What We Discover About the First Order in “Star Wars Bloodline”

First Order logoWith the First Order first appearing in The Force Awakens , it brings up the obvious question of “How did they start?” However, it also brings up other questions, such as “How much did the New Republic know about the First Order?” and “How did they have the funds to create Starkiller Base?” While the recent book, Star Wars Bloodline (about which I wrote previously), does not answer the question of how did the First Order start, it would seem that the New Republic had no idea about it, at least five years prior to The Force Awakens. As to the question of how much did the New Republic know about the First Order, it would seem not much, although by the time of The Force Awakens, there was some sense of it, although certainly not of their threat, as was seen in the Poe story in Before the Awakening. However, to the question of funding, Star Wars Bloodline does intimate that there were a lot of funds coming their way. {Warning: spoilers ahead}

To the question of funding, it seems that those orchestrating the development of the First Order created networks of illegal activity for income. Primarily, in Star Wars Bloodline, the focus is on the illegal operations of a character named Rinnrivin Di. At first, Princess Leia and her fellow senator investigating criminal activity affecting Ryloth, Ransolm Casterfo, chance upon him and his operation. However, the quickness of how he rose to criminal prominence bothers them greatly (78):*

“Rinnrivin’s cartel is new. Too new to have built up this kind of reach from the ground up, unless he had help getting started. A sponsor.”

He caught on fast. Good. “Someone else set Rinnrivin up,” she said, “and, in return, Rinnrivin does their dirty work and skims off more than enough profit to keep him and his underlings happy.”

“But who would do this on such a scale?” Casterfo shook his head. “Criminal bosses normally don’t trust other criminal bosses to handle their operations. Whoever these people are, they must have extraordinary reasons for wanting to remain out of sight.”

When they look into him and his activities further, they discover that his ascension was quite quick, causing Princess Leia to say (160)

“To judge by what we’ve seen from Rinnrivin’s dossier so far, up until seven to ten years ago, he was no one. Little money, less power, hardly any independent organization of his own. And now? We’ve turned up enough information to know Rinnrivin has one of the largest criminal enterprises in the galaxy.”

When she reflected upon it, ” The more she thought about the mysterious origins of Rinnrivin Di’s operations, the deeply they unnerved her” (160). Indeed, “Whatever the real power was behind Rinnrivin’s cartel, its reach had to go almost past anything Leia could imagine…” (161).Bloodline

Even though Princess Leia is able to neutralize Rinnrivin Di, there are still plenty of funds that came from him to fund the First Order, as “the riches earned through the smuggling and gambling interests of Rinnrivin’s cartel were helping to refit and rearm the former Imperial fleet, bringing them back to their full power and glory so that they would be once again ready to conquer” (298).

But, inasmuch as the funding is important for the growth of the First Order, there is, of course, the people behind it that get it going. A key leader in this movement is Lady Carise Sindian, who had been quite involved, despite being in the Senate of the New Republic (226):

It was Lady Carise who had searched for former Imperial officers and their sympathizers among the various subcultures where they might congregate, helping to create the contacts that connected them to the surviving ships of the Imperial fleet. Lady Carise who had encouraged them as they organized from mere malcontents into the burgeoning paramilitary force known as the Amaxine warriors. And it had been Lady Carise who convinced the Centrist leaders in her faction to use the criminal front they’d already established through Rinnrivin Di to hide their funds in order to arm and train the Amaxine warriors. With weapons and training, they could, in time, serve as the shock troops in the initial battles of the great war to come.

Lady Carise certainly had a lot of interest, enthusiasm, and hope for the First Order, as she mentions the words in a communication with a leader of the Amaxine Warriors, a friendly paramilitary group (225):

Never before had Lady Carise spoken those words out loud in her office. The First Order. Someday, the entire galaxy would shout them with pride, but, for now, they were too secret, too sacred, to be taken lightly. That dream was so close to becoming reality – only a few years away, if even that – and protecting it required discretion.

Her hope was that “once the Amaxines had caused enough damage and confusion, the First Order, itself, could finally emerge from hiding to claim its rightful place, with the lost vessels of the Imperial fleet as its true fighting force” (226).

However, once the Amaxines were destroyed, Lady Carise still had hope (298):

Maybe it was just as well the Amaxines would no longer be an issue. Hadrassian and her militia had always been too much of a rogue element to fit into the Centrists’ plans for the future. When the First Order emerged, they would want to establish the new law, not create chaos.

Besides, the Amaxines had already served a useful purpose, one that eclipsed what little good they might have done as an advance guard for the First Order. They had served as a critical distraction when it was needed most. Now that the Amaxine warriors had taken the fall as Rinnrivin Di’s funders and partners, no one would look any farther into his finances…and trace that money beyond backwater planets to the very heart of the First Order, itself. Even now, the riches earned through the smuggling and gambling interests of Rinnrivin’s cartel were helping to refit and rearm the former Imperial fleet, bringing them back to their full power and glory so that they would be once again ready to conquer. Oh, there were details she didn’t know. Secrets that hadn’t yet been shared with her. But she understood how to interpret shadows. Like, for instance, the disappearance of Brendol Hux, her homeworld’s academy commandant, after the Battle of Jakku. Some said he had only given up – as if such a hero of the Empire would surrender so abjectly.

So many people lacked faith. But those who still believed – they were the ones who would resurrect the greatest power the galaxy had ever known.

One of the brilliant moves made by Lady Carise, despite all of her enthusiasm for the First Order, was to portray herself as someone uninterested in such activities (226):

Lady Carise knew how to play the game. She portrayed herself as pretty and frivolous, a woman as interested in celebrity as power, and she did it well. So no one suspected the critical role she played in preparing the galaxy for the return of meaningful authority through the government she and other like-minded people already whispered about as the First Order.

When the Senate of the New Republic finds itself incapable of action, inasmuch as Princess Leia decides to create the Resistance, Lady Carise was excited to lead a secession of Centrist worlds from the New Republic (328): “It would take a few months to put events in motion. They needed a firm structure before proceeding. But soon, the Centrist worlds would leave the New Republic, tearing themselves from the mire of the Senate’s inaction to create and support the First Order. Her heart sang merely thinking of it.”

Although we don’t know yet if her secession succeeded or if the Centrist worlds were still a part of the New Republic at the time of The Force Awakens and we also don’t know if the Centrist worlds decided to support the First Order or not after the story in this book, we do see from Star Wars Bloodline, that there is significant financial support for the activities of the First Order, as well as some quiet political movement.

I am curious to find out what happens for the First Order following Star Wars Bloodline on up to The Force Awakens….
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* Pagination that of the hard cover first edition

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