Beyond Imperial Destiny (COMPLETED 8/24)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tych_sel, Feb 23, 2005.

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  1. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Okay, I know it's been a while since I promised it, but the Kanti Palpatine vs. the Vong story that I'd mentioned at the end of "Hand of the Empress" is about ready to kick off.


    IMPERIAL DESTINY

    Seventeen years have passed since Luke Skywalker turned his back on the Rebel Alliance. Now, with a new evil on the horizon, Luke will have to face his past before a new darkness destroys the future that remains.

    The Galactic Empire, led by Kanti Palpatine, now holds ultimate dominion over the galaxy. The Rebel Alliance has been scattered, and a new Order of Imperial Jedi Knights, including Luke and Mara Skywalker's daughter Salina, now enforce the will of the Empress.


    Hope that's enough to whet a few people's appetites. The first post should be up sometime next week, but I'll give you the Dramatis Personae tonight.


    Imperial Destiny

    The Galactic Empire

    Kanti Palpatine - Empress (human female from Imperial Center)
    Ricar Palpatine - Imperial heir (human male from Imperial Center)
    Luke Skywalker - Hand of the Empress (human male from Tatooine)
    Mara Jade Skywalker - Emperor's Hand (human female from Imperial Center)
    Salina Skywalker - Commander, Imperial Jedi (human female from Imperial Center)
    Gantoris - Imperial Jedi (human male from Eol Shaa)
    Kyp Durron - Imperial Jedi (human male from Deyer)
    Thrawn - Grand Admiral (Chiss male from Csillia)
    Gilad Pellaeon - Grand Admiral (human male from Corellia)
    Fyor Rodan - Senate Proconsul


    The Rebel Alliance
    Leia Organa Solo - Alliance leader (human female from Alderaan)
    Han Solo - Captain, Millennium Falcon (human male from Corellia)
    Chewbacca - First Mate, Millennium Falcon (Wookiee male from Kashyyyk)
    Kam Solusar - Jedi Master, leader of the Jedi Order (human male)
    Corran Horn - Jedi Knight (human male from Corellia)
    Bail Solo - Jedi Knight (human male from Caluula)
    Kalenda Solo - Jedi Knight
    Tahiri Veila - Jedi Knight


    The Yuuzhan Vong
    Shimrra - Supreme Overlord (Yuuzhan Vong male)
    Nom Anor - Executor (Yuuzhan Vong male)
    Tsavong Lah - Warmaster (Yuuzhan Vong male)
    Korinda Cha - warrior (Yuuzhan Vong female)
    Mezzhan Kwaad - Master shaper (Yuuzhan Vong female)
    Nen Yim - Shaper adept (Yuuzhan Vong female)


    That's it for now.


    Force be with you,

    Tych_sel
  2. Barefoot_XO Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2004
    star 3
    Allow me to be the first to beg profusely for another post... This has soooooo piqued my interest...

    Please continue...

    Barefoot, Over and Out
  3. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    Must see next post. Good to see Gantoris alive. Really hated it when he died. I guess Exar Kun is still resting in the temple on Yavin 4? Any chance of coomb spores and Ben?
  4. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Barefoot: Ask, and ye shall recieve. The first post is on the way.

    Sil: I liked Gantoris too, though I wouldn't get too attached to him here. His anger might make Kanti see him as a threat. As for Ben, not likely at the moment, though that could change. And the coomb spores, well, wait and see...



    Now, without further adieu...


    Prologue

    Selina Skywalker opened her eyes as she felt the deck shudder beneath her feet as the Executor II dropped out of hyperspace in the Osarion system. The system itself contained two planets, Osarion, fro which the system was named, and Rhommamool, which was gravitationally locked to the other world. The former was industrialized, and as fully supportive of the Empire as most Rim worlds got. Rhommamool, once a prison colony, was nothing if not the exact opposite of its twin. All this flashed through Salina's mind in a second.

    Built along the same lines as the old Executor which had so faithfully served her father and grandfather, Executor II was one of only five Super-class Destroyers in the Imperial Fleet. If nothing else, the mere presence of the ship in a system was enough to make rebellious citizens reconsider their actions. And Executor II had earned a reputation, given that it usually carried at least one Imperial Jedi aboard.

    The Order had been recreated at the demand of the Empress, Kanti Palpatine, when it became obvious that the governors were incapable of maintaining order. But rather than fulfill the role of peacekeepers that the Jedi Order of the Old Republic had, the Imperial Jedi served as enforcers of the Empress's will, the velvet gloved fist that gave worlds one last chance before stormtroopers were sent in to occupy worlds and ensure that the New Order was maintained.

    The comm unit built into the wall whistled, and Salina flipped it on with a quick call upon the Force. "Lady Skywalker?" It was the ship's commanding officer, Admiral Bass Hokk, another unusual addition to the roster aboard the Star Destroyer. It was rare to see nonhumans in the military, even more rare for them to achieve high rank. But Hokk had proven himself, learning greatly from his mentor, another nonhuman commander, the legendary Grand Admiral Thrawn.

    "Yes, Admiral?" Salina responded, though she'd told him more than once that she was not a Sith Lady, and should not be addressed as such. The only rank she held, other than her status as a Jedi, was as a commander in the Imperial Navy. Granted, it was more of an honorary rank at this point, but should the need arise, the Empress could summon her back to full duty.

    "We've dropped out of hyperspace at the edge of the system. Sensors have detected a flight of fighters approaching."

    "Query them for ID, but take no further action. The situation is volatile enough without us causing an incident. I'll join you on the bridge momentarily." She rose, straightening the gunmetal gray robes the wore. She grabbed her cloak on the way out the door, clasping it shut at her throat as she rode the lift up to the bridge. She also took a moment to calm herself, and set her face.

    She was beautiful, as her mother had been and still was. Her red-gold hair, a shade lighter than that of Mara Skywalker, spilled forth over her shoulders, a single bit of brightness against the darkness of her robes and cloak. Her green-blue eyes were cool and measuring, and the set of her jaw indicated that life had been no picnic. Then again, as the daughter of the two most dangerous agents in the Empire, she couldn't have expected a comfortable life. Though only seventeen, she had an aura about her that made her seem more like someone in their twenties.

    The lift opened, and she strode quickly through the corridor to the bridge's blast doors. Her eyes quickly found Hokk standing at the forward viewport, his hands clasped behind him, the muted green of his pebbled skin a contrast to the gray naval uniform.

    "Any further details, Admiral?"

    "It's a single flight of
  5. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    Is she running into Nom Anor? So Thrawn's also alive. I wonder if he's trashed that hairdo that he had in Heir to the Empire (I read only the comic book so that's the thing that got my attention). Is Isard still directing intelligence?
  6. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Sil: Salina is indeed going to run into Nom Anor. But given her upbringing, she might deal with him a little differently than Leia did. As for Thrawn, he is indeed alive. And as for the bad haircut from the comics, I've never pictured him that way. Blow up an image of HttE's cover on Amazon, or DFR, and you'll see Thrawn the way I've always pictured him.


    And since I'm in a good mood, here comes the next post, a bit ahead of schedule!


    Part I: First Contact


    "You know, you really picked a wonderful place for us to hide," Leia Organa Solo said, brushing aside a cloud of flitnats. Granted, the remains of the Rebel Alliance had been using Caluula for years, and their son Bail had actually been born here, but every time she came back, Leia found herself bothered by the tiny, flying insects.

    "Think of it this way," Han Solo replied, with one of his trademark grins. "The last place anybody's going to look for a former Imperial Senator is out here."

    "Right," Leia said. "Though I have to think there's somewhere on the rim that doesn't require dealing with annoying insects."

    "Look, Leia," Han said. "You've really only got two kinds of pests in the universe. Those that can annoy you, and those that, like the Empire's stormtroopers, can kill you. I'd rather stick with the latter."

    Leia couldn't agree more. In fact, there were some times that she actually considered the days of Palpatine to have been a blessing. At least then, the Alliance had been able to operate right under the Empire's nose. But Palpatine's daughter had learned from her father's mistakes. Now, the Alliance, if one could really call a few small groups of freedom fighters scattered across the galaxy an alliance, had no choice but to try and work with only a few ships and virtually no safe ports.

    Han and Leia had all but stumbled on Caluula as a safe haven by accident. The Falcon had encountered a fleet of Star Destroyers, and had barely managed to make the jump into hyperspace. They'd been lucky, Leia knew, not to have wound up finding some hidden Imperial research lab, but had encountered more than one Imperial funded scientific expedition. Luckily, those types were usually so concerned with their data that they didn't look too hard at Han and Leia.

    "Something big is definitely going on over on Osarian," her son said, after successfully sneaking in on another private moment between Leia and Han. His brown hair was relatively long, probably due to the fact that the Falcon wasn't going to have much luck entering a "civilized" system. "I just got word from Kam that the Executor just showed up there."

    Leia's blood ran cold at the mention of her father's flagship, and most recently her brother's. "I thought the Empire decommissioned her," Han said.

    "Not the old one," Bail replied, brushing a lock of hair away from his dark eyes. "The new one. And you know what that means."

    "At least one Force-user in the system," Leia said. "Guess we can't count on any support from Rhommammool." She hadn't really expected any support, and the fanatic Nom Anor did have her concerned. "I really think we should have looked elsewhere to begin with."

    "It's not like we have a lot of choices, Leia," Han reminded her.

    "You found Garm, didn't you?" she shot back.

    "Garm turned up on his own. And not everybody was funding a private war against the Empire before we lost Mon Mothma.

    "I think somebody needs to go in and have a look," Bail said. "I already talked to Kam about it, and he agrees. I think I should be the one."

    "Absolutely not!" both Leia and Han said together.

    "You set foot in that system, and you'll send ripples in the Force from here to Coruscant," Leia said. "I won't have you drawing your uncle's attention like that."

    "And why not? Somebody's got to make him see the light."

    "I tried, Bail. Twice. He rebuffed me both times. Whatever Luke's done, he's set his mind that it's for the best. And the next time Kam calls, make sure you let yo
  7. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    you caught my attention with the whole Lukes been dark for seventeen years

    more soon
  8. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    So he's named after Organa. Since I don't think I remember any mention of any guys with Kanti, is Ricar a Palpatine clone whom she had raised?
  9. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Falcon: Luke hasn't so much been Dark as Gray, walking a fine line between Light and Dark, though slipping to the Dark more often.

    Sil: You might recall from "HotE" that Kanti did have a son, though his name was never given. That's Ricar, and he isn't a clone. In fact, you'll find out just who the father was later in this fic. And Bail is indeed named for Organa. After all, Leia's got no reason in this fic to forgive her biological father.

    And now, onto the next post!


    Violet-white blade met green-white blade, sending off a shower of sparks. The first combatant, dressed in black tunic, pants, and boots, leapt over his opponent, bringing his blade around, only to find her purple blade already there to meet it. "Nice try, but I've seen that one before," Mara Jade Skywalker told her husband, even as she disengaged her blade from his, bringing it around towards his knees, for what would have left his feet separate from his body.

    Luke Skywalker, the hand of the Empress, backflipped over the blade, and shut his lightsaber down. "Obviously, you're getting better," he said, wiping a hand across a brow that glistened with a fine sheen of sweat. He and Mara had been going at this for nearly and hour, and both were nearing what for most people would have been the point of exhaustion. He reached out with the Force, probing his wife's sense.

    "I still think I should have gone with Salina. Whatever's going on with me, I think Nom Anor's behind it."

    "That's the suspicious, vengeful side of you talking," Luke said, as Mara likewise shut down her saber. She was breathing more heavily than he was, probably as a result of the illness that had been plaguing her. Luke knew, or suspected, rather, that the only thing that kept her from succumbing to it was pure, pigheaded stubbornness. Well, he thought, she is a Skywalker now, by marriage if not birth.

    "Stubborn, am I?" Mara asked, one corner of her mouth curving upward in a smile. "Now there's something that you shouldn't be talking about, husband mine. After all, I'm not the one who Brakiss just where to get off."

    "Brakiss was a threat to the stability of the Empire," Luke said, referring to the Imperial Jedi he'd dealt with only a few months ago. "If I hadn't done something about him, the Empress would have. And her justice would have been a lot more messy."

    "So blowing up a space station wasn't messy?" Mara asked, barely holding in a laugh.

    "Better than having little pieces of Brakiss decorating the throne room," Luke said. "Though it might have served to make the Empress a little more intimidating." Not that she needs it, he thought

    "That's certainly the truth," Mara answered, this time the laugh escaping as she finished.

    "Stay out of my head, Jade," Luke shot back, though by now, he was smiling too. "Besides, Salina can handle one jumped-up politician. It's you I'm worried about."

    "I'll handle this myself, Luke. Whatever's going on, it's something I have to deal with on my own."

    "You know, these mood swings remind me of another time..."

    "Don't even think it, Skywalker. I'm not going through that again."

    "Then you're sure..."

    "No, I'm not sure," Mara snapped back, all the humor gone from her voice. "But I know what that felt like, and frankly, I don't want to go through it all again. Especially given that the Empress was talking about sending you back into the Unknown Regions to negotiate with the Chiss."

    Luke rolled his eyes. "This is one time I wish I'd listened to Leia a bit more. Why not send Thrawn? They're his people."

    "Except for the small fact that they kicked him out," Mara replied, brushing a loose strand of hair away from her cheek, where it had stuck. She glanced up at the chono mounted high on the bare wall of the practice room, one of several set aside for the exclusive use of the Imperial Jedi. The Jedi, and a handful of others. "We'd better get changed. We're due in the throne room in a half-hour.

    "Guess I won't have time to use up all the hot water
  10. _JM_ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2001
    star 4
    I like that Nom Anor is stupid enough to infect a Mara Jade who is still the Emperor?s Hand and still in service to the sort of Government that would regard an attack on one of their representatives as requiring a punitive lesson.
    I also like that this Mara has already begun to suspect who is responsible.

    I agree that blowing up a space station isn?t quite as messy, all the little chunks of Brakiss would be nicely freeze-dried and so not as ?icky.?

    Interesting to have Luke going to negotiate with the Chiss. Does make me wonder about how the relationship with them stands in this AU.
  11. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    I like it. Much better than that boring victim-turned-mommy from NJO. If Nom Anor still has Coomb spores, Selina might have more to watch out for that that plarin bol.

    I thought you meant son as in a boy she carried and gave birth to. Now I'm curious as to who's the father.
  12. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
  13. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    I like the Luke/Mara scene and I can't wait for more
  14. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    _JM_: Mara may suspect Nom Anor, but she doesn't have proof...yet. If she gets it, well, expect Kanti to come down on ol Nommie like a Star Destroyer. As for the Chiss, well, you'll have to wait a few posts for that.

    Sil: Mara's a fighter, always has been. I too, was a little disappointed in the way she was portrayed in the opening volumes of the NJO. As for who Ricar's father is, you'll get a hint in a couple posts.

    RedGold: Welcome!

    Falcon: Glad you liked it. And here comes more!


    Time to introduce the Senate, which could prove an annoyance to Luke. Wait a minute, they were in the EU too, weren't they???


    "The power of the Jedi is a threat to the Senate," began the Imperial Senator from Mon Calamari. It had taken years, but the world had finally proven itself worthy of the right to representation. But one stipulation had remained. The Mon Calamari, who had given so much support to the Rebels, would not be allowed to hold the seat. Thus, it was a dour-faced Quarren named Pwoe who now served as the world's representative. "They act without any license from the Senate."

    "They act on the bidding of the Empress," Fyor Rodan said. As proconsul of the Senate, he knew the power he held, but knew at the same time that it was limited. After all, the Senate's opinions rarely counted in the final decision. He would offer counsel to the Empress, but her decision was the one that would become law. "Would you care to challenge her?"

    "Of course not, Proconsul," Pwoe said quickly. "But now Skywalker talks of forming a Council to more easily command the Jedi. Does this not remove them from the control of the Empress?"

    "On the face of it," said one of the other Senators. "But everybody knows that Skywalker is a tool of the Empress. But we all know that the Empress broke Skywalker's will a long time ago."

    "Then what good is he?" said one of the others, the senator representing Corellia, Rodan noticed. Odd, given that Corellia remained one of the few worlds that could, if it so chose, hold its own without the aid of the Imperial Fleet. I need to keep an eye on him, Rodan thought. After all, if he chose, the senator could attempt to knock Rodan from his perch. The question was, would the Empress tolerate it?

    "Then do we allow him to form this Council? Don't any of you see what could happen?" Pwoe asked. "Do you think that the Empress will have any reason to consider our opinions if she has the opinions of a Jedi Council?"

    "The Senate serves to give the people a voice," Rodan said. Though he, above all others, knew that this was a sham. The Imperial Senate was riddled with corruption, one of the things that kept it from being too effective. Then again, that was probably what the Empress intended. As long as it remained so, Rodan's position was secure.

    "So you say," said one of the others, Viqi Shesh of Kuat. "I for one would like to know exactly what Skywalker intends. How do we know that he doesn't seek to gather power for himself."

    "Because he has never desired power. Otherwise, he would never have allowed himself to remain a servant. We have nothing to fear from Skywalker. The Empress will keep him on a short leash, as she always has." Rodan sighed. "Is there any new business?"

    "There is the issue of taxation in the Rim. And some of the worlds have been less than generous."

    ++++++++++++


    Okay, that's it for tonight. And I promise, you won't be seeing many Senate posts unless it becomes necessary.

    Force be with you,

    Tych_sel
  15. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    interesting I can't wait for more
  16. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
    Senates.. who needs 'em
  17. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    I thought Palpy disbanded teh Imperial Senate and gave control over to the governors.
  18. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Falcon: Thanks, glad you're still holding on.

    RedGold: You're right, in an Empire, who needs the Senate?

    Sil: He did. But Kanti has resurrected it, to give the people a "voice." Not that it counts for anything...


    First Vong post is almost ready, and should be up tomorrow.


    Force be with you,

    Tych_sel
  19. Mike-Sunrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2003
    star 4
    Another story that proves to be interesting from you.

    I loved the Luke/Mara scene before they stepped into the shower.

    Im definately curious to what is going to happen.

    Great Job :)
  20. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Mike: Glad you liked it. The link to the previuos story, Hand of the Empress, can be found in my bio. As for Luke and Mara, they're just a lot of fun to write.


    Okay, here come the Vong!


    Science had never been a career path destined for glory, at least not within a society like the one that the Empress had crafted. Those who chose science over the military, or the commercial, were often looked upon with scorn. It was to escape that scorn that gave Danni Quee a reason to request the ExGal station on Belkaden. At least out here, far from the politics of Imperial Center, she could focus on purer science.

    Belkaden, needless to say, was about as far from the center of the galaxy as it was possible to get. Yet the outpost here had attracted several brilliant minds. And the outpost did serve a valuable function, to keep an eye on the edge of the galaxy. If ever a race developed the technology to breach the hyperspace barrier that surrounded the galaxy, the Empire would need to move in swiftly.

    Danni took one last deep breath of Belkaden's cool night air before turning and reentering the Ex-Gal outpost. She found the two night controllers, Garth Breise and Bensin Tomri already there, along with Tee-ubo Doole, Bensin's Twi-lek slave. Also there, and monitoring the displays around the upper tier, was the newest member of the group, a tall, lean human named Yomin Carr.

    "Still watching?" Danni asked as she entered, casting a quick look at Carr. Something about him didn't seem right, but there was no reason at the moment to suspect malicious intent. Still, she'd have to take a closer look at his file. If there was any chance that Carr was working for the Rebels, she'd have to notify both ExGal and Imperial Intelligence. The last thing she wanted was to end up on the wrong and of an inquiry.

    "Are we here for not that reason?" Carr asked, drawing a strange look. Once again, his order of words seemed a little garbled.

    "It's true, we are here for that purpose," Danni said. "But I'm sure that even the Empress takes some time off to relax. You don't have to work all the time, you know."

    "I prefer working," Carr replied. "But since you deem relaxation of value, I shall go for a run," he said, rising, and leaving the room.

    "That's a strange one," Bensin replied, stroking one of Tee-ubo's tattooed lekku. Danni didn't like the presence of a slave on Belkaden, but admitted that Bensin's mind was worth putting up with certain practices she didn't care for.

    "He's just a newbie," Garth said. "Trying to prove he's got a place here. Give him a year, and he'll give up staring out at the edge of the galaxy. Nobody's ever come up with a theory as to why the barrier exists, much less come up with a way to breach it."

    "Just because our scientists tend to look only for the discoveries with military uses doesn't mean another civilization is going to ignore such routes."

    "Perhaps," Garth admitted. "But can you imagine how much force would be required to subdue a galaxy?"

    "The Empress has done it here," Danni said. "And from what I do hear," she glanced quickly at Bensin, who on more than one occasion had made it clear he received information beyond what was contained in the usual newsvids, "the son is just as power-hungry as his mother. Perhaps one day, the Empire will stretch beyond our galaxy."

    Outside the building, Yomin Carr finished stretching, then set off into the jungle. No longer appearing human, he was counting on the usual discussion to keep the others in the control room. Only now, with the attention of the scientists focused on their theories, could he shed his disguise.

    Only now could he truly appear what he was, a warrior of the Yuuzhan Vong. The ooglith masquer that now lay in the closet of his quarters may have given him the appearance of a human, but he would never allow himself to think that he was one. Their dependence on technology made them infidels, infidels who would, one day, be shown the True Way. Once he was far enough from the sta
  21. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    Danni will actually get sacrificed this time, right?
  22. Mike-Sunrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2003
    star 4
    I hope not! I love Danni! Well her personality :p.

    I will definately take a look at the prequel to this Tych_Sel.

    You write interesting stories.
  23. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
    Stupid Vong... always screwing things up.
  24. Tych_sel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
    Sil: I don't know if the Vong will sacrifice her or not. After all, they won't have Miko to play her off against.

    Mike: Glad you find them interesting. Just don't hold it against me if I do end up killing Danni.

    RedGold: Isn't that what the Vong are for? :)


    And here comes tonight's postie!


    Luke and Mara entered the Imperial throne room, it columns edged with pure gold mined from multiple worlds in the Outer Rim. At least none of it comes from Tatooine, Luke thought. Tatooine, after all, was never known for its planetary riches. Luke had wondered more than once why anybody would have ever chosen to settle there.

    Luke was surprised to find that it wasn't Kanti, but her son, Ricar, seated on the throne at the far end of the room. The room, Luke recalled, had been designed by Kanti Palpatine's father. Even given the extensive remodeling she'd done after consolidating her power, it still bore marks of his influence. The long passage to the throne, which sat upon a raised dais was one example. In the days of the Emperor, the room had been dark, and brooding. The Empress had changed this, and the light of Coruscant's sun streamed in through the windows.

    Luke was surprised, as he drew nearer to the throne, to find that it was occupied by someone other than the Empress. Instead, it was her son, Ricar, who sat upon the throne. "You appear surprised to see me, Jedi Skywalker," the young man said.

    "I was just expecting your mother," Luke said.

    "Apparently, your daughters arrival in the Osarian system has sparked a conflict."

    "She's all right?" Mara asked, maternal instincts kicking in.
    "She is fine," the Imperial heir replied, measuring Mara with a gray-eyed gaze. "In fact, my mother wishes you to join your daughter. Apparently, the situation has become more complicated."

    "What happened?" Luke asked.

    "The Osarians sent a group of fighters to escort Salina to their world. Apparently, the commander attempted to force the issue, and your daughter had them blown from the sky. Only one of the fighters returned, and not the Osarians are calling for blood."

    "And no doubt, Nom Anor is enjoying every minute of the conflict," Mara added, her tone sour. Luke knew that she suspected the man of being much more than he appeared.

    "You believe he has something to do with it?" Ricar asked.

    "I don't know," Mara said. "But there's something about him that makes me uneasy." She didn't want to mention that, during her previous encounter with Anor, she hadn't been able to read him at all through the Force."

    "Then you understand the urgent nature of the situation," Ricar said. "There is also some trouble brewing in the Hapan Cluster. Should a problem arise, my mother may require that you deal with it."

    "What sort of problem?" Luke asked, recalling that Mara had been sent to Hapes around the time that he'd been dealing with the rogue warlord Krennel.

    "The Queen Mother's health is failing. It appears that the days of the matriarchy are numbered, as Prince Isolder has never married."

    "That could mean the end of Hapan culture as we know it," Mara said.

    "Indeed," Came a voice from behind the throne, where a hidden passage connected the throne room to an express turbolift that had two endpoints, the passage, and the Royal chambers. Framed in the doorway, her hair reflecting the sunlight, stood Ricar's mother, the Galactic Empress, Kanti Palpatine. "Therefore, the situation must be handled with the utmost delicacy. And as for your assignment, my Hand," she said, turning her jade gaze upon Luke, "the Chiss have offered to return certain artifacts recovered from a Republic derelict that drifted into their space."

    "What sort of artifacts?" Luke asked, wondering what sort of items from a wreck that had to be at least forty years old could have attracted imperial attention."

    "Jedi artifacts," Kanti replied. "The Chiss apparently stumbled upon the remains of Outbound Flight."

    "Wait a minute. Didn't Thrawn destroy Outbound Fligh
  25. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
    That was good...

    Now my interest is really peaked... what is this talk of lineage?
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