[Unsteady Ground] Fiction Thread

(Seraine "Erinyes" Ténama) #1

Prelude

Consul’s Office, Taldryan Clan Headquarters
Chyron (moon of Perune), Caelus System
37 ABY

“You really think the membership will get involved with this?” Augur Rian Taldrya, Consul of Clan Taldryan, rubbed a hand over his chin as he studied the datapad he held. On it was a proposal for a radical reorganisation of the Clan’s activities.

The Zeltron across the desk shrugged. “Why not? It’s all things they would’ve done anyway. We’re just asking them to do it in ways that benefit the Clan instead of putting their personal projects first,” said the newly-minted Proconsul, Adept Seraine “Erinyes” Ténama.

“Yes, several of them seem to be doing that already. Speaking of which, why did I receive a requisition form from Nihlus that said you’d authorised him buying a Baleen-class freighter for research purposes?” Rian raised his eyebrows.

Erinyes raised a hand to object. “Okay, first of all, I told Nihlus that SRI would get that freighter, not that he’d have it as a personal ship. Second, it’s not like we don’t have the credits to spare for it, and we need his technical expertise.”

Rian stared flatly at the Proconsul for a moment, then shook his head. “Next time you want to promise something like that, ask me first, or it’s coming out of your booze budget.” Erinyes started to sputter in protest, but her response was cut mercifully short by an electronic chime from Rian’s office door. “Come in.”

The door slid open, revealing a towering Twi’lek man, and a diminutive Near-Human woman, both wearing grave expressions. “There’s a problem,” said the woman—Ektrosis’ Quaestor, Cymbre Kall, now also known as Taldryan’s Archpriestess.

“Uh oh. They’re agreeing on something,” Erinyes stage-whispered, with a melodramatic sideways glance at Rian. The Consul’s expression remained neutral, but a glimmer of humour crossed his eyes.

Vodo Biask Taldrya, newly-titled Spymaster of Taldryan, shook his head. “We’re serious, Erin.”

“Is it about the reorganisation? Erinyes and I were just discussing that,” Rian said.

“No, it’s about a vision I had yesterday.” Cymbre took the other chair across from Rian. “A fleet of capital ships arrived over Chyron. I couldn’t see many details, but the models looked very similar to the Collective fleets we fought recently, so I asked Vodo if he’d heard anything,” she said.

“I talked to some of my contacts,” Vodo continued. “A reliable local source told me that certain associates of the Ky’Lian Family have been getting an influx of credits from mysterious donors over the last few months, and Ness’arin passed on a report about Collective agents holding secret meetings on Bespin. The asset they were seen with didn’t show up in any of the databases we have access to, and gave the Inquisitorius the slip on Isde Naha.”

Rian frowned. “Isde Naha is the closest hyperlane junction to the Caelus System. Do you think the Collective is planning an attack?”

Vodo shrugged. “I don’t believe in coincidences, but I’m not as convinced as Cym is. Probably best to hold off on sounding the alarm until we can verify those reports ourselves. Maybe ask SRI to trace any comm signals between Isde Naha and Caelus.”

“My visions might not be as detailed as Vodo’s reports, but I’ve never known them to be wrong,” Cymbre said. “And it wasn’t as though the Collective wasn’t already a threat. This just confirms that they’re a more pressing danger than we thought.”

Rian’s brow furrowed. “Now that you mention it, I might have another lead. A young man I spoke with during one of our outreach clinics in the Junkyard Sector asked me how to enlist in the Taldryan military. His older sister works for TEAD Technologies, and that she had her apartment vandalised by a neighbourhood gang for ‘collaborating’ with Taldryan. It sounded strange at the time, but now I think we need to investigate that gang.”

“And when we find them, we should make an example out of them. People won’t support us if they think they’ll get their windows smashed in for it,” Erinyes added.

“That’s a little premature, Erin. If they really are working with the Collective, they could have some useful intel. We might even be able to flip them as double agents,” Vodo suggested.

Rian saw the Proconsul open her mouth to argue with the Spymaster, and raised a hand to cut her off. “One thing at a time. Vodo, work on finding that gang in the Junkyard Sector, and send the information you got from the Inquisitorius to SRI. Erinyes and Cymbre can start preparing for a possible military engagement with the Collective based on the information in Cymbre’s visions. Understood?” Three nods came in response to the Consul’s question. “Good. Dismissed.”