Pantoran Senate Affairs Chamber
A freshly poured glass of fine Uyter wine stood half emptied at either figure’s end of the table. For the past hour they had been using it to chase down their hollow words of small talk.
“The longer this war progresses, the more obvious it is that the Republic will not win. When you look at the books, we simply do not have the funds to continue such a charade. The longer we draw out this conflict into a war of attrition we will surely begin to crumble from within both financially and morally. Already my planet is slipping into the poverty of a backwater colony. The power supplies cut off at night, countless goods rationed for the war effort, even the very crop yields that my people survive off of are being forcefully “sold” to the clone armies for pennies on the credit. The bacta shipments my people desperately need are constantly being rerouted in transit to Republic fleets nearby.”
Sergi sat across from Senator Riyo Chuchi in one of her private council rooms, a polished chrome table spanning the distance between them. It was a barrier that mirrored the pair’s relationship as well. The two figures were on friendly terms when it came to galas or other public venues but in the office, Sergi was just other lobbiest in a political system crawling with people wanting to be heard. He was the guest and she was the senator and everything from the guards to the seat cushions reiterated that.
“Mind you, these fleets lurking around our systems are not the “protection” we are told to hail them as; those crafts of war are magnets to their own purpose. They beckon in chaos and destruction like a beacon. And what do we gain in their wake? We move forward a meter on one front only to lose that same distance on another. It is a dance of metal and blood to the tune of our credits evaporating into thin air.” Sergi spoke with a calm fire, moving his hands to the motion of his words almost seamlessly. He had practiced his monologue beforehand and it probably showed. But there was still an air of genuineness about it, because Sergi did still truly believe everything he had said. He was careful not to sound too radical though.
“Your words are beginning to sound a lot like treason Dr. Dio.” Senator Riyo Chuchi replied with an eyebrow slightly raised in an air of accusation.
“Far from it I should think. I am a true patriot; one who will not risk the institution of the Republic on a vapid dream that we can win this war without dialog between us and the Confederates. As I have said, financially this war will ruin us. Hundreds of systems have removed themselves from our sinking vessel and declared neutrality because they see this too. If we continue to wage this war we will destroy ourselves from within and we will have fought for nothing!”
“You would disgrace the sacrifices of countless millions who have fought for this cause!?” Senator Riyo Chuchi appeared genuinely upset now. Her body was raised slightly out of her seat as her pristine blue fingers perched onto the top of the table.
“I would honor them by making something of their sacrifice before the dream that they strove for becomes thin air! We must broker for peace between our factions now before the pendulum of attrition switches into the Confederates favor. They are blind fanatics because they feel they are fighting for their own freedom; a freedom from the bureaucracy and centralization of a government which for centuries has paid them no attention. We must reason with them as equals now, perhaps negotiate and improve our senate before countless more are needlessly slaughtered.” Sergi gently stood up from his seat and strode over towards the senator. The guards were a put slightly on edge by this gesture given its seemingly Separatist context.
“…This war is not white and black.” Sergi gently said looking placidly at the beautiful, young senator. He sat down casually on the side of the table mere feet away from the senator. “Scholars will argue for ages on who started it, but the truth is that the Republic started it when we politically alienated the needs of the Outer Rim; the needs of so many systems capable of understanding and governing themselves far better than a council in Coruscant. But what is worse, we have continued to defame our values as this war has dragged on. When the Republic occupies a planet we treat their people no better than the CIS. While we search house by house and capture without warrant we create a terrorist for every one we destroy. We are not liberators. We are harbingers of martial law and the promise that war will come to their people’s doorstep. A war that these people did not choose, that they do not fight for, and that they cannot hope to escape.”
Sergi’s eyes remained locked into those of the Pantoran senator. He gazed into the pools of iridescent gold looking for some semblance of empathy in them. Without looking away, he calmly grabbed one of the ornamental fruits placed in the middle of the table. It was a strange blue sphere with purple dots and a leathery bloom at the top. The fruit was a native of the senator’s home world. Very rare, very tasty. Sergi expertly began peeling the alien food in a way that only someone who had been to its home world would know how.
“I assure you, Pantora will be next, as will Uryter, as will every planet in the Mid Rim. We will be caught in the ebb and flow of destruction. Our people will burn in the invasions of the CIS and their still smoldering ashes will be spread by the boots of the Republic when they reoccupy. Your constituency will become dust in the wind—that is if you remain a senator to see it. These Core-world militants will take any excuse to depose a senator of an occupied system. The screams of your people will no-longer be heard in the senate. The forum’s numbers will grow smaller and smaller, ever more centralized and ever more disassociated with the suffering on the fronts it wages its crusade. The Republic is not what it once was and if we do not change our course I fear it will never hope to be the same again.”
With his last word Sergi took a bite of the small piece of fruit, playfully raising his eyebrows as he did so. It had peeled cleanly into two separate halves and the other portion lied in Sergi’s outstretched hand as an offering to the young senator. A slight smile crept across her face that betrayed her coy amusement. The senator gingerly took the piece of fruit from Sergi’s hand and he felt it, the slight touch of one of her fingers brushing up against his. To anyone else it would have been nothing but to him it was the greatest achievement of the night.
“I will take your words under consideration, Dr. Dio.” She said with a renewed poise. The senator stood up as a clear sign that it was time for Sergi to retire. He too gracefully took to his feet and bowed toward the senator respectfully.
“That is all I ask, milady. Do keep the wine. I hope you enjoyed it. However if your saabac face is better than I could detect, feel free to throw it out. I am afraid that the journey from Uryter did bland it a bit. I fear I do not have the connections my aunt does in that department. If you ever do wish to visit the senator I will put in a word for the best bottle I can find. I assure you though, if you ever visit Uryter a fresh brew will truly sweep you off your feet. Senator Dio would welcome your company any time, as would I.”----------------------------------------
As Sergi smoothly exited the Pantoran senator’s office he was followed at heel by his bodyguard. She was an attractive woman but in a way that had to grow on you first like the taste of a strong whiskey. It was if she had all the basic requirements for being pretty but they didn’t all add up. Perhaps it was how her complexion was slightly dimpled from various childhood diseases, or how she held herself like she was constantly ready for a fight. Perhaps the final blow to this flower that never fully bloomed was her cybernetic eye. It was of fine quality, sure, but it was just a sad reminder that this girl had to fight for everything she was and everything she had.
“I don’t think she fell for it,” the bodyguard said still matching Sergi’s brisk stride. “I’d dare say it would be hard for anyone to see you walk in there with your fine robes and say that anything in life was hard for you.” Sergi stopped in his tracks and looked down agitatedly at the short young woman. She quickly continued before he could rebuttal. “Not that that’s a bad thing. A person dressed like a refugee would never have even gotten an audience in the senator’s office.” Sergi reassumed his walk, allowing the bodyguard to speak her mind despite the reluctance smeared across his face. “Perhaps you would have better luck wooing her out in the field, covered in mud and gore. Get your hands dirty together and bond over actually doing something, actually seeing hardship. Your heart is in the right place but she needs to see you’re not just another smooth talking conman.”
Sergi prayed that someone else would walk by and interrupt the meanderings of this woman. She was beginning to sound like his aunt. But alas, the pair were chronically alone as they strode through the sunlit corridors of the senate building. It was dusk now and the smog of Courescant dashed every hue of orange and red across the halls like water colors. The pair walked in quiet sync for a while before the bodyguard could not handle the silence anymore and piped up playfully.
“You know, you and Senator Chuchi would make a smart match. She’s as high born as they come and a smart girl at that. I think she’s quite nice myself. A bit shy, but a politician that can actually hold their tongue is a maverick in her own right. I like the way she smiles at people, like she knows they’re ugly and yet she loves them in spite of themselves. She’s genuine. And I bet shed make some genuinely cute kids too—“
“And how do you suppose I do that, Sophia? Show up at her door with flowers? ‘Oh hello senator, I’m that guy you talked to once. I’m here to marry and fertilize you.’ I’ll just give her a big genuine
smile and she with genuinely
disrobe and present me a ring finger.” Sergi’s words were frustrated, much more so than he should have liked. He immediately regretted their tone. In an attempt to lighten the obviously hurt mood he continued to play along much warmer. “Don’t pretend like you could give me advice on how to woo her. I would imagine your ideal date be competing in a bench-press competition with gundarks.” His quip was met with a warm smile. Sergi patted his hand gently on the nape of her neck. At times she felt like a little sister to him. Sophia always managed to be completely on his side. She had his best interest at heart even when they weren’t on his heart.
As the two approached his chamber, the doors slid open with a hiss. This immediately threw up warning signs to Sophia, the bodyguard, as Sergi’s chambers should have been locked. Someone or something must have deactivated them. Before Sergi could move another step, the stalky girl crossed her body in front of his with her weapon trained on whoever was in the room. It was a single figure standing coolly, arms crossed as she looked out at the sunset which now faded into the bleakest of purple shades. The silhouette turned slowly to look at Sergi and his human shield. The pale lavender light clearly shone on half of the woman’s face. It was Sergi’s right-hand, Kayleigh Walsh.
It was an awkward amount of time before anyone moved. Sophia still had her weapon trained on Kayleigh and for a moment Sergi suspected she was half-likely to pull the trigger. Sophia hated Kayleigh, Kayleigh hated Sophia, and Sergi was a dangling toy in a cat fight. He quickly went for the lights. As they illuminated the room he could feel the drama of the situation subsiding.
“I assume talks went well?” Said the once shadowy figure. In the broad light her beauty was very clear. She was a woman of presence. Everything from her stance to the way she delivered her words was brimming with a composed confidence. This confident posture was even more the case with Sophia in the room as Kayleigh attempted to drown her in an alpha-female aura. Sergi pretended not to notice in an attempt to cope with the tension in the room. He turned to Sophia whose gaze was still locked on Kayleigh and whose hand remained perched on her now holstered blaster. Sergi gently took the back of her neck and pulled her into his peck on her forehead. He mouthed the words “thank you” but they had no voice to carry. He knew Sophia’s dislike for Kayleigh and their “unprofessional and unbecoming” relationship and in that moment he was slightly embarrassed by it. It was he knew this woman was a dangerous addiction but chose to keep rolling the dice. Sophia shot him a disappointed look before walking off down the hall with a furious pace. The chamber doors hissed closed behind her, leaving Sergi’s hand still hovering where it had been on her neck.
“In the game of politics, talking is quite irrelevant; perhaps the most irrelevant thing a senator can do.” Sergi spoke his words with slight hint of annoyance as he rounded on brunette. “It is perhaps the only thing more irrelevant than actions of senators. What matters from that naïve young girl is her vote. I dare say we don’t have it yet, but soon she may see our side of things…”
Sergi realized he was being all too serious. It had been a long day and he knew taking it out on Kayleigh would only make matters much worse. His previous statement of hollow political platitudes was sure to have pissed her off already. He knew this to be the case from the look she gave him. He smiled to himself, sadistically amused by the annoyance he had aroused. He kept his eyes and smirk aimed at the ground as he strode into the room and poured two glasses of wine. The glare he knew he was receiving the whole way only fueled his childlike giddiness. “I mean, why would she not..” sip ”see my side of things that is. How do you say no to these eyes?” Sergi shot the smoothest smolder he could muster. It was devastatingly pathetic.
“It’s easier than you think.”
“Perhaps for the grizzled warrior, all primp and proper in her cute little uniform.” Sergi, smiling ear to ear, grabbed Kayleigh’s blue uniform beret as he walked over towards the couches. He tossed the headgear onto the couch opposite him as a gesture for her to join him. She reluctantly followed him to the lounge.
“Excuse me, this is the uniform of a Senate Security Officer, the proudest tradition in the galaxy.” The comment was blatant sarcasm. She rather hated the senate guards with all their pomp and circumstance. The only reason she wore the blasted thing was to get around easier in the senate complex.
“Well you have done an excellent and noble day’s work. I hereby relieve you of duty for the night!” mocked Sergi as he gave the girl a fake salute. He then handed her a brimming glass of wine, careful not to wiggle it an inch lest some spill. The two exchanged a smile before Sergi threw himself onto the couch behind him. He sunk deep into its overstuffed cushioning one foot propped on the table before him. He spilled more than a dribble of wine as he did so but exhaustion clung to him too hard to show any sign of notice.
“Excellent! Then you can stop talking to me like I’m a droid and tell me how the negotiations really went.” Quiped Kayleigh.
Sergi threw his head back and moaned. As he careened it back to answer her statement he was taken aback by how gorgeous she looked. She had cuddled herself onto the opposite couch with her legs tucked up under her, a half empty wineglass in hand. Sergi rarely ever got to see her look like a true girl. This was a rare moment she was not covered in armor and dirt. She was just a young beautiful woman completely relaxed in all the comforts of privileged life. Her smile was so uncommonly polished as well; its lips weren’t cut from a “lucky hit” nor dried and withered from days without water. They didn’t even have their characteristic burden of sadness tucked behind the corners of her cheeks from months of deployment. It was as if every time he took her off the front lines she underwent a chrysalis and became the last thing he wanted to send into harm’s way.
Sergi caught himself before his mind wandered farther. “I told you,” he spoke with a fake haughtiness,”I seduced her-“
“Shut up.” Kayleigh interjected, her eyes rolling clean into the back of her head.
“-no I'm serious. A Pantoran girl like her is use to her only options being walking carpets like the Talz. She was just blatantly objectifying me—I felt like an animal in there!”
“I’m sure she gets her fill of attractive senators. I know I saw a pretty cute one pass me in the hall a few minutes ago. Shew, if only I could land a senator; a bonafide Representative even… But maybe it’s different when you’re the senator though. Maybe you play down to men of lower rank who have to make backroom deals. Maybe its cute.” She spoke with a vicious smile, knowing her words would take their mark.
Sergi was playfully upset but the pair both knew it to be somewhat genuine. He took the offensive. Placing his foot up on the table in his best captain stance, Sergi reached down and grabbed one of the scattered holo-mags. “Oh, what’s this?” He said with a rhetorical air. “Who is that stunning figure on the cover there?.. The galaxy’s most eligible bachelors, more on page… seven-” Kayleigh snatched the mag from him and gave a slightly conceding smile.
“I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, the fact that you have one of these in your chambers or that you paid someone to put your face in this tabloid. Were you attempting to secure the vote of a pre-teen girl? I didn’t think that the Lantilian sector allowed that age group a say in galactic maters, or even the ability to determine what a desirable man is made of.” She shook her head as she flipped though page after page of he-said she-said garbage on the way to the article in question.
“The funny thing is that I didn’t even pay them. In fact, they’re paying me tomorrow for a prime time interview.”
By now Kayleigh was on his page and scouring it inches from her nose. “I find it odd then that they got ahold of this picture of you working in a ‘destitute village on Ryloth’ without some intervention by you and a fair bit of photo-editing software to boot.” She quoted the tabloids words with a coy gag. The picture was one of him tenderly holding a withered Twi’lek child on one of his infamous humanitarian ventures. In this picture in particular, the sun sat perfectly in eyes and gave his natural tan a highly artificial glow. The next page was a full centerfold of singer-song writer ‘Erik’ shirtless with brimming abs lying sprawled on a beach. He was a suspected force user due to his ability to drop panties out of seemingly thin air. “Bahaha. You could have at least taken off your shirt like this nerf-herder. The man even died ages ago from a spice over-dose.”
“And that is exactly why I refrain from competing with such specimens. He has his abs, I have my ability to save children and support a family on realistic moral values. Don’t be fooled by my good looks and massive amounts of money, I’m actually quite a nice guy. Probably the best around-“
“Oh gag!” Bellowed Kayleigh. She got up from her seat and began to walk away.
Sergi quickly jumped full onto the table, chest puffed out like a gundark. “As Chancellor Sergi I decree that gaging shall have no place under my rule!”
Kayleigh shot her signature a glare over her shoulder. She had a half-wicked half-playful smile on. “You’re making a Separatist out of me every second, you’re high-ness.
Kayleigh lunged at Sergi playfully knocking him off the table and into the couch.
“An assault on the crown!” Sergi howled amidst laughter. Kayleigh effortlessly flipped down her hair and a waterfall of brunette locks swam over her shoulders. She began throwing muffled punches at the playfully cowering boy.
“Oh, are you a king now!?” She giggled as he began to mockingly wince at every blow.
“I am the king of the galaxy!” Sergi managed to cry between swings from the girl who had him in a full guard mount.
Sergi grabbed out at both of her forearms. She allowed his pathetic counter to take hold and the couple still in the moment. Sergi pulled in on Kayleigh’s firmly grasped arms and her hair dangled about his face. It smelled like fresh mint strawberry. For a second Sergi was lost in its aroma. The scent made his hands loosen their hold. He could feel her body dropping closer onto his.
“I am the greatest king there ever was.” Sergi whispered to her, their faces inches apart. Suddenly his eyes widened with a fiery glare. He tossed her body over in a pivot move she herself had taught him. It was sloppy but Kayleigh allowed it to happen and giggled all the way to the floor. Sergi now was perched over her at half-guard, her muscular legs wrapped tightly around his waist. He pinned her out stretched arms onto the floor. Her hair cascaded over the ground like warm chocolate, eyes like emeralds, her perfect smile welcoming him in.
“And as a king I must punish my traitors…”=========================================
Rain lashed against Glaxtus Vile's hardened face. The torrent of water traced his many scars and waterfalled off his soaked auburn beard. He and a handful of equally barbaric commandos strode behind across the open landing pad. They had arrived from a long, cramped journey aboard the shuttle perched behind them on the cliff-like airfield. To the team's right they could see the night-time glow of a small, quiet city many thousand feet below their position. The small village was called Lilly town and it had become the infamous retreat of troops stationed to the Estate. It was what made this posting a dream job: good beds, great food, and unforgettable women.
As Glaxtus and his men approached one of the Estate's many gleaming walls, he was met by a small armored vehicle screaming towards his position. The wheeled vehicle took a sharp turn in front of the team and drifted drastically on the waterlogged surface. Before the vehicle had even stopped a man strode out of the passenger's side with a synthetic cool. Glaxtus chortled to himself at the unprofessional display. Most of the security were just trigger-happy firemen and first responders who saw more action responding to local medical emergencies and hover-craft wrecks in the small underlying town than any combat. Unprofessional at best and country dumbasses by default.
"Top of the evening to you, Master Sergeant. I'm Lieutenant Dan." The overweight security officer gave a half-assed salute that seamlessly turned into an out-stretched hand prompting to be shook. Glaxtus Simply nodded and grasped the hand in front of him. His gruff features towered over the officer's with his gargantuan chest at level with the pudgy man’s nose. Glaxtus allowed his presence to loom without a word spoken.
"Fine Uyter weather we're having today ain't it?" the officer finally quibbled, gesturing an open palm to the monsoon rain. There was no response but the man played off the awkwardness well and patted Glaxtus on the back like the father of a dim-witted child. "Y'all go ahead and jump in the back," the officer said now gesturing at the micro-APC. "It's another mile till you'll be inside the Estate and that just ain't worth it with the sky pissin like this."
"We'll walk." Glaxtus replied.
And walk they did, but before doing so the 11 commandos hoisted the entire light armored car onto their shoulders like a casket. The driver of the vehicle soon leaped out in disbelief and quickly scurried to the side of his lieutenant who was equally shocked by the unorthodox display. “Now I say, I’m mighty impressed with this little charade—mighty impressed. But as I said, it’s a mean 2 miles yonder to where I was going to park that. None the less, I admire—“
“Fuck what you admire. Just keep up.” Blasted Glaxtus as he and his team of oversized brutes began trotting forward at pace with their hefty cargo. Soon all that could be heard above the galling winds was the deep cadences of the team as they strode off toward Sergi’s crown jewel, the Estate.
When the team finally arrived at their destination exhaustion was a thread weaved into every movement of their bodies. Many of the men lounged themselves onto the ornate ivory walls that surrounded the Estates entrance. As they unsealed their distinctive mandalorian helmets, their exposed skulls steamed with the onset of the still pouring rain. However on each of the men’s faces were the distinct markings of a smile. They quietly exchanged fist-bumps and “oorahs” to each other as they waited for the officer sent to greet them to finally catch up.
The hulking mass of Glaxtus was among these small exchanges. The grizzled figure finally came up to his sergeant, a similarly immense zabrak, and playfully grabbed the back of his neck. “Vikus, I felt something dragging us back. I knew it must have been your sorry ass.” He prodded playfully, giving his old friend a hard smack on the chest as he did so.
“I guess I was too busy thinking of all the deflowering I’m going to do in Lilly town when I get the chance.” The zebrak spoke with a vicious smile; half-joking, half beyond serious.
“You think I’m going to let you dogs get a chance? You start spreading your seed in this galaxy and were all fucked.” Glaxtus’s joking was interrupted by the feint sound of panting over his shoulder. The officer who had met them stood doubled over, with his hands on his knees just behind the pair. Glaxtus turned to the man and again loomed his presence over him like a disappointed father.
“A fine… display… gentlemen,” the officer blubbered between gasps. “Quite a fine display. Now what say we all sit down in the great hall for some chow; peel out of these clothes too while we’re at it?”
“Sorry lieutenant. We’re on direct orders from General Karns to report to the training deck immediately upon arrival.”
“Ahh, well if you insist. I assume my services end here if you are capable of seeing yourself to the facility… I’ll just take my vehicle back, which I assume you lot have not yet broken. Alas a fine rib-eye awaits. I bid you adieu gentlemen.”
“Sorry sir, that’s coming with us as well. General Karns informed us a man he referred to as a ‘fat fuck’ would be delivering us a light armored car for our use within the training deck.” Glaxtus casually gestured to his men to start boarding the vehicle before returning his emotionless gaze onto the security officer.
The lieutenant was almost too appalled by the crass remark to even reply; however, he managed to do so in a sputtering, disgruntled manner. “I…I… seem to recall that you are practicing VBSS. How exactly does one use a vehicle to interdict a space vessel?”
“We intend to find out.”
“Well I don’t intend to let you.”
“Generals orders sir. We were told to disregard any superior officers acting like a ‘toydarian bitch’ as well.. General’s orders.”
As the lieutenant stood dumbfounded, Glaxtus simply gave him a curt head nod and turned to the armored car now bejeweled by commandos hanging off of every hard point. The heavily armored commando quickly hopped a seat onto the rear fender next to his sergeant who gave the hull a double thump to signal it was clear to go. Even as the vehicle began to speed away, the same slack-jawed expression was becoming stale on the lieutenant’s face. As they sped off into the fog of the rain Glaxtus coolly shot the officer a last gesture with his middle finger before they disappeared from sight.
“You’re a lunatic.” The zebrak sergeant muttered between disbelieving laughter.
“Well at least there’s a slim chance of any of us getting leave while were here. Maybe I’ll spare the female race of you yet.”
- Sergi attempts to sway Senator Chuchi towards the Loyalist party
- Glaxtus Vile, 10 Mandalorian commandos and 'Shuttle 10' arrive on Uyter to conduct training assignment. Glaxtus pisses off everyone he comes into contact with.