Star Wars: Predators
Kevlan straightened his uniform for the fourteenth time since debarking from his shuttle. He was not normally too concerned with his appearance, but this was an important day and his white dress uniform itched.
The turbolift let him out into a stark slate grey waiting lounge lined with deep red chairs. The room was featureless save for the silver double doors opposite the turbolift. Kevlan chose to remain standing, knowing from experience that although these chairs looked lush and comfortable, they were not. Cantered at a slight angle, they were designed to make the seated person uncomfortable as they waited. The room was rather plain and he was the sole occupant. For a moment he regretted the lack of a viewport in this room, but he knew that that too must be deliberate – it would not do to give those waiting an easy way to gauge how long they had been kept.
Kevlan did not mind the waiting, it gave him space with his thoughts, space to think. There were so many distractions in modern society that many sentients simply did not have the time to sit and let their mind wander. But Kevlan enjoyed that luxury when he was afforded it, it was when he had his best ideas, like when he realised the key to making a Star Destroyer with a cloaking device feasible.
After some time his interlude was interrupted by the opening of the doors. So silent he barely noticed, yet the doors made more sound as they retracted into the walls than the guards who came to attention at either side of the doors. He rose and passed them, eyeing their crimson robes that concealed heavy plate armour underneath; their sculpted helmets and black visors that served to both intimidate and protect their identity. Kevlan stepped into the darkened throne room.
The air was clean, too clean to Kevlan’s nose, having passed through several dozen filters to detect and treat even the slightest trace of any toxin or contaminant. Security protocols had to be followed though, it would not do to risk an incident here. The wide staircase in the centre of the room was flanked by two tall pillars stretching into the high ceiling. These too were probably more than just for show, Kevlan mused, he imagined they were embedded with all sorts of sophisticated security devices and sensors.
As Kevlan came to the top of the stairs, the single source of light that cast the rest of the room into silhouette came into view. Etched upon the far wall, twenty feet tall, was the uniform circular design of the Imperial cog. Before this etching was a massive hologram displaying the rotating spiral of the galaxy. It spun slowly, every twinkling star rendered in perfect detail. Kevlan had little attention to spare for it’s beauty, he had eyes only for the throne.
The throne was seated on a raised dais, between Kevlan and the hologram. Kevlan knelt before it, casting his eyes downwards as if studying the perfectly polished black floor. Knotted in tension, his senses on alert, he presented a calm exterior, disguising his stress as he waited. And waited. And still he waited. Although less than a minute, it seemed like a life time, and then-
“General Kevlan,” his master’s voice rang out with a vibrancy that seemed incorrect for a man of his years, “What have you to report?”
Kevlan now dared to glance at his master. He had spun the throne around to regard Kevlan, and all that could be made out in the darkness of the room where his eyes. Pale yellow and piercing, they regarded Kevlan from beneath his hood.
“Admiral Rathbone has committed to action against the Hutts. He was repelled, our forces suffering significant losses,” he said. Rathbone may be a lauded tactical genius, but even he can make mistakes. From the reports Kevlan had read it sounded as though Rathbone got wrapped up in his own paranoia and his obsession with that dratted Twi’lek.
“I am aware,” his master snapped, a hint of impatience creeping into his voice.
“It seems that the admiral moved forward with this strike under the authority of Governor Kaine”.
The Emperor said nothing, Kevlan took that as a sign to continue. “As you know, your excellency, I have been working closely with the Governor in bringing the regions in his domain under control. From what I understand, he was aware of Admiral Rathbone’s desire to pacify Hutt Space for some time, and reached out to him in an effort to expand his own influence. It seems as though the loss of the Reichenbach has also claimed the life of her commanding officer. There has been no word from Admiral Rathbone”.
Kevlan supposed he could not blame the Admiral entirely, Predator Squadron were proving to be more of a nuisance than they may initially seem. It is a curious thing, how his creation had blossomed. It seemed as though rather than be disheartened, they took the revelation of their origin and used it to renew their drive to fight him. He actually found that rather admirable in a sense.
“Governor Kaine’s actions and Admiral Rathbone’s foolishness are a source of not insignificant embarrassment,” his master snapped his attention back to the present.
His master turned back to the hologram, which zoomed to display the Hutt Sector. He did not sound surprised, in fact he sounded as though this was not the first time he was hearing of this, “This battle will have taxed the Hutts resources and stressed the bonds of their council. That can be exploited accordingly”.
“Yes, your excellency,” Kevlan replied.
“I trust that you will not make the same mistakes as your predecessor”.
“My predecessor, my lord?”. He dared not hope what this meant.
“Governor Kaine’s treachery must be dealt with accordingly. You will be assuming his duties and responsibilities”.
Few things left Kevlan speechless, but this was one of them. What he’d be able to do with Kaine’s resources… That would mean- No, there would be time for that later.
“You will be promoted accordingly. Rise, Grand Moff Kevlan”.
“Thank you, my lord,” he did as he was bid.
“All that fell under Kaine’s purview falls to you. You are familiar with the inner workings of his sectors, so this transition should be a simple one. Serve me well, Governor”.
Kevlan bowed at the waist, “As ever, I will endeavour to serve in whatever capacity you see fit, your excellency”.
The doors opened and heralded the return of the royal guards. Kevlan assumed this meant his audience was over. With a final bow, he descended the stairs and made for the door.
The Emperor called to him, a final word of warning “Be wary, governor, that you don’t get too wrapped up in your technological creations and schemes. Both of your predecessors made that mistake”. Kevlan made a mental vow not to let history repeat itself for a third time.