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Altair Din

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Fuck. He was doing one of these again. He was tired of his own mug showing up on Holonet. However, people insisted that his face popping up would be a morale boost to the Empire. Altair used to shy away from media, but over the years he had grown numb to most things.

As it had years prior, his face popped up behind a podium as he made an address, “Citizens of the galaxy,” He began, his clipped and formal accent back in place for such a brief, “I am Altair Din, Grand Marshal of the Empire. I have returned to answer the call of duty in the wake of an Empire that has suffered countless aggressions.”

He paused before he continued, “I am here to remind the galaxy that we will not be erased so easily. We have been in the midst of wars on multiple fronts and so will take swift action to mitigate. First and foremost, we hereby declare a ceasefire with the Jedi. With the onslaught of abominations and other such aggressors in the galaxy for which the Jedi are best equipped, the Empire will not engage them on a second front.”


His eyes narrowed as he spoke next, “Secondly, we will stop any further aggression against the Sith. The Empire had removed both Darth Andruil and the entity known as Darth Raze. However, it is clear the galaxy has seen fit to keep us alienated and turn a blind eye to the suffering of our citizens,” Distastes poured into his tone, “We will not clean up the galaxy’s problems any further. Our war with the Sith is over.”

Altair plugged two Imperial bleeding wounds right then, “Through these trying times, let us remember that we stand as one. The Empire has withstood countless threats to its freedom, prosperity and identity. We will weather these storms just as we have during our wars with the Consortium. Just as we had through the schism with the Sith. We will rally and we will hold fast against any that threaten us.”
 

Gor'Jarr Desilijic

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In the wake of Emperor Drast's death, the Hutts had slimed their way towards massive profits in the underworlds of the Imperial systems. Given a treaty with wide berth and absolute sovereignty in foreign territories, untold numbers of credits from the spice-addled, hopeless and helpless masses of the Empire flowed directly to the Cartel's hands. Gor'Jarr spent the money partying on Nal Hutta, parlaying bets on sports, and arming his trigger-happy Gamorreans to secure the flow of goods within the Empire.

Yet, crisis had not fractured the Empire, as he anticipated. An unexpected variable emerged onto a holo-screen: The Empire's retired Warmaster. Gor'Jarr had expected a break. Intstead, they had hardened under the pressure. The Empire was most powerful as a top-down organization. When they were without a leader, fighting a war on three fronts against Jedi, Sith, and Hutts, as they expanded into neutral space, the Hutts had extensive leverage to use truly bizarre monkeys as an armed force instead of committing their own troops, and negotiate deals to their favor. Now, a leader emerged again, to marshal their forces. Now, the monkeys were dead. Would they turn their sights on the Hutts soon, too?

In a single speech, he ended the wars with Sith and Jedi. His silence on the Hutts was perhaps the loudest statement he could speak: While the Jedi and Sith were the Empire's ideological enemies, it was the Hutts that the entire military apparatus of the Empire would now face. The Hutts had neither morale nor soldiers to fight defensively. Hutts ruled as oppressive, overbearing, foreign tyrants as a matter of principle - if the Empire ever made it into their borders, the populous would greet them as liberators. A terrifying thought.

From within the deep reaches of the endless parties in the pleasure palace of Nal Hutta, Gor'Jarr stewed over all of this as he chomped on his shisha. The loud room had quieted as the holoscreen showed Altair's A toydarian majordomo cackled and jeered at the words of Altair Din, flitting to face Gor'Jarr. "Do these insignificant fools in the Empire think that peace with the Jedi and Sith will stop us? My lord, the Concordant will never be broken!"

Gor'Jarr growled, withdrawing his blaster pistol to execute the sniveling insect to end his prattling. "Ja weemba sa oba. Oka doe bunko ateema." The Hutts needed to re-strategize. The time of slow-rolling was over.

@Sreeya
 

Vallyrie Winters

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Lieutenant

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Vallyrie sat aboard the ship that had been taking Iron Company from Imperial world to Imperial world to root out and eliminate Hutt insurgencies. Her blaster rifle sat in front of her on the grey foot locker. Every component was grabbed, cleaned, oiled, and wiped down without her even having to look at them. Her brown eyes were focused on the holo-screen hanging up on the wall of her quarters. Grand Marshal Altair Din appeared, and he did not disappoint. She'd heard about Korda VI, and liked the man's style- unfortunately missing out on his previous work for the Empire.

"About kriffing time." she said, a smile spreading across her lips as she reassembled her blaster rifle. She grabbed her combat shovel and began to sharpen the edge. Business for Iron Company was going to be booming in the coming weeks.
 

Alexi Stravos

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Alexi sat at the desk in his office in a towering skyscraper on Anaxes, above he could see the sprawling ship construction yards. A flash across the holo screen at the far side of the room caught his attention, he slid a finger along a console on the desk turning the volume up.

He listened as the seemingly now un-retired Grand Marshal began speaking. A smile touched the corner of his lips as he listened. Power was within the Grand Marshal's grasp, and yet he just refused to take it. Why was that? The concept seemed so foreign to him. The young CEO had all the credits he could ever want, power is what he craved now. They called themselves an Empire and yet couldn't find an Emperor among them.

His smile evened slightly as he mentioned hostilities ending with the Sith. One of those deranged lunatics had almost killed him, he would have rather seen every last one of them erased completely from the Galaxy.

In many ways, his horse was already tied to the Empire. Behind-the-scene deals had ensured that if the Empire fell entirely, his business would also fall. Perhaps it was time for an expansion, a gamble to cash in to gain actual influence.

He clicked the button, calling his secretary. He answered back a second later. "Yes sir, Mr Stravos?" the man asked. "Schedule a meeting with the Senator on Raxus." he said.
 
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Tannon Dellian

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Imperial Knight

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A difficult time for the Empire, and by extension for the freshly christened Imperial Knight. But perhaps things were looking up now. Tannon casually lounged in the canteen at the Knight's headquarters, giving his blaster, "Spewie", a long overdue scrub when the holo-screen flickered on... showing the retired Grand Marshal?

"This gotta be good," he sat up, listening keenly. And oh boy was it good. A devious half smirk stretched onto his lips at the announcement, especially the lack of mentioning of the Hutts. He didn't care for the cultist weirdos calling themselves Jedi and Sith; enemies or not, they didn't matter to him. But the Hutts— they've made it personal, humiliating the Empire with that foul 'peace agreement'.

No. As far as he was concerned, those overgrown slugs still had to be taught some manners.
 

Cipher Four

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Agent

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___Four sat silently in the darkness of her office, occasionally puffing on a cigarette as she watched the broadcast play out. This broadcast—the complacency of her dear countrymen—reminded her how little their culture had advanced. The Empire had spent too long mistaking loudness for importance, declaring hostilities on every faction as if in its death throes of defiance. It lacked the meaning and artistry of the Empire's previous actions, but that was about to be rectified. With Altair at the helm, perhaps the Empire would finally bloom again like a flower in the dawn.

___Taking a final drag of her cigarette, Four snuffed the embers out in an ashtray. His silence about the Hutts spoke volumes, and his demeanour and cadence in addressing the restoration of the Empire itself gave her hope. Her eyes were transfixed on him as he spoke, her chin propped on her thumb as she rubbed her finger thoughtfully against her lips. As hopeful as she was that Altair would restore order, return the Empire to its proper glory, and make it flourish once again, a part of her heart went out to him. A part of her knew, belying his confidence and bravado, that he didn't want this responsibility.

___As the broadcast ended, Four remained still, staring at the screen as it resumed its standard broadcast. Altair's words provided catharsis for her and no doubt for every other unsung victim of the perpetual conflicts the Empire found itself embroiled with.

___Amid her contemplation, Four's datapad lit up with a notification. She reached out to grab it and preview the notification, scrolling through the information. She set the pad down and rose to her feet, turning the screen off and walking towards the door. The ISB and the Ciphers were about to be very busy, but she had never looked forward to the jobs about to cross her desk so much as she did now.

___She wouldn't just help the Empire. She would help Altair, too. Four's fealty and undying loyalty to the Empire had never felt more vindicated.
 

Daniel Solus

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This was it, the final battle. Months of blood, sweat, tears and uncertainty had all been for this. Helnia Ta, Mother of the Jungle, Witch Queen of Dathomir flew through the air. The dark magic of her kind was at her side, in her eyes, in her hands. The army before her stood no chan---

With sudden flicker, the Witch Queen's snarling face was replaced by the banal crest of the Empire.

Daniel, who had been shovelling cereal into himself at a furious pace, froze. Spoon halfway to his mouth he let out a muffled cry of dismay and hurriedly mashed the return button with his other hand. It was the season finale! He didn't have time for whatever this nonsense was. He needed to watch it before someone inevitably spoiled the ending. There was no time for whatever the blue faced idiot was saying.

Disgusted, Dan finally finished the spoonful of cereal that had been suspended halfway between table and mouth and slid the datapad across the table away from him. What the guy on the screen was saying didn't make much sense either, Daniel thought as he looked around his tiny kitchen. 'We're not at war, everything is cool but we're also ready to be at war?'. Daniel didn't understand.

After an eternity the public service announcement ended; the feral cries of war on Dathomir filling the small space once again Daniel nearly fell out of his seat as he scrabbled to reach the datapad that had slid farther than he expected.

"Finally!" was his only thought as he applied himself once again to his cereal and datapad.
 

Calvin Viett

Empire
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Lieutenant

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Calvin was awoken early before his rest cycle could complete. Regular scheduled cycles kept his cybernetic systems powered and working in harmony with the rest, but an interrupted one could be worse than a hangover. He thought at first there must have been an outage, before he heard a familiar voice.

Grand Marshal Din was speaking on the holoscreen, all formality and fierce determination. Imperial command broadcasts were one of the few events pre-programmed to terminate a cycle and Calvin slowly sat up, listening intently to the Tiefling's words.

A ceasefire with the Jedi, and with the Sith.

The Lieutenant felt momentarily dizzy, his head and heart in conflict. A cessation of hostilities was smart, cunning even. The Empire could not purge itself of Cartel influence at the same time as contending with external foes. This path would grant them the time and stability needed.

But the Sith too? Their actions had carved the Empire of old in two, setting the Imperials back years and tearing people and planets apart. Calvin had enlisted with the old Empire and, whatever its faults, he remembered its greatness. The Sith stood in the way of them reestablishing that dominance. They were equally committed to the Empire's downfall.

Nothing evoked more mixed feelings in the cyborg than the Grand Marshal himself. Calvin liked the confidence and authority, but resented they were now law. He liked the vision and sense of purpose, but was frustrated they were not his own. He loved that they had a leader again, but hated that the Grand Marshal had lived while the General had died.

"Viett to the bridge" he called on the comm, awaiting the duty officer's acknowledgement. "Drop out of hyperspace and charge the comms relay".

If there were any new orders coming down, Calvin planned to be the first to read them.
 

Voren Dhur

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Voren Dhur, watching the holoscreen in the dimly lit corner of the Hyperlane Herald's office, scowled at the familiar face of Altair Din. His fingers tapped impatiently on the edge of his desk as he muttered under his breath.

"Great, another one of these self-righteous Empire speeches. Morale boost my bantha's backside," Voren grumbled, taking a swig from a flask conveniently hidden in one of his desk drawers. He glanced around the cluttered room, making sure no one was watching as he muttered to himself.

"Ceasefire with the Jedi? Sith pacification? What a load of space junk. This is the kind of scoop the Hyperlane Herald should have had! The galaxy needs to know the real story behind this sudden change of heart," he muttered, glaring at his holoscreen as if it personally offended him.

Leaning back in his creaky chair, Voren began drafting a blistering message to his staff. "You spineless nerf herders! How did we miss this? Get out there and find me the angles Altair Din doesn't want us to see. The Empire might be declaring peace, but something's not right, and we're going to be the ones to expose it. Move, move, move!"
 

Clove Vanhoop

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As the Grand Marshal of the Empire delivered his grand speech, two pairs of wide eyes fixed on the hologram. One a bright violet, while the other a chocolate brown. Zara was tucked close to Clove, seated between her mother's legs, as her hair was gently tugged to form a new row of braids. "Daddy!" She cheerfully pointed out, pointing.

Clove gave a soft laugh, tilting her head to the right. "That's right. that's daddy. He's having an extremely important talk. Doesn't he look strong?!" She leaned her head even further to the right, noticing the sparkle in her daughter's eyes and how focused she was on the screen. It has been several weeks since Altair left to rejoin the Empire. Every night, when possible, he'd call Zara and sing her a lullaby. Every night, Clove was a crying, blubbering mess behind the camera, only able to compose herself in time to wish him good luck for the next day and a good night.

But while Zara was beaming with pride and happiness at her father, Clove's brow wrinkled in concern. Sure, he was making some significant changes, such as the ceasefire with the Jedi, a group of people she still somewhat considered family. But was this fight worth risking his life for? Would she be able to let go of him without collapsing back to the shell she used to be? Was she a strong enough mother to raise Zara on her own if the worst-case scenario happened? Well, she had to, and she had the Din family to help her. But that didn't stop the concerns that flooded her mind.

Still. It didn't matter.

Clove supported his decision to return to the Empire, and she was not going to back down now. If this was the right decision for him, it was also for her. Somewhat.

Zara's irritated waggle of her tail and audible sigh of impatience snapped her back to the present. While she'd been thinking about the future, Zara had been sitting still, the unfinished braid still in her mother's hands. "Oh, whoops." Clove smiled softly and gently kissed the back of her daughter's head. "I'm sorry. Let's go finish your hair, and then we'll go see Granddad Din. I've been told that they are having cupcakes."


@Sreeya
 
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