- Posted On: Sep 25 2006 1:51am
"Circumstance does not make the man.
Circumstance reveals man to himself."
"The surest way to corrupt a youth
is to instruct him to hold in higher regard those who think alike
than those who think differently."
18 I.E. (Imperial Era)
Taken from: Reinforcing the Center: Corellia...
“Name please?” came a rather cold voice.
A young man in front of him shivered slightly in the damp Corellian air and rattled off his name. He saw that he was but one among a long line of skinny, half-starved young adults though his expression gave nothing away. Almost willing himself into a hardened stone of granite, he might have remained in place all day were it not for the nudge a stormtrooper gave him to move along as the line crept forward.
Even in their armour suits, Stormtroopers knew Corellian winters were nothing to make mock of. He moved forward.
“Name please?” came the question again.
“S… Simon Kaine.” He stated, silently cursing himself that the cold affected his tongue. His resolve burned hotter to remain unmoving, like granite.
The man with the unimpressed voice glanced through his datapad in search of confirmation. Not finding any, his brows furrowed and he suddenly looked up.
Simon could see that the coldness in the man’s voice had nothing to do with the oncoming winter chill. No, the man’s coldness spread into his eyes.
His lips pressed together in a rather flat line and the man’s gaze seemed to rip into Kaine’s soul looking for the answers he sought.
The fact that the man looked up was something of note for the last time he had done it was in front of a small alien boy. The boy was immediately taken out of the line despite his protests and he’d not been seen from again. Kaine wondered if the same would happen to him.
The man’s eyes were shrewd as he asked another question.
“Related to Tiren Kaine?”
Tiren Kaine.. Now there was a name Simon had not heard voiced for a good long while.
“He was my father.” Kaine answered, firmly.
Perhaps too firmly for the man misread his tone and commented to another officer, “We have the son of a traitor in our midst.”
The other young boys seemed to melt away from Simon as if he carried the most virulent disease known to the galaxy.
The other officers came up, making light of the situation. A situation that grated against the young man before them.
That his father had betrayed the Empire hadn’t mattered any which way to a young Simon Kaine for his father had betrayed the only thing that had really mattered to him. He had betrayed his family.
When Simon’s mother was executed in dispensation for the shame brought to their family and when Simon’s grandfather (his mother’s father) had stepped down from the Imperial Senate (the political pressures and the execution of his only daughter bringing the proud man down), where was Tiren Kaine?
If Simon was to execute revenge on his father for the effects his treachery brought to his family’s life, he found he would need to understand things the way the Empire understood things.
And right now, the Empire felt as betrayed by his father as he did.
But their suspicion also carried over to him.
“You came off that transport from the edge of the Unknown Regions didn’t you?”
Kaine could only shrug. He didn’t know where the planet he was taken from was located.
“How did you get that?” the man suddenly asked, pointing to a scar going down the length of Simon’s arm.
“A man with blue skin and glowing eyes gave it to me.” He mumbled, the horrors he had experienced on Arcadia still fresh in his mind.
“An alien lover too eh?” another officer quipped.
The insinuation burned Simon inside. He couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice when he said, “I killed him.”
The seated man’s cold eyes suddenly showed something they hadn’t before. Interest. Then his eyes brushed against the necklace of small skulls that Simon wore.
“So, you admit to murder?” another asked.
Confusion played on Simon’s features, not understanding how these Imperial soldiers didn’t understand. As he looked back at the seated officer, he saw that they did understand and that they were merely playing with him.
He was an oddity.
A thing to them.
The seated man, seeing that he’d get no rise out of Simon, began to lose interest. “Well, we can’t have the son of a traitor around can we?” he asked rather absently and motioned for the stormtrooper to take Simon away.
With grim realization, Simon knew his time was limited now.
Before the stormtrooper could reach him, he leapt at the table intent on striking the seated officer.
The man let out a yelp of surprise at being attacked by a 14 year old. Simon had pulled out a makeshift knife made of bone and stuck the man who had casually dismissed his life with a wave of his hand.
The man cried out as he fell on his back, the 14 year old falling on top of him. He was going to bring his bone knife down over the heart of the officer when two stun blasts from opposite directions caught both Simon and the officer.
“Take that filth away and put one in his head!!” another officer shouted, pointing to Simon’s limp form.
“Sorry Sir. The Governor has issued an order that any man to attack an Imperial soldier shall be immediately arrested.”
The officer bit back an angry retort as an unconscious Simon was pulled off the formerly seated officer.
Rebellious sentiments had been cropping up all over the Empire and the Governor of Corellia had tried to play the diplomat between those representatives of both local government, Imperial Senators who felt their power slipping away and the leaders and soldiers of the Imperial Military.
To make people stand trial for attacks against Imperial Officers, the military would be satisfied (for now) that something was being done and the public would remain satisfied because they felt their “rights” were preserved by the show trial.
Unknown (usually) to those citizens was the fact that anyone who stood against the former Grand Army of the Republic typically did not fare very well.
“Simon Mathias Kaine, son of the traitor Tiren Kaine and former Daughter of the Empire, Celeste Kaine. You stand accused of assaulting an Imperial Officer. How do you plead?”
The 14 year old gazed quietly at the Corellian Magistrates before him, noting their flickering glances to the Imperials of high rank seated somewhere off to the side.
He stood alone before a rather large panel and yet the magistrates squirmed. They reminded him of the “worms” that had plagued his stay on Arcadia. Seeing them in that light put a new spin on his perceptions. Powerful in their own right, the only vision he had for the creatures that had killed his only friend in the hellhole was of them squirming, thrashing about in his hand before he snapped their spine.
They were quick.
But he had learned to be quicker.
He had to or he was dead.
The magistrates too were powerful in their own right, but pitted against the true masters, the Empire, they thrashed and would squirm until their necks were snapped.
He realized that there would be no appeal, no mercy to come from this panel of impotent Corellian officials.
His salvation or destruction would only come from the Empire.
So, it was the Empire that he would fight this day.
But with what?
In his struggle to survive on Arcadia, after the Chiss pirate had killed most of the settlers, he used whatever means necessary to keep one step ahead of the worm infestation.
After a couple of years, the planet’s climate proved too different for the creatures and they began to die off.
That is really what saved the remaining population of Arcadia.
After living in fear for most of that time, he learned to meet the challenges of the unexpected (and sometimes life-threatening) with an equanimity unmatched.
Simon’s eyes gazed to the right and noticed the publicists gathered. News men and women of all sorts gathered for the spectacle.
A child attacking an Imperial official would garner much popularity among seditionists and revolutionaries.
A loss of face here would be bad for the Empire.
But how to keep the Empire’s .. honor intact without losing his life?
The survivor in Kaine surged forward and his mind began to assess his situation accepting and rejecting options as fast as they entered his head.
“Not guilty.” He spoke with convincing assuredness that surprised even him.
The Imperials had not given him anything extra to wear so his arms felt like they were numbing to the bone.
The audience stirred at the statement though they were not surprised.
An Imperial representative stood up in indignation, “What nonsense is this?”
He gestured to the injured officer seated behind him. “Just look at Major Harj! Look at his wounds! How can the boy say he is not guilty of that? Perhaps a motion of mental retardation is in order to put the child out of it’s misery.”
Simon’s eyes narrowed at the chide. “I am not retarded!” he shouted, suddenly realizing that he was playing into the Imperial representative’s hands.
“Then you did attack Major Harj!” he said, rather self satisfied with himself. Then he spoke out into the audience at large. “How can the Empire stand to have it’s officers assaulted and then have the perpetrators go unpunished? To do so would make the Empire weak. To do so would make the Empire impotent to it’s enemies!”
The people were suddenly becoming stirred behind the speech.
The Major gave Simon an evil grin.
Simon was out of his league and he knew it. How could he cope against the very word: Empire.
“Look at the savage! Look at his attire! Look at this primitive necklace! Of course he assaulted the Major and of course, he WILL be punished!”
Even his appearance was being used against him. He hadn’t showered for a few days, having used all his money to transport off of Arcadia.
What could he do?
“For assaulting an Imperial Officer, the punishment is death.” The man stated flatly.
A sudden futility struck Simon as the past few years went by in his mind. And for what? To be killed out of hand by a pig of a man?
He refused to cry as despair began to set in.
“No doubt, the boy may try to curry your favor with a tale of how woeful his life has been, but that is no excuse to assault a superior. The penalty will stand!”
Simon’s open mouth remained open for a bit, caught off guard once again. For that was exactly what Simon was going to do.
The Imperial representative glanced over at the 14 year old.
Kaine was about to hang his head in defeat, when his mother’s voice suddenly entered his mind. Something she had said a long, long time ago.
Something in case he was ever in trouble.
What was it?
The news people were already writing the his eulogy… The boy who was crushed under the weight of the Empire… or something like that possibly.
“Why did I attack your Major?” Simon suddenly asked.
“Because you are mad and crazy..” Major Herj suddenly came to life.
“Why?” Simon asked again.
“Who am I to know the mind of a crazy person?” the Major quipped, his eyes growing triumphant.
“You should.” Simon pressed. “For how many others have you given the choice of death on one hand and death with the other hand before?”
The Major began to stir slightly.
“You are the son of a traitor!” he spat out in contempt.
The Imperial Representative turned an irritated glance to Major’s way and motioned for him to be quiet. “The families of proven traitors are arrested and investigated before being allowed to go free. If found guilty of collaboration, then they are considered traitors as well and punished accordingly.” He said.
“Then why kill me now?” Simon asked, his voice nearly breaking under the stress. “I can’t be a traitor if the Empire did not kill me then.”
The Imperial man shifted at the mention of the word: kill.
“Just because you were not caught then does not mean..” the Major blundered ahead.
“I was 5 years old then! How could I hide from the Empire?” Kaine nearly shouted.
The news people were eating this up but the look on the Imperial Representative’s eyes told Simon that he had crossed the line. He had made the Empire look foolish.
And no one did that.
At least, no one did that and lived.
“Magistrate, the law regarding traitors is..”
“Dispensation.” Simon suddenly interrupted before the Imperial man could finish. “I have .. Dispensation.”
“Young man. Do you know what that means?” the Magistrate, for the first time asked, his voice drawing a scared Simon Kaine’s attention.
The 14 year old nodded. “It means I am no traitor.”
“We shall see..” the Magistrate responded, to which the Imperial man could only nod.
“Simon Mathias Kaine. Father: Tiren Kaine, Former Officer of the Imperial Grand Army, last seen in the Kuat System, presumed to be leading a Rebel Cell.
Mother: Celeste Kaine, Former Daughter of the Empire alcolade, Coruscant nobility,. Father, Senator Jores Vallum, retired.”
The Magistrate reading Kaine’s record looked up at the 14 year old Simon sitting across his desk. Both Imperial Officers were in the office as well, away from the prying eyes of the public.
“Imperial investigations turned up nothing to condemn Tiren’s family. Emperor Palpatine’s general order #523 calling for the execution of the children of any traitor. Dispensation for Simon Kaine granted through execution of mother, Celeste Kaine. Burial notation below.”
The Magistrate looked up at Simon.
“Young man, how did you know about this dispensation?”
“My mother, before she died told me that it could save my life. That it proved I was no traitor. She made me repeat it several times.”
Then Simon looked like he wanted to cry. “I didn’t remember it till today.”
“Well, young man, it is a good thing you remembered. It did save your life.”
He put the file away. “It appears your mother loved you very much.”
Clasping his hands back on his desk the Magistrate looked at the dirty and flimsy clothes the boy wore. “Tell me, Simon, what are you going to do now?”
“I was going to join the military, Sir.”
“You’re too young for that, but I can do one better. How about the Imperial Youth Program?”
“Sort of a pre-Military school...”