Though she’d never admit it aloud, Jayna couldn’t help but feel some level of anxiety after her Galactic Address. More than ever, the eyes of trillions were upon her - with a multitude of articles and tabloids circulating the HoloNet. Even the quarter-Sephi hadn’t anticipated the backlash it would have on her father, and certainly wasn’t prepared for the shouting she received from Jaikus as a result. (@Sreeya)
None of it was going to derail her ambitions.
The Heiress was adorned in a custom sapphire gown - dresses and prepared for negotiations scheduled to take place on Rendili. For once, Jayna went without her usual detail of ISC bodyguards - instead opting for a single, tall Orcolan that moved alongside her.
It was in transit to her yacht that Jayna came face to face with the crowd of reporters - each of them clamoring for a question from the Thorne. “Ms. Thorne!” One reporter called out from the front.
After a pause, Jayna finally turned to face them for question.
“Ms. Thorne! What do you have to say to those critiquing your alignment with the Jedi?” The reporter asked, glancing down at their Datapad. “Some have claimed that your support of the Order is merely a marketing ploy for EzTech.” Jayna stared back at the reporter - her expression unchanging.
“I am curious, then, how my opponents would propose fighting the creations of Darth Raze - the very same that have ravaged worlds across the Core?” She asked curtly. “Abominations, who are notoriously vulnerable to the Light Side of the Force alone.” She was met with silence. Words she knew would resonate with those living in fear of Raze. Words that would resonate for the trillions that supported the Jedi, after the efforts of Senator’s like Kalist and Drast.
The Heiress shook her head. “Those who are incapable of putting aside their own prejudices for the good of the Galaxy, have no business advocating a course of action.”
“Ms. Thorne, why has the President taken this sudden change in policy to support Force Users?”
Jayna turned to face the reporter. “Allow me to be clear,” She began. “I am not my father, and I am not a representative of the Consortium.” She said flatly.
“The defensive alliance that the Core systems need - what I have sworn to build - will be self-sufficient and independent. We will defend our home without risking the citizens or foreign governments, or becoming beholden to their foreign policy.” She had no intention of requesting aid from her fathers. No intention of piggybacking off of Consortium resources.
“Despite the inaction of my critics, hour ago, I gave my word that I will act in the best interest of those in need of it most. And that is precisely what I will do.”
With that, Jayna turned back towards the path ahead - towards the speeder that prepared to take her offworld.
Emryc didn’t get this far in politics without being ruthless. He had stayed largely silent as his daughter made her big splash on the galactic political scene. He didn’t offer public endorsements nor condemnation, keeping his distance to allow her to establish her own career. However, even he couldn’t help but consider the folly of putting the Jedi on a pedestal. Criticizing the Empire - who were actively attacking Jedi worlds - only further cemented her as a Jedi ally. She would lose support from all that despised Jedi or were neutral. Her voter base was now limited only to those in the galaxy that backed Jedi, a far smaller pool than in historical times. Even her explanation in this tabloid could easily be brushed off as parroting Jedi propaganda. Unless she was a Jedi, what could she possibly know about 'Force Light'? Why wouldn't the galaxy look to science as the first step towards combating these beasts? Emryc could hear the headlines already.
Jaikus had agreed to speak with their daughter about another matter entirely - the fact that Jayna was seeing a Jedi boy. Jaikus hadn’t done his part, which meant it came down to Emryc. And Emryc was not a sentimental man. He could love his children, but politics were politics. If Jayna wanted to get into the big leagues, she would need to learn how to navigate her words and avoid enraging entire swaths of the galaxy.
He picked up his comlink and said something simple to Jayna, “You are not a Jedi. You do not have the Force or any real need to align with Jedi or Sith. I will not endorse or support your decisions to ally so readily with the Jedi and to go as far as tangling them into your personal life where it completely invalidates and colors everything you say. I am effectively cutting off any funding or support you receive from the Thorne estate,” He said nothing further before cutting the line.
If she wanted to dissociate from the ISC, she was free to build herself from the ground up with finances she personally raised. The training wheels came off and she was on her own. And she had an uphill battle from where she would begin.
Unlike Jayna, Augustus wore a simple dark blue suit, a little above the cost of a standard store bought item but still achievable by most of the core if they worked hard. He also travelled in a run of the mill Speeder, the only difference to the others flying about Rendili’s capital was the emblem of the Anti-Force User Society on the side. Unlike Princess Thorne, Augustus Shaw wanted to show himself as a man of the people, the same people constantly under the boot of the Force Using Menace.
The speeder pulled up outside the Societies new headquarters, a throng of journalists to rival Jayna’s own were waiting outside. Augustus paused for a moment, security moving from the building to split the journalists allowing Shaw to exit the speeder and head for the entrance. “Mr Shaw, What do you have to say about Jayna Thorne’s recent comments that you have no business advocating a course of action due to ‘prejudice’?” Called one of the reporters as he passed. Augustus smiled as he thought about the question, he had seen Jayna’s comment aimed at little ol him. He was planning on making an official comment after the Senatorial Elections were up, but the reporter's question set it up so nicely.
Turning on his heels at the top of the stairs leading into the building he raised his hands for silence. It took a moment for the reporters and the crowd to quieten down enough for him to speak, though his voice had to be raised to be heard amongst the continued commotion. “I find Ms Thorne’s comment that my own beliefs and I remind you, and her, the beliefs of many of my fellow Citizens across the galaxy.” He said, raising his voice and gesturing to the crowds beyond to raise their voices in support. “Prevent me from voicing my concerns in the public sphere. An utter disgrace and spits in the face of the Republican traditions that we hold so dear. That I should be silenced because my opinions differ from hers makes me sick to my stomach.” Augustus had no script, this was all off the cuff, so he kept going, tapping into the points he had jotted down in his diary earlier today.
“She claims that the Abominations of Darth Raze are ‘Notoriously’ vulnerable to the Light Side of the Force. That is the first I am hearing of it, have you?” He asked, pointing at one of the reporters who was holding out his microphone, the man simply shook his head. “You?” He asked another, then another. All coming back with the same answer. “How notorious is it then, if not a single person here had heard about this before Ms Thorne uttered the words today? It is just more Pro-Jedi propaganda from a woman intrinsically tied to the order herself. Her brother is a known Jedi, her Father Jaikus helped start a company with her brother with the sole purpose of funding the Order itself. Everyone of those EZPhone's you carry directly goes to support a zealous regime that actively promotes the genocide of a religion that opposes its own.”
“This is just a tactic by Ms Thorne, her brother and the Jedi Order to insert themselves as your ‘saviours’, to re-install the Order at the top of the political food chain. To once again put the good common people of this Galaxy under the yoke of another Force User oppressor. I say no more!” He cried, stamping his foot. “They will come and fight for us against Darth Raze, perhaps, but then they will turn around and demand that we fight their wars for them in return. Force us to fight the Sith and the Empire just because they swing a Lightsaber a different shade to theirs. All whilst taking our young from us to train them as fanatical religious zealots. The Jedi are not the ones we should be turning to.” Augustus grabbed a man from the crowd pulling him up onto the steps and embracing him tightly with both arms, asking for his name quietly, before turning him to face the crowd, Augustus raising the man’s arm with his own. “We should be turning to each other, to men like Mansor, to fight this menace and free our Galaxy from the repeating ideological wars that have killed Trillions throughout the past five thousand years.”
“Now Ms Thorne, I commend you for standing up in these times of Darkness, I do, but you and your brother are not what the Galaxy need. It is people like Mansor, like Ti’chuk and Kali that we need” Augustus pointed to two of his known supporters who had filtered into the crowd from the building behind him. “Normal, everyday people, not Princesses and Knights, these are the people that will drive our Galaxy forward into a new tomorrow.” “A Free Galaxy, Augustus Shaw!” Screamed someone in the back.
Augustus would find out later that it was a plant by his own society, but he didn’t care as his name ‘Shaw’ was being chanted loudly as he finally stepped through the building's entrance, a fat smile on his face.