele how to put on his suit and inspect the tubes to make sure his life support worked. Stele then left the ship and formed with Cadrath to commence picket duty. During this mission, six freighters arrived, and Stele inspected them to find food supplies on the first, until the fifth freighter contained weapons. Soon Rebel shuttles arrived and engaged the fighters but were routed with Stele destroying three of them. The battle cost two TIE Fighters with one of them colliding with one of the shuttles destroying the fighter but leaving only minimal damage. This led Stele to the conclusion that the way to survive as an Imperial pilot was to fly a better craft, and the only way to do that was to be the best pilot in his squadron.
That night, Maarek had a vision of Emperor Palpatine saying, "Maarek. You have been called upon to join us, to join for the good of all beings... You are mine." Stele would meet Mordon again, who soon offered him a chance to see him any time with the password "There's a fog over Celadon City." Stele then returned to his duties.
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