In the latest Star Wars fanfiction, Kaila and the Rebels begin their gambit to free the framed magistrate and find the evidence to clear his name. Grand Moff Tretyro confers with Emperor Palpatine.
Yesterday, Commander Rundsor walked the halls of the Imperial Security Bureau’s Naboo headquarters in a daze, unwittingly escorting a Rebel traitor out of the building.
Now she held her head high in triumph as she moved through the halls of the same building.
Rundsor had personally captured a Rebel traitor, the Twi’lek who’d caused the commotion in Theed a few days ago. The Rebel had bruises and a limp to show for it.
The commander would not be embarrassed by another escaping Rebel. As she caught the woman, she would personally march her into the detention area.
Walking past two ISB troopers by the detention area entrance, Rundsor noticed one of them looking at her with a questioning gaze. He was a younger trooper, probably fresh from the COMPNOR training facility.
The commander stopped her team to stare right back at him.
“Is there a problem, trooper?” she asked in an icy voice.
The trooper’s curiosity increased. “I don’t know, commander,” he said. To his credit, he at least showed a touch of angst in following this line of questioning. “You seemed to… I don’t know…”
Rundsor approached the trooper. “Spit it out, trooper.”
The trooper had nothing to say. Rundsor sized him up, ending with a disapproving sneer.
“Question your superior officer and you could end up on Odoum. Not as a guard… but a miner!” Rundsor warned.
The trooper snapped to attention. “Nothing wrong here, ma’am!”
Rundsor returned to her stormtroopers and their prisoner. They followed her into the detention area, the reinforced security door sliding in place behind them.
Inside the detention area, Rundsor ordered every ISB trooper, agent and stormtrooper to leave. Many looked confused by the demand but acknowledged the order.
When they were gone, only Rundsor, her stormtroopers, their Twi’lek prisoner and those behind bars remained.
The ISB commander walked the cells, eventually finding a specific prisoner — Magistrate Aadhar.
“Tretyro is slacking in his old age,” Rundsor said. “Normally a prisoner up for treason would be executed by now.”
Aadhar held a firm resolve. “It takes time to make a frame job airtight and prepare a spectacle of the execution.”
Rundsor stared at Aadhar. “There will be no execution, Magistrate Aadhar.” She smiled. “We’re here to rescue you.”
Aadhar stared at Rundsor as if she were insane.
“Do you require my presence on Naboo, Tretyro?” said the slow, gravely voice of Emperor Palpatine. His holographic image addressed Grand Moff Tretyro from his throne room on Coruscant.
In his office on Naboo, Tretyro kneeled before the emperor’s image. Kneeling in his own office was a humiliating pose but no one who valued their life showed disrespect for the emperor.
Tretyro had heard that even Lord Vader knelt before the emperor. That monster Vader had leveled entire armies with his laser sword yet knew to fear the emperor.
“No, m’ lord,” Tretyro eventually answered. “The situation is under control. We’ll make an example of the traitorous magistrate.
“With investigations of her other magistrates and the violence brought about by the Rebels, the people will lose confidence in their queen’s ability to govern and maintain their safety.
“I then remind them of how their previous queens have failed them,” Tretyro continued. “It will be that much simpler to remove the position of a queen from Naboo history, securing the planet for the Empire.”
“Naboo already belongs to the Empire,” Palpatine said. “I merely need to maintain order on the planet. If your gambit accomplishes this, I will allow you to play your power games.
“But know this, my grand moff. Should your gambit fail and cause chaos on my homeworld, it will require disciplinary action.”
Tretyro nodded, understanding that “disciplinary action” meant a visit from Vader. Those visits never went well for Imperial subordinates. The dark cyborg had left a trail of broken necks in his wake.
“There is one other thing,” Tretyro said to the emperor’s holographic projection. He hesitated. What he thought to reveal he’d had Rundsor cover-up in her report on the Rebel prisoner’s escape.
Perhaps it would be wise to maintain that silence until he could truly decipher what had caused Rundsor, the head of the sector’s ISB, to walk a prisoner out of headquarters.
“Tell me of this potential Force wielder, Moff Tretyro.”
The grand moff looked to his emperor. Tretyro was unable to hide the surprise of Palpatine knowing the situation.
When the emperor’s emissary called, Tretyro thought the emperor was merely checking on his homeworld due to reports of terrorist activity.
Now the moff realized the escaped prisoner and her potential abilities had motivated the call. Tretyro had no real answers for the emperor but knew he’d better think of something fast.
Swallowing, Tretyro said, “My head of ISB, Commander Rundsor, walked a prisoner out of the headquarters building.”
“And she is not the late Commander Rundsor?”
Tretyro flinched at Palpatine’s suggestion. He forced himself to continue. “She reported being in a daze, having no idea what she was doing until the prisoner’s influence had faded.
“I remember stories from ISB allies of similar events when they pursued the Jedi that Queen Apailana had tried to hide.”
Palpatine contemplated. “One of my inquisitors encountered a Jedi on Teth. They escaped. I would hope to avoid the same happening here.”
“If there is a Jedi on the planet, m’ lord, my troops will find them like we did the traitor magistrate.”
“See that you do, Moff Tretyro. In any event, I will send someone to assist you.”
As the emperor’s image flickered out, the wizened man’s words sent a chill through Tretyro. He had visions of Lord Vader arriving and slicing the planet to bits in his search for a Jedi.
Tretyro would have to find that Jedi before then or face the possibility of all he’d hope to accomplish unraveling about him.
A chime alerted Tretyro to another visitor, this one physically here. Tretyro stood, brushing off his knee. Satisfied he was presentable, he gave the command for the visitor to enter.
He was surprised to see Commander Rundsor.
“I told you to stay with the magistrate,” he said.
Rundsor flashed him with a puzzled look. “I got the word you wanted to discuss the Rebel threat.”
Now Tretyro looked puzzled. Then another thought instilled fear in him. “How did you receive that message?”
Rundsor started to answer but caught herself. Tretyro knew her thoughts now aligned with his.
The commander grabbed her commlink. “This is Commander Rundsor. I want a complete lockdown of ISB headquarters right —”
The ISB commander stopped to listen. Tretyro waited anxiously. Rundsor looked at him.
“Headquarters is already in lockdown,” she said.
“On who’s authority?” Tretyro demanded.
Rundsor shook her head as if trying to shake away confusion. When she looked back at Tretyro, she had a look of utter confusion. “Mine.”
While the grand moff spoke with the emperor, at ISB headquarters, “Rundsor” typed the last keystrokes to turn off all the cameras in the detention area. She turned to the two stormtroopers and said, “We’re clear.”
“Then take these cuffs off me!” the Twi’lek said. “Corana put them on too tight!”
The stormtroopers touched their wrists. Their images flickered and disappeared, revealing Nile and Corana underneath. Both had Bethor’s holoprojector bracelets on their wrists.
Rundsor pressed her wrist as well. Her image flickered away to reveal Kaila. She pulled a datapad out of a pouch on her Imperial uniform. Corana removed the Twi’lek woman’s handcuffs. Kaila then handed the datapad to Piani.
“There’s a program on here that will worm its way into the ISB database,” Kaila explained as Piani took the datapad. “You can link in over there.” Kaila pointed to a terminal in the guard area.
Piani looked suspiciously at the datapad. “Where’d you get the program?”
“I wrote it,” Kaila said. “We don’t have much time. Get to work.”
“Pushy much?” Corana asked.
Kaila glared at the Pantoran smuggler. “Unless you’d like to be a permanent resident here?”
Piani stepped past the bickering women and sat at the console Kaila suggested.
Nile stepped between Corana and Kaila. “So Piani finds the evidence that framed the magistrate and erases it. Then what?” she asked.
“We walk out of here,” Kaila said with an air of confidence.
Corana crossed her arms across her chest. “I’m still kinda confused about that part,” she said. “I’ve never been on an op where using the same gimmick to get in worked for the out. And we don’t have a backup plan.”
Kaila looked at Nile. “Does she always complain this much?”
Corana frowned at Nile. The Jedi smiled, “Corana works best when she knows exactly what her role is.”
“And right now? My role seems to be helpless, sexy Pantoran babe,” Corana said. “I don’t do helpless well.”
“I have a plan,” Kaila said. She walked to another monitoring station and checked feeds throughout the headquarters building.
“I haven’t told you what it is because you’re not going to like it,” the ISB agent continued, “and I don’t want to hear you bitch about it. You do that a lot.”
“You do the ‘is this the time she screws us over’ a lot,” Corana said. “How many times are you gonna set us up before you get us killed?”
Kaila glanced over her shoulder at the Pantoran. “You pulled my own blaster on me and I still talk to you.”
The ISB agent turned from the others to hide a mischievous smile. While typing away on a computer terminal, she added, “But to answer your question, more than you’ll probably feel comfortable with.”
Corana blinked. Throwing up her hands, she turned to Nile and said, “I think we should call back your Togruta friend, tell her this didn’t pan out, blast this chick and make our own luck.”
Nile frowned. She was about to reply when claxons interrupted the conversation.
“And what is that?” Corana asked.
Kaila moved to the entrance to the detention area. “The building is going on lockdown,” she explained.
“They know we’re here?” Nile asked.
“Of course they do,” Kaila said as she reached the doorway. Before slipping out, she said, “I just told them.”
To be continued…