"Star Wars/Wing Commander: The Imperial March"

Table of Contents . . .

15 YEARS AGO. . .


“Omega Leader, this is Control. Return to the Eclipse II immediately. Acknowledge, over." Imperial General Maarek Stele bit back a curse as he tried to maneuver inside the wingspan of the E-wing in front of him. These New Republic ships were getting faster and faster all the time. He finally dropped into position and let off a burst from his three-winged Defenders laser cannons. The E-wing disintegrated in the silence of space, leaving behind a rapidly expanding ball of gas in its place.

"Control, this is Omega Leader. What gives? Were being swamped out here and you want me to return to ship now?"

"That is correct, Leader. You are ordered by the Emperor himself to land and proceed immediately to his chamber."

Muttering futilely to himself, Stele broke off from the main battle and started toward the 17.5 kilometer Eclipse II, the jet black flagship of the twice resurrected Emperor. With careful handling he landed in the docking bay reserved especially for his squadron to utilize. Hopping out of his TIE Defender, he ran to the exit, and from there went through a system of turbolifts and walkways to reach the Emperors throne chamber. The door was guarded by two red-garbed Royal Guards, who snapped to attention and drew back their force pikes at his approach.

He palmed open the door, and stepped inside. There was no fear in Stele this time, none of the giddy nervousness that had always crept into him in every one of the earlier instances he had met with the Emperor.

Emperor Palpatine... the only hope for unity and strength. Years ago, Maarek had made that his motto.

"General, please come closer." Palpatines voice was a low hissing sound. Stele did as he was told and knelt before his lord.

His head bowed to the floor, he asked, "Sire, what do you require of me?"

"Arise, General, and take this gift I offer you." At this, Palpatine laid a single object in his hand. It was a ring, wrought of platinum with three stone set in it. An emerald and two onyxes, cased in gold. "This is means by which you will pass on the true leadership of the Empire, once I am gone. One day, you will have to use your judgment to find an heir to title of emperor. I trust you will choose wisely. Now hold out your arm."

Maarek pulled his sleeve back, exposing the intricate mark of the Emperors Reach. Palpatine raised his hand, and Dark Side lightning flowed from his fingertips to the tattoo. When the pain passed and Maarek looked at his arm, the device had gone from a light blue to a dark crimson. "Go now, instruct your squadron to retreat and scatter. Leave my ship now, Guardian of the Empire." With that, and a final flash of his reptilian eyes, the Emperor left through a private doorway, to where, Stele did wonder at. Instead, he ran back to his waiting TIE Defender and took off.

Not five minutes later, the mighty Eclipse II shuddered and took off into hyperspace on what would be its final voyage to collide with the Galaxy Gun and burn in the proximity to the exploding planet and then-throneworld Byss in the Galactic Deep Core. General Maarek Stele, Guardian of the Empire, passed the word to the two surviving members of his squadron, and then made the jump to lightspeed, leaving a devastated Rebel fleet in his wake.

He knew now it would be longer still until he was to again see his homeworld of Kuan. There would be a day...



NOV 26 2680/2680.330; 0635 HOURS (CST)

"General Stele to the bridge, General Stele to the bridge."

The man in question straightened from his position beneath the aft end of his personal Mark III.B Missile Boat, retrofitting the crafts engines. He was clad in a non-descript black flightsuit, bearing only his name and rank. He wiped his hands off with a rag that was lying nearby, and started for the bridge. That first battle with the rebels in their own galaxy had yielded no kills for him, and then the fight against the aliens when they had appeared here in this galaxy had given him three kills, but in the process he had lost four squadrons worth of fighters and had sustained minor damage himself to his engines. As he rode the turbolift vertically over a few hundred decks, and laterally over a few kilometers, he thought back to his career and how it had landed him aboard this ship. Graduating from the Imperial Pilots Academy just in time for the wrap-up of the Battle of Hoth, serving on various fronts against various enemies for a year until the Battle of Endor, being personally responsible for saving the Emperors life on two occasions in that short time, rising to the rank of brigadier before the end of the first war... all of it seemed so long ago.

Following the Emperors final death, he returned to Coruscant and served under Iceheart until her death, then embarking on a whirlwind tour of commanders for two and a half years. Zsinj, Harrsk, Teradoc, various splinter groups and the leaders of various revolutionary factionsanyone who stood to better the Empire. Then came the reappearance of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who Stele had served under as far back as when Thrawn had been a vice admiral in charge of a measly Victory-class Star Destroyer. For a year, Stele had believed that the Empire would finally have a chance at winning. Then came Bilbringi, and the death of Thrawn. Not two weeks after that disaster, Stele had been recalled to Byss by the cloned Emperor to train with eleven of the best pilots the Empire had. They were called Omega Squadron, the best and the last. They were the only flight squadron in the order of the Royal Guard. When the Eclipse II had gone up with the Galaxy Gun and Byss, only three had made it through the ensuing battle. Besides himself, they were General Jacob Skipper, the Crown Prince of the Renatasia System; and Fleet Admiral Vonture, who was heading up an Imperial Special Operations Group out past the rim. The next few years up until his transfer to the Vacillatorat the request of one Grand Moff Jhediahhad been very eventful. First came Daalas campaign of terror that had ended over Yavin, then a brief stint reconditioning the Black Fleet after their re-capture from the Yevetha. Six years later, Stele had once again been under the command of the then-Admiral Pellaeon, helping to uncover the web of treachery Moff Disra had spun about himself just before the initial peace talks.

Neither any of the naval officers nor the disgruntled-looking Admiral Güthrig gave him a second look as he made his way across the walkway between the crewpits of the Vacillators bridge. The grand moff he sought was leaning against a console by a bulkhead, but quickly came to attention and turned to face him as he approached. The tall man looked about as young as Stele was when he had been not-quite-voluntarily drafted into the Imperial Navy. "General Stele, I presume," Jhediah greeted.

"At your service, sir," Stele replied, saluting.

Jhediah nodded at the respectful gesture, his gaze now setting firmly on Stele. In that instant, despite the Grand Moffs younger age, Stele couldnt help but feel he was standing in the presence of an Imperial leader who knew what he was doing. Not to say that he hadnt felt the same way about past such leader icons. "It has come to my attention that while the sheer might of our capital ships is formidable enough to instate the New Order over this galaxy, our starfighter complements are somewhat... shall we say, inferior to what we stand to face from this Terran Confederation."

"I was shown the specs of these Confederation fighters. It was my immediate realization as well."

"We have every allied Kilrathi shipyard operating at our whim," Jhediah explained. "Effective immediately, the TIE Defender, TIE Phantom, Missile Boat, and TIE Robotic projects are to effectively be brought out of retirement and put into full production. All unshielded TIE Interceptors and Bombers are to be equipped with complete deflector shield projectors in cooperation with Kilrathi techniciansthey believe their method of shielding is more energy-efficient."

"And what of our standard fare of TIEs?"

Jhediah gave a flippant but balanced look. "Scrap them for material. They are useless here and would cost us time and manpower to make the necessary upgrades that could be put to far more practical use elsewhere."

"Very well," Stele acknowledged, wondering if that was the extent of his errand. "Is that all, sir?"

"One more thing. It has also come to my attention that nearly all of the fighters you and your pilots will be flying against will be flying afterburner-equipped fighters. This gives them an immediate and clear speed and agility advantage over whatever we could throw at themsave for the Missile Boat."

"The SLAM overdrive system," Stele noted. It was essentially the Missile Boat version of an afterburning systemlaser power is siphoned to an overdrive system that doubled speed. Elementary enough technology, but it had proven long ago to be not quite cost efficient to a dying Empire.

"Yes, the SLAM. But here, SLAM is quite obsolete. No, I want you to see that our starfighters are outfitted with Kilrathi-issue afterburners. Every one, no matter how long it takes." Jhediah paused for a moment, evidently considering something at the last minute. "Oh, you might see if our Hyperdrive technology would do anything to bolster our Kilrathi allies technology. It is my understanding that this Jump Drive they employ does have its perksas travel time is zerobut it eliminates any chance of launching a surprise attack, given that you can only jump from one mapped ‘jump point to another, and such jumping could and would be easily anticipated by even the most dim-witted of enemies."

Stele suppressed a sigh, clearly unenthused about his task. All of his years of service, and he was now reduced to a messenger? "Yessir."

"That will be all then, General. Im sure youll perform your duties to the best of your abilities."

"Of course, sir."

Jhediah grinned. "Thats why I requested you. Go."

In a foreign galaxy with no turning back, there was now little hope of him ever seeing Kuan again. Stele was coming to accept this. He took solace in rededicating himself to the continuation and absolution of the Empire. He would serve the dead Emperor Palpatines cause, and die for it if need be.

0900 HOURS (CST)

The cumbersome, bulky, patch-worked vessel identified earlier as the Millennium Falcon landed itself on the cool bay deck as it vented cooling fluids and vapor waste, then engaging its landing struts. From what Commodore Blair could identify from the unmatched hull discoloration, the vessel before him had been greatly modified prior to this extra-galactic event. And it looked like it had always needed it, since the ship seemed to be on the verge of falling apart.

Don’t judge the book by its cover, Blair reminded himself. Up at Bridge Command, he scrutinized with extreme curiosity the tactical data collected on both of the recently unknown hull configurations of both ships supposedly aligned with an extra-galactic government called the New Republic.

The capital ship Defiance and its 300-meter Nebulon-B escort frigate, Liberator, were currently in flank with the Midway. The MC-90 Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Defiance was decked out with fighter bays, 48 "turbolaser" batteries, 20 ion batteries, and 6 "proton torpedo" missile launchers—the works. Battle worthy, even when compared to Blair’s creation. This hunk-of-a-junk called the Falcon had been equipped with two lower and upper quad weapons turrets, engine modifications, and a small missile launcher. The mystery of just what kind of heat the gun turrets spit made Blair a little wary.

All in all, this Millennium Falcon was a starship Blair wouldn’t have minded taking with him when he hit the pastures like other Confed vets before him. In the back of his mind, the clock constantly ticked down to Pasture Time.

Two years, the Commodore predicted, two years and I’ll be on some gutter planet sucking down a beer and complaining about myself having no war to fight in.

Finally, after about minute of venting and situating, the ramp leading into this "freighter" released from its closed position. Slowly, it landed on the hard durasteel deck with a resonant clank.

Chris walked toward the dark entrance, the only sounds being the hum of the Midway’s large, over-powered engines and his own heartbeat. Almost when he was about to call out to these New Republicans, a ragged, scruffy-looking man started down the ramp, a young girl in an orange flightsuit walking fast to catch up to him. The man’s brown hair was unkempt, and he smelled of coolant fluid and hardware lubrication. Blair estimated this man to be in his late forties. The girl couldn’t have been any older than seventeen or eighteen.

Chris greeted the man with a friendly handshake, but it went untouched. Blair looked to his eyes in diplomatic wonder. They were in unbelievable shock, almost on the edge of disbelief. Chris was again about to speak out, ask the man what was wrong. It was unnecessary. Leaving the young girl standing perplexed, the hard-bitten man ran back up the ramp and shouted into his ship, "Luke! Luke! Get down here, and make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand. We sure don’t want a mess on these people’s nice, shiny star cruiser." The man ran back up the entrance.

Blair sighed in disbelief and studied the ship some more. Half a minute passed, maybe more, before another figure walked out onto the deck. This one was in a hooded cloak, and Blair noticed it had been woven from some type of fabric resembling dark brown burlap. From the figure’s posture, Blair could only guessed he was in shock like the rugged man before him. Blair heard only a few mumbled words from the shadowy person, and was unable to define them. The mysterious one removed his hood, and Blair almost fainted...

It was the Commodore’s face, but at the same time it wasn’t. It possessed a few less wrinkles and scars, and was rather clean and cleanly shaven with no mustache or goatee. He had a light skin tone, but it was the eyes of his mirrored counterpart that drew Blair’s attention. I guess pain, grief, and terror isn’t part of the looks.

His "mirror" drew some sort of elongated cylindrical device, and finally spoke, "I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master." His eyes were now wide. "You... you are also—"

"No, but an educated guess none the less." Blair commented, and rubbed his sweaty palms. He was nervous. Why? He asked himself. These are humans, not Cats. "My name is Christopher Blair. I’m a commodore in the Terran Confederation Space Navy." He wanted to say more to this "Jedi" Skywalker, but his friends walked down the ramp.

There was the scruffy-looking man, followed by the young girl he had seen before and a gold-plated automaton along with another beeping cybernetic counterpart that roughly resembled one of the mobile trashcans most older carriers employed. Behind those four walked a small lovely woman that Blair had seen up on the bridge before. The hologram projections had never shown her wide brown eyes and beautiful brown hair in detail. Her hair was tied back tightly, stretching her forehead tightly back also, and the topknot was thoroughly braided.

I could get to know her… Suddenly a foreign presence entered his mind, brushing across his thoughts with grace.

"I am New Republic Chief of State Leia Organa Solo," the lovely woman spoke with a silver voice of kindness and the hint of a smile, "and sorry, I am taken."

She can read minds!

Blair was far beyond shock, his jaw now hanging loose from his face. The scruffy-looking man stood behind the right side of the Chief of State. "And I’m Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon." He leaned forward a little and smiled, whispering, "I’m the husband."

Crazy to fly that rusty bird; lucky to find a woman like that, Blair mused. "I was supposed to escort you to meet with my fellow officers… but before I do that I would like to converse privately with your friend, Jedi Skywalker. If it is of no inconvenience to you people, that is."

"Oh, no, not at all," Leia said, understanding and smiling. "Given the situation, I myself would have to suggest you two talk." Exchanging a glance with Blair’s mirror, she went to her husband. The pair of automatons and the young girl following, Han and her walked back up the ramp into the Falcon.

Skywalker moved toward Blair. Blair moved toward Skywalker. The two studied each other, and again Blair felt a peaceful foreign brush against his thoughts.

"You people are telepaths," Blair said defensively, "I can feel you inside my mind, behind my eyes, poking me, prodding me."

Luke calmed him. He seemed deadly serious, but he couldn’t hide his curiosity. "It is a power of the Jedi, which Leia and I are. The Force as our ally, we protect our galaxy from terror and injustice. You seem to be of the same physical makeup as I. Neural pathways and all, I sense." He arched an eyebrow. "I’d have to see a blood sample and get a midi-chlorian count on you, but right now I see no scientific reason you aren’t Force-sensitive... but then the same could be said about millions from my own galaxy. The Force hardly applies to modern science."

Blair frowned, trying to take it all in. "The Force?"

"An energy field created by all living things. We manipulate it, using it for our abilities. Let me show you." Luke threw the long cylindrical device away from him, and Blair was just about to catch it. However, it froze in mid-air, hanging there with ease, like it had always belonged there. "The Force is much harder to manipulate in this galaxy. For this I have no idea why."

"Telekinetic, telepathic... okay. And I suppose you people shoot lightning out of your fingertips as well." Blair smiled, almost in passive disbelief of his powerful doppelganger.

Only Dark Jedi utilize that ability, friend, Luke answered inside his mind. Only the ones who have lost their battle with the Dark Side...

Blair jumped, once again surprised at this encounter. "Um… Well, we should probably get underway now."

Luke placed his hood back over his head and raised his hand. "No, Commodore, wait. I have something to give to you." Once again he pulled out a cylindrical device almost identical to the one still hanging in mid-air, but this one was shiny black with a white button. Quickly, it darted for Blair’s open palm. Chris caught it on reflex and grasped it tightly.

"It’s called a lightsaber. It is a Jedi’s prime weapon... has been for millennia." A mysterious expression crept across Luke’s face. "I had originally built it as a gift for one of my students, but instead I give this as a gift to you. Its blade is very dangerous, and can cut through nearly anything and everything. Use it wisely, and only in extreme conditions."

Blair stood away from Luke now, and pressed the white button. Before a second had even begun to pass, the white energetic blade had come forth with a distinctive snap-hiss, and began to hum rhythmically. The Commodore heard Skywalker in his mind:

Even if you cannot feel it or manipulate it as I can, the Force is still with you. Always.

0945 HOURS (CST)

Leia, Han, Luke, Jaina, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Admiral Ackbar, Blair, CAG Drake, and Senator Taggart sat around the oval table discussing the situation that had brought the seven visitors to their current state. There was a certain level of mistrust on the O-Deck, with a detail of four TCMC Marines keeping an eye on the Midway’s seated guests from both sides of the room’s lift and a trio of Leia’s ghostly-gray elite Noghri bodyguards standing around the table.

Sixteen year-old Jaina Solo stirred in her uncomfortable seat, her hand playing with the handle of her lightsaber. She was starting to become restless as the meeting dragged on. After the initial pleasantries died down, those in the room had taken to analyzing the situation from every angle. While C-3PO rattled off statistics, Chewbacca only growled.

"You are certain you people came from another galaxy?" Taggart asked at one point early on, more out of curiosity than any official need-to-know.

"Oh, yes, Senator, sir," C-3PO, the gold-plated protocol droid, answered with a little too much enthusiasm, even as Leia was about to respond. "The star charts this starship’s chief of stellar cartography was kind enough to show me show conclusively that, cross-referenced, our own elliptical galaxy, identified by your records as the Fornax Galaxy’ is quite different—and quite displaced, in observing our native galaxy’s redshift, though I cannot be certain by how much—from this Milky Way’ of yours. If memory serves, this galaxy—codenamed MA-31’—as it was observed in our galaxy, had a significantly shorter redshift from ours... a difference of some five million light years to its redshift in the present. Going on the theory that the universe is constantly expanding and galaxies are pushed outward, increasing he redshift between galaxies, it’s as if my colleagues and I have traveled not only across galaxies, but across time itself—to the future. Our future. But then aga—"

"Okay, I’m sure that’s all good and fascinating, but I think we get the idea, Goldenrod," Han Solo cut him off. Jaina’s dad had never been one for science fiction.

"But, sir—"

"Shut it, Professor." Han won, as he always did.

"You know, Organa Solo," Commander Drake spoke, "it’s interesting to me... our written languages are so different—ours being alpha-numeric, yours being almost hieroglyphic—yet our spoken languages are... well, exactly the same. You New Republicans don’t even have an accent."

"I really don’t know," Leia said. "We speak what is called Basic,’ which is what the Old Republic adopted as its root language for a hundred generations, and kept throughout the coming of the Empire and New Republic."

"And we speak what is called Confed Standard,’ which is just a nice way of saying English,’" Taggart spoke in turn.

Leia turned a glance. "Ah, English...?"

"As in from England... you know—on Earth. Oh..." Taggart sighed, remembering who he was talking to. "Hmmm... never mind. Forgive me."

Jaina’s thoughts went out to her twin brother and Anakin, whom she found she missed more with every passing hour. Jaina felt a shiver as she realized that she may never see them or their own galaxy ever again—but she couldn’t think about that. Not now. She had to be strong.

"So let me understand this..." Commodore Blair had neared the end of the hour-long meeting, and had begun to present the facts before his old battle comrade, fellow command officer, and the New Republicans. Jaina doubted she would ever get used to his resemblance to her uncle. "This Empire, if under the right circumstances, could become a large problem for our galaxy?"

Skywalker answered him, Jedi robes presenting him as an omniscient advisor with an enigmatic presence. Cutting through this motif was a smirk. "Calling them a problem, even a large one, is an understatement. The Galactic Empire rules by fear and force to make that fear very stable. They call this their New Order, something we all fought for all our worth in the days when the New Republic was known as the Rebel Alliance. The remnants of the Empire are now small; twenty ships more or less, and is little more than a sad but unsaid joke... but they are resourceful. We cornered them in our galaxy, but like a cornered Krayt Dragon, they had one last move. That move was coming here. Now, with the right tactical moves they could fast become a very real and deadly threat."

Han sat uneasily in his chair, rolling a coin around in his sweaty palms. Glancing at him, Jaina figured by now her father was used to such frequent formal meetings. He had been often involved in them in the past since, even after he turned in his active commission for the second time many years ago. "Way I see it," he began, "the first thing they would do, as anybody would in their circumstance, would be to make an alliance. They would trade some technology, technical information, star charts… anything of value around these parts."

"Weapons? Defense systems?" Commander Patricia Drake asked, her eyes tired with duty. It was obvious she hadn’t slept for over thirty-six hours.

"That would most definitely be number one," Han told her with a sad sigh.

Jaina cleared her throat, then asking the obvious question, "But if the Third Imperium has formed an alliance... who has it formed it with?"

For one moment, the whole group sat silently, pondering the situation. Pondering what actions could be taken.

Blair spoke first. "The problem we have to face now is where in the galaxy the wormhole sent them. Current Exploratory Services star charts have only a fourth of this galaxy mapped. That gives your Imperials a whole lot of breathing space."

Leia stood, and answered with a steel determination Jaina had always admired about her mother, "Wherever they are, we will find them. We will end them and their decades-long reign of terror. Freedom will be brought to both our galaxies at whatever the cost."

Han laid a comforting hand over his wife’s. He must have known what she was thinking. "Leia..."

She continued, "My home planet was lost due to them and countless others were annexed. I will not let them do what they did to me to anyone else again.

"On behalf of the New Republic, I respectfully ask for an alliance with the Terran Confederation with the objectives of finding and ending the Galactic Empire. I will appeal before your Senate and Joint Chiefs if I have to."

Senator Taggart stood proud and ran his fingers through his hair while straightening his fine suit. He formally addressed her, "As Assembly Master and Speaker of the Confederation Senate, I accept your proposal. Freedom from this Galactic Empire of yours will be won at any cost, whatever the price."

Even with everything else losing her in her thoughts, Jaina thought of Taggart’s words, running them over in her mind.

At any cost, whatever the price.

1030 HOURS (CST)

Thokkarh nar Caxki stood at the forward viewport of the shuttle’s cockpit and watched in reserved awe as the Imperial ship Vacillator ominously cruised by, nearly as long as a Kilrathi dreadnought but many times more massive. What’s more, it was impressive, shaped as a diamond-like blade, very much akin to the traditional Kilrathi spacecraft design of using cutting weapons as models. Thokkarh looked at her weapon arrays, extending and retracting his claws anxiously.

If I had such a battleship during the war with the Terrans I would have spilt a path of ape blood to the Terran homeworld; to Nak’tara itself, he thought silently to himself. Thokkarh, feeling the cramped shuttle start to slow, moved himself away from the window and looked over to Baron Jakh’ja of the Clan Ragitagha.

Jakh’ja was a young cub compared to himself, his fur still golden, his muzzle and teeth showing his Royal breeding and heritage. Licking his chops, Jakh’ja appeared similarly awed by the sight, and cared not to hide it due to his inexperience. Yet, his face also showed suspicion and doubt in reaction to the new fleet positioned in the vicinity.

"Impressive," the young one commented with a low growl. "A wondrous ship. With our new alliance we shall have the technology and the power to finally defeat the Terrans. We shall finally restore our honor in the eyes of Sivar."

The Lord was confident. These foreign humans had technology that surpassed the Confederation’s, as well as the Kilrathi’s own archaic weapons of the past. He felt anxious to finally fight again, to defeat the Terrans, driving them back and give new meaning of what it truly was to be Kilrathi.

"True," Thokkarh replied. "But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let us not overestimate the Terrans as so many of our forefathers have done in the past. The humans are strong, yes, yet we must go slowly and make sure that we do not make the same mistakes. Also, we must remember that aside from the Terrans, we must also deal with the Mantu, and the Kn’thrak that has been prophesied to return since the dawn of our great race."

Jakh’ja took in a breath and sat back, looking out at the Imperial ship, obviously deep in thought.

Thokkarh recited Jakh’ja’s words to himself, thinking back to the Emperor and his idiotic grandson, how they failed to bring victory so many times at the cost of so many others. Now the battle with the Mantu would be many eights difficult than what was expected ten years ago.

"Let us not think of this now," spoke Baron Ha’karah of the Kur’u’tak clan, curling back his lips in a fierce grin that bared his silver-plated teeth. "We still must negotiate’ with these Imperial humans as to exactly what we shall do."

Jakh’ja merely nodded in agreement. Thokkarh grunted fashionably, seeing the wisdom in Ha’karah’s words. He started to wonder exactly what to expect from the Imperial grand moff. Suddenly, he felt the rumble of the oversized engines and the ship starting to decelerate for landing. Thokkarh stood, and waited.


1045 HOURS (CST)

Baron Jakh’ja nar Ragitagha was seated uneasily across of the chamber, watching the Grand Moff enter the hall, each of his footsteps echoing. Jakh’ja tried to keep his fur relaxed and his tail in an impassive position, not to convey his feelings to the other noble barons present and especially to the Imperial humans.

The Conference Hall was built from a time of early expansion, just when the people were given the capability to reach for the cosmos by the technology of the foolishly generous Shata and Utara races. This place was the production of eagerness in intersystem colonization. It was slowly built with the best achievements of past Kilrathi cultures’ golden ages embedded into the architectural design. Pure majesty could not even accurately describe the beauty of the entire Hall. The painted ceiling was so high above the Baron’s head that the lights suspended from the support arches were mere pinpoints of their actual size. This place was immense, a remnant... no, a pillar of Kilrathi glory.

After a few minutes of diplomatic pleasantries and mindless chattering and some bickering, an Imperial ensign began to quiet the people, "Attention, attention! The Rawsh Conference of the Kilrathi-Imperial Terran Alliance will now begin!"

The growls of the Kilrathi and the whispers of the Imperials soon ended.

Grand Moff Jhediah straightened his tunic, then addressed the Kilrathi Clan Caxki baron Thokkarh, "Now before going into the plans I had relayed to you in regard to your shipyards and our lines of starfighters, I would like to begin this conference by respectfully inquiring what your main objective in this coalition with us is." His voice was loud with a domineering tone.

The Kal Thak’hra stood up proudly, taking a deep breath before beginning, "I would never lie to you or my brethren: I wish our children to play along the vast landscapes of Terra, to search for ape prey and smell the blood of the near extinct. I wish our children to walk out under the rays of the yellow sun, and to crush a thousand eights human skulls beneath their claws. To have the last human cry out in pain as they begged for mercy, that would be poetry to our ears. Then, and only then, would my race be whole again."

The Kilrathi that were attending the Conference rose up behind their leader, roaring gallantly and banging loudly his unsheathed claws against the consoles. The wrawls echoed inside the great hall, ending only a half-minute later. With beckoning from the Baron himself, all of them quieted with only a few growls being heard.

Jhediah finally responded only after everything was orderly again, "I apologize beforehand if you take objection to my next few words, but I must say your mission is short-sighted and hatred-born. However, if that is what you wish for, then that shall be what you receive."

Thokkarh took no offense, or at least did not show that he did. "With all due respect, Imperial Leader, your time here has been short. You have not been here for over four eights of years. All of us older Kilrathi have seen entire battle groups of cruisers destroyed under the Terrans’ guile and dishonor. They have poisoned our worlds; slain our hrai. They are a plague to be cured and ridden of. Surely they would resist to your New Order as they have resisted submission... annihilation from us."

Jhediah paused, and a Tactical Advisor whispered to him for a few seconds. The Grand Moff placed his attention back to the Kilrathi seated across the hall. "Actually, these Terrans’ as you call them, have said the same things about you. Your conflict with them appears to be one with an inevitable end of mutual extinction."

Against diplomatic protocol, the Baron Jakh’ja bristled beyond control. "Tengek loshk gohr Imperiak nar Humars!" he swore in his native language. "You shall not communicate with those... those... those shits!"

With that, the Baron stormed out through the double-door entranceway of the Conference Hall. In the process, he had sent two white-clad Stormtroopers sprawling out of his way.

Jhediah only showed a straight face, one of neither fear nor overt courage. In pure coldness, accompanied with an icy glare, he asked only one question: "Thokkarh, my good friend, what did he say in his native tongue?"

"Hmm?" Thokkarh growled, less-than-cooperatively.

"I will ask you again. What did he say in his native language?"

Thokkarh thought a long moment. "Nothing. He said nothing. Only mindless cursing that cannot be accurately translated." However, he repeated it over in his mind…

Tengek loshk gohr Imperiak nir harakhs juit! A knife to the back still enters the heart, Imperial Human or not.