Previous readers: @Anakin Solo Revanchist, @Force Smuggler, @Gemma, @Nyota's Heart, @Lady_Misty, @jcgoble3, @earlybird-obi-wan, thank you for faithfully following my stories up to this point and for being patient while I graduated for this continuation. Prologue Head of State Vitor Reige of the Imperial Remnant stood at the grand window of his office in Bastion's capital, staring out at the gardens below him. Grand Admiral Pellaeon, one of Reige's most recent predecessors, had loved those gardens dearly. After Pellaeon, Jagged Fel had taken the reins of the Empire, and though Reige had liked Jag, the man had been cut of a different cloth than Pellaeon. Now, it was Reige who commanded. He'd never wanted this position, not really. He'd been Pellaeon's shuttle pilot during the Yuuzhan Vong War, saving his life after the Battle of Bastion. He'd served as Pellaeon's aide for many years after that. Then, Pellaeon had been murdered by Tahiri Veila–Reige's jaw twitched at the memory. Reige had led Pellaeon's loyalists in a rebellion against the traitorous Moffs who'd aligned with Darth Caedus. After that, Reige had served Jag Fel as an Admiral aboard the Star Destroyer Bloodfin, the very ship that Pellaeon had died on. Reige hadn't even wanted that role, honestly. Still. It was just his job. Then had come the election, and Jag had been forced to compete against Natasi Daala, who'd used dirty tactics to win favor in the elections. To prevent her gaining command of the Empire, Fel had dropped out of the race and put his support, and thus those of his followers, behind a surprise entry–Reige. And now Jag Fel was free to run around the galaxy as a pilot or what-have-you, and Reige was stuck here in an office. He snorted out an amused chuckle. A bitter irony, he supposed. Some people were just bred for this sort of thing. Reige did not know the whole of his parentage. His mother had died when he had been young, and had never revealed the name of his father. Still, Reige had always felt very close to Pellaeon, and there had been some who had said he looked like a young Pellaeon, and some even said he had a similar timbre in his voice. Reige wasn't sure about all that, but if Pellaeon had, in fact, been the man who'd fathered him, then it was Reige's duty to live up to the man's memory. "Head of State," said an aide–a Chiss named Ashik, "your evening appointment is here." Without turning, Reige nodded. "Thank you, Ashik. You may take the evening off." Ashik bowed deeply. "Thank you, Head of State." Reige turned, straightening the folds of his gray tunic. He sat down behind his desk and crossed his legs, assuming a casual pose. He had learned that his visitors were often intimidated by the neatness of his shoulder-length black hair, the piercing gaze of his ice blue eyes. To mitigate this, he always tried to be as informal and casual as possible, unless the person he was meeting with needed very much to be intimidated. The man who entered was not one such person. Slightly below average height, with dark blond hair now almost completely shot through with gray, the man had aged very gracefully. His features may have once been considered aristocratic, but even with wrinkles and laugh lines thrown in, he still looked very much the nobleman, though there was a kindness about him, especially in his blue eyes, that belied any intimidation that might've been caused by his regality. "General Tycho Celchu," Reige said with a smile. "Welcome." Celchu smiled back. "It is an honor to be here, Head of State Reige. Though I am unsure as to why you've summoned me; I'm not sure what a general in Starfighter Command can do for the Head of State." Reige chuckled. "Not much, actually. I need a favor, but I can't go through official channels for this, since the Galactic Alliance is still in a rather...tenuous position, politically, due to the recent affair with Natasi Daala." "And you think I can assist you in this...favor?" "I'm almost certain of it," Reige replied. "Actually, to tell you the truth, I had a rather different man in mind, but he was unavailable, unfortunately. You see, I need to contact a certain man who was once in a very honorable position in my government, but who is no longer in such good graces with us. I could not be seen speaking to this man, of course, because it might make me appear...questionable in the eyes of the Moffs." Understanding twinkled in Tycho's eyes, but his expression remained neutral. "Ah. Let me take a guess: the man you previously tried to contact may or may not have been related to the man you are trying to not speak with." Reige inclined his head. "Of course I couldn't speak of his personal life. But I may have heard rumors of that sort." "Ah." Tycho nodded shortly. "So, you want me to speak to this man, so that he may speak in your favor to this disgraced person who may or may not be related to him. Is that correct?" "I cannot predict the actions this man would take, of course," Reige said with a nod. "If he were to speak with this estranged possibly-relative, well...I'd just have to deny any involvement, of course." "Of course," Tycho agreed. "Is there anything specific you'd like for me to say to this man?" Reige rose from his seated position, picked up a datapad from his desk, and crossed over to where Tycho stood. He handed the datapad to Tycho. The man nodded, stuffing the datapad in his pocket. He extended his hand, and Reige accepted it. The two shook firmly before releasing their grip. Reige clasped his hands behind his back. "It has been a pleasure speaking with you, General Celchu," Reige said. "And with you, Head of State Reige," Tycho replied. "With your leave?" Reige nodded, and Tycho exited the room. The Empire's Head of State blew out a relieved breath. There. Now, that was done. It was up to Celchu to get the datapad to his friend, and his friend's to get it to the "estranged" man. Reige, constrained by political backstabbing and other such nonsense, could not deal with a problem that had him very much worried. But there was one who could. Jagged Fel could do the Empire service once more.