Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Vehn, Feb 8, 2020.
Who are these operatives? I must know. Have the Phantoms returned?
The mood of the capital had changed forever as a result of the terrorist attack against the queen’s life. Gone were the days of civility and decorum. Gone were the days of feasts and the advancement of Centran ideas and philosophies. Gone were the days of a golden age for the monarchy which had brought peace to the Centrality.
Instead of peace the people of Erilnar were greeted with unheralded whispers of the queen’s agents taking people from their homes. Instead of freedom of movement the people were greeted by martial law. Instead of the great liberalization that had once been a trademark of the crown the people were greeted with a hard tack toward authoritarianism and absolute rule.
A dark cloud seemed to hang over Erilnar. Each passing day the stench and decay of bodies increased as they swung from gibbets lining the streets of the capital. Four families had been completely eradicated in the last few weeks. Families that had once been ardent supporters of the crown. Now those families were gone. They had been disappeared. Fear gripped the capital. A fear unlike many had felt since the Great Centran War had ended almost eight years ago….
Three Weeks Earlier
“We’ve rounded up the last of them,” Princess Caiomhe stated as she guided her sister, Queen Carley Heraat, around her daily walk through the gardens.
“How many is that now?” Queen Carley asked.
“Three hundred souls,” Caiomhe confirmed.
“That’s quite a few,” Queen Carley observed, “too many to execute all at once. It will have to be done in sections. Carefully, very carefully.”
Queen Carley felt Princess Caiomhe’s hands stiffen ever so slightly.
“Speak your mind,” Queen Carley stated.
“I cannot say I understand your pain,” Caiomhe carefully said, “but I feel that what you have decided to do will have damning repercussions on your reign for many years. Repercussions that may extend to your heirs. Possibly even theirs-“
“So you’re one of them. The Hapans and Queen Sierra. The Republic, that Declan Trieste, has publicly decried my actions. The ExO of the Corporate Sector threatened to cut off relations, even the Roon Federation is considering pulling their embassy! Must I do this alone?” Queen Carley challenged.
“No, Carley,” Caiomhe replied dropping the royal title and speaking to her sister from the heart, “but I think there is another way to achieve exactly what you want without the bloodshed. Without being known as the butcher of Erilnar. Queen Carley the Mad.”
“Is that what they’re calling me?” Queen Carley asked.
“They will soon enough,” Caiomhe replied as the pair resumed their walk, “but my plan is simple. We already have your political opponents apprehended. We can have a select few marked for execution if you must but the rest will be sent into exile. Stripped of their Centran citizenship they will be cast out into the independent systems to fend for themselves. They will have no money, no assets, nothing to help them survive what is to come. Those that survive this purge will be too broken to ever mount a challenge to you again.”
“I once thought I had broken a man who took everything from me,” Queen Carley quietly observed, “how wrong I was.”
“He had help,” Caiomhe corrected, “these people will have very little of that. I’ve gone ahead and secured agreements with the other surrounding governments that they are not to take any Centran refugees into their custody. That means those that cry out for asylum. Those that illegally enter various star systems belonging to our allies. Those that would seek to eventually mount an insurrection against your crown will have no place to go but an early grave.”
“You are cunning, sister,” Queen Carley said, “I wonder what kind of queen you would have made if given the chance.”
“Not a very good one,” Caiomhe replied with a slight smile, “not a very good one at all. I lack your ability to keep the Centrality together.”
“There’s one problem,” Queen Carley said, “we need to show the people that I mean business. I can’t exile three hundred citizens and have nothing to show for my efforts.”
“Princess Josephine of Dela has agreed to supply bodies from their morgues,” Caiomhe explained, “fresh ones. Haven’t been dead for very long. Apparently they had a horrible virus sweep through their population centers recently. Some sort of animal flu. Don’t worry all of the bodies are unable to spread the contagion at this point. You’ll pay the executioners of course to carry out the death sentences that will remind those around you of the price of terrorism and insurrection. Then we hang the bodies in the streets.”
“What if someone recognizes the bodies?” Queen Carley pointed out.
“The long death, sister, is such that most of the faces of those who are executed will be unrecognizable by the time the executioners are done with them,” Caiomhe replied.
“Very well,” Queen Carley said, “see to it that it’s done. As for actual executions make sure that Lady Catriona Khomri be granted no reprieve.”
“And her daughter, Leeya? We apprehended her last night,” Caiomhe replied.
Queen Carley inhaled sharply. She shook her head with disgust and replied, “Let her go. Send her to the Roon Federation on strict orders that she is never to return.”
“Why the Roon Federation?” Caiomhe asked.
“Because Eleanor Vehn was about to save her from the block as well as several others of her kind and despite mending fences I have come to realize that Eleanor Vehn cannot leave the Centrality alone,” Queen Carley replied.
“And how do you know that?” Caiomhe questioned.
“How do you think I’ve staved off the Roon Federation all these years?” Queen Carley said.
“I figured it was who you were,” Caiomhe replied, “your strength. Your power.”
Queen Carley shook her head, “The Karr family owes me a debt. A debt I have yet to call in but one that I trot out every now and again to remind them of their appropriate place in the galaxy. That debt has forced a certain former president of the Roon Federation to feed me valuable information from time to time. Information that has allowed me to stay one step ahead of my rivals and those who would plot against me. Unfortunately I did not anticipate the terrorist who struck a blow into the heart of my soul from a direction I was not prepared to defend.”
“Liberty Ann Karr owes you a debt,” Caiomhe breathed, “that explains why Federation forces didn’t resist you as the Great Centran War came to a close. Why they didn’t counterattack after years of supporting the enemy.”
“And she will continue to honor that debt if she knows what is good for her,” Queen Carley replied as the pair finished up their walk in the garden.
Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3
“You have come a long way to see me,” Queen Carley said as she faced away from Verity Vehn gazing out her favorite window though she could not see the beauty of the world beyond.
“I have come a long way to see a friend,” Verity replied, “and family member.”
“I gave up the-” Queen Carley began before she heard Verity’s hand swoosh through the air like a lightsaber through flesh.
“Do not lecture me on your past, Carley,” Verity snapped, “I know who you are. I know what you are. Do not stand there acting as if you are not at all connected to my family. My mother, Rowena, was born a Heraat. She was one of three. The others were Taaya and Reyna, your mother. You know what happened to them. You also are aware what happened to my mother. She was killed, much like your husband and son, by a terrorist attack.”
Queen Carley remained silent.
“I know the rage that swells in your blood. I can see the results of that rage on the streets of Erilnar. The bodies. The stench. The decay. The death. Hear this if you must hear anything,” Verity said, “that a million beings could die and never fill that awful void in your heart, in your soul. Punishing others who are loosely connected to the plot that took Jack and Shay is incomprehensible. Frankly, it makes you look weak.”
“Am I weak?” Queen Carley weakly asked. Fatigue evident on her face.
“You are in mourning and grieving the loss of people you loved dearly,” Verity clarified, “you are far from weak. In fact I feel you are the strongest of all those of your generation. You have a rod of steel inside you and yet you do not use it wisely. You are wise but have lately ignored the wise counsel of your sister, Caiomhe, and Princess Josephine of Dela. Even Declan Trieste has now called you out on your behavior. Not to mention there are rumors, however unfounded, that the Corporate Sector Authority, Tion Hegemony, and even the Hapans are reconsidering their treaties with the Centrality. The bloodshed must stop. The executions must stop.”
“If you must know,” Queen Carley replied in a quiet tone, “none of the bodies out there have been killed by my executioners. They are already dead. They were bodies taken from a virus that hit one of the Centran worlds. I have killed no one despite public appearances.”
“Not even Lady Catriona Khomri?” Verity questioned.
“Not even,” Queen Carley replied, “she’s currently in a cell while I decide what to do with her.”
“Her daughter recently arrived on Nime,” Verity pointed out, “and there are rumors that you have sent families. Women, children, out into the depths of space as exiles.”
“I did what I had to do,” Queen Carley replied, “and it took everything inside me to give those orders.”
“There’s still time for you to recall those ships. Time for you to rebuild your image. Time for you to save your realm before it sinks further into chaos,” Verity pointed out, “don’t throw everything away because you hate the world around you.”
Queen Carley folded her arms across her chest. She felt uncertainty rising inside her. She knew that Verity was right. She knew that the actions she had taken were harsh and severe. Was it too late to go back?
“Of all those who wore the Vehn name, who were adopted, and whom I have grown to love,” Verity said, “you were the one who was closest to my heart. That young girl that would excel in her studies. That young woman who raced on Nime in open wheeled racers that would send most men running for the hills. That young woman who became a queen and ended a war. A queen who rebuilt her realm and created something beautiful in a galaxy in desperate need,” Verity said, “you can be that queen again. Even after your loss you can build a better world. It just takes one step.”
Princess Josephine and Princess Caiomhe entered the room. They gave a slight curtsey before standing at attention near the door. Queen Carley looked at them and gave a brief smile. Her first in weeks.
“Have the bodies taken down and sent back to their planet. Have the streets cleaned and call the Centran Assembly together. I have some much needed mending to do in my realm,” Queen Carley ordered.
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” both princesses replied before hurrying off.
Queen Carley felt Verity’s hand slip into her own. She squeezed the hand as her breathing quickened.
“I fear the path ahead is as dark as my vision has become,” Queen Carley stated.
“There is another reason I came to you,” Verity replied, “to tell you that Austin Vehn used his last few connections with the Jedi to arrange for you to receive an healing. An healing that shall repair your eyes. Give you the gift of sight back.”
“Kaitlyn Vehn had a similar procedure done if I recall,” Queen Carley stated.
“She did,” Verity replied, “after the horrible shuttle accident that nearly ended her life.”
“I would have liked to meet her,” Queen Carley said, “Jack spoke so fondly of her while he was alive.”
“She would have loved you,” Verity said as she drew Queen Carley to her chest in a fierce embrace, “as I love you.”
Lady Catriona Khomri heard her cell door opened and knew the time had come. She wouldn’t put up a fight. She would go to the block as a true noble. Dignified and true to herself and her beliefs.
“Lady Catriona Khomri,” the captain of the guard said, “by order of the queen you have hereby had your sentence commuted. You shall be stripped of your lands and titles and sent to Roon.”
“And my daughter? Is she safe?” Catriona asked.
“She’s waiting for you. You better catch the next transport out of here.”
She did just that.
Tag: @jcgoble3; @Trieste