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Rapora Wars: Balance of Empire (Subplot RPG)


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The comm unit crackled to life in the nearly empty cabin of the shuttle, "Shuttle Valorium, please come in..." The comm hissed silently for a moment before the voice returned, "Shuttle Valorium, please respond... They're not responding sir..."


A second quieter voice echoed in the cabin, "Very well, bring it in." Through the cockpit canopy the hull of an Imperial Destroyer slid to a stop above the craft. A few moments later the ship lurchedinto the landing bay, its wings grinding against the floor before one of the joints failed, toppling the craft on its side. There was no reception committee awaiting it, no fanfare, only just a group of technical specialists ordered to check for passengers and records.


They scrambled onboard, boaring a hole into the canopy for direct entry. Then the lieutenant in charge slipped through the borehole and into the canopy. Behind him the door slid open and an odor hit him life a wall. He turned in time to see the littered bodies, and one woman quaking on the ground.


* * *


Admiral Oreton sat back in his cabin onboard his command ship when his personal holocomm whirred to life. An officer wearing the badge of a fleet captain appeared before him, "Admiral Oreton, we have new information regarding Commodore Dorja."


Oreton immediately straightened at those words, "What sort of information."


"She's alive Admiral, but... I'm afraid she isn't all there anymore. She's not lucid, and the medics can't find anything wrong with her."


"Has she said anything?"


"Yes, she keeps saying he's alive, over and over again." The Captain shrugged, "Sir, I'm taking her to Serenno, if you'd like to meet us there."


"Alright, keep her isolated. Make her as comfortable as you can, and keep her under watch. There's no telling what the Rapora could have done to her."

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Sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from Magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Galactic Empire. The Empire. The Remnant. The Rimpire. The tone or choice of words always imprinted a particular feeling when referring to it. Some spoke of it in anger and contempt, other referred to it wistfully, some with a breath of hope, others in fear. Few were the individuals that could speak of it in a neutral tone.


For a regime that had officialy been created less than a century ago it had a very long and bloody history. Too many dark deeds had been executed in the name of the 'New Order'. Billions upon billions of dead to sustain and propel a corrupted regime. To propel it to glory, to power. And lastly, to propel it into their current status. The Empire was always judged by the events of the past. And sentenced, Pellaeon had said to Oreton's father. not long after the signing of the peace treaty. Sentenced to be a shadow of its former self, sentenced to suffer thorough changes. The Empire had long not been able to rely on strength and military force to secure its continued existence. The economic struggle of the Empire had been a hard road, a daily suffering to maintain itself. Partly hypocrital, deceiving and false, for it had never reflected the true condition of the Empire.


War had then come and gone again, Oreton mused for himself on the bridge of his starship. In the peace after the Vong War the Empire had regained some territory, but even with its extended sectors, the Empire had not the economic power of the nearby Corporate Sector and soon had been left behind in matters of trade.


The population of the Empire now lacked the fanatic devotion of past decades, the human majority had grown distant, most cared too little for the political affairs inside their frontiers. The nonhumans, were simply indifferent, they obeyed the laws of the Empire. Tainted by the promises of democracy outside of its border, many had moved out.


Pellaeon had strongly emphasized the emigration as a spawn for a long-term crisis. One that Oreton now had inherited. In his absence, and with the imposture of wartaxes the morale of the average citizen had sunk another parsec. The Moff Council had little effective power to counter that, and in his absence Oreton feared that the Moff Council had used him and the military as the scapegoat for the crisis. 'What is the point of an Empire without an Emperor?' said a common catchphrase. And Oreton had spent enough time considering it carefully, moreso since his preparations for the return into the Empire.


The Moff Council had never agreed to Pellaeon's decision to impose him as his successor in the role of Supreme Commander. A rank of pure military authority that because the shortcomings in the Empire's codes of law still granted him during wartime special executive powers. Some of which tempted him greatly.


"I have finished reading those reports you gave me." Fel informed him. "For too long where we busy tracking down military movements and paid too little attention to the social evolution of the Empire. I would have never believed how it turned out."


"Most people consider the Empire to be a region of the galaxy inhabited only by olivegreen officers and white stormtroopers." Oreton snorted quietly. "We are having the same problems everyone has. The thing now is that bigger stronger fleets will not alleviate our crisis."


"Have you decided how will we return to the Empire?" Fel asked.


Oreton considered. "The Council knows we are coming that much is clear. We could be there within a day, but a battledamaged Sovereign Star Destroyer will do little to appease the population. I think we will the longer tour."


The Moff Council was now located on Serenno. One of the system regained by the Empire after the Vong War. A planet of a limited history and limited natural resources. Widely renowned for its gems which had been the nature of its richness, and also (in)famous for one particular citizen: The Count Dooku.


"The Empire is still too much in love with its history." Fel murmured as if reading his thoughts.


"It is probably the only thing they can cling too. But why would the Council choose to establish itself in the former Dooku Palace eludes me."


"There is great mystique about the Clone Wars. And Dooku was Vader's predecessor." Fel shrugged.


"Mystique? An appropriate euphemism for ignorance." Oreton answered and a quiet honest laugh came from behind them. Stent, former servant of the Empire of the Hand and of Thrawn's Household.


"Ignorance became the key to victory for Palpatine, both sides never learnt that their enemy was also their leader." Stent nodded his head as one that suddenly remembers something. "Thrawn once compared the Clone Wars to a particular Chiss Stageplay."


Oreton laughed in good humor. The Clone Wars had after all been a staged wars, were none of the protagonists learned that they were only playing the parts assigned for them. Something, Oreton hoped, that history would not allow to repeat itself.


"There is something I wanted to speak about, Grand Admiral." Stent asked politely.


Oreton frowned softly. "Go on."


"The Dorja issue. You are following a particular agenda because of political considerations. But I advise to dispatch at least a special intelligence team to overview the 'recuperation' of Commodore Dorja."


Oreton tapped two fingers against the metal, an unvoluntary movement that slipped whenever he was thinking. Dorja was another one of the topics that rarely left his mind. The nature and means of his 'removal' from Ord Mantell were a mystery, as was her reappearance near Yaga Minor.


"It is something I have been giving some thought, for official and personal reasons," Oreton allowed himself a pause that defied the piercing gaze of the Chiss. "I am afraid, that due to the circumstances surrounding the Commodore a more thorough 'debriefing' might be out of place.


"Vana Dorja has become a focal point for policital interests."


"Regrettable." Fel quickly interceded. "Yes," Oreton continued. "And right now the Empire is as explosive as a Bothan Family Gathering, if we move to eagerly against her and label her as an enemy we could run the risk of a grave defeat against the Moff Council."


"But if we don't, we risk something far more dangerous." Stent mentioned.


"What?" Oreton raised an eyebrow.


"We do not know what they may have taken from her mind," Fel smiled grimly.


"Or what was put inside." Stent complemented.


Fel summed his thoughts into one dreadful word. "Lusankya."






That was taught to her.


The shadows of the Dark Side continued to whisper her in the dark. Seducing her, tempting her, although she had already hearkened to their call. Her will bended, her allegiances had become nothing more than a mask.




Those were her weapons. Her defenses. Her essence.


Her mind raced. All thoughts pointed to the same four words.




What had 'he' asked her to do. She owed him her allegiance. Did she not? She used to wonder his motives. What had driven him. But now she knew.




She had a duty to perform. She was meant to kill, to destroy and vanquish her foes. Her mantle would be deception, betrayal and fear would be her arms. Aggression the motivation that lay behind her.


Cold and deadly, terrible and furious.

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Vana Dorja starred at the one way mirror before her and smiled slightly. Slowly the door to her cell slid open and Grand Admiral Oreton stepped into the room, flanked by General Fel and Stent.


Vana stood and saluted instantly, "Commodore Dorja, reporting for duty."


Oreton stopped and a slight smile slid over his face, "At ease." Slowly Oreton slid into the chair before her and leaned back, "Commodore, I'd like to hear what your imprisonment by the Rapora was like."


"I don't remember sir," Vana answered as she sat down across from him.


Behind the one way mirror Intelligence Officer Pol Lanning frowned and glanced over at the monitor again. Slowly he leaned over the microphone which allowed him to speak through Admiral Oreton's earpiece, "She's lying sir."


"Are you sure." Admiral Oreton asked, just as much to Lanning as to Dorja.


Dorja's eyes flicked to the mirror, "Yes sir."


"She's definitely lying sir," Lanning replied quietly.


Oreton frowned as he glanced back over to Vana and leaned back in his chair. He was deeply disturbed, Vana seemed different, colder more calculating. Whatever had happened to her had burned away any emotional soul to her it seemed. She was a robot, and it frightened him at a psychological level.


Oreton stood and stepped toward the door when Vana cleared her throat, "Admiral, when will I be returned to duty sir?"


Oreton didn't answer as he stepped through the door and into the corridor. He turned to the lieutenant in charge, "Double your security and inform me who else visits her."


"Yes sir," The Lieutenant answered swiftly.

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Sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from Magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

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  • 3 weeks later...

"It was not the visit you expected?" Soontir Fel asked quietly.


Oreton breathed before answering that question. As if he hadn't had enough trouble with the Moffs, Vana's situation was a tricky one.


"This is not the welcome I was expecting to give her, no," Oreton replied slightly annoyed. "And it has definitely taken a direction I did not want to see happening."


"That she is lying?" Stent asked cautiously. The Chiss had not yet formed a complete criteria of who the Grand Admiral was.


"No, that we know she is lying." Oreton spoke succintly. "Had the tests been non-conclusive we - I mean - I" he corrected himself, " would have been forced to decide what to do. "I would have sent her off to recover away, away from the Capital. Somewhere in the country, with an intelligence agent or two babysitting her, making sure she did nothing suspicious for a while."


"And now?" Stent insisted.


"Now I am forced to keep her here. Here or in any other military installation."


"Not exactly the best place to keep a traitor," Fel answered. "Much less one high enough in the Imperial foodchain. That's why the Chiss used to strand them near their borders."


"I'm still not sure she is a traitor." Oreton told him.


"I thought the tests were clear."


"Too clear for my taste," Oreton grumbled. "We have seen the Rapora outsmart us before. They even outsmarted Thrawn. Wouldn't they expect us to check her when she was returned?"


"There is something of Thrawn in you," Fel said, and there was a quiet snort made by Stent. "Now that we have peeled away the first layer of falseness. Is she one of them, or one of us?"


"There are so many variables, I cannot tell," Oreton simply said. "The bond of friendship does not want to even admit the possibility of treason in her, the historical reality of espionage and infiltration knows full well that she would make the perfect agent. And Ysanne Isard and Lusankya, made it abundantly clear that anyone could be a sleeper agent without them even knowing."


"Decisions must be taken," Stent frowned. "Medical tests already reveal that she is in almost optimal medical shape. Hospitals, even Military Hospitals are not known for their high security. She could be already moving her pieces."


"I will sign the order and have her transferred to a more secure location."


"Not the easiest thing to do," Fel softly added. "Incarcerating a friend."


"Business is business," Oreton bleakly replied. "And we have plenty of business to make today."




A shortlived smile was drawn on Oreton's face, as recalled Pellaeon retelling of how Daala had unified the Empire. Oreton's hand idly touched the could metal under the table. His thin fingers touched an empty leather holster, though no weapon was there. Also the hole left by the removal of some sort of computer terminal. Probably a trigger for locking the doors, and filling the room with gas.


"Apparently the Grand Admiral finds our bickering amusing," Moff Crawal said in her typical snappish tone. This raised some angry glares from the other Moffs in the room, the oneliner tossed for the sake of disrupting arguments. Oreton knew not whether to thank Crawal or to curse her.


"Or am I mistaken?" Crawal asked.


Oreton ignored the stingy remark of Crawal and tried to bring the original topic of discussion into the fray.


"As has been said time and over again, we are in a crisis. What we need are solutions, not scapegoats." Oreton insisted. "We must plot a course of action to quickly recover, and." Pause. "And, that will prove manageable in the long run."


"We are not as blind and maleable as your officers," -"Nor as your allies" an anonymous voice spat.- "but you cannot come to us asking for solutions. Because there simply is not short term solution for this, you cannot expect us to pay for new toys for you, after we were forced to relocate half the Remnant."


"I am not demanding a solution by tomorrow morning, nor am I demanding, all of our resources to be placed in military build-up, though the majority will be."


"What will you spend the rest on? Building schools? Retirement homes for the old?" Moff Flennic laughed aloud.


"The Rapora are definitely moving towards Garos IV, which will effectively cut us off from the Galactic Alliance-"


"We were always better off without them," another Moff interrupted.


"I hope you do recall the our main source for foodstuffs are not Imperial worlds but rather imports from Alliance-worlds." Oreton finished.


"I do not diminish the importance of Garos IV, and I think we are well aware of the implications of its fall. But we -we as an Empire- cannot afford another Ord Mantell." Moff Remaz politely explained.


Oreton nodded slowly. "I am fully aware that a military operation is out of orders, we do not have the ships nor manpower to spare. In fact I am considering to back off from the immediate vicinity of Garos IV."


There was a short silence that was cut by the icy tone of Moff Flennic. "I do hope you have an alternative."


"An alternative of sorts, which can be helpful on the short run," Oreton paused. "I have made some initial contact with the Corporative Presidents of the Corporate Sector, and with some of teh representatives of the Galactic Alliances, and we can use an alternative route through Corporate Space to bring the much required foodstuffs. Of course all for a price."


Crawal rolled her eyes. "Baros, you now better than us that we are bankrupt."


"Which is why the Corporate Sector has made a particular proposal to us. They will allow the food convoys to go freely through their space, if we relocate a third of our shipyards to Corporate Space and grant them a third of our production time in those shipyards." Oreton braced himself for the retialiary responses of the Moff Council.



"A ninth? Of our already meager production?"


"A ninth of our full military production? That is outrageous!" Similar comments were vented explosively by the assembled Moffs.


Remaz looked at Oreton calmly. "I trust this offer has not been accepted."


"Not yet," Oreton answered loud enough for all to hear. "I have made calculations on how our production would be affected and the implications of the removal of the facilities. IT would be a setback for our military build-up, on the facilities removed from Yaga Minor are in pretty bad shape and not being used, and we cannot spread the fleet thinner to protect a deep-space installation. We could ask the CSA to commit part of their fleet to defend the shipyards, which would also be at a safe distance from the frontline."


"It is an indulging offer, considering how profit driven the CSA is, perhaps they do see the Rapora as a threat as well?" Crawal asked.


"Perhaps, the thing is that there are alternatives, and just like nine years ago, the alternatives must be found outside our borders." Oreton sternly said.


"Perhaps they are," Flennic murmured softly. "Perhaps they are." He cleared his throat.


"Well, Oreton let us discuss this proposal, you have not yet saved the Empire. And personally I don't think you can. But we must keep it floating a while longer."


The Moff Council, Oreton noted, followed the mood of Flennic, it had been subdued momentarily, but Oreton could not entirely fathom Flennic's intentions. But the most serious opposition would come for him. Privately Oreton sighed. And we have not even come to the Dorja Incident, yet.

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Admiral Oreton rubbed his chin as he sat in his study, thinking of the chain of events which had appeared before him. How he'd found himself in this situation, stuck in another great war.


The door to his office hissed open and Intelligence Officer Pol Lanning stepped into the room, "Admiral sir?"


Oreton nodded slowly to the intelligence officer, "I've read your report, and I was meaning to ask you if you have any suggestions in how to deal with her."


The officer furrowed his brow, "Beside a full scale interrogation?" Suddenly his lip twitched, "Malus sir."


"Malus?" Admiral Oreton asked blankly, uncertain if it was a term or name.


"Colonel Lara Malus sir, she was the security advisor for Admiral Pelleaon during the war with the Vong."


"And?" Oreton bekoned him.


Pol smiled slightly, "She's force sensitive sir. Well, not just force sensitive but trained, jedi material. How? I don't know, but she is sir." He glanced at the Admiral, "She's very good at mental probing and pulling information from prisoners, perhaps if she was to interview Vana..."


Oreton frowned, "You're thinking that the Rapora could have put some sort of force based imprinting on her?"


"I don't know sir, we know the Rapora are force sensitive..."


"Set things in motion, we'll see if Colonel Malus has better luck." Oreton waved his hand toward the lieutenant and turned back to his desk. Slowly he began to think and ponder what his fleet would do at Garos IV.

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Sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from Magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

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  • 4 months later...

Colonel Lara Malus sat in her quarters quietly thinking. In front of her the datapad from the intelligence division hovered, its golden letters flickering in the dim light. With a sigh she reached out and let go of the pad with the force catching it deftly in one hand. To even suspect that a loyal servant of the Empire had been turned troubled her. She's known Pelleaon hadn't she?


Pelleaon, the name itself was one that could tear a deep gash in her emotions, a cut made by the his death. He'd been a dear and kind man, one who recognized her abilities for what they were. If that hadn't been enough he'd taken her in, adopted her as her own daughter and quietly funneled jedi training knowledge to her. As such she was a self taught jedi, and had become Pelleaon's security advisor. She remembered the Solo's visit and been surprised to find that her master had exceeded Leias during the war years.


Still, few knew of her abilities and none knew of their full extent. Only she knew and it was knowledge that could only endanger herself if let out into the public eye.


* * *


Admiral Oreton leaned over the tactical display in his palace, the loss of Garos IV was a crippling blow, one that wouldn't be easily remedied. Now he had to prepare for a possible invasion of the Rapora. Slowly he glanced at the maps, "Reinforce the garrisons along the Hydian Way and deploy the 3rd and 5th fleets to cover the route." Slowly his hand stopped over a relatively unknown world, "I want the 4th fleet deployed here..." Slowly he glanced up at the surprised look of his advisors, "Tell them that under no condition are they to allow the residents of that world to fall under Raporan domination."

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OOC: Phew! It's been ages since I got into the Oreton persona.




Oreton bid Lara Malus personally into the small cramped office he had taken in the ground-side command center on Serenno. The office was nothing but a stage to force decisions in his visitors. Particularly the Moffs disliked that small office, and thus would succintly quote their arguments, and be gone.


The Grand Admiral, privately wondered what Malus reaction to it would be, he had read details of her life, and put some other bits together.




Malus entered the office, following Oreton, he invited her to take a seat by the massive desk in the center of the office. The Grand Admiral sat in his own chair opposite to hers.


She had expected Oreton's procedure, the small office, the petit charade that both were willingly acting. She had to accept that Oreton could have been Intel material. She refused to acknowledge the oppressive scenery, the small room, the massive chair and desk and her own lower chair. Instead she relaxed, reverting her posture to an eased one. Oreton smiled at her. First test, first pass.


She found the next test thoroughly frustrating, and some of it leaked into her expression. Oreton's smile hung in her thoughts, she could have listed a myriad of emotions that could have accompanied that gesture. But she could not detect them. Ysalimiri, she thought, but with a small hand gesture she levitate a small sheet of flims foil. The Force was there. She could feel him in the Force, but not read his mind.




"Yes, Lieutenant?"


"You shield your thoughts well, sir."


Oreton was not surprised by her comment. "It is an old trick my father taught me, he worked with them in the Clone Wars and learned to put up a mental Sabacc face, it requires some concentration, but is nothing fancy, a deeper mental probe could easily go past that screen."


"You will have to teach me that trick," she commented.




Oreton lowered his defense, Malus proved to be a fast thinker. "Your Intel training shines through, Lieutenant."


She frowned. "My training was not purely Intel, sir. I'm in the naval branch, and my Jedi training has helped me in some other aspects."


"No need to spin me false stories. I know enough of your story to be able to come up with the missing parts. Pellaeon left his archives to me, along with his security codes, the only still-classified bit of data that I have ran into is the detail of your naval record. It states missions, but does not detail your participation. Gilad was a pragmatic man, he would not store valuable information into behind a lock with no key. There's nothing in those files, because you were not in those missions, mostly because you were trained by Imperial Intelligence and following your Jedi training. You are an Emperor's Hand in an Empire without Emperor, Lara Malus."


She glanced at him with wide-opened eyes.


"Your posting as Security Advisor was meant to allow Gilad to keep you close to him, without arousing the Moffs. Your Force-sensitivity was not a close-guarded secret, but the extent of your training is. An old Intellegnce trick, to let out a smaller secret, and conceal something more important. I'm guessing you are definitely in the Jedi range of control."


She let her shoulder slump a bit, as if the weight of her burden was now carried by someone else. "The Jedi have rituals to define their place in the hierarchy, there are Trials to tell Learners appart from Knights, and their ascension from Knight to Master includes some sort of mystical sacrifice on their part. On the other hand, they are learning techiniques and wisdom throughout their lives. From a purely non-philosophical point of view my abilities would rank me among the Knights."


"A cynical Jedi, I'm sure Skywalker would love this. But, alas, that is not the matter in question. You have been briefed into the Dorja Situation," he stated and rose from his chair to begin a full circle around the desk and his visitor. "We know that something was done to her, she has lied during debriefing, that much we can get out of her neurochemistry, her thoughts on the other hand are still a black hole for us. Your mission is to enter that black hole and tell me what's in there."




Hours later Oreton's mind kept wandering back and forth on the topic of Vana Dorja and Lara Malus. He had occasional regrets on having given her a free frame of action. Malus could and hopefully would do everything that was needed to find out what the Rapora were up to with Vana.


Strategical maps, routs and fleets had been reaccomodated. Garos was now was lit in a brown color. The tip of a dagger thrust across the Empire-Alliance borderline. Negotiations with the Corporate Sector Authority were promising, and Oreton had subdued most of the Moff Council. Article Eighty-Three, ammendment Nine of the Declaration of the First Galactic Empire was still his last resort, and it hung like a sword on the Moffs' heads.


Militarily they were not faring well, if the Rapora insisted into pushing into his territory we would have to concede, and retreat, until he could not more. Five worlds came to his mind that were the key to the Empire. He would rather lose Serenno and Imperious rather than lose any of those.


OOC: Not a substantious post, though. Though I know enough of what I wanted to do with the Empire I've forgotten some of it.

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