Death eventually comes to us all, in one form or another. Ours is not to choose when nor how, but rather how we decide to face that end: begging to be spared from it, or accepting the inevitable with dignity. History cares little how we choose to die, but those around us do.

The Emperor died well, despite all propaganda to the contrary, as did his family and those of his court who had remained steadfastly loyal, for the most part. The traitors, cutthroats, and those who had bought their way in did not die so well, though a few did manage to preserve some dignity after they'd come to grips with the inevitability of the situation. His final words were not in accusation against those who had betrayed him, nor to incite vengeance from those loyalists who escaped the bloodbath. His last thoughts reflected his personality as well as his manner of maintaining power; he thought nothing of the Empire he had inherited from his Father; rather he asked after his family, and gave a heartfelt plea for their safety.

He had never concerned himself with the rule of the vast territory which was under his control, nor did he live as a rich hedonist. Raised to privilege, one would expect in him a spoiled brat who thought the world existed solely to serve his various whims, waiting impatiently for the day he would rule supremely over the various races. On the contrary, he would have preferred life as a farmer or pilot or any such occupation which did not require decisions affecting the lives of millions. He unfortunately left the main decisions to his various advisors, allowing himself to proceed through life with a clear conscience, unblemished by knowledge of massacres to suppress rebellions and interstellar war to preserve the borders of a decadent empire. He was a good man, though always a simple one. He understood his responsibilities, but could not stand to make the decisions which would alter the lives of millions; he preferred to simply care for his own family. None of the rebels of the time could ever find a fault with the Emperor, only with his advisors. Their faults, however, were obscenely obvious and frequently demonstrated.

The details need not be mentioned, but the one and only crime of the Emperor was his complete lack of ambition. His continual inattention to his reign allowed cracks to form in the great and (relatively) fair and open minded realm his great-grandfather - the mighty Kalseru IIX, Dhakan of the Outback systems of Ungud and Minawara - had first conquered and solidified into an empire. System after system broke away from his rule; some joining the Outsystem Independence Movement, others simply closing their planets and shooting down anything that approached the stratosphere. One might think to wonder where the Imperial Fleet was during this time. Her wise and powerful Excellence, Yhi, War Advisor to Kalseru XI, Emperor of the Known Universe, had spent much of the fleet's strength protecting the shipyards and factories belonging to her family, which had owned them for centuries.

Amidst the chaos developing under the reign of the last Dhakan, [explain this term] a movement grew up espousing the free and tolerant principles that the first of the Last Dynasty built into an effective system of law, which had stood for several hundred years amidst the insanity which is interspecies relations. The Outsystem Movement, as it was called, grew rapidly as a peaceful resistance, seeking reckoning for the wrongs perpetrated upon many worlds in the Empire's name (never the Emperor's name). Unfortunately they were very liberal as to whom they extended membership, which eventually proved their undoing, as well as that of the Imperium. Spies and rabble rousers fitted themselves into the higher echelons of the Movement until the high ideals became secondary to gaining followers and power. The originally peaceful group of leaders were executed as traitors to The Cause after they spoke against the violence which had erupted during an Imperial Advisor's tour of the planet Pfoo'rges, resulting in the advisor's death and gruesome dismemberment.

Thus was the Great Rebellion born.

Those who led the faction of the organization espousing violent removal of those in power won out in the inner circle and led diasporas of destruction and disorder which eventually spread even to the Imperial stronghold on Ungud, where the Royal Family was captured. But even these radicals were intelligent enough to know that they would lose power in an instant if they executed their Excellencies, as they were much loved and even deified in some parts of the galaxy. The resultant uprising could not have been put down if it occurred, and there were other groups waiting in the wings, ready to take power at any time should the opportunity present itself. This good sense on the part of the Outsystem Rebellion's leaders did not prevent their fall and consequent execution unfortunately.

Despite careful guard of the fragile and all-important figureheads, an assassin penetrated the security and killed them, and then fixed the blame upon the Outsystemers. It is still not known what faction sent the killer, only that this event served as a focus point for the discontent minorities throughout the galaxy and the catalyst for the Great Separation in all its bloody glory. When the dust had finally settled, a great many nations existed where there had previously been one. Some consisted only of a portion of a continent, while others of an entire spiral arm. The most powerful, by far, was the Sentient's Congressional Democracy in the core, consisting of the greater portion of the Imperial Fleet's base planets and resource worlds. Through a combination of power and political savvy, this nation quickly conquered much of the surrounding territories, bringing unity once again but not peace. This was extremely unfortunate for those living under the power of the SCD, as they were anything but lenient to those who broke the strict laws enforced without variation upon criminals, a word whose definition was subject to change by the whims of any civil servant. The number of political executions was unspeakably large, escalating every year.

Sol's part in all of this was that of butcher.

Conquest of rebellious planets (the SCD claimed all systems that had once been under the Imperium's control, so any planet that did not immediately submit were considered in rebellion and shown little mercy) was one of the priorities assigned the Fleet under the new government. They did it well, especially as there was never any dissent from those who lived upon the home worlds. The official policy handed down to commanding officers was to demonstrate fire power, give the sentients in question sufficient time to respond while showing them every courtesy, followed by utter decimation of a city to demonstrate determination. If these did not ensure the submission of the system in question, sterilization was the standing order.

Some planets merited the order, due to plagues carried by the populace or religious fanatics who killed any not of their sect, but most of those destroyed were completely innocent of offense to the Democracy. As a Commander in the 135th Space Fleet, Sol was at first assigned guard duty of the capital, a fairly dull assignment which lasted for several years despite constant requests for more active duty. He got his wish finally, and was reassigned to the outlying regions of the SCD's control. His first assignment was suppression of a system of militant religious fanatics, prone to suicide bombing with nuclear weapons in the several kiloton range. This mission was carried out with precision and élan, with minimum resources wasted, earning him a commendation and a promotion in rank, since the planet could be mined immediately. As to Sol, the sterilization of this planet bothered him not at all, for the occupants of the planet would sweep the worlds cleansing the universe of 'heretics' if they were given the chance.

His next assignment caused his rebellion and branded him a criminal for all time in the Democracy's annals.

Instead of immolating a world which refused to surrender, he allowed them to evacuate, to escape reprisals from the SCD. The pacifist refugees were eventually hunted down and made an example of, but Sol's conscience was clean. The mark this left on his record could not be expunged, however, and led to a court martial and a subsequent death sentence. Many of his officers were tried also, but were simply demoted or kicked out of the service. They would later form the core of the Bonkim movement, after its inception.

Sol fled rather than die ignobly, seeking refuge among friends and bringing word to the few of my species upon our isolated outpost in the middle of the Quirop Badlands. The anger of my species is slow to kindle, but when it is burning, our enemies die. Many of our youngsters gave Sol the idea which became the Bonkim, offering their allegiance to him should he fight the evil. He accepted their allegiance, and asked me to assist him in his efforts.

We traveled among the systems still unbound to the Democracy's 'freedom' and obtained assistance from many, in the form of fighters or material to combat the threatened conquest. The fleet was great and our determination greater, for we had everything to lose should defeat fall upon us.

So began the Bonkim, which roughly translated from our tongue means 'last stand.'

Freedom's Last Stand was great, but the darkness we faced was greater by far.