Welcome! As the title indicates, here you will find Fiction Updates related to Clan Arcona. Enjoy!
(In which the Consul plans a party, which will surely be completely innocuous.)
Office of the Consul
Selen, Dajorra System
“Well, Junazee seems to be settling in,” Lucine said as she weighed the report in her hands. The newly minted Quaestor of Galeres had jumped in with both feet in undertaking the task of getting her new House under control, and thus far it seemed like things were going well.
She placed the report into the bin to be filed, before looking at the mountainous stacks of datapads and flimsiplasts that remained on her desk. She sighed and picked up another datapad. One task was done, but there were so many more to do.
Her sigh caught the attention of the Proconsul, who looked up from his own stack of reports. “You know, you could delegate some of that,” he said.
“Oh, you mean like when I delegated the task of hiring a Rollmaster?”
The Chiss suppressed a minuscule smile. “My dear, you are constantly going on about Strong’s many talents. I simply put them to good use for the clan.”
The Shadow Lady shifted in her seat so that she could see Rhylance around the stack of reports and shot him a glare. “There is the fact that being Rollmaster would force him to spend the bulk of his time away from the Citadel. I am certain that did not figure into the equation at all.”
“The thought never even crossed my mind,” Rhylace replied mildly, though they both knew that he was lying. In truth, it had been the primary reason why he had selected Strong.
Lucine bit back a retort. She could not deny that Strong was doing an excellent job so far, but she did not have to like it. But at least it was one less thing she had to worry about.
She rose from her seat and went to the window, which had been opened to allow in some fresh air and sunlight. Below, evidence of a variety of construction projects could be seen throughout Estle City. It seemed that something was being built on almost every street.
Kordath’s solution to the unrest had been to raid Collective ships in search of food and vital supplies. It had worked well in the short term, but would not be sustainable in the long run. And so Lucine had focused on creating jobs for the populace. After all, an employed civilian had less time to plan riots.
But all of the construction projects required money to pay for supplies and labor. Stimulating trade was a necessary next step, which was why it was so important for the trade deal with the Severian Principate to succeed. Delegates from the Severian Principate would arrive in a few days, and the trade talks would begin in earnest.
And what better way to start the talks than with a gala? It would be the perfect way to display the clan’s wealth and power. And what’s more, with all of the Arconans gathered together, she could accomplish some of her other long term goals, killing two birds with one stone.
The Sith allowed herself a small smile as she flipped through her mental to-do list. It seemed that things were well in hand. The invitations and proper apparel had been sent out. The CItadel had been scrubbed until it gleamed, and all of the rooms had been aired to get the Ryn-smell out. All of the necessary preparations had been made. So far, everything was going according to plan.
((In which the gala is an explosive success!)
Selen, Dajorra System
The magical night had begun. The guests gathered in the Citadel, dressed in their finest clothes. For the commoners, it was a rare opportunity to dine on the finest food and drink for free. For the Arconans and delegates present, it was an opportunity to make political inroads and gather potential ammunition in the trade talks that would start the next day.
Lucine Vasano was in her element. After a frantic few weeks of preparation, it was time to see if all of her carefully laid plans would bear fruit. She took a step back to survey her guests, savoring the swirl of laughter and conversation around her. Even if every single one of her plans failed, at least she could be credited with throwing a successful party.
Even the beasts seem to be having a good time, she noted as she observed two Cythrauls weaving amid the revelers. She had tasked a few of the beleaguered attendants with keeping Ivoshar and Fela away from the more allergic guests, but for the most part they were allowed free reign. Why not? Their presence seemed to put Attyiru at ease.
She scanned the crowd until she found her former Master, making her rounds with the delegates with a brooding Marick close-by. The Miraluka seemed her usual, chipper self, though she would occasionally lift her hand to touch her now short hair in the absent-minded manner. Lucine made a mental note of her former Master’s unconscious movements, before continuing her examination of the crowd.
Tali Sroka, the Qel-Droman Quaestor, appeared uncomfortable as she tried to converse with Miinu, a Severian Principate intelligence officer and mid-ranking delegate. Across the room, Yumni Ha appeared to be having similar difficulties with a Dug merchant. Near one of the snack tables that had been strategically placed around the room, Tyga made first contact with Kurfacril Fenn, a member of the Severian Principate’s security detail. Nearby, Aru Law chatted with his date, a lovely Twi’lek by the name of Amis Jumah. It seemed that the Arconans were hard at work, creating ties necessary to ensure that the upcoming trade talks would be successful.
Sensing a new presence at her elbow, Lucine turned to see her butler, Tabriss, standing beside her. “There have been reports that an uninvited guest has set up a nest on the roof of the Atyiru Caesura Memorial Hospital.”
“Excellent. I am gratified to hear that the DIA are being ever vigilant,” the Shadow Lady murmured as she scanned the crowded room. Her eyes fell upon a familiar Zabrak disappearing onto the balcony. “Be a dear and bring Sera Kaern to me. Also, remind me later to rename that hospital.”
The Chiss butler inclined his head slightly and disappeared into the crowd. As she waited for him, Lucine moved to a place in the room where she could easily see the hospital through the window while still being shielded by party-goers.
Sera appeared a few minutes later. She cut a striking figure in her pristine white dress that pulled double duty of making the Zabrak look virtuous and approachable at the same time. Sera was accompanied by a susurrus of whispers and admiring looks as those present noted her arrival. Clearly the Zabrak was making a name for herself with all of her recent heroics, a situation that pleased the Shadow Lady to no end. Sera, however, seemed less pleased. She looked decidedly uncomfortable with all of the attention being afforded to her.
“Having fun, darling?” Lucine asked.
“Uhm… yes,” Sera replied as she watched the sideways glances and adoring smiles. “It sure seems like I’m popular.”
“It certainly seems that way,” Lucine agreed pleasantly. “It appears that your recent heroics have earned you quite the reputation. But you do not seem to be enjoying the attention. Would you mind doing me a small favor? It will get you away from the party and out of the limelight for a bit.”
The Zabrak’s hesitation was just long enough to be telling, just long enough to cause Lucine to raise her eyebrows. “Sure. What do you need?” Sera asked at last, trying to hide her discomfiture by brushing away an invisible speck of dust from her dress.
“There are reports that there is a sniper on the roof of the Atyiru Caesura Memorial Hospital. Would you be a dear and remove them before they hurt someone?”
“Oh! Yes, I can do that,” Sera replied, her relief visible in how quickly and brightly she responded to the request. She lightly patted the knife that was strapped too her thigh. It occurred to Lucine that Sera never seemed to be without it, making her suspect that it was something more than a cutting edge fashion accessory.
“What? Did you think I was going to ask you to do something awful?” the Shadow Lady asked sweetly.
“No, of course not!”
“Of course not,” Lucine echoed. “Well, have fun, darling. I am certain that the adoring masses will have forgotten all about you by the time you return!”
The Zabrak smiled brightly at the prospect and hurried off to embark upon her mission. Lucine smiled at Sera’s earnestness. Yes, she will do nicely.
But the redhead’s internal gloating was abruptly cut short with the approach of a slender, bespectacled Chiss. “Rhylance! It appears the gala is going well so far, wouldn’t you agree?”
“It appears to be the case,” the Proconsul replied with the barest hint of a smile, before switching to Cheunh. “It appears we may have a problem.”
“Alaisy just informed me that she has discovered some sort of plot to poison certain members of our delegation,” Rhylance said.
“That is awful! I trust you allayed her concerns?”
“Quite the contrary. I encouraged her to investigate further,” the Proconsul said, pushing his glasses up in a manner that caused the light to glint off of the lenses.
Lucine raised her eyebrows at his response. “And what happens if she discovers our own plot to drug certain members of the Principate delegation?”
“She is looking in the wrong direction. I’ll make sure that she continues to do so,” Rhylance said. “In the meantime, our friend from the Severian Principate is enjoying the cocktails I sent him.”
“Fantastic, then I will make a point to talk to him in the very near future.” Lucine started to say more, but her eyes fell upon Tali. Apparently, the negotiations were complete for the moment, as she had found her way onto the dance floor and into a slow dance with Strong.
“They look cozy,” Rhylance pointed out, having figured out exactly what the redhead was looking at. “I am gratified to see that Strong is working hard to develop good working relationships with members of the House Summits.”
“Indeed,” Lucine replied through gritted teeth. She took a deep breath, and pasted a courtier’s smile on her face. “And speaking of which, it is time for me to develop some working relationships as well.”
Lucine glanced at her chrono. It was almost midnight. Soon the gala would end, and the various delegates would retire to prepare for the long days of negotiations ahead.
So far, the party could be considered a success. Diplomatic ties had been established, preliminary agreements had been made. Sera had returned from her task, and even Tali and Yumni appeared to have some success in their discussions. At least, that was the assumption, given how much time Tali and Strong spent together during the latter part of the evening.
Lucine herself had personally ensured that she had spoken with every member of the Severian Principate’s delegation, including one very special person.
In the days leading up to the gala, the most difficult task for the Shadow Lady and Shadow Scion was to find the person who would play the central role in their scheme. It had taken hours of scouring the roster of Severian Principate delegates and DIA intelligence before they found a suitable individual. But they finally did: Gavin Hamich, a low ranking official with a dead-end career and Collective sympathies.
It was this man whom Lucine sought out, making sure that she spoke with a number of other people before and after him to prevent suspicion. When she finally did speak with him, she used a combination of the Force and honeyed words to plant a series of suggestions in the man’s mind.
He left the party shortly after their little talk, wearing an odd, determined expression on his face. His departure was barely noticed, due to the appearance of a half-Iridonian clone. Though the clone sparked Rhylance’s interest, Atyiru quickly took charge of her, forcing the Shadow Scion to return to his duties as one of the party’s hosts.
The evening passed pleasantly, and as the final minute of the day wound down, the delegates of both groups gathered for the final toast of the party. The first indication that something was wrong came when Hamich rudely shoved his way through the crowd, breaking Principate etiquette to place himself closer to the Arconan delegation.
Before anyone could chastise him for his rudeness, he began to shout. “TRAITORS! YOU DINE WITH MURDERS! FOR LYRA! FOR FREEDOM! FOR THE COLLECTIVE! UNTIL ALL CHAINS ARE BROKEN!” He then tore open his suit coat to reveal the explosives that were strapped to his body.
The resulting explosion sent those nearest to him sprawling, some with worse injuries than others. Lucine herself found herself sprawled a few feet away from where she had previously stood, bruised and covered in a substance that she did not want to think too much about. She could vaguely hear moans and cries of pain over the ringing of her ears. A number of people were huddled on the ground, but most appeared to be still alive. Atyiru worked her way among the huddled forms, doing what she could to heal and comfort the wounded even despite her own injuries.
Nearby, the leader of the Severian Principate’s delegation surveyed the chaos with a stunned expression. Lucine fully intended to take her to task later, for bringing a terrorist to their peaceful negotiations. It would put Arcona at a significant advantage in the trade talks. All at the cost of a single Collective supporter’s life, and a few minor injuries.
Everything had gone according to plan.