Jess Holt was a Human male originally from Ord Mantell. Early on, he was discovered to be Force Sensitive and was taken to the Jedi Academy at the Temple on Coruscant. This was shortly before the fall of the Old Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire.
J'eshen "Jess" Holt was born on Ord Mantell, the first of two sons born to E'vet'is (father) and Y'ramm (mother) Holt. His little brother, N'yetram, was born five years after Jess. E'vet'is was a navigator on a spice freighter and Y'ramm worked as a datacenter technician. Their home was in the bustling capital city of Wolport. It was a modest attached unit, but with ample space. Jess Holt was discovered to be Force Sensitive at a very young age, and E'vet'is and Y'ramm debated for more than a year before finally allowing Jess to be adopted by the Jedi Order. The decision was heavily influenced by the Clone Wars, which at that point had been raging for nearly two years. So, as more and more worlds in the Republic fell prey to the ravages of war, and as the Jedi numbers dwindled, the Holt parents decided, like so many other parents across the stars, to make the ultimate sacrifice and allow their son to be taken. Though no records exist to prove it, it is suspected that Master Yoda was the one who petitioned the Holt parents and finally took young Jess to the Temple on Coruscant.
Brief Tenure at the Jedi AcademyEdit
Though Y'vet'is and Y'ramm willingly allowed their son to go to the Jedi Temple, they greatly mourned the loss. Y'vet'is went on several year long spice runs and Y'ramm was left on Ord Mantell to tend the home and work part time at the datacenter. Meanwhile, Jess went to the Jedi Academy at the Temple on Coruscant where he was inducted into the Order as a youngling padawan. He attended class with other sentients in his age group, where he learned fundamentals of Force manipulation and basic lightsaber wielding. He was always most fond of the class time spent with Master Yoda, and, though again no proof exists, there are rumors that he developed a Force Bond with the ancient Jedi Master. Jess was at the academy for about a year, during the closing battles of the Clone Wars. Right about the time of his fourth birthday, the Clone Wars ended with the decimation of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Galactic Empire.
Order 66 and Escape from CoruscantEdit
As the Clone Wars raged into the Outer Rim territories, many of the greatest of the Jedi were called into the campaigns. Classes became more and more haphazard, and the younglings were often left in the care of younger padawans. When Palpatine issued Order 66, former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, leading elements of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion, assaulted the Jedi Temple. This coincided with a simultaneous, preplanned attack by clone troopers against all Jedi throughout the galaxy. At the Temple on Coruscant, Skywalker (now dubbed Darth Vader) and the 501st murdered every Jedi, padawan, and youngling they encountered. When the attack began, four year old Jess was taken with all of the other younglings by an older padawan to hide in the Council Chambers. Along the way, fear gripped Holt. He had his first brush with precognition, and he knew that everyone was going to die. Rather than argue or attempt to convince the older padawans, Holt fled the group. He slipped from shadow to shadow, and made his way to Master Yoda's private chambers. There, not knowing what else to do, he hid in the Jedi Master's footlocker. He calmed himself with the Force, and desperately tried to mask his presence from anyone who might be searching for survivors. After spending several days scared and hungry inside the footlocker, Holt felt it begin to move. He panicked at first, but decided to stay put. Obviously, Master Yoda knew the youngling Jess was in there. When Yoda and Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi had returned to the Temple to find out what had happened and to warn any surviving Jedi to stay away, Yoda had fought his way to his chambers to retrieve his footlocker. While Obi-Wan was hacking apart stormtroopers, Yoda ensured the heavily armored footlocker was placed on an automated speeder and delivered to his spacecraft. Jess Holt stayed hidden inside the footlocker, near starvation, until safely aboard the Corellian Corvette Tantive IV.
Exile on DagobahEdit
After being retrieved from the footlocker and nourished back to health, the youngling Jess Holt was hidden on board the Tantive IV. Yoda let no one see him or know of him except Obi-Wan Kenobi. When the ship docked on the asteroid world Polis Massa, Holt remained out of sight per Yoda's instructions. Eventually, the group of survivors parted ways, and Holt went into hiding with his new Master, Yoda, on the swamp world of Dagobah.
During the early years on Dagobah, Jess's time was split between training under Master Yoda and exploring the swamp world. As he progressed in the Force, Yoda taught him about the different classes of Jedi Knights. Of the three main types, Guardian, Sentinel, and Consular, Holt felt the greatest affinity towards the path of the Jedi Guardian. Yoda encouraged Jess to pursue this path and gave him a cyan blue lightsaber crystal to distinguish him as a Jedi Guardian. However, Yoda, a Consular, never allowed Holt's other areas of study to be overshadowed by the Guardian emphasis on lightsaber combat. So, Holt grew over time into a very powerful, and well-learned Padawan.
On Dagobah, Holt and Master Yoda were completely isolated. There were no colonies or visitors of any kind. They were cut off from the galaxy. Or at least Holt was cut off from the galaxy. Not long into his eleventh year, Holt began to see a change in Master Yoda. The elderly Master became more withdrawn, spending more time in solitude and in meditation. He would send Jess on "missions" into the swamp to hone his skills and continue his training, but it was clear that the Jedi Master's true thoughts and interests lay elsewhere. Holt came to realize that his training was a secondary concern to Yoda. Over time, Holt became more and more belligerent about the matter, and eventually, in his sixteenth year, he openly questioned Master Yoda. He asked Yoda many questions, and finally Yoda revealed the truth: that the fate of the galaxy would rest on another. Confused, Jess lashed out angrily at the Jedi Master, demanding to know why they were staying in hiding if there was someone out there, a powerful ally, who could help them take on the Empire. In typical teenage fashion, he was unable to grasp that his role in the galaxy was not the most important. He accused Yoda of holding him back, of deliberately keeping knowledge from him because of some silly prophecy. Yoda knew what Jess could not, that Jess's contribution to the Jedi Order was still many years off, and lay along a different path. Jess, in anger and sadness, left Dagobah in a small supply capsule that he had rigged as a vessel. Yoda did not try to stop him, for he knew that, though Empires would rise and fall before the time came, one day Holt would be a great Jedi Master. But that day was still a long way off.
Into the Arms of the EnemyEdit
After fleeing Dagobah, Holt decided to completely forsake the path of the Jedi. He kept his lightsaber in his footlocker, but he wanted nothing more to do with the Force or the Order. This was not very hard, as this was the height of the Galactic Civil War. There was no Jedi Order to forsake. Still, Holt felt he needed a new path. He had grown up on Dagobah, isolated. He would soon be seventeen years old, and the last time he had seen another sentient creature other than Yoda was twelve years ago. So, Holt set out to explore. Naturally, he made his way to Ord Mantell.
E'vet'is and Y'ramm Holt were still living on Ord Mantell. A few years after Jess's departure, they were graced with another son, whom they named N'yetram. E'vet'is had given up the life of a spice courier and settled down with his wife and new son to have another go at family life. They were happy on Ord Mantell, though the fate of their first son was an open wound that never really healed. When the Clone Wars ended, most people were glad. Few citizens in the galaxy recognized the significance of the new government restructuring, and few cared that the Jedi Order had been branded outlaws and nearly wiped from existence. But not everyone bought the Empire's story of Jedi treachery. The Holt's were a traditional family, who believed in the ideals of the Republic and the Jedi Order, which was why they had allowed their first son J'eshen to be taken. They were saddened, of course, to part with their offspring, but they had at first taken what little comfort they could in knowing that he was out there somewhere, growing up on the path of the Jedi. That is until Order 66 was issued. If they were sad before, the Holt parents were nearly broken by the news that the Jedi had been wiped out. They knew nothing of the fate of their son, but eventually had to come to grips with the idea that he was most likely dead, killed on Coruscant with so many other innocent Jedi children. So, needless to say, when a lean, muscular seventeen year old boy turned up on their door step wearing spacer's utilities and dragging an old armored footlocker, they were moved to tears. Jess had never known his family--his memories could not reach back that far, but he had always felt their love, like a gift given to him at birth that was his to keep for all time. He was glad to forget his time with Yoda on Dagobah. He had his family now: his mother, father, and his younger brother N'yetram. Jess was happy to be a part of the galactic community. After so long in isolation, it is easy to see how Jess was able to feel so blissfully happy during what was otherwise an increasingly dark time. It is also easy to see why Jess harbored no great malice towards the Empire.
After spending a couple of years on Ord Mantell, Holt began to get restless. Wolport was a city of spacers, with news from far and wide. Holt was so happy with his family, but he was a young man now, and he had begun to think about trying to find a livelihood. He had learned to fly during his time back home, and his gifts with the Force had made him a legend in the local racing circuit. He had attracted the attention of the Imperial military recruiters, who were always trolling for talent. It was not long before a recruiter approached him. The Staff Sergeant said that Holt's reputation as a pilot was spreading, and that he should consider joining the Academy and becoming a pilot. But Holt had another yearning. He was a warrior. Years training as a Jedi Guardian had taught him to love and respect the martial way, the purity of combat between two people. While he loved to zip around asteroids and do barrel rolls in his Z-95, his true passion lay in ground combat. Jess Holt decided to enlist in the Imperial Marines. His parents, naturally, were horrified.. They were against the Empire, and though they never openly protested (doing so was recognized as detrimental to life expectancy) they harbored a strong distrust of the government on Coruscant. So Jess's decision was not received well. He told his parents that he had to get out and see the galaxy, as well as prove himself a man. They knew very little of Jess's youth (he had honored Yoda's request to never reveal to anyone the location of the hidden swamp world) and they felt like they were just getting to know their son. N'yetram was sad to lose his older brother so soon, but he understood. So, despite strong protest, Jess shipped off world, bound for the Imperial Academy on Carida.
Carida had been the home of the Imperial Academy since the formation of the Empire, and it had a formidable reputation for turning out the roughest, toughest Stormtroopers and Marines in the Imperial military. After making up his mind and finally convincing his parents that this was what he wanted to do, Holt joined up and was shipped to Carida. He was unceremoniously dropped into the training process with the throngs of other volunteers and conscripts swelling the ranks of the ever-growing military. Just as Holt opted for the life of an infantryman over that of a space jockey, he also wanted to be the best of the best. The Imperial Stormtrooper was instantly recognizable and known throughout the galaxy, but the Marines were the pinnacle, the toughest branch to get into and the hardest to survive through. Like other stormtroopers, they trained on Carida, taking advantage of the world's higher than usual gravity to further strengthen them. But unlike regular stormtroopers, the more elite Imperial Marines specialized in lightning fast combat operations, invasions, and enemy ship boarding during space battles. No other part of the Imperial Military was crazy enough to actively try to board an enemy vessel and subdue it while it was being bombarded. This was the life that Jess wanted. Once he successfully made it through Boot Camp (all that was required to be a regular stormtrooper) Holt went with the rest of the Imperial Marine recruits to learn their trade. The Marines marched and patrolled all over Carida, going to the deserts, jungles, and glacier regions, often to places where no other training units dared to go. They learned patrolling, reconnaissance, demolitions, stealth, unarmed combat, tracking, and they became experts in every weapons system in the Empire. When they had learned all they could on the surface, their commanders took them into orbit, to practice ship raiding and orbital maneuvers. Holt excelled in the Marines, and soon, he graduated with his class and was posted to the Imperial Fleet.
Upon graduation from the Imperial Academy on Carida, Private Jess Holt was assigned to an Imperial class Star Destroyer in the Fleet. Regular duties consisted of standing guard, patrolling, working in the maintenance bays, and going on maneuvers throughout the galaxy. Jess eased into daily life in the Marines quite naturally. Though he spent much of his time deployed, he was still able to make it back to Ord Mantell frequently to see his family. He had fully put his youth behind him, and he seldom thought of Yoda or the Jedi Order. His isolation on Dagobah had meant that he never heard of Imperial atrocities, and the insular life of a Private in the Marines meant that he kept a very narrow perspective on galactic events, which, naturally, was filtered through his chain of command. Holt knew there were people out there who protested the Empire and said it was evil, but he had never seen any proof. It was hard for him to even remember his narrow escape from stormtrooper blaster fire during Order 66: he had only been three or four years old at the time. And Jedi placed that blame squarely on Skywalker anyway. Those troopers were just doing their jobs, right? Holt persisted in this view for quite sometime. But reality was preparing a wake up call for him.
Disillusionment and EscapeEdit
Jess Holt joined the Imperial Marines at the height of the Galactic Civil War. He fought in numerous campaigns, on many different worlds. He became fast friends with his platoon-mates. Jess never once questioned an order or hesitated to blast a rebel to slag. He felt as if he had been born for this work. After a few years he was promoted to Corporal, and soon after that he became a Sergeant. At that time, he was given command of a platoon. One battle after another, Holt led his platoon with unswerving dedication and ability. He developed a reputation as a skilled warrior and a fearless combatant. Holt knew that his ability to fight and survive was a result of his relationship with the Force which, despite his ignoring it, he was still very much in tune with. He may have forsaken the Jedi, but the Force had not forsaken him. So it was that he became a legend in his small slice of the Empire, his Commanding Officer even recommending Holt for commission. Holt never got the opportunity to respond, though, as a pivotal moment in the fate of the galaxy had come.
The Destruction of AlderaanEdit
Jess Holt had been in the Imperial Marines for five years. He cared little for politics as was the case with most troopers. Holt never thought of himself as serving the Empire or Palpatine, even though they said it aloud every day. Rather, troopers and Marines felt they served the military, or each other, like a band of brothers in arms. Alderaan changed everything. In the few years prior to the destruction of Alderaan, the Rebel Alliance had become increasingly more effective. They were striking larger targets, inflicting greater damage, and generating a larger following. There were rebel sympathizers in the Imperial Senate. As the Civil War intensified, Holt and his comrades saw more and more action. They never questioned their orders. If there was to be peace, let the rebels lay down their weapons. This was the general opinion. But the Emperor was unable to engage the Rebellion effectively, as the Alliance used secrecy, sabotage, and lightning raids. So the Emperor had begun construction of the now-infamous Death Star. Once it was finally completed, the Emperor gave Darth Vader and Governor Wilhuff Tarkin permission to destroy a planet of their choosing. They settled on Alderaan, the home of Princess Leia Organa and her father Senator Bail Organa. Both had been suspected of involvement with the rebellion, and so Alderaan was destroyed to prove a point. The destruction of Alderaan caused an uproar throughout the galaxy, which the Empire quickly decided to crush. Light years away, while on personal leave back home on Ord Mantell, Jess Holt fell to his knees the instant the planet was destroyed. He felt it, just as all Force Sensitives in the galaxy did, when all of those live screamed out and were suddenly silenced. Holt was repulsed. Once the holonet began to spread the news, demonstrations erupted all over the galaxy. When Holt finally learned that the Empire had blown up Alderaan, a planet that had been part of the Galactic Community for millennia, he was shaken to his core. How could he go on serving a government that destroyed innocent lives on a planetary scale. While still on personal leave and uncertain of what he should do, the Imperial Armed Forces canceled everyone's leave and summoned all service members back to their duty stations. All of the galaxy, Ord Mantell included, was in the throes of a mass condemnation of the Empire and its actions...and the Emperor was not about to allow that.