The Interview
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Jun 22 2015 11:14pm
 The interview
 

Whispers…

"The Conclave Charter is your secret government within the government."

"Not mine. The Empire's. When the head was cut off with Palpatine by the Rebellion, the Empire fell apart. The left over Moffs had no clear right of succession and so became
self-styled warlords until Grand Admiral Thrawn.

That is not going to happen again! Capture Coruscant, destroy the Regent, the Imperial High Command... the administrative infrastructure and we will still have the organization of the Conclave."

"Praetor Gevel would assume the leadership."

"And organize the Protectorates under the New Order."


Apparitions:  Faces of the Dead

Present

The room was dark and cold.  The metal chair the man was seated on tended on the uncomfortable side and he involuntarily shivered.  He was dressed in a nondescript black uniform that hung loosely on his frame.    His arms were placed on the metal table in front of him as he stared at an empty chair on the other side, also metal and cold.

A door behind the empty chair slid open revealing a rather young man, also dressed in a nondescript two-piece black uniform with no outside rank pins or insignia.  His hair was combed to the side, everything well-trimmed and neat.  The man looked positively like an accountant.

He took a seat not glancing at the other older man, intent on his datapad.   It was a rather common tactic to feign indifference to the person you intend to question, as if it was the other’s job to try to impress the questioner with their answers since no one consciously likes to be thought of in an indifferent fashion.  Love, yes. Hate, sure.  But indifference?   And yet, the older man could not find it within himself to be impressed since it was he that was the holder of what the other, the questioner wanted.  In this case, answers to whatever the hell it was he wanted.

So the older man was content to wait until the galaxy collapsed in on itself or death.  Whichever came sooner.

“You probably know what I am going to ask…” the young man finally stated, looking up.

The older man shrugged.  “I haven’t got a clue.”

The younger man’s eyes widened as if surprised and slid the datapad over to the old man, flipping it around.
 
“Can I have your autograph?”
 
Whatever he was expecting, it sure was not that and the old man’s facial features warred against a scowl and a grin.
 
The grin finally won out as he scribbled on the pad, putting his thumb over the scanner.
 
“Your Master is a bastard, you know that?”
 
The young man scooped up the pad, pleased.  “I will take your word for it, Sir.  Please, I am to direct you to Operations.”
 
The old man stood up finding his frown once more. 
 
“This ship is fucking freezing,” he complained.
 
 
 
*
 
 
Operations
 
 
The “accountant” crewman escorted the old man to the entrance of the Operations Room and left.  What was odd was that the room was not guarded by any soldiers as he typically observed on other vessels.  And yet, their absence told him something.
 
The commander felt secure enough that such precautions were unnecessary.
 
It was also strangely comforting.
 
He entered a room that seemed to be only lit by the multitude of monitors along the walls and the slowly-rotating spiral holographic projection of the galaxy floating above a massive conference table of solid, black obsidian.  A projection was littered with differing colors and blinking icons.  The closer he came to the table, the more the projection resembled a terrestrial hurricane or maelstrom rather than a galactic map.
 
“Looks like things are still fucked up,” the old man remarked as he reached the table’s edge, seeing the only other occupant of the room leaning against the opposite side of the table lost in thought.
 
The flicker of eyes went up to the old man and a slight smile formed.
 
“What is your impression of that?” the occupant asked, pointing to a monitor that was muted.  It was a recording of a news-blurb of “Emperor Kraken” making some sort of speech.
 
The old man’s lips curled with contempt, “Opportunistic.  I understand that those dickless fucks, Kach Thorton and Trachta, were behind his rise?”
 
“More like, they learned that wanting to rule was more fun that actually ruling,” the occupant remarked.
 
“And Kraken stepped in while those two weasily fucks disappeared,” the old man finished.  “I cannot fault, Kraken really.  Coruscant was a big ass-fucking for the Empire.”
 
The occupant frowned, “The Apocalypse Protocols were supposed to address the issue of succession.”
 
The old man shrugged, “While the Empire was getting ass-fucked and I was getting ass-fucked by Kach and Trachta, Theren was probably getting ass-fucked by the damned occupation army.  My last act was to activate them but who the hell knows what and who got out? With the Reavers crashing the holonet and Thorton losing the damn Borderlands….“
 
The other man pointed to another monitor showing a clip of Emperor Gevel, “Well, he may still be in play.”
 
“As Emperor?” the old man raised an eyebrow.
 
“Zell, I am not going to hold it against the man if he did it to stop a bullet from going through his skull.  The Conclave is probably spread too thin right now and there is no handle on resources as local Moffs make their own grab as Kraken did.”
 
“So, Theren is out there with only his wits, good looks and supple ass to keep the damned aliens busy until the Conclave gets their shit together.”
 
“Indeed,” the other man agreed.  “What do you make of this?”
 
A holographic recording appeared of a woman claiming to be Empress.
 
“Who the fuck is that?”
 
“Lady Skygge.”
 
“Kaine, just because she has a twat doesn’t mean she is a lady.  I don’t fucking remember her.  Who was she?”
 
“One of Hyfe’s 'Hands of the Emperor' or some such,” Kaine answered.  “Wes Vos is backing her.”
 
“So what is she saying?  Because she was the Emperor’s lapdog, that gives her claim to the mantle of the Empire?  What the fuck was Vos thinking?”
 
“She made him a Supreme Commander.”
 
“Well, fuck me.  Maybe Wes isn’t so stupid after all.  Still, he should know her claim is tenuous at best.  Hell, Kraken has the better claim being an experienced Grand Moff of a protectorate.  She’s just a fucking errand girl.”
 
“She’s a Sith, apparently.  They feel they have some god-given right to rule the Empire.”
 
“Ahh.. That’s where she pulls her ‘Lady’ from.  They are all fucking Lord this and Lord that.  Presumptuous pricks!”
 
Simon grinned.   “You do have a way with words, Regent.”
 
Zell gave him a pained look, “I haven’t been Regent in quite a while.”
 
“You were appointed by Emperor Hyfe, himself.  Only Hyfe can relieve you.” The former Supreme Commander pointed out.
 
Zell raised his eyebrows, “So I could order you to kneel before me?”
 
Kaine grinned, “Of course.  You can order all you want.  However, as I am retired, as a citizen I reserve the right to refuse you.”
 
“And I reserve the right to have the shit beaten out of you!”
 
Kaine spread his gloved hands wide, “I shall submit to your nearest Stormtrooper battalion.”
 
Zell barked out a laugh, “You are a fucking bastard, Kaine.  A fucking bastard.”
 
“So we have four contenders to the Imperial throne,” Simon stated turning his attention back to the galaxy map.
 
“Four?”
 
“You may not be in play, but your claim is the most solid.  If you return to the galactic stage, I am sure you may still hold some sway over some planets.”
 
The Regent chuckled to himself and stared wistfully at the rotating spiral. 
 
“No..” he stated after a while.  “Having the most legitimate claim would only make me a most legitimate fucking target to the others.”
 
“They would have no choice but to eliminate you to legitimize their own claims,” Kaine agreed.  “The only thing they are accomplishing is the further fracturing of the Empire.  Instead of one massive force to be reckoned with, the Empire is split in three.  So what are the advantages of each?”
 
“You tell me, Kaine.  Kraken’s a dipshit who keeps getting himself assassinated, Skygge’s a cunt and Theren may be a turncoat.”
 
Simon gestured for the old man to take a seat and as they both sat down, he began to list each one ticking off a finger, “The Empire of Vladet has the largest territory.  It currently holds the most loyalty since Kraken was the first to assume the mantle.  His disadvantages are that he is largely disorganized and his fleet assets outside of Vladet are scattered.  To compensate, he was been courting the other galactic governments association trying to build or worth in some sort of coalition."  He frowned at the word, "Skygge has the smallest territory leaving her the smallest defensive footprint, presuming the SS has gone over to her.  The SS seems to be largely intact and organized.  Being insular has helped them stave off the general economic collapse felt by the Empire in general.  Her disadvantages is the SS’s constant animosity with the Confederation, her proximity to Reaver Space and her being a force user, given the Cree’Ar’s declaration of war against force users.  That makes her more of a target than Kraken.  Then there is Theren Gevel.  Operating with a gun to his head out of a fallen Imperial Center.    Publicly, he has no capital to bring to the table since operating under an alien occupation will invalidate any public actions he tries to take with regards to the rest of Empire.  Those he may hold sway over would be those closest to the Cree'Ar and Coruscant and they may think, if Theren can survive, why not them.  Privately, the succession was tailor made for him and he should be able to draw upon Conclave assets once he gets more organized.  That gives him the better strategic position overall once the Cree'Ar fleet leaves.”

"You think they will leave?"

"You cannot wage a war against the force users of the galaxy while leaving your fleet at Coruscant," Kaine pointed out.
 
“But with a fucking alien gun to his head?”
 
“For now.  Eventually, that gun will be holstered and eventually the guard will leave.”
 
“How do you figure that?”
 
“The fact that they are putting up locals in positions of authority rather than claiming it for themselves.  It speaks to the fact that perhaps do not have the numbers required for total domination.  At least not yet.”
 
“Maybe they just don’t like paperwork?  Gevel may just turn all that shit against the Empire anyway, you know.”
 
“It is a possibility but Gevel is also a survivor.  He’s survived Imperial politics and cut-throat commanders to come out on top before.  This is no different.”
 
“Oh, is that why we have fucking assholes like Thorton and Trachta in positions of power?”
 
Kaine grinned, “What doesn’t kill you…”
 
 
Zell rolled his eyes and leaned back, “So where the fuck were you?”
 
“Around,” Kaine replied cryptically.
 
“Bullshit,” Zell snorted.  “So, where and when do you come in to take over the Empire?”
 
Simon chuckled lightly, “Zell, I am retired.  Besides, I have no claim to the Imperial throne.”
 
“So you are going to sit back and let these Cree’Ar pricks have their way with the galaxy?”
 
“The Cree’Ar war machine has identified the same problematic issue that every galactic government has in the past.  People with extraordinary powers and abilities.  The Coalition seems to have turned to droids as their savior.  The League of Nations and the Republic have turned to the Jedi, the Confederation their Jensaarai, and the Empire the Sith.”
 
“Seems like we got the shit end of the deal!” Zell snapped.
 
“Well, they were philosophically opposed to the Jedi who we warred with in the form of the New Republic.  Enemy of my enemy and all that.”
 
“Until they implode and eat their own,” growled the former Regent.
 
“Which is why we also had the Jedi Corps,” Kaine replied and Zell took on a sorrowful look.
 
“Unlucky bastards.  Now there is a fucking tragedy.  Worlds fearing these Cree'Ar bastards are turning them over to appease them."
 
“Which makes Skygge’s seizing the throne for herself during this time of all times rather interesting.  I understand she equalized citizenship between humans and aliens in her sphere...”
 
Zell snorted, “Nothing like an alien invasion and seizing of Imperial Center to put the fear of aliens up her fucking bum.  What is it with these morons who want to be liked?  If you are going to rule, rule!  If you are going to lead, lead!  This, ‘everybody’s a winner’ where everyone gets a fucking medal for showing up and participating is bullshit!  There are winners and there are losers!  The quicker these morons get that through their thick heads, the better they will understand the real world!  So she fucking raises her hand and says, ‘I’m a fucking Sith.  I should lead.  I was Hyfe’s bedwarmer, I can lead. Give me the reward!  Over here!’ is fucking bullshit!  She just shows up and she thinks she’s fucking owed?  Where the fuck was she when we were under attack and the Empire started crumbling around us?  Where was she when her fucking master was taken to fuck-knows-where?  What the fuck has she earned?  Empress, my ass!  Maybe she’s fucking Wes?  Maybe that’s why he’s supporting her?  Maybe she rubs nob like nobody’s business?  Maybe Wes is the power behind the bitch?  Now, THAT makes a shitload of sense!”
 
Kaine sighed but couldn’t keep the slight grin from forming.  “I cannot help it.  I’ve missed you, Zell.”
 
“Fuck you, too!” Zell growled back.  “Where the fuck were you when we were baring our asses for those Cree’Ar cocks?”
 
“All in good time,” Kaine replied before highlighting another section of the galaxy and enlarging.  “Now what do you know about the Reavers?”
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Jul 1 2015 10:59pm
*
 
“The Reavers are… something else.  You know, it reminds me of the Phage that the Dragons shot at the Coalition a few years ago.  Except, this affects both biological and tech.  Also, it does not all about killing like Phage was but more about… spreading.  Perverting a function to service another.  And it spreads fast.  Gods does it spread fast. ”
 
Kaine mulled over this, “When did you first take notice of them?”
 
Zell grimaced, “When fucking Thorton retreated leaving the damned Borderlands unprotected!”
 
Simon watched the old man as he looked at the galaxy as if remembering.  Yet, he did not think it was the horrors of the Reaver threat that consumed Zell but the betrayal of Kach Thorton.
 
“To be fair,” Kaine started when Zell slammed his hand down on the table.
 
“No!  There is no fucking fair where he is concerned!  He was ordered to hold the line with a damned protectorate’s worth of fleet assets!  And what does the pansy-ass fucker do?  Turns right around and aims that fleet at Imperial Center to make an already fucked up situation more fucked up.  I mean, shit!  What was he expecting?  That the fucking Cree’Ar bastards would just leave when he ousted me?”
 
“So, then the Reavers attacked the entire Protectorate at once?” Simon asked.
 
Zell huffed a bit but then looked down, “No.   Troiken was the first to fall.  By the time the traitor realized something was up he did attempt to learn what he could.  But he was out of his fucking depth and so pulled back leaving the planets to fend for themselves.”
 
“There is a lot of conflicting data regarding the Reavers…”
 
“It is all correct,” Zell interrupted.  He sat up, “Look, it is like a virus that acts a certain way and when you think you’ve got it figure out, it has already changed.”
 
“So it spreads so fast that mutation is inevitable,” Kaine concluded.  “I was curious, Zell, if you thought that these Reavers were a weapon released by the Dragon Imperium or something else?”
 
The old man breathed a sigh and leaned forward, “Honestly, my gut tells me it is something else.”
 
“Why?” Kaine’s eyes narrowed.
 
“I know that to look at the Reavers you see similarities with the Phage.  And yes, they emerged from along the Dragon borders spilling into Imperial space.  And the timing cannot be a mere coincidence.  We lose a damned Protectorate on the eve of a damned alien invasion of Coruscant…”
 
“Which would point to a coordinated attack between two factions, the Dragons and the Cree’Ar, I would think,” Kaine persisted.
 
“I know that… but..” his voice trailed off.
 
“But?” prodded Kaine.
 
“We know Raktus.”
 
“You think Raktus wouldn’t attack us?”
 
“I think that if he kicked our asses or had taken a Protectorate away from us, he would be crowing about it until our ears bled.  He’d be prancing about waving his dick around as if his conquest validated his claim to be some fucking digital god.  He’s a dick but he’s a predictable dick.  What have we heard from the Dragons or their fucked up religious missionaries?  It is so fucking quiet we hear from the Sojourn.”
 
“The Sojourn?”
 
“Bunch of dickless droid hypocrites who think we give a shit about what they think.  They somehow discover that governments sometimes hide shit and they cry like little girls with a skinned knee.  Then they join another government who has, guess what, been hiding shit for a lot longer but they now have no issue with it.  Fucking assholes.  Anyway, look, even the Cree’Ar waved their dicks around after Coruscant fell with their fucking declaration!  We got kicked in the nuts and are rolling around on the fucking ground… So, where the fuck is the Black Dragon Empire?  Where the fuck is his fucking God-ship Raktus?  Maybe he’s got nothing to wave around.  But he would still act like he does, though.”
 
Simon was quiet as he contemplated Zell’s words.
 
“You have a point,” He finally conceded.  “Still, there have been instances of cooperation between the Cree’Ar and the Dragon Imperium.  Remember Kraken’s gathering on Vladet?  The Dragons showed up along with this vessel…”  He toggled a switch under the table and a hologram augmented into a visual of a Cree’Ar arbiter.  “This is the Cree’Ar’s main transportation vehicle.  Their ships are never far from one.  I believe this is their wormhole ship.”
 
“More like asshole ships,” grumbled Zell.  “I saw many of them over Imperial Center.  So then, what?  Did the Cree’Ar take over the Dragons and are now utilizing their tech in their favor?  I do not think that is it.  The Reaver’s moves are too random and unpredictable to be any part of a coordinated plan.”
 
“There is an overriding intelligence, or force behind them,” Kaine suggested.  “There has to be.  The vessels that travel in hyperspace require some sort of coordination.”
 
“Do they?” Zell persisted.  “It is not a firefight with them that people worry about and it’s not like the Reavers utilize sensor and tracking and as long as the hyperdrive is at least working.  It is not as if they give a shit about making the Kessel run in less than 10 parsecs or whatnot.  It is being struck by pieces of infected debris or having a Reaver ship ram you or just bump you that people worry about!”
 
“But they are adapting and mimicking.  The Vahaba Affair, the Cooperative fleet took on multiple Reaver motherships (for lack of a better term) and those ships were not produced in any faction’s shipyards.  Those were Reaver creations.  And Vahaba may not have been the only sighting.  There are reports of other sightings of such craft but all unconfirmed.” Kaine pointed out.
 
“Heh,” Zell grinned at the reference, “Vahaba.  I swear, those dingbats in the Coalition giving their fucking faction away to a fucking droid.”
 
“It was effective.  No matter the outcome on a social level, they did destroy the Reaver vessels.” Simon replied.
 
“And still retreated!” Zell snapped.  “Any more Smart victories like that and the Coalition will be dead before long!”
 
“It is a measure of their desperation.   An AI mind is a more focused mind, clinical and cold.  It is not swayed by emotion or sentiment, just the viability of completing its task.  The suspension of democracy during an emergency in favor of an Executor is no different than the emergency powers granted Chancellor Palpatine during the first Civil War.  Only, an AI would hand back the reigns to the bureaucracy once its task was completed.  That is the nature of the AI.  An AI does not have a heart, it is not flesh and blood and so forms no emotional attachment to greed because what does an AI need with money?  What does it need of luxury since it cannot feel? “
 
“So it doesn’t matter if it sits in a pile of shit or on a feather pillow, as long as it completes its assigned task, it is good,” mocked the older man.
 
“Well, I would expect that creature comforts mean little to an AI.  And so, with clinical detachment, it would also not be hinder by fear, namely, fear of the Reavers.”
 
“Since an AI can copy itself, the idea of going against the Reavers and losing would not be an inhibitor because the other copy can be left behind to be activated if there was a failure.”
 
“Depending on the sophistication of the AI, I would presume so.  So, under the guardianship of these programs, the Cooperative forces have been making in-roads into Reaver space.  I believe they may have liberated two worlds or at least successfully defended them.  No matter their methodology, cost or moral hypocrisy, they also have made the most progress that I can see with this scourge.“
 
“Well, great.  They can suck my dick,” grumbled Zell. 
 
Kaine sat back, “So what aren’t you telling me, Zell?”
 
The old man stared at the former Supreme Commander for a bit. 
 
“Quite a lot actually,” he admitted with a smile.  “But you probably would not consider it relevant.”
 
“Well, if it has anything to do with the Reavers, it will be put to the test.”
 
Zell’s mouth opened, “What?  You are not going to do anything about the Core?”
 
Kaine shrugged, “Theren has that in order.”
 
“And the rest of the Empire?”
 
“We will see who wins out.  Emperor or Empress,” Simon remarked.