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Saga Journal of Miserable Discovery: Orvax IV

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mechalich, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Journal of Miserable Discovery: Orvax IV
    Author: Mechalich
    Timeframe: 19 BBY - 1 ABY
    Characters: Dr. Rastus Eoph (OC)
    Genre: Drama
    Notes: this pieces deals with mature thematic material centered on the topic of slavery, comments are welcome

    Summary: An Imperial scientist chronicles his posting to the slave-trade mecha Orvax IV
  2. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    The misery of Orvax IV is a millstone upon the soul. Every sound, from the clank of chains to the snap of electrolashes to the piteous wailing of families fragmented forever, wounds the mind. The air itself brings a poisonous assault, saturated with secretions of fear so thick that even the miserable human sense of smell cannot help but drown in them.

    Not that there are many humans on this wretched planet. Our presence is rare, though our mark is everywhere. Once a blighted backwater that spent the bulk of its profits bribing the Sector Rangers to stay away; this horrid world has blossomed under the Empire.

    Alien oppresses alien on Orvax IV, but the vast commercial exchange of sentient flesh, and the glittering towers that rise in the upper city, were the result of a decree sealed by human hands. It was one human in particular, Emperor Palpatine himself, who allowed it.

    Imperial Decree A-SL-4557.607.232 – a piece of legislation that has touched the lives of billions, yet it lies buried deep in Imperial legal archives. Passed without fanfare or review in the early days of the New Order, it has no official name.

    Supposedly slavery is a violation of imperial law. Officially none of the beings bought, sold, or kept as sentient cattle on Orvax IV are slaves. In the twisted eyes of the law they are prisoners, convicts whose bondage is governed through a variety of ‘cultural exemptions to standard penal codes.’

    I stand as the ultimate representation of the grand imperial hypocrisy. It falls to me to turn slavery to science. So I have been ordered as part of the Imperial Species Identification Bureau.
    My official job title is stupendously banal: Biotic Trade Identifier. It is a position attached to the functions of Imperial Customs. It is not a special or uncommon position. I have tens of thousands of fellows scattered across the galaxy on major trade worlds, all monitoring for diseases, agricultural pests, livestock, and other new discoveries. Unlike them, my monitoring is not for seeds, arthropods, or viruses. The quarry I search out new to imperial commerce is sentient beings.

    Blood-Meter, that’s what the slave traders call me, when they are being charitable. A rare occurrence, that. I am not welcome amongst their brutal camaraderie.

    You see, I have power over them. A modest power, in truth; I have the authority to take ‘samples’ of species unknown to the Empire or those rare enough that they have not been subject to proper medical examination.

    ‘Samples’ means people, means slaves – Men and women in multiple age classes, representing maximum intraspecific diversity. I can take them away, have them sent for full physical, mental, and societal evaluation on Byss.

    The slavers are not compensated when this happens.

    That is why they hate me. I welcome their spite. It lets me feel just a little bit better than them. That sliver makes all the difference.

    I do not know what happens to the ‘samples’ after the evaluation is complete on Byss. I am not such a fool as to think it pleasant. I try hard not to think about it. Sometimes I succeed.

    Perhaps you wonder who takes the slaves away, who enforces Imperial might in this forsaken system. Stormtroopers? No, not they. We had them in the beginning, the first few years, but the environment weighed them down just as it does any other man, clone or not. An officer, a man who saw his own way out in the excuse, reported it caused ‘An undue burden on unit morale and combat readiness.’ The white-armored soldiers were transferred out, and their officers with them. Security droids replaced them all.

    I do not blame that officer in the slightest. There is military virtue in doing right by one’s troops.

    Everyone who can leave Orvax IV does so. Sometimes they chose the blaster as a way out. The slavers, their guards, enforcers, merchants, and supplies are all aliens. Overwhelmingly their psychology is their armor. The T’surr, favored as security in the markets, are a typical case. To their minds all weaker beings, even others of their own species, can only be considered livestock to be treated as property. Free agency of sentient beings is, to them, created only through strength. They have no concept of liberty.

    The T’surr, and similar species, are products of evolutionary stresses, just as humans are. They are not inherently evil; they simply have a mental framework that does not seamlessly match our morals. We cannot blame them for being the way they are. Instead it is we, the humans who hold the reins of the galaxy, who must manage these impulses. It is our failure to utilize the law to protect others from the T’surr and their kindred spirits that is the great wrong.

    The Empire could stop this. It has chosen not to. I do not know why. I am past asking. I am surrounded by hostile aliens, silent droids, and a shrinking Imperial mission populated by degenerates, psychopaths and the worst kind of bigots. That is why I talk to the datastream, and share my inner musings with no one else.

    Could I leave? Yes, probably. I choose not to. I consider it a rational choice. To remain here is my penance, the price I pay for abetting imperial sins. In so doing I spare some other innocent soul from this place.

    Am I sanctimonious, in claiming this as a form of slow martyrdom? No doubt I am. I am past caring. Orvax IV has seeped into my soul. As much as I hate to remain, I would hate myself for leaving many times more.
    • Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 14 BBY

    Entry Notes
    Orvax IV is a canon location, having been featured briefly in the Dark Times comics.
    The Imperial Species Identification Bureau is a canonical organization, though featured only as a job title without detail.
  3. aalagartassle

    aalagartassle Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 11, 2011
    Excellent writing, I think the story of a chattel scientist/ recruiter for the Empire is good subject.
    Add me thanks.
  4. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    The planet is drowning in money. Three years of continuous growth brought on by the violence of war have exploded into a bonanza of lucre with its end. Whole populations loyal to the Separatists have been taken from their homeworlds. Cities and provinces on worlds protesting the New Order have been emptied of all people. Military jails have disgorged their bulging populace of deserters, seditionists, agitators, and negligents. The Empire has given death to those it fears, but freedom to none. To the great mass classified as ‘low-risk’ it has rather chosen to monetize their servitude in terrible fashion.

    Business is slaves, and business is expanding. Profit margins are up immensely, or perhaps it may be more accurate to say that bribes are down. The money comes from several sources. Hutts are a large part; their cartels supply labor, expertise, and pleasure to paranoid rebuilding operations all across the galaxy. Cruel cultures, human and alien alike, form another large part, indulging in the freedom to practice long-forbidden creeds.

    The largest portion of the money flows through the planet, back into the coffers of the slavers, to linger deep in foul cargo holds or desolate storehouses. Much remains though. Every trader takes his cut, and the many services, entertainments, and vices of Orvax IV siphon away as many credits as they can.

    Considering the way they race to build skyward, it seems the traders have waited a long, long time for this boom. The level of construction is unfathomable in practical terms; urban height is set to double-planet wide in less than a decade. Of course, it’s not a pleasant boom for most. There are no free workers here, only droids and slaves. Mostly droids actually, advanced construction labor seems to suit them better, especially on the outdoor side. Slaves are kept for design work and interior finishing.

    The traders ,flush with funds now, do not spend in the way the elite of the Core do. They buy durable goods, buildings and starships mostly, but also droids, ground vehicles, and even vast chunks of wilderness. Though their purchases are gleaming and glossy, high culture escapes them, and there is little expensive art, fashion, or even entertainment. Above all else, demands of security and paranoia eat into their expenditures. The number of guards rises almost as fast as the buildings.

    Many of the traders, especially the larger guilds, hoard far more than they flaunt. Rumor claims vast piles of unmarked credit chits are hidden in vaults deep under the bedrock. Several well-known off-world banks have opened thriving branches that conduct all transactions cloaked in total anonymity.

    To me, the most surprising aspect of this boom has been how little is spent on slaves. Aside from a few high-profile architects and designers with the misfortune to end up in captivity, there have been very few major internal auctions. All the traders have domestics of course, secretaries, ministers, and they snap up slave guards from those species and populations with the psychology and training to accommodate it, but the numbers are low overall. They are keeping the numerical ratio down – out of fear of course.

    A world of misery above all. Even those who reap great profits among it cannot fully enjoy their wealth.

    Good. They should choke on it.
    • Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 17 BBY
  5. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    You've got some great descriptions here.

    Dr. Eoph looks like an interesting character with a unique perspective on the slavery he's witnessing and studying. I'm curious to see what he'll be observing and thinking about it.

    Great start!
  6. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Thanks. Writing as Eoph is tricky because everything is extremely grim and yet he's very jaded at the same time. The big reason why this is presented as a journal, rather than a series of traditional vignettes or similar scenes is that it would just be too grim to convey anything other than abject suffering.
  7. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    How do you find a new species? A fundamental question.

    There are millions of sentient species in the galaxy after all (estimates vary widely) with only five million known in imperial archives. No one database records them all, with species certainly recorded into Jedi Archives now lost, or non-integrated databases such as those of Obroa-Skai. For ISIB purposes the official listing of the sentient species of the galaxy remains the University of Coruscant’s Catalogue of Sentient Life.

    The general objective then is to find a sentient species that is not registered in the database. Finding an unrecognized population of a known species is a bit trickier, but follows similar approaches.

    The first step is to visually examine the sentients arriving on Orvax IV. In an ideal situation this would be pre-packaged along with a descriptive name and other data by the incoming shipper, in the same fashion of a passenger liner arriving on Coruscant. Obviously this doesn’t happen here, and other means are required. Observation in person is of course impossible, vessels arrive continuously and at all hours, one person has limited resources. Even Orvax IV’s reasonably robust Imperial Customs mission only inspects a very small fraction of vessels.

    Thankfully the various spaceport authorities monitor the offloading of cargo on every vessel; meaning they point cameras at the process. Smugglers can easily bypass this, and no doubt I have missed potential discoveries due to that, however, smuggling of slaves to an openly operating slave market is in fact very rare. Regardless, in the case of smuggling I have no real recourse, though I do conduct the same analysis on any slaves seized by customs as contraband (a very small number, considering ubiquitous bribery).

    Imperial customs has access to all the spaceport observation data, which means I also have it. The first real step on my part is to process all that data. A human can’t do it of course, so I rely on a specially programmed droid brain. Armed with filters that combine state-of-the-art character recognition software and my own sorting algorithms it processes every off-load on the planet and produces a report of possible hits every four hours.

    The next step is rather intuitive. The droid brain is limited primarily by the quality of the holo-records and the lack of multiple observation angles. Less than one possible new species in five hundred produced by the software is legitimate. I have to go through an examine all of these, searching for the best matches. The only real tools are the taxonomist’s eye and experience.

    Key in the process is discerning real character differences from existing profiles, ranging from minor morphological traits to behavioral cues to languages patterns. Any navigational data that the slavers choose to file, though rarely available, is very helpful. The process is not wholly visual, and morphology is not the be-all-end-all. Plenty of sentient species exist that are mirror images of some other, rather distant, relation.

    Once I have a workable-size list of best candidates in hand, I move to the follow-up stage. This is where it gets hard, and where the true nature of Orvax IV hits home. Tracking the movement of a slave or small group of slaves through the commercial system of Orvax IV is not a simple task. Official information filings are few, and the number of cooperative informants fewer. Worse, there’s considerable time pressure; the window to locate the average arrival before they are sold and subsequently shipped off-world averages a mere three-point-five days.

    As a result, my policy is to take a blood sample of any individual I manage to locate in person, even if the physical impression seems obvious that they are from a known species. Wasting effort is stupid, confirmation important.

    With state of the art genetic scanning and processing equipment a blood sample can be sequenced at thirteen different genetic loci and compared to every known species in the database in less than five minutes. Precise time depends on the size of the genome.

    I should mention that yes there are indeed species that do not match one of the small number of conventional molecular genetic material systems (DNA, pRNA, etc.). However, anything that fits that particular criterion always gets the full exam and sent on to Coruscant, it’s that rare.

    Genetic matching is imperfect, even with thirteen loci. A far more complete sequencing process is needed to determine the boundary between new species and new sub-population of a known species, but regardless a No Match result means a new record and a specimen to be sent on to Coruscant.

    Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 15 BBY
  8. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Jax Lavarn, an ensign with Imperial Customs, is perhaps the only co-worker I spend any real time with. Not that he’s particularly good company; he’s a drunk slowly poisoning his remaining organs – having switched to a prosthetic liver years ago – and given to rather depressing attempts at debauchery with Twi’lek girls. Still, alcohol and wanton sexual expression are minimalist vices by the standards of Orvax IV coping mechanisms. Everyone who isn’t a psychopath has at least one, though that only covers about half the personnel.

    And yes, I have a vice – we all find something that makes the world recede from the forefront of our minds from time to time. Mine is simple enough: gambling. I’m not proud of it, the card tables have a hold of me, but it’s manageable. Not by willpower, but by fortuitous circumstance. The locals won’t lend any money to Imperials; a consequence of a certain officer borrowing millions and then simply sending in stormtroopers when he subsequently defaulted. So, I can lose all of my pay, but that's it. My basic needs are filled by supply rations anyway. Being broke is a small suffering compared to most here.

    Regarding Lavarn though, he’s a useful person to listen to, from time to time. Commiseration is essential, and no journal can truly compare to a living, breathing being. He understands what it means to work in this horror show. Leveling customs duties on cargo when the cargo is people is no easier than conducting taxonomic analysis.

    I admire Lavarn in that he’s not entirely corrupt. Generally, unless someone can come up with a truly exceptional alcoholic concoction, he actually makes the slavers pay what they owe, rather than taking a bribe instead. So that suffices to bond us together, a commitment to actually doing our jobs. I’ve never learned why he cares to collect, and I’ve never asked. You don’t push on Orvax IV.

    Lavarn knows the slavers better than I do. He has connections, informants, a handful of listening devices, and a general ear to the duracrete. Imperial Intelligence would call his sources laughable, but it’s something.

    There have been some fairly big changes lately. The Zygerrians seem to have finally recovered from their Clones Wars loses and are pushing back against the Thalassians in several sectors. Just scuffling for now but it might blossom into war. Lavarn thinks Black Sun, which apparently has a new master, is pushing the two sides into conflict in the hopes of increasing its influence in the Outer Rim.

    Strange though it might seem, this upheaval has little impact on my work. The Zygerrians and Thalassians mostly stick to established routes, populations, and species. The same is true of the Karazaks, the other big guild.

    Like any other industry, slavery can be broken down into a small number of major product classes and a larger number of specialty offerings. The general dominance of the Hutts on the consumer end of the business only reinforces this. For those with a thousand year lifespan change in taste evolves slowly.

    Heavy labor capacity, artistic aptitude, technical aptitude, and erotic appeal are the four primary features sought out in slaves. All have long-established species and populations that satisfy the major customers, and are regularly raided or bred. The discovery of new species on the blocks of the slave markets means going beyond the ordinary and into the market for ‘exotics.’

    That peculiar sub-market, composed of species not commonly found among the spacefaring populace, is not dominated by a traditional slaver guild or major crime syndicate. The biggest single player is rather a corporation: Czerka Arms.

    Czerka has long had a large and effective exploration division. They have a simple, brutal stratagem, one tied to their arms production. Find a new world, look into local conflict, and offer a supply of high-tech weaponry to a brutal warlord in exchange for the extraction rights to any resource with even a hint of value. Once, the Republic’s own scouts tried to race ahead of Czerka. For a time, so did the Imperial Survey Corps, until their budget was gutted by the Emperor. Now they are largely unopposed in the mass discover and exploit business.

    The arms dealers have no issue with slavery, and if they discover a new species, population, or culture they like to ‘test the market’ by putting out a small number of slaves to see if there’s interest. Any group that proves well-suited to the desires of the slaveholders doesn’t come back to Orvax IV. No, Czerka will cut out the middleman and go directly to the buyer.

    Independent explorers and some smaller corporate outfits mimic Czerka, though on a much lesser scale. It used to be that unscrupulous prospectors would sell their discoveries to the Trade Federation, which would then bind up new planets into ruinous trade deals. The Empire put a stop to that practice. Everyone pays their taxes now, so these money-grubbers turned to the slave markets for quick credits instead.

    Low-grade suffering of the many exchanged for the abject horror of the few. It’s the way of the New Order.

    -Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 12 BBY
    aalagartassle likes this.
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    The unrelenting awfulness of what Eoph's job allows him to see comes through in his writing, even though he is very formal. This is an interesting if disturbing look behind the scenes of Imperial slavery. The way it's hidden away and kept out of the public view seems quite realistic to what is shown in the EU. An awful lot of people in the galaxy simply didn't encounter these things in their daily lives, but the officially employed "scientist" sees it all.
  10. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    I imagine there's a small blessing to having the droid brain doing the surveillance data filtering, aside from simply relieving the tediousness of the task and simplifying that huge amount of data-- psychologically it must help to not have to look at ship after ship of slaves being unloaded if it's not necessary.

    Even if Lavarn may not be quite to the level of "friend", it's good that he's there for Eoph to interact with, as a sanity check at the very least.

    Czerka Arms' preference for cutting out the middleman after finding a buyer could complicate things for Eoph if that might mean some of their "exotic" slaves skip Orvax IV on subsequent trips. It could make that 3.5 day turnaround time from unloading to selling more important for Eoph to find them for his work.

    Great job!
  11. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    About the formality, I have this sense that Eoph approaches these with a distinctive idea that they will represent his personal legacy, and so they don't represent random musings so much as a deliberate record of things he thinks are important about his job (later entries will address this more directly).

    Oh, Eoph definitely misses a lot, his position is decidedly understaffed (as grim as that sounds) in the fashion of most taxonomic work. One of the inspirations for this is how little information the government actually has on all the species in their midst, to the point that people are being sold into slavery from 'undiscovered' sentient species.

    Appreciate the commentary!
  12. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    I have been asked, more than once, almost always by someone with no experience in close proximity to the issue, ‘What is the worst slaver guild?’

    The question is ridiculous, slavery is always abhorrent. Attempting to rank slavers on some sort of scale of ethics is nothing but a dodge that obscures the simple fact that all of them are guilty of crimes so heinous that swift death is the only suitable punishment. To do otherwise is to invite a dangerous practice of justification and rationalization where one pretends to deal with only the ‘good’ kind of slaver, when of course there is no such thing. From such madness emerges great tragedy, for anyone who has made the decision to engage in the commerce of sentient lives has truly forsaken all moral codes and will, in the breach, engage in absolutely any perfidy one can imagine.

    That being said, it is possible to rank slaving organizations along a spectrum of professionalism. It is a differentiation based on method, not morals – a function of how the horror operates, nothing more.

    At one end of this professionalism scale (there is assuredly no top or bottom) is the Karazak Slavers Cooperative. Their name sounds banally corporate because they are. Though not the eldest of the galaxy’s slaving organizations they are perhaps the purest. The Karazak engage only in forms of slavery, ignoring all other criminal endeavors as not part of their ‘exclusive business model.’ Their operation plans long-term, it has a family-oriented focus among its members, similar to many of the Core Worlds’ older noble clans. Most Karazak employees take considerable pride in their ‘business.’ The treatment of the slaves themselves is marked by a clinical proficiency. They are treated as valuable luxury merchandise. Health, cleanliness, nutrition, and even mental stress are all monitored and controlled throughout the acquisition, transport, and sales processes. The goal is to rapidly bring to market a high-quality product and obtain maximum returns. Watching their business in action one feels a disturbing similarity to the methodology of a large-scale droid distributor.

    Progressing away from this merciless machine of sentient ‘commerce’ the next group is the large criminal syndicates: Black Sun; Zann Consortium; and similar groups. Czerka Arms and other corporate players also function very similarly. These large operations don’t have the family-oriented pride of process that characterizes the Karazaks, but they all expect their slavery branches to be efficient, profitable, and minimally messy. Slaves are therefore treated with the care necessary to prevent ‘loss of value.’ It is not uncommon for officials within these enterprises to profess a personal distaste for slavery, though of course it never seems to lead to any change in activities, and to punish unnecessary ‘damage’ – such as the death of a slave – with great harshness.

    Next are the Zygerrians. Not really a unique category per se, as there are a number of other species with similar cultural arrangements, but this one is orders of magnitude more important in the galaxy-wide market. The Zygerrians are an economic and militarily powerful slave-trading species, and one of the oldest presences in the business of misery. They utilize brutality in their taking and keeping of slaves, but they use it principally as a tool, not for its own sake (I note that this is a distinction only important for psychological purposes). Their guild desires, demands even, the suffering of slaves in accordance with their twisted philosophy. Cruelty is quite common, but not wanton. The Zygerrians are deliberate, methodical even, in their utilization of a variety of approaches for the distinct purpose of will-breaking. All they take into bondage is destined to be crushed, but this is done in service of a particular doctrine of dominance, not generally out of any joy taken in suffering.

    Past the Zygerrians and one moves into those groups that lack what might be characterized as restraint. This next grouping is by far the largest entry into the market. It comprises the Thalassian Slavers, any number of Hutt-controlled cartels, most successful independents, and a wide variety of uncommon slaving species. These groups are brutal. They ruthlessly enforce dominance over their captives. Most are also multi-purpose criminal enterprises; blending slaving with piracy, extortion, and the like. These groups are sufficiently organized to remain firmly focused on the profit motive. Though they are often deliberately cruel, any excessive level of wastage gets noticed and promptly scrubbed out. Slaves are kept alive and generally healthy. Basic hygiene is maintained.

    As organization devolves further the term ‘slaver’ becomes less and less applicable. The next segment of the industry consists of occasional and opportunistic slavers. This includes the majority of the galaxy’s pirate bands and most of its less-than-honorable mercenary groups. It also includes predatory species that sometimes enslave ‘survivors.’ Trandoshans are a well-known example. Groups of this nature generally expend effort only to the point of keeping slaves alive, and even then accept some level of loss on the way to market without objection. Considerable personal cruelty and wanton violence is liable to be visited of slaves in the hands of these agents. Many are likely to suffer from numerous health issues as a result.

    It may surprise some to learn that this is not the most discordant source of slaves on the market. There are groups that sell slaves as those who have managed to survive only in spite of how they are treated by their captors. These include all manner of utterly contemptible groups: the very worst pirate and mercenary gangs, desperate spice addicts, the prisoners of cruel warlords, and the unfortunate victims of bizarre alien practices – rejected sentient sacrifices to use one relatively mild example.

    To my personal regret my work most commonly deals with the less professional of the slaving organizations. Looking for species new to the galaxy as a whole means they are perforce new to slavery as well. Reckless raiding, provincial wars, and other pseudo-random events outside established commerce play a large role in such discoveries. The more established organizations generally stick to well-commoditized species.

    The upside of negotiating with these depraved and cruel madman, if there can be said to be one, is that there is no need to treat such unprofessional operations with any professional courtesy. There is a stress-relieving aspect to conducting one’s business via droid-backed blatant threats.
    • Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 11 BBY
  13. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    This was an interesting look into the motives and methods of the various slaving groups and how their mentality affects how they treat their slaves. That's quite a broad spectrum, and having to interact with them all, even if only in limited amounts for some, must take a lot of flexibility on Eoph's part. I like how he doesn't feel the need to hold back and play nice with groups who are on the more crazed end of things.

    Great post!
  14. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Today I received a great honor – the Secant Prize. To think I would be granted one of the top honors in sentientology in the whole galaxy, a prize dating back over thirty-five hundred years. It is grand and shaming at the same time.

    I share the prize with Dr. Essira Collows of the Imperial Museum of Natural History on Byss. We have never met in person and have only communicated via live holo a handful of times. Recorded exchange of text has been our link for a dozen years. Even so, I know enough to recognize her as a kindred spirit, at least in part.

    Primarily I owe this honor to her kindness. She has always named me as first co-author on the many descriptive papers of new sentient species and previously unknown populations that have resulted from the Orvax IV ‘samples.’ Considering the rather preliminary nature of my assessments this is hardly necessary. She has long utilized my physical descriptions almost verbatim, another gracious gesture.

    The award honors our discovery of two-hundred species newly known to the galaxy; an average of fifteen each year, more than I had ever properly realized. Slightly more than one per month; a true and telling testament to the rapaciousness of the slavers. This is my life, science built upon suffering.

    Apparently the University of Coruscant does not discriminate regarding the ethical nature of research, at least not in the current age. I chose to believe this great honor has resulted from the suction of funding out of traditional exploration and sentientology, rather than any grand achievement on my part.

    Official presentation of the award occurs during a major gala held on the main campus. It is a sizable event, one that honors over thirty winners in various branches of sentientology.

    Once attending would have been a dream come true. Now I look upon the prospect with considerable dread. Dr. Collows will go, of course, compared to me she has nothing to be ashamed of. But I?

    I have done my work well – I can defend that statement to my grave. The observations, the protocols, the data; I am a professional, whatever the circumstances. Yet, it is not right to stand amid such wrong and simply study it. If the work did not challenge the ruin, should it ever have been undertaken? Is it not eternally tainted? Can I stand on Coruscant before those I would claim as peers and accept this honor with my ethics buried beneath a pile of blood and shackles?

    It occurs to me now that I will not be given any choice in the matter. The Bureau will demand I attend, to soak up accolades so they can use the little piece of scientific hardware as a prop in their eternal war for funding. Truly, I would rather funding for ISIB than more money for new turbolaser schematics. That reason, to support other work, better work, is enough to go.

    Leaving though, that will be hard. Not being somewhere else, no, but because it will make returning so much worse.

    Twelve years to the Secant Prize. One small eternity, not even a full third of a career. What can I do, save endure?
    • Dr. Rastus Eoph, Imperial Species Identification Bureau, 7 BBY
  15. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Ouch. He's really got a sense of inferiority about his being awarded this prize. The wretched part is, he's right and wrong. It's true that his work only exists through atrocities, ones that he didn't start but isn't innocent of either. It's also probably true that he is a talented and careful scientist, if what we see in these records is any indication. He cares more for ethics than the people who designed his job, but doesn't believe there's anything he can do about it. There is always the question of whether he could have/should have done something to resist the Empire's policies -- and yet, it seems likely that few would find a way to do any such thing. They would just end up dead and/or replaced (or at least, that's how they would think things would turn out, and they would most likely be right.) Most in his position would probably not be so honest with themselves in their private writings.

    It's an interesting and sad reflection on the state of science in the Empire that he "wins" because there is more money being put into slavery than into exploration.
  16. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    I think self-loathing is pretty much Dr. Eoph's primary mode of existence at this point. He's cut himself off as much as possible from all the outside influences as a way of shielding himself from the horrors of his environment, but it still slips through and it has him poisoned inside.

    Also, one of the reasons for his overwhelming hopelessness is his trust in statistics. The Empire has overwhelming forces and resources compared to those who resist it (and reflections regarding the rebellion will be in future entries). Dr. Eoph trusts numbers and therefore he cannot even properly conceive of a rebel victory as possible.

    Thanks for commenting!
  17. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    I can see how it would be hard to go somewhere like Coruscant (and be at a big awards shindig, no less) and then have to come back to a place he hates as much as Orvax IV. Every bad thing will probably be thrown into much sharper focus when he comes back with a "refreshed" mindset.

    It's interesting to see his reaction to getting a prestigious award and how something that would have overjoyed him in another lifetime is now troubling him so much. I wonder, does Dr. Collows know where Dr. Eoph gets his new species descriptions from?

    And funding wars, the universal constant. ;) Nice detail with that-- it adds another layer of realism.

    Great post!