Star Wars THE GALAXY AT WAR PART IV: PRISONER OF CORUSCANT

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by pashatemur, Nov 5, 2010.

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  1. Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    IC: Captain Scyther Vectis & the AllStars
    Location: Ursean Embassy, Coruscant

    Scyther and her fellow Captains of the AllStars group continued to walk along in the wake of Lord Vader, soon possibly to be made Emperor Vader. She quickly stole a glance backwards where the other Captains of the group Zack Madison, Eamon Bahari, Milos Terric, Dimitri Ivanov and new recruit Sergei Arazov were following quietly. Following them were the circle of Lieutenants from each of the AllStars ships apart from Peace Keeper, which was represented by Commander Cutter.

    Representing the destroyed Venator Obdurate and being protected in the middle of the circle, was the young Kuati Ensign Kim Charios who had been brought to explain what he had seen whilst he was on board the Interdictor Huntress with the major injury cases and Doctor Mifsud Ashri and his medical team.

    Meanwhile Terric was stealing glances back towards the lady that was the focus of his attention, Ahsoka Tano, a woman he hadn't seen in years and was looking forward to catching up with. Unfortunately, his stares were getting a rather icy glance from the steely gaze of the tall Ursean Ivanov. The Captains were all keeping a hand near their blaster pistols because of the volatile Colonel Sin about.

    Poor Ivanov, Scyther thought, the Ice Man had really taken a battering, losing half his crew to the battle against the CIS and losing his own ship in the process. He was now bunking with the nervous looking Madison aboard Empire’s Will, and his surviving crew members had only just reunited after being scattered about the AllStars for the trip home. His major injury cases had been aboard Huntress and were now down on Coruscant with the others, most notable among them Lieutenant Ellis, one of Ivanov’s seconds in command.

    Walking along beside him was Bahari, a nobleman with the most nervous personality you could have ever seen. But he was a close friend of Scyther’s and thanks to the battle against the Rebels at Dantooine had started to gain some confidence.

    Alongside him was Sergei Arazov, Captain of the Danger Zone another Imperial Star Destroyer. He was the smallest Ursean you had ever seen, but he had a gentle voice compared to his Ursean counterpart Ivanov. He had provided his ship as a base for medical attention and had integrated himself into the group rather well in such a short time. Scyther was hoping to add him a a permanent addition, but that would have to go through her boss Grand Admiral Magnus Carthaginian.

    Everybody looked tired, even though Scyther’s officers looked slightly smarter than the others. What didn’t help matters was the fact that the Emperor was dead, and that it could now trigger off a civil war, with factions trying to grab pieces of the Imperial pie. A civil war within the Empire could weaken it and leave it ripe for the picking, especially by the Rebel Alliance.

    Now though came the hard part or the easy part whichever way you looked at it, it was time to explain what happened at Mygeeto, and then hopefully she could have a private word with Lord Vader about what she had found out about the leader of her troops on board Roadblock, the enigmatic and dangerous Commander Alpha.

    “Captain Vectis, Captain Sohmer, I am ...grateful for your discretion and effective actions.”, Lord Vader’s voice broke into Scyther’s thoughts as she walked along, and he gestured for the group to enter what looked like a grand receiving room, with impressive architecture to boot.

    I wonder how much this all cost to build, Scyther thought with a slight smirk.

    Around the room were Imperial troopers clad in white, and the elite Ursean Black Guard as well as other officers and two people who looked like secretaries of some sort, probably here to write down notes of the meeting.

    Lord Vader took his seat at the middle of the table, Scyther gesturing for the Captain’s to sit near her, she saw Ivanov make a gesture to Ensign Charios to sit next to him. The handsome and muscular ladies’ man Captain Terric sat next to her; he had become her bodyguard of sorts whilst they were on the planet. The Lieutenants and Commander Cutter remained standing behind their respective Captain’s.

    “Please, be seated,” the Re said, sitting and beginning immediately, “You can all appreciate that time is of the essence. I’m...eh...not...ahem...used to running debriefings off the field of battle, so bear with me and forgive me any roughness. I’ll begin. This debriefing is to give record by all immediately involved in events leading to the death of His Imperial Majesty and the recovery of the late Emperor Palpatine’s body, as well as it’s subsequent ...ahem conveyance here to Imperial Center...

    And so Lord Vader recounted in detail what had happened on Kalee and effectively answered the question of how His Imperial Majesty had died. Everybody around the table was listening intently, not speaking, not even moving, Scyther had made her hands into a bridge and was leaning her head on them taking in every word and imagining the horrors of what happened on that volcanic planet. It made Mygeeto look like a picnic site.

    Lord Vader then introduced Sohmer to everyone gathered, who then recounted his side of the battle of Kalee. Scyther felt a little sorry for him, after all he also had lost men and ships in this final battle to finally crush the CIS.

    Next was the man named Sin, who looked a little cocky and sure of himself by Scyther’s reckoning, no doubt this was the reason why all the troopers were in the room with them. A glance at the other Captain’s showed that they all wanted just to blast him where he stood, even Bahari was looking at him in disgust.

    ”Captain Vectis, we shall hear your accounting of your knowledge and involvement in the matter of the Emperor’s death and the return of the corpse. You are free to speak plainly to this convention,” said Anakin, gesturing to Scyther with his right hand, ungloved and new flesh warmed in a shaft of light.

    Oh crikey……

    Scyther stood up, smoothing down her uniform jacket and took a deep breath. Her stomach was in knots, she had to make sure she got her facts straight.

    “Well I can clearly say how I knew of the Emperor’s demise” and she smiled slightly “You told me”.

    She paused and her face turned deadly serious.

    “But perhaps I should start at the beginning. First let me introduce my Captain’s to you. Next to me is Captain Milos Terric VenSD Unstoppable, next to him Captain Dimitri Ivanov, formerly of VenSD Obdurate. Next to him is one of his bridge Ensign’s Ensign Kim Charios, whom we will hear from later on. Next to him is Captain Sergei Arazov, ISD Danger Zone who has recently joined the group, then Captain Eamon Bahari of ISD Peace Keeper and finally Captain Zack Madison of the VenSD Empire’s Will. Those standing behind me ar the senior Lieutenants of each ship they are Aruth Haji, Carlos Casrah, Henrik Olson, Kim Milton-Nielsen, Charles Spencer, David Grayson, Salvatore Morelli, Rene Olivetti and finally Commander Cutter representing Peace Keeper

    She paused to let the introductions sink in.

    “Captain Ivanov has decided to give his senior Lieutenants a rest, so they are not here at this meeting. One of his seconds in command Lieutenant Ayos Ellis was seriously injured during the battle and has subsequently been replaced until he returns for duty”

    She took a datapad out of her jacket pocket where she had stored some data from the battle, gave a quick look at it and continued.

    “My group was paired up with Captain Perrinaw of the Wrathlis and his group of ships, we were also provided with two reserve groups of ships, mainly made up with ISD’s, Neublon-B’s and Ursean ships. We were met with a rather crude greeting from a Ravager ship, it turns out there wasn’t just one Ravager class ship with the fleet, but two. Perrinaw split off with his group and decided to take on the Ravager which was separate from the main fleet”.

    “Before we engaged the fleet, I dropped our troops off and gave them a starfighter escort for their trip down, I also provided USF Stingers to initiate bombing runs on CIS installations, communications arrays and shielding stations. My group and the two reserve groups engaged the main CIS fleet, where we lost several ships including a suicide run by the ISD Vladivostok, and sadly Obdurate from the AllStars group. Captain Ivanov?”

    This was Ivanov’s cue to speak, and he rose from his seat looking weary. He practically towered over the table.

    “Unfortunately my ship sustained heavy damage after being surrounded by CIS ships, the group tried to help me out as best they could but unfortunately it was too late” his voice grew more icy “I have lost over half my crew so far, with the number still rising as we speak. I managed to get some of my crew off the ship before it either exploded or disintegrated and I had them rendezvous with the rest of the group, the major injury cases were taken to the Interdictor Huntress which was being used in reserve”

    Ivanov paused looking around the table with his steely gaze.

    “I assigned my Chief Medical Officer Doctor Mifsud Ashri to go with the patients, with Ensign Charios as liaison between myself and Captain Illior of the Huntress. I meanwhile relocated to Empire’s Will with Captain Madison, where I could help with the battle”

    He then sat down, with Arazov giving him a sympathetic look. Scyther, still standing continued with her report.

    “With the soldiers on the ground doing their job, I assigned the Neublon-B Graceland as medical frigate, with Captain Arazov of Danger Zone acting as a transfer point for patients. We continued decimating the CIS fleet, eventually destroying all the ships including the second Ravager. I had received communication that the troops had achieved their objective and that Commander Alpha, commander of the ground forces, was seriously injured, I had him brought up to Danger Zone and then back to Roadblock.”

    “We then assisted Captain Perrinaw, who was having trouble with the first Ravager, eventually my group’s arrived and assisted him in destroying the Ravager. We are at this moment calculating casualties, my Heads of Starfighters and troop commanders are also calculating their casualties, and we should have a clearer picture of how many we have lost in the next few hours.”

    She looked down and her voice faltered.

    “I will be sending messages to the families and relatives of those who have died, for those without relatives or families I will be sending messages to their respective governments of their home worlds”.

    She swallowed and continued after a moment.

    “After the battle was won we were recalled to Coruscant where we arrived several hours later. We had no knowledge of a lockdown, nor were we informed that the Emperor had been killed and that Coruscant had been attacked. I was only informed of these events by our esteemed Lord Vader whilst I was in conference with him and several high ranking officers. I also learnt some disturbing information whilst in conference, I have already relayed this to Lord Vader but perhaps I feel the rest of you should hear this”

    Scyther gestured with her hand to Ensign Charios.

    “And this is where I bring in Ensign Charios, who gathered this information whilst aboard Huntress”

    Charios looked nervous as he stood up, wringing his hands together and his eyes darting frantically around the room.

    “As you know” the Ensign spoke “I was placed aboard Huntress as a liaison between Doctor Ashri, Captain Illor and Captain Ivanov. I was making sure that the patients on board Huntress was being treated well, and that Doctor Ashri and his team had every assistance available to them. I was making my rounds of the crew, chatting to them, checking up on them when I was called to the bridge by Captain Illior”

    Ivanov then passed his datapad to Charios which included the information the Ensign had gathered.

    “Whilst on the bridge, I spotted Captain Illior play a recording which had been made from the bow of a Star Destroyer; it seems this destroyer was chasing a ship. This ship I identified as a Republic class cruiser, I recognized the shape of the craft and the crimson paint job. I saw on the recording this ship fire towards the Senate, the missiles impacted and destroyed the building, other buildings around it seemed to suffer from the destruction as well. It seems that ship however was not responsible for destroying the EmpPal Surgical Centre. Finally I recognized that Captain Illior looked like she recognised the sip, whether somebody she knows is on there remains to be seen.”

    As Charios sat down, Arazov gave him a pat on the back,

    “Finally” Scyther concluded “My group was tasked with escorting the body of the Emperor down as well as the Reina’s personal ship. And here we are” Scyther said gesturing to the room in general.

    “Many people have die in order to bring this victory against the CIS, and I believe they should all be honored, crew, trooper and pilot alike. I also believe that Captain Illior should be brought in for questioning as to what she knows about the Republic cruiser, and she should be brought to justice”

    Scyther sat down, relieved that her report was finished, Terric gave her a rub on the back as if to say “Well done”. Scyther also didn’t mention that the revenge against her parents deaths and the death of her former superior and mentor aboard Roadblock, Captain Newman was now complete….

    TAG: Lord Vader and The Big Conference
  2. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    IC: Anakin, Lord Vader, Re of Ursa, Imperial Executor and presumptive Emperor, Colonel Sin, Captain Sohmer, Commander Merch, Lieutenant R’chel Yaar, various members of the crew of Krayt’s Dragon
    Location: Ursean Embassy, Coruscant



    The large white paneled doors opened with a discrete hiss and a young Ursean Lieutenant with a long yellow braid down her back entered and bowing, caught the Re's eye.

    "One moment," he said with a nod to Scyther Vectis and her Captains that he had taken in their reports.

    Anakin, upon hearing of Illior's strange behaviour, buzzed Lt. Solinova with a message to retrieve whatever holos had been logged concerning the missile attack on the Senate. As it turned out, one of the representatives from Sector Zero had brought the holo in question and stood when Solinova gestured to him.

    "Lieutenant, you will remain for the time being...thank you," said Anakin quietly and taking the holo from the Sector officer as he approached.

    Solinova stepped back to stand behind the Re.

    "Thank you Captain Vectis, Ivanov and Ensign Charios, Captain Sohmer, all of you. The Empire owes you a grave dept for your service beyond the call of duty. I regret, given the necessary changes the state must undergo, we must move quickly to bring a close to the Emperor's demise and tend to the security of the Empire and this means deferring the honor we must do you. I want to assure you that I am doing all in my capacity to settle the upheaval that recent events have brought. I know we will ere in belated gratitude yet, it is our intention to see that all receive their due."

    He rested his gaze on Scyther for a moment and hoped she understood he was apologizing for the perfunctory nature of the meeting, that he did not intend offense in moving on without much comment. She seemed somewhat more relaxed since entering the room and for that he was glad. It was easy to pick up on the emotions of others. It stuck to him like candy debris to the bottom of one's shoe at a fair.

    The officer from Zero Sector spoke concerning the missile attack on the Senate before the holo commandeered from Planetary Defense was played, the windows darkening and the glow of the holo lighting the faces of those assembled.

    In the holo, a distant city view showed the Republic cruiser previously mentioned in flight and launching it's missiles. An Imperial missile, it seems, had struck the EmPalReConSU. The Emperor's medical facility fell of a piece, the tall cylinder toppling like a toy in a cloud of dust.

    That's not what made the breath catch in Anakin chest, though. It was the Republic Cruiser.

    "Enhance and enlarge," the Re commanded.

    The Lieutenant attenuated the holo controls and the image grew larger and the holo itself, more saturated so that the call numbers of the ship could be seen clearly though they, like the rest of the ship's colors were partially obscurred by grime and or wiped away by countless atmospheric particles.

    There was no way to know conclusively if the person who's ship it was to command was aboard and marshalling, but Anakin could not believe that person would ever have condoned the actions he and everyone in the room just witnessed.

    He closed his eyes momentarily and opened them again, shaking his head unconsciously.

    "He would never have done such a …" said Anakin under his breath. "He would never have conscienced firing those missiles…." He looked quickly to Ahsoka and then away. Would she recognize that ship too, he wondered.

    Aware of the others around him, Anakin censured himself. This would not bode well for all Anakin had planned. What if Master Yoda had indeed permitted the attack on the Senate? He could not get his mind around such a possibility. It was against everything he thought he knew of the Jedi Grand Master and flew in face of reason.

    "Thank you for bringing the holo," he said to the sector officer and then to the AllStars, "and to you for bringing the holo and Captain Illior to our attention Captain Vectis, Ensign Charios," he said somberly.

    "Everyone present will make themselves available for further questions in the next 3 cycles. If you are needed, requests for your further statements will come directly from my office," the Re said, rising. "You may all avail yourselves of the Embassy's hospitality, if accommodations are not yet available. Lt. Solinova will assist you,” said Anakin gesturing to the fastidiously liveried Lieutenant with the long flaxen braid down her back. Solinava smiled thinly and bowed curtly. She raised her eyes to regard Captain Ivanov meaning to speak with him after the meeting was adjourned.

    ”In the next few weeks, I will have to be available to many and everywhere at once, if you find you must speak with me, but I am unavailable, you may speak with Commissar Tano who is acting in all things, in my stead,” he said urging Ahsoka to assert her presence. Barring her availability, you may communicate with my office through Lt. Solinova.” Anakin knew he’d surprised Ahsoka, but there was little time to prepare her. He sent to her through the Force and required her to attend him.

    I must leave you now for the Emperor's autopsy and then I must address the Senate in the next hour - I hope some of you find the time to attend. However, for this evening you will find you have all been extended invitations to a reception in honor of the Reina's arrival on Coruscant and I look forward to seeing you all there."

    Sin rose slowly and as Anakin rounded the table stepped out from his chair to catch the Sith'arri's attention. All the guards in the room stepped forward and a clatter of armor signalled they had shouldered weapons.

    Sin smiled a slow broad smirk as Anakin gestured the guard stand down. Lekhauf was at Sin's back immediately.

    "The General's a little trigger happy, My...Lord, or maybe he just doesn't care to part with my company," drawled Sin. "So, this is the greeting you give your faithful servant? I have words I must speak to you alone..."

    "It would be inadvisable at this moment," replied Anakin quickly in an even tone, his voice lowered.

    "You can't play both sides, my Lord. I should know. You'll soon have your hands full with all comers. Every half-trained Sith, every Jedi...You need me," said Sin dipping his chin for emphasis. “It is your destiny, just as it is mine to stand at your side. How impossible was it that you found me. Why did I survive and not S...the Emperor? Always two - Anakin. Think about it! Just two. Where is that maniac, Maul? Hum! Why and how should he have survived? You and I both know of what your Master is capable.”

    "Not now, Sin. I really don't have time for your intrigue and half-riddling…" said Anakin looking to Lekhauf, a tacit command communicated between the Re and his General.

    Sin growled in frustration and pummeled the air with his manacled fists. ”I have the patience of the dead, you know that! But you are … sorely testing me. That bag of bones below, it’s an empty sack, Anakin. It may be dead, but that IS MEANINGLESS! LISTEN TO ME!”

    Sohmer placed himself between the Executor and the Emperor's Hand and Merch for his part, kept his hand over his open holster.

    Anakin stood taller, the hair on his neck standing up. Sin’s words had specific and horrible meaning, expressing thoughts to which Anakin had not wished to give voice, but Sin was up to something and sure enough, as they stood around the Hand, it was evident to those who knew the Colonel that he was instigating his metamorphosis. The Force dampening cuffs would not repress that process as they had so effectively numbed the Sith to the Force.

    Sin’s neck began to bulge, an other-worldly and guttural growl issuing from deep in his now heaving chest. His eyes glowered and began to glisten with an orange red that might have been the reflection of sunlight, but Anakin knew what Sin was doing. Anakin reached his arm before him and threw his hand up before Sin’s face drawing his long nimble fingers down along an invisible line between the “Hand’s” eyes, calmly as he could, lulling the Hsiss beast in Sin to drowsy surrender, the spiked tail which had begun to grow now languidly swept the floor about the booted feet of those in his proximity,


    ”General Lekhauf, as we discussed, Colonel Sin, I believe, has had too much excitement. Administer the sedative and keep him sedated.”

    Lekhauf had already rounded Sin and slapped the pneumatic syringe to the scarlet clad Sith’s now nearly grey scaled neck. Lekhauf had had to bear down to get ensure the sedative would penetrate. Immediately, Sin began to crumple as he groggily declared it was going to take a lot more than this to keep him under and fell forward into Commander Merch’s arms.

    “Well...ahem...so much for uneventful!” said Anakin under his breath.

    The white clad troopers began to ‘unload’ Sin from the Krayt’s Fire Commander’s arms.

    Even Sohmer in this nerve wracking company could not resist nudging and saying to Merch after assisting with the “Hand” removal saying wryly, “I knew it. Colonel Sin was crushing on you all along! Hell hath no fury as an Hsiss scorned!”

    Merch discretely engaged the safety on his blaster and looked knowingly to Sohmer. Lieutenant R’chel Yaar looked up to Merch. He didn’t need to ask her what was in her mind for her eyes told him all he wished to know and Merch had to agree. What a pity to have had to pass up on the opportunity of sending Sin off once and for all!

    Tag: Ahsoka, Vectis and Allstars, etc.
  3. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~ This is a joint post between Jerjerrod-Lennox and myself. It has been a pleasure, thank you for this opportunity!



    ~IC~Commissar Ahsoka Tano, Captain Scyther Vectis, Captain Milos Terric & the AllStars
    Location: Ursean Embassy, Coruscant

    The debriefing was drawing to a close, Ahsoka’s hand squeezed the tip of her right lek as she heard Anakin had named her as his point of contact. She glanced sideways and gave a nod to the rest of the others at the table, she did not want to let it show that she was taken off guard by this appointment. There was an unspoken understanding between them and she trusted Anakin’s decision. She acknowledged his touch through the force and returned with one of her own to let him know she understood.

    Her curiosity piqued at the mention of a reception to be held later this evening and with that, the debriefing was over. Ahsoka released her grasp on her lek and smoothed the hem of her top as she stood as her former Master did. She watched the way Anakin moved with purpose and the way the guards reinforced their position around Sin. Inaudibly sighing to herself, she surmised what was going to happen and did not feel any pity for the flamboyant corpse. She glanced back to the table and saw how weary the officers from the All Stars must be and gave them a warm smile.

    “Thank you, Captain Scyther and to your All-Stars...” Ahsoka gave a slight bow, her left and right lekku dangling against her sides before she straightened up and walked over Vectis’ group. “...I am sorry for the hardships you have endured. I am sure you all must be relieved to take a much deserved rest.” She tilted her head and met Captain Terric’s gaze.

    Scyther was glad that the meeting had ended, now was the time for rest and recreation, if the party this evening was anything to go by. She nodded at Lord Vader and rose along with the others, Ivanov who had spotted Solinova’s look towards him and excused himself walking over towards her.

    “It will be” Scyther responded “No doubt my boys and girls will be happy to have a little me time, and us Captain’s get to have a little party time”

    Terric however was still staring at her, he was still a little awestruck to speak which was a new experience for him. It wasn’t often that any woman made him speechless.

    Ahsoka smiled at Scyther’s response and nodded, she could relate to how they feel. “I hope that you will get to properly enjoy yourselves.” She tilted her head and her eyes returned to Captain Terric’s gaze, there was something about him that felt familiar though his expression made her wonder if something might be distressing him.

    “Captain... Terric?” Ahsoka’s brow arched slightly, hoping she had gotten his name correct.

    He bowed slightly towards her his face breaking into a smile as if a lightbulb had just come on in his head. “The one and only” he said, he took her hand and kissed it like an old fashioned gentleman would “It’s good to see you again Miss Tano, a pleasure even” he released her hand and looked at Scyther “This young lady served with me on the Unstoppable during the Clone Wars”

    Scyther nodded her head in understanding “Ah, so that’s how you recognised her, so that means she was a....”

    “Jedi” Madison said, and he all but spat out the word, the others gave him disapproving looks as if to say “Not now”.

    It was all coming back to Ahsoka now as she remembered being assigned for a brief time onboard the vessel. Terric had certainly aged well from almost eight years ago... ‘has it really been that long?’ She felt her cheeks warmed but she ignored it and grinned back to Terric when he released her hand. She looked back to Scyther but her attention sharply changed to the one who uttered the word: Jedi. The bitterness in his tone had taken her aback, she was used it directed at her for being a ‘non-human’ but it has been a long time since she was called Jedi... and like that. She wondered what had happened to cause him to react that way.

    Double blinking, Ahsoka returned her attention back to Scyther. “Yes...” She pursed her lips and gave a small smile as she considered her words carefully, “...we had served during the war...” feeling a sense of déjà vu, “...though it has been some time ago.”

    Scyther nodded, Terric smiled.

    “My apologies for Madison here, he had a Jedi serve on board his ship and unfortunately it didn't go too well. He also forgot his manners as there are ladies present” she stared then at Madison who turned red with embarrassment and looked away.

    “No, that’s quite alright,” Ahsoka looked to Madison, she could tell he must feel awkward from the colouration of his face, she spoke solemnly to him. “I am sorry you have had a negative experience.”

    Terric took up the conversation “It has been that long, and things have definitely changed, Unstoppable has also taken a few knocks, but there is life in the old girl yet. I hope you’ll be coming to the party later, we have a lot to catch up on”

    “I..Thank you,” She smiled, her hand cupped halfway down her right lek. “We will have to see how the day unfolds but that would be a pleasure. Hopefully the Unstoppable has life in her for further years to come.”

    Then came a growl from the other end of the room. Ahsoka’s hand left her lek for the saber on her belt, hovered over the hilt as she turned around when Sin raised his voice. Her sight focused on both Sin and Anakin amongst the other guards. Her eyes watchful and her muscles tensed, ready to leap in to assist within a second’s notice. The mood changed just as quickly again and the Colonel subdued, Ahsoka’s posture relaxed and she released the breath she had held.

    Terric was about to reply when they all heard the growl, everybody reaching for their blasters. Meanwhile the Lieutenants and Commander Cutter immediately surrounded Ensign Charios protecting him and placing hands on their weapons.

    A moment later it was all over Scyther waving her hand in a stand down order.

    "A bit of excitement there" said Bahari not sounding too impressed.

    "Well hopefully the party will be more exciting" said Terric throwing a wink at Ahsoka.

    “If today so far is anything to go by, then there’s no doubt about that.” She winked back.

    Terric chuckled “The lady knows how to joust”

    “When you two have finished jousting you might want to consider trying to get to our rooms” Scyther said with a smile, Terric was up to his old tricks again and by the look on Arazov’s face he seemed to be enjoying it.

    “Hmmm, I better let you all get settled.” Ahsoka returned the smile and bowed her head, from the corner of her eye, she saw Colonel Sin being ‘carted’ off to who knows where. “It has been a pleasure meeting you all and also great seeing you again Captain Terric.”

    “Indeed it has” replied Scyther bowing to her the others following suit, even Madison “Perhaps we shall see you at the party later, no doubt Terric will once I’ve picked his jaw up from off the floor”

    Terric smiled and kissed her hand again “Until the next time my dear”

    “Until then.” Ahsoka inclined her head. “Enjoy your rest.”
    She stepped back and allowed them to freely make their way to enquire about their accommodations. Her eyes seeking out her former Master.

    TAG: Anakin, Lieutenant Solinova, etc
    Last edited by Corellian_Outrider, Nov 9, 2012
  4. Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    OOC: Many thanks to Pasha for this opportunity of a joint post, it has been a pleasure, also thanks to CO who also contributed at the end:)

    IC: Mira Solinova, Captain Dmitri Ivanov
    Location: Ursean Embassy, Coruscant

    As for Lieutenant Solinova, the cordon of guards that had isolated Sin made her protective action mute and as the pale faced Sith went limp suddenly, she felt the Re’s stance relax where he stood at her side. All those buckles and scarlet fell forward to reveal General Lekhauf’s wink, hands still in position holding the empty syringe with which he’d sedated the Hsiss changeling.

    “I’ll leave you to the sorting out, Lieutenant,” said the Re, who gave her a glance overhis shoulder. Direct Commissar Tano to the surgery when she is done here. Before leaving quickly, the Re Mavrat looked about the room and without further ceremony, was gone. Solinova, nonetheless, saluted the place where the Re had the instant before been, before seeing Colonel Sin carried away under heavy guard, General Lekhauf supervising. Suddenly the room sounded warmer, felt more convivial and Mira relaxed her shoulders, breathing a sigh to fortify her as she sought out the tall and somber Ivanov.

    Mira stood just under a head below the Ursean Imperial’s shoulder and she was not considered short. Round hazel eyes surveyed him. His shoulders were square, but rounded just now. His brow not as clear as once it had been and there was a severity to his gaze that she did not remember. It made her hesitate, coming to a still before him.

    “Gruss Seele, Dmitri,” she said softly but with a formal salute in spite of the warmth in her voice. She hoped this meeting would be easier than her hunch told it was going to be. She wanted to take his hand, such a large hand, with both of hers. His loss was palpable.

    Distance, time, and duty had long ago separated them. The small Kavalan village where they grew up was a memory for which she doubted he had much time these days. The pride of elders, he was slated to go places and perform many heroic deeds. The last time they’d had a moment alone, the warm summer night breeze wafted sweet scented petals in a heady shower upon them as they walked a well worn path around his family’s garden. Mira could still hear the mandolins playing, like an echo in her mind...

    She hoped the tear that threatened to escape down her round fair cheek would not tarnish her military pluck. I’m not like this, she told herself.

    His aunts, his mother, they had doted on her and though not a word was said, it had seemed she was favored to be his bride. Dmitri had other ideas and he had been of an age to follow his mandatory service while she was still too young. It was difficult to admit that she was concerned how he might feel about her now. They were grown and both had their respective duties.

    Ivanov looked at her closely, she had changed since he had last seen her, and she had grow more beautiful than ever. He had to be careful though, who knew what she felt towards him now that they were in such close proximity to each other. He was the Ice Man, he had the reputation and the manner that showed respect from his friends and fear from his enemies. But this was one person he definitely didn't want to alienate.

    “Grusse Steele Mira” he said as gently as he could, if you didn't know Ivanov, his tone could be frightening. He wasn't always the Ice Man, not when he was growing up, he was a much warmer and kinder person, duty and years in the Imperial Navy had changed all that. Luckily Captain Vectis and the group had gotten used to his demeanour.

    “I must say it is good to see you again Mira, it has been such a long time since I have last seen you. How are you keeping?” his eyes full of weariness and sadness met hers.

    His voice! The very sound broke through all her reserve and Mira blinked at the unwanted tears that welled suddenly in her eyes. Usually so proud of her accomplishments, the rank and position she carried with honor, they now felt like a veil she could not cast off. She hated the awkwardness and fervently wished for that secluded bower under the warm starry sky. Her throat tightened and the words would not come unclouded, but in a taut whisper, ”...good...Dmitri...must have a small cold...” She smiled and turned to cough and wipe her eyes quickly with the back of her hand.

    This would not do, she chided herself silently while clearing her throat. Her voice was low as she spoke with control, “As you see, I am keeping well!” Mira gestured at her Ursean uniform of dark grey frock coat, light cream breeches, polish black boots and long waist coat of pale blue.

    “...but you! It is best I did not know about your disposition during the battle...but you are here and … so many things I wanted to say to you, Dmitri. They never were said and now … we are both grown … you are taller, even! But what am I forgetting! I will greet you for those who cannot,” she said and took his hand impulsively and squeezed it and then brought it to her lips to kiss, “For your mother and father.”

    Oh, his touch was no less electric to her than it had ever been and she let go quickly“I’m remiss. Do you have accommodations, eh...Captain,” she asked reaching for her data pad and finding it leaping from her too tight grasp to arch into the air between herself and Dmitri.

    He will think I am still the accident prone little awkward girl I was back home. What am I doing and what does it matter, now, she lamented as the pad eluded her grasp once more.

    He wanted to say so much to her right now, but it would be better to say it in private, after all, the feisty Captain Vectis was in the room, and if this were to go badly, she would be here in an instant and lighting a fire, in which case wasn't good this time. She seemed affected by him, with her new position in Vader’s court she seemed a little bit more nervous than usual. This wasn't her, she was always so full of life. She probably still was....

    “Indeed Mira, I feel the same way, so many things unsaid, so many things we could have done, but alas, duty took us away from that. And the less said about the battle, the better” he said simply still conveying the sadness of all those crew members he had lost through his eyes.

    The touch of her hand and her lips on his hand sent a shiver down his spine, this lady could still make his heart beat just that little bit faster.

    “I have not seen my family in quite a few years, perhaps if we get a little rest time, I might return to Ursa, to see everybody and catch up on things. Captain Arazov I know also wants to return.” He let her hand drop, which he was disappointed in. Why am I so disappointed? he wondered, this was a professional chat, wasn’t it?

    No, said his conscience, it wasn't.

    He watched as her datapad went flying, despite the fact he was tall, he had quick reflexes, and caught the pad easily and handed it back to her.

    “As far as accommodations go, I believe Lord Vader said we had the use of the Embassy. As far as I know, Captain Vectis has not organised quarters for us as yet, she also has to organise quarters for those crewmembers who do not yet have accommodations” he quickly caught her hand again, making sure the datapad didn't go flying again.

    ”Um, yes, of course, that is why I am here...to assign quarters for those who have need. You are in the Embassy Annex Tower Astrachan,” she said, pulling herself together. ”There are seven towers, each named for the worlds in Ursa system. The rooms are very nice. You’ll feel at home - very comfortable and surprisingly roomy if on the small side. You’ll see,” said Mira smiling to herself knowing the folksy furnishings, the cozy tiled bench surrounding a real Ursean furnace, the ample sofas piled with pillows, just like he’d remember from his family home.

    She assigned him the room number and showed him on the pad how to get to the annex which was the next tower over from the main section of the Embassy in which they stood. His room was high up on the mountain side with a cloud view. ”I have found rooms on three floors in the same area enough to accommodate all of you if need be. I thought you might like being proximate. Perhaps you can assist me with Captain Vectis’ group- find who needs a room?

    How easily she could switch from nervous to professional, Ivanov liked it. And even a taste of home even better. He also knew Arazov would appreciate it, hopefully the others would too.

    "Much appreciated, thank you" he said trying to keep his tone as warm as possible "There will be enough room for the Captains and Lieutenants, i'm sure the good Captain Vectis can organise the rest of the crews".

    He looked at her closely "Besides, small is fine i've slept in much more worse places"

    She assured him that small was relative. As it was, the rooms were copious for temporary digs and she gave him a manifest of the rooms, showing him all the assignments. She would need to know if any switched rooms, of course. ”The Captains’ quarters have seating and small food preparation utilities. So you can roast a spud late at night when you want to stay up working,”

    Remembering when they had both been students, though he was several years her senior, she knew how dogged Dmitri could be, relentless even, reading late into the morning hours when he got his teeth into something. Mira smile and gesture toward the group. ”I’m grateful for you assistance, Captain,” she said with a little hop as she walked alongside him. “If you start with your group, I can assign Captain Sohmer’s group and then return to get take the manifest from you, will that be alright?”

    Mira quickly parted to hurry Sohmer and his crew along, wanting as much time beside Dmitri as possible. She bore Commander Merch’s flirting with well-disguised impatience and had the group off to their flats in no time.”

    ”Ah, Lieutenant, I need to confer with some of my crew back at the spaceport. Will I have clearance to communicate from the Embassy,” asked Captain Sohmer as Mira turned her attention back towards the Allstars.

    ”Sir,yes, Captain Sohmer, Sir. When you enter your flat with your ID a recording will play notifying you of the frequencies you may use and other security issues such as checking in and out. There will be other useful information about getting about in the Embassy district and transportation to the Senate for this afternoon and evening. Will you be attending the reception...?”

    Though Sohmer blanched at the idea of a formal “shindig” with officers, dignitaries and other brass-inlaid potentates, the Captain managed to say, “quite convincingly” as Merch later said, ”I wouldn’t dream of missing it.”

    Sohmer caught Captain Vectis’ attention as his crew departed. ”If you are attending the reception, Captain, I look forward to a dance, that is if you dance card isn’t already filled.”

    Mira caught up with Dmitri and did not realize how much she smiled at him. ”How are the room assignments going, Captain Ivanov, Sir? Shall I take them from this point?”

    As Ivanov returned to the group his heart was warming to Mira even more, he hadn't realised he had missed her so much, was she melting the Ice Man’s heart? Maybe, and he made sure that nobody else would know, not even Captain Vectis. He wanted to stay professional at all times.

    He missed Mira being beside him, but he didn't show it as he related room assignments to the AllStars. They had decided to keep Ensign Charios with them as a safety precaution, due to the fact he was carrying sensitive information, he may now become a target if someone wanted what he had. Ivanov also mentioned that he would call his two Lieutenants, Lieutenant Jun Kazama, and temporary Lieutenant Lawrence Robertson and invite them to take rooms at the Embassy with the other Lieutenants of the group.

    Hopefully the other Ensigns and the rest of the crews, pilots and troopers had found somewhere to bunk down for a few days. Captain Vectis said she would look into it once they got to their rooms. She had the crew manifests from each ship on her datapad, and before the group had left to come here, she had transmitted the manifests to the senior Ensign of each ship. They would then check who needed a room and then cross them off. Scyther would request an updated manifest list and then transmit to Miss Solinova who still needed rooms.

    As Sohmer’s crew departed, it looked like Scyther had been offered an invitation of a dance. She smiled back at him and said she might consider it.

    Ivanov looked down at Mira as she reappeared and impressively fought the temptation to smile back. He didn't smile, he never did, it was a trademark of his icy persona.

    “No problems to report Miss Solinova” he said simply, his tone going from warm back to it’s stern professional tone “Ensign Charios will be remaining with us, and I will be bringing my two Lieutenants over as I have no doubts that they wish to be back with their comrades”

    “When you are ready, we will let you take over from here” he said with a wave of his hand.

    ”Yes, Captain, Sir. To be sure. Only...may I be permitted to ask, will the Captain be attending this evening’s reception for the Reina?” Mira hoped the eagerness in her voice did not show as she strove to match his professionalism. In spite of this, her eyes must be glistening, and the corners of her mouth danced as she hoped his answer would be, “yes.”

    Ivanov again resisted breaking into a smile, if it meant being close to Mira again, he would definitely be there. Although he was considering going with the group anyway.

    I would be delighted” said Ivanov, warmth creeping back into his tone. “I can safely say that at least the AllStar group Captain’s will be there.” He cast a quick glance to the others who all nodded in agreement.

    On the periphery of the AllStar group, Mira could see that the Commisar was finished her conversation and looking about for the Re, no doubt. Thus, Ivanov’s answer was timely and the flaxen-haired Lieutenant face lit up like a life-day cake at his answer, as she was both anxious to meet her duty and convey the Re’s orders to Miss Tano and elated that she would get to see Dmitri at the Reception. ”Oh...Sir, that will be...good. Yes...well...” she stammered, beaming and saluting. ”I’ll finish assignments, then. It was...good to see you again, Sir...” she said stepping to the side and saluting again, this time, smartly, but her creamy complexion flushed a deep warm pink.

    Ivanov saluted her and inwardly he was glowing inside. He would be seeing her again at the reception and perhaps might even get a dance with her. He glanced to the side again where Scyther had a slight smile on her face, probably wondering why Mira was stuttering so much. Arazov also had a smile on his face as did Terric. Ivanov did not approve of Terric’s behaviour towards women, but maybe Terric saw all the signs between him and Mira. No matter though thought Ivanov as the group moved off to their rooms, being close to her again was all that mattered. He would see where they went from here....

    ******

    Lieutenant Solinova finish swapping out some rooms here and there before catching the attention of Commissar Tano. “Sir, the Re requested you meet him in operating theatre for the autopsy so that you can accompany him to the Senate afterward. I can escort you there, myself, if you like,” said Mira gesturing down the wide central hallway as she stepped toward the large and ornate panelled doors.

    “Thank you, Lieutenant,” Ahsoka nodded and smiled to her, she was thankful for the message from her former Master, it’s starting to feel like there are a lot of things to get done at once. “I would appreciate that, I still don’t quite know my way about just yet.”

    Mira allowed herself a glance over her shoulder to her … she wondered what now her relationship was with Dmitri. They were far more than just cohabitants from Ursa system. Their families had celebrated far too many holidays together, witnessed the coming of age of so many of their own, and once upon a time, she had dreamed they would be married. Those days were cherished memories and there was certainly no time for living in the past. Now, for what could she hope? She hadn’t forgotten her intended either. She sighed. How could she deny her feelings? They had never dwindled and now he stood so near, the flame burned more intensely than it ever had. A small wry smile spread and clasping her datapad, Mira turned to the tall and comely Togruta Commissar.

    ”Yes, of course, Sir. I’m sure as busy as you are to be, it will not take you long to find your way. Come, then. It’s just several floors below and back toward the tarmac where the Emperor’s remains were received,” said the Lieutenant, gesturing for Ahsoka to follow.

    “It’s...” Ahsoka followed along with the Lieutenant, her voice trailed off as she lost the train of thought of what she was going to say. “Thank you, I just... there has been a lot on my mind.” She tugged at the hem of her unruly top that won’t stop riding up before folding her arms behind her back.

    Mira smiled. “Have you anything formal for this evening’s reception?”

    “No,” Ahsoka sighed, another thing to she has see about when she gets a chance. “I don’t have anything suitable at the moment.”

    The young aid smiled broadly and noted they were of similar stature, that she might have something for her, if the Commissar would like it.

    They had arrived in a short while and in parting, Mira promised to have some things sent to Ahsoka’s rooms for approval and she could have her pick. Opening the door with her ident. card, Mira saluted and bowed as Ahsoka entered the quiet room where the Re sat watching intently above the operating theatre.


    TAG: Lord Vader, Captain Vectis and AllStars, Ahsoka
    Last edited by Jerjerrod-Lennox, Nov 16, 2012
  5. TheAdmiral Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    star 4
    IC: Adrias Stark, Nyll
    Vandor-3 Spaceport cafe

    They have arrived at Vandor-3 five hours ago. Most traffic towards the Galactic capital, excluding the military and essential goods transports, were diverted here or in the nearby system after the terrorist attack. They had to wait along with a large number of traders, small cargo and passenger transports. There were a myriad of people from different species moving around and the sound of their voices joined together in a chorus of buzzing, yapping, flapping and other sounds. A Force user could easily feel how annoyed, irritated and anxious the other patrons and the people nearby.

    Nyll and Adrias had been sitting in the tapcaf for around half an hour. They chose the more expensive establishment since there were some empty places where they could sit and have something to eat and drink. They needed to act as regular spacers and try not to attract too much attention to themselves. Thorn was back on the ship making repairs, as much as he can. Besides having him on the table with them will be very suspicious. Or at least more people will notice it. A human with a Twi’Lek girl was not that unusual. Adrias covered his blind eye with a lense to look normal, along with the scar. They needed to look normal, well not too normal as even this could attract attention.

    They didn’t bring any weapons on-board the ship, except for Adrias’ lightsaber that was safely hidden and his retractable blade, which was also concealed. That was why they managed to pass the customs inspection. Along with the fact that they had to check quite a large number of other ships made the inspectors a bit careless. Adrias never carried a large arsenal, even when on a job. He preferred either to acquire a weapon from the target’s guards or buy one while on the planet. They were traveling with as few suspicious items as they could. They tried to look as normal as they could without attracting any attention.

    Nyll was playing with a piece with the pastry she had ordered. She made a small ball out of a piece with her fork and tumbled it around her dish in the white creamy sauce. She was properly bored for some time now. Adrias didn’t seem to pay attention, probably making plans for what to do on Coruscant. Nyll couldn’t help him much as this was way out of her league. Her role was to be a support to him and occasionally a cover. There was nothing interesting on the Holonet as well. They were all talking about the recent attack, the death of the Emperor and about the new one. Politics gave her headache so she didn’t read nor listened to any of it. There was hardly anything new in what interested her: fashion, the lives of the stars or a good holomovie or holoseries going on. Nyll knew these could be considered shallow interests but she didn’t pretend to be very knowledgable so she didn’t care much, she liked these things and that was what was important for her.

    “Ad, say something honey... I am booored...” she whined like a little girl with her sweet voice.

    Adrias looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. Nyll had managed to break his concentration, this gave her a small bit of playful satisfaction. She wasn’t trying to be mean but she couldn’t help it.

    “Nyll, I am sorry but I have to plan this very carefully or we might all end up dead or worse...captured by the Imperials.”

    Nyll made a mock-grumpy face at him. A smile was creeping on her lips. No longer being able to restrain it she grinned at him.

    “If you want we can go around the city and you can go shopping...” continued Adrias.

    “Nah, by the looks of it, there is nothing that I can find here... I will wait for Coruscant.”

    “If we have time, I promise...”

    And that was it. Their conversation ended just as it begun. There was that feeling again, sometimes when she looked at Adrias or Thorn she had this feeling that they are not telling her something. Especially if it concerned the search for her family. The last few places were dead ends, including their visit to Naboo where Adrias met that Master of his. Despite the fact that this time they didn’t speak about it, nor there was any hint that gnawing feeling was there and she couldn’t explain it. Maybe it was because she was bored and there was nothing that preoccupied her.

    Nyll then turned her head around looking at the other patrons. There was a myriad of different species sitting around them chattering. It was a bit distracting for her. Nyll tried to name the species of the patrons around her. At least this was better than doing nothing... There was a man sitting at a table right behind Adrias. There was a human male staring at her in a very offensive manner. There was no escape from such people, they were everywhere, she was aware that to some speciesshe looks very attractive. Nyll had to learn it the hard way being a slave on Corellia. Well not officially a slave, since on the wealthier planets it was forbidden by law. But still technically she had been one at a pleasure house. Having to learn some things about life the nasty and painful way. Nyll missed her innocence and still sometimes pretended that those “events” did not happen at all, that it was all a bad dream. It broke her and she still hasn’t recovered from it, maybe she won’t...ever. Her “employer” had a good deal with some corrupt Corsec officers to close their eyes about his activities. The slime took also desperate girls - without money or family, some spice addicts who couldn’t pay for their doses. Nyll was just one of the millions of unlucky Twi’Lek girls to be sold as a commodity and the slaver got a very nice amount of money for her. After all, she was a raw beauty that could be given to the more loyal and rich clients...

    Until one day Adrias came in hisswirling white robes and his terrifying mask. It resembled a smiling human face, painted all white, with no other decoration, the eyes just dark slits that concealed the true eyes. Later he explained to her why he used it - for the psychological effect to see your murderer with a ghostly face that smiled almost benignly at them just before he killed them. Needless to say that night the “party” at the pleasure house where she served turned into a bloodbath. Adrias then told her that that night he was not hired to hit a target, but he couldn’t stand seeing all those poor girls treated as objects... Nyll wanted to see the face of her “owner” as Adrias left him last but the lights turned off. The former Jedi dispatched all the guards along with most of the patrons and their bodyguards. There were brief flashes as blasterfire flew everywhere with pieces of furniture burning from the blasts. It made the scene even more terrifying. Cries of pain as one by one they were being killed. Nyll remembered as Adrias activated her silver colored lightsaber oblivious for the cries for mercy from her “owner”. Later he told her that when he was on such missions he used his lightsaber for the end when he had to deliver justice. Without uttering a word she saw Adrias impaling her “owner” killing him instantly.

    A few of the “slaves” were not entirely happy with their freedom as they never knew what it is to be free and what they were supposed to do with their lives. The junkies were unhappy too as they wouldn’t get their daily dose of spice. Nyll didn’t care for them, she didn’t have friends and they didn’t treat her good as she was the master’s favourite so tried to make her life as miserable as possible. When she left them she didn’t care what they were going to do so she left for the spaceport after she managed to steal some credits from the master’s body before the Corsec officers arrive. There she stumbled on Adrias’ ship, not knowing at that time he was her savior the previous night. Nyll needed a ride to somewhere or a job on-board a ship, not that she knew what she could actually do.

    Adrias surprised her when he invited her to join his crew. Back then she had a gut feeling that she should accept. It wasseveral months later that he told her that he was her liberator... But there is no use now to linger in the past. Nyll didn’t regret her decision to join Adrias and he is working on finding her family and she loved him. There was it she said it to herself...again, she loved the man but he doesn’t notice. Nyll knew about his dead padawan and about his feelings for her ‘How am I supposed to compete with a dead woman...’ this was the question she constantly asked herself.

    That dirty man at the next table managed to sour her mood even more.

    “Ad,...”

    No reaction.

    “Ad...”

    No reaction again. Nyll waved her hand in front of him.

    “Ad, don’t tell me you are sleeping with open eyes.”

    Adrias didn’t react again, so she snapped her fingers in front of him.

    “Hellooo, is there anyone home?”

    There, he acknowledged that.

    “What is it now, Nyll?”

    “I changed my mind, let’s go around the city...”

    TAG: To be continued
    Last edited by TheAdmiral, Nov 27, 2012
  6. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    OOC:

    Uncle Vos, just stopped by to catch up on the story... miss you all!
    heels1785 likes this.
  7. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC/Co-GM Message~

    Master Vos, it's great to see you again! :)

    I want to wish everyone a happy and safe time during this holiday season. Due to DRL being insane this time of year, progress on posts has slowed down but they are not forgotten... they are coming! Thank you for your patience. If you are waiting on something to continue on or are new and interested to join in, please contact me and I can help sort something out.
    Last edited by Corellian_Outrider, Dec 18, 2012
  8. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: You are as surprised as I am. After so long, it seems we are all very busy making lives for ourselves and our families. I send my best to all of you and know how hard you must be working. Here is the resultant post of much coordination between Corellian_Outrider and me. I want to thank him for his unwavering patience and gumption. For posterity, the story continues...


    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Admiral Colton
    Location: New Palace (Ursean Embassy), Coruscant

    Anakin glanced for a moment, chin resting on his fist as he peered down into the circular operating theatre below where were seated the select audience Sabe had assembled to witness the autopsy of the late Emperor Palpatine I. He momentarily looked away and to the arriving Commissar before returning his gaze through the one-way window before him.

    "They've finished with most of the investigative work. It's technical right now, recording their analysis for posterity and then they will explain further their findings, but the DNA and other samples have tested positive. His personal surgeon, Dr. Ranth is there,” said the Re, tossing his chin in the direction of the corpulent man who stood next to the subject of study, the corpse of Palpatine I. Beside Ranth stood the tall dark haired Ursean doctor to the right of the corpse of the once terrible and cruel Sith Emperor. Anakin continued in monotone, ”The heart and brain, lungs and other organs suffered severe trauma from injury due to sudden acceleration and impact. The spinal cord was severed. The force that thing exerted … was beyond Sidious’ expectations. That’s clear, and obviously beyond his ability to … read..." Vader’s voice trailed off as he remembered his own encounters and realized he too could not “read” the Umbrus. Brow furrowed, he rubbed his temple. It was of the Force, yet not connected with the Force and so very powerful...

    Ahsoka had nodded in acknowledgement before seating herself and listening to Anakin's description of what had taken place. Her Master's posture imprinted on her mind as she sensed the weight and weariness coming from him. She placed her hand on his forearm and sent warmth with her touch as she glanced out through the window and down upon the operating room.

    Below, the surgeons gestured to the opened corpse, it's rib cage opened so that the condition of the body could be fully archived as evidence of the findings. Sounds waves and tissue density and radiation had long ago negated the need to be so intrusive in investigatory surgery, but in an autopsy of an Emperor, such recording was critical.

    He wanted to tell Ahsoka what was on his mind, but speaking only made it's possibility alarmingly more real and though he needed to prepare for such an event, he was reluctant to give power to the thought by uttering the horrible chance that Sidious had outwitted death and managed to sustain and transfer will and mind to some other living body.

    The sense for the need of food left Ahsoka as her gaze skirted around the dissected body, it was not a pretty sight to look at. "Brain trauma…" She whispered almost to herself, her lips pursed as she wondered which organ was first to suffer the trauma... and the amount of pain suffered. Ahsoka’s gaze returned to observe Anakin's face and gave his arm a squeeze, she could tell that something was preoccupying his thoughts though she did not want to press him. 'When he is ready he would tell me,' she told herself as she returned her attention back to the autopsy.
    "These findings will be made public?"

    "Yes...the body will lie in state at the Senate in the atrium before the plaza. The findings will be published and available to all for review. This issue must be treated as openly and transparently as possible. I’m not going to provide opportunity for more intrigue. It won't exactly clear me of any suspicion, but at least it's a matter of record that I did the...appropriate thing by law and that I was compliant. It’s all a “house of cards” even at the best of times, Ahsoka. The government, any government is only as stable as the most meager belief in it...," he said lowering his head for a moment.

    "You did the right thing..."

    He smirked, his face darkened in something that looked like pain, but he clearly made himself brighten and waved the moment away with a gesture and quick comment. “I did a number of “right” things...it only took one moment to destroy it all...

    She pursed her lips and looked at him thoughtfully, "you do have the data backing you up as well... but there will always be doubters no matter how solid the facts.... their minds have already been set." Sighing, she slid her hand down his arm and held his hand. He flinched slightly at her gesture, but relaxed. It was nothing so different as they’d ever been. She smiled inwardly remembering something she’d taken for granted those years ago. In many ways, Master and Apprentice were so much alike and neither one lacked in demonstrative affection. She thought she could see Anakin was just now sharing the same thought - every moment, the old bond seemed to grow strong again between them. When this and everything was settled, she hoped they both would have the opportunity to speak, there was a lot she wanted to relate but there never seemed to be an opportune moment.

    He nodded after a deep breath and continued to watch as she took his hand, which made the corners of his lips dance. Her warmth was always infectious and he found he didn't want to resist. He gave her hand a squeeze in return.

    Below, the audience moved nervously in their seats. The autopsy was rather ghoulish, cold, and in a way, violent a process and the corpse had already begun to decay. Anakin could see Sabe sitting stiffly on her best behavior and although the thought made him chuckle inwardly, he really did have to congratulate her on her restraint. There was Senator Organa sitting with Senator Chuchi! Interesting...

    It did seem that the audience was becoming very uncomfortable and Anakin could see that the forensics team were hurrying to end the autopsy. The hairs on the back of his neck began to rise. Fear. He reminded himself not to let suggestion incite him to indulge. It was all too easy to give way to the dark. Still, he felt a familiar cold that brought a few very disparate memories together and he stood slowly, to watch the witnesses dismissed and the droid surgeons begin to tidy up the corpse and surroundings.

    He shivered. Was that a breeze?

    Anakin looked to the door, shut hard against the possibility of a draft.

    Feeling his movement beside her, Ahsoka turned her head and raised her brow as though to ask a silent question before tracking his gaze back over her other shoulder to the door. She couldn't 'see' anything other than themselves in the room and the sense of normal life beyond the door. "I was thinking..." She started, capturing the flicker of uneasiness beneath the surface. She shifted and interlocked her fingers between his as her other hand readjusted the hem of her top to cover her exposed back again. "... that maybe we could get a quick morning tea after this." She aimed to ease his mind by shifting his attention back to here. "If there is no time, I can wait until lunch."

    "Tea" - it sounded so disjunctive to him and he uttered the word in the intonation of a question, as if it required translation.

    "I...right...You...you felt that. Didn't you?" he said, finally looking directly to his once Jedi apprentice.

    He shook his head. The feeling was gone. It left him motionless and blinking at her for a moment. Again, he shook his head and his gaze felt to him as if it had gone stern. He inhaled deeply and stretched his back and shoulders, deciding to laugh it off. “Pretty brutal when you think about it. I suppose its a fairly common reaction to find that process unsettling. We all reinvest the dead with a presence long departed. The mind fills the void with whatever it wants to see...heh...Just interesting that we all wanted to see the same thing!” he said, appreciating the irony.

    The glimmer of a very cogent realization filled his mind briefly-was it the will of others and their belief in one’s authority and power that so empowered an individual. Did those Sidious manipulated, in fact, invest him with their own wills? The Sith doctrine was as much a manipulation of the Sith as those over whom a Sith sought power. Something Vos had said came to the surface, like the tip of an iceberg glinting in the waves of an ocean. He stowed it away for later when Vos returned.

    Still, what Sin had said earlier inferring that Sidious was capable of unspeakable skills concerning reanimating the dead, Anakin knew to be true, and he was going to have to do his own forensics - for the absent soul who had once been Palpatine.

    Ahsoka was looking at him with not a little concern and remembered to answer her question.

    "There'll be something on the transport, if you're hungry, but no, no time for tea, really." Slowly, a smile lit his face as he met her big blue placid gaze and chuckled. "You're always hungry. That's something I’ve always appreciated about you, I never had to move you to an appetite! Eh...alright! So, that's the autopsy. Debriefing, autopsy...Senate address - let's go," he said clasping her shoulder after mentally checking his "to do" list.

    “Yes, I...” Ahsoka held his gaze for a second, lips pursed as she considered what he had said about death. Part of her was considering providing an explanation for why she was hungry, but under his gaze, she couldn’t help but grin back. “... yes,” she chuckled. “The sooner we go, the sooner....” she swept her hand outward to the door behind her, the lengths of her warm and animated lekku swayed from the broad gesture, “...everything else can happen.”

    As they made their way through the administrative central building of the Ursean Embassy or the New Palace as it had become known in the past several days, officers both Ursean and Imperial halted and bowed, clicked heels, and saluted as the Emperor passed.

    It made her feel suddenly very self-conscious and remembering the instruction she was given during her 'courting' on Shili, Ahsoka kept her head held high, her back straight and her gait as graceful as she could achieve. Her vision blocked out the others in the halls they passed as she focused on placing each step on the path in front of her. She could sense Anakin alongside her and the ease with which he tolerated the attention. He was used to this, obviously, and she kept him as a guide for herself.

    Momentarily, their progress was halted as they met the white haired general who had interviewed her briefly the night of her arrival. High Admiral Colton greeted them in the now familiar rotunda of the main building and entry point of the gothic complex. "Our liaisons are already arrived at the Senate building, Your Majesty. I shall accompany your escort in my own transport. Shall I alert your pilot or is there anything more you wish to attend before departing?"

    Anakin replied there was not and the sooner the better that they depart.

    Ahsoka avoided the temptation to look to Anakin during this exchange and only gave the general a slight nod of recognition.

    "Commissar Tano," said the General with a nod in return.

    While it was clear that Ursean Palace Guards cleared a path through the ample corridors for the Re’s egress, the halls were still pretty crowded and active. There were a lot of Imperials in fact and droids carrying pallets with data files and boxes or even furniture as rooms and whole suites were shifted to make room for the Imperial staff that would constitute the Palace at Coruscant now Palpatine’s black pyramidal “folly” was destroyed.

    There were more than a few eyes on her as they passed. Ahsoka fought the urge to rest her hand upon the hilt of saber and instead flexed and shook her hand to loosen it.

    Though restrained, one could see observations being made, the questions half-formed by many they passed. The Emperor was himself physically changed in appearance though having the same face. His hair hung to below his shoulder blades when earlier he appeared with pate singed of hair and haggard from battle. The wounds, burns and shrapnel that had pocked his comely face upon his return from battle were all gone! At his side, a non-human of stately poise who with her montrals stood taller than he, though not by much. Her svelte and hard body more than amply displayed garnered quite a lot of admiring and curious glances, though from the rare few, envy and wicked regard as a non-human and interloper. Such rabid bigotry was curtailed in the New Palace as the Urseans did not seem to be afflicted with that cancerous bias. And the Imperials were still trying to see how the chips would fall. Anakin held himself differently and somehow seemed to stand taller, more imposing, and less ... approachable. It was habit and likely served him with those who put stock by overt postures of power.

    Keeping their brisk pace, clasping hands at the small of her back, Ahsoka noted with satisfaction that she no longer had to consciously stretch her stride to keep up with Anakin. She also noted that the hallways were the same ones as the those they had come along before. Indeed, the last half of the way retraced their steps back to the landing pad where they’d met the cortege that brought the body of Palpatine to the Embassy.

    It had been so long and yet, it was as though there had never been any time they’d spent apart; the healing Master Vos and Dr. Molita had performed, she had to admit ,was nothing short of miraculous and her mind lingered on the warmth in her old Master’s expression, how the sunlight brought out the golden highlights in his mane. His step and demeanor since he’d woken seemed more and more like his familiar ways: small gestures and the buoyancy in his voice...

    A pair of thick blast doors opened ahead of them and a gust of harsh and chilled air rushed at them. Ahsoka looked away from Anakin and focused ahead.

    Out on the tarmac, a transport sat ready to alight and as they passed guards saluted, bowed and parted allowing them to pass and board the vehicle. All around, the wind and transport’s engine’s roared. faded as they reached the end of the ramp and entered the softly lit pale blue and grey interior of the Ursean transport. A secretary of some sort bowed and handed a data pad to Anakin, whom Ahsoka once again reminded herself, was now Emperor. It would take some getting used to.

    Those who were gathered outside and those who watched as they passed made her conscious once again of her saber in plain view instead of hidden in her spanner. She pushed aside the thought to keep her focus. She tried to ignore also, the eyes and holo-spheres that were trained upon her as she kept pace with Anakin.

    Outside, the portcullis was crowded to either side with guards, journalists with press passes, government workers and visitors with clearance on this important day. The population though mixed seemed overrepresented by young faces. This was the "Hero with No Fear" and it was their time now. No more old men out of touch and uncaring, but a young and energetic hero who could make things clear, make life less compromising and clean up the corruption they did not want to know too much about. They screamed as the Emperor came within their view. And some all the more, for wasn't that his old comrade with him... what was her name??? It is her!!!! The noise was deafening.

    The people were desperate to have their conscience cleared.

    Anakin greeted them raising a hand in salute, a thumb tucked in his belt and he looked to Ahsoka, "I think they recognize you and it would seem it hasn't hit them just what your presence can mean." He had to lean down and shout it to her. But it was clear to Anakin they expected change from him.

    Ahsoka's eyes widen and nodded to him. It was more than a little overwhelming. Her lips curled up into a slight smile as she hoped that it did not look like she had a freaked out expression on her face.

    They reached the ramp, the hint of ample relief in his step as Anakin felt the welcomed inclosure of the transport’s treated air meet him. He even let his shoulder fall as he took a split second to release tension. The closing ramp whirred and the hydraulics hissed as the noise of the crowds and the engines quickly faded with the closing of the ship’s hatch.

    The streamlined decor was low key, but comfortable. Ahsoka settled down immediately, folded her hands on her lap and looking up, gave Anakin a smile to say she was ready for whatever he had to communicate to her and it was clear he did.

    For his part, Anakin looked down to Ahsoka and wet his lower lip in thought. Where to begin? She’d need to know what to expect. He’d have to explain a little about his formal address to the Senate, and so without much preamble he began talking about his plans to rebuild the Empire after years of war and about restructuring the government and Ahsoka listened closely...

    TAG: @TheMaidofOrleans / @LadyZaraMarta (if you are so inclined)

    To Be Continued...
    Last edited by pashatemur, Jan 30, 2013
  9. Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    OOC: Sory this post is late, but December was a busy time in RL. Normal service has resumed:)

    IC: Captain Scyther Vectis & the AllStars
    Location: Ursean Embassy, Coruscant

    The weary group of the AllStars began their journey towards their rooms, and finally a chance of rest. The reception later on would give them all a chance to let their hair down and enjoy themselves, and at least in Ivanov’s case, he had someone he was looking forward to seeing.

    Scyther wondered who else would be there, Carthaginian probably would be, she also hoped Captain Smirnova, Carthaginians second in command would be there as she hadn’t seen him or talked to him in quite a while. She also had to make sure that if her boss was there, that he didn't instantly head for Bahari, if he did, Bahari would probably do one of either two things, faint or stand still frozen.

    As they walked along the group did manage to get a look at the beautiful Ursean architecture, it was full of high vaulted ceilings, sculptures and works of art, with beautiful views over the Coruscant cityscape. No matter where you went as an Imperial, the sight of the city world always brought a smile to your face, and Scyther was proud to call this place home. It looked like both Ivanov and Arazov were enjoying having a taste of home here.

    Ivanov directed them to the tower where they would all be sleeping, they had arranged that the Captain’s would sleep on the top floor, senior Lieutenants and Commander Cutter on level two with the junior Lieutenants and Ensign Charios on level three.

    Ivanov decided now was the time to call his Lieutenants on his comlink to bring them over; Scyther heard his side of the conversation.

    “The Lieutenants had luckily found a place to rest for a while thanks in part to your Ensign Spion-Bombardier, apparently his parents have an apartment here. They will be arriving shortly with their things, and some of the other Ensigns are also staying with him. Apparently he has also invited Captain Delomeux to join those at the apartment as well and he has been helping the Ensigns to assign accommodations. Also Ensign Novell and Ensign Quedrue of Unstoppable have also allowed people to stay at their families places as well.”

    The Heads of Starfighters and senior Ensigns were all given crew manifests so they could organise quarters for those who didn't have family or friends staying here already. All the crew manifests would then be sent to Scyther and the respective Captain’s with the addresses of where they would be staying at, and also comm codes should they need to be reached.

    “I think that this is where the Ensign is defiantly glad he’s rich” said Terric with a smirk, knowing like the others did that the Ensign hated being rich.

    Captain Minus Delomeux was Roadblock’s Head of Starfighters. A veteran of many starfighter campaigns, an injury had forced him to retire and go into a command post. He spent is time sharing tactics with the other Heads of Starfighters within the group and training the novices. In his free time he mostly spent it battling against a computer in puzzles and strategy games.

    “Try living on a farm for most of your life” said Arazov “Me and Ivanov had to, it’s defiantly what you would call the simple life. Good food though, and plenty of fresh air”

    “Wish I had that” said Bahari wistfully, as being a nobleman he was used to the finer things in life, but Scyther knew he hated being rich too.

    “Well boys, you get to enjoy some comfort for a few days, so enjoy it while you can. Who knows how long we will be here before our next mission begins” said Scyther looking back towards the group with a grin.

    “I’m all for that” said Madison.

    Eventually they crossed a bridge towards the tower they were staying in, leaving them with some fresh air for a few minutes. It felt good to Scyther to feel some fresh air on her face.

    The tower was furnished in what looked like the classical Ursean style, Arazov and Ivanov pointing out different features as they ascended. They all gathered together on the third level where Ivanov gave out their room numbers, Scyther then stepped forward to address the group.

    “Ok boys, time for some rest and relaxation. If you need anything, I’m sure the staff here will be able to assist you. Get a shower, get some sleep and hopefully you should be relaxed and ready for action again. Ensign Charios, I think if you leave your room, you should be escorted. This may intrude on you, but with the information you have, you are now a legitimate target. We cannot risk you being assassinated, and I’m sure Ivanov would not like to see another of his crew members dead”.

    Charios looked a little embarrassed.

    “I understand sir, but I do protest at the escort, we should be safe here”

    “Duly noted Ensign, however nowhere is necessarily safe, even here on Coruscant. You saw yourself what happened to the Senate and the Surgical Centre. We cannot take the risk”

    The Ensign nodded but he still looked like he was going to protest again.

    “Now, before we go, I am wondering whether the Lieutenants or Commander Cutter will be joining us later.”

    Most of them shook their heads, but Casrah who spoke up.

    “I think the consensus is no on that one sir, besides, someone needs to do the babysitting” at that he looked at Charios and smiled, Charios wasn't smiling back; in fact, he was glaring daggers at the Lieutenant.

    “Alright, but feel free to come on down later if you’re bored at all” Scyther smiled at them all “Sweet dreams gents, and enjoy yourselves”

    The team then split off, the Captain’s heading off to the top floor.

    “You know, I could live in this sort of palace every day of my life” said Terric, “Get people to do things for you, not have to do anything at all, and don’t have to blow anything up….”

    “Trust me, it’s not as exciting as you think” said Bahari shaking his head.

    “Besides, you get people to do things for you anyway in the Empire, they are called your crew” said Madison.

    “True” said Terric “but at least if you live in a palace, you don’t have to think about things all the time”

    “I can just see you working on a farm” said Arazov, which cause everyone to laugh apart from Ivanov, who looked like his mind was elsewhere.

    They found their rooms and bade each other a restful sleep and promised to meet each other later on downstairs, dressed to kill in their dress uniforms.

    Scyther entered her room and looked around. Very cosy she thought and very homely too. A roaring fire blazed giving the room warmth, cushions everywhere and it had an air of decadence about it. It looked warm and inviting, it made you want to stay here for quite a while.

    She took a quick shower, cleaning off all the grime from the stresses and strains of the Mygeeto battle and changed into her night clothes which she had brought with her, along with some clothes and uniforms from Roadblock.

    As she looked outside admiring the view from the tower she wondered what would be in store for her next. What new missions could her and the AllStars undertake, and what new emotions would she face? Only time would tell.

    She also wondered what the other Captains were doing. Ivanov and Madison would probably be reading, Terric would be trying to find a HoloNet terminal somewhere so he could watch some sport, Arazov would probably be asleep straight away and Bahari was probably laying in the dark, wide awake and worrying about something or other.

    Before she decided to head off to bed, her datapad pinged. It was Captain Delomeux informing her that everyone was now settled and had places to stay. He would send her an updated manifest list later on after he had gotten some rest; he also hoped that everyone would have a good time at the Embassy and to comm him if they needed his assistance.

    And with that, Scyther decided it was time for bed, she set her alarm on her chrono for a few hours and drifted off to sleep with a smile.

    TAG: Pashatemur and everyone for the party.
  10. Master-of_les-Pauls Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2013
  11. TheMaidofOrleans Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2005
    star 3
    OCC: Real life is keeping me busy '25' hours a day! Please foregive the delay. Go right ahead and I will 'back date' post if necessary.
  12. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~Welcome back @Master-of_les-Pauls and @TheMaidofOrleans, it's great to see you both and I look forward to seeing more of you. If you need any assistance, feel free to send me a message. :)


    ~IC~ Captain Dorja
    Location: Chommell Sector - Obligon Nebula/Arrissa's Field - 'Relentless'

    As the party was escorted out of the hanger, the Captain remained alone to his thoughts in the cavernous hold, the distant clank and rumble continually pounded on, the beating heart of the Destroyer. He had to prepare himself for a for what was to come. It was going to be a long day and he knew his position would not be the same once the chrono ticks over to the next day. How he would be perceived by his peers after this? ‘A hero that has helped put an end to a conspiracy against the Empire? Or a butcher that had taken one of their own? It boils down to how he and his crew handle the directive given to him by Grand Admiral Thrawn. The fail-safe plan was set in place as a last resort to prevent the enemy from getting their hands on the facility... and if they have to initiate it, then it meant that the Ragnarök has been compromised.

    ‘Yes’, he thought as he stepped into the turbolift, ‘It was going to be a long day’. The reality was that he was just a merely a tool for the ‘alien’ Supreme Commander. ‘How did Thrawn predict that something like this would happen? Did he orchestrate this all along to expose traitors of the Empire? Or was there something other at work here?’ Dorja shook his head to clear his mind of those questions. All he knew were the facts. He and his command, the Relentless, were assigned to safeguard the Ragnarök, a ‘destroyer-converted-research vessel’. Due to the secretive nature of the research, they had to be away from prying eyes.

    On the edge of the Chommell Sector, a region of space belonged to the Obligon Nebula; an interstellar nursery that gives birth to and nurture young stars. It has been speculated that the asteroid field that rested at the edge of it was formed from matter being ejected out from the nursery or by planetary system that had failed to grow. It was here the isolation of their vessels had found a niche within the thin boundary line that divides the Arrissa’s asteroid field from the Obligon Nebula. Being stationed here on the fringe in harsh conditions... the constant bombardment of micrometeorites and radiation... had left Dorja feeling bitter and excluded from the rest of the fleet.

    He adjusted the cuffs of his sleeves and pressed the wrinkles out of his uniform before the lift had arrived at it’s destination. He had just corrected his collar when he felt the ‘gravitational rush’ settle and the doors open. As he stepped out of the lift, Dorja saw the main corridor was empty, except for a lone MSE droid going about it’s business, as it should be... Giving no regard to the droid, he was left alone to his thoughts.

    He didn’t think much of the assignment at the time it was given to him. It had been an honour alone to be hand picked and to serve under the legendary Grand Admiral. However, he soon chalked it up as a simple babysitting duty, a waste of military resources and later convinced himself that his position was a form of punishment given by Thrawn. Even he didn’t know all of what went on within the Ragnarök and what he knew only came from the official reports that were made and filed by the Ragnarök’s commander: Juno Eclipse. All of that has changed given recent events, with evidence emerging of treachery amongst their ranks, it was dawning upon him just how vital his position was now. ‘Who knows what that brilliant mind is thinking... Maybe it is best not to know. Time to put an end to this.’

    Dorja’s eyes surveyed the crew as he strode out onto the bridge and silently congratulated them for remaining at their posts and sticking to the task at hand. He passed the crew pit and positioned himself at the large viewports, before Dorja clasped his hands behind his back. The rich warm glow of the Obligon nebula washed the starry vista with red and orange. A collision of dust and rocks from the asteroid field impact the shields and lit up the Relentless’ bow at irregular intervals. Ahead he could see a vessel not far off their bow. It was the Ragnarök and his eyes narrowed at the sight of it. Before the day is out, hopefully he will never have to lay his gaze on the sight of it anymore.

    “Ensign,” He called one of the young officers over. “Do you have the status report?”

    “Yes, sir.” The officer stood to attention as he cradled the datapad in his hands.

    “Firstly, how are our guests from the Union?”

    The Ensign checked through the datapad. “The Union guests should have arrived at their assigned accommodation and should be settled soon.”

    With a nod of approval, Dorja then asked about their other ‘guests’.

    After clearing his throat, the Ensign thus read from the report. “The debriefing of the pilots from Panthera Squadron has started. Colonel Vosloo is taking care of it and a thorough report will be created once all the interviews are done.”

    “Very good. I am sure Commander Varian was cooperative when he was informed that we will be conducting the debriefing of his squadron on board the Relentless.”

    The Ensign noticeably shifted on his feet. “Commander Varian... conceded, given the unusual circumstances.”

    Captain Dorja curbed the thin smile that almost played out on his lips, the next few hours should prove interesting. “And what of Commander Gerard’s team?”

    “Their pilot has informed us that they have arrived on board the Ragnarök without any incident. The Commander and his team should have commenced their operation by now.”

    He nodded silently, Dorja held a deep respect for the man and knew he had unwillingly placed Gerard and his team in an uncomfortable position with this operation. They are more than capable of completing the task but there is moral dilemma attached to this mission. It bodes ill to strike against their ‘brothers’ but they have to act on faith that the Grand Admiral’s directive was sound. If they keep that faith that what they are doing is the right thing... then everything else shall fall into place.

    “There is one other thing, Captain.” The Ensign spoke up. “We’ve received a relay from Captain Brandei of the Judicator.”

    Dorja’s brow furrowed at first but then it clicked. One of the two Imperial Star Destroyers that had remained in system to investigate the nebula.

    The Ensign continued, “he reports that their prodes have picked up an anomaly within the Nebula. Well... more of a cosmic disturbance. All indications point to a Pulsar star causing havoc on the investigation.”

    “They could have asked us for that information and saved time.” Dorja muttered under his breath. “Yes. Thank you, Ensign. Carry on, keep me appraised if the situation has changed.”

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox (Commander Gerard + Team), @TheAdmiral (Ambassador Eddard Dondarion + staff)
    Last edited by Corellian_Outrider, Feb 15, 2013
  13. TheAdmiral Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: A short post to get some of my characters moving. It is based shortly after the arrival of the AllStars on Coruscant.

    IC: ARC Commander Alpha, Lord Admiral James Xavier, Lawson Atreides, Lieutenant Fisk

    VenSD “Roadblock”, VenSD “Empire’s Will” , Coruscant

    James waited at the place where Representative Magnus told him. It was just outside the spaceport, he could still see crew members disembarking chatting between each other. He could relate to how they felt, it was such a great feeling to come back victorious after such a conflict. From what he knew the CIS were almost completely defeated and will not pose a threat to the galaxy and to the Union in particular. This is what mattered to him, Union’s security.

    His only concern at the moment was that the Empire could become their enemy. From what the Lord Admiral had observed the Union has no chances against such a foe. Of course they will be able to cause a lot of damage to an invading force and even prolong the conflict until they reach a stalemate so that diplomacy could take over. But even then it will not be a victory, just a humiliation and economic and social ruin.

    Luckily it was the duchess Atreides who led the Union and he was sure that she will do everything to prevent that. He will follow her to the end as every Xavier had done in the past, this was his duty. Thinking about her James remembered that he will have to make a report of his thoughts and views of what had happened. Then he will have to work with the CSS, probably, to make better recommendation for what needs to be done. It is a pity that he was unable to record the battle so that it could be analyzed thoroughly. Luckily the Ixians won’t ask him to give recordings of the Republic and CIS ships deployed into battle as they already have them. Even better they had active models both from the Republic and from the Separatist navy.

    After the droid invasion they had recovered the abandoned hulks of the damaged ships and repaired them as best as they could. The rest were scrapped and recycled, nothing is wasted in the Union. Not that the repaired ships will be of much help, but they provided a lot of information about the weaponry of the outsiders. The gathered information was priceless, they had working models that could be used for future developments in the Union. The military industrial complex was working at high pace and if everything went as planned the Union will be able to enter a new age in its defense development.

    The only thing that remained was whether they will be able to resume their trading activities so that the economy could be sustained for long enough until the current projects to be finished. That is what mattered to him as above all he was a military man. Nevertheless the economy has to be strong in order for the Union to survive the coming years. He was not an expert in this field and did not pretend to be one, nor was it required of him. After all he is supposed to be the Union’s saber that will cut down its enemies when the time is right. And this is what mattered to him.

    The sudden appearance of the black speeder took him out of this line of thought. He could see that it was a luxury class vehicle. The one that Representative Magnus had sent him. James hoped that the driver was from the Union. It felt like ages since he last spoke Uniatis. Despite the fact that it was merely several days or was it weeks since his departure. There were quite a lot Union citizens living with the outsiders. They were mostly working in different branches of the companies that the Union had set up. Mostly they were living on the Outer Rim worlds where the Union preferred to do business. There were also missionaries who were spreading the belief of the Greater Good to the heathens of this Galaxy. Spreading the light of illumination and the true doctrine.

    The speeder stopped right in front of him. The chauffeur went out and gave a smart salute. ‘Must be from the CSS..’ thought James. The man was not very tall, lean, but if he could judge correctly kept himself in form. Probably was a former commando from the Spec Ops of the CSS. There was that feel to the man, like a trained killer. So he was going to act as his chauffeur and his bodyguard.

    “Lord Admiral, I am Evgeny Kostrovitch. Representative Magnus sent me to take you to him.”

    James just nodded.

    “Very well then, lead the way.”

    Evgeny held open the door of the speeder for him until the Lord Admiral was in. Then he gently closed it and took his seat. The interior was luxurious: black leather seats facing each other with a small table in between and a minibar. So this is where the Union money were going, for expensive trinkets for their representatives on the different worlds. Of course there was another point of view, these were regarded as status symbols, showing that the outsiders will not be dealing with a poor outer rim world, but with an affluent mid-rim one. Nevertheless he didn’t care that much about these things.

    Something caught his attention, a yellow folder on top of the table. This must be a compiled report to get him up to date of recent events. He took it and slowly opened it...

    ******************************************************************************

    Alpha had been lying in the sickbay facing the entrance. He was sure that something was not right. This feeling nagged him for some time now. Something was wrong and that suspicion was confirmed when he saw the guards standing watch outside enter the room coming towards him.

    ‘So this is how it was going to end?’ he thought “Alone, defenceless in my bed? I knew I shouldn’t have believed what Vader had said...”

    He used him for this mission and when he was no longer needed they were going to eliminate him... Part of Alpha’s brain braced for the inevitable, but the other was calculating his chances to take both guards out. But even if he managed to pull this off there was no way he could escape the Venator and hide on Coruscant. The Commander only wished that he would have died in uniform as an officer of the Galactic Republic.

    But you don’t get what you want... So he just stared at them as if this will scare them away or at least he could die facing his enemy. Alpha braced himself for the inevitable, he had no regrets and could basically say that he was ready for this, after all his entire life was spent preparing for this moment. But the Clone had been expecting that he will be facing death in battle and not in bed.

    As he expected the killing blow two medical officers pushing a hovering stretcher entered the room. One of them said something but Alpha was too fixed on his presumed imminent death. He felt a touch on his good shoulder, that took him out of his stupor so the Commander turned his head. The man seemed annoyed.

    “I ain’t pick you up and put ya on the stretcher...”

    In another situation Alpha would have at least made a remark of this insubordination. But as he guessed probably he was stripped of his rank. Besides the medics rarely deferred to rank so there was that. When you are in sickbay you are all equal...

    At least that is what they claim...

    ******************************************************************************

    Lawson was pacing in the quarters he was confined in. It had been several days now that he was confined in. All thanks to his maternal grandfather the archduke Moritani who for some convoluted reason tried to kill him. He was not good at politics and all the intrigues within the Union were something that hardly interested him. His cousin Jori is the politician in the family, at least one of the many. One thing that Union was not lacking were politicians. There were far too many for his liking...

    At least the Navis Nobilite provided him with a means to escape all that. He feared if by some reason Jori died he will be the prime contestant for the throne. Something he dreaded the most so Lawson wished his cousin all the luck. As long as he is allowed to fly a fighter, maybe even see new worlds and new people... And by people the prince meant females who were of a particular weakness to him.

    Lawson managed to calm down a bit so he sat on the edge of his cot. He and Jori were very similar, some even might say that they were siblings... She too enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh, at least that was what the rumor said. He had to ask her other cousin - Vernius who was infatuated with her just for the fun of it. The poor fool idolises her, if it wasn’t for his brilliant mind she wouldn’t have even noticed him. Lawson had to talk with her about Vernius, as he believed she was being cruel to him playing with his feelings in that way. But Jori is a grown woman and she can decide for herself, not that he cared for the Ixian meatball that much anyway. As long as he provided the Union with new tech he can have his aspirations.

    Lawson, on the other hand enjoyed the good life, one of the perks of being a member of the ruling family. Not that he exploited his pedigree, but could not deny how many doors it had opened for him. And because of that he was here, a possibility he couldn’t miss. The Union had started to grow too narrow for him.

    Lawson craved excitement and this new position in the now Imperial Navy will provide him with enough new sensations to last for some years. To be an ensign again thrilled him, he was to begin anew. He will have to build new relations with the squadron mates. He will have to earn their trust and eventually their respect. In the Union they were more or less a given, but at least in his squadron there they were all members of noble houses so there was not a big social tension. Here, he was unknown, anonymous, he will have to prove himself worthy in the eyes of his peers and to climb the rank ladder step by step.

    Despite his adventurous spirit Lawson was not reckless, he was too well drilled by Lord Admiral Xavier who was his mentor. Lawson wished to see the old man before he depart back to the Union. It will be interesting to hear him recount the battle that he had missed thanks again to his grandfather. He hoped that this unfortunate incident won’t endanger his position in the Imperial Navy.

    The door opened and the female ensign who usually brought him food entered. Not a very tall girl, maybe not exactly a beauty but was pretty enough not to be ignored.

    “Hey...” he said softly as he rose.

    Of course he used his charms on her, to pass the time and to get some information of what was going on.

    “Hey.” she replied trying not to smile and as always avoiding his gaze.

    Standard rations again, proper meals were probably the only thing that he missed from the Union. At least the meals that his status unlocked. Lawson sighed silently but accepted his predicament.

    “Thanks... Looks delicious, what is it?” at least he can have some fun.

    Lawson could see the Ensign was trying not to giggle. The first time they talked it wasn’t that hard to see that she came fresh out of the academy with the “Empire’s Will” her first assignment. He could not identify her accent, but from the way she spoke he was sure that she came somewhere from the Outer Rim or at least from a small system in the Mid Rim. After all in the Union military he was trained to recognize such things if they ever went to war with the outsiders.

    They made an occasional short conversation, but she tried to keep it all professional. Which was fine for him as long as she gave him some snippets of information. The prince didn’t intend to get involved with another crew member, at least not that early. If he was a proper detainee they wouldn’t have sent him a greenhorn female but an experienced and dour faced soldier. So Lawson considered himself lucky on that matter.

    Today she decided to play it mysterious so she just smiled at him and left...

    “Nice to see you too...” he said at her back just as the door close behind her leaving him solitary again.

    TAG: Jerjerrod-Lennox
  14. Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    OOC: Many thanks to CO for his continued work with myself with these joint posts it is a pleasure:)

    IC: Sam Gerard, Cosmon “Cosmo” Rendell, John Royce, Savah Poole-Cooper, Noah Noonan, Bobby Brigstocke, Nani Kali’iwa, Dan’el Denison
    Location: Chommell Sector Obligon Nebula/Arrissa’s Field, ISD Ragnarök

    They had reached the Ragnarök without incident, their counterfeit ID and orders had gotten them through the inspection from the Ragnarök’s bridge. The team had gathered their belongings and were ready to disembark, but before they did, Gerard had some last minute instructions.

    “Alright kids, this is it. Once we are in there is no going back. Keep up your cover stories, especially you scientists and the computer team. Nani, remember to give the triple click signal once you have downloaded the data and set the ship for self destruct. All of you, once you get the signal, get the hell out. Myself and young Noonan will grab the Captain and will be waiting for you. The pilot has strict instructions to take off whatever happens, if you are not here when it is one minute ‘til the ship blows up, then the pilot will take off and head back. Nani, Royce, make sure the data is transmitted to the shuttle”

    “Understood” said Royce, looking to his partner Nani to make sure she understood as well.

    Nani hooked her thumb under the shoulder strap of her pack before she looked up and gave a sharp nod. “Loud and clear,” she acknowledged and flashed one of her confident smiles.

    “Just act like it’s a regular routine, nothing out of the ordinary.” Dan’el muttered under his breath, trying not to let his nervousness get the better of him. He felt guilty turning against the friends he had made but if the report was true then they had betrayed his trust and that of the Grand Admiral. The sooner they get this done, the sooner he can clear his thoughts on the matter. No, he wasn’t ready but he sure as hell is more ready than he’ll ever be. He glanced to Savah and Cosmo and gave a little nod before he turning his attention back to Gerard.

    “OK, that’s all for now, stay frosty and stay alert, we don’t want anything going wrong here as this is a quick mission. OK kids, rock and roll.”

    The ramp descended and the team disembarked, the scientist team immediately heading for the labs, with the computer team heading off to find a terminal they could use which would best extrapolate the information they needed. Gerard looked at his young protege Nonnon and whispered to him.

    “Remember stay close and follow my lead, if he gets me, just stun him and drag him back to the ship. We need the Captain alive whatever it takes.”

    “Understood” Noonan whispered back sounding a little nervous, but who wouldn't be for such an important mission.

    Their best bet would be to try the Captain’s cabin but first, Gerard sent a message to Captain Dorja confirming they were aboard the science ship and were now off on their separate missions.

    Meanwhile the scientist team of Cosmo ,Savah and Dan’el had made their way towards the labs. Savah whispered to Dan’el “Who is the best person to distract while we are here, we need to give Nani and Royce time to do their thing.”

    “There is the head scientist on duty at the moment that oversees everyone else. Dr. Peter Smith.” Dan’el whispered back and did his best to keep his voice calm. There was an unusually high level of anxiety and adrenaline running through him that he hasn’t experienced before. This was not like the other situations and he

    “He-” Dan’el broke off as he saw two personnel had entered the corridor. Exhaling, he forced a smile and gave a friendly nod and wave to them. The personnel gave him an odd look before a flicker of recognition appeared on their faces and waved back to them before turning into another corridor. “As I was saying, he has good intentions but can be a bit...uh..” He paused to consider the right word. “...short sighted, if you catch my drift. He is too caught up with his work to know what is going on around him. If we could occupy his attention...which we should not have any issues with... then the others would not pay us much attention .”

    “Sounds like my kind of thing” said Savah winking at Cosmo and Dan’el “Stay here, and watch the mistress at work” she moved off to try and find the scientist leaving Cosmo shaking his head.

    “I worry about her sometimes” said Cosmo shouldering his bag and following her.

    “She seems to know how to handle the situation.” Dan’el gave a shrug. He had to wonder too but there were more pressing things at the moment. “However, I was planning on... oh never mind....” he cut his sentence short as he saw Cosmo take off after Savah, “...here I am now, talking to myself.” Shaking his head in disbelief, Dan’el gave chase.

    Meanwhile Nani and company had found their terminal, Royce had gotten to work on it making sure it was safe for Nani to operate, Brigstocke stood by looking as innocuous as he could.

    Setting down her bag down at her feet, Nani cracked her fingers before pulling out her kit and set up her datapad. “How long do you think it would take them to do all of what they need?” She whisper softly as her fingers twirled the cord to the jack around them. Her gaze watching Royce’s actions from over his shoulder for his “all clear” signal before plugging into the ship’s systems. If she gave themselves too much time, then that would risk having the application discovered and removed. If she gave them too little.. she did not want to hang around to find out what explosive depressurization feels like.

    “Should take hopefully around ten minutes tops, hopefully the Commander won’t have too much trouble with the Captain, the others can hopefully distract the scientists so they can get their titbits” he said making his final checks and then grunting in satisfaction “Alright all clear, anyone coming Bobby?”

    “All clear here” came Brigstocke's reply.

    Royce then winked at Nani “Time to do your stuff gorgeous




    Tag: To be continued....
    Last edited by Jerjerrod-Lennox, Feb 17, 2013
  15. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: This is a joint post with C_O to whom I give many thanks.

    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano
    Location: Shuttle en route to Senate building, Coruscant

    Here was her “Master,” so much like himself, like the old days, but … different. He was more articulate, employing speech the way some people wielded sabers or paint brushes. He was more restrained, though the exuberance was still there. He was more astute, and patience with things political. This reunion wasn’t going exactly as she’d imagined.

    From the very beginning, her expectations were so confounded; she felt she couldn’t blink as she might miss something. Anakin was Anakin, sure enough. He’d always seemed a natural leader back when, but now was different. He seemed resolute, though uncomfortable in his position of leader, yet more than fit and resolved as both leader and liege. That was a little unsettling. The Jedi tenets forbade a Jedi from holding positions of governmental leadership - though, didn’t Master Mundi hold a position of Council member in his home system? Still, Ahsoka had to admit, even under the influence of the dark, Anakin had, well...matured. She sniffed, her lips forming up into a wry smile as she contemplated the irony of that thought.

    Anakin began to inform her about the logistics and agenda, gesturing in the way he did, emphatically punching the air with his index finger, shaping with the row of his fingertips his words and she suddenly realized and spoke aloud, “I’ve got to go up in the podium with you!”

    He blinked at her for a second. “Well, yes...” he said, momentarily interrupted, but he began anew. “There will be rancor, but I don’t believe anyone will expect what I have to say, not even Pestage ...” Anakin didn’t get far before he was interrupted again.

    “...It’s a bit bewildering, isn’t it?” Ahsoka commented, looking blankly at the soft upholstered bulkhead and speaking over his last comment.

    “I’m not exactly thrilled about the prospect of it being a regular occurrence. I’m a bit nervous, myself. I hate that “clam shell,” Anakin admitted. He let go some tension in his shoulders and inhaled deeply, feeling his jaw tight too, so he smiled a little at her as she gave him a “mental squeeze of the hand.”

    “It’s all very …” he searched for the words. Ahsoka contributed, “Exposed...” “Pompous...”

    “Well,” Ahsoka pursed her lips to contain a smile, but it sprang back into a grin, ”there’s that too!”

    He laughed. It had been a long time since he’d enjoyed this kind of easy rapport with a colleague.

    “Yes, and “here’s the target,” he said, tapping his chest. “Yesterday, I was in the Senate and someone lobbed a missile in my direction.

    “I’ll be there with you, so that counts.” She smiled at him.

    “You know, Snips. It does count. It’s always more fun getting shot at together.

    Folding her arms, Ahsoka wrinkled her nose at him. “HAH, HAH!”

    His smiled danced at a fleeting memory the quiet moment stirred up from the past...

    Long ago, dense rain pelting down, dampening the sounds of the mechanized forces of the Confederacy retrenching in the distance -the rain was just barely liquid, it was so cold, and under a ledge along a canyon wall, the remnants of their battalion crowded, crouched and seated, he and Ahsoka along with them. It was a rare opportunity to catch an hour of sleep. Anakin smiled nearly feeling the contrast of sleeting rain stinging his mud caked face and the warmth of Ahsoka, barely old enough for her knobby little montrals, tucked up next to him and asleep in his arms with only his cloak to shed the rain... “I’ll never let anything happen to you, Ahsoka...”

    “Yes you’ll be up there with me and so will the Vizier...we’ll all be cozy! ...The speaker - I don't know about Amedda. I'm beginning to see him in a different light...”

    Ahsoka grimaced at this second mention of Sate Pestage. “I don't think anyone would care if he was clumsy...”

    Interruption was not a thing to which Anakin had become accustomed in the past 7 years. When Darth Vader spoke, most people knew at least to pretend to listen.

    Ahsoka, however, was still waxing disdainfully over the Vizier. ...and slipped off his seat and how unfortunate to go over the railing too.”

    “Damn all, Ships! Alright, we’re not going to indulge that fantasy.”

    “I know, it’s not helpful just yet.”

    Anakin gave her a very stern look and shook his head, ‘no.’ “Besides, I need him. He knows where all the skeletons are hidden...and don't say it!”

    She bit her words back, catching her bottom lip and corners of her mouth rising into a grin.

    ”I know he owns several of them.”

    “Closets or skeletons?”

    Anakin stood confused at Ahsoka’s question and then burst into laughter, though he raised a brow and tried clearing his throat to sound less amused. ”...Perhaps both! Mr. Pestage is fond of himself. He has a robe for every occasion...but yes, the Vizier is like a pantry door. I think he swings from whichever direction the push comes.”

    ”Both ways then! It’s not like that’s something we haven’t experienced before. So he can only be depended upon so long as you appear to him to hold the upper hand.”

    “Precisely! At the moment, he’s content to work in my favor, but I’m not certain just why, nor after my speech, for how long. There are enough pretenders to the throne from which to choose - Tarkin, for instance. His supporters are many in number and he has his fleet and established lieutenants in the Outer Rim...not to mention resources and personal wealth. Nonetheless, Pestage is backing me and until I understand why, I’m going to let him. “

    ”The Grand Vizier is a necessary … evil, I’m afraid. I can only guess that he understands, I’m the only one with any hope of capturing the public’s favor.” Anakin smirked and looked down for a moment in thought. ”Tarkin’s policies and attitudes are well known. He makes no secret of his disdain for the public...could be... “ Anakin’s voice trailed off as he again stood silent in thought, his brow furrowed and the low hum of the transport’s engines “filled” the quiet of the plush cabin.

    ”The people are key! Even an Emperor cannot rule without the support of the people. It’s the people upon whom I must rely. They must learn to trust in the Senate once more. The Senate must be rebuilt. The irony is, the Senate is a dangerous place for me, but if I’m to make this work, it’s there I must start,” he said resolutely.

    “I think I’m missing something,” said Ahsoka, puzzled. “I understand political enemies, but is there another danger?”

    He sighed. “Being at the center limits your voice. You have less control over public perception and you’re under the lens...”

    “If you speak the truth, if you speak plainly, the people’ll know...”

    "The “me” you know, Ahsoka, the people and Palpatine’s “machine,” he said, meaning Sidious’ bureaucracy, “won't recognize that person. They see who Sidious wanted them to see. He made certain to broadcast his propaganda. As far as any know, I am the last of the “wizards.” He let it be known I was the right arm of his law. There'll be a lot of intrigue and push back and they will expect me to be draconian, understand-without mercy?"

    Ahsoka gave him a reassuring smile and tilted her head. "Since when do I care what they say?” Her brows furrowed and her eyes widen slightly as she caught on to his meaning. “Oh... will you be doing draconian to them?"

    "I ... believe there will be some occasion for it.” He sniffed and folded his arms. ”I can’t expect to convince people of my intent overnight, but coercion is not the way. So you see why I am in a difficult position. The fact is, there are too many in positions of power who operate by instilling fear and that is all they understand. Some came up through the ranks alongside Palpatine and he placed those who became dependent upon his favor in redundant positions. Sidious never gave one or the other enough authority to challenge him, only each other - enough to keep them in opposition to one another and therefore, back dealing and intriguing. There are essentially feudal states out there now - the governorships, the sector and systems Moffs have too much authority and too much in the way of military and monetary resources at their disposal. The only thing keeping them from grabbing for more power is the fear of immediate and lethal retribution and that was my job - to meet out the Emperor's will. Do you see my dilemma, now?"

    "Putting fear at the backs of the people, it doesn't allow room for an alternate fuel source to be used." She rubbed her arms before folding them against her chest.

    He considered her point and smiled at her metaphor. While on the face, it seemed simple and lacking in depth of understanding, he brightened. Ahsoka had a way of “parting the smoke.”

    "The Moffs will respect me for a while, out of fear, but they loathe... hate me more, but you are correct, Ahsoka. I am going to have to replace fear with consensus, and right before their eyes, too, so they can’t cry foul and use it against me with the public."

    “Hmmm, but how... Do you think by having the hearts of the people on our side we can sway the Moffs? It’s not only you they fear, but the people they govern?"

    Yes, it was very true that the Moffs feared the people. They feared descent and multiple points of view - just as Anakin had found it infuriating that the Senate could not cooperate for all those points of view. The only perspective of importance to people like Tarkin was that of the leader whose claim to his position was by dint of his superior biology and whatever served him well, served those over whom he ruled.

    Ahsoka was right, the Moffs saw themselves as the ruling elite, destined by a higher order to rule and they saw the people as rabble, the ignorant whom they openly abused. They had a vested interest in limiting the people’s access to power and had been working to have the Senate disbanded from the inception of the Council of Sectoral Governors, with Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin at the lead.

    Why should the people have their say over how best to be governed? Distracted and unaware, they easily traded their freedom in exchange for leadership in whom they could invest all their crimes and responsibilities. At times, they couldn’t agree to exit a burning house! Yet, like the ripples in a pond, the noise of the marketplace mixed, negotiating an eventual rhythm; all those voices came together and became greater than the sum of individuals.

    One thing Anakin had learned as Re of Ursa, was that the more the people participated in the political process, the more “voice” they had, the more they “owned” their choices, the more they worked for common goals. Anakin, needed that unruly, argumentative, often ignorant, and sometimes churlish rabble and he knew in his heart, they needed him.

    Learning to have patience for the process was as difficult as learning to believe in positive outcomes and ply onward. In other words, it was as difficult as letting the Force effect it’s own order. That sounded like hokum to beings of reason. Those who accepted only one kind of knowing through the mathematics of the mind, to “let go” was madness, chaos, destructive - at least to the minds of people like Tarkin. He was shrewd, capable, intelligent, but a pragmatist to a fault, wholly unbalanced. Illusion kept him in power, the illusion that because of his surety, his summation was right, the little people were expendable. His ilk believed the same and because they showed little restraint in their disdain for those under their elevated strata, they suspected, that given the chance, the “rabble” would welcome the chance to turn the tables on them.

    Timing was everything, Anakin told Ahsoka. They spoke about the political environment of the Empire for a while and about key “players” and his speech. There were three main objectives, as Anakin saw it. The government needed to be made lean and more stable , the Senate more robust and the people’s participation reinvigorated before he could begin to abolish the council of warlords, the governorships had become...but it was more than the Moffs, it was the ruling Council, the Emperor’s acolytes and “Hands,” the Jedi, the insurgents, the remnant of the CIS. They had to be managed to agree to the terms of their retirement and in a very public way...

    He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before speaking again.

    "I believe those who are working covertly against the Empire will believe that it’s business as usual. The Moffs and the Emperor’s old circle, as bloated as they are with self-regard, must be moved only just enough to get legislation passed. I’m going to let the sleeping dogs lie if indeed they sleep, for now. Dismantling my former Master’s web of deceit might stir the curs to take up arms against us and bring on civil war.”

    Anakin shook his head at the mind numbing intricacy of it all. Then, looking to Ahsoka he said, completing aloud what he was turning over in his mind, “I'm hoping that my words will so confound them that they’ll be whelmed by shock. That should keep from precipitating any sudden actions from the Moffs. They will be the most immediate threat, though the resistance, I believe, is no small matter."

    "I do know a few people who might be of help. Ah... umm... would you like me to talk with them?" Ahsoka offered her assistance. ”I’m sure some might be willing.”

    He looked to her in confusion. "With the Moffs or the insurgents?"

    "Uhhmm... I was thinking more along the lines of my people... I do have some...” She tried to find the appropriate word but lost it at the tip of her tongue. “...influence, as a matter of fact. Well, more so now I guess given my current status.” She bit her bottom lip for a second and released it. “Though, if.. or when I speak with her highness... I can stop off to have a cup of tea or so to speak with them, I mean with the resistance, and try and get them to redirect their energy..."

    "How will your... visit be taken? What reception can we expect?

    "With Zaa Vashee or with the Rebels?"

    "With Zaa? Well...yes. But with the resistance? I must weigh everything.”

    “I-” Ahsoka’s gaze lowered as she suppressed a grimace and bowed her head. "Zaa and I get along better than the rest of the family.” She admitted as she reflected upon her time back on her home world. “She is a kind but guarded soul and has shown compassion..." Exhaling, she sat back up, her arms snaked up and cupped her neck with her hands. " I do feel sorry for her. However, there will be others who will not be as welcoming towards me."

    "Humm! I do need you to be my liaison. I know that the political arena is not comfortable for you, but you will learn! You need to know for what you will speak, otherwise you will be lost out there. The bond between us will do nothing to sway them and might, in fact, count gravely against you, but one thing it will allow is clarity between us."

    "If what I say is or appears to be from the heart and genuine... they will not.. or should not have fear of trickery or doubt..."

    Anakin burst into laughter. "...You ... " he sighed and cupped her chin for a moment, "You'd be surprised how much of the dark resides in the hearts of those who think themselves just. No, sometimes in righteous anger and indignation, even the most well meaning can lose the ability to recognize the truth, Ahsoka. That much I know in my bones. But tell me, what do you think Vashee can do for us? "

    She paused as she considered the possibilities. What could Vashee do for us? Leader of a world and race that is considered ‘neutral’ by galactic standards even though her territory falls within the Empire. Vashee’s words would be listened to by more parties than by someone from the extreme sides of the political balance. She followed that train of thought and voiced it to Anakin. “If Vashee agrees to support us... whether openly or behind closed doors... with assistance, others might follow suite. Because Shilli has not been publicaly open about which political side they prefer... that makes them ‘ideal’ citizens of the Empire... When she speaks, others will pause and listen and if she speaks in our favor? Others who will not listen to us before might reconsider and hear us out. She could unlock doors... and minds that might already be closed to us. That’s one means by which she could help us win over more supporters.” She reached up and scratched the back of her neck underneath her rear lek before hooking her index finger around her chain and let her hand slide back down to her chest to hold her pendant. “It takes one drop to create ripples that will grow into waves.”

    Smiling slowly he leaned down to touch his brow to hers as he’d done so many times in the past and realized how he missed the affection they’d once known, the camaraderie and the free playfulness that made them such a great team and impulsively he leaned in to peck her on the brow.

    Ahsoka smile and turned her bright face to meet his gaze as the ship banked sharply and met his kiss instead. Concealed by her natural ruddiness, the flush that warmed her face quickly passed under his astonished gaze. He hardly had time to reassured himself with her chaste smile, as the words left his lips, "I love you, Snips!"

    "Yabba dabba doo and I love you too..." She sang, grinning widely.

    He grinned back at her impishness, at first, unsure if he owed her an apology and then not sure of why. So he cleared his throat and stood taller for the next bit.

    "The ... eh... other issue is my apprentice." he said, getting them back on track, but both stood in silence and in thought and then spoke together at once -

    “It’s...good to be back...” “I’ve missed you, Snips!” Anakin said, speaking in earnest.

    "Sorry, I’m a lil’ off center." She sucked in her lips, her eyes attentive, because he’d said a term that normally was reserved only for her and in this instance, was not.

    He softened reluctantly, losing the hard lines at the corners of his mouth and shook his head at the great blue pools of “trust" looking up at him. Suddenly, he felt very awake with the responsibility it required of him.

    "...ahem...Yes, I have...an apprentice. I’ll come to the point. I had him contact the rebels... as a double agent. I believe he is suspected, but it could either make your overtures to the resistance more dangerous or easier - that is, when we’re ready to make contact with the insurgents. It’s convoluted, because I am not sure the degree to which Sidious may have manipulated that situation. I had begun to suspect he might even have contemplated using him to manipulate me or even to replace me...

    Anakin looked out of the view port, brow furrowed as he gave more thought to Galen Starkiller and Sidious. Again, inhaling, the matter passed beneath the smooth surface of his brow. “Anyhow, I've been thinking about it ever since I woke," he said meaning his awakening from the healing trance into which Quinlan Vos had put Anakin. He grimaced. ”Now my … Master is out of the way, there's no need for the subterfuge anymore. But ...this apprentice has... problems...and he does not share your ...loving regard for me, to put it mildly."

    Ahsoka nodded in understanding, but felt like she was caught off balance, she couldn’t trust herself to speak just yet. There was Anakin’s awkwardness from her impulsive action in which she could kick herself for letting her guard slip like that. ‘But he had said- No!’ She held her breath to not let her head spin off in that tangent as there were more pressing matters in which she needed her senses. With there being another apprentice, one that was trained and possibly under the oversight of the now deceased Dark Lord of the Sith and Emperor... ‘problems’ most likely meant big issues with that force wielder’s reason twisted by the dark side. So...there was no avoiding it, he was a Sith and Anakin was frowning now. He must be guessing, she thought, what had just crossed her mind.

    TAG: to be continued...
    Last edited by pashatemur, Feb 19, 2013
  16. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: Another joint post with C_O. Many thanks!


    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano
    Location: Shuttle en route to Senate building, Coruscant

    He did in fact sense the connection she had just made. He exhaled. "You remember, I did tell you that if you are with me, this would be a difficult path to trod. You offered. I did not, nor would I ask you to walk with me. He waved that tangent away and continued with the subject at hand. ”What's also at issue is an unresolved matter of his pilot. She was involved in an intrigue of her own. She made a critical error in judgment over Naboo and revealed herself to be a traitor and for her own actions, she is now critically injured, perhaps dead, as we speak. He will believe I had her murdered. He's grown ... fond of her."

    Nodding still, Ahsoka allowed herself to take a breath and let it sink in before she spoke. "Then we need proof that she wasn't killed by us."

    "The proof exists, but he's a loose canon and inordinately powerful, Ahsoka. He’s been played out, he doesn’t know who to trust. He could make a lot of trouble - like a rabid dog loose on the homestead. I'm hoping Vos can help bring him back in. I don't want you subjected. Is your head spinning yet!?" he asked in mock humor.

    "I understand. I just... spinning?” She double blinked and then shook her head “No.. Not that I am aware of."

    He tapped her montrals teasingly.

    Ahsoka exhaled then smiled as she reached for his hand and pressed it to her montral, her eyes focused on his. With her right hand, she listed with her fingers. "So I need to be schooled in how to talk with... people who are... of political importance... track down and try to bring into the fold those who can help us, but avoid the 'rabid dog'."

    Anakin watched her for a moment, appraising her response. "He ... will have difficulty with you...but on the contrary, the sooner he is re-educated, the better. You and Vos together can help me immensely, where Galen Marek is concerned. So, no, I don’t want you to avoid him. I need you and Master Vos to run interference and secure him as soon as possible. He will be confused and... difficult.”

    "Difficult?” The corner of her lips pulled down into a frown. “I hope he will not be all... twisted and sick towards me."

    "No, no, he's...resilient. It'll work out. If he's reclaimable, perhaps then you can be of great service. He could learn a lot from you. You are ... you were and you are a good Jedi," he said, with a wistful smile, though with pride. "I had a little something to do with that..." he said slapping his thigh and speaking more formally, "I'm admitting to you, that many of my mistake...the problems born of my choices... are coming home to roost -Too bad they aren't just mynocks.

    He wasn’t telling her all he needed to say. Galen’s state of mind was not Sidious’ doing alone, but his own and Vos’ before him. They had both trained the boy harshly and Galen had turned to the Sheiftain’s second Lieutenant for comfort. Amurle’ah, however, had her own agenda and betrayed the boy. To keep Vos and his activities from Sidious’ scrutiny, Anakin had taken Galen to train alone, because it was expected he would attempt to take an apprentice. It had not taken long for Sidious to get wind of the powerful young child. The tests to which Anakin had subjected his apprentice were hardly inculcating of mutual love and respect. It was not the Sith way...

    This is your chance. You don’t have to go any further Ahsoka. Before when I questioned you … this morning, I sensed, you weren’t able to appreciate the true depth of the problems I’m face... that I made...Are you still …willing to put your hand in this fire and aid me?"

    "You really think I am a-" She blinked and shook her head to clear it. "Sorry, you just said so. To answer... of course I will aid you. We are a team! The best! And hey, you have done a lot of wonderful things, don't forget that too..."

    "Alright ... spare me the pep talk ... ahem... let's ... well, you need to be prepared for the Senate and we’ll talk later about the other matter when Master Vos has returned. You alone will have to be my eyes up there in the rotunda, Snips. I know I can rely on you!"

    “Eyes, ears and montrals.”

    He nodded and bit his lip. Crossing his arms he looked out of the small view port to starboard where the great bronzium mushroom of the senate was looming larger at their approach. He realized that he was having difficulty accepting Ahsoka’s return, because it was expiation for his great burden he needed and sought and that Ahsoka could not give him. Comfort, yes, aid - she was more than capable, but forgiveness - that had to come from within and he could not yet accept that. To forgive seemed an insult to all whom he’d grieved. He was, as yet, untried and he knew it. For all he’d yet experienced, his trial had not begun. He swallowed back a wave of remorse, it was every bit a trap of the dark side as giving into anger and he could not afford to let regret take him. It was an unwise indulgence.

    He returned to the content of his speech and his plans for the Empire and suggested the points at which various individuals or groups might be rattled and what might cause dissention. “This is the first volley. The fact that I am making this speech at all is going to challenge many. Once this day is over, over a third of the departments and bureaus will receive the first of a wave of audits. The resources are already in place."

    Taking a deep breath, he stood taller and gave Ahsoka a reassuring glance and nod. "We're almost there," he said, and then looking down, he pushed a bit of carpet strand with the toe of his boot and said a few things under his breath. Giving speeches was not his favorite activity.

    "You'll be fine... just breathe and the rest will come to you."

    The bright light of day, which had filled the cabin suddenly as they banked and flew into the rising sun’s rays, faded as the transport began its descent to the Executor’s landing pad near Lord Vader’s old offices at the Senate.

    He smiled crookedly at Ahsoka's encouraging words. ”Hah! It's just...it's not about remembering, so much as it is about trying to control the response...I know. I know I can't, but ...it's a habit. They don't hear my words. They see my visage and hear what they think I'm saying. I've got to penetrate the lie...”

    Smiling, she leaned closer. "If there is any moment you don't feel... comfortable than you already are... I can speak for you and inform them that you need time to recover and we can go for... recess?"

    He dropped his arms, a look of horror on his face as he looked down at her from the side. ”In all the fires of Mustafar! That would be suicide!” Then realizing how comical he must look, he grimaced and shook his head. ”No, once I'm up there, I will deliver! I'll be plain about this, Ahsoka. Your return...it's a great asset to me. I want you on that podium. It’ll keep them occupied trying to puzzle out the meaning. It's more than just significant that you are here. It’s dangerous and …serendipitous,” he said, coming to stand before her and speaking enthusiastically. “Dr. Molita advised me against the speech today, but I have to do this, now. I need to give the people a framework before the rumors and intrigue go too far and you, you’re going to be the spanner in the works, throw some off balance and perhaps reassure others.”

    "Strike while the iron is hot." She murmured

    ”The people need to see there is hope for change, but while they see you with me, a Jedi, an “outlaw”, I have to be careful not to spur my opposition toward action. I can not give them the ammunition or fuel, as you said, to rally supporters and depose me. I'll speak of the practical necessity to return to peacetime order and balance with the need for innovation, but it's what's not said that will stick with them. Understand? They won’t be certain of what to infer and I won’t have played my hand...hopefully...Not yet.”

    She nodded. "I do... and thank you."

    “Huh? Ah, well...you’re welcome. Ahsoka, I'm not suggesting you are ... an accoutrement, an accessory, but ... your return is different, even though you aren’t the first Jedi to join the Empire. - You were as much in the news and propaganda of the time as I was - I’m banking on their needing to keep a calm face for the time being, under this confusion while they plan. There’s no way that any foresaw Palpatine’s death.”

    Ahsoka clasped her hands together and stretched her arms out for a brief moment, feeling the pull of her muscles before letting them relax and folded them back again in front of her chest. "I never thought that you’d need me as much as I need you..." she hesitated for a second. "Well...”

    His eyes slimmed a bit as he considered what she said in her candor, then he blinked and nodded, smiling slowly as well, even as he promised himself to ask her later just exactly what she meant about “needing” him.

    He continued. “It’s a bit of a "show," something I learned from “my Master.” He knew better than anyone just what and when a show was needed.”

    ”Smoke and mirrors or more of a flashy showmanship?”

    “Not smoke and mirrors, but something shiny to hold their attention.”

    ”I always thought his shows were dull, but I guess he knew just how impressionable his intended audiences were. Like sand panther kittens after a dot of light.”

    Anakin laughed a little bitterly. ”It’s only after the fact you say that, Snips. Think about it. You may not have liked him, but you can’t tell me you saw through his disguise anymore than the others. He paused for a moment to let the tension and anger that had crept into his voice go. If she really had seen through him, and done nothing...no, she hadn’t, of course she hadn’t. ”Forgive me... but, don't underestimate him, he was ... very good at what he did, persuasion, manipulation, understanding the political theatre... Anakin hated the fact that he actually in some part missed the old man. The young Emperor bowed his head for a moment and sighed.

    ”I didn't mean any disrespect... just... I don't know...” She shrugged, ”I guess maybe I did.”

    Anakin looked up bemused, ”Disrespect?” and laughed.

    Ahsoka crinkling her nose, she was unsure of how to take Anakin’s laugh. Was he disappointed in her, had she caused him offence?

    He leaned down to catch her expression clearly. An uncomfortable silence ensued and he took a breath, sensing confusion in her. Pursing his lips, he realized the bond could sometimes also make things more difficult and complex to interpret. She must have felt his momentary weakness with the dark.

    Quietly, he spoke, “Ahsoka? I … It’s the subject. It’s not easy for me to speak about... You did nothing to … nothing with which I should have a problem. I was going to say you did nothing to anger me, but that’s not exactly the truth and it was...ahem...presumptuous of me. It’s ... I wondered for a moment if you had known anything about Palpatine back then, and didn’t say anything. Of course you didn’t. You can understand why that might rankle...” He winced at how convoluted he’d just made everything. He breathed in again slowly trying to straighten the wreck his jumbled thoughts had just made in his heart and head, and hoped Ahsoka would sense what he wrestled with, but of course that was lazy of him and he knew he wasn’t going to have an easy time of this healing.

    Ahsoka furrowed her brow and narrowed her eyes as she pouted “I always thought that he never liked me and he always did those “Wait outside little girl” gestures.” She straightened her posture as she impersonated his voice and pulled a sneer. “And then I’d roll my eyes and wait patiently for you outside his office door... I mean.. Can I...” She hesitated and took a deep breath. “Did I just say that?”

    They stood looking at one another for another awkward moment and then the man who had called himself “Darth Vader” guffawed, and gave expression to a very raw expletive deleted.

    "Excuse me. I think a little disrespect is allowed," he said, still chuckling and enjoying Ahsoka’s candor. He smiled at her freely, suddenly feeling … what did he feel? He felt like breathing was just a bit easier.

    They were fast approaching the Senate, the shadow of which now covered a swath of office towers before them. Now, he spoke more quickly.

    “Lekhauf will communicate with you on security. We must be prepared for anything. I have made many enemies in the past 7 years. Should something transpire, we shut it down quickly and neatly, with as little show of force as possible.”

    "My presence might make them cautious or open to consider... there are two factors that differ from those years."

    He listened.

    "The climate has changed with the former Emperor’s passing. People are not sure of each other’s allegiances either, when before they maybe thought they were sure. Hey...you know, you are right - this is like field tactics, in a way..."

    Nodding at her appraisal he added, “Yes, and I believe your presence will confuse them enough to unseat and delay any efforts to act during the speech. Still, we must be prepared and Lekhauf is the point man. He’s already set up the security details. You won’t have time to mark their locations, but you’ll have a direct link to the General and you’ll be with me. I can’t think of anyone I could rely on better.” He reached and patted her shoulder.

    The pilot’s voice announced their arrival, the transport’s internal communications system suddenly “crackling” on with a burst of white noise before the pilot spoke. Dignitaries and secretaries arrived at the cabin from another compartment aft of the one in which the young and presumptive Emperor and his old apprentice, now Commissar, stood. Anakin looked up as the door had hissed open to admit them. In the background, the dignitaries spoke in low tones and the pilot could be heard communicating with traffic control.

    Some he greeted with a few words, but he soon turned back to Ahsoka and gestured her to walk with him to the hatch and ramp.

    He spoke out of the side of his mouth. Are we having fun, yet?

    ”Apart from the fact that I forgot to bring the picnic basket.” she murmured back. Ahsoka’s stomach rumbled and they both looked longingly through the now crowded cabin to the plate of delicacies …

    TAG: To be continued…
    Last edited by pashatemur, Feb 20, 2013
  17. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~This is joint post between Pasha and myself, thank you for this, it is a pleasure.

    ~IC~ Kaylee and Rowan Halcyon, Dr. Meril Blanik, Ariek, Kal
    4 cycles before the incident at Coruscant
    Location: Icarus - Hyperspace - Unknown


    Kaylee made her way along the central corridor and felt the deck shudder beneath her feet. The bulkheads stretched out to lines and back to normal again, a time distortion that usually marked the Icarus’ transition out of it’s hyper jump and into real space.

    There were raised voices ahead as she stepped from the corridor and into the dimly lit bridge only to find a hive of activity circulating about the helm and navigation. Her ears picked up fragments of the multiple discussions taking place... the technicians disputing hypotheses amongst themselves regarding a matter about which Kaylee had not been informed, nor could she make out the particulars. Immediately her eyes went to the conductors of the chaos: Kal and Ariek. Rich blue light shining from the large semi circular viewport backlit the couple, their silhouettes showing the two in deep discussion.

    Kaylee approached.

    “What is all this commotion about?” She flashed a warm smile and clasped her hands together before her as she craned her neck to see past them. From her angle, Kaylee couldn’t make out anything outside the viewport other than stars and an eerie glow on the cruiser’s hull. “Have we arrived in-system?”

    “Uh- Hold that thought...” Kal stepped aside and leaned over the navigations console.

    “So,” Ariek’s eyes left Kal and locked in on Kaylee's. Smirking, Ariek asked, “How was Rowan?”

    “He is great, which was surprising after-” Kaylee's voice trailed off as she felt the older woman’s gaze scrutinise her and making her feel somewhat self conscious. She pursed her lips at the warming of her cheeks. “Ah.. h-he is resting at the moment.”

    The corner of Ariek’s mouth lifted slightly and gave a sly look with a slight nod as if to say, “Uh-huh”

    “Technically-” Kal stepped back to the two women, interrupting the exchange, much to Kaylee’s relief, “we are in-system but... not exactly.”

    Kaylee’s brow furrowed and arched an eyebrow at him. “What do you mean by that?”

    Kal just shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. We’re at the coordinates but she ain’t there. The starfields do not match up either.”

    “Again, are you sure it is not some sort of navigational error?” Ariek asked. “We have seen combat recently and the crew must be fatigued. This has to be an error on their part.”

    That last remark turned a few heads their way.

    Feeling exasperated, Kal waved his hands in the air. “Maybe, but.. I..We have double... triple checked everything and it doesn’t add up...”

    Kaylee’s mind switched off at Kal’s rant and pushed past them to stop before the large viewport and see for herself. A vast glittering starfield splayed out before her against the rich expanse of indigo and blue dust clouds of a distance nebula... her heart sank with disappointment. This was not the Corellian System! Again they faced another setback, it felt as though some divine power was trying to prevent them from returning home. Everyone longed to return, but their destination just kept moving out of reach. Exhausted, minds straining to deal with all the anomalies and the repairs to the ship, this added problem was painful. Away from home and family, for too long, it seemed they were a plaything for some fickle gods.

    Kaylee peered out at the stars before them, brow furrowed in thought. Unlike many of the crew, she had no home world to which she could return. For her, “home” resided in those she loved; home was being together. Heart aching for the little bit of home that was so far away right now, she reached out, but found herself distracted when her ears pricked up a change of tone in Kal’s voice.

    “...never planned on this. We did, however, pick up the presence of what we are guessing to be a satellite. Artificial. It is just on the edge of our range.”

    Not turning from the viewport, Kaylee nodded in acknowledgement. “We have to investigate and find out.” She held her left arm firmly against her abdomen. “It might be our only clue to where we are.”

    “You really want us to jump to the object...” Ariek arched her brow. “...given our current predicament?”

    “No, set maximum throttle on the sub-drives.” Kaylee bowed her head, her right hand cupped the side of her face. Her fore and mid fingers massaged her temple as she sighed in annoyance before she took a deeper breath. “It’s the only thing we know that functions properly, best be safe than be sent further into the abyss.”

    “You do realise it will take several hours away on sublight engines.” Kal pointed out.

    Kaylee nodded. “That should give us plenty of time to have a team assembled.”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    “Good to see you up and about Master Halcyon! Are you here to see the Captain for a check up, because if you are, she's just departed.”

    “Ah, thank you. Yes, I was hoping to catch her here.” Rowan inclined his head, a sheepish look appeared on his face as he muttered something about sleep.

    Dr. Blanik bit the end of a stylus while her hands were busy arranging several metal bars in various configurations. "Um....well...she'd be up in engineering by now... I think..." said Meril, eyes intent on this arranging and rearranging. Then looking up she said, "Anything I can help you with?" Her speech coming out somewhat impeded by the stylus she held tenuously between her teeth.

    He gave the doctor a small smile. "Thank you, I was wondering if my results had came in.. but that can wait. Has there been any progress for Se?" He glanced to the metal frames the doctor was holding. "Ah... Though I should not keep you from your work."

    "Ah, well, ....oh-" she let the stylus drop to the table with a clink and put down the bars in frustration. "No, no, eh...sit down. I...I can read the results if you request it," she said gesturing for him to sit and turning herself in her chair to bring up his tests on her monitor. She continued to address the good natured Jedi. "I was attempting to work out a brace..." she said, slowly bringing her face closer to her monitor. "I'm a Doctor... I understand structure, but I do know my limitations...I need a brace for Miss Iva if we're going to set some of the fractures in her wings... she's still unconscious, but healing ..." she said, stopping abruptly. "Um...that can't be right..."

    "If you need assistance, I can help with the brace..." There was something in the tone of her voice that made him frowned with concern. "Brace... what's not right?" He shifted to catch a glimpse of the monitor, though he could not make out what it was that caught her attention.

    "Um..." said Meril, tapping in a few commands, but when the screen came up again, the results were the same. She sat back and stared. She leaned in again and pulled up another set of records in a split screen and then looked to Rowan with a scowl, brow furrowed in confusion. The Doctor rubbed her eyes. "Master Jedi, you are in relatively fine health, aside from the fact that you seem to be carrying a varitable managerie of DNA. I think we should have another sample taken and rerun these tests."

    "A menagerie of DNA? I know there might be some differences but..." His brow furrowed. "It might be best to share the results with the Captain to keep her in the loop while we do a rerun."

    "Yes, to be sure," said Meril, with a wistful smile and reaching up she took a packet from a shelf in front of her and tore the pouch and Rowan's arm was swabbed and the sample taken an instant later. The small hand held apparatus plugged into a slot on her desk and immediately the blood sample was being analyzed.
    "I'll call her down," said Meril almost apologetically.

    "Maybe..." Rowan’s voice trailed off as though another concern had crossed his mind. "You did say I am in fine health, no negative effect?"

    "Yes...but ..."

    He nodded in understanding. “It is best to be safe than sorry.”

    It took very little time for Kaylee to arrive. "I think you’d better have a look," said Meril relinquishing her desk to the Captain. Meril kept the old split screen up and then brought up the new analysis.

    Sparing a glance to Rowan before sliding to the chair, Kaylee's eyes darted between both sets of records. "Some of this matches up with the locals of Roldan’s home world." Kaylee murmured to herself, inferring the people of Rowan's father, there were some traces of protein that were not normally found on humans. This, she had found out earlier was from an incident that almost costed Rowan his life and brought him back. However, there was something else.... something she had not seen before.
    "These..." with her finger she pointed to several of the instances in the new results. "I don't think it is a contamination of the sample, but we'll have to do a second test just in case."

    Meril leaned in and punched up the second test. "Still there," she said thoughtfully.

    Kaylee bit at the right corner of her bottom lip and remembered Se'Iva had told her about a virus. "We should compare the results from the rest of Valhalla's survivors, but they came back clean... though Miss 'Iva was different to begin with." She brought up the results in a smaller window, she shook her head as she saw Ariek and Kal did not have this unknown element. Acting upon a hunch, she pulled up Se'Iva's file.

    Meril inhaled and stood back.

    "Are you reading this?" Kaylee shifted for Meril to see better.

    Meril nodded her head and quipped quietly, "Yep."

    "How would..." Kaylee's voice trailed off as she leaned in close. This did not make sense, these elements that were present within Se'Iva, were they personally hers or was it common for her species? But how would they be within Rowan too?

    Meril was thinking as her Captain was and she exhaled and shook her head.

    "If he were pregnant by her, he'd carry her DNA for 24 years. Well, if she were the same species and she was a he and he was a she...! I'm sorry," said Meril quickly."My brain hurts."

    "Pregnant..." Kaylee pursed her lips. She tilted her head to let some locks of her blond tresses fall to help shield the colour of her cheeks. "No... You might be onto something."

    "WHAT!? I was speaking hyperbolically, Captain," protested Dr. Blanik.

    "This is crazy but hear me out... when Rowan came aboard, he was more functional than one would be after all he had been through. We know from the Corellian front that Se'Iva can heal herself over time... what if she did more than just save him from that ship?"

    "Um..." said Meril suddenly feeling like she was in the wrong place at the right time. “Gave him blood? But they aren't the same species!"

    "I-I...I don’t know.” Kaylee stammered. She was trying to grasp at a fleeting thought from the far reaches of her mind that might be relevant. “I am guessing... some sort of transference." Shaking her head and felt a bit of frustration from this puzzle. "I wish she was awake to give us some insight."

    Meril stood and puzzled for a moment. "Well..." she explained to the two all she'd discovered about the Cha'ala physiology. "...it's as if she's sending a message," said Meril pointing to the monitor which reported on Se'Iva's brain activity. "I need to find a way to cradle her body while not obstructing her wings. I can't really set them until we allow them to unfurl beneath her - some sort of brace. That's what I was doing when you arrive, Master Halcyon. I was trying to devise that brace."

    "A message?" Kaylee caught Rowan's eye. She wondered if it was connected to what had happened in the cabin.

    Rowan had a perplexed look on his face, but that quickly left him when his eyes returned focus on hers. "Yes, the brace I can help with."

    "Thanks, I need it by this afternoon which will be just after I have lunch. Speaking of which," Meril said, glancing to the chrono. "That should be right about now." She leaned out of the doorway of her small office and called, "Bob!"

    Kaylee gave Rowan a small reassuring smile. She leaned over and whispered to him. “You will be fine.”

    "You two want anything?"

    "No thank you,” Kaylee smiled, “I will get something later when I go back to the bridge."

    A medical droid trundle up to the door and Meril rattled off her lunch order, calling after "Bob, tell 'em to hold the green stuff.” Meril looked at two pairs of bemused eyes. "What? B-0.3" sounds so ...I don't know...clinical! "Bob" suits him."

    "It's cute." Kaylee pursed her lips to keep a straight face, she found it endearing. "Bob does suit him."

    Rowan stood up and picked up one of the struts that Blanik had been working on earlier. “We should get started on the brace work.”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    3 cycles before the incident at Coruscant

    It took the better part of several hours for the ancient cruiser to arrive within close vicinity of the satellite on maximum throttle. It took another hour holding position a few klicks away to observe whether the object had defensive and offensive capabilities before they deemed it safe to cautiously pull up alongside it. Kal organised a team of engineers and technicians to don zero-g suits and left the Icarus to investigate. From the bridge, Ariek supervised and helped coordinated their positions as they initiated the first phrase of their operation.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Kaylee picked her way through notes and diagrams in the quiet solitude of her cabin. Text and images felt like they overlapped before her eyes as she switched between data analysis of blood samples to flight recorder information to a breakdown of both encounters they had with the Cha’ala... Covering her face with her hands, she closed her eyes... it was all becoming too much to take in.

    Peeking through a gap, an icon on the display was perfectly framed by her fingers. She smiled and reached out and selected it and all the data and issues faded away to a single moment captured in holographic form... the moment Rowan and she shared their first kiss as husband and wife.. watching as the moment unfold in playback form, her thumb stroked the underside of her finger and the ring she bore. It felt like they had shared a lifetime together when the time was actually closing in on their first anniversary as a couple. They had barely had time alone together when duty decided to be unfair by requiring them to return and to push personal things to the sidelines. “We never seem to catch a break...” she sighed out loud to the holo of them, “...do we?”

    The sound of movement outside cabin jolted her out of the moment and she quickly brought back up her work. She glanced over to see Rowan as the door opened and noted how weary he looked. She knew he just came back from seeing Se’Iva in the medbay, that was where he spent most of his time between tasks.

    “Has there been any change?” She asked as she turned away from the displays and stood up to greet him.

    “No change just yet, but still hopeful.” He shook his head and gave a slight smile. “How are things on your end?”

    “Hmm..” She pursed her lips and looked to the mess of data on the displays and back to Rowan. “It’s hard to focus on priorities...”

    He whispered,“Something on your mind?” His blue eyes penetrated hers. “You seem anxious.”

    Kaylee shook her head slowly before she broke the connection with his gaze and sighed. She took his hand and pulled his arm around her as she turned and pressed her back against his chest. “Yes.. it’s just..” Kaylee leaned her head against his shoulder “..I don’t know.”

    She smiled to herself at Rowan’s always inviting warmth and felt him bring his other arm around her... it always made her feel at ease. Gazing out the viewport, she heard his voice soothingly in her ear. “It will be alright, we will overcome this hurdle. We will be home before you know it.”

    “It’s not that, this is... just everything has changed dramatically.” Kaylee closed her weary eyes “During the Corellian Campaign, we knew what we were up against, evenly matched.... well.. maybe we had the edge over the Sith. The playing field has changed now and we have suffered a defeat.” Her hand cupped his forearm and gave a squeeze. “Do you know what it was like to witness the best in our fleet, the Valhalla, disintegrate before our eyes? I feared for you!” She felt his embrace envelop her more and tighten. “We are stranded and up against a foe we have never encountered before and don’t understand yet.”

    “We will find a way, we just have to-”

    “According to Se, that was their scouting force... if they can easily strip away our defences and bore through our ships like that.. I don’t think the rest of the galaxy is prepared for such a force.”

    “We were warned...” Rowan growled and sighed. “Se had been trying to give that message to the leaders of the governments so they might prepare, might understand they needed to act and it fell on deaf ears... They won’t listen until it’s too late.”

    “What are we going to do? Do you think we are too late?”

    “We will keep strong and do whatever is possible with our power.” Rowan whispered, she felt his lips kiss the crown of her head. “We aren’t alone... I will explain the case to Feye and the council... she has witnessed the attack... and has standing as Queen of the Corellian Empire. We can try and get the cooperation of our forces and allies...” His voice trailed off.

    Kaylee tilted her head to gaze up at his face and saw his brow furrowed in concentration, his eyes staring out into the viewport. She sensed something had caused his attention to go off on a tangent. Sighing again, she nuzzled her temple against his neck. “...and you have standing with them too.” She finished the sentence her own way to bring him back to the here and now.

    “..Me?”

    She chuckled at hearing the surprise in his tone. “Have you forgotten why we are returning to Corellia?” She dipped her head and rested it under his chin. “Family... and coronation. You be getting more than just a hero’s welcome...”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    “Transfer complete.” Ariek announced through the headsets of the Zero-G team. “Time to pack up your kits and come on over.”

    The crew on the Icarus worked ‘round the clock to ensure the vessel would be ready for their upcoming journey with a renewed sense of hope. While they sifted and compiled the newly acquired data from the satellite, hours ticked into a day on the chrono and then some, as the technicians barely left their stations except to use the necessities. They were seeking the astrogation charts. Diagnostics and simulations ran to find, test and fix any issues with the vital systems and the drives. Repairs and patchwork were carried out on the damaged sections of the ship that they couldn’t have done earlier.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Kaylee was alone in the navigation room, sitting on the rim of the holotable. She used her arm to keep her balance as she half leaned over the map of the galaxy that spun lazily in the air. Yellow dots marked planets and systems with lines connecting them with the known trade routes. The representation of Coruscant glowed brighter than the others, marking the political centre of the Republic with the Corellian Run and the Perlemian Trade Lane snaking out from that ‘central’ point. These paths animated out from the core and splintered off into smaller tendrils and other systems along the way. Several other points sprung up brighter than others: Ossus, Tython, Ilum, Dantoonie, Korriban, Umbara...

    A small knock from the far side of the module made her glance up to where she saw Rowan at the entryway. She flashed him a smile as she outstretched her arm and waved him over to her. Rowan returned her smile as he made his way to her side and took her hand.

    “What do we have here?” He asked as he glanced to the map.

    “My hand.” Kaylee squeezed his hand, pulling him closer. “I have instructed the techs to keep the new astrogation data separate from ours... in case there is a corruption of some sort.”

    “Wise decision, we don’t want to compromise ours and leave us in the ‘wilderness’ without a map.”

    “That’s right... that’s if our map is still valid... I don’t know. They should be sending what they have logged so far over from the satellite so we can visually compare the new data with...ah” Kaylee paused and then nodded to the map. “It has started.”

    Coruscant suddenly glowed brilliant red and slowly a handful of other systems at the core, Alsaka, Alderaan, Chandrilla, and others turned red signifying it matched the new information. Tiny red tendrils slowly stretched out along the yellow paths and connected with other points, re-establishing trade routes between core and the colonies and the rim just like before...

    “So far so good...” Kaylee murmured.

    An unexpected loud shrill made them both jump. Rowan’s arms caught Kaylee before she slipped off the table. “The comm!” They both said simultaneously as they looked to the box unit on the bulkhead.

    Setting Kaylee down, Rowan turned to answered it “Halcyon here.”

    [“It’s Kal, I think we got it!!”] His voice cried out through the tiny speaker. [“You might want to come to the bridge.”]

    Rowan and Kaylee exchanged looks.“We’ll be right there.”

    As they left, the holotable continued to display the processed data... the majority of those known points of the galaxy shifted their locations in space clockwise by several degrees throwing the mapped out lanes out of alignment. New ones were formed as more points started popping up with new branches of tendrils extending out from the core to points that were not on their existing map, these turned blue as new entries to the acquired database, the tendrils continued snaking outward, expanding the size of the map.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    “Why would it drastically contradict what we already have?” Ariek leaned closer to the display as though the answer was visible somewhere there.

    “This is what our little expedition has recovered...” Kal shrugged and grimaced, “...can either take it or continue to fly blindly in the void.”

    “Hey, admit that this-” Ariek stopped mid-sentence as she saw Kaylee and Rowan arrive on the bridge. “Oh never mind!” She relinquished her position for both of them to view for themselves.

    “Humm...” Kaylee frowned when she saw the results. “I was not expecting this.”

    “I know, right?” Ariek nodded and looked to Rowan. “And you?”

    There was no response, they watched the Jedi with curiosity as he walk over to the viewport in silence. His posture straight and yet relaxed, Kaylee moistened her lip, she remembered that this would be his first time seeing the vista outside properly.

    “Rowan?” Ariek asked again.

    Kaylee sensed a strange calmness coming from him and she couldn’t help but smirk. She was getting good at telling what he was thinking and knew that part of this was him getting them to step back and think about the situation as a whole. Though that tended to leave the others hanging and wondering what exactly was going on within his mind. However, there was something else lingering...

    “How far off the beaten path will it take us?” His voice came out low, his gaze still locked on the vista outside the viewport.

    “We don’t know... that’s the thing. We don’t know where it would take us.” Ariek explained. “We can always head to Coruscant. That’s a consistent variable or...umm...”

    “Or...?” Rowan turned around and folded his arms.

    “I guess we have to trust in the Force.” Kaylee interjected and winked to Rowan. She saw a small smirk on his face as he nodded to her in agreement.

    “Is that the Captain’s decision?” He asked and stepped closer.

    “Yes, we’ll use the new coordinates....” Kaylee asserted more firmly. ”First, I will give everyone an hour to be prepared before we depart.”

    “Great.” Kal nodded. “That should give them time to finish what they are doing.”

    “This will be all for naught if our hyperdrive is the cause of this.” Ariek muttered under her breath as she went about informing the rest of the crew over the ship’s P.A. system.

    Kaylee sidled up to Rowan’s side. She placed her hand on his shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze. “What do your instincts tell you?”

    He glanced down at the deck and then out to the viewport once more. She saw the lines around his eyes and the muscles of his jaw tighten. There were times when she couldn’t read her husband as clearly as she wanted to and wondered what it was that had him concerned. ‘What was it that he sensed and saw? Was it to do with what had happened on that island or with Se’Iva?’ His features softened before he finally turned back and faced her, his hand reached up and cupped hers.

    “I hold faith that we will see the sun of Corell, one more time.”

    TAG: To Be Continued
    Last edited by Corellian_Outrider, Feb 22, 2013
  18. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: Thank you, C_O once again for your great patience and help in writing this post.

    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Mos Amedda, Sate Pestage
    Location: Senate building, Coruscant

    The tarmac was well populated with color guard and the many agencies whose authorities overlapped and which contended for every millimeter of ground over which they could claim jurisdiction were present. The Imperial troopers, the Navy, the Army, Compnor, Palace and Imperial guards, Senate Guards, Ursean Security Forces, Ursean Palace Guard, Black Guard....and of course dignitaries and anyone and everyone who thought themselves important enough to await the arrival of the Emperor and could gain anything from this day stood on the wide and deep landing floor.

    Anakin greeted them raising a hand in salute, a thumb tucked in his belt and he leaned in to shout over the noise of the crowd and the transport to Ahsoka at his side, "Some recognize you." He directed her gaze to a few individuals at the edge of the crowd.

    The expectancy was palpable.

    He raised his hand and waved again and nodded with a small smile and murmured, "You must acknowledge the people, give them what they need, Anakin. Show them you have everything in hand." He remembered Palpatine instructing and he’d since found the words to be true. In this, Sidious had not been speaking with a jaded tongue, it was simply necessary. Consummate politician that he had been, the Sith understood just how vast the theatre of politics was and a leader must be able to play to the “back row.”

    With a tight smile, Anakin looked to the VIPs assembled at the reception gate of the landing pad.

    Ahsoka sucked in her lips to moisten them slightly and gave a brief nod to Anakin’s comment and looked to those he indicated. She recognised a few of those who seemed to recognise her. Feeling giddy though keeping herself composed. It was a bit of a shock to face a crowd like that and particularly one she had not expected. (Then again, she’d not allowed herself to think beyond reaching Anakin.) It was a wall of people, larger than either crowd at the spaceport earlier or the New Palace just minutes ago and their voices rose up like thunder. So many people! With a breath, she drew in calmness and extruded anxiety with the exhale. There were too many people to read through the force, but she had a general idea of their emotions that poured out with their cheers. Even so, she did not ease her guard as she focused within the force scanning the crowds through multiple senses, immediately putting herself to the task of averting any violence within her power.

    Anakin stood close enough to her that at one point, as he waved with his right hand, he could hide with his cloak that he reached her right hand and squeezed it before letting go and walking down the ramp and out onto the pad.

    The President and Speaker of the Senate approached and as he did so, he gave Ahsoka a very curious stare. His heavy robes barely moved by the wind that carried Anakin's cape into the air, causing it to billow and furl like a black flag.

    "Your ... Majesty," said Amedda bowing, supporting himself with his tall and heavy staff.

    "Excellency, you no doubt remember my Padawan Ahsoka Tano," said Anakin, without batting an eye.

    Amedda, taken aback with the lack of dissembling he expected, held a hand flat against his chest as he looked to Ahsoka for a moment and then nodded. "Yes, Majesty... I do recall."

    Ahsoka blinked and kept her expression impassive.

    "Good, well, fortunately, she was available and has returned in the same guise to assist me. She is my personal liaison. You may expect her to act in my stead whenever necessary and there'll be no breach of warranty, for I can assure you personally, Commissar Tano is my agent and you may take her words as mine unless countered by me directly." Anakin smiled with more calm, having gotten that moment out of the way.

    Amedda opened his lips as if to say something and decided to smile instead and acknowledge Miss Tano with a stiff bow.

    "Lead on," said Anakin now eager to get under way.

    Ahsoka bowed her head slightly in return, her gaze studying the Speaker’s face.

    "Yes, Majesty, quite right. All are anxious to hear you speak after your sudden absence," said Amedda leading on and gesturing. As they entered the Senate, deep lines of VIP's formed to either side and the noise was deafening as the onlookers seemed to lean in.

    Those with a memory, recognized Ahsoka and the murmured questions began to circulate. "His robes... wasn't she a Jedi... look how well he seems... I thought he was bald last I saw..."

    The temptation was there to sneak Anakin a look but this was not a place to do so just yet. When they’d have more privacy she could let him know how proud she is of him and to be there. She felt the temperature in her cheeks rise at the attention given to them.

    Now, the next and more dangerous hurtle drew itself right before them in the form of the Grand Vizier, Sate Pestage. Ahsoka would never forget this man’s visage; smarmy, smooth, and well oiled, he was a peafowl, a self-satisfied jade of an intriguer who used his attractive features and witticism to disguise a very wicked intent. Wasn’t he Palpatine’s protege from long before the now deceased Sith had become Grand Chancellor of the Republic, she mused, and as he drew closer, she felt his eyes upon her, his face plastered with an over solicitous smile.

    "Your... eh... Royal Majesty... " said Sate, bowing deeply along with all around him.

    Pestage stepped from the soine bevy of Imperial VIPs surrounding him and made sure his eyes trained on the young wizard. Such a pretty one. He wondered Palpatine never took a dalliance. Probably was waiting for the right moment and it never came. He still had difficulty accepting the old bastard was really dead. Bowing with a tasteful flourish in rament of splendor, he looked more the Emperor than Anakin did in his fine woven but humble Jedi "weeds".

    Ahsoka did not like how this individual carried himself. There was something... sickly about him, oozing from his elaborate robes. That gaze directed at them, she found creepy. Maybe that was meant to unnerve them? Don't give him the satisfaction, she thought, as she kept a watchful eye on his every move.

    "Your Majesty looks in fine health, I trust he enjoys a complete recovery," said Pestage solicitously.

    Anakin watched the deep bow in silence and then met Pestage's greedy gaze, "I do, indeed, Grand Vizier."

    "It is well then and timely. The natives are restless!" said the Vizier fliply, gesturing to the VIPs either side of the cordoned way ahead. Then he returned his attention to Ahsoka, cocking his head and looking her up and down, and enjoying her in silence once more before, finally addressing her directly. "Why I believe it is ... no! My, how you've grown, Miss Tano! How fortuitous you survived our purge,” he added, with relish, his gaze unwavering. “It would have been a shame to have destroyed such a lovely creature, Your Majesty, don't you agree?!" said Pestage slyly drawing a little closer to Ahsoka.

    Being recognised was something she didn't expect. Her eyes studied his face. His honeyed words were thick and rotten to the core. That gave rise to a sick feeling in her stomach, no doubt the Grand Vizier has a poisonous tongue, the talents of a cowardly and sinister person. She was about to politely say, “thank you,” until his words were directed, thankfully, to Anakin.

    Anakin shifted to shoulder between Ahsoka and the wicked Grand Vizier who stopped with a smile, clearly testing the waters and finding what he thought he would find.

    "Your Padawan seems none the worse for wear....I wonder how the Admiralty will take this sudden flocking of Jedi to our capital," said Pestage, not letting up.

    Keeping her mouth shut, Ahsoka wedged the tip of her tongue between her teeth to stop herself from grinding them. She knew he was deliberately trying to stir trouble to get a reaction out of them and she will not allow him the satisfaction.

    "I expect it will confuse some and anger others," said Anakin flatly, "But I think you are getting ahead of yourself, Excellency."

    Pestage lost much of his smugness, "I have a stake in this transition going smoothly, My Emperor. We are clear on this, I think. Let's not precipitate a backlash. We must speak ...alone...and soon. Keep in mind, I am “inside.” There is much you need to know...," said the Vizier, smiling, but through clenched teeth.

    Anakin's shoulders drew up square, and the air around him became electrically charged for a brief moment as a dark cloud passed over his brow.

    Ahsoka's eyebrows narrowed slightly, having to remind herself to keep from betraying her true emotions via her expression. She did not want to give this person any information that could be used against them.

    Anakin looked over the Vizier's high hat and breathed for a moment. Unclenching a fist and wetting his lip, he leveled a gaze at the Vizier. "Your concern is noted. Most thoughtful of you, Vizier. Certainly you are welcome to discuss any concerns with me in closet, but I think just now there are those whose attentions we must heed." said Anakin with prepossessed poise. He had learned a lot in the past seven years as Re.

    "As you say," said Pestage. "I intend to speak... later. This Jedi issue is one with which we must deal. There are rumors and as they say, clothes do maketh the man, but...I’m keeping us. I do beg your pardon, S...Sire," finished the Grand Vizier with a deep bow and backing aside to allow the group to go before him and several other members of the Ruling Council.

    Ahsoka wondered if the Vizier intended to sound like a snake.

    Anakin looked ahead and continued into the Senate building, the retinue of the Vizier departing to leave Pestage and his aide to follow discretely behind the trio of Senate President, Mas Amedda, Commissar Tano, and Vader.

    Anakin stopped every now and then to greet this or another personage, sometimes in their native language, the passage to the private elevator to the rotunda took forever.

    Were there those who, in private hurled verbal missiles the young Executor’s and presumptive Emperor’s way, and who now fawned and bowed before him eagerly? The air was dense with hypocrisy!

    The silence and low hum of the ante room seemed strange after all the hubbub they'd endured on their way.

    The doors closed on the crowds. Sate Pestage kept a neutral expression on his face and did not speak. Mas Amedda, with his large and tall frame, seemed to sigh relief and Anakin rubbed his face with both hands.

    Amedda cleared his throat after a moment.

    Ahsoka's head bowed slightly, her gaze fell to her side lekku. It would be easy to pick one up to caress and wrap around her fingers. She wanted to speak with Anakin, but until they were otherwise accompanied, she could not trust anyone else around them and would keep her thoughts to herself.

    Anakin nodded and, raising a hand, pointed up in silence.

    Amedda looked a little confused and tentatively stepped forward, "Your... Majesty?"

    Anakin looked up, "Yes?"

    "The ... ah... agenda?" asked Amedda.

    "Yes... yes... there will be no Agenda, Mr. Amedda." said Anakin in soft baritone.

    Ahsoka's gaze drifted up from her lekku, to the panels. Moistening her lips as she listened to the conversation. Something she was remembering was how one can feel caged in this environment. A cage or holding room for slaves before they are forced out into the ‘colosseum’.

    "No....eh... no agenda... but... Yes... My Lord... Your Majesty," said the President apprehensively. This would mean he'd have no control, he was as much in the dark about the future as any.

    "No, no agenda. You can relax and enjoy my erudition. That should be a rare treat," said Anakin smiling ironically. It had long been his place to simply stand in dark silence behind his Master in the pod that comprised the small room.

    "Yes...Your Majesty..." said Amedda still hesitant.

    "Anything else, Mr. Amedda," asked Anakin as the President had not yet engaged the lift.

    "Er... Grand Moff Tarkin... the Council of Sectoral Governors... are in attendance in great number, Your Majesty..." offered Amedda.

    Anakin did not move, but met Amedda's gaze and grunted, "Hum!" Of course, the Moffs were in attendance. Tarkin had come to witness a public execution: he thinks I’m going to hang myself with that “rope” he’s “given” me, thought Anakin, meeting Ahsoka’s glance with a meaningful look. The mention of Tarkin brought up the earlier conversation Anakin had had with a Ahsoka on the transport...

    ”...Watch Ahsoka! If they aren’t moved to rebel, the Moffs and their supporters in the Admiralty will be happy I am ascending the throne. When it becomes apparent just how much the war really costed the Empire, all the deferred projects, the over-leveraging, they’ll say it was the Senate’s mismanagement. They’ll wait. Leave me to the business of ruling until the flow of credits begins to slow to a trickle, and that day is fast approaching from what I’ve read of reports this morning. The Council will make a great show of “concern”and talk about supporting my efforts to stabilize the Empire.

    Then they’ll begin to cast mud at the opportune moment, draw the public’s eye away from their profligate spending and siphoning from the treasury. They’re fond of fantasy; they’re starry-eyed about order and chain of command, about uniformity and the officer’s club. They will begin to voice “mild” alarm and debate, but their arguments will be awash in fallacy and all evidence to the contrary, but, that’s never stopped them before. In politics, if you state a thing often enough, it becomes the “truth.” The point is, they will hope I “blow the canopy” and save them the bother of having to trump up a lot of bad press against me...”

    The Senate President saw the wry smile forming on the Executor’s lips and decided he could speak

    "I took the liberty of calling a mandatory feed to Sector command Zero, Your Majesty, and I called up your Ursean Forces to stand double security around the Senate with air patrol.”

    Anakin's gaze widened and he faced the President. This initiative on Amedda's part was surprising. "Are you concerned I am not able to command, Mr. Amedda?"

    "No, Your Maje...No, Majesty, " said Amedda, anxiety pouring with perspiration from his horned brow. Sate Pestage folded his arms and nodded. “No, your Majesty. I encouraged Mr. Amedda to take precautions...”

    "You... did well, Mr. Amedda... I am ... most grateful," said Anakin emphasizing his words with a dip of his chin. It was a tense moment.

    "Miss Tano, I'll direct your observation to the Council of Moff’'s pods. Mr. Amedda, you will monitor transmissions from their consoles," said Anakin decisively.

    It was... strangeness filled with familiarity. During the war, Ahsoka was used to the opposition fearing them. Then the lines were a bit more clearer and she could tell who most were foe but in this arena... nothing felt like a safe haven for respite.

    "Shouldn't we cut their communications..." asked Amedda quickly.

    "No, we do that, and all our actions will be suspect. Besides, they have personal coms. We can't account for all of it, but we can at least monitor the activity pod to pod." Anakin bit his lower lip and murmured, "I expected push back from that quarter. Attending in numbers is simply a show."

    Looking to Anakin, she gave him a quick smile. He was with her, things would be different this time. The council pods... the council pods... Clasping her hands against the small of her back, she looked back again, and silently watched Anakin.

    "Well, shall we," said Anakin rhetorically, indicating the lift controls.

    "Yes, Your Majesty," said Amedda bowing.

    Anakin looked to Pestage, who nodded he was ready, and then to Ahsoka, who also gestured her readiness.

    ***

    There was a quick hiss and rising pitch as the floor jolted slightly and the repulsors engaged. Anakin drew his hand along the collar of his surcoat and cloak and straightened them in habit. He gave Ahsoka a quick glance and smile. He offered them in reassurance before the light and air changed and the ceiling of the rotunda became visible through the opening iris at the upper end of the pod's shaft. The dusky dark of the amphitheatre was revealed above them and soon they had risen above the first 20 rows of pods. Anakin looked up and to the middle of the sea of overflowing pods and a crashing wall of applause met them as rank upon rank around the periphery erupted in a “bloom” of colorful robes, some of Republic lavender, appearing to grow from the thousands upon thousands of pods encircling the massive chamber as the occupants rose to greet the rising young Emperor.

    Anakin leaned toward Ahsoka as the overwhelming greeting swelled further. //Level 89, the 40 pods directly center//

    Taking his smile to heart, nothing could have prepared her for this event. Her eyes went wide as the sight before her was overwhelming. It was one thing to be standing along the rim with the other senators and representatives as ‘one of the people’... however it was such a huge contrast being at the focal point for all of these representatives of the galaxy. She felt Anakin's presence closer, a consistent comfort for her nerves.

    Ahsoka studied the pods carefully taking her mind from the uncomfortable nearness of the Vizier behind her. Interesting how the occupants thought themselves the observers. They were, in many ways, less careful about their intentions than they might be if only they knew how clearly she could observe their gestures, body language and even their facial expressions. She remembered what Anakin had said of the Moffs on the transport. They were so sure of their place in the social order. They believed themselves purveyors of the coolest reason. What’s good for Tarkin and his like is good for the people, so long as the people bear their load and don’t complain. The Moffs couldn’t understand why their clarion logic didn’t simply stun everyone into obedient silence.

    She refrained from letting the irony of the moment curl on her lip and already had a sense of which pods she needed to watch closely all while appearing not to look at anyone in particular.

    For his part, Anakin had to laugh at himself inwardly. The instinct to run was like a plump grape in his mouth. He swallowed. It’s not like he hadn’t been on the dais before. However, now, he was the one who had set things in motion that now could not be stopped. This was it and he found himself wanting to bolt. He wanted nothing more than to quit the place and fly away.

    He could feel “need” spilling into the bowl of the Senate and filling it to capacity. Everyone wanted, wanted so much, so deeply. The freneticism threatened to overtake his psyche. He closed his eyes momentarily and lifted his chin, glad for the warm nearness of Ahsoka. He wanted to take her hand, but dared not. It would be immediately construed with all sorts of meaning and not at all good. Besides, Celeste should rightly have appeared with him, but at present, the eclipse of Ursa as a major power in the Empire might bring animosity that would threaten the fragile accord which maintained the present peace. Celeste on the dais of the Emperor, so the media advisors had said, would serve to fan the flames of that particular resentment. He didn’t need any more adversaries.

    How often in wild dark dreams had he planned to stand where he did now! Dust! In glory and power he’d be bathed...how like smoke, those dreams, a fool’s vanity and how like such vanity, it was in actuality, chimera. A matter of attitude and what was glory was now humility, what was power was now responsibility. He had to make himself breathe.

    ****

    Nodding and smiling, he raised both hands in greeting, his glance taking in the dizzying levels of pods and their occupants, as the dais finished it’s ascent and began to turn. Applause and cheers reverberated in the gigantic dome. The din was so loud, his ears rang.

    What was all this fanfare about, he wondered in awe. The moment was both exhilarating and mind boggling and Anakin finally signaled Mr. Amedda to officiate and use his staff.
    The huge Chagrian rang his staff upon the charged metal receiver, but the deep bass clang did not quiet the crowds. Amedda’s voice called above the din, “...call to Order!”

    The dais stopped its revolutions and across from him in the midst of the Council of Sectoral Governors, Celeste, arrayed in brilliant silver, entered a pod along with the Ursean Prime Minister, Ambassador Federov and the Enfanta, Sophia. His daughter was growing up fast. She stood poised beside her mother, but he thought he caught her crane her neck and raise her hand from her side to wave at him from her waist before resuming her restrained pose. He smiled to them and nodded in greeting.

    There was movement through the Senate as one by one, the din from the pods subdued by curiosity was now redirected, as the occupants’ attentions were drawn to the Urseans arrival and assumption of their places at the lip of their pod.

    Celeste, positioned amongst the Moffs made Anakin uneasy.

    No sooner had he met with Celeste’s calm and reassuring one and Sophia’s eager glance, than Anakin’s gaze found Sabe’s. For immediately following the arrival of the Ursean delegation, there, several rings down, was that of Naboo with Sabe at the head, proudly bearing the colors of the Old Republic on her slender and petite form.

    There was a new and coordinated chorus that greeted her out of the madding cacophony, but now as he acknowledged her in tacitly, their gazes making meaningful contact, the ring of Amedda’s staff grew suddenly dominant as silence came grudgingly.

    From his vantage, Anakin became uncomfortably aware of the dual focus the two delegations had become.

    “This assembly is hereby called to order. The reading of minutes will be dispensed with. I direct you to your monitors...” said the President as he enjoined the Senate to find the minutes in full, already sent to their pods’ data readers. Then he announced the agenda for the session had been delayed by another 54 hours. “... will now address the Senate, his Excellency, Imperial Executor, Lord Vader...”

    Anakin inhaled and stepped to the lectern. How alien that honorific sounded, how disjunctive the name! For a moment, he stood, lips parting to speak and for the moment, free falling inside.

    TAG: (all who are in attendance if you wish to situate your characters) and To be continued ...
    Last edited by pashatemur, Feb 22, 2013
  19. Master-of_les-Pauls Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Ic Luke Skywalker

    Location Tatooine



    Morning, the young Padawan could not abide mornings and especially not stand them on Tatooine! Waking up on a desert planet wasn't the most pleasant experience for someone who had spent there formative years living in a swamp. As Luke kick off the covers of his cot he stretched out his small limbs and let out a small yawn, as always Obi Wan was awake before him and was rattling around in the kitchen. It was a small comfort that despite all the changes in the boy's life, perhaps the only thing he could count on was Obi Wan always being there.

    Rubbing his eyes Luke winched, another thing he could also count on was his masters complete lack of mechanical skills! Obi Wan still hadn't fixed the cooling and fan systems! Whist Kenobi never seemed to feel the heat or be bothered by the sand dust that was often blown into there home, Luke on the other hand did. The young boy had often wondered if it was Obi Wan's mastery of the force that kept him immune to delights of the planets weather, or was Kenobi just putting on a front for Luke's benefit?

    Luke finally dragged himself out of his cot and gathered his clothes and made his way into his bathroom, quickly he washed himself and as he did Luke was reminded that living on a desert planet did have some benefits as a opposed to living in a swamp! One of these benefits was that pretty much the second you had finished washing the humidity had already dried you! Luke finished dressing himself and mused that he almost missed dressing in traditional Jedi robes. But on this planet he would no doubt be baking within minutes, again Luke found himself wondering how did Obi Wan manage to cope in them.

    As Luke finished dressing he wondered what the his day would bring, perhaps as his birthday was fast approaching it was time to build the one thing he wanted to have his in possession. A Lightsabre. There was no doubt Obi Wan would one day show him how to build his own weapon but Luke was becoming increasing impatient and that day could, frankly, not come soon enough. Perhaps it was time for Luke to take matter into his own hands. But of course first things first, he would have to take a look at the fan and cooling systems , once again!

    Once Luke was dressed he made his way into the kitchen and spoke “I woke up with a sand tan again” Seeing that the remark hardly registered with his master Luke spoke again “The fan and cooling systems are malfunctioning again, can we head into Anchor head later and get the parts so I can FINALLY fix them?”

    Luke made sure he put extra emphasis on the finally to drive the point home, also it wouldn't hurt for him to slip away and see if he could get some more of the parts he needed to finish constructing his own Lightsabre.


    Tag Obi Wan Kenobi
  20. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: ...and now we begin...

    IC: Obi Wan Kenobi, a Master Jedi and former General of the Grand Republic
    Location: desert farmstead not far from Anchor Head, Tatooine


    Obi Wan heard the pad of little feet in the hallway. In the quiet of the desert morning, the twitter of tiny Sand dugger birds were all that sounded in the cool desert stillness. The insects had ceased there drone as the sky turned soft pink and silver with the rising of the twin suns. The little duggers would be busy for another hour before digging under rocks and into crevices to seek the cool haven of darkness until the suns set at dusk. Then they’d be out once again with a little more care for the raptors they did their hunting in the late of the day and those that hunted by night. It was a very harsh life for the industrious little Sand duggers, but they went on day after day tweeting merrily.

    Obi Wan had come to enjoy the mornings on Tatooine; they were particularly conducive to meditation. He let Luke sleep later to have this time to himself, to work out the demons he carried with him still. The Master sighed over the humble breakfast he’d put together - a simple porridge that nonetheless was filling and healthful, even if his was a bit stiff and lumpy. He recalled that he’d eaten better and wasn’t there some sort of seasoning that made it taste very good indeed? Ah, well!

    The footsteps stopped in back of him at the kitchen door and without turning about Obi Wan wished his toe-headed Padawan, “Good morning, Luke,” and dished out the hot cereal into two bowls. Turning, he set them down on the table before the cherub-faced boy and smiled at him.

    “I woke up with a sand tan again,” said Luke, in return, to which Obi Wan sat and gestured for Luke to do the same. The Jedi spooned some of the bland cereal and Luke spoke again, only this time more emphatically. “The fan and cooling systems are malfunctioning again, can we head into Anchor Head later and get the parts so I can FINALLY fix them?”

    Obi Wan considered. The news from Coruscant was probably a good distraction. The transceiver on their ship had fizzle out again. Perhaps Luke was right, they could procure supplies and parts in one visit and he might catch more news. If it had been only himself, Obi Wan wouldn’t have been much deterred, but he had to think of Luke.

    He looked to the boy again, “Just parts for cooling systems?” Obi Wan glanced knowingly over his lifted spoon to Luke.

    TAG: Luke
    Last edited by pashatemur, Feb 23, 2013
  21. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: Once again, many thanks to C_O for his collaboration and help in writing this series of posts. I really could not have accomplished this without you. It was very challenging process, but enjoyable and rewarding.

    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Mos Amedda, Sate Pestage, Celeste, the Reina Mavras of Ursa and soon to be Empress, the Enfanta Sophia Anastasia of Ursa, daughter of the Re Mavrat of Ursa and Imperial Executor
    Location: Senate rotunda, Coruscant


    It was still and quiet before he gathered himself to speak and cleared his throat.

    What he had to say in this speech had fomented in his mind over the last several years, when he could find a distant corner where Sidious’ long arm could not reach into his mind. The opportunity to speak out had finally, unbelievably come and now he stood, the door to his thoughts soundly shut in habit. What to say, how to say, what not to say, nothing could be more crucial, even in the case of tyranny, had he chosen that path, persuasion was necessary, and now he would defy expectations and confound all, possibly losing his tentative hold on the Empire.

    In short, this speech was the moment when his credibility would be measured. If he lost them in a forest of details, misstated what was taken as fact, or did not sufficiently tie the threads of purpose together, he would be found wanting, weak.

    Peering out into the dark beyond the up-lighting that illuminated the Emperor’s dais, the glare turned the view to a grey haze and it took a moment for his eyes to adjust. Anakin lifted his chin imperceptibly. Immediately, the geometric pattern of rising tiers with their many pods made his head swim. He could not help but follow the crisscrossing grooved metal framework that arched to the vaulted center of the ceiling many meters overhead and the dome seemed to twist and telescope about him.

    The enormity of what he was attempting to do flooded his every cell.

    With fully half of the systems and regions represented hostile towards the Empire and many, towards him in particular, he knew what he faced. How to move them to constructive action? Likely, they would do their best to obstruct any of his reforms simply to impede the Empire, even if policies favored them. If he could reshape their perspective, help them see that policy change would give them back their authority to govern themselves over the Moffs...without triggering a military coup, then he would see success.

    The Council of Sectoral Governors had a great stake in not only holding onto the power they already held and the military resources more than equal to the territories they governed - a sure incentive to vie with one another for more territory, but in grasping for more. As gatekeepers of information, and the distributors of resources from the Empire and exports from the planets, they were warlords whose appetites for power were gluttonous.

    Then there was Palpatine’s Privy Council or Ruling Council lead by Grand Vizier Sate Pestage. Corrupt, powerful, and wealthy, they had never born Vader anything but maligned interest.

    Still, powerful Senators whose pockets were well lined with payola from both the Ruling Council and the Council of Sectoral Governors had already made it known to the would be Emperor that they were threatening letting the Empire default on its debt to the banks and on the system levels, working to make sure the policies concerning the pension and well being programs collapsed. Once they figured out that the hammer was not going to crush them should they dissent, those who now remained silent would likely charge that the Emperor was making empty promises and that he played the systems against the central government. If they claimed it loudly enough to drown out all other perspectives, then the lie would take hold.

    ***

    In the twilight earlier that morning, he’d woken and heard the soft, gentle breaths Ahsoka drew as she lay in her nest of pillows by the fire. Their reunion had been, as it had to have been, exhaustingly dramatic, but he must turn his mind from reconsidering the recriminations, his own posturing, her trusting hopes, and all that pain and joy, to addressing the Senate.

    He pulled himself up to lean back against the plush gold shimmersilk damask of the headboard and pillows and staring into the warm and intimate dark of the bedchamber, he began. They have to be convinced that we share the future, that we must adapt to meet new needs, rebuild together, they must learn as I must learn...to teach our minds to conceive of a future not shaped by violent conflict...

    When the sun peeked in at the horizon, a faint glimmer of silver slowly warming the night, he’d finished and only just managed to find sleep for 30 minutes, the datapad and stylus just out of hands reach weighting the silken trapunto beneath them.

    ***

    Now, here he stood, here they all stood and so he began, his voice sounding unnaturally low at first, and uncomfortably familiar as it was projected over the address system and echoed in the vast arch of the dome of the Senate:

    “Senators, Ambassadors, citizens …you and I stand at a crossroads together. It is the edge of history, there will be no more staggering back to our pillboxes and retrenching to fight the ghosts of our past. That way is over, strewn with the debris of war, mistakes and lost opportunities.

    Before us, the shared sky is wide open. It is time to start anew in the light of day and make our future. We have come a long, long journey from a difficult peace to hard won peace. We are about to step beyond a dark barrier we had begun to believe was insurmountable.

    The war is over after nearly two decades of uninterrupted conflict and the smoke has not yet cleared, but I’m not going to speak in praise of our victorious fleets, or the bravery of our troops, officers, medics and pilots, nor of the acumen of our strategists. This war was not won entirely on the battlefield, nor paid for solely in the lives of our fallen, so …many, too many now gone and whose memories we shall guard each of us in our own way, but in worlds and system resources, ecosystems, economies, sleepless nights, and lost and forgotten dreams.

    You remember those dreams? I do. They weren’t too grand; they were simple, basic dreams. I once was a slave and I dreamed of freedom, justice, and peace. A senec will tell you, those are pipe dreams. There’s always conflict somewhere in the universe! An existentialist will tell you, it’s a quaint goal, maybe even one worth striving for, even if it is unattainable, but I’m going to tell you, those dreams are what keep us going. We need those dreams. If we don’t have those dreams, we’ll put lesser ones in their place, and a wise old desert hermit said a long time ago, “If you’re going to dream, dream big! All dreams cost about the same.”

    Some may say, “The war is over, we have our peace,” and, “We are free. We have a good life.” Did you know, that my Imperial Guards have the authority to detain anyone they deem acting in a suspicious manner, or, that the regional ministers of tax can reassess taxes at the request of the regional governors without the consent of your representatives in the Senate? Did you know a suit of forced indenture has a statute of limitations of 3 months? Anyone of you, captured in transit on legitimate shipping lanes could be sold into slavery and so long as you are kept in seclusion for 3 months, a suit can not be brought before the magistrate without the presence of the indentured. If a being is suspected of collusion of consorting with enemies of the state, that individual may be brought in for questioning by any branch of Imperial security, intelligence or police, military or civilian, without committing the circumstances to public record. That’s Imperial law and as an officer of that law, I am sworn to uphold it!

    We made many sacrifices and many compromises for wartime efficiency. War shaped our very existence, defined us, and defined our dreams, making it easier to compromise our own freedoms.

    The war is over and you and I stand at the threshold of a shared future. We have learned to compromise in sacrifice, now let us learn to yield to far better dreams...”

    ***

    In the morning quiet he had repeated the words, “better dreams,” whispering them as he glanced to see Ahsoka turn in slumber near the hearth. How was he going to make a transition here from the ideal to the concrete. That’s what they were coming to hear: what the “wizard Vader” had in store for the Empire.

    There were a few coughs from the Senate seats, but otherwise and uncomfortably, one could hear a pin drop.

    Anakin continued, “Just as the war was not fought by our military alone, but was a concerted effort by all, creating and rebuilding our galaxy must be a collaborative and
    concerted effort and the mechanisms to facilitate this effort are already at our disposal.”


    Ah, he was losing them! This wasn’t a deposition or a debriefing; he reminded himself, reach them with your words. Show them, don’t tell them.

    ***
    “I was asked in the past day to define this state…this Empire and I found I was forced to take a perspective it is, I must admit... not in my nature to visit often. Yet, circumstance has brought me to this pass, as it brings us all. You… and I, we are bound together in what must seem at times a sea of circumstance – the unforeseen death of the Emperor, whose body will lie in state but a few kilometers from this … resilient Senate,” said Anakin, his voice sounding surprisingly young, a little rough at first and he had to clear his throat again, but resounding throughout the copious domed chamber to quiet those who moved in discomfort or silent objection. He’d looked about the tiers of the Senate.

    “The sudden and brazen attack that claimed the lives of over 3000 beings in this very edifice, public servants, tourists, citizens about the business of just living – circumstance! An Emperor, who took it upon himself to fight at the vanguard of his armies at Kalee and in so doing, gave his life - we have heard the result of the clinical biopsy on the holo news in urgent release just moments ago; it is a matter of public record: death - a result of global trauma,” and Anakin paused here, as he conveyed a greater truth than any knew, for it was on so many levels that this trauma took place and who knew how long ago that trauma had begun.

    For a moment he looked down and squeezed his eyes shut. How could he feel as he did for this man who had duped and entrapped him, made a fool of him and dragged his compromise through filth and baptized him in blood, and yet, it had taken Anakin’s own choices to turn the key on everyone of Sidious’ fateful traps. The friendship, the mentoring, they were all elaborate scenery, acting and yet, there was something there, some embedded and daring hand of affection and loyalty was a strange need that desired to build the confection of parental love out of a dry river bed.

    “The Senate Fallen, are they all summed up in an autopsy!?” he asked looking out to the crowd. “Is this what we leave to our children? The total of our existence summed up in “death due to global trauma?” The chamber was silent, this speech and its tenor unexpected and therefore having not met expectation, stunning!

    “The Emperor did not inform his commander in chief of his intention to fight, but he did leave his express instruction as to the transition of power in the event of his inability to acquit his command. It is my duty by both my oath and by archived document, and by the will of the deceased Emperor, I will be installed as your … new Emperor!”

    The hall echoed with incidental movement.

    “And how must I begin to define the nature of this Empire, JUST…” said Anakin leveling his gaze to those occupants of the pods in the center of the hall precisely above and opposite him, the Council of Sectoral Governors. He inhaled and raised his right hand, a hand of flesh and punctured the air with his forefinger emphatically when a small murmur passed through pods and some of the lights notifying the President the occupants wished to speak, lit up. Anakin could feel Amedda lean forward where he sat.

    “JUST … as any just leader must define his administration, whatever the structure of the state - BE IT A REPUBLIC or EMPIRE- in accord with those whom he serves.” This was the moment, the moment they were waiting for!

    “Circumstance brought me here, circumstance shaped by you and I. Circumstance is not a gamble, it is NOT LUCK OR FATE OR A HAND OF SABACC, but it is the COMBINED ACTIONS OF ALL OF US, not only those of you who sit here today, but of those who have convened this Senate FOR CENTURIES!”

    It was a confused moment. At first there was an awkward moment of sparse applause and then the hall erupted in self-approbation and cries of “HERE, HERE!”

    “EMPERORS… CHANCELLORS... we die! But …. THE SENATE REMAINS!” Again the hall erupted in cheers and he waited before continuing for the noise to abate. “For over twenty thousand years… through civil war, rebellion, transitions of power, and strife, this Senate has come together – Now I was not trained a politician…”

    Celeste had counseled him not to draw their attention to that fact. [color=royal blue] My Lord, they will most certainly hang on any thought that you yourself cannot complete quickly. Heaven forfend you leave yourself open. In the political arena, words carry encumbering weight. You will see! You must be careful when assigning yourself a negative. They can easily take and twist your words against you.[/COLOR]

    “...I am a strategist - an engineer and I’ve never believed in discarding what works! The late Emperor Palpatine, is dead, this Senate, and this Empire, are NOT!

    ”However, NO ONE can deny that the Imperial maze of bureaucracy is both cumbersome and difficult to negotiate. I would not trust my socks to an Imperial laundry! The systems of this Empire, however, do work despite the burden of inept bureaucracy that does a very bad job of replicating local governmental functions. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we need to change it! New model, same basic mold! Redundancies are ballast to be discarded! There are too many ticks on this dog!”

    There was an uneasiness that spread around the Rotunda. It was clear the new Emperor felt a pruning was in order and some indeed wondered just how their personal affairs would weather the impending change and still others who took particular exception.

    Anakin stood in silence, observing the turns and twitches around the chamber.

    “Under the Republic, you bore your civic debt with little oversight, and the patronage and lobbying corps ran rough-shod over the public coffers and justice. Now, oversight has grown to such degrees that this government is a mass of knotted bureaucracies AND the only difference is, now, the queuing is more orderly!” He stuck his thumbs in his belt and drew another deep breath, waiting again to see how the implicated would respond.

    For a moment there was silence, and then again a wave of cheers and murmurs filled the vast space making a surprisingly loud noise.

    He leaned forward at the lectern. “The Senate is the fulcrum of our Empire! This Senate already has the means to reach to every corner of this galaxy faster than any of our fleets! Yet, alone, the Senate cannot work effectively. It needs participation from the local systems level.”

    “I don’t need to teach a lesson in basic organizational behavior or social anthropology! We all remember our history primers. First you need a reliable source of food and stores, then the freedom and time to specialize - division of labor, then you organize, negotiate, and collaborate. We don’t need redundant departments to fight over jurisdictions. We need this Senate to do what it was meant to do and that’s to negotiate for those it represents, to set policy, regulate the effective and efficient flow of goods and information, and to inform both the executive branch of this government and the people it serves. When a regional tax officer has a greater authority than this legislative body, it’s a clear indication that the Senate is neither serving the people, the executive, nor ultimately, itself.” Slowly the rotunda began to hum with interjections and low murmurs.

    “There has been discussion of disbanding this Senate,” he said, meeting as many gazes as he could. The Senate rumbled with objection and outcry. He knew this statement was not news to anyone present, and as to why there had not been outcry, he knew exactly the reason for that. Fear.

    “Not on my watch!” he said raising his voice and punching the air emphatically with his index finger. “I’ll say it again so we can be clear on this matter, NOT ON MY WATCH!”

    For a moment, the rotunda was quiet, then gradually, as if they weren’t certain it was aloud, beginning with a small minority, individual clapping could be heard and then, seeing there was no reprimand, many more joined in.

    “The Senate is critical to the kind of collaboration this galaxy will need and the Senate is the best means by which to communicate across it. I can speak with some authority on the matter as I’ve got a pretty good idea of just how vast the galaxy really is!”

    “The Senate is the best means the central government has of reaching the people, and the best means by which the people can affect government.

    “In the weeks to come, there will be analyses made of the total cost of the war, detailing far more than you’d care for me to detail now, but I want to speak to some of the issues we will soon be addressing...”

    He spoke to them of the returning troops and officers, a sizeable number of whom would be rotating out of service and retiring, too old for combat but not too old for work. They would need jobs and housing. “That’s a good thing, because we have a lot of work to be done and plenty of new individuals entering the workforce. They’ll need the jobs.”

    He spoke to them of the difficulty of the economy and the fact that 15 years of poor regulation had created black markets rife with criminal activity, racketeering, and increased piracy in the shipping lanes. He told them that fortunately, the shipping lanes were going to be better controlled now more patrols could be assigned to perform interior defence.

    “There are multiple departments competing for authority and sapping the Imperial treasury while making necessary bureaucracy a nightmare to negotiate. The Senate, at my request will create a review committee to begin the process of streamlining our governmental agencies.” He gave examples of the many redundancies and continued to other related issues. “Merging bureaus won’t necessarily mean lost jobs, nor will this happen overnight, but because there are so many systems requiring physical reformation as well as reformation of ecosystems, because we will require new energy management, those whose positions are being phased out will have opportunity to make lateral moves into new departments...”

    “The agricultural projects alone will constitute the largest of the reformation initiatives. Early on in the Clone Wars, the Confederacy made it a primary objective to significantly impede our ability to feed our systems. In my own system of Ursa, the agricultural planet of Jupe was one of the first planets targeted by the CIS. They damaged the planet enough to destabilize its orbit. In 14 years there have been only 2 attempts at restoration and both were shelved in favor of military projects.” He didn’t have to look to Tarkin to know the Grand Moff sneered in spite of himself. One of the 2 military projects was his pet - the MAW.

    “The cryo-stores have been able to carry us since then, but there will come an end to them and waiting any longer to address this problem has overreaching and adverse consequences to us all.”

    “This brings us to another matter. I said that we all made sacrifices to fight and win this war. Keeping our vast fleets spaceborn has come at a very costly premium. To fuel one Imperial class destroyer for one year requires the energy output of a moderately sized star! While Serepan and many other energy planets like it is again under Imperial control our consumption is outstripping current ability to replenish our stores. I’m not an efficiency expert, but this is an area of military spending that needs reevaluation, the building of destroyers, dreadnaughts at the rates we have been is simply not practical, not without a better strategy to determine best practices. So the military and Senate will form a joint committee to establish new standards and practices.”

    “The most important review committee will be one to which I will appoint a member of my cabinet - Policy review. There were laws enacted during the war that have been both onerous to implement and unjust in their very nature. These policies have enabled and emboldened organizations such as COMPNOR to take on authority they do not have and dilute the efficiency and efficacy of established offices of the Imperial government...”

    Sate Pestage who had been prepared for much of the contents of Vader’s speech was not prepared for this. He could not help himself and sat up from where he had been half lounging to Anakin’s right and to the back in the row of seats behind the Emperor’s. He did not need to find Ishin-Il-Raz in his pod to know the COMPNOR leader was seething.

    Anakin used COMPNOR as an example of an unintended outcome of policy. As he’d told Ahsoka, earlier, he knew, as others may not have known, that the commission was not truly what it purported to be.

    “...I’m not so naive as to believe them wholly organic. COMPNOR, for instance, is supported by silent parties who don’t want to be overtly associated with these ultra-conservatives. They have to be managed or others will become sympathetic to their fanatical “cause. ” There's no point railing against people who stubbornly cling to a belief in the face of fact - fact that they dismiss because they don't accept empirical method, much less qualitative methodology – its all too complicated for their taste. They’re invested in simplicity being a barometer, a test of authenticity, of truth. They pick and choose the facts that suit their own arguments. Then there are the truly jaded, like Palpatine, who relied on the willful ignorance of people like those who make up COMPNOR...I’ll have to frame any actions regarding them as a matter of authority...”


    TAG: Open and To be continued ...
  22. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    OOC: Since Sophia is currently at the Senate, where Anakin is giving his speech, this post takes place prior to those events. I wanted to re-establish some things with Han before moving forward. I hope that is okay! With that said, it's great to be back and to see everyone posting again! :)

    Han Solo
    Ursean Embassy, Coruscant

    Sophia's hand came down upon his forearm in the form of a soft, reassuring pat, prompting Han to wince, but not out of pain. Aside from the dull throbbing in his head, something he was sure would subside in due time, he was feeling fairly decent...physically, at least. What was troubling him went beyond the pain sustained through simple bumps and bruises. It was an inner longing that was enclosed by a feeling of worthlessness and guilt; something that he couldn't even begin to explain to someone of Sophia's age. How could she even begin to understand? Out of all the things he could have lost - his own life, included - he managed to loose track of the model starship that had been given to him as a gift from Sophia. It might have been a simple toy, but it symbolized so much more and he couldn't even be entrusted with that.

    Closing his eyes, Han turned his head away from Sophia's form and focused on the shallow sound of his breathing. Perhaps it would help his situation if he acted as if she weren't really there...

    “Han! Why were you hurt?" Sophia exclaimed suddenly, the noise bringing an unpleasant ringing to his ears. "Chief Supiro said Ahsoka had to fight off...an assailant. Who did this to you?”

    Han inadvertently clenched his teeth against her raised voice. Despite her obvious concern, he found that any loud noise - and light, for that matter - aggravated his condition. Hopefully she did not witness his discomfort and when the worst of the pain had subsided, he slowly and carefully twisted his neck around so that he was facing her once more.

    Although he was taking in sharp, shallowed breaths to combat the pain, he still somehow managed a small smile. He opened his mouth to speak, but his voice would not cooperate. Thankfully, Mauurke stepped in and saved him from embarrassment.

    “I’m sorry, Master Han..." she offered in her usual kind demeanor. She regarded him a moment longer before turning to Sophia. "Sophia, Your Highness, Master Han, is still a bit disoriented. We should not trouble him with questions, now. Don’t worry, Master Han, I’m sure your gear can be located. I’ll make some enquiries while you visit. There is the house com on the nightstand if you need anything.”

    Again came the reminder of his failure. Han noticably shifted under the sheets as Maruuke mentioned his belongings. If the past couple of weeks were any indication of his luck, he wouldn't be surprised if Shrike's goons had swiped his duffel - the starship model included - and were now in the process of destroying the contents. He inhaled deeply through his nose. No, it would be much worse than that. Before destroying the contents, they would probably locate some sort of clue that would help them track him down to his current whereabouts. Wouldn't that be the perfect climax to his dismal existance? And who did he have to thank for this culmination of events? Vos.

    He sighed. That was a reunion he wasn't looking forward to.

    "You must be prepared if His Majesty requires you to attend the Senate, Your Highness and consider, if Master Han feels better, he may accompany you out this evening.”

    Accompany Sophia? Han sat up a little straighter, ignoring the discomfort he felt caused by the throbbing of his head. He couldn't even protect a silly, little toy. How was he going to ensure Sophia's safety over the course of an evening? Of course, he was well aware that the Enfanta had bodyguards and specialized officers to do that job for him, but sometimes he thought of himself as an object of bad luck. Not even the most trained combat solider could keep trouble away from him.

    Still, could he really pass up such an opportunity? Doing his best to hide his inner demons, Han flashed another weak smile. "A-actually, Ma'am," he called after Maruuke, hoping to catch her before she moved out of earshot. "I-I think I'm feeling much better. I can go."

    TAG: Maruuke, Sophia
    Last edited by HanSolo29, Feb 24, 2013
  23. TheMaidofOrleans Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2005
    star 3
    OOC: My apologies again for the delay. I am drowning in work…but I’ve been reading everyone’s posts….and all are just fantastic!! Happy to see GAW up and running again.
    Kudos to all! Keeping my fingers crossed in that I can post a little towards the end of the week.
  24. Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    IC: Another joint post brought to you by myself and CO, again a pleasure:)

    IC: Sam Gerard, Cosmon “Cosmo” Rendell, John Royce, Savah Poole-Cooper, Noah Noonan, Bobby Brigstocke, Nani Kali’iwa, Dan’el Denison
    Location: Chommell Sector Obligon Nebula/Arrissa’s Field, ISD Ragnarök

    Nani went to work and started with penetrating the Destroyer’s security encryption so that she could install her own custom program amongst their own. Getting through felt a lot easier and no surprise considering they used almost the same set the Relentless has.

    “Child’s play.” She directed an encouraging smirk to Royce, “not long now...”

    “Good, once you’ve got everything, give the double click signal to the others, we’ll then head back to the shuttle once we are all set. Wonder how the Commander is getting on....”

    Commander Gerard and young Noonan had managed to make it to the Captain’s quarters after Gerard had enquired on the bridge as to where the Captain was as he wished to speak with him urgently.

    “Ok” Gerard said to Noonan as they waited outside for the Captain to open the door “Nice and quiet, I’ll show him the arrest warrant and hopefully we won’t have to stun him”

    “What happens if we have to stun him?” asked the junior officer with a slight tremor in his voice.

    “Well, we’ll just have to drag him back to shuttle, say he was drunk and relieved from duty” said Gerard making sure his sidearm was set to stun.

    Back at the terminal Nani was finishing up on her program, Brigstocke was keeping an eye on the corridor.

    “Better start that countdown quick Nani, I’ve got a feeling our presence will be detected soon, and I really don’t want to have to stun these people before they explode”
    “Wow” said Royce, “you really are on form today”

    “Subtly boys! Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” Nani hissed and shook her head in frustration, last thing they needed was their conversation to be overheard. She might have tricked the security feeds for that section but she didn’t want to chance it. “Y’don’t want to broadcast everything. First key to blending in is to act like you belong there. Confidence... otherwise you get a sloppy performance on improvisation.” She licked her lips. “Besides, I’m just putting the cherry on top.”

    “Well you better hurry up with that cherry, the Commander has just given me the signal that they have intercepted the Captain” said Royce “And don’t worry, we will be as discreet as possible, discretion is my middle name” he winked at Nani.

    Nani caught the wink and couldn’t help but shake her head in amusement. The final piece left was to ensure a stable override of the ship’s communications to send short range burst signals directly to the Relentless’ receivers. The content to be transmitted contains the log and records of every activity that went on within the Relentless, barring the science division. That the division had its own separate storage for their data that is disconnected from the rest of the ship for security reasons.

    “That..... should..... do... it. There!” Nani then broke her datapad’s connection with the terminal and double-clicked her com. She then turned to Royce and Brigstocke as she packed her kit up and shouldered her bag. “Alright, let’s walk away and hope the others are on schedule.”
    The countdown had begun.....

    10:00

    9:59

    9:58

    9:57

    As Royce, Brigstocke and Nani made their way back to the shuttle, the others had received the double click signal to signal they now had ten minutes to get back to the shuttle before the ship exploded, and none of them wished to be there when it did....

    Gerard and Noonan were having trouble convincing the Captain to come with them, whilst Dan’el and Cosmo were at their chosen terminal and were now beginning their download.
    Savah meanwhile was charming the good Dr. Smith and it looked like he was besotted with her.

    “Well Savah is doing rather well, how are we doing on the download?” Cosmo asked Dan’el.

    Crouching by a terminal in a secluded section of a lab, Dan’el made it look like he was servicing the equipment. A panel of the outer casing had been removed and propped against the wall while holding a datapad in hand, it was plugged directly into the network. The data stored on there was being copied over to his pad. Dan’el took his eyes off the progress bar and looked to Cosmo. “So far no hiccup but there is a lot of data in here... I hate playing the waiting game while the clock is ticking...”

    Cosmo checked his pad which had the countdown ticking away on it “Well this place is going to go boom in about seven minutes time, so you better be ready to run for it....”
    “Don’t you worry about me... make sure you and Savah get there in time.” Dan’el shifted and glanced again to the progress. “Actually, you both better go now. I can handle this and meet you back at the shuttle.”

    TAG: To be continued...
  25. pashatemur Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: ...continued


    IC: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Mos Amedda, Sate Pestage, Celeste, the Reina Mavras of Ursa and soon to be Empress, the Enfanta Sophia Anastasia of Ursa, daughter of the Re Mavrat of Ursa and Imperial Executor, Grand Moff Tarkin, his wife, Lady Thalassa Tarkin, Grand Moff Trachta, Admiral Motti, Viceroy of Alderaan and Senator, Bail Organa, his sister Rouge Organa, a “guest,” and C3PO.
    Location: Senate rotunda, Coruscant



    The tips of Ahsoka’s lekku performed a micro twitch at the mentioning of COMPNOR, a subconscious reaction. They were a group she detested because of their radical ideals and human superiority complex. She had been subjected to the effects from some of their ‘anti-alien’ policies and the extreme bigotry of their supporters before and it made her sick as she recalled a particularly difficult moment she had to endure made worse by species-phobic attitudes that characterized COMPNOR. In fact it was here in the Rotunda. She kept her composure as she took in a deeper breath than usual and exhaled low as Anakin continued on. Deep down she hoped that a new policy would be put in place to disband such organisations.

    The chamber seemed to quiet again as he resumed his speech, having paused a moment. “Let this be notice to others like COMPNOR, if you draw funds from the treasury, your positions are up for review. If you do not draw resources from the government, then you have been assuming authority not granted by this government to take and are therefore, operating illegally. You will be shut down.”

    Celeste sat up and leaned forward, but kept her hands still in her lap. Was he going to make his request for repeal of specific policy today? No, surely not. She tried to quiet the beating of her heart. Sophia reached her hand and took her mother’s in her own to squeeze it. Celeste squeezed back to reassure her daughter, but she knew that if not now, soon her husband would bring a proposal before the Senate that could have far reaching consequences for so many, and particularly for the small royal family.

    To the right, in the pod next to them, Sophia caught sight of a severe, but very neatly coiffed man observing her mother. He seemed to sneer. Immediately, Sophia did not like this man who, having found himself being observed, coldly returned Sophia’s inquisitive glance with a brief rigid smile that disappear almost as quickly as it appeared. It was perhaps the first time in her life she’d ever been aware of a hostile regard toward her. She looked away as if she’d done something forbidden and she did not like it at all. Her brow furrowed and she clutched the glove in her lap. She wished now she were sitting in the row of upholstered seats behind her with Han, or even better, in the small but plush antechamber where Artoo stood in the open doorway viewing the proceedings from behind them, along with the USF and 501st stormtroopers who served as security and escort. For a moment, she tried to catch Han’s attention by looking over her shoulder, but she could not turn about without notice and she faced forward as the uniformed man with the color bars on his chest was still gazing in their direction and was now.

    Tarkin smiled inwardly. Charming! For a brief moment, he thought about seeing that the girl was adopted to a solid family, but, coming to his senses, decided it would be an extraneous effort.

    Anakin paused. “As I have indicated, the foremost effort of this assembly will be to restructure and simplify the Imperial bureaucracy. The first task before us, then, is to construct a formal document on the new constitution of this Imperial Government. I, in consultation with my Imperial cabinet and the current ruling council, will participate in this committee, the resultant work to be voted and approved by this legislative body. The Council of Sectoral Governors and the Diet of planetary Governors will prepare a record of report on their current dispositions and functions to present to this Senate and to me. The Procurator of Justice will prepare the same so that we may move quickly to address the needs and efficiencies of the courts, their respective reports to be made the second session after today which should be...one week...from now.”

    The Senate chamber rang with objections, but soon the thin noise subsided under the President’s call to order, as those who made protest, found their individual voices stood out.

    “All reports will be published with the Senate journal and be made a matter of the public record.”

    “Here! Here!” came a slow, but building cry of obligatory approval to which Anakin made some small attempt at a smile.

    He raised his hands to speak again. “You have come to hear my intentions for this Empire. I spoke of dreams. Let’s consider, that this Senate presided over twenty thousand years of republic, and only seven over an empire, and all seven of those years at war! That’s not exactly a stellar beginning! The future is not waiting for us to get our berries in the basket. Some of the issues I spoke of today are already big problems in need of big solutions from years of deferred attention and care both under the Republic and the under this Empire. Now the war is ended, there can be no more deferring. The challenges ahead are both critical and urgent."

    "We need a new vision, a new dream, not one formed by war and compromise. The challenges we face are not for one system or another, for one species, or for one social or economic strata, but for all of us."

    Motti, who sat behind Tarkin, leaned forward to hiss, “How long must we stand this. He actually believes he can wield this authority. This is a travesty!”
    Tarkin waved the red-faced man away as he might a nat at his ear, his face showing irritation. Yet, even while Wilhuff would counsel his comrades to have patience, he was saying of Vader to himself, “The FOOL!”

    "Years of political intrigue and neglect weaken this galaxy under the Republic to which my life was dedicated to protect and then under the Empire, weakened by the burden and injustice bread by war. I made a promise in my youth to shepherd this galaxy and today I stand before you, ready still to continue in that promise, but I am only one. To restore planets, restore peace, to restore economic health and justice, to secure and maintain that peace and prosperity, we must adapt to the needs we ourselves helped create and it will require extraordinary effort and talent, cooperation, and determination. Chief amongst all requirements, is a government that can deliver."

    To that end, we will address the inefficiency and waste of duplicate bureaucracies in this government, an effort to which none could have a sensible objection.

    Again the Senate must have decided in some collective consciousness to show their approval and the chamber echoed with applause. Anakin nodded and again gestured for quiet, continuing to speak on the necessary changes his objectives would require. He spoke to the issues he’d detailed to Ahsoka on the transport before they’d arrived for his address...

    ...They won’t let a thing like necessity get in the way of their enmity towards one another,” said Anakin taking up a small morsel of food from a tray. Ahsoka smiled. She thought she’d heard a growl that didn’t come from her empty stomach. Her once Master popped the tiny sandwich into his mouth and took up another before continuing as he gazed out at the traffic below them. “There’s this Ursean folk story of two fishermen in a boat. They refuse to accept that they must work together. So, for want of clear thinking and pride, they die of thirst paddling round in circles in the middle of the ocean, in the midst of a desert of water. That was how I perceived the Senate - empty rhetoric, posturing. They’d set their minds against one another and on principle, block and thwart whatever the other desired to pass in the way of law and policy. It’s a common tactic. When you haven’t got the high ground, you make your opponent look ineffectual, wear them down by blocking their efforts, destroy their credibility,” he said, making a slicing gesture over his right wrist, ‘cho mai.’ Politics is a blood sport, Ahsoka!" Popping one sandwich into his mouth he brushed his hands of crumbs as if to punctuate his statement and swallowed before continuing.

    "This difficulty of democracy is something with which I have struggled. It's infuriating to listen to the debate and take it seriously when the participants are disingenuous. They posture, act and bad acting at that. I once told Padme that someone ought to make them decide.” Anakin smirked at his own naivete...


    ***


    Ahsoka resisted the inclination to shiver in a draft of cold air that moved through the dark Senate chamber as the environmental systems must have cycled on. She listened to what Anakin was saying about his plans for the Imperial government. She didn’t have the luxury of grimacing as she had earlier when Anakin’s words made her remember her experiences with the Senate before the Republic fell. It disgusted her how the self-important politicians and representatives had, as Anakin had said, postured. Not all of them were like that, but there were enough of these cynical representatives in the Senate to often overwhelm the voices of the genuine and stall any sense of the term: progress.

    For a moment, a pang touched her heart as she remembered a few of the genuine voices in the senate. A handful of them she knew were sadly not present here, either from other commitments or they had passed away during the war. There was one that in her memory was the most vocal: Senator Amidala. Ahsoka found herself glancing to the Naboo contingent in their pod. She had briefly met the present Queen, Sabe Amidala, when she collected Artoo earlier that morning. Sabe's appearance had taken her aback as she was nearly identical to Padme and to look at Sabe, Ahsoka felt like she was staring into the past. She couldn’t help wondering if Sabe also shared her friend’s principled character, strength and resolve. It was difficult to imagine Padme gone and the Senate less one of it’s best civil rights activists.

    There were too few of Padme’s kind and so many of the self-satisfied Senators spoke monologues and filled up time and space, intriguing and dealing behind closed doors to pass whatever pet project lined their pockets, while real people, not numbers, not trends, suffered for want of decisions, lost their livelihoods, or died on the field of battle for want of necessary relief and supplies. The greed was so obvious. She wondered why they did not try to conceal their avarice better, but Anakin had said, “They are oblivious to it.” Somehow, it was possible to pretend to themselves that the resources they failed to distribute, but rather, absorbed for their own benefit, did not cause suffering - either that, or the jaded politicians simply did not care.

    It sure was easy to think darkly, wasn’t it, she thought. This place needs to let in more light.

    Two glowing red spheres of light had been trained on her from one of the pods of the Moffs just to the left of Grand Moff Tarkin’s. A shock of hair surmounted a prosthetic covered face, and other than a glance to Tarkin, the figure, the Moff, for it wore some vestiges of uniform and color bars, it kept it's gaze on the Emperor's dais. That was as much as Ahsoka could see. By contrast, though he had noted Ahsoka, Tarkin made a point of not acknowledging her. Ahsoka knew very well, Tarkin was hyper-aware of her presence on the dais. It would not have failed her old “prosecutor’s” notice nor would it sit well with him.

    She had managed to put the Moff from her thoughts ‘til now. Focus! Slowly, Anakin’s voice rose from beneath the surface of her awareness to bring her back to the present.

    “...The options outside of the representative democracy this Senate has manifested for centuries are inefficient and ineffectual. Diluting the authority of this assembly has only resulted in a bureaucracy that is both overly centralized and cumbersome. Presently, we have allocated both civilian and military staff, offices, and resources, and legion of clerks and field agents to determine what's needed on the level of individual communities when they already know best what’s needed. The local inhabitants have a stake in how the community is directed and managed. The adage that all politics is local, is true. It's native sense."

    "The Empire does not need to duplicate government on this level - communication, administratration, regulation, adjudication, or collecting taxes. Planets and systems having their own sovereignty on this level is a good thing.”

    Ahsoka immediately redirected her gaze, this was where she knew to watch the Moffs’ pods. This next bit she had a feeling they were not going to like at all. She heard Anakin beginning to speak about the function of the planetary and system governors and how the present Imperial system would need to change. It was a matter she had asked him about herself, just an hour earlier...


    “What about the governors, the Moffs,” Ahsoka asked, “Surely they will have a big problem with what you propose?”

    “I’ll come to that,” said Anakin holding up a hand. “What is needed is a government liaison at this level for planetary regions, perhaps 4 to 6 small offices, depending on existing infrastructure, to oversee, distribution of public goods and services, and basic government functions.”

    “Obviously, regional governors are necessary, although, they could have a Prime Minister or they could have planetary or system rule by Council, as well. Planets and systems are simply too populace to not have a coordinating and regulatory body. However, they should be locally elected from planet or system communities, as I said, and they would coordinate with the Imperial government liaisons to facilitate the movement of goods and services, regulate trade and business, see their local law enforcement is implementing and keeping the law."

    Ahsoka gave the matter some thought before offering a considered objection. “It wasn’t even like that before the Empire. How are you going to see implementation of that plan: starting with the Outer Rim and moving inward, one system at a time? In some places, the corporate sector still holds a lot of sway. They’re going to take advantage of lack of oversight. The profit motive is so strong. You know how the corporations have obstructed healthful advances in technology.”

    "There will be an entity to regulate business that can initiate investigation from the highest level down. I’m not saying we abandon the planetary government to undue influence from corporations or criminals - and no, a coordinated implementation must be sector wide pending approval of restructuring in the Senate. However, I believe there could be a ground swell of support for the endeavor. Again, self-rule would be welcomed and certainly more effective and less costly all around."

    "To replace the Moffs, Imperial government would have a Prefect at the system levels who would oversee the liaisons and whose authority would not extend to day to day running of the local governments, but who would coordinate with local governments to ensure the proper flow of goods, services, communication, taxes and system wide defense - but the office of Prefect would not be military, but civilian. Only in matters determined to be Imperial would they have authority at the local level, though equal and not superseding the local governments. If there was a matter in which the Prefect thought the Empire must exert control, it would have to come to the Senate for review and approval, unless I grant emergency powers, in the case of the unforeseen."

    Ahsoka said, “That would go long ways, but not just one person, this Prefect, or... a dual system to keep a balance?"

    The system governors in the larger sectors might consider forming a council. In the Outer rim, the issue is a little more complicated because of the ravages of this war and because of the lawlessness that’s plagued the region for so long. I believe we may in fact need the Moffs still with regard to the Outer rim governance. However, their first objective must be assisting the local planets in forming local governmental chain of report and command, so that they can begin the process of integrating into the Imperial system. I hope to repatriate the Moffs back into the Admiralty. The Sector Commands will exist militarily and function as centers for command of the fleets assigned them.”

    Whether by council or governors, the planetary and system governments will communicate with the regional Imperial liaisons, the liaisons will communicate with the Prefects. In this model, the Imperial Prefect and its officers, the liaisons, are not directly responsible for collecting and distributing, but for requisitioning resources from the planets and systems or from the Empire for the local governments they serve. They are a means of collecting information and making sure it is directed to the correct offices of the central governments, both local and Imperial. The Senate is a means of balancing the power of both the system and planetary governors and the Prefects and Moffs. The dual reportage is to keep the balance between Imperial and local points of contact, to keep the information flowing and prevent and overcome any barriers to that flow when barriers arise, and they will. There is always someone seeking to profit by inserting themselves and commodifying the information and communication.”

    Ahsoka smiled wryly. “Sometimes you'll need someone to check up on Senate from time to time.”

    “As members of the Empire, the members of the Senate would be bound by the constitution they help create. Therefore, their actions and those of their representatives must fit the test of that constitution and the standards and practices they have established together. They would be bound by their assent and ratification of the new codes. Also, they would have an incentive under the eye of the public. The Senators will monitor each other when under the glass of their own rules. I’ll explain more, but my point is, that local communities are better served by themselves and they will show more oversight when it comes to portioning taxes. Centralized agencies of the planetary and system governments will collect taxes and be responsible for paying into the Imperial system which itself will have representative offices apart from the Prefects. I do not want to see the Prefects or Moffs exposed to temptation by having access to that revenue stream...” The “last” about the Prefects and Moffs he delivered differently. “It is too grave a burden to entrust the Prefects and Moffs with access to the revenue stream. Freed from even the appearance of malfeasance, they should find their work less encumbered by managing civilian government and putting their efforts toward work for which the military are better suited.”

    ***

    Bail Organa’s sister could be heard agreeing quietly, “Um hum.” The Prince of Alderaan could not help but turn to the prim Lady and remind her where she was. He’d been watching quietly and Rouge, usually so temperate and respectable, was caught for a moment, unguarded. She looked to Bail mortified. He smiled and touched her hand in her lap to say he understood. Celly and Tia had wanted to attend - they were all enormously interested in what Vader would have to say, but Leia, so excited about finally being allowed to attend a state affair, could hardly be contained and it would take the two younger sisters to see to the energetic young princess. In fact, all of Chatham House was in a frenzy with Bail’s sudden opening of the Coruscant residence.

    Reluctantly, he took C3PO along to record the event, charging the droid to be silent and acquit his task without interruption. “Are we clear?” Bail needed to know that ‘3PO would act accordingly. The droid could be so predictable in his unpredictability. “I’m quite clear on the matter, Your Highness,” said C3PO, just as he positioned himself toward the back of the pod. So far, so good. Bail wanted to send the recording on to the Alliance so they would be sure of an unaltered or censored record, though there was another eye witness present to triangulate the information. He wondered what the witness was making of the speech thus far and about the familiar person standing with Vader on the dais.

    Ahsoka Tano’s presence next to Vader could not have shocked him more than if his sister had baked a plate of cookies and sent him to deliver them to the Executor himself! What did this mean. The guest sitting in the pod next to him seemed similarly confounded, but her expression could not be seen behind her heavy veil.

    Organa turned his attention back to the speech, but kept the Moffs’ pods in his peripheral view as well. Vader couldn’t possibly be saying what it sounding he was saying. Self-rule for planets and systems? The tension was so thick Bail began to feel hot for want of air and leaning his chin on his palm he exhaled and tried to keep his face neutral. There was expectancy, he could feel it. Now he regretted his current posture and slowly sat back, putting his hands in his lap and found himself growing anxious as his glance turned from the dais to the moffs and back again. He couldn’t help but feel expectant, himself...



    TAG: to be continued...and open
    Last edited by pashatemur, Mar 3, 2013
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