A politician’s work was never done.
Gevel had gone from a meeting with Rene Carden, the representative from the Cooperative, for reasons he still wasn’t sure about. Why Gevel was in that meeting and not Artanis he did not know; nothing Gevel said would have any merit without the Cree’Ar’s approval anyway, so he was essentially a middle man.
Then, he had been called to meet with Jaeder. That at least was a meeting he could handle. Jaeder and Gevel had worked within the same structure, at different places and different times and rarely directly with one another, but the system was the same, so they interfaced much better than Gevel did with the aliens. Apparently Jaeder had been instructed to begin selecting Imperial officers to serve as liaison/governors for worlds the Cree’Ar would add to their territory, and would oversee displacing or placating the human populations.
So much for staying put.
During their conversation, the planetary shield dropped. The Cree’Ar had not yet fully reconstructed the relay network to control the shield, so it was now an all or nothing proposal. And to let vessels pass through, it was nothing.
A dozen ships came into the atmosphere; two of the Cree’Ar’s boomerang shaped cruisers (Gevel remembered their name as Jay Maw Cruisers, but he wasn’t sure he had heard correctly), followed by six star galleon cruisers. Transport ships. As soon as they were in the atmosphere, the shield came back on.
“The Cree’Ar are making transport runs?” Gevel said, before dragging on his cigara. “I thought they had those machines to make everything they need.”
Jaeder nodded. “Sir,” he said, trying not to cough on the residual smoke. “As I understand it, Emperor, these are immigrants.”
“Immigrants?” Gevel said. “This planet is still half-destroyed from the siege. We’re taking on more population?”
“Much of the population either fled or was killed during said siege,” Jaeder pointed out. “There is adequate housing, and once the infrastructure is repaired…”
Gevel nodded. It made sense when it was phrased like that. “Where are they from?”
Jaeder shrugged. “Cree’Ar campaign in the outer rim. They have been inbound for days; I heard one of them mention a singularity.”
Gevel frowned. The most notable singularity was, of course, The Maw and the surrounding expanse. But there were black holes everywhere… “Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter,” Gevel said. “Figure out what level of housing is suitable for them. And get their story. I want to know more about what is happening in the outer rim.”
“Emperor,” Jaeder said with a nod, as he left Gevel to his cigara…
A mercenaries’ work is never done.
This wasn’t supposed to go down like this, of course.
This was just supposed to be simple babysitting. No wet work. No dances in the shit. Something had fucked up and it had fucked up in a hurry, and now Walker Churhee was waist deep in the proverbial shit.
“Alright, this position is nowhere near defensible,” Churhee told the assembled, mostly civilians. He looked up and took stock of what guns he had; not fucking enough. “We need to beat a retreat to the treeline, then beyond to the temples. Doesn’t matter which one, just something with chokepoints. Civvies, grab whatever essentials you can carry and still dead sprint. You might have to leg it so don’t overencumber yourselves. Maddox, Seamus, I want semtex every thirty feet, fifty feet apart, as we beat out our withdrawl. Norton, you and I are suppressing fire. Now, let’s move.”
Churhee was glad about one thing; whoever the enemy were, they seemed to be in no hurry. He’d gotten frantic call from the Lost City camp of some sort of attack. Half an hour later he’d seen the smoke. None of his men were answering which probably meant they were dead. Then, he’d seen the crowd.
Swarm may have been a better word. Churhee had worked riot control after the Battle Of Endor. He’d seen smaller crowds tear apart entire garrisons of Stormtroopers.
The good thing was, these guys moved slow. They almost seemed like they were sick. They didn’t seem to be armed, but the sheer number of them meant that they were more than capable of killing Churhee, his fellow mercenaries, and every civilian under his protection. So they needed to move somewhere to stem the flow.
Churhee and his fellow gunner, Norton, stood and fired as the assembled began moving. Churhee dropped a bogey, then another. When he fired on the third, instead of smoke, he found the bolt of his blaster was dissipated over some sort of shield. “Well shit,” he said. If they had lost their blasters then they were in real trouble. “How is that semtex coming, Maddox?”
“Let’s just say the sooner you get behind me the better,” Maddox urged. Churhee needed no further prompting, hoofing it to a position where he wouldn’t set off the semtex’s motion sensor. “Let’s hope they don’t have shields against powerful plastic explosive,” Maddox said, and then hit a switch, arming the attached sensor.
Churhee took a few more shots. He managed to drop another couple of bogeys, but hit more shields than flesh. “I don’t get it,” he said. “You and I both know the cost of training a new soldier up to grunt level is far more cost effective than personal shields. The crystals needed, the power cell miniaturization…”
“Ever since Endor I’ve learned to stop trying to make sense of the galaxy,” Maddox said. “Did I ever tell you about my days with the ORSSF?”
Churhee shrugged. “Bits and pieces,” he said, not sure if this would be a repeat story.
“We got boarded once by a Damuen cruiser who claimed we’d crossed their border,” Maddox said. “Never knew whether we did or not; meant to check but had to abandon ship. Lucky I made it out, the rest of my crew wasn’t so lucky. I watched from an escape pod as they broke the ship down as if with acid, turning it into dust.”
Churhee nodded. “They are known to be merciless and efficient killers,” he added.
“Killer,” Maddox corrected.
“You mean they only sent one man?” Churhee raised his eyebrows.
“He wasn’t… a man. It was a thing. But it killed five special forces commandos, six shipboard security officers, and a crew numbering in the dozens. Nothing we hit it with had any effect. It would fight with pieces of itself hanging by wire thin cords. It fought with holes in its chest large enough to stick a human head through. But it never stopped fighting. Not until everyone I’d gotten to know on that ship was dead.”
“Palpatine’s ghost,” Churhee cursed. He didn’t have appropriate words.
“Come on boss, let’s get to that treeline,” Maddox said and the two began moving again.
Somehow, amidst all the commotion, Theren Gevel, emperor of the Coruscan galaxy, managed to sneak in a light lunch.
It wasn’t particularly good; much of the high end faire on Coruscant had evaporated as talented chefs left for worlds that weren’t currently on fire. Though, the more Gevel read about the political situation beyond Coruscant, the less worlds he knew of that fit that description.
Still, they say that when you’re hungry, anything tastes good, and to Gevel, the light salad went down smooth. The accompanying Kuat dark ale, however…
He didn’t have any more time to think about it when the comm chime on his desk sounded. “Gevel,” he answered back out of instinct, forgetting to add the new title before he offered up his name.
“It’s Jaeder, sir,” the voice crackled through the box on Gevel’s desk. “You asked me to report on the transports.”
“Why are you using the chime? You could just come in,” Gevel said, expecting Jaeder knew that Gevel wouldn’t get up to anything untoward in his office.
“I may have, but you have a pair of rather intimidating looking guards now, and they insisted you are not to be disturbed without ringing the comm first,” Jaeder’s voice crackled back.
Goddamnit. Just what he wanted, an entourage. “Very well, you have my permission to enter,” he said, and then lowered his head into his hands as the Imperial strode into the room.
“Emperor,” Jaeder offered. He slid a datapad onto the desk. “Here is a list of official fleet maneuvers as communicated back to us from the commanding officers.”
Gevel raised his head only a little. He thumbed the list. It wasn’t long. “There’s nothing in here from Bastion, or any of the other protectorates. The only confirmation came from Ortho Gutt.”
Jaeder smirked. “I will say this for the man, his loyalty is to be commended,” Jaeder said, then took back the report. “He was very confused by your orders.”
“If I ordered Ortho Gutt to wipe his ass properly before staff meetings I’d expect him to be very confused,” Gevel said, and pulled out a cigara. He put it between his lips and then tossed it to the floor instead. “Any word from Wesley Vos? He’s always been a loyal officer.”
Jaeder frowned. “Transmission of official notification of the passing of Sirca Targon,” Jaeder said. He thumbed the datapad to read further. “Cause of death is listed as natural causes/cardiac arrest. Family to receive full benefits. With your approval, Emperor.”
Gevel waved his hand. “Of course,” unconcerned with Targon’s family. Normally such formalities are handled at a much lower level, even lower than Gevel’s previous position. No, sending formal notification was a message; Targon was on your side, and now he is dead. Don’t send us anymore orders. Gevel smirked. Vos was a cunning motherfucker; he had the ability to lead the Empire. Up until now, he wasn’t sure Vos had the ambition.
Apparently that had changed.
Gevel turned to face Jaeder squarely. “Have a communication prepared for transmission to Bastion,” he said. “Tell Ortho Gutt that once he has marshalled and organized the forces there he is to install a commander to oversee their repatriation into the greater Imperial armed forces. He is then to go and find Wesley Vos and escort him to Coruscant.”
Jaeder raised his eyebrow. “If the excursion to Bastion doesn’t kill him, trying to take Wesley Vos peacefully will probably do it,” the new Supreme Commander noted.
“Maybe,” Gevel said. “I’m curious as to where Vos stands. If he’s standing alone, he might kill Gutt to send us another message. But I have a feeling he has some sort of backing… maybe that fucking treasonous robot. Or maybe Desaria is making a play well above his station. If Vos has a support network established than he would have free reign to come to Coruscant; he would know well I couldn’t let him die, or every officer would be in open revolt. And he might relish the chance to kill me, and solidify his own claim. I doubt he’d be that brash, but I am anxious to size him up. It’s just as likely as everything else that he simply refuses Gutt; I know, if I were making a play to be the Emperor, I’d ignore the buffoon.”
Jaeder nodded. “You remind me of Kaine sometimes,” Jaeder remarked and seeing Gevel’s reaction, he added, “but only sometimes. Kaine was a bit more… sure of himself?”
“Kaine never had alien talons around his throat,” Gevel noted. He stood up. “You were here to report about the transports.”
“Yes, I had Lieutenant Phillips begin debriefing one of the leaders of the first transport that docked,” Jaeder said. “Preliminary reports indicate Cree’Ar seized his world by hostile action; ground incursion, severed communications, then destroyed the lone warship left in orbit. Siege lasted several days before surrender was negotiated.”
“Sounds like something they would do,” Gevel said. “Have you figured out who they are yet?”
Jaeder nodded. “Who they are is not quite as interesting as where they came from.”
There is a saying in fine Corellian cuisine; out of the souspan and into flame. That comparison seemed entirely apt.
The group had left the jungle behind, but the wide open space they found themselves in offered very little in the way of cover. Sure, there were a few Starfighters, mostly disused and covered in canopies which were in turn covered with dust. And boxes, an endless amount of boxes. But actual, sustainable cover didn’t really exist. The room was too open. Fortunately, it was not the only room.
“Alright,” Churhee said. “Everyone down that corridor. I want semtex on those fuel canisters before we all depart.”
Maddox put a hand on his shoulder. “Sir, that would take down the entire building,” he said.
“And trap that entire horde under tons of rubble and steel, yes, I’m aware,” Churhee said. “Consider it a last resort. Last man left alive hits the button rather than submit.”
“Copy that,” Maddox said. He made a beeline for the fuel canisters, used to fuel the starships and absent light freighters that had once flown out of this grand chamber.
Churhee continued to lead the civilians to the tunnels beyond when Norton approached him. “Sir… what is our exit plan? Have you tried reaching The Entrepreneur in orbit?”
Churhee raised his comlink and thumbed it on. The noise that poured out was offensive. “Sounds like some sort of machine code. Jamming all transmissions.”
“So we have no way off the planet,” Norton said, nervously.
“We have a chamber full of Starfighters if it comes to that,” Churhee said. “We need to figure out how we get the civilians off the planet and before we do that, we need to get them out of this room.”
“Sir,” Seamus said, jogging to join the pair. “I did a quick look around and found these.”
Churhee smiled when he saw them. “The old Golan Arms Jackhammer. Haven’t seen one of these in ages.”
“Maybe their shields will have trouble with slugthrowers,” Seamus replied, and cocked one. “Fully loaded and functioning action.”
“Spread these around, make sure any civilian who can handle one has either one of these or a blaster,” Churhee said. In the distance, they heard an explosion. “That would be the semtex. Seamus, you set the ones outside to detonate upon proximity?”
“And the ones here to detonate on a remote,” Seamus said, and held up the detonator. “I have a remote and so does Maddox. I assume you do too.”
“Same frequency as the construction work?” Churhee asked, and Seamus nodded. “Alright, then it is time we started moving. Get everyone as deep into the temple as possible. Set up choke points wherever possible. Center mass, don’t try and show off and take headshots. That means you Maddox.”
“Fuck you Churhee,” Maddox replied with a playful smirk. He turned the corner and disappeared down the corridor.
Churhee stood and thought about his current choices until he heard a thud nearby. They were inside. It was time for him to go too.
In the beginning, there was only one.
A solitary red ball, blazing in the sky. It spun and spun, around itself and around the world. When it broke over the water, it was the guiding light that awakened a species desperately needing a purpose. They reached out to it, and touched it. Then they began to touch others. Yellow stars. Blue stars. White stars. But always, no matter how far from home, always they felt the pull, the draw, the direction, and the light, provided by that red star.
The system they called Ariguan; the star, Borleas. The galaxy at large they referred to as Borleaquay. The Hand of God.
Nothing is impossible in the hands of the gods.
Issk was still learning Cree’Ar philosophy and religion. He understood the basic tenants, about the schism, the great cataclysm, and the holy reunification. He understood the war with The Yuuzhan Vong, and he understood the need to spread the influence of The Red Sun.
Sometimes, he questioned his own place.
He had been told the Azguard gods were false idols; that the fables he had been told were impossible, that they lacked logic and scientific backing. But he also saw the reverence for the Damuen Church, which seemed to be a new aspect of the Dominion philosophy. He wondered if, someday, if he led the Dominion to Azguard and annexed it under The Red Sun, if the Azguardian gods could take their place beside the Damuen and Cree’Ar idols of legend.
If that day ever came, it would be a long time from now. There was much to be done.
For one, Issk knew the Azguard had a very strong fleet. Their technology was innovative and defensive minded. Destroying their fleet would be much more difficult than had been neutralizing the Imperial fleet, which while much larger, relied on much more conventional thinking in terms of power dynamics and applications within warfare. The Azguard were, in many ways, truly alien to the galaxy.
In that way, he was already much a fit with The Dominion.
Issk nodded at Vejuun as the two boarded the lift, bridge bound. They had been summoned by Artanis, the new High Judicator of The Dominion.
The political situation in The Dominion confused the templator. He had been brought to his current state by Kal Shora, then the High Judicator. He had instructed Issk on the basics of his conversion; the nexus provided technical instruction. Kal Shora had been… almost a mentor. And then, he was gone.
Issk had never been lonely as an Azguard. He had many friends, and had a good relationship with his comrades in the Azguardian forces. With Kal Shora gone, his only companion was the nexus. And though the nexus spoke with the voices of millions of beings, all Issk could hear was silence.
It was lonely work, being a templator.
“Do you know what this is about?” he asked Vejuun, as much to break the silence as anything else.
Vejuun shrugged with a smile. He was almost offensively polite, Issk had noticed. Very… to use a human expression, very squirrely. “Our scientists have been working on integrating Damuen technology with that which is now considered to be native Dominion technology,” the strange grey being replied. “I believe that there was a recent step forward when attempting to integrate the Damuen hyperdrive technology with C-velocity conduit generation.”
Issk tried to calculate the possibilities in his head, but the nexus did not draw him any immediate conclusions. “I see,” he said, even though he didn’t.
“Personally, I’m more interested in the results gleamed from the Damuen Galactic Mapping project,” Vejuun told him. “Their understanding of the space of this galaxy far exceeds what our scouts were able to discern, even with their access to high level databases.”
Issk shook his head. “But, compared to some of the other galactic governments, their territory was relatively condensed…”
Vejuun nodded. “Yes, but they weren’t interested in political territorial gains,” Vejuun began. “Why would you need to hole trade spins, shipping lanes, routes in and out of spiral arms, with their hyperdrive ability to bypass the normal laws of mass effect? They held territory that was vital to their scientific ambitions, and they were an ambitious people.”
Issk frowned. “You sound like you admire them.”
“Oh I do,” Vejuun said, “unabashedly I do. Their dedication to the evolution of understanding of knowledge and the universe, their research into quantum mechanics and theoretical astrophysics, and their drive to improve their very form. Imagine, the ambition required to tamper with your own biological makeup. To seek a purity of form; improve the micro to restructure the macro. Every step forward a potential cataclysm. Oh, to have witnessed that evolution. Not that the grand result was not impressive, but to see the steps unfold… as a scientist, how could I not admire them?”
Issk nodded, understanding. He wanted to be among others like him. Men of science. Issk, as a lonely man, understood that desire, even if those kind of people would not be his peers. “Kal Shora taught me to fear The Damuens.”
Now Vejuun nodded. “He was wise to do so; The Damuens are a dangerous and unpredictable people. I feel that he understands them better than most but still. They have an ambition that at any time could become contrary to the goals of The Dominion. With their technological abilities such opposition would be problematic at best and potentially catastrophic at worst. But Kal Shora is wise; they are better as uneasy allies then almost certain future enemies.”
Issk could not disagree with that. “Kal Shora is wise.”
Vejuun said nothing. When Issk turned to him, the smaller alien seemed to be studying him. “You miss the High Elder?”
Issk did not deny it. “He was my only contact, besides the nexus, during my conversion to a templator.”
“I understand,” Vejuun said. “As a man alone, without others of his kind around, I can sympathize with your situation.”
Issk allowed an expression of surprise to cross his face. “There aren’t others like you, in The Dominion?” He thought back. Vejuun was the only member of his race that Issk had seen.
“In The Dominion? Of course. But I am the only one aboard this ship. I have not seen another of my kind in… quite some time.”
Issk nodded. “If you do not mind me asking, what race are you?”
Veejun considered for a second. “I suppose there is no harm in telling you. I am…”
Just then, the lift shuddered as it locked into place, then the doors slid open to allow them access to the bridge.
“This is our stop,” Vejuun said, and he let Issk exit first. “Lord Artanis, you asked us to join you.”
Artanis nodded. He made a sweeping gesture with his hand, and a holographic image appeared in front of him, between Vejuun and Issk and the Cree’ar. “The Damuens referred to P6-GR-RGG1. Isn’t it beautiful?”
Issk wasn’t sure what to make of it. “It’s very… red.”
Vejuun studied it closely. “You want to attempt the quantum anchor on this world?”
Artanis nodded. “Our tests in The Maw have been promising. I believe it is time to implement them on a larger scale.”
Vejuun nodded his enthusiasm. “I’ve seen the data; I believe this world would be an ideal candidate. Can we increase its mass?”
Artanis nodded. “Materials are being collected by The Farfalen armed forces and delivered to our station in The Maw as we speak.”
Vejuun focused his eyes on the planet, when something drew them away. “This is not just a planet but a planetary system.”
“It appears to have between 25 and 35 stellar bodies, though which orbit the planet itself and which orbit each other we have not discerned,” Artanis said. “They can be collapsed into the main body easily enough.”
Issk shook his head. “I don’t understand. What is a quantum anchor?”
Vejuun turned to him. “Imagine… a hole. A hole here, a hole there, and nothing in between but space. Now, push a string into the hole. Can you grasp it, on the other side? Maybe, maybe not. But pour water on the string… the water freezes, becomes ice around the string. The string becomes a rod. The rod becomes a pole. The pole gets thicker, the more and more water you pour into the hole.”
“I still do not follow,” Issk told him. “We can make water with the nexus, why would we need to seize a new planet to make ice?”
Vejuun smiled softly. “It’s… only a metaphor. There isn’t a real string. To explain the physics involved…”
“It is of no concern,” Artanis said. “Let science to scientists. I have a more important task to ask of you, Templator.”
Issk bowed. “What would you ask of me?”
“Your primary mission as a Templator is to act as an intermediary between the native beings of this galaxy and The Dominion,” Artanis noted. He moved a talon and the image of the red planet shifted, spinning away and becoming smaller so that an object, originally unseen, came into focus. A star destroyer. “This vessel has been in orbit of this system for some time. Such a posture indicates a defensive deployment. There are likely humans or humanoids on the surface. We want you to rescue them.”
Issk paused. “Rescue them from what?”
Artanis moved his talons again, pushing his palm forward. The image, which Issk suddenly realized was a recording, shifted forward in time. The star destroyer rotated slightly around the planet… then, a conduit opened. From it came forth two Cree’Ar ships… a large Borleas cruiser, along with an arbiter… and then, hurtling behind them, but passing them rapidly, were two large man made structures, that Issk guessed were holonet communication relays. “Unfortunately,” Artanis said, “this world is about to be overrun by Reavers.”
Issk lowered his head, solemnly. “How unfortunate for them.”
If Churhee was waist deep in the shit before, he was chest deep now.
He had been trying to defend a room full of civilians with a slugthrower and a mean disposition, but he knew from experience he only had so many shots. He’d had to listen as the others among his command had run into the same situation.
“They broke through the barriers!”
“Nothing I hit them with has any effect!”
“We’re being overrun!”
“I lost the detonator! The fucking semtex detonator!”
“Churhee? Churhee are you still there?”
“What the fuck do we do?”
Then, slowly, each voice was silenced as the broadcasting stopped from one individual after another. Finally, Churhee was alone with the civilians in the room.
Then he heard the shuffling of slowly moving feet.
He turned, and set his gun down on a nearby box. He raised the detonator and turned to the civilians huddled deeper in the room. “We can’t fight these things indefinitely,” he said, “and if I lose this, we all end up slowly torn apart. I think we all know this is our only other way out.”
There was a sob as a mother clutched her teenage son to her chest, but there were no objections. One of the civilians nodded, and put his hand on Churhee’s shoulder. “Do it,” he said, voice resolute and unwavering.
Churhee nodded. “Fire in the fucking hole,” he said, and then thumbed the detonator.
The building began shaking, and then everything went white.
“The next thing I saw was stars.”
Gevel found himself wishing he’d taken the Jedi up on the offer of a breakfast drink. “Stars?” he asked, trying to follow along. “You mean, like you’d been concussed?”
“No, but I had a hell of a fucking headache,” Walker Churhee confessed. “No, I saw literal stars. I realized I was in space, that I wasn’t on the planet anymore.”
Gevel and Jaeder shared a look. “How did you survive the explosion?”
“There wasn’t one,” Churhee said. “I asked, when I realized I was aboard a ship, to speak to the person in charge. A man then came to visit me, and he explained his name was Issk. He was a Templator of The Dominion.”
“A Cree’Ar?” Jaeder asked.
“No, he said he was an Azguard,” Churhee responded. “I’d never actually seen an Azguard, only heard about them from INS. They short, grey things?”
“Some are taller than others,” Gevel noted. “I didn’t know the Azguards had joined The Dominion. I’ve seen Falleen, Weequay, and whatever that Vejuun guy is, but never an Azguard.”
“Maybe this Azguard is the only one,” Jaeder offered. “A traitor. A deserter from a battle between The Dominion and The Azguard.”
“I don’t like the idea that The Dominion and The Azguard have had contact at all,” Gevel said. “I’ve read intelligence reports of actions against Azguardian targets and actions by Azguardian agents against our targets. If The Dominion went up against The Azguard, and The Dominion is still around, that frightens me. If The Azguard and The Dominion made some sort of agreement, that fucking terrifies me.”
“Do you think that diplomat you are talking to might be able to tell you more? Know more about the political status of The Azguard, whether they may have fought with, or perhaps allied with, The Dominion?” Jaeder asked of Gevel.
“I can ask him. I will ask him,” Gevel said, clarifying. “Listen, Churhee. We need to hear the rest of your story.”
“There isn’t much else to tell,” Churhee said. “Issk said that when The Dominion arrived in the system, the Reavers had already made planetfall. The star destroyer in orbit was completely overrun. They weren’t able to save it; they said it jumped away before they could neutralize it. When they detected the mass of Reavers are the temples, they bombarded the area with ion fire. The bombardment fried all the electrical systems, both those attached to the detonators, and the cybernetic components of the Reavers. Issk then came down to the surface and the Cree’ar used their own cybernetic soldiers to pacify what was left of the Reaver threat and save what was left of the civilians. I lost two good mates from my company, Maddox and Seamus. We were six men strong when we landed on that planet, now it is just Norton and myself left.”
“What about your leader… Marin Faulkner?” Gevel asked.
“He would have been on the ship in orbit,” Churhee said. “Most of the ground crew were civilian terraforming engineers and exobiologists, trying to determine where the best place to make camps on the planet were. He’d hired us as a mercenary guard after some stunt involving a few Jedi several months ago. But him and his command crew spent most of their time on the ship. If he’s alive, he’s long gone.”
“And as far as you know, what happened to the planet…?” Gevel asked.
Churhee frowned. “Issk explained that The Dominion had been sent there by their god. He explained that while we were welcome to return, that the world was under their domain now. Then he suggested free transport to Coruscant, and from there, a chance to return to our various homes.”
Cos Jaeder and Theren Gevel both shared a look of concern. “The Cree’Ar Dominion have taken control of Yavin,” Gevel was the one who spoke the words.
“They said their interest was primarily in the gas giant, but that they would need to spend some time on the moons, cleansing them of infection,” Churhee said. “On one hand, I have to thank them for saving us from The Reavers. If they hadn’t, we’d all be dead. On the other hand, I wonder if they’d have been as helpful if The Reavers hadn’t been there and they found us on a planet their god had decided was theirs to keep.”
Gevel looked at Jaeder and the two both nodded at the same time. “You read those reports too.”
“Imperial Intelligence speculating that The Dominion had some sort of control, or influence, over The Reavers,” Gevel replied. “No hard evidence, just a lot of coincidences.”
“You don’t believe in coincidences, Emperor?” Churhee asked Gevel.
Gevel scoffed. “There are three kinds of people in the universe; idiots who don’t believe in any coincidences, and idiots who believe in every coincidence,” he explained. “I’m the third kind.”
“I’m curious as to what they want with Yavin itself,” Jaeder said. “The gas itself is not particularly valuable. The corusca gems have various purposes but aren’t particularly valuable or unique. Most of what you can do with corusca gems you can do with kyber crystals, which are more plentiful across the galaxy.”
“Maybe Carden can help with that too,” Gevel said. “His government must be able to mobilize intelligence assets… watch their activity.”
None of the three immediately said anything. There was a darkness that hung in the room, like a suffocating gas.
The Dominion had taken Yavin.
“Fuck,” Gevel said again. It would still be several hours before the sun would rise locally and Carden would be available to discuss anything. In the meantime, all he could do was stew.
A politician’s work was never done.
Except the times when there was nothing one could do.