had seen the news on the HoloNet. The Zabrak who she
had dismissed earlier in the week was now attempting
to make an impression on Chandrila. Sierra sat at
her desk aboard the Retributor, staring at a datapad
as it played his latest speech during the opening of
his new shelter. People on Chandrila had difficult
lives as of late. As the video cast out a wider
view, she could see that the audience was lapping up
every single one of his words. Her fingers massages
at her temples "There is no shame in asking for what
you need, huh?" Sierra repeated. She picked up
another datapad showing how long it would take to
full recover power on Rhire without using sources
from Esseles. It was ... disappointing. It wasn't
good enough either. She knew Cole Duine had
resources...but did she have the kind she needed?
Sierra believed that she had not misjudged the
Zabrak, but she felt she could use him to help solve
problems that were plaguing her husband's sector. "I
have to meet with him again," she admitted with a
long sigh. The man had raised her hackles. Sierra
had learned to trust her gut, but today, today she
was going to try something else.
She picked up
a small recording device and turned it on. "Hello
Mr. Duine," she began in a calm, level voice. "I've
seen your recent actions on Chandrila. They have
made me reconsider. Perhaps I misjudged you in our
first meeting. I allowed the accusations against you
to cloud my judgment. At your earliest convince,
please return to the Retributor so we can meet
again. I see that you are looking to help the
people. I may have something in mind that will boost
the public's opinion of you should you chose to take
the bait." She reached over to the recording device.
"I will see you soon, Mr. Duine." With that, the
device stopped recording. Sierra picked one,
unlucky, Ensign to use as her messenger. "Take this
to Cole Duine on Chandrila. Only return once you are
sure it is in his hands." She instructed as she
turned back to her work. Sierra had decided to take
initiative. If everything worked out, then Rhire
would find itself in a better position rapidly.
could be found at his Cantina, upstairs in his
office. Sitting at a metal desk he was swiping his
hand through a holoscreen going over his books for
the Cantina. Something he has someone usually do for
him but he always skimmed them over to make sure no
one was skimming him. A knock would be placed upon
his office door and it opened to reveal one of Coles
guards. "Sir, you have a guest. Says he had a
message only for your." Cole raised an eyebrow, if
he had one and made his way downstairs. Upon meeting
with the man, a data message was given for him to
hear from the empire. Giving the man a few credit
chips he made his way upstairs to listen to the
message. Grinning widely he yelled downstairs. "Get
the White Rose ready, I have a meeting of great
two hours went by, Cole was aboard his ship and on
his way to the Retributor. He would send a signal to
let them know he was coming along. He wore his
dressy attire for this meeting.
had low expectations for Cole Duine. Despite her
message, she expected that he would keep her on the
line for days, or even weeks before he made any sort
of response. So, she resumed her daily activities.
The Vice Admiral had left a lengthy report with her
that she was still digesting. There was much for her
to do in the coming days. It was to her surprise,
that one of the Stormtroopers positioned outside her
durasteel doors confirmed that Cole Duine had
arrived and was waiting to be seen by her. Sierra's
eyebrows furrowed. She glanced beneath her desk at
her infant son, who had fallen asleep in his
bouncer. "Mommy wasn't expecting guests." She
whispered to the little boy. She sighed, using her
comm to speak to the Stormtrooper. "Please send him
in." She said, dropping the comm to her desk. The
doors to her office opened.
A smile formed
upon his face as he nodded, walking past the Storm
Trooper. His green eyes following past him towards
the Major. He walked over, holding out his
cybernetic hand. He spoke in a polite manner as the
same was before but with a slight cool sense to him.
As if authority figures didn't bother him. "Always a
pleasure, Major. I'll be honest with you...I didn't
think we would be having a meeting again."
entrance, Sierra slowly rose from her seat behind
her desk. She offered Cole a small smile while
grasping his cybernetic hand and giving it a slight
shake. "I'll be honest with you, neither did I. I
suppose times are changing, aren't they? I have to
say, your recent shelter stunt caught my attention."
She began to slowly sit down. "I, too, did something
alike to it on Delaya. I created a shelter for the
Alderaan refugees. Alderaan was my home planet. My
family had power and influence there. When we lost
Alderaan, I felt the necessity to take care of my
people." She explained to him.
"It is a shame
what happened to that planet. To wipe out an entire
race of people...well that is a low I would never
understand going too. " He shook her hand then would
move over to the chair. His hands moving to unbutton
his suit coat and take it off. Resting it against
the seat and slowly taking a seat, should she follow
suit. He would then add. "I saw a need for the
people of Chandrila and found I was the man to
fulfill that need. " He offered a grin as he leaned
back against the chair. He truly didn't care much
about the people of Chandrila. It was their
influence and power he needed. A planet that was
war-torn, they needed a savior. He wished to be such
a man. This would also aid in keeping him in the
'right' spot light.
on Chandrila are in need of help. As much as I
wished I had all the answers to solve their
problems, I do not." She crossed one leg over
another once she was seated. "There is another
planet in need of help...which is exactly why I've
called you back to my office. Rhinnal's capital
city, Rhire, was recently attacked by the Rebels.
They successfully knocked out two hydroplants and
have taken power away from the city. I have done
what I can to ensure that those in medcenters have
been moved to other cities, but due to limited
supplies, I can't bring power back to those people
for a month or more." She told him. "Do you have the
sources to fix such a problem?"
"A month or
more? My my...you could have an epidemic on your
hands...disease would spread like crazy. Heck, the
criminals and looting alone would take a major hit
on society. " He lifted his hand and brushed his
thumb and index finger against his chin before
continuing. "Would certainly be a good gesture if I
was to help...perhaps even be largely in the empires
favor, hmm?" He paused to let that sink in then
added. "What exactly would you require? Help with
the power, or medical supplies...or both?"
looked at this problem from every angle. She knew
what a month would do to Rhire. As a woman with too
big of a heart, she didn't want to see those people
suffer for so long. As an Imperial, she wanted to
give the people of Rhire a reason to believe in the
Empire after the Rebel strike. "You understand where
this is going, Mr. Duine. Best case scenario would
be that you can help with both. The power needs an
immediate fix. Something that won't take a month. If
you are to help, I believe that the gesture will
strongly impact the public's opinion of you. You
strive to be a politician, Mr. Duine? Then help
these people out." Her blue eyes briefly flickered
beneath the lip of her desk. Her son was beginning
to stir due to the sound of her talking, but he did
He offered a
grin as he heard the child begin to wiggle. He knew
she was a mother, he knew plenty about her. "I will
help with this problem of yours but it will take me
a few days to put things in motion..." He shifted in
his seat while he thought for a moment. Thinking
about how to spin this story for himself. He didn't
want to portrait that he was an empire sympathize so
perhaps he would spin it as helping people in need
by any means necessary. Either way, this would look
good he was sure. "Any details can be sent to me..."
She placed a
booted foot on the rungs of the bouncer that enabled
her to manually bounce it while she continued with
her meeting. Sierra was an overprotective mother.
She frequently brought her young son aboard her
husband's vessel to keep him comfortably close. "A
few days? Even if you took two weeks, it would still
be better than the current timeline for Rhire. I
appreciate you doing this for me. We can consider
this a friendly I owe you. When you need help, you
can call on me and I will see what I can do." Sierra
turned. She reached across her desk towards a lone
datapad. She collected it, offering it to him. "All
the information you need is here. Feel free to take
that with you. Please keep me updated." She knew she
would need to keep an eye on him. There seemed to be
more to Cole Duine than meets the eye.
He smiled as
he heard her child begin to move about. He lifted
his hand to rest upon the table and he leaned
forward.. "I must ask...the empires power reaches
vast and well. I must ask. I know I probably could
get my hands on a beat up one but think you can get
your hands on a specific droid for me? " His eyebrow
raised, curious as to what she was to say.
was going infinitely different from the last. Sierra
was a woman with a strong moral compass. Her
association with the Empire made her have to do
things at times...things that didn't entirely align
with that compass. In the end, whatever ended the
war was worth it. He perked her interest at his
question. "Possibly. What model are you looking for,
Mr. Duine?" Sierra preferred to pay her dues to the
man up front as a sign of good faith. If he
successful and quickly restored power in Rhire, he
would make a powerful ally in Sierra Rodney.
security enforce droid...I have had my eyes on one
of those for quite some time. Think this is
something you can manage?" He offered her a
charismatic smile, with his pointed teeth protruding
from his lips and zabrak appearance actually made
him more intimidating then anything but she probably
dealt with the nefarious type. Of course, once he
obtained such a Droid he would change things a bit
on it. He was sure he could steal one from the
empire but if he could get one off the assembly line
well, that would be perfect.
rose. She knew about the KX-series security droids.
They were manufactured by a company called Arakyd
Industries and, more importantly, they were used
within the Empire as security droids. Cole's
exterior didn't get a rise out of her. Unlike many
people within the Empire, she felt nothing negative
towards alien races. She employed a Clawdite and a
Mandalorian to protect her children. There was a
Chiss tactical officer that she frequently talked to
aboard the dreadnaught. "A KX-Series security droid?
Yes, I can manage to get you one. Like you, I'll
need a few days to arrange the transport of the
droid. I'll need you to leave me with a location for
it to be delivered to." She smiled softly.
well then I must say this shall be productive for
the both of us. I'll make sure I'll get the supplies
shipped as soon as possible. Some of my contacts
deal in some interesting medical
advances...medicine...drugs...etc. This problem of
yours should be taken care of relatively soon.
Though I am curious how we might be able to make
sure the public doesn't think I'm doing this purely
for empire support. I hope you understand. I can't
have the rebels making an enemy of me...it must look
like it's only for the people's sake."
You've been a reasonable man." Major Rodney had not
come to the table with much, but she was prideful
and wouldn't beg him for anything. "Send me an
update as soon as possible. It will take a weight
off the Empire's shoulders to see Rhire taken care
of. As I told you, I saw the broadcast about you.
There are people who are suffering. Manipulate the
situation and they'll be eating out of your hands.
Isn't that the way politics work?" By that time, her
son had enough. The small boy didn't want to be
confine to his bouncer anymore. Sierra gave in,
leaning beneath her desk to unhook him. She cradled
the boy to her chest. She didn't try to explain the
situation to Cole. It was right before his eyes.
"Remember our arrangement. You are going to want
powerful allies as you seek out more power. If you
burn me, there will be repercussions. So, let's make
this the beginning of something good."
"I see no
issues with this, Major. Such a cute child. " Was
said as he looked over her son. "I do think he will
grow to be a strong boy. I don't suppose you train
your children in hand to hand combat at the time
they learn to walk?" He curiously looked to her. His
race was a strong warrior based people. Probably why
he was such a thrill seeking junky who would
probably die at a young age in battle. A path that
he honestly didn't have any issues with.
softly. "I apologize. I honestly wasn't expecting
you for days. He would not have been here if things
had worked out differently." The boy looked much
like his mother. His blonde hair was identical to
his mother's. He also took after his father in many
ways... Like in his curiosity. He couldn't resist
trying to look at his mother's guest. "Thank you.
No, it isn't common to train children in combat
after they are capable of walking. That's especially
true of me and my husband's families. Nobles are
much more interested in teaching their children how
to be prim and... pompous." She smiled by way of
making a joke. "It's different for Zabrak, is it
not?" She gave in to Bruce's struggling and adjusted
him to face Cole.
different, yes. Iridonia is filled with many beasts
that wish to kill you...even other Iridonians. Or
Zabraks as we are also called. " He smiled, waving
his cybernetic hand to the child. "Combat and war is
common place. A right of passage is getting these
tattoos marked upon the body at a young age
signifying the type of man you are. " He gestured to
his face. Anyone who knows tattoos knows this would
be painful, expecially All over the body. "Makes for
a good conversation piece."
observant, especially for a two month old. He
watched the Zabrak with big, brown eyes while his
mother continued to speak. She looked to Cole's
face. Zabarak was a race she did not know much
about. In truth, she had never seen a white one like
him either. "That's a hard life, Mr. Duine. I
couldn't imagine." Sierra had been both physically
and mentally abused throughout the entirety of her
childhood. She understood survival and fighting for
her life more than she wanted to admit, it simply
wasn't the same way as he had. She chuckled, nodding
her head. "That's one way to find the silver lining.
I'm sure you could recommend a great artist." Sierra
was relaxing, and so she let her true nature show.
Association with the Empire didn't make you a bad
"that is actually one of my many talents. Could make
your son intimidating towards the other kids if your
ever interested. Surely they wouldn't mess with
him." Was said with a smirk, his eyes falling to the
little one again. Making funny faces at him in
attempt to make him laugh. Though who knows what a
baby would think of his face. Even though he all
ready knew about her husband, he would ask anyways.
"So where is the father?" His eyes moved back to the
"Tattooing? Really? Oh, I think he'll be
intimidating enough. Anyone who dares touch my boy
will have to deal with his mother." She laughed
more. The boy liked the attention. He stared at the
man. At first, he watched. Finally, the Zabrak male
made Bruce smile. How he was interacting with her
son brought Sierra to the conclusion that Cole
wasn't as bad as she suspected. "My husband?" She
raised a hand, pointing a finger toward a set of
doors separating her office from the Grand Moff's.
"He's never far. Her hand fell back to her son's
back. "I'm sure you already know that. *Everyone*
knows I'm the Governor's wife. Fear not. It doesn't
change how I do my job. I will see that you receive
"I can't wait
to have one of those running around with me...don't
worry the paint job will be fixed up..." He couldn't
wait till he got his hands on the droid. He would
then change the subject. "So how does the empire
treat it's employees? I must say they aren't the
highest regarded over the last several
years...destroying your home world...don't get me
wrong, I don't care who runs who."
something I absolutely recommend. Best decision of
my life...well, second best decision." The first,
obviously, was saying ‘yes' to the man who was
clearly her soul mate. She didn't object to the
shift in subjects. She seemed to visibly cringe as
he brought up Alderaan. She had been
told...convinced...that Alderaan had been destroyed
by the Rebels until a Freudian slip from a fellow
Imperial had brought the truth to her attention.
"Ah, I'm treated well, for the most part. I enjoy
working for the Empire and striving for peace. One
day, we will end the war." She spoke like she
believed her own words. With the current state of
things in the Ringali Shell, that confidence was
beginning to weaken. "What is your goal, Mr. Duine?
The shelter and hydroplants will do much to boost
your reputation. What are you going to do with
"I doubt I
will ever get the chance to know what children are
like." He said as a matter of fact in response to
her statement. He would pause for a moment, eyeing
the Major before answering her question. "I wish
to...legitimize myself. Become a predominant
politician of Chandrila. Of course, we both know our
paths tend to catch up with ourselves."
nothing in regards to his gloomy statement. Cole was
only slightly more than a stranger to her. She
wouldn't delve into his personal problems at their
second meeting, only speculate as a woman who had
once been a psychologist might. She nodded her head.
Everyone had their goals. She had to respect his,
for his path was made to be difficult. "Well, I wish
you luck. Chandrila is a difficult planet, as you
understand. We are doing everything we can to
improve the situation there."
"Well I am
sure you and I can work something nice out to where
the future will look prominent for the both of us.
Oh before I forget...for that droid, could you send
some scrap parts along with him? In my experience
people around me tend to get shot at . I want to
make sure repairs will be easy." of course he
planned on upgrading the droid so he needed the
extra parts to make that happen. "So how long have
you been married to your other half? You seem happy.
Not often seen in marriages." He offered a joking
smile. His green eyes moved back to the child,
winking at him. His body shifted slightly, trying to
get a little more comfortable.
adjusted herself, crossing one leg over the other.
She propped her son up against her chest. One hand
remained around him for support while the other
reached towards her datapad. She quickly wrote up
notes on their meeting. He wanted a KX-series
security droid with extra parts to be delivered to
an undisclosed location. "I can do that. Where would
you like me to have it sent to? Or will you be
coming here to pick it up?" She grew bashful each
time he brought up her husband. Sierra let out a
soft laugh. "Isn't that the truth? I used to be a
psychologist for the Empire. I've seen the point
where marriages crash and burn from the front row.
We have been married for six months." She said. She
didn't mention that she had given birth prematurely
as a result of the evil Inquisitor. "He does make me
happy. I am a fortunate woman. At this point,
everyone in the galaxy knows what I came from." She
was referencing the physical abuse videos that her
mother had leaked across the HoloNet. "I doubted
that I'd ever find happiness, let alone someone who
would accept me for who I am. We married quickly
which makes it easy to assume that what we have is
fake. However, I made my vows knowing that it was
forever." She smiled. "What about you? Is there
anyone special in your life?"
He listened to
her words carefully, taking in everything she said
and making mental notes. "It can be delivered to the
Hanna space port. I'll take possession from there...ahh
is there someone in my life? " He smirked his head
tilting slightly. "That has yet to be determined.
Currently, we are not exclusive. "He said with a
chuckle. "I have never had what you have, that I can
say for sure. In my life things tend to go
hyperspeed. It's hard to settle down when your
constantly moving, ya know?
port. She notated it and set her datapad down again
to cradled her son close. "I will send you a
notification as soon as it is shipped out." Sierra
was a woman of her word. She would see to it that
this was quickly taken care of. The conversation had
become casual, but she wasn't uncomfortable with it.
He had crossed no lines as he asked about her
personal life. "Oooh. You two aren't ready to
‘label' it, huh?" She lightly teased him. "I
understand. I couldn't handle that kind of
instability. There's enough insanity associated with
life without having to be on the move all the time
as well. I hope that you are able to call Chandrila
home and finally stop running." She smiled.
labels." He chuckled and smiled to her. Offering
another remark. "It's as home as home can be I
suppose. You know, I used to doing bodyguard work
for Imperial politicians. Funny how things change
over time. He now was positioning events like chess
in order to make himself one. Of course he was also
running a criminal syndicate so he was much
different then the guy he was hired to protect at
the time. He tried thinking of the politicians name
and couldn't grasp it.
"We all have
to start somewhere, don't we? Your droid will do
well to serve you. I've heard good things about the
KX-series. Let's try to keep our new friendship
mutually beneficial. If you need something, feel
free to reach out. I will help where I can." She
didn't know that he was running a syndicate. The
information on Cole Duine had been limited. Only
time would tell if she was making the right move
with him...or allowing herself to slip up because
she didn't want the people of Rhire to suffer
forward to what we can do together. There is no
sense to have people suffering if they don't have
too." Was said as he leaned against the chair, his
eyes curiously looking her and her baby over before
speaking again. "You don't happen to know if the
Empire plans on using that fun little toy they have
in the sky to remove Chandrila do ya? If hate to get
occupied on a planet that well..isn't going to be
there in the future. It's bad enough the people are
too 'free thinking'." He chuckled at the thought of
how the people of Chandrila are.
to visibly tense when he spoke of Chandrila meeting
the same fate of Alderaan. At this point, Sierra had
been manipulated into believing that Alderaan was
destroyed by the Rebels. An ISB officer had
perfectly orchestrated believable facts to hurt both
Sierra and the Governor. They were not aware of the
‘Death Star'. Her only reason to doubt that the
Rebels had destroyed Alderaan had come from a
treacherous man who hated her...hardly a good
source. "I don't know what you're talking about. I
pray that no more planets fall to the same fate as
Alderaan." She replied. It may have been easier to
wipe out Chandrila, but it wasn't going anywhere.
course. " Was all the man said. He would press the
matter, he knew better. He wasn't on his planet or
his turf so to speak. She honestly could have a
blaster bolt put in his head and no one would
probably think twice besides Htaere might be
wondering why he didn't show up for a dinner date.
His cybernetic hand lightly tapped the table, the
metal fingers clinking with every thump. "Well I
must say this meeting went well, better then before.
I was curious as to whether I would be making it
back after our last meeting. " He chuckled.
laughed. "Well, I'm glad to see I finally have the
scary Imperial officer thing down. Unless you give
me a reason, you'll return home from our meetings.
I'm sure I don't have to define the line to show you
where it stands." If he tried to hurt her or anyone
in her family, she wouldn't think twice about seeing
him dead. However, he had been exposed to her son
and done nothing more than try to make the boy
laugh. "I'm sure we will be meeting again very soon.
There is a war to win and even the Empire needs help
at times." She became comfortable again as the topic
left the realms of destroying planets.
let me keep you from your duties much longer. I did
enjoy our conversation. " He slowly stood, his hand
moving to scoop up his coat. His green eyes moving
back to her. "That is, unless you wish something
else to be discussed?" His hand taking ahold of the
datapad. Looking over the information once more to
make sure he understood everything before leaving
"I did as
well." Sierra replied honestly. It had gone
infinitely smoother than she could have ever
expected. She rose from her desk to see him out.
"I'm all out of topics for now, Mr. Duine. If you
need anything, you know how to reach me." She stood
at her door. "If we are able to keep our
conversations as calm as this one, then you will
find a friend in me." She cuddled her son. Perhaps
he could help make Chandrila fall into line again.
"If you can
help make sure the Black sun remains off my rock, I
shall deal with the rest. " He offered a smile, his
cybernetic finger playing idly with the little boys
hand before he offered a smile, offering a handshake
to the major. "It was a pleasure, I'll get those
supplies to you soon."
"I'll see what
I can do. I can make no promises when it comes to
the Black Sun. Your security droid will be much more
helpful." She looked down. Her overprotective nature
was obvious. Given her husband's position, Bruce
could become a target just as easily as any of her
family could. The boy seemed trusting; happy. Sierra
adjusted her son to grasp Cole's hand in a firm
shake. "Your droid will arrive shortly. Good day,
Mr. Duine." With that, she released his cybernetic
hand with a smile, as he turned his smiles faded.
The hard demeanor of a war torn man showing once
more. Leaving the thought of was it a ruse or simply
did he not want others to see his humane side.
Holding the data pad in his left hand he made his
way out of the room and began his way back to his
ship, the White rose. His hands adjusting his suit
as he walked.