View Full Version : Corellia: The Blockade

Delgado Xaanan
Jan 14th, 2016, 12:03:27 AM

According to the latest intelligence projections, that was how many covert, unsanctioned cargo shipments were believed to have made landfall in the Corellian system in the last month alone. The rest of the sector was a patchwork assortment of customs successes and nightmares. Duro still remained under the Empire's watchful scrutiny, but Nubia and New Plympto still enjoyed relative freedom. The Bureau speculated that shipments of weapons and supplies were being smuggled into the sector's outlying systems, broken into modest and concealable fractions, and waltzed into the waiting arms of the Resistance on public transportation and civilian charters. On paper, distributing their terrorist supplies in such a way should have increased the success rate of CorSec's efforts to apprehend at least some of the Resistance's couriers and sympathisers, but in practice Corellia basked in it's unrestricted freedoms, as cavalier and apart from the grim realities of the wider galaxy as it had ever been.

The Bureau had it's recommendations of course: most of which involved significant increases in the amount of credits flowing into the ISB budget for the sector. Checkpoints. Security measures. An increase in interdiction patrols for interplanetary travel. Deeper background checks on licensed couriers. Sophisticated new data-mining equipment for the ISB field office. New ships. New speeders. Delgado would not be surprised to find a shipment of Hutt loungers hidden amongst the expenses somewhere, so the security agents could sit around on their complacent asses all day in optimum comfort.

A fist clenched out of reflex, and the Moff found it difficult to compel it into relaxing. The Empire was dwindling, faltering on uneven ground, and the likes of these underlings were too busy attempting to carve out a luxurious niche for themselves to realise that their efforts undermined the very foundation of what they had sworn an oath to uphold. That was why Xaanan had ignored their recommendations - burned them in fact, literally. There's been something satisfying at watching their asinine insistences curl and melt beneath the candle flame he exposed them to, the flimsi ghosting away into nothing more than scent and vapour.

He had taken matters into his own hands instead, and the solutions flanked him on either side, like opposite halves of a perfect equation. It had taken all the political sway that he could muster to call in this favour from the Minister of the Interior himself; an all-or-nothing gamble on a single decisive solution. To the Moff's left stood the Brigadier, wrapped in jet black from throat to foot, staring out with a single eye from a gnarled and scarred face. To the right stood the Colonel, dressed in the pristine cream of the Imperial Security Bureau; an agent that the Minister assured him would root out any corruption and complacency from within Corellia's branch of the Bureau. The placement was not accidental: the Brigadier would command Corellia's shield, and the Colonel it's sword; and clad in grey between them, Delgado formed the final piece of a black and white spectrum. That was the kind of plan he sought to enact: clear, clean, and decisive. The bureaucrats would squirm and protest, but such was their role in all this. His was to achieve results, by any acceptable means.

His eyes rose, sweeping across the broad ring-shaped arrangement of tables that filled the briefing chamber before him, where the governmental representatives of Corellia, Selonia, Duro, Nubia, and the other works of the Corellian Sector that the Moff had demanded the presence of would sit, and listen, and accept his plan without significant objection. That was the only permissible outcome of this meeting, and the Imperial Knights flanking the doors were there to discourage anyone from too much foolish dissent. His gaze lingered on the Knights for a moment longer, wondering if they would approve of this lightsaber diplomacy, carving through the bureaucracy to reach a solution in a single decisive stroke.

Delgado drew in a breath and straightened his posture, his hands clasping behind his back. "Send them in," he instructed, and waited for the delegations to arrive.

Matatek Sel Vissica
Jan 14th, 2016, 12:32:23 AM
Beyond the doors at her back, Matatek Sel Vissica could already feel the presence of the throng of vassal lords waiting to sit with Governor Xaanan. Unguarded emotions rang loud in her senses. Anger. Fear. Those were the loudest. The Empire was nothing without Order, for it was the Empress's sovereign authority that made it so. Anything that challenged this inevitability must be swept away.

Vissica paused, sensing another presence among the guests arriving. The normally stony disposition of the Moff's Selonian enforcer changed for a moment with a slight widening of her eyes and a quick inhaled sniff, leading to her whiskers going taut. Vissica blinked, looking first to her comrade Alexia, and then to the Governor, who had already given her a task. Returning to her resting inscrutable state, the towering Imperial Knight dipped her head in response to Xaanan's request.

"Of course." she growled, turning to throw back the doors.

At the fore came the Corellian delegation, followed in turn by the Duros and the Nubians. The Drall filed past after these, their diminutive height nearly passing below Vissica's notice. What followed afterward was precisely what had given Lady Vissica such pause. A throng of a dozen identical Selonians marched in lockstep, flanking an enormous covered litter on an antigravity sled. The doorway leading into the hall was massive but even then, just barely big enough to allow the dark metal structure entrance into the meeting hall. The contents within remained obscured to everyone but Lady Vissica, who fixed her eyes onto it with her utmost attention.

Alexia Sturkov
Jan 15th, 2016, 02:36:52 AM
The air was tense. If the Moff's face was any tighter it would snap. The meeting room was prestigious. A grand table with many chairs, and at it's head the three men stood with their heavy handed symbolism. It seemed like a waste of time to pull Vissica and herself from the streets of Coronet for a meeting. That was until she was told to stand at the doors with her partner while Delgado and his men stood like poised vipers. This was not a meeting. This was a spider's web; a trap. Those summoned to the meeting included all the lords of the system. This was no small affair. Something serious was going down, and she was more than happy to be poised to watch.

She had viewed Delgado as a man without a spine who lacked the will to crack the whip and force his rule. Now he looked on with determination in his eyes and a jaw set with steel. He seemed a different man than the one she had met with when first arriving on Corellia.

In tandem with her partner, she pushed her side of the double doors open; permitting those gathered beyond to enter. She barely gave them the benefit of a glance. They were uninteresting. From the tall Duro to the fuzzy Drall. And, of course, the primitive Selonians. There were humans too, but who noticed those in a room full of aliens? Alexia certainly did not. Her eyes were focused on the Moff.

Palara Iscandar
Jan 15th, 2016, 02:26:04 PM
Corellia. Iscandar was well acquainted with the world and its people, due to an investigation she had done back when the Inquisition was still the trained tiger of the Empire.

She stopped her train of thought with a mental scoff. The Inquisition had only been defunct for months; not nearly enough time had passed for her to think back on it as something in the hazy past.

A glance from one of the many humans gathered outside the Moff's conference room brought her back onto the well worn tracks.

No matter how they lied to themselves, Corellians were among the foundations of the Empire as it had stood. Their fierce independence and parochialism was rooted in fear and isolationist tendencies. Their bravado and quick tempers stemmed not just from a background of excellence but of superiority and the will to prove themselves superior. It had not escaped her notice that non-humans were a segregated minority here as they were on Imperial Centre, even if the Corellians defended themselves by pointing out that the 'aliens segregated themselves!'

There was a reason Corellia remained Imperial despite the fierce divide between Imperial and Alliance sympathizers.

She cloaked herself with the Force, implanting the suggestion to overlook her in all the minds of the bureaucrats around her. Their eyes glazed, and they began to murmur amongst themselves now that they had 'forgotten' about the alien in their midst. On a whim, she layered that suggestion with a more physical Force ability, pulled her hood up over her head, and changed her stance and posture to mimic the other female bureaucrats in the group, noting with amusement that the blue shade of the Imperial Knights had become more popular. Atrapes had probably noted that and factored how much of an advantage the 'Knightly Blue' would give infiltration specialists still in uniform, if he had not engineered the trend with COMPNOR himself.

It did not matter if Xaanan, Vissica, and Sturkov noticed her right away, but if they did not bring attention to her right off, she would be able to observe everyone while the Moff laid out his plan.

Shall I relay ze particulars to you and await your response to ze Moff, mon General?

You are more than capable, Iscandar, of seeing the merits and disadvantages in an occupation and investigation plan. Use your own judgement.

She quashed the smile that threatened to erupt at the memory of what was the closest thing to praise she'd ever received as the doors opened and the bureaucrats made their way to the conference table. She herself stood close to the loose grouping of females and followed them inside, and garnered her first look at the Moff in person while she sat, keeping her cloak pulled about herself to hide her armor and figure.

Queen Matatek
Jan 17th, 2016, 08:24:25 PM
The enormous antigrav litter trundled to a stop at the far end of the conference table. The fine-clothed Selonians flanking the vehicle did not take a seat, but rather stood at their posts. The litter remained as impassible and opaque as ever, but a low voice sounded from within in an alien tongue.

"Zus haruc kzhe nacissa harzhkekoh zuhara Daaru. Nar zheena hoc wahu khaa."

One of the identical Selonian females at the fore took a half step toward the table, addressing Moff Xaanan directly.

"Queen Matatek of the Overden of Selonia will not be seated next to the Duros. The stink of their traitors nauseates her."

The servant daughter's words, by contrast, were in perfectly-nuanced basic, though delivered with a patrician's knifed tongue.

Delgado Xaanan
Jan 18th, 2016, 02:56:44 AM
Even through the opaque material of the barrier that encased their precious queen, the aura of arrogance surrounding Matatek was palpable. This pageantry, this wasteful investment in self-elevation and traditionalist ego was a cancer upon the Empire. Too many regarded their power and prestige as if it were a privilege, a reward unto itself, an aspiration to be striven for and then languished in once achieved. Few grasped the notion that authority was merely a tool, an asset to be exploited in the pursuit of far more important goals. While the Queen languished on her throne, contributing nothing to the Empire save to periodically squeeze out a few more of it's non-human citizens, the representative from the Duros understood the way of things far better. There was no ego in their presence here: they sacrificed their right to personal opinion and embraced obedience to the dominant authority of the Empire, all to serve for the betterment of their people. Of the two, Delgado had far more respect and tolerance for the Duros than for the petty posturing of the Selonian queen.

"Queen Matatek will sit precisely where she has been instructed."

There wasn't anger in Delgado's voice, nor any overt sense of threat: just an indomitable sense of finality, no room allowed for challenge or protest. His eyes didn't waver, a steel stare piercing through the opaque litter at where he presumed the Queen's eyes to be.

"Or, Queen Matatek will be seated out in the hall, until she is able to muster enough maturity to be welcome in this meeting. Being invited to take part in the leadership of the Corellian Sector is a courtesy that can be rescinded entirely at my discretion."

The Moff let his eyes deviate from the Selonian monarch for a moment, regarding each of the other delegates in the conference room in turn. His voice was still calm, and yet stern; the voice of a tutor forestalling childish squabbles between his students. Perhaps that was what he was. Perhaps that was all politics was: pettiness and infantile conduct conveniently disguised behind protocol and bureaucracy.

"We are the leaders of our people. We are the representatives of the Galactic Empire in this region of space. Of the New Order. Divides and sedition will not be tolerated. We will stand as a united front. This is not an aspiration. This is not an option. This is how it will be in this Sector."

His eyes slowly found their way back to the Selonian queen.

"Take your seat, Matatek. Beside Duro, or excluded and outside. The choice is yours."

Queen Matatek
Feb 5th, 2016, 01:06:32 AM
For a moment, the great armored litter was silent. Then with a metallic clank, the ribbed sections of durasteel along the front began to retract, sliding back to reveal the thick layer of transplast below. The first glimpses within of Queen Matatek revealed a Selonian of immense proportions, each arm cradling a Selonian pup tethered to a pendulous teat. A pair of worker females behind the queen deftly stepped forward to retrieve each milk-hungry baby as the shawl that normally covered Queen Matatek's six bosoms was drawn to reassert her modesty.

Through it all, the Queen's countenance remained in regal poise, and her dark eyes didn't leave those of Governor Xaanan.

"Chi xhek kaazkaala sissik wozzka karrak. Zar xharreh gah khazza nakkh saxoora ghraaz."

The female tasked with interpretation carried out her role as the extension of the Queen's voice.

"She of the Overden recognizes Governor Xaanan's authority under the edict of the Empress."

The fair-voiced mouth of the Queen curtsied in a gesture of supplication.

"She of the Overden merely hopes the Governor understands the limitless capacity of her fealty and honorable service."

Ethan Tahmores
Feb 5th, 2016, 02:50:21 AM
Colonel Tahmores of the Imperial Security Bureau watched in unflinching silence from where he stood beside the Moff, as the Selonian monarch and her entourage unfolded their display of formality and pageantry before them.

Xaanan had played his part well. There was more to this meeting than what appeared on the surface. Yes, it was an opportunity for the Moff to stand before the leaders of the worlds within his territory, and inform them of the new policies that the Empire was about to enforce in the interests of safety and security. But it was more than that. Crushing the Resistance required more than just security checkpoints and intensified detective work. No matter how many Resistance fighters were captured or killed, the fire would continue to burn for as long as there was fuel to sustain it. Perhaps this new strategy of there's was a case of pouring starfighter fuel onto those flames: but the faster and hotter the Resistance burned, the sooner that fuel would become ash. Cut off the Resistance's access to supplies, to weapons, to new recruits; deprive them of the atmosphere of Corellian indignation and insubordination that gave them room to move, and resistance would become futile. They would be forced into desperation: more extreme actions that the Moff and his bureaucracy could underscore as terrorism and villainy. A desperate Resistance would vilify itself; and as soon as they lost the hearts and minds of the Corellian people, their Resistance would be over.

For such a plan to be effective though, they needed to extinguish rebellion and dissent in all it's forms, at every level. Stamping out the flames on Corellia would be of no use if it had already spread to Nubia, Selonia, or New Plympto. It would be of no use if the Moff did not demonstrate that even the most powerful of people in the Corellian Sector had no choice but to obey the Empire and it's edicts. Every inch of this region of space would need to be Imperialised, in every way possible. Leave the Resistance with no ground to go to, and you would leave them stranded in the open with nowhere to turn. The hunt would become a slaughter. The insurrection would end.

And so the first step, just as Tahmores and Xaanan had discussed when the Bureau agent had provided his psychological profiles of the various delegates. Pounce on the first opportunity. Provoke the Queen into having to prove her fealty to the Empire, face to face. Put her in her place, and do it in front of everyone.

Tahmores' expression remained utterly unreadable as he stood and watched. One down; but how many more to go?

Rinzai Terius
Feb 5th, 2016, 03:12:19 AM
Rinzai Terius was not the only Corellian in the room, but it was close. A part of him shuffled uncomfortably behind his fixed expression: he lacked the ability of Colonel Tahmores to remain unreadable, so instead he relied upon a mask of mild annoyance and threat that had etched itself into his grizzled features over the years.

That discomfort was sated however as he reminded himself of why he was here. He had no patience for politics, and no tolerance of bureaucracy. He was a soldier. He liked his life as simplistic as possible. Draw a line in the sand, and he would kill everything on the opposite side of it. No questions, no protests, no unnecessary surplus thinking. Give him a war to fight, give him an enemy, and his life would have meaning.

The galaxy seemed determined to rob him of that. The damned Jedi and their turncoat betrayal of the Republic had brought the Clone Wars to an end before Rinzai had got his fill of fighting. The Separatist holdouts hadn't managed to hold out long enough to keep him distracted. The Rebel Alliance and their Galactic Civil War had burned hot and fast: by the time they'd escalated their efforts into a war worth fighting, the whole thing had gone and ended itself in a handful of years. This whole Treaty situation, being forced to watch your enemy go about it's business in the light of day without any prospect of doing anything about it had him feeling like a kath hound on a leash, pacing backwards and forwards with no prospects of being able to sink his teeth into anything.

That was why he liked this plan. It was an opportunity to do something; and it was a simple opportunity at that. A simple solution to a simple problem. For thousands of years, Corellia had survived just fine. The only time anything went wrong was when outsiders came and meddled. Whether it was the Great Galactic War, the Galactic Civil War, or whatever the hell the history books decided to call this little ruckus, Corellia's troubles always came from outside. The solution? Isolation. Seal the borders. Choke off the supply of anything from the outside. Rinzai knew in his bones that it wasn't Corellians dropping Star Destroyers on Coronet City: it was this influx of disenfranchised rebels; all these malcontents up in arms about the fate of their own homes, deciding to visit all of their frustrations against his home.

This wasn't the play that Rinzai would have picked, of course. If he were in Moff Xaanan's shoes, he'd round up every single offworlder, and toss them off planet. If he were feeling amiable, he might even toss them into transports and dump them somewhere, rather than just hurling them all into hard vacuum. Corellia needed cleansing. It needed all of the insidious outside influences to be seared away. Then maybe, when all was said and done, the Imperial forces here could pack up their bags, and go find a real enemy to pick a fight with.

Delgado Xaanan
Feb 5th, 2016, 03:24:35 AM
Limitless capacity, Delgado mused, remembering to keep his attention focused on the Queen despite the slight churn in her stomach at seeing her exposed in such a way, or the nagging urges of his upbringing to pay attention to the person speaking, rather than the one they were speaking for. He couldn't remember who had taught him to look a man in the eyes when they spoke, or when such a lesson might have taken place; but it didn't matter. Those childhood concepts all fell apart when it came to the kind of political scenarios Delgado found himself part of these days.

Have you ever had dealings with the Hutts? Colonel Tahmores had asked, while helping to prepare the Moff for this meeting. The security agent already knew the answer to that; clearly the man had done his homework, on Delgado as well as the visiting delegates. His encounters with the Hutts back in his Corporate Sector days were few and far between, but Delgado understood the gist of what Tahmores was angling at. Look at the fat slug, not at the protocol droid. It was easier with droids, easier to phase them out of your consciousness as objects rather than people. With handmaidens, not so much. Maybe that was what it was like to be part of the aristocracy: forgetting that people were people.

"If She of the Overden, has no further complaints," Delgado replied, his gaze not flinching from Matatek, no acknowledgement or gratitude offered in response to for her pledge of undying loyalty, "Perhaps we should proceed."

He cast his eyes around the rest of the delegates.

"Unless there is anything else anyone feels we need to address?"

Queen Matatek
May 30th, 2016, 07:08:19 PM
The Queen wasn't finished with having the floor. If matters in the Corellian system were to be addressed, she would see that Selonia had it's say.

"Zha kass agh hezzak grozzkara fragh neqaa, zacch Zelo ghaa."

The Queen's prime handmaiden dutifully translated.

"With the greatest respect, She of the Overden wishes to address the influx of foreign peoples upon Selonia."

Queen Matatek shifted her weight on the litter throne, nostrils flaring slightly as she studied the Moff's expression.

"Nazh hwu graqkh chaarazz karr hwu."

The Handmaiden's pleasant timbre sounded again as the more lithe Selonian canted her head slightly.

"They claim to be Imperial citizens, but there is cause to doubt their legitimacy in it's entirety."

Delgado Xaanan
Jun 1st, 2016, 09:41:19 PM
Perhaps it was the Queen, rather than the Governor, who was really in need of an education on protocol and decorum. The profile of the Selonian monarch had warned him of her limited patience; of her tendency to expect to be pushed to the front of the line rather than waiting for matters to be dealt with in the proper order. He had summoned the Corellian Sector's leaders here to listen; but of course, Matatek insisted upon being heard first.

Such impatient bureaucracy was one of the Empire's greatest failings, in Xaanan's opinion. People became so focused on their own individual issue that they lost sight of the whole; lost perspective on the equilibrium of things. Starships were being dropped onto Corellia. Insurgents were being supplied by external factors. Left untreated, the infection of uprising would spread, a simple matter of Corellian internal security blossoming into a threat to the Empire as a whole. There was an opportunity here, and an obligation, to subdue this new rebellion before it even truly began; to thwart that which Emperor Palpatine's heavy-handed approach failed to address. But of course, Queen Matatek's only concern was the triviality of a few hundred refugees.

No wonder Palpatine suspended the Senate, Delgado mused. If this was how sovereign representation in politics manifested itself, it was a wonder the Republic had not gone extinct millennia ago.

Of course, tempting as it was to cut down the Queen's objections with a scathing remark, such a rebuttal would no doubt have unseen costs in the future. A victory for patience and perspective today might lead to a costly defeat the next time the Selonians were asked to concede to new regulations and impositions placed upon them. For now, he'd have to adopt the position of a nanny marshalling unruly children, and muster up a diplomatic response.

"If She of the Overden, would grant a little patience; the Refugee Crisis is a factor I intend for us to discuss, but there are more pressing matters that we must attend to first. Lady Vissica -"

Delgado hoped that singling out the Selonian member of the Imperial Knights would satiate the Queen's need for her people to seem important.

"You have been working with Corellian forces in investigating the fledgeling Resistance movement. Could you explain to us the nature of the threat this group poses?"

Matatek Sel Vissica
Jun 1st, 2016, 10:08:16 PM
She'd not been expected to be summoned. Lady Vissica's whiskers raised at the sudden shift in the room to her position posted at the door. She took a step forward, her tongue briefly flicking across her flews.

"At the beginning, the local commanders believed that the insurgency was being committed almost entirely by foreign agents. I believe the opposite is true. Almost all of our live captures have been citizens of the homeworlds. While the evidence of outside influence is substantial, there is little to support the theory that the insurgency is serving an agenda within the Alliance."

The Selonian Knight rumbled with a low frustrated growl.

"That does not invalidate the suspicion. If there is a link, it will be discovered. Our captures have broken under interrogation, but the flow of information is proving difficult to track. The insurgents are considerably tidy in isolating links between members. I believe they operate in some degree by autonomous cells."