- Posted On: Sep 21 2011 4:12pm
The meeting was not clandestine as much as it was just simply not reported to the public. One of those typical meetings of government officials having to do the business they were charged with so the public could simply go about its business in satisfying bliss.
Even so, the sky was dark and wet with rain. It was an uncommon night for government business but all complaints were put aside this night for there was a slight chill in the air that had nothing to do with climate but everything to do with the reason for meeting being called. There was nothing mundane and typical about this meeting of the power brokers of government. No, there was an electric excitement as members braved the rain, lost in the masses of beings moving about their nightly business.
The large U-shaped table in the room was older than the government those that sat at it represented. Its carved grooves, the square leather pieces that decorated the surface and multitude of scratches that accompanied the polished shine spoke of decades of service. Wars had been unanimously declared upon it. Arguments, brokered deals and political maneuverings had been planned and executed numerous times over its surface. Surrenders were argued, contemplated and written upon it. From the government's first fight for existence to its fight to stay relevant, decades of decisions had played across its plane and, now, what was coming together was the culmination of the dreams of those, both living and dead, who had had the privilege to sit at it.
"I don't understand why we just don't line the man up against a wall and just shoot him!" a military man seated at the table exclaimed. "He has been our enemy for years!"
"He does not play by rules like we do. So, for us to abandon our own rules would make us like him," interjected a politician.
"But we are not like him! We can bend the rule just once, can't we? Shooting the bastard will not make me like him, I can guarantee that!"
"We might think so but what about the people? The man is extremely popular, even for an enemy...and he's not even a current enemy. To execute him out of hand would make him a martyr."
"The man's entire look on life is to destroy us!" the military man slammed a hand down on the table. "Now, for the first time in his life and, thankfully, during our administration, he is totally within our power! I guarantee you good men that such an opportunity will not come again!"
So impassioned was the military man that the others began to waver slightly. Would it.. No! Could it play out with the public?
The door opened as three newcomers entered the room, a droid taking their wet outer-garments.
"Let me guess," one of the newcomers started, a rather gruff politician, "the military wants him shot."
It was not a question.
The military man sat back in his chair and sighed. "The man is powerful right now. More powerful than ever because he enjoys a galaxy of popularity and not just from his own government."
"Former government," someone interjected.
"It doesn't matter. The man is materially powerful and extremely popular. He is not, however, as organized as he would like us to think. He can't be!" the military man sat up straight, "We, therefore, must act now! Force help us if he does get organized."
"You're afraid of him," the gruff politician remarked.
"You're damn right!" the military man responded unashamedly.
"Do you know what would happen to the administration of we just hauled off and shot him? The people would tear us apart." another newcomer inserted as he found his seat and sat down. "Do we have anything to drink?"
"You're worried about your jobs?" the military man asked with almost disgust.
Before the insulted politicians could respond, a command filled the room.
Everyone turned to the current Leader of their administration and instantly lowered their heads. He walked with a very visible limp, a clawed hand clutching a custom-made cane; a victim of the last war that was still fresh on everyone's mind.
The war was both brutal and devestating for the entire galaxy and if the times prior to the war were considered the Year of Cataclysm, surely the war afterwards was nothing short of galactic Armageddon.
The leader, every day, felt the effects of that war upon his own body. He knew he would never look at life or death the same again. It was one thing to be mentally prepared to die for your cause but it was another to feel the pain of your own broken body knowing you would never be the same again even if you were ultimately triumphant.
Andrew Michael Rashanogok was right about one thing. Pain put one in a foul mood. It answered a great many questions about the powerful Jedi.
Of course it really did depend on one's perspective. The Jedi Master Ekan would say it was women that put one in a foul mood. Jedi Knight Milagro would say warm milk. A certain Caprician would say kids whereas Jedi Master Organa would say husbands.
The Leader chuckled at the thought feeling the darkening clouds of his mind dissipate. Even injured and in pain, one could take satisfaction in a job well done.
The War, after all, had been won.
Now they had to get busy living. Repairs and reconstruction of infrustructure for even the most basic of necessities was taking time that a lot of people felt they did not have. While the people felt fortunate to survive the war, they were also impatient for a return to the "way things were". It was the "everyman" that was hardest hit and who would take the longest to recover.
As a result, the galactic governments had put aside their prejudices and rivalries in a bid for complete galactic unity the scale of which had been unseen since the days of the Old Republic. Under the auspices of the "Republic", the League of Nations offered Obroa-Skai as an interim hub and temporary Capital World so that representatives could discuss and iron out the current Republic charter that came together at the end of the Year of Cataclysm. It helped that Obroa-Skai was under the personal protection of Telan Desaria and his Grand Fleet supported and financed by Seth Vinda and the Republic. Cemented with the support of the Collective and Enclave, respectively, the foundation was strong for complete galactic unification. At least, unification of the governments who had been, less than a decade ago, at each other's throats. It was a move approved of by people everywhere and, for the first time in a long time, a feeling of optimism and hope began to be perceived.
Then, the universe threw a hydrospanner into the mix.
The rule of life, it seemed. That Light just could not exist in a vacuum and so the Dark just would not (could not?) vanish completely.
So he had acted in as much the same manner has he always had. But, was it for Justice? Or something more personal?
Even he questioned himself at times.
His answer would lay the path for things to come and that was his worry.
Generally, the populace was bearing up pretty well considering the massive destruction the war had wrought but the Leader could see that they were tired of the conflict and fighting. And if the government (or its military) simply decided to haul off and shoot another head of state (though that status was questionable) thus plunging them all to war yet again, the people would, justifiably, remove them all from office and install others more concerned with their will.
And the Leader wouldn't blame them.
The man in question was the boogy-man of heads of state and their military was correct. He was powerful and, given time to organize, he might just be nigh unstoppable.
But could the man actually destroy what they were all building? Could he actually stop Unification?
The Leader really did not think so. But he'd been fooled before.
Oh, how he had been fooled.
So me limpted over to his seat in the middle of the U-shaped table, between the military man and his supporters and those politicians whose oversight made them privy to the Leader's actions.
It was well that the attendance was kept as small as possible.
As the serving droid began to make its rounds, they began their discussion in earnest.
They heard the door open and close as the last of invited party arrived.
"Prime Minister, gentlebeings!" the civilian remarked in both awe and surprise. He had expected a meeting with some lower government functionaries.
"Mr. March, you come highly recommended by a good friend of mine." The Prime Minister opened. "We have a legal matter we would like you to take on for us."
Mr. March was at a loss. "You want me to represent the ..the government?" the man felt his pride rise at the thought.
The Leader smiled. "Not quite. It is a bit more complicated than that."
The lawyer frowned slightly.
"You see, put plainly, we infiltrated a foreign camp to arrest a war criminal and have succeeded in bringing him here. What we would like from you is to represent this war criminal to the best of your ability against our government's prosecution. We are very sure of our information regarding this person but we want to ensure this person obtains the best representation possible."
Mr. March turned white. "I...I am not a defense attorney."
The Leader spread his arms wide, "And I was not born Prime Minister. Mr. March, one thing I have learned in my years is that people rise to the occassion. And that is what we need for you to do. Rise to the occassion."
"You don't expect me to succeed?
"I expect for you to do your best as we, the government, will be doing its very best to prosecute."
"May I ask the name of the man I will be representing?"
The Prime Minister smiled at the lack of calling the man a 'war criminal'. It would not do to have prejudgments prior to meeting your client. Quell was right about Mr. March.
"I can do better than that. I will introduce you to him."
Mr. March turned white at the sight of the guards stationed at just about every junction. Heavily armed and armored guards that had remain unseen since the war. He had assumed that the majority of military forces had disbanded after the war but it seemed he was mistaken.
Were they all stationed here to guard the prisoner?
The Prime Minister's movements were slow but steady as his cane tapped the floor marking their progress.
"The Collective is arranging for an entire fleet to guard you and the prisoner for transport to Obroa-Skai."
"Obroa-Skai?" Mr. March was confused. "The trial will not be here?"
The Prime Minister hissed his amusement. "Indeed not, Mr. March. This will be the Trial of the Century and we will not have done to us what we have done to him. There will be no last minute escape attempt nor will we be cowed by an overwhelming show of force. Obroa-Skai will have the Grand Fleet, the Collective Fleet, forces of the League and, most importantly, the Jedi on hand."
Mr. March wondered if Thracken Sal Solo had been hard to catch. During the war, there were very few men hated more.
They stopped at a nondescript door and the Prime Minister entered a code. A very long code that the lawyer had trouble keeping up with. He lost count at the 25th digit.
The door slid open and Mr. March's breath held in his throat. There was a human staring back with idle curiosity seated on a prison slab dressed in a white formal uniform of some kind. Not exactly military style but what did he know of fashion. The man could have been dressed in rags and Mr. March would still have recognized him. The prisoner stood.
"My attorney, I presume?" the man asked with a trace of amusement.
Mr. March's voice caught in his throat. "Are... Are they treating you well?" he stammered out the question.
"If by 'well', you mean are they are doing their damndest to have me killed, then yes."
"WHAT?" The Prime Minister demanded sharply and loudly. Mr. March felt the Leader's sharp teeth snap.
"Or perhaps it is just simple incompetance," the prisoner finished.
"Explain," Mr. March ordered before the Prime Minister could muster his thoughts.
"If you are dead set on going through with this farce, I must insist on Ysalamiri in the building where you are holding me, on the vessel that transports me to the courtroom and in the courtroom itself. The Force bubble must be expansive and interlocking lest some enterprising individual try to find gaps. The creatures themselves must be monitored at all times."
"You do not issue orders here!" the Leader snapped in response and then calmed himself.
"You seem to have given this much thought," Mr. March observed.
The prisoner spread his hands, "All I have is time."
"It is too expensive and too.." the Prime Minister started when Mr. March interrupted suprising them all.
"Sir, with all due respect, either we are going to go through with this or we are not. If not, stop wasting my time and just take the prisoner out and shoot him. If you are and if you expect this to be the Trial of the Century, then it would not do well to do this in half-measures."
"Well.." the Prime Minister cringed at the thought of the bill and cocked his head to stare at the prisoner with one eye.
"Is this your great plan? To bring democracy down by bringing us to the brink of insolvency?"
The prisoner chuckled and leaned against a wall, "Regrad, you are about to haul me before your court of clowns and paint me as some massive enemy of the entire galaxy which, presumably would include force users. If you put all these soldiers..." the prisoner gestured outside his cell, "to protect me from conventional attacks surely you must have something in place to protect me from unconventional attacks?"
"It would not play well with the public if the prisoner was killed while in your custody," March agreed.
"The guards are to stop his friends from breaking him out! Not too..." the Prime Minister started but then stopped when he saw the ridiculousness of the statement.
"Then impliment my suggestions for the protection of your men, then. Do you think Lupercus Darksword could not simply waltz in here and spring me? Where would your men be then?"
The Azguard stared at the prisoner for a good long time before speaking, "Lupercus is probably dead but I do get your point. The Ysalamiri will be provided. It will take some time so we should probably move you from this place."
The prisoner nodded and sat back down as the Prime Minister turned away.
Mr. March then felt the electric excitement that he detected back in the Government House. This would not be a trial of some minor revolutionary from Corellia who sided with the enemy during the war.
No. This was different.
This would be the Trial of Simon Kaine!