Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

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Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-10-28 03:15pm

Author's Note: Greetings, ladies and gents, to my new fanfic that I've begun. The story rocketed into my head the other week when I began reading more about the details concerning the "new canon" series of events that took place in the wake of the DSII's destruction. I stand firmly within the anti-minimalist camp and always wanted more practical takes on what an ambitious officer or moff within the Imperial aparatus would do with the knowledge that Palpatine was dead (let's just ignore the weird, awful Dark Empire series story about a clone of him, shall we?). So, as such, I began creating an outline of what I wanted to see happen, what I thought might happen, and how some might react. So, for your viewing pleasure and inevitable critique, here is the beginning of this story.
* * * * *

Dramatis Persona (Thus Far)
  • Grand Moff Damian Froud: ruler of the Pallis Oversector
  • Rosh Duine: personal aide to the Grand Moff
  • Captain Bran Darran: former adjutant to Admiral Sloane and current captain of the ISD Vigilance

Part One - Revelations

Chardaan System – Capitol World of the Pallis Oversector | 4ABY

Rosh did her best to ignore the ever present sound of her E-3PO droid tapping its digits on the computer display next to her. The droid was integral to helping her perform her duties to an exemplary standard however so she endured the annoyance, though not with as much grace as she might have mustered. Besides, her focus was completely taken up by the assemblage of HoloNet communiques that were piling up within her display. As personal aide to the Grand Moff, she was receiving and screening messages that came from infamous and powerful individuals. Another invitation from Rhan Lunelle. That old man just can't stop trying to edge his way into Chardaan Shipyards, she thought. She color coded the communique as blue, non-vital, and moved onto the next.

Invitation to a COMPNOR rally and dinner function. Request from Captain Chinzano of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Mathayus for more ships to patrol the rim-ward fringe against smugglers. Another protest filed by the local nobility against Imperial interference with free trade. On and on it went...seemingly without end.

Rosh sighed and looked around for a moment. The office she sat in was spartan by many standards but still embellished with silver chrome and black marble along the walls and floor. Her uniform matched the decor. Directly to the left of her desk was a transparisteel wall, allowing a clear view of the capitol city of Chardaan. It wasn't Coruscant by any means, but still had a great plethora of orbitalscrapers and busy sky-lanes. The weather was getting cooler, much to Rosh's pleasure. Chardaan's summers could be punishing to those who were obligated to wear Imperial uniforms – the things didn't breathe that well.

She looked down at her wrist chrono. Might as well take my lunch break a little early. Nothing urgent on the Moff's plate this afternoon.

The silver doors behind her that led to her boss's private office burst open and slammed into the wall. It was enough to shock Rosh upright and onto her feet. Even her droid turned, a small, “Oh my,” escaping it's droid mouthpiece.

Looking as if he'd just fought off some attacker, eyes wide and breathing heavy, Grand Moff Damian Froud looked around the antechamber and then focused on Rosh once more.

“Ms. Duine, cancel any appointments I have this afternoon. Immediately. Then get in communication with Captain Doorna and General Cabaril. I want both of them in my office within the next thirty minutes! Make that clear to them.” Froud's voice, normally steady and calm, sounded as if it he'd been screaming for hours on end, gravely and thick.

“Yes, sir,” Rosh replied, jogging her head up and down.

“And also get Agent Nicabre in here. I don't care what excuses he might make, he better be here within the next thirty minutes as well or else I'll find someone else to run the ISB office here on Chardaan.”

“Yes, sir!”

Without further ado, Froud stepped back into his inner office. The droid closed the door behind him. Rosh immeidately tapped her inner-ear comlink device.

“Hello? Lieutenant Reed? Yes – Yes, I have a direct order from Grand Moff Froud for Captain Doorna.”

* * * * *

Froud stepped away from his office door, confident that his aide would get his main advisers in with all due haste. His pulse was still thumping, a raging torrent through his veins. He stepped back over to his desk and once again faced the 1/4th sized image of an old Raithal Academy classmate of his.

“You're sure about this Bren?” asked Damian, sitting back down at his desk. “If you're wrong...”

“I'm not wrong!” the hologram of Captain Bren Darran growled. Damian couldn't help but notice sparks in the background behind Bren and the muffled sound of anxious voices scrambling for calm. “I saw the damn thing blow up myself.”

“But it can't be...”

“The Emperor is dead.” The words left Bren's mouth so matter of factly that Damian froze for a second. “He died when the Death Star II was blown up.”

Damian gulped and swallowed a bit of his anxiety. “What about Lord Vader?”

“Vader was reported to be on the Death Star too. He's dead. Nearly all the Imperial Advisers are dead too,” replied Bren. “We were forced to retreat on Admiral Sloane's orders.”

“I thought she was the commander of the Vigilance?”

“She was,” nodded Bren. “She just took possession of the Executor-class Super Star Destroyer Ravager – it's probably the last of it's class too.”

“The rest of the Endor fleet?”

“Sticking with Admiral Sloane for the moment,” Bren said. The captain turned and said something incomprehensible to someone else outside the hologram's perception.

He turned back. “But I'm telling you now because you're an old friend and because I want to get out from under Sloane. She's going to get us killed.”

“Where is she leading your fleet?” asked Damian. “What can she expect to do – even with such a significant force? Who else knows about the Emperor's death?”

“For the moment we're doing repairs in deep space. In a few cycles we're to rendevouz in the Akiva System. I think she's going to muster her forces there – gather power.”

Damian sat back at his desk. The revelation of Emperor Palpatine's death was still causing his pulse to hammer. Twice before in his life, Damian Froud had found himself in a position to join those opposed to the Emperor – some individuals who came very close to killing the Emperor – but each time Froud had kept to his allegiance and dutifully followed the Emperor. Such faithfulness had been rewarded of course; first with a captaincy of his own Imperial Star Destroyer, stationed within the Pallis Oversector under Grand Moff Coy, and then again when he'd been promoted from Commander to Grand Moff of the same sector in the wake of Trachta's attempted coup on Coruscant and Coy's death. Each time, when confronted with an opportunity to betray the Emperor had come, he'd faithfully looked the other way.

This wasn't because Damian was without ambition, no, hardly that. He was descended of a noble family from the Core Worlds – connected by marriage and birth to various Kuati and Coruscanti nobility. His family's influence is what had allowed him to get a prime position at the Raithal Academy on Coruscant. He was driven to succeed and crush the vaunted accomplishments of both his father and elder brother.

No, it was not a lack of ambition which had kept Damian loyal to Emperor Palpatine.

It was fear.

Without ever knowing the full truth, only rumors and hearsay, Damian knew that Emperor Palpatine was beyond lethal. Most feared the public spectacle that was the Lord Darth Vader who, as chief commander of the Imperial Military, had prosecuted campaign after vicious campaign to stamp out resistance against the New Order. Damian knew better. Only someone who was truly dangerous and powerful could have the Lord Darth Vader bow before them and call them “Master.” Damian feared that wrinkled, orange-red eyed man. Still did, truth be told, even though he was being given confirmation that the Emperor was dead.

“The Emperor is dead,” Damian said. The words tasted strange upon the tongue, bitter where one would have expected sweet.

Captain Bran nodded. “He is and likely the whole damned Galactic Empire is going to be going crazy. I'm told that Moff Adelhard of the Anoat Sector is having the entire place blockaded. He's been implementing security protocols and disinformation.”

“Coruscant doesn't know yet?” Damian perked up.

“I would assume that Sate Pestage knows...and likely that snake, Ysanne Isard,” Bren frowned. “I believe that since both the Emperor and Vader are dead that officially Pestage is next in line to control the Empire as Grand Vizier. The office would fall to him.”

Damian laughed at that. “He might be a half-decent bureaucrat, but Pestage is not fit to replace Palpatine. Others will be plotting against him.”

“Some already are,” Bran said, reminding Damian of Admiral Sloane.

“How soon do you think news will break over the HoloNet about this?”

“I'd give it a month or less. The Rebels are bound to try and trumpet their victory, but I think we can count on Adelhard's security protocols for at least that long. After that...things are going to get more hairy than a Wookie riding a bantha.”

“Alright...thank you for getting into contact with me Bran. I appreciate it. This news...this...things are going to change.”

“No problem Grand Moff Froud,” grinned Bran. “Just be aware that I'll be looking to have the Vigilance slip away from Admiral Sloane at the nearest possible opportunity. Expect my arrival at Chardaan sometime in the next three months. I don't know what you'll do or what contingencies you might have for this kriffing situation, but you'll have my loyalty and backing.”

“Something which I will both appreciate and reward, old friend,” replied Damian. “Keep me updated on Sloane's movements if you can, too.”

Bran nodded. “I'll see to it.”

Without another comment the hologram signal was cut. Damian sat back in his chair for a moment, staring at the hologram projector on his desk without really thinking of anything. Thoughts and ideas coalesced around him, like a school of Naboo Klaa fish, speeding around in circles.

The Emperor was dead.

Contenders to the throne were already gathering or plotting.

Chaos was soon to be unleashed the length and breadth of the galaxy.

Damian Froud, Grand Moff of the Pallis Oversector, smiled.
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-10-30 01:35pm

Part One - Revelations Continued
Imperial Security Bureau District Office - Chardaan Capitol City

The screams echoed in the enclosed space. Most interrogation officers found them to be either annoying or pleasing to the ears – those screams. Truth be told however, Josef Nicabre felt nothing. A feature which had both pleased and quietly horrified some of his tutors back on Carida was the fact that fairly all suffering from anyone made no impact upon him. It was a feature that had stood out even among the stiff upper lips of the Imperial Academy Command and had singled him out for pick up by the ISB. Each new being laid upon his table was another chance, a new plateau to ascend and possibly find an end to his endless...nothing.

Nicabre stood up straight, making sure his smock covering was secured. Bits of blood and spittle covered it. Disposable plastic gloves snapped off and were thrown away in the corner bin. “If only you'd have been a bit more cooperative, Lieutenant Deinz, you could have spared yourself this pain,” said Nicabre.

A young man, bloodied from heated scalpel knives and nerve-shredders, shuddered naked upon the interrogation room operating table. He stared up through bloodshot eyes at the pale, emotionless. Nicabre's short cropped blond hair was covered by a plastic hood, also removed and disposed of in the corner bin.

“You're the last remaining member of Moff Kalast's inner circle. It's taken nearly four years since the incident regarding the Bothan spies – and you're the last one to be caught. I almost believe you should get a prize for that achievement.”

Deinz spat at Nicabre, using most of his remaining strength to do so. “Kriffing Imp scum! Just you wait. One day the Empire is going to fall a-and...y-you...with it.” The words came out hallow sounding, but there was a force of will behind them that Nicabre found faintly disturbing on some subconscious level.

“Whether or not the Empire falls or if your Rebel friends succeed is immaterial,” replied Nicabre. He took off the smock and walked to the cell door. “Because you will not be alive to see it end.”

The door closed behind Nicabre as he stepped into the hall, smoothing out his uniform while doing so. Unlike the standard pearl-white that upper echelon officers wore or the plain black that usual agents wore, Nicabre's uniform was olive green with black piping and a black blood stripe down the legs. One of his underlings was waiting outside with his hat, comlink, and personal dataslate.

“Sir,” his underling spoke up, “There's been an urgent message from Grand Moff Froud's office. You're to report to him within the next twenty-three minutes according to his aide.”

“Very well. See to it that the traitor is disposed of before I return. There's another captured cell of potential terrorists coming in from orbital command. We'll need the room,” ordered Nicabre.

“Yes, sir, Agent Nicabre.”

* * * * *

Central Oversector Administration Bureau – Office of the Grand Moff

Rosh Duine nervously chewed on the inside of her right cheek, gently biting down to exert pressure and then releasing before she felt any pain. It was an old habit she'd picked up, induced by stress. Her boss had been acting strange for nearly the past half-hour. Not only had General Cabaril arrived, gruff and angry as only a Imperial Army general could be, but the Moff's senior captain and commander of his flagship, Captain Doorna had also – though far less annoyed at the sudden summons than the general had been.

The stress was coming from the fact that her office door had been opened by a squad of stormtroopers who had then taken up positions around the room, effectively sealing it off. They had not spoken to Rosh nor even looked in her direction except after a first cursory sweep of the room. In their wake stepped a man she both reviled and feared.

Senior Agent Josef Nicabre was tall and pale with blonde hair and green eyes. Normally these traits would have been found attractive by most women, especially considering his rank within the Imperial Security Bureau. But it was his eyes that Rosh always found betrayed the calm exterior. The irises were black and soulless. There was a hollowness to Josef Nicabre that chilled anyone who realized it to the bone. You knew it when he looked at you, when you realize that all he saw was a sack of meat and fluids that if manipulated in a certain way could reveal information or material he might desire.

“Senior Agent Nicabre to see Grand Moff Froud,” the ISB agent said, stepping up to Rosh's desk. The E-3PO droid greeted him in return.

“You are expected, Senior Agent Nicabre,” the droid said, bowing slightly at the waste. “Please enter.”

Nicabre nodded, glanced at Rosh, and then stepped through the doors. Eepo closed the doors.

“Thanks for that, Eepo,” said Rosh quietly.

“Not at all, mistress,” replied the droid. “I know that many personnel find the Senior Agent to be discomforting.”

* * * * *

As Nicabre entered he found General Cabaril standing to one side overlooking a holoprojector table. Captain Doorna was pointing towards a collection of projected ship symbols. Nicabre stepped over beside the other two and recognized the Chardaan System. Doorna was continued speaking, barely noticing the ISB agent's entry, “-and here is where the Golan platforms have been tractored in place. This will make it easier to screen incoming delivery ships for the shipyards.”

“That's all well and good,” agreed Cabaril, his voice deep and burly. With wide shoulders and a thick neck that made it seem as if he'd been carved from some rock rather than born of flesh, Cabaril was a visible representation of the Imperial Army. “But I fail to understand why a simple security brief would require me to appear so quickly at the governor's office.” The general turned to gaze at Grand Moff Froud, who stood facing a transparisteel window, gazing out with his hands behind his back. Nicabre recognized the physical behavior. Froud was thinking, likely only half listening to the conversation behind him.

Nicabre snapped his heals together and saluted. “Senior Agent Nicabre reporting as requested, sir.” The sound of the boots snapping together seemed to do the trick. Froud turned and faced the three of them.

“Gentlemen,” nodded Froud, “You have all arrived with pleasing alacrity.”

“I'm still confused,” Cabaril said again, his burr getting slightly thicker. “Doorna here is telling me things that could have been put into the next briefing data.”

“I asked him to give a quick review of the security measures we currently have here in Chardaan,” said Froud. The grand moff stepped forward to the holoprojector table and nodded towards the projection. “We're going to need drastic changes within the next fourty-eight hours and increased security within a week.”

Nicabre frowned. “Are we expecting trouble?”

“Trouble has already happened and been replaced by catastrophe,” Froud deadpanned.

“Sir?” Captain Doorna had an equal look of confusion.

“No prevaricating Governor, please be forthright,” said Cabaril, managing to keep his words from sounding like more than a simple request.

“Gentlemen, what I'm about to tell you doesn't leave this room. I should hope that there is no reason why my faith in your ability to keep a secret is incorrect.” Froud's left eyebrow arched slightly, staring each of them down. All three nodded in reply.

“I'll make it short. The Emperor and the Lord Darth Vader are dead.”

Doorna's eyes shot wide and his jaw dropped, he even gripped the table to steady himself. General Cabaril took a step back. Nicabre did nothing, merely continuing to look Froud in the eye.

“!?” stammered Doorna.

“The Rebels managed to destroy the Emperor's pet project, the second iteration of that damnable Death Star. It blew up along with the Emperor and Vader onboard. The Imperial Fleet that was present retreated with major losses – including Vader's flagship, the Executor. Admiral Sloane has rallied them and from my sources is currently leading them towards a system called Akiva.”

Nicabre's mind raced. How had they managed to do it? What stupid, fool's luck – managing to take out both the Emperor and his right-hand butcher, Vader.

Cabaril took a step back forwards. “Who else knows? Has this been released across the HoloNet!?”

“Fortunately the local governor, Moff Adelhard of the Anoat Sector is taking extreme measures to blockade the sector and eliminate all traces of evidence that might be leaked to the public at large,” continued Froud.

“With the Emperor dead...” Cabaril shook his head. “Vader too...then – damn it all who is going to be running the Empire? Surely it can't be – .”

“Pestage,” interjected Nicabre, already having come to the conclusion. “Advisor Sate Pestage was recently promoted to Grand Vizier of the Empire, second only after Vader.”

“That bureaucratic fool?” muttered Doorna, dismay causing his voice to change tones.

“Damn that man,” growled Cabaril, “The Empire itself is going to have merry hell to pay.”

“I concur,” said Nicabre. “With this kind of victory the Rebels will be able to spark planetary and system rebellions across the whole of the Empire. Some Imperial commanders will even likely look to take advantage of the situation...”

All three officers stopped speaking and looked at Froud. To his credit, the grand moff didn't even blink. He simply arched his brow again.

“I will remain loyal to Imperial Center,” Froud said. “And continue to do my duty as assigned to me – to rule the Pellis Oversector in the name of the Emperor and for the good of the New Order.”

Cabaril nodded. “Well said, sir. I agree...we – we must maintain security and calm here.”

“You will need to know who to trust,” said Nicabre. That drew the other two's stares his way.

“Care to elaborate, Senior Agent?” asked Froud, nonplussed.

“With the Emperor and Vader both dead, with Sate Pestage trying to inadequately fill both their places, it is only a matter of time before central control of the Empire collapses,” explained Nicabre. “Pestage has no support from the military and is likely to end up a puppet.”

“The only thing that has kept him in his position is his maddening sycophancy for the Emperor,” agreed Doorna.

“Whose puppet?” asked Cabaril. “The Core systems moffs and grand moffs may try to –.”

“You mean your superior's rival, don't you Nicabre?” interrupted Froud, still staring at the senior agent. “You mean Ysanne Isard, the Director of Imperial Intelligence.”

Nicabre nodded. “Ever since Commander Sollaine's blunder during the Rivoche Tarkin incident, ISB has been loosing ground to Military Intelligence services and operations. Director Isard in fact suggested that her organization absorb ISB not more than six months ago. As an oversector commander such as myself, I was informed that it might potentially happen. Isard also controls a decent following of faithful captains and commanders in the military.”

“So that snake will control Pestage like a puppet,” muttered Cabaril. “Imperial Center will fall into the garbage compactors.”

“But what does that mean?” asked Captain Doorna. “Until such a point that we can confirm that Pestage has lost his position and is now under Isard's control, he's still the only recognizable figure of Imperial authority.”

“To which we will pay lip service until either a true heir can be found or Isard makes her move,” said Nicabre, still locked with Froud's gaze.

“That's quite the incendiary statement, Senior Agent,” said Cabaril, standing to his full height and facing Nicabre. “It could be easily called 'treason' by some.”

“Treason against whom?” asked Nicabre, finally breaking eye contact with Moff Froud. “The Emperor is dead. Even if he had lived, Vader would likely have driven even more star systems into the Rebel camp with his methods. Imperial Center, as you said, will fall into the garbage compactors.”

“If we want to preserve the New Order,” began Captain Doorna.

“-we must look to our own,” finished Grand Moff Froud.

“It still doesn't sit well with me,” said Cabaril. “Not to mention what do we do once the general public knows.”

"Obviously we can't keep this a secret forever,” said Doorna.

"Obviously. Word will get out. It always does,” added Nicabre.

"We can decide how the word is given,” said Froud. He stepped back to his desk and sat down behind it. “If we give our version of whats happening first, then we can twist the public's reaction to our own purpose."

Nicabre came to attention. “What are your order, Grand Moff Froud?”

“Take immediate control of all HoloNet transceivers and stations within the system, then expand further out to the entire sector. Focus on the hypercommunication hubs at Kalandis IV and Atzerri,” ordered Froud.

General Cabaril stepped forward and also came to attention, though slower than Nicabre. “I await your commands as well.”

“See to it that your garrisons are at full readiness. Call it a training exercise if you have to. I want to make sure that every major system in the oversector is prepared,” Froud said. He picked up his datapad and swiped through a few pages.

Froud looked back up. “General Cabaril, Senior Agent Nicabre you're dismissed. See to your assignments and make the usual report back to my office. We have the advantage at the moment and I won't have us miss using it. I'm determined that the New Order will survive the coming chaos within the Pallis Oversector.”

Both men saluted, turned, and left the office without another word. Captain Doorna stepped forward and smiled.

“That was well managed, sir.”

“I was more concerned with Nicabre than I was the general,” replied Froud, going back to his stylus and pad.

“Shall I have the Iron Hand brought into the system?” asked Doorna.

“No – we'll keep her at the Itani Nebula base. Send out a sector-wide message to all naval forces, use my encrypt code, and have all stations alerted. We'll see about informing the officer corps later.”

Doorna nodded and made a smart salute. “As you command, Grand Moff Froud.”
Last edited by Abacus on 2015-10-30 04:27pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-10-30 03:09pm

Looks like a promising start. Do you have more written, or are you posting it as you write? Do you have a plan for where the story is going (not that I want to know what it is, but I don't want to get invested in an ongoing fanfic with no clear idea of where it's going)?
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-10-30 04:20pm

I'm posting as I write. I do have a plan for where the story is going. I wrote an outline before starting to write. Look forward to lots more!
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-10-30 04:25pm

Ooo goodie :)
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-11-04 12:02pm

Part 1.3 - Revelations Continue

Chardaan City

Zoler couldn't lie to himself – he was a handsome son of a gun. Wearing the latest style of Corellian captain's uniform, minus the blood stripe of course – who needed that kind of attention?, he cut a fine figure. As he entered the high-end bar attached to the Emperor's Grace Hotel more than a few females turned their head his way. Tall in a way that stretched his broadness, Zoler usually always found himself looking down at those standing before him. Add to that red-gold hair in a smart cut and blue-green eyes that seemed to be illuminated from behind their orbs, and you had yourself a knock-out. Zoler gave his second-best winning smile at the hostess as he stepped forward.

“Hi there, I have a reservation,” he said, stopping before her.

“O-Of course. Name please?” The poor woman actually stuttered. Zoler made a mental note.

“Dramlin, party of two,” he replied.

“Yes, here it is. Parks Dramlin, party of two,” echoed the hostess. She smiled and led him into the back areas of the bar where it gave way to a restaurant.

In a section against the far wall between two great nala trees was a table set for two. The first seat was already occupied. The woman sitting wasn't as attractive as some of the glitzy women wandering around, but then that wasn't why Zoler was meeting her. The hostess seemed a bit miffed that she was delivering him to what appeared to be a date, but returned his smile when he gave her another second-best smile.

“Thanks dear. We'll have the chef's special course and a bottle of emerald wine,” said Zoler, sitting down at his seat. The hostess nodded and disappeared. Zoler tapped a small device under the table.

“You're late.” The woman stared daggers at Zoler.

“Hey, hey! I had to finish some last minute business,” replied Zoler.


“Shhh! Emperor's black heart, Tegan! Do you want to get me killed?” scowled Zoler. He glanced around, noting that there weren't anyone else within three meters of them at the moment. Should never have stayed that one night together...

“Fine. Parks Dramlin, what the hell were you thinking? I just read the report on the stolen power generator parts! You know – the ones *I* told you about!” the female, Tegan, growled threateningly. “If anyone connects me to the – .”

“Relax, Tegan. Relax. No one is going to trace it back to you,” said Zoler, smiling his best smile.

It didn't work.

“You nerf-herder! Just because you know I have some sympathy for...” Tegan trailed off as their waitress arrived and delivered the bottle of emerald wine, pouring it, and then left.

Tegan was hissing more dangerously than some of the animals Zoler had encountered on the fourth moon of Yavin. “You're taking advantage of the fact that my brother is a Rebel.”

“Hey, you don't have to worry about that. I sliced into his file and as far as the Imps believe, he's studying for a prestigious university on Obroa-skai – there's nothing to worry about,” Addison Zoler replied.

“Blackmail is what it is.” Tegan sat back and crossed her arms, her pony-tail tied hair bobbing slightly as she looked away in disgust and anger.

“Hey, you came to me. Remember?” Zoler hardened his tone. “You're the one who needed help and I'm the one who gave you that help.”

“Those generators were delivered under my signature! ISB have already questioned me, but if they sense anything funny they'll haul me in for a full interrogation. They already caught three junior techs that were trying to smuggle data chits out from the central control hub at the shipyards.” Tegan turned back and stared hard at Zoler.

“We covered the tracks. It looks like your average lucky theft, nothing more,” said Zoler, trying to reassure her again.

“It had better, or else if I get taken down I'll--.”

She stopped when she felt the touch of something metal on her leg under the table. It was sharp and Tegan realized that it was Zoler's infamous vibro-rapier, especially designed to be extended or retracted into a small hand-sized hilt. The blade moved upwards and came to rest just above her groin area and pointed towards her abdomen.

“You need to realize that I'm not here to hold your hand. You agreed to help the Rebellion. I'm in this sector to help bring about the end of the Empire – at the risk of my own life and a lot of other people's lives. If you jeopardize that, then I will not hesitate to remove you from the situation,” said Zoler.

Tegan believed every word. Not because she had a sword pointed right at her gut, but because throughout the entire little speech Zoler kept smiling.

“The Rebellion is bigger than you, your brother, or even me – the cause matters more than individual lives.”

Any response Tegan might have mustered was halted by the arrival of their chef's special dinner. The fresh steamed vegetables and karkan ribenes with tomo-spiced sauce didn't seem to raise her appetite any, even though she hadn't eaten anything thus far that day. Zoler promptly began digging into his with gusto, ignoring Tegan.

“You promised me,” Tegan said at last.

Zoler set down his fork and knife. He pulled out a small data stick from a hidden pocket from his left sleeve and dropped it next to her plate, reaching for the wine bottle at the same time to cover the move.

“Several letters and a few holovids from your brother,” said Zoler. “The data is programmed to delete itself after one viewing.”

“Where is he?”

“I don't know. I received this via my usual dead drop. But I do know he's alive, rest assure. Now, can you tell me why I had such a hard time getting that chip from your brother? This last week alone I've had to sidestep three different ISB traps. The sector fleet also seems to be increasing it's patrols.”

“We've been set on alert by Sector Headquarters,” replied Tegan. “I and the other engineers at the shipyards have been told that we're being ordered to increase production.”

“Increased production...of what?”

“Everything. The alpha-docks are being retooled for producing VicStars.”

“Hmm, interesting,” Zolar said, mostly to himself.

“Do you you understand what's happening then?”

“I have my suspicions,” Zolar said, finishing the last of his karkan ribenes. “But that's for me to figure out. Mean time, keep up to good work in orbit. I know your schedule for the rest of the month, so next time you have liberty off-duty, I'll find you. Stick to the Golden Bantha Cantina, just so it's easier for me to find you.”

Without another word, he got up and left.

Engineer 2nd Class Tegan Thont stayed sitting at the table for a while longer. She didn't leave the bottle of emerald wine full.

* * * * *

Zolar got into an nondescript speeder. He glanced down at the small signal jammer that he'd stuck under the table he and Tegan had been sitting at. Any listening devices that might have been in the area of the table would have been muffled, anything said covered by what Zolar always thought of as 'white noise.' Tucking it back in his pocket, he took out his other comlink, checking to make sure the encryption clamp was firmly attached to it. He clicked it on and pressed the send button.

"Is there a reason you're disturbing my quiet evening, Captain Zolar?" asked a lazy, hoary voice over the comlink.

"I wanted to double-check that your boys didn't botch the job I gave you."

"Yeah, yeah -- everything's grand my boy! Those generators will catch us a fine price on the market."

"Don't forget, Proc, that half those are the Alliance's."

"Yeah, yeah -- duty and honor -- Rebellion and all. Got it. Got it. No need to preach to me."

"I just want to make clear --."

"No, boy," interrupted Proc Namore, her voice becoming far thicker and dangerous. "I'm the smuggler whose getting you Rebels in and out of this sector of Imp space. I'm the one who risks losing her organization if they ever catch me or my boys. So just keep that in mind the next time you think to go all 'high and mighty' with your 'Rebellion-sermons.' Understood, slemo?"

Zolar gritted his teeth. If only he'd been able to convince General Madine to give him more resources.

"Yeah, Proc," replie Zolar at last. "I understand."
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-11-04 03:51pm

Revelations - Part 1.4

YT-2400 Honey Comb Light Freighter | Chardaan System

Proc Namore sneered at the comlink in her hand as she cut the link. "I am so sick of clients becoming ninnies that have to comm every karking hour!" Tossing the comlink over to her bunk, Proc exited her captain's suite and turned left, towards the cockpit. She heard some of her employees rustling about in the hall. She found Rakshek, an old and grumpy Barabel, pushing a box of tools into the hands of Krenki, the ship's Verpine mechanic.

"Will you two tell me what the frak is going on here?" asked Proc, tucking her blond-white hair back over her head.

Rakshek let a low, wet growl escape his mouth. "Tttthiss one is angry with Krenki."

The Verpine's mandibles clicked and a small communication box affixed to his front blurted, "The Barabel wants me to recalibrate the weapons systems a third time."

"This one told you already! You need to do it again."

"Cut it out Rakshek," sighed Proc. "Krenki is a Verpine, one check is usually more than enough for them."

"As I said," added Krenki.

"We need to be ready. Being this close to an Imperial world has my scales itching," Rakshek mutter-growled.

"We'll be out of here soon enough," said Proc, "Now go back to the cargo hold and make sure we've got everything stowed away. We've got ten cruiser-grade shield generators back there and I don't want anything being thrown around."

Proc walked past her two crewmen and towards the cockpit. Above the entrance was a small mark, her symbol, of a single helix crossed by a blaster. She tapped it for good luck and ducked into the cockpit. Her pilot and co-pilot, Jodd and Cad Vedderick, were at their stations. They were human males, twins, with identical features. Both sported full coal-black beards and shaved heads, a small tattoo of their homeworld's name written into their flesh on the back of their heads: Alderaan.

"How are my two winners?" asked Proc, settling into the captain's seat which overlooked the pilot and co-pilots seat.

"Still wishing you'd have let us kill those stormtroopers back there," said Jodd.

"Could have done it easy," added Cad.

"You both know that the heist wouldn't have worked if we'd alerted the full base security by using live blaster fire," said Proc. "You both know why we had to use stun settings."

"Makes my hands twitchy," replied Jodd.

"Twitchy," agreed Cad.

"Well too bad sweet-hearts," sighed Proc. "Now tell me, did the Singing Wookie check in yet?"

"Yeah," replied Jodd, handing back a datapad. "And so did the Hunting Jawa, though Rex was a bit angry that he missed out on the heist here on Chardaan."

"Mighty disappointed, he was," added Cad.

Proc looked through the messages sent by her other ships and their crews. All of them belonged to Proc. She kept half a dozen freighters within her own little smuggler's squadron as she liked to think of it sometimes. They ran jobs back and forth between Atzerri and Chardaan practically every week. Alcohol, specialist foods, narcotics -- anything the customer wanted, the Twisted Blast Smugglers could haul. Proc owed her start to a larger, more influential smuggling group, but had distanced herself as much as possible so as to really break into her own bit of space. Karrde could complain about her lack of communication all he wanted, and Proc might indeed still owe him a favor or two, but that wouldn't stop her from ignoring the know-it-all nerf-herder.

"What do we have on scopes?" asked Proc, glancing up.

"The Triumphant and Glory of Palpatine both finished their inner-system patrol circuit," replied Cad, speaking before his brother for once. "But both Imperial Star Destroyers are the least of our worries. Admiral Teurren's Contagion is sitting in orbit -- if we stay here long enough, we might be close enough for you to wave to the command bridge."

"Has orbital control questioned us?"

"No," said Jodd. "Not since we first made orbit. We're cleared for jump."

"Alright," nodded Proc. "Let's get going then, we've got a rendezvous to make at Ord Vaxal."

"Got it boss," replied Cad. "Coordinates locked in."

"" Jodd pulled the hyperdrive lever and starlight took over the viewport.

* * * * *

Command Bridge, Allegiance-class Star Destroyer Contagion

"Tracking confirms it, sir. The freighter has just made the jump to light-speed," the sensor ensign said.

"Very good, send the coordinates to the Helm," ordered Senior Agent Nicabre. The ISB chief turned and nodded perfunctionally to the aged, but dignified figure of Admiral Teurren. "My apologies, Admiral -- this is of course your ship."

"The operation belongs to you, Senior Agent," replied Teurren, his mustache twitching slightly. "For the time being, feel free to give what orders you feel necessary for this mission to be a success. I will act only in an advisory roll."

"Thank you, sir," Nicabre replied, taking a try at giving a small smile. No, it wasn't working. He stopped trying. Teurren's mouth tweaked at the corner slightly.

"Just make sure I don't regret giving you access to the Contagion. If we're hunting smugglers it would have been much easier to simply capture them here in the system where we had them. I did have two Kontos-class frigates standing by."

"No," Nicabre shook his head. "We need to capture more than a single smuggling vessel. I mean to find them all and break them. According to my sources the Rebels in our sector are using smugglers to move around and exchange goods. Removing a single smuggler from the equation isn't going to change anything. But if we can track them back to their base, or even to any shadowports -- we'll be able to land a crippling blow to them."

Teurren nodded. "Commendable, Senior Agent, most commendable. In the mean time, I invite you back to my ready room for a drink of Chardaan herbal. We need to discuss the topic that was revealed to us by Grand Moff Froud."

Nicabre glanced to his left and right, seeing if any crew members had heard anything. Seeing nothing amiss, Nicabre nodded.

"After you, Admiral. I was just getting thirsty for a cup."
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2015-11-12 01:52pm

Revelations - Part 1.5

Capitol City -- Chardaan

Night had fallen hours ago. Cool gusts of wind would periodically blow through the narrow streets of the city, causing any unwary or drunken fool to be pushed onto his or her face. Zoler tucked the collar of his jack back inside the rim of his helmet, glad that the thermal lining was keeping up. He'd worn it back on Hoth -- boy that seemed ages ago -- and it had served him reasonably well for a non-standard issue thermal jacket. Tucked into the side-alley between a Level-004 diner and a rundown cabaret, he had the perfect view of a small, rundown old park plaza that sat next to the city-elevator system. The capitol city of Chardaan was numbered according to levels, with Level-00 being the 'ground floor'. Everything below that was given an additional zero, as if the populace forced to live and work in those levels needed another reminder of what prosperity and freedom they missed out on from those above Level-00. Neon lights and passing droid-controlled hover adverts kept the area lit in a hazy, off-colored twilight. If you didn't want anyone getting a good look at you, it wasn't hard to hide your face. Zolar was taking even more precaution than that.

His contact was late. Seven minutes and thirty-five -- no, thirty-seven seconds -- late. Zolar was beginning to grind his teeth, bad habit that it was. Farkus is never late. What in the name of the Emperor's Black Heart could be keeping the karking idiot?

It had been three days since his rendezvous with Tegan at the Emperor's Grace Hotel. Nothing really noticeable had changed in the shadows of the city, but Zolar instinctively felt a twitch creeping upon him. Something about the city's under-city night life was beating to a new pulse. Information which had been routinely available before was, inexplicably, becoming harder to get. One of his daily contacts, a series of tap cafe owners on Level-1 had closed their doors to him, threatening to call the local Imp patrols over if he ever showed up again. A veil was descending over the city and Zolar could feel it beginning to suffocate him.

There he is!

Farkus had just popped out onto a side street and was slowly walking towards a bench in the middle of the park plaza, their usual spot. Farkus, a Duros, was wearing a lot of swaddling robes which was slightly uncharacteristic of him. Zolar decided to ignore it and stepped out of his alley hiding spot. He began walking nonchalantly towards the central benches as well, grabbing a flip-gazette along the way from a street vendor's car. The flip-gazette was made from a disposable cellophane material that had holo images constantly updating across its surface with bits of news, images, and video articles being produced by small-time newsies down here in the sub-levels. Zolar pretended to be heavily interested in an article about a wedding between two senior Hutts belonging to the Besadii clan, or another article detailing how the Empire was trying to tap into everyone's minds using a special technological array being constructed atop the Grand Moff's administration building. Lot of weird stuff flying around these days decided Zolar as he sat down.

Farkus sat down on a neighboring bench without looking at Zolar.

"You're late."

"I was kept busy by a friend," replied the Duros, his voice buzzing slightly.

"Mutual friend?"

"You might say so, yes."

"Tell me about it later. Right now, what can you give me?" asked Zolar.

"I know about the Grand Moff's schedule for the coming week. He's scheduled some kind of snap-review of the sector fleet and army. He's got the whole sector military high command running in a thousand directions like so many headless Zaddick-birds."

Zolar kept looking at his flip-gazette. "Location?"

"Up on Orbital Side 3."

"The Golan platform?"

"Unfortunately, yes. But the ground review will be held here in the city," replied Farkus. The Duro coughed and hunkered further into his robes.

"Which level do they..." Zolar trailed off for a second.

The flip-gazette vendor had disappeared. Not simply packing up and moving locations, but had outright fled. His vending cart was still sitting there, open and unattended. Zolar glanced left and right, seeing other casual passerbys suddenly changing direction and disappearing from the park plaza area.

"The level is highly restricted," said Farkus, coughing again. "They want to keep things under full observation. I hear that -- hey! Where're you going?"

Zolar stood up and began to fast-walk away from the benches.

"Dramlin! Parks Dramlin! Stop! Why are you-?" Farkus took a few steps, calling out to Zolar. Zolar increased his fast-walk into a sprint; just in time to hear sirens blaring out like so many Founding Day celebratory blurts. Half a dozen ISB speeder cars dropped into the area, uniformed and plain-clothed agents popping out like so many krek beetles.

"Hey! You there! Halt!"

"Halt in the name of the Empire!"

A blaster bolt whizzed past Zolar. That didn't take long. He didn't spare a glance backwards, but practically dived into the side-alley he'd occupied before. Engine idling and waiting for him was his beauty, a custom 88-R Nightscreamer. As soon as he jumped onto the back and pressed his thumb to the activation/lock pad, he was off like a concussion missile. By the time two ISB agents appeared at the alley entrance, he was gone.

Air pursuit would prove harder to get rid of unfortunately.

Zolar gunned the acceleration and activated the HUD-navigational setting on his helmet. He was dodging air-trucks and speeder cars with wild abandon. He had now choice. He had to. Otherwise the two 74-Z Speeder bikes behind him and the patrol speeder behind them would catch up.

Come on, come on... Zolar willed an air speeder to move faster. He dived between it and a building corner, avoiding being turned into a bloody side-walk smear only by a margin of millimeters. A krump-boom sounded behind him. His rear-view camera on the HUD showed only one speeder bike left in pursuit. Zolar grinned viciously. Come and get me, Imps!

Zolar diverted twice more, ducking through traffic and cutting through city blocks. All the while that speeder bike stuck to him like a bad smell. Time was running out. Given enough time, they'd be able to triangulate his position and totally box him in. He had to act. Now.

The city-level elevators. Another was coming up ahead on Zolar's left. The doors opened and revealed a platform of foot-traffic mobs and behind that a loose collection of air cars waiting in line.

Twisting the accelerator again, jumping above the interweaving traffic, Zolar made for it. Screams echoed out as the ISB speeder bike behind him opened up with his bike's under slung blaster cannon. The particle shield on Zolar's 88-R Nightscreamer absorbed the only hit, flaring up slightly. Zolar dived into the elevator, passing between the foot traffic platform and an idling air taxi with barely a meter on either side for space. In retrospect it might seem quite a lot of space, but when you're moving at close to 250kph, things look much more risky than you'd imagine.

Zolar made it. The shaft led down to the lower levels, lanes for air cars and actual elevator platforms marked out by hovering lights.

Zolar's pursuers weren't so lucky. The speeder biker attempted to follow but had second thoughts at the last moment. He'd tried to pull up and instead of safely turning, careened into the side of a speeder truck transporting food stuffs that was exiting the elevator. The resulting explosion would have been satisfying had the speeder truck then crashed onto the crowded elevator platform.

Zolar bit his lip and continued on. He reached down as far as Level-0023 before he exited the elevator shaft and disappeared into the real, dark depths of the city where even the patrol cars never seemed to reach.

Ord Vaxal | Imperial Prison Planet | Callia Sector
Allegiance-class Star Destroyer Contagion

"So the Rebel got away?" Nicabre queried. He sat in his private suite aboard Admiral Teurren's flagship the Contagion, sitting at his desk next to the highly encrypted holonet receiver he'd brought with him on his trip. One of his senior adjutants, a Lieutenant Yurtz, was reporting to him.

"Unfortunately, sir." Yurtz didn't flinch or cringe as he reported. By experience he and the other senior staff under Nicabre knew such things garnered no pity or remorse from their superior. "We were able to apprehend a Duros who was acting as a source for information, but the actual Rebel agent or collector escaped in a high speed chase. Two officers and one-hundred and seventy-three civilians were killed."

Nicabre didn't even blink. "The Duros?"

"Minor functionary working in the adjunct officer's office within the Grand Moff's Central Administration building, responsible for filing tax returns and expenses appended to the Grand Moff's public expense accounts. We believe this to be his method of gaining intelligence to pass along -- reading the expense reports and tax filings to see a path to the Moff's movements."

"More intelligent, or lucky, than I'd have given him credit for," Nicabre said, offhandedly. He stared off into space for a moment, thinking.

"You're to be commended, Lieutenant."

"I'm sorry -- wait, what? Sir?" asked the Lieutenant, obviously wrong-footed.

"You're to be commended, Lieutenant Yurtz," repeated Nicabre. "Though it might have been better to apprehend that Rebel now, we can still take advantage of what we do know and now have."

"I don't fully understand sir, but let me say thank you. I will not fail again."

"Indeed, Lieutenant," said Nicabre, turning his full gaze at the holo figure before him. "Or else I'll have you working in the Red Stacks for the rest of your foreseeable career."

"Sir, yes sir."

"Send me a copy of the final report and keep tracking the various possible Rebels that are noted in the log files," ordered Nicabre. A knock came at Nicabre's suite door. Without another word, Nicabre shut the holo receiver off and stowed it in a drawer. Standing, he walked to the door and opened it.

Waiting on the other side and looking practically frosty with defensive animosity was none other than Moff Adria Reyn of the Callia Sector. Without a word, she stepped past Nicabre and into his room.

"By all means, do come in," said Nicabre. He walked back to his desk and took his seat. By process of elimination, Moff Reyn was forced to take the only other available seat or otherwise look like some kind of junior officer awaiting her superior.

"I demand to know why you felt it necessary to insult me in such a way! I'm the sector governor of Callia! I could--."

"Sit quietly and allow me, Senior Agent and Pallis Over Sector Station Commander of the Imperial Security Bureau, to speak," interjected Nicabre. That shut Reyn up faster than the Death Star had blown up Alderaan. Nicabre actually smiled, though it was only for a second and small in make. He reached into another drawer on his desk and pulled out a file. It was made from black paper and had the Empire's cog symbol emblazoned on it's front in embossed gold. Beneath that was written in clear aurebesh print "ISB Director Only. Reyn frowned down at it.

"What is that?" she asked.

"Your file," Nicabre said, opening it and tipping it so that Reyn could not see over onto the pages. "I requested and was given access to all of the personnel files regarding every sector moff within the Pallis Oversector. I even have such a file on Grand Moff Froud, though I don't think he knows it exists."

Reyn's skin took a visibly lighter shade and she involuntarily swallowed. She covered that by pretending to clear her throat and said, "Well what does that have to do with insultingly ordering me down here? I have a sector to manage and a prison planet to deal with - I don't have time for intimidation tactics from the ISB!"

"I think you do, governor," replied Nicabre. "I really think it's worth your time. A woman with such criminal background can't completely ignore the person that could see her replaced as sector moff in less time than it takes to send a holo message to Imperial Center and back."

Reyn took on an affronted look. "How dare you declare--."

"I've declared nothing, Moff Reyn. No charges are pending. There is no current investigation. I'm simply here to help you."

"Help me?" Reyn's eyebrows seemed to have a life of their own; first arched in anger, then crunched in confusion.

"Help you, yes," agreed Nicabre. He set a page of the file down on the table and slid it across to Reyn. She gingerly picked it up and looked at it. What color that might have remained in her face was drained away in seconds.

"How long has anyone known about it? Who knew?" she asked, her voice hollow.

"Director Isard knows, and if she knows then you can better believe that the Emperor knows about it as well," said Nicabre. "Your tactics were pretty much par for the course really, considering the climate of indignity any woman faced trying to come up through the misogynistic ranks to reach that of sector moff. The Emperor tolerated them in the past, but this is now. Grand Moff Froud has given me orders to clean up the Pallis Oversector by any means necessary."

"So is this when you expect my resignation?" asked Reyn.

"No, Moff Reyn, this is when I extend you a lifeline," Nicabre riposted. "I know you're in deep with Sassallo the Hutt. I know that that slug thinks he's got you under his thumb, and had this been any other time, he'd be right. But we're in a unique situation and I believe you can be..." Nicabre struggled for the word, looking up at his ceiling and huffing a bit,"Reformed. Yes, reformed. The word slipped my mind there for a moment. Yes. I believe you can help ISB, Grand Moff Froud, and yourself. By doing so you will free yourself of being forced to act under Sassallo the Hutt's orders ever again, if you follow my plan. Or we can go back to discussing that resignation."

Moff Adria Reyn sniffed and raised her chin, determination building higher in her face. Nicabre could see it.

"Tell me about your plan," said Moff Reyn. "I'm listening."
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Falkenhorst » 2015-12-24 06:17pm

I just read this, and I think it's excellent. I would encourage you to please write more!

BOTM 15.Nov.02

Post #114 @ Fri Oct 18, 2002 4:44 pm

"I've had all that I wanted of a lot of things I've had
And a lot more than I needed of some things that turned out bad"

-Johnny Cash, "Wanted Man"


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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Col. Crackpot » 2016-01-06 09:37pm

This looks very promising! Looking forward to more.
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Re: Aftershocks [Star Wars FanFic]

Post by Abacus » 2016-05-19 02:51pm

Revelations - Part 1.6

Orbital Side 3 | Golan III-class Orbital Defense Platform | Chardaan System

The hangar bays of the golan platform were more crowded than they'd ever been before. Most of the senior fleet officers of the Pallis OverSector had arrived by Llambda shuttle, though one, Captain Jaquine, had arrived flying a modified TIE Interceptor – as if arriving in flair to some sort of social event. Truthfully, none of those present could ever remember a time when the entire upper echelons had ever been brought together. It was unprecedented. Even more so when they were directed to a sealed off, empty hangar that fit them all in ordered ranks, standing before a raised platform made from BlasTech Industries shipping containers. A murmur of disquiet flowed through the gathered officers at the fact that stormtroopers lined the walls.

Grand Moff Damian Froud entered after all officers had assembled. As one, through not in the same snap-fashion that might have been expected from junior officers, all of them gathered men and women snapped their heels together and saluted as Froud stepped atop the platform, allowing him to look down upon them all. He took a moment to gaze out at them, looking captains, commanders, and fleet captains in the eyes – searching them.

His voice broke the silence.

“You all know me. Some of you may know my record. If not, let me give you a short summary. I graduated from the Imperial Raithal Academy on Coruscant. While I was there, several cadets formed a secret cabal to initiate a coup against our Emperor. I sided with the Emperor and helped to defeat the conspirators.

“The former ruler of the Pallis OverSector, Admiral Coy, was involved in an attempt to assassinate the Emperor. I helped to obstruct and prevent that from happening – and succeeded in doing so.” His voice rang through the empty air of the hangar. The officers seemed to be spell-bound by his voice, which had always had a compelling tone.

“The Emperor rewarded me for my loyalty. I was made Grand Moff of Pallis Oversector.”

A few of the youngest officers present made an attempt at clapping, but were quickly hushed by their peers.

“I tell you this, so you understand the weight of what I am about to put upon your shoulders,” continued Froud. He gazed about for a second, letting the void hang empty for a moment. “The Emperor, our Emperor, is dead.”



“I don't believe it!”

Gasps, curses, and other vocal displays of incredulity echoed out from many of the officers. The quieter ones bit their mouths and tongues, hoping it was a lie, but also realizing that it wasn't.

“I speak to you the truth. Less than a week ago, our Emperor was killed aboard the second Death Star battle station by the Rebel Alliance. Lord Darth Vader died with him. Admiral Piett died, as did his ship, the Executor. Our fleet was routed. What is left of it has scattered.”

“Why are you only telling us now?” burst out Captain Jaquine. “W-What is happening?”

“I'm only telling you now, before the general public finds out, because of security. Many of you know or can expect what will happen now. Most of you were transferred to my command because you were mavericks or considered wild by the Fleet Admiralty. Most of you know how there has been a rotten core within our Empire for some time now – sycophants and fools seeking glory were rising to power before those with skill and loyalty.

“You know how the court on Coruscant is like. As I speak, they are already falling apart. Various members of the Ruling Council have either fled or begun fighting among themselves. The New Order as it was created by our beloved Emperor is dying.”

Nearly every officer present was listening now with rapt attention. Some were visibly shaken, a couple even had watery eyes at the prospect of their Emperor dead.

“But I will not allow the New Order to die!” roared Froud. The volume seemed to be as physically impressive as it was verbally loud, with officers stepping backwards in surprise. “If the New Order is to survive, then it will be here, in the Pallis OverSector that it shall find it's bastion of strength! I will not allow our territory to fall into chaos or the hands of traitors.”

Shouts of agreement sprung up from the officers. A few raised their fists in show of approval.

“The Emperor gifted to me the responsibility of this oversector and I. Will. Not. Fail.” He bit the words out as if they were hardened bolts being tapped through durasteel plates. Each word an oath, a promise.

“I know what I will do now, to prevent the memory of our Emperor from fading. Will you help me? Can I count on you, the senior officers of the Imperial Navy, to help me?”

“Yes!” came the chorused roar. Officers clamored closer to the stage, forgetting themselves and decorum.

“Good!” replied Froud, smiling inwardly. “I will reward faithful service more handsomely than before, as such times merit it. Serve your Empire and serve me, and together the Pallis Oversector will remain strong.”

After he stepped down from the stage, he mingled freely with the officers. He knew many of them personally, having given out orders to them or having worked alongside them when he was a Fleet officer in the past. He willingly shook hands and accepted seemingly heartfelt oaths of loyalty.

None of the officers mentioned, or simply forgot, the white-armored threat that encircled the entire room.

HoloNet News Report | Capitol City – Chardaan

A pink-skinned Zeltron female, dressed in an immaculate dress, one of the latest Core fashions, stood in front of a city level elevator. Behind her, smoke was continuing to pour out and up from a zoned off area. Imperial medical staff in white and blue uniforms were rushing back and forth busy with their duties and responsibilities. The reporter turned to the camera, eyes slightly watered – either by smoke or sadness.

As you can see here behind me, the wreckage left behind from the terrorist attack. Imperial authorities are still trying to assess the damage and the number of victims continues to mount,” she announced.

Zolar, sitting in the drinking lounge of his ship, watched the news. He put down his glass of Corellian whiskey and grit his teeth in hatred.

We've been told that over one hundred and fifty beings have lost their lives,” the Zeltron reproter continued. The holocam followed her as she walked toward a line of bodies being put into body-bags. Several of them were too small to be adults. “Even children have suffered and died. This is by far the worst terrorist attack to have been suffered upon Chardaan in a decade or more. A message was received from the office of Grand Moff Damian Froud only a moment ago. The Grand Moff expressed his heartfelt sorrow to the families of the victims and has promised the people of Chardaan that justice will be meted out to the terrorists that caused this attack.

He threw his empty glass at the display. The glass sailed through the holoscreen and crashed into the wall behind it, shattering into pieces. Zolar stood up and paced about, anger raging through his veins like a torrential river, impotent as it was.
"Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?"

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