Born Ness Relenti in one of the poorer districts in Coruscant, the early life of this human would not seem to lead him to his current place in the Galaxy.
The youthful years of Ness Locke were capricious. He ran with a gang known as 'The Carbines' throughout the lower levels of his hometown. Though many members of The Carbines were known to demolish buildings, set fires and even murder, Ness managed to stay away from those sorts of activities due to his reputation as a pretty boy. He was the 'Face' of the group, left to chat with the police or Imperial patrols when necessary. With his charisma and wit, he talked his way out of many a crime while with the gang. His criminal role within The Carbines was that of a hacker. He was known for being able to crack automated teller machines in under forty five seconds, and on more than one occasion, actually managed to erase old criminal records of his running crew.
This all changed one day late into Ness' eighteenth year, when two of his closest mates were arrested for the murder of an elderly Arcona. They stole barely twenty credits from the hag and were then thrown into a maximum security prison just miles from their homes for the rest of their lives. This was the moment that Ness realized the life he was living would not suit him permanently, and began to look for his place in the universe. The search did not last long, however, as the benefits and glory involved with enlisting into the Imperial Armed Forces drew the cocky young man in.
The Galactic EmpireEdit
Ness joined the Galactic Empire shortly after turning nineteen and enlisted himself into the Navy. Using his previous experience as a base, he figured he'd become a top notch Officer in no time at all. He fancied himself perched aboard the control deck of an Imperial Star Destroyer, barking order to decimate Rebels and level pirate compounds. The reality of the Imperial Regime, though, was much different than what the young upstart had imagined.
Shortly after entering the enlistment office on Coruscant, Ness Relenti was enrolled into the Imperial Academy. Before a pickup to the Naval HQ on Kuat could reach him, though, Ness had already graduated with honors. Because of this, he was given a field promotion to Crewman and signed on as the navigation officer on a Carrack that was refueling nearby. Using his computer know-how, Ness served better than expected for a fresh soldier, granting his field promotion permanent status.
Not long thereafter, the now Flight Corporal Relenti was given command of the TIE Bomber group Eagle Squadron. This group of men served together on many a mission, and once managed to bring down a Lancer frigate without backup and without a single casualty to the squadron. It was the most well honed bomber squadron in Gamma Wing, and quite possibly the entire Second Imperial Fleet. His long time in The Carbines instilled a sense of loyalty in Ness, and he refused to rotate out fresh soldiers into Eagle Squadron, instead choosing to serve with the same men for as long as possible.
Imperial Intelligence and ISBEdit
Seeing that the rise to the Officer ranks would take more time than Ness had expected, he began looking for other ways to use his natural talents. Approaching the Grand Moff of the Empire, Zerk, Ness politely requested a branch change to Government to serve in a more fitting role for someone not qualified for combat. After ignoring the requests several times, Zerk finally repsonded with 'No branch changes are allowed.' Shortly thereafter, the Moff of the Mayagil sector asked Ness if he'd like to serve on his staff. Of course, he gladly accepted, but within only a few short days, Grand Moff Zerk repealed the order and shipped Ness back to the Navy. This was the beginning of Ness' realization of the corruption of the Empire.
This was not the end of Ness' career outside the Navy, though. The skill and precision he showed while on mission was noticed by the ISB and he began to serve part time under their banner. He was taken from active Naval service to serve on special operations for the ISB as well, including Operation: Rain of Tears where he was instrumental to victory, using his computer skills to knock out and listen in on enemy communication and his bluffing ability to infiltrate their stronghold. Though he may have assured mission victory, he left his unit and operated as a lone wolf during this operation, which earned him a commendation for bravery, but also a discharge from the ISB for going against an officer's orders.
Around this same time, Ness came across an Intelligence training exercise by a mistake in transmission frequencies. It was a cryptograph intended to keep agents' decoding abilities in top shape. The young naval man decrypted the transmission and sent it back days before any of the active agents, earning him respect amongst Imperial Intelligence, and a position as an agent. It was here that Ness remained until leaving the Empire, though he kept his naval rank and position as a cover.
Life in Intelligence was exciting, kept Ness from the front lines of battle, and opened his eyes to much of the Galaxy he had never seen before. This was not a perfect time in the young man's life by any means, though. The corruption of the Imperial High Brass was getting worse, and the Emperor started to show his face less and less. Certain recruits would enter the Empire and leave before hearing a single address by the Imperial Sovereign. During his extended absences, his lackeys would run amok, and Grand Moff Zerk was left in charge of the Empire. Zerk's disdain for the low ranking personnel was well known, and the enlisted men were all but forgotten, depsite their youthful vigor and zeal. This was unacceptable to a man raised on the streets of Coruscant, depending on his brothers for his next breath. Together with six others, the Empire's Enlisted Elite was founded. The organization vowed to provide guidance for the enlisted, keeping them active and focused but most of all, reminding them that they are more than cannon fodder.
The EEE, as it was called, grew, taking under its banner some of the most active and experienced NCOs in the Empire. Zerk, though, feared the group. He publicly declared there would be NO members of the EEE in any of his departments, which included both COMPNOR and the Government. When promoted from Flight Corporal to Flight Officer (a two rank promotion), Ness was, within days, demoted back to Flight Sergeant (the rank in between the two), and it was made clear to his Naval superiors that ANY more promotions he was to receive must come directly from the Grand Moff himself. He called the group 'traitors' and 'mutineers.' Determined that a group of organized men, no matter their fanatical devotion to the Imperial spirit, would be a threat, Zerk began to attempt sending moles into the EEE, and when that failed, he went for the members themselves, turning them into spies against their brothers, reporting Imperials to Imperials.
This became into a self fulfilling prophecy. A group founded on the principal of setting an example of Imperialism to new members, training recruits and keeping the enlisted loyal in a time when their superiors were anything but role models was put under fire and turned inside out. Seeing that regardless of the purity of the ideals of the group, the EEE was slowly becoming a criminal organization, three members began to meet in secret to discuss what could be done. Garen Karrade, Guinar Ndengin, and Ness Relenti looked at their options regarding the situation in the Empire. Their Imperial spirit unshaken, they began to devise ways to improve the Empire and bring it back to its former glory.
End of an EraEdit
Slowly, more members were brought into the small group, though no more members of the EEE. High ranking naval officers, directors of Imperial Intelligence, and other former Imperials driven off by the perversion the Empire had become all began to share their ideas on improvement and a plan was set into action. It had to wait, though, until the time was just right.
During this time, Ness was sent off on several small missions for Intelligence, eventually ending up far from Imperial space on a personal freighter. Once in system, the director of II also showed up and called for naval reinforcements. Of course, he requested the group that contained the most EEE personnel. While waiting for the navy to arrive, the long lost Grand Admiral, Veynom sent a transmission to the men from an unidentified vessel - later discovered to be an 'Interdictor Cruiser.' To follow up on it, the Director boarded the ship while Ness went to the surface of a nearby moon with a small detachment of stormtroopers and crewmen.
Upon descent to the surface, the frozen moon was giving off energy signatures very different from those expected. After landing and taking his small group of stormtroopers along as bodyguards, a cursory investigation showed that the moon was not natural at all, but constructed at some point in the past. As only one building in the vicinity appeared to be operational, Ness headed in that direction, hoping to get as much information as possible about this giant station. Reaching the facility, several guards stopped the group. Being stormtroopers, Ness figured they'd let him though easily, but for one reason or another, they refused him passage, saying he needed clearance from the Emperor - which Ness had. Unable to reason with the errant stormtroopers, Ness decided to work around them and sneak into the facility. Searching around, he found a control room, which was left eerily empty at the time. Cracking into the computer terminal, Ness downloaded to his datapad a technical readout of the battlestation, code named 'Deathstar.' Quickly sneaking back out and onto the surface, he collected his team and started back towards his escape ship.
En route to the freighter, Ness received a message that the revolution was starting. Knowing he'd soon be an enemy to the Empire, he quietly slaughtered his team of troopers on the frozen tundra of the station. Arriving back at the ship, Ness told his pilots that he was attacked, and while they were rushing to the armory for weapons, he killed what remained of his crew. Ness then sent a distress signal to Kuat, cutting it short to make it appear that he had been shot in mid transmission. For all intents and purposes, Ness Relenti died at that moment.
The New Imperial OrderEdit
No longer in fear of mutiny, Ness took his freighter into orbit, got the location of the rendezvous point from Director Cyrus, and tuned into the Galactic News System. Garen Karrade had released a proclamation to all Imperials. Everyone tired of the corruption of Grand Moff Zerk and Emperor Vodo Bonias was to rise up, taking arms against those who remained behind. The charter Ness had signed weeks before, stating a splinter group would break itself from the Empire if Zerk did not step down from his post, was shown publicly to the entire Galaxy.
Nearly half of the Empire defected that day, agreeing with the 'Splinter Group of Terrorists' who decided they'd had enough. For safety reasons, they called themselves the 'Shadowrunners' - a bounty hunting group. The name of course symbolicly represented the small group of Charterists 'running' from the shadows of the broken, empty Empire. Once most of those who wanted to leave were rescued from their Imperial hardware, the group was reorganized into the New Imperial Order.
Imperial Royal GuardEdit
Arriving in the safety of Bothan Space, Ness set up his new identity. Calling himself Ness Locke now, he was given the position of the Executor's hand. This was not the same as an Emperor's Hand, as it was a public position. Not long thereafter, though, the position was dissolved. Locke was awarded the title Sovereign Protector and chosen to lead the Imperial Royal Guard.
The Royal Guard was in disarray under Vodo's regime, making Locke's position as director that much more difficult. Rather than reorganize the existing structure, he chose to simply start anew, and build the Guard from the ground up. Originally, Ness thought it odd to lead a group dedicated to combat, especially since he never pictured himself as much of a warrior. After killing his entire crew in cold blood, though, something changed within Ness. Though still not embracing violence as a solution, he began to realize that it was at least necessary at times. The lack of emotion he felt also helped to persuade Locke into the position. Stoicism would be necessary as Sovereign Protector in the small chance that a long time friend turns on his ward.
The New Imperial Order, while set up similarly to the Galactic Empire, had only half the members, as the other half remained behind. For quite some time, this put strain on the higher ranking individuals, as they had to cover many positions. Ness was no exception, and in addition to maintaining the Imperial Royal Guard, he was also serving COMPNOR. As the first director of RADE in the NIO, the young man was soon overworked, and had to resign, allowing his deputy director to take over completely. Ness was then transferred to the Imperial Academy, where he served as an Instructor. Many classes have come through Locke up to this point, and he still relishes seeing his recruits go on to glorius careers in the NIO.
During this time, Ness also offered his services to the First Transport Fleet. As an instructor in the IAc, he came to learn of the troubles of many recruits, and to alleviate them, decided to join the 1TF and start picking up the recruits himself, training them on his personal vessel. Through his time in the logistics department, Ness has seen much of the Galaxy, and has been further into enemy territory than any reasonable person should.
While simultaneaously serving as director of the Imperial Royal Guard, an instructor in the Imperial Academy and a pilot in the First Transport Fleet, Ness was sent to serve in the Army as a Brigadier General, placed on the command staff in charge of Operations and Training. At this point, Ness was serving in all branches save Government at the same time, quite an impressive feat. His position on the command staff, though was short lived.
Not long after joining the Army, the Army Commanding Officer, Ducis Treum, began to confide in Ness regarding his misgivings about the New Imperial Order as a whole, including a small plot to get as many troops as possible to return to the Remnant that the NIO left behind. Ducis went so far as to open communications with Vodo in an attempt to secure positions for all those who defected with him. Being in 'The Carbines' actually worked against Ness at this point, as he refused to rat out his friend, despite his traitorous plan. When Ducis was discovered and named an enemy of the state, he implicated Ness, who had no proof to the contrary besides his previous track record. Due to the unlikelyhood of Locke actually planning on leaving the New Imperial Order, he was not charged with any crime. Just in case, though, he was suspended from Imperial High Command to prevent any possible security leaks.
As the Army struggled to recover from the loss of its Commanding Officer, Ness offered his service to the new CO, Karthan Kissani, an old friend from the Galactic Empire. Serving as a de facto Executive Officer, the pair began to clean up the damage done and keep as many soldiers as possible faithful to the Order. Kissani appreciated the help enough to give the position to Locke permanently. As Executive Officer, Locke's record is impeccable, and the Army has been sent on wider spanning missions than it has ever before, including a dispatch across an entire sector simultaneaously.
Ness doesn't deal well with huge groups of people, instead preferring a small, close-knit band of individuals. This stems from his time in a gang when all members had to rely on each other to survive, and was expanded upon while in the Empire's Enlisted Elite. Another trait which may be based on his prior affiliations is Ness' unwavering loyalty to the groups and individuals which he gives it to. While being a leader in a revolt against the biggest government in the Galaxy seems contrary to this, it must be remembered that Ness was never loyal to Zerk, only to the ideals of the New Order. As the Grand Moff was not representing them in the least, Locke did not feel disloyal at all as he left the Empire behind.
Other traits of Ness', though, are sometimes less desirable. For instance, his belief in the ideals of the New Order are beyond fanatical. When the New Imperial Order first formed, it was called a 'Religious Group' because of people like Ness who were so devoted to the cause, that they appeared almost as though they were a cult rather than military personnel. All actions committed by Imperials are completely justified in Locke's mind, as anyone serving in the best interest of the Order must be in turn serving the best interests of the Galaxy as whole. Both the slaughter of Kashyyyk and the subjugation of the Bothans in their home sector were seen as positive acts in Ness' mind, as they were furthering the Imperial way of life.
Being part of a splinter group has been a little tough on Ness. The Galactic Empire, while still claiming to be 'Imperial,' does not stand for the same things the NIO does. Locke did, though, serve the GE for quite some time before leaving, and knows that not all they do is bad. He cannot call Vodo's Regime the Empire under any circumstances, however. Feeling pity on those Imperials who were left behind, even those who decided to stay of their own accord, Ness refers to the group as the Remnant, just as those outside the Empire do. They are the Remnant of the true Imperial spirit, which left long ago with the Empire's Enlisted Elite and the New Imperial Order. He wants the GE toppled, not for malicious reasons, but so that the true Empire can rise in its stead.