"One Thousand Levels Down" is a Short Story set in the Star Wars universe written by Alexander Freed and featuring illustrations from Joe Corroney and Brian Miller. It first appeared in Star Wars Insider 151, which was released on July 22, 2014.
Following the destruction of Alderaan by the Death Star, Alderaanians living on Coruscant are being hunted down by the Empire. Sixteen year old Anandra Milon is forced to go on the run with her younger brother Santigo as they avoid Imperial forces and seek a way off of Coruscant.
This short story contains the following tropes:
- Action Survivor: Anandra does a fairly good job avoiding Imperial detection for awhile while caring for Santigo, and when confronted by a stormtrooper she did an okay job fighting him, managing to disarm him of his blaster and knock his helmet off. However, She would have lost had it not been for the intervention of a Herglic.
- Adult Fear: For the Milon parents, your homeworld was just destroyed by your government, and now your government is coming to throw you and your family (including your children) in jail under the assumption that you are now more likely to join the rebel cause. You have to send your kids away and hope that they can survive on the streets while on the run, while you get arrested, and if you're a first-generation immigrant, you get executed.
- Even worse for Mr. Milon, who was offworld during this entire ordeal and may not even be aware that the Empire is persecuting Alderaanians on Coruscant, so it's possible he may have blindly returned to his apartment to find that his family is presumably dead and is promptly arrested and executed.
- Aliens Speaking English: Averted, surprisingly, by the Mon Calamari scavenger who Anandra and Santigo meet on Level 1782. Most of the other aliens on that level also seem to only know a little Basic.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Herglic criminal who saves Anandra from the stormtrooper and tells her about the safe haven on Level 1782.
- Big Sister Instinct: Anandra's only goal is to protect Santigo from the Empire.
- Bittersweet Ending: Despite losing their parents and homes, Anandra and Santigo manage to find shelter with other refugees, but this being the Imperial Center, there's a possibility that the camp may have been found later on.
- Canon Immigrant: Right out of Legends, of course.
- Starblossom originated from Children of the Force. It's worth noting that according to that book, starblossom also grew on the world of Belsavis. As said planet was also recanonized by The Force Awakens Beginner Game roleplay, it's possible Anandra and Milon could find starblossom again one day.
- A delivery from Centax 3 is mentioned. Centax 3 was established as a moon of Coruscant in Star Wars Roleplaying Game sourcebook, Coruscant and the Core Worlds.
- The short story is the first appearance of a Herglic (basically whale-people) in canon. In Legends, having been a technologically advanced race earlier than most in galactic history, their manufacturing centers were among the first to be nationalized by the Galactic Empire. Initially, the normally docile Herglics tried to fight back, but after significant losses to their people and realizing the futility of their resistance (nearly leading to the destruction of their infrastructure), they chose a more pragmatic path; submitting to the will of the Empire. This is presumably the same reason as to why Herglics are being persecuted alongside the Mon Calamaris and Alderaanians, as both of these other races have influential figures in the Rebel Alliance.
- Continuity Nod:
- Disappeared Dad: Mr. Milon was on a trade mission offworld when the Disaster happened. We never get to know what happened to him.
- Disney Villain Death: The stormtrooper pursuing Anandra and Santigo is thrown off a catwalk to his death by a Herglic.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The destruction of Alderaan, which is referred to as the Disaster.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When the family finds out that Stormtroopers are going door-to-door persecuting Alderaanian families, Mrs. Milon sends her children to hide out in their neighbor's house while she answers the door. As she is a first-generation immigrant, it is implied that she was arrested and executed.
- No Name Given: Aside from Anandra and Santigo, none of the other characters are named in the story, with the exception of a brief mention of a neighbor named Reffe who was killed by the Empire.
- Pet the Dog: The stormtrooper who tries to arrest Anandra is clearly uncomfortable doing so, and even attempts to comfort and semi-apologize to her about the situation. Even after she disarms him, the trooper hesitates about attacking her further once he knocks her down, which allows her to rip his helmet off and the Herglic to sneak up and kill him.Stormtrooper: Come on kid. You got a raw deal, but it's not the end of the world.
Anandra: It kind of was.
- The Purge: The Empire is arresting all Coruscant civilians of Alderaanian descent following riots on Level 3204 after the destruction of Alderaan was reported on the news, with the implication that all first-generation immigrants will be killed while the rest are imprisoned. It is not the first Imperial purge of a specific population on Coruscant either, with the Mon Calamari and Herglic being other victims of the Empire's wrath.
- Wretched Hive: Level 1997 is heavy on crime and other vices.