Interviewer: Please identify yourself and tell us a little about you. Just talk. Don’t worry about sounding perfect, we’ll take care of everything later.
My name is Ejen Dari and I’m a TIE pilot for the Imperial Navy. I guess… my past? My family never thought I was going to get here, but they also never learned to reach for the skies. I did. I grew up wanting more, wanting what every would-be pilot does. I wanted the stars. I wanted to break free of gravity and feel my stomach flip. I wanted to see new planets, to meet new people. It didn’t matter that the Empire wasn’t…
Interviewer: Wasn’t what?
Not – is this part on record?
Interviewer: No, we’ll take care of it in editing.
Alright… It wasn’t everything I thought it would be. I knew that it’s important to support our government, I just didn’t expect the Empire to be so – oppressive. I saw a lot of bad things happening when I was going through Basic, and I read about even more in flight school. When I finally graduated and got assigned to the Olympic, though, none of that mattered anymore. I had a new TIE, I flew it into the Star Destroyer myself… and there was nothing more exciting than feeling the pull of her gravity. To go from nothing to suddenly that, out there in the Black, there’s just – there’s nothing like that feeling of coming home. And Star Destroyers all do that to you, every time. They’re huge, they’re graceful. I thought… you know, none of this matters? And I just let myself fall completely into it, let myself embrace everything about being a pilot.. It’s… honestly, sir, it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.
Interviewer: Why is that?
Because – everyone here cares. Even if the Empire itself isn’t perfect, these people are… about as close as I can imagine anyone ever could be? You can go up to anyone on this ship and they know exactly what their jobs are. And I know, every time, that my fighter was in good hands when the engineers checked it over or fixed something. I’m part of something big and good and safe. I know some people don’t like the Empire, but.. it’s really.. it’s not that bad? It’s home. And if more people could just come on board here and see what it’s like, and see how hard everyone works to try and protect them from rebels and terrorists, maybe public opinion would change a little. You know? Stop trying to use propaganda and just show people the truth. Nobody here wants to hurt anyone, especially not civilians. We just want peace.
Interviewer: What about the charges that sometimes, the Empire’s responses are too violent? Or even unprovoked?
I wouldn’t know about that, sir. I couldn’t say. What I know though is that it doesn’t matter. In the long run, the galaxy needs peace, and I don’t think a billion different governments can get that… there needs to be just one. Then maybe everyone will have the same opportunities. I know that my siblings couldn’t afford to go to school back home until I started getting paychecks… and I know that being here is the only time in my life I’ve ever felt like I matter. Even one TIE pilot can make a difference. Even if we only save one life, or one house, or one ship, that’s all that matters. We can get out there and just – we can do it all. I matter. Maybe I’m just a nameless cog in a giant machine, but.. I’m a TIE pilot and I’m here to protect people, and I couldn’t be prouder.
Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to say to any rebels out there?
Yeah! Don’t shoot me! [laughs] Sorry. Um. No. But really, I’ll be there for you. Whoever you are, if you’re a citizen of the Empire and you need to be protected, there are thousands of pilots just like me, and we’re all here for you. Don’t be a rebel. We all want the same thing, guys, you know? It’s going to be okay. As long as we work together, we’re all going to be okay. Is that enough?
Am I done now?
Editor’s Note: Ejen Dari was killed in the terrorist attack on Corellia. Acting independently, he used his TIE to force the grounding of a fuel tanker carrying a biological weapon, and thus prevented it from fully dispersing the weapon over the city. Forward interview to COMPNOR
Being forgiven by David after all she has done was a bit surprising to Bete, and becoming a new counselor of Camp Campbell was also very surprising. Bete knew she had to make up all of her mistakes she has done and what is the best next thing than a special surprise for each camper and counselor for this camp! As she picked up a stick to make a doll for Nikki, Bete hears some footsteps and turns around to see a figure staring at her. “Hello? What are you doing out here? Shouldn’t you be inside a house or cabin somewhere in case a bear or wolf might attack?”
They melt together and reshape into their original diamond shape. The bubbles pop and down tumbles a whole diamond and the shards of a caramel pearl. Change is among us. The diamond glows and Pink Diamond is once again formed. *sigh* “Well that was a wild ride…”
for @1280mgofcaffeinedaily – seemed like a good point to give it a new thread, since we’ve moved locations entirely and the other one was so damned long.. I hope that’s okay? I pasted your last reply on this.
It had been a ridiculously long and busy day for everyone. Kallus knew it. Kallus was trying to be patient. Kallus had an entire agency to reorganize on top of his investigation. It had taken him three hours of ignoring everything - food, water, the ‘fresher, his door, the comm - to get through the work he hadn’t been able to finish before his malicious promotion to a position for which he wasn’t qualified. Following that, he’d sent out messages to the department heads and certain supervisors requesting a variety of things: mostly numbers, times for confidential calls and the like, and a private message to Colonel Yularen requesting to arrange an in-person meeting. If there was anyone in the Imperial Security Bureau he could sort of trust to teach him what he needed to know, it was the famed former Admiral and favorite ISB Academy instructor. Then he’d woken his lover, tried to get him into the mood to finish what Laerth had deceived him about the night before, only to be interrupted by medical.
Kallus still wasn’t allowed to have any form of caffeine, as that asshole medic had reminded him again. As he was being transferred to the care of the Chimaera’s CMO, he knew it would be a long time coming.
All the stim pills had been confiscated before he could pack them.
Now he was exhausted, going through caffeine withdrawal, and recovering from a far more thorough physical exam than anyone else welcomed aboard the Chimaera had suffered. They were only waiting to be allowed out of quarantine now, and still had some time left to go, though he’d lost track of it. All he wanted to do was go to their assigned quarters and fall face-first into his bunk for another twelve hours. Now that they were here and Laerth was going to be greeted in his official capacity as Emperor - and have to play the part as well - the chances of them having time for anything but work were next to nothing. He would have to sneak in Laerth’s room at night somehow, if they were to continue having a sexual or romantic life at all.
One of the officers raised an eyebrow at him and Kallus glared. He wasn’t sulking. He was just tired.
On the medbay screens through which security was monitoring the quarantine area, Director Kallus stood out like a sore thumb. He looked completely exhausted: there were dark circles under his eyes, his usually perfect posture was little more than a slouch, and the man was having trouble keeping his head up. Pellaeon frowned, and turned to look at the ship’s CMO. “What’s going on with Director Kallus?” he asked.
The man pursed his lips together and shook his head. Colonel Farragut was tall, dark-skinned, and bald, and had such a friendly demeanor that to see him look disapproving caught Pellaeon off-guard. “Caffeine withdrawal, at the least. In a situation like this, it’s bound to make anyone grumpy. Add sleep deprivation to it and you get an exhausted man who looks like he’d kill half your crew for a bed.”
Pellaeon shook his head. One of his concerns had been how the sudden promotions would affect Kallus and Ashkevron. One at least appeared to be coping better than the other. “Only water and rest will help, I’m afraid. I’ve put orders for his diet in the system: he shouldn’t be able to break out of it.”
That was good. If Kallus was going to succeed as the Director of the Imperial Security Bureau, he needed to recover, and quickly. “Good. How much longer, Colonel?”
“Five more minutes, Captain.”
“I’ll go inform the Admiral.”
Because one didn’t inform an Admiral by comlink of such important matters, and because it had been hours since they’d seen each other last, Pellaeon went in person to go fetch him. His office wasn’t far away at all, and he straightened himself up before pushing the buzzer that would grant him admittance. Even thirty seconds alone would be enough after overseeing the decon procedures, returning personnel, and briefing their relief: Captain Brandei and the Judicator.
Laerth had barely seen Kallus that day. As soon as the medic interrupted, his conscience had gotten the better of him and he’d quickly showered and dressed, intending to go out and get to work in a hazmat suit. The ever-growing piles of bodies were turning into public health nightmares, although their rate of growth had started to slow, thankfully. If there was one thing Laerth was good at, it was physical labor, and he wasn’t particularly bothered by death. Laerth had intended to go and help with taking photographs of the dead, along with identifying marks, to help with records; not everyone, after all, had someone to remember them, or had died with an ID on them. Not everyone had died at home – some hadn’t even had homes to die in. Corpse handling was a high-risk job, but there weren’t enough droids to get it done.
Unfortunately, his Stormtrooper escort had been so dismayed, their horror radiating off of them like light from a damned sun, that he’d stopped and forced himself to remember the truth: he had other damned responsibilities.
Now, sitting in quarantine, Laerth tried not to seethe. Tried. Tried. Anger pulsed and raced through him, reminding him of its familiar, heady power. It was so much more vibrant than the way he use the Force now, and the desire to simply let it rule him, to stop cooperating, to get things done exactly how he wanted them, was strong. Again and again, though, Laerth reminded himself that what he did these days was different. Better. He didn’t want to go back to the monster he’d been –
But now, thanks to Palpatine, he’d never really escape it, either. This name, this name, the name he’d worn like a damned chain for most of his life, was the official one. It was a petty thing to be angry about in the face of all this death, he knew, but the anger returned again and again. He’ll never let me have my own name. Never… and the bastard’s already out of contact. Wherever the hell he is.
Laerth put down the datapad. He had been staring at it almost all day, going through the private information his former master had left him and also trying to catch up on the thousands of messages Palpatine had left unread, which had left him wondering just what the hell the Emperor had spent his time doing, since it didn’t seem like he was particularly fussed about trying.
If Laerth looked at the pad any more, his head might just split in two.
Instead, he paced as much as he could in his private little quarantine cell. He wanted to see his partner. He wanted to touch him, to sink his fingers into Alexsandr’s hair and know that he was alright, still alive, still not infected. He wanted to just walk out and find him – but he couldn’t. He was being cooperative – but that didn’t mean waiting was easy.
Fuck all of this.
Still. Although Laerth knew that he was going to struggle with the new position, knew that playing the part was going to be Hell, that not even being able to go anywhere alone was going to drive him mad, there was one perk he didn’t completely mind: he didn’t get stripped and scrubbed in front of everyone. His decontamination had been private and he suspected he was being physically handled with more care and gentleness than most of the others might get, considering they spent an extra twenty minutes on him. That he couldn’t help but feel guilty for, but all the same…
Unlike Kallus, Laerth didn’t look exhausted. He looked like he could keep up this slow, calm pacing for hours yet, or perhaps days. Any traces of weariness were well-hidden. He looked calm – unless one met his eyes. That was a different story. There, Laerth allowed just a glimmer of the truth to show; his eyes held the dangerous allure of one of the great cats at rest. To come close was inviting, but to come too close could be a lethal mistake.
Thrawn didn’t look up when Pellaeon entered. He stood, holding a datapad in one hand, holding his chin in the other, and frowned as he continued reading. Only when he got to the end of the document and quickly wrote a somewhat lengthy reply did he look up, eyes gleaming.
3am. Another late night over Dio’s mansion. It seemed like these hours were common, given their schedules and the fact that Dio’s young child could easily wake at odd hours of thr night. But what wasn’t normal was the sound that seemed to be coming from the basement.
[I did a mini rp with @reformed-daniels-search-history and I know that Daniel is with David (more specifically @gayvld I believe), but I kinda low-key wanna ship my oc with Cultist and see what happens when you put a poetic, kind- souled masochistic psychopath (sorta contradictory) with a pure evil cultist]
“I am well aware of his loyalties, Lord Vader… Well aware.” Palpatine looked across the room at where their guest rested.
Vader clenched a fist. “Allow me to deal with him – permanently.”
Palpatine only laughed. It was the same bitter, ugly, dry old laugh that Laerth had listened to for so long, but he heard more cruelty in it now than he ever had before. Thirteen years away had destroyed what was left of his tolerance, it seemed. Even when the laughter wasn’t directed at him, but at Darth Vader, it still grated. It took every ounce of poise and control for Laerth to stay calm, to keep himself draped so casually and inappropriately in his chair as he listened to Anakin throw yet another fit over him.
“I have use yet for Laerth Ashkevron.”
Laerth raised his eyebrows. “Do you really? Fascinating. I almost thought you’d given up all hope of ever seeing me again, considering how overdue I was. But please, there’s no need to play nice just because I’m in the room. Go ahead. Explain to Anacan’t why he can’t kill me.”
Vader’s breath sucked in louder and he took a step forward, lightsaber in hand, although not yet ignited. “You would be wise to hold your tongue.”
“Likely.” Laerth draped his head over the back of the chair. “But wisdom was never in my job description. Besides. You can’t kill me. Trust me. Every attempt has been made. It’ll take, for a while, but…” He made a dismissive gesture with one hand, sighed, then stretched luxuriously – more because Vader couldn’t than because he himself really needed to. Laerth groaned with pleasure, then finally stood up. “So. Lothal. Kallus seems like a charming enough fellow. Although why I’m to shadow someone like him…”
Palpatine turned away. “The recommendation was not mine.”
Laerth’s eyes followed his every movement. No. No, it most certainly wasn’t, yet you agreed all the same. “Is his loyalty in question?”
“If it is, you will dispose of him. Either,” Palpatine’s cheek twitched, “of them. But I have not foreseen trouble with Agent Kallus. He is a more loyal man than some.”
“Zing.” Laerth tugged on his jacket to get it settled more comfortably; he still wasn’t entirely used to wearing such stiff fabric again. Glancing over, he saw that Vader still had his lightsaber out – obstinate little fucker. “You wanna put that thing away, big boy? You won, remember? Daddy’s all about you and couldn’t care less about me. Of course, you’ll never be able to do half of what I can, but hey.” Laerth smiled and shrugged, purely taunting. “No one’s born equal.” Seeing that Skywalker had the sense to just stand there, Laerth turned back to Palpatine. Force, I hate him, he thought, with a surge of venomous wrath so intense, so sudden, that he saw Palpatine’s pupils widen as the man felt it wash over him. Laerth tamped down on his emotions quickly.
“You have been away too long,” Palpatine said, his voice turning soft, silken.
“Guess so. But look. Let’s focus on business. What’s my role in your precious Empire?”
“You, Ashkevron, are my Hand.”
Laerth narrowed his eyes. “You’re serious.”
“It’s in your file.”
“What else is in there?” Laerth asked. Just how much will Kallus know about me by the time I get there? Will he know how old I really am? Where I came from? Even half of what you did to me?
“Very little. You represent me. Where you stand, my former apprentice, I am. Should a… situation occur… you have my full authority to dispense with any special circumstances as you see fit. If he looks into your file, that is all he’ll see. You are, once again, a man without a past. Do not make the mistake of offering him a glimpse of it.”
Laerth bowed, although Palpatine was no longer looking at him. “Yeah. Sure. You got it. Anything else?” He was about to go, but when he felt the twisted, sickly, corrupted darkness that was Sidious’s signature rise up around them, Laerth sighed.
Right, he thought. I’ve been gone too long. And now he wants to remind me why I have no choice but loyalty. He stood still, hands at his sides, and looked at the floor. If I had a scrap of self-respect…
The door hissed open and closed as Vader left, and Laerth sighed. There was only one way through this.
By the time he arrived at the dried-out, crusty, cracked asshole of the galaxy, Ashkevron was exhausted. He didn’t bother with any of the banter he usually offered to anyone and everyone stuck with him, despite how tempting his Stormtrooper escort seemed. Ordinarily, anyone being so serious was an automatic target for him to poke at, but all he wanted was sleep. Six years of it, maybe more. It didn’t even matter if a bed was involved, as long as nobody woke him up and nothing had to hurt – and as long as he didn’t dream. Force. No more dreams.
Discomfort radiated off of the Stormtroopers as they escorted him. He wondered what in particular caused it. Did they know his shiny new job title? Did his lack of a uniform scream ‘idiot civilian who must be protected?’ He was all in black, which really shouldn’t bother any Imperial. Was it the lightsaber, he wondered? It hung from his scuffed once-black belt. The lightsaber handle was matte black, scuffed, dinged, and it looked more like something that belonged in a museum than a working weapon. The blaster at his side was newer. The soft black tunic he wore newer still. Maybe I look like a mistake just pieced together, he thought grimly, trying to find a sense of amusement as he wandered more dead, lifeless halls. Everything was always the same. Palpatine’s machinations would never…
Best not to even go down that road.
After getting settled in his quarters, which were apparently attached to Agent Kallus’, Laerth went to wait for the other man. He knew he could’ve gone in to the meeting, that none of them really would’ve had the authority to kick him out, but he was too tired to be ambitious with his bullshit that day. He leaned against the wall, closed his eyes…
And opened them some time later, waking up from the unexpected nap, when the door opened beside him.
“Agent Kallus,” he said, when he saw the man walk out. Laerth offered him his hand. “Just as handsome as your official picture.”
Yukako was sitting on the floor, while Dio was in one of his armchairs, reading. She was painting his nails again, like she’d done once before. Considering the people they usually spent their time with were out at the moment, Yukako figured they should enjoy something midday, perhaps tea, instead of late at night.
He’d met with a couple of different versions of Morty before. Only ever something brief, but it had been significant enough that he’d remembered the a tad more about the young boy than he did most people.
That and the fact that he was grandson to that irksome Sanchez.
Never had he met one bearing an eye-patch though. It wasn’t just that, but a certain sternness sat about this one, as though the smiling, goofy boy he’d previously encountered lay desolated beneath a thick cover of… Something far darker.
And naturally, to a creature such as Gaster, his curiosity compels him to stay. To interact and observe. Was that not the entire purpose of travel, after all? So he approaches from his shadowed corner, bold as brass in the way of questioning that is so typical to him.
“ Excuse me, but are you not Mortimer smith? Grandchild to Rick Sanchez? ”
Another day to be spent in the laboratory. There were worse places he could think to be, but even Gaster held a little of that ‘I don’t want to work today’ spirit. It was deep down and utterly minuscule, but it was there.
Attentiveness though, is nothing he’s short of. So a pair of shoes poking out from behind an exclusion screen is the first thing he notices, as he steps down the pristine stairs to the equally immaculate lab beneath his house.
Well. Sans’ house now. It’s tit-for-tat though.
“ Holly, please come out from behind the curtain. I can see your feet. ”