One Thousand Levels Down by Alexander Freed

     "One Thousand Levels Down" written by Alexander Freed, illustrated by Joe Corroney and Brian Miller is a short story in issue #151 of the Star Wars Insider released in August/September of 2014. Alexander Freed was also the author of the Rogue One novelization which was brilliant in the depths it plumbed into Jyn's psyche and the extended K-2SO death scene...among many other ingenious additions to the movie. I absolutely recommend checking it out.
     As for this story, we are introduced to what happened to Alderaanians on Coruscant after the destruction of their homeworld. I'd never really thought before about how the Empire would react to immigrants from Alderaan on other planets, but this story sets the record straight. They hunted them down! Apparently, right after Alderaan was destroyed and before people knew how, they simply saw it as a huge tragedy and set up peaceful vigils and such to mourn the dead. As soon as they found out it was the Empire's Death Star that had annihilated their planet, the people rose up and cried "for justice and revolution." Most Alderaanian immigrants lived on level 3204 of Coruscant, causing a hotbed of localized unrest. In response, the Empire set out to relocate the Alderaanians as well as interrogate them for possible collusion with Rebels.
     We learn that the Mon Calamari at one time were also subjected to such a relocation policy. And that maybe it had worked out for them. So there's no telling whether the relocation is a lie or reality. One can never know with tyrannical governments.
     The two main characters of this piece are Anandra and Santigo, a 16 and 8 year-old brother sister pair, who are escaping the clutches of stormtroopers and Coruscanti police, fearing that relocation might mean something worse than simply moving somewhere else. They come into contact with a variety of aliens on their way to safety as they travel ever farther into the depths of Coruscant--hence the name "One Thousand Levels Down." Will they finally find rest and security? Or will they continue running?
     This is a great story and I love how it explores an aspect of the destruction of Alderaan that is all but ignored--see the Princess Leia short run comic series for more on people who were off planet during the Disaster. I was fascinated by the dystopian bent this story had with relocations and government control over people just because they were from a certain place. I've never really thought of Star Wars as dystopian but this story definitely shone a new light for me on the saga during the Galactic Empire era--spooky.


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