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Writer
04-23-2009, 03:43 PM
Conspiracy, Betrayal, Destiny


A small circular table occupied the center of the small, dark room, and ten chairs were spaced evenly around its perimeter. Four of the seats were occupied and the occupants were carrying on hushed conversations with one another, waiting restlessly. Finally, one of them stood.

“Where’s Jenner?” he asked the others. Their conversations ceased and they stared at him for a moment.

“Jenner’s dead,” one of them finally said. “Got a bit aggressive with one of the Clones, so it shot him.” The one who spoke grimaced and shook his head. “Where did you pick him up, anyhow, Karras? I said he was a risk, right from the start.”

Idrin Karras did not immediately reply. When he did, he ignored the question entirely. “We’re also missing Prasanna. If they don’t make it soon, this meeting will be for nothing. I don’t have all the time in the world.”

“Prasanna said he was bringing someone else,” one of the other four said. Suddenly, there was a solid, rhythmic knocking at the door. Karras glanced at the door as one of the others rose to answer it. Light flooded the room through the doorway and the man named Slade Prasanna stood there. Prasanna was a covert operative employed by Imperial Intelligence, but he had saved their little conspiracy a number of times already, and thus earned their trust.

“I’ve brought someone with me,” he said. “And since I know it’s taken you a long time to trust me because of my job description, I need you all to promise you’ll hear her out before immediately sentencing yourselves to death at her hands, alright?”

Karras tensed. “Who did you bring?”

Slade moved through the doorway and a feminine figure a foot shorter than Slade’s six foot frame stepped into view. Karras recognized her instantly and clenched his teeth. The door was closed behind her and she stepped into plain view of all the conspirators. Most had no idea who she was and so when she introduced herself as “Aryn Vexxlin,” none of them took her seriously.

There were myths about a woman named Aryn Vexxlin. They claimed she was anything from a goddess to a bored multi-trillionaire, and that she had designed a fighter so strong that it could defeat a Star Destroyer’s shields and spear completely through the Destroyer’s widest section without the fighter even getting a scratch. Only Idrin Karras took her seriously.

“I know damn well who you are,” he growled. “And that’s not your name.”

A faint smile traced her lips and played through her rich brown eyes. “And how would you know? The name you know me by could be the alias, Major.”

“Keeping your name a secret’s all well and good,” one of the others said. “But to pick Aryn Vexxlin as your alias? You’re either arrogant or foolish.”

Slade chuckled. “She’s neither.” He turned to face her. “And I really think you should give them the name they all know to be a real person.”

The woman laughed. “Very well then, but I can assure you that none of you will like it. It’s Reibe Vailar.”

This time, the whole table tensed and several of them were on their feet with blasters pointed at her.

“Traitor,” Karras growled, recalling security footage from four years earlier in which a hooded and cloaked figure claiming to be Reibe Vailar pledged her allegiance to the Emperor.

She was unmoved. “I care very little for what you think of me, Mr. Karras, or any of the rest of you, for that matter. When it comes right down to it, your little conspiracy needs me.”

“She’s right,” Slade said over the grumbling of the group. “Karras, you may think you have access to Palpatine as a member of his security taskforce.”

“Danna Viss, newly appointed senator of Naboo,” Reibe said, identifying yet another member of the conspiracy. “Do you really think your position in the Senate will get you close to Palpatine?” She scowled. “The Senate is a joke, a puppet theatre and Palpatine knows there are members within the Senate who want his life. No, Senator, he will not let you near him.”

“And as for the rest of us,” Slade said, “we have Soven Thrace and Katta Dunn, both captains in the Imperial Navy, and me, a covert agent. None of us has direct access to Palpatine except Reibe.”

A long, tense silence blanketed the room. Then, Reibe said, “I don’t expect you to trust me, but I do expect you to think this through logically. Logically, Karras, the closest you’ll get to Palpatine is the security room. Logically, Prasanna won’t even get close. Logically, Thrace and Dunn...”

“We know,” Karras growled. “Logically, we’d all be dead.”

“And your little conspiracy would be for nothing,” Reibe concluded. “Show me the plan.”

Reluctantly Karras showed her their written plans. She made a few slight modifications to include herself and was satisfied. Due to her involvement, the plan was accelerated, and they would get into position in three days.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


But Reibe found herself unable of sleeping the next three nights. Nightmare after nightmare presented itself to her unconscious mind; every fiber of her being told her that, though Palpatine was a menace to the galaxy, the Force had other plans for him. After nearly four-thousand years of life, Reibe Vailar was not one to ignore the will of the Force. The night before the plan was to go through, she meditated.

“Show me,” she demanded. “Show me the path of Palpatine’s downfall.”

Instantly, she was overwhelmed by a scattering of images. There was the face of a young man, the destruction of a massive space station, several other unfamiliar faces, a second space station and... Reibe gasped as the images slowed... and suddenly, she was there. She watched as Vader stumbled to his feet, hefted Palpatine over his head, and hurled him down a shaft nearby. Reibe moved to its edge and watched as the Emperor fell to his death, down a shaft so deep that she could not see its end.

The images changed then to the fates of each member of the conspiracy. Dunn and Thrace were gunned down from behind; Karras was choked to death by Vader. Viss was taken by Imperial scientists and brainwashed to become the Empire’s ideal senator. Slade Prasanna was strangely absent...

Coming back to reality, Reibe released a heavy sigh. Karras had been right to doubt her intentions. She could not counteract the will of the Force; she’d tried many times in the last four thousand years and had since given in to being its agent. This conspiracy had to fail so that the Emperor’s demise could take place at the hands of a Skywalker. This was the way of things.

But there was still the matter of Slade Prasanna’s absence she could work with...

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Reibe Vailar strode through the halls of the Senate with an expression of grim determination on her face, and Darth Vader stalking along several paces behind her. As she passed the security room, she locked eyes with Idrin Karras and nodded. He immediately turned to work on disabling the cameras where she was heading and it was much too late for him by the time he heard Vader’s mechanized breathing.

Next, Reibe’s gaze met Danna Viss. The young senator smiled faintly and turned away to find two Stormtroopers there to restrain her. Terror flooded her and she screamed out, “Traitor!” and then she was carried away and Reibe allowed herself a moment to feel sorry for the poor young woman. In three days, Danna Viss would be spouting Imperial propaganda with the best of them.

Reibe faced Soven Thrace and Katta Dunn a few minutes later. Thrace asked her if she was ready and she nodded. They turned to lead her further into the Senate and she pulled a small blaster from its concealed holster and shot both of them square in their backs. With a heavy sigh, she pressed on, finally entering Palpatine’s office.

“The conspiracy is finished,” she told him. “All members are dealt with.”

Palpatine nodded. “Well done, Hunter. You may go.”

Reibe left in a hurry, for though she had told Palpatine that the conspiracy was over, she didn’t doubt for a second that Slade Prasanna was out there somewhere and it wouldn’t be long before he discovered her treachery. She had to find him before that happened.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


She found him a week later in the wreckage of a covert op he’d been assigned to, cradling a dead young woman in his arms. Upon realizing that he wasn’t alone, he stared at her and she observed the tears in his eyes.

“Someone who meant something to you,” she said softly. Scowling Slade let the young woman’s head rest and took up a blaster rifle.

“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t blow your brains out,” he snapped. “I have pretty good intel that says you betrayed us, and I’m almost certain that’s what got me assigned to this mission.”

“If you shoot me down here and now, I can assure you that you will die,” Reibe said. “Play this right, Prasanna. In a year, you’ll have your own ship, and you’ll be sabotaging operations like this, but you have to trust me. Palpatine’s path is a lot longer than our little conspiracy wanted to make it.”

“Destiny,” Slade spat, throwing the rifle aside. “Was it the will of your precious Force that my little sister had to die here?”

Reibe shook her head. “I didn’t see that coming. I’m sorry for your loss, but you have to overcome it. Be strong, Slade. I didn’t foresee your death, which means the Force has other plans for you. Follow your instincts and live.”

She turned to leave and as she exited through a hole in the wall, she told him, “We will meet again.”

Glaring at her back, Slade growled, “You’d better hope not, traitor.”

And that was the day he made up his mind to leave Imperial Intelligence.

Tysyacha
04-25-2009, 06:28 PM
I love conspiracy stories, and this was no stranger to that genre for me! I found it easy to slip into the world of mental images, conjuring Reibe and the others in my mind. It was rather hard for me to keep all the characters straight, however. Your tale reminded me of "Valkyrie". Was the resemblance intentional? Bravo! 7.5/10

Writer
04-25-2009, 11:09 PM
You're the third person to make the comparison with Valkyrie, actually. However, I had no intention of that sort of resemblance. In fact, I have never seen the movie.

As for the difficulty in keeping the characters straight, the only ones that were intended to be more than just failed conspirators were Reibe Vailar and Slade Prasanna. All others were sorta stuffed into place after the idea came up. I toyed with sticking Bail Organa and a few other better known names in there, but when I started toying with the ideas of destiny and the will of the Force, I thought it was best to leave him out, and therefore the lines I'd given to him were given to Idrin Karras.

As to the others, they barely even got to speak. They were never intended to be fleshed out in any way and I apologize that they got in your way. Perhaps I'll clean it up a bit before it becomes a section of the prologue for the second installment of my Hidden Histories series. (which reminds me, I really ought to get a move on posting more of the Galaxy Hacker one...)

machievelli
05-15-2009, 04:50 AM
read

Writer
05-15-2009, 06:16 PM
Thanks Mach :)