Categories > Movies > Star Wars > Inertia0 Reviews
Illyana faces the past, but it is not as clear-cut as she would have hoped...
And another point; why was she so keen to know about her parents? She hadn't known them, so why? Was it as her father had suggested, and she merely wanted to analyse their relationship? Or was she more than merely another critical Chiss; did she truly want to understand whatever love they may have shared? Perhaps to fulfil or shatter childhood illusions she held for the day when all of her broken family would be reunited?
Until recently, Tis'taliae'nuroudo had insisted she keep her errant humanity under control, fearing what she could possibly feel, and the effects it would have upon her intellect. The infamous Chiss thinking required emotional detachment, aloofness and supreme confidence in ones abilities; something she, as a half human, would find difficult to achieve. But she had learnt, proving a great number of critics within her fathers Phalanx incorrect in their opinions of her. With time, she would equal him. But not until she faced the past, until she understand her parents, for whatever reason.
She had come too far now to turn back, she decided. Here, in her hands, was the answer, and so she would experience it; if she never discovered it, her conscience would never let her be. Her hands shook - Inhaling deeply, she tapped the pad, the familiar and yet painful voice of the father speaking;
"I am Mitth'raw'nuroudo, formerly a Syndic of the Chiss Expansionary Defence Fleet, currently the military leader of the Galactic Empire, and father of Dsai'llyana. Dania Laquila is my spouse; married for the unity and security of the Empire. Though we have a history of alliance within the Imperial Court, we had never been lovers in any sense before our ceremony. Dania was officially an 'entertainer' of the Court, a seeming nobody, but she carried a secret, unknown to all except the Emperor. She was a noble woman, of innocence and yet oddly experienced. Dsai'llyana, Illyana; you are of aristocratic birth, despite your mothers humble background, and all evidence is saved in this datapad should anyone contest it. But to understand, you must study the subject from the beginning, and so I must take you back to an uncertain date, when the Emperor and his future assassin went to a hidden planet..."
The bleak embrace of endless real space welcomed the two occupants of the shuttle back, infinitesimally small stars returning to their pinprick forms as the pseudo-motion of hyperspace fell away. The shuttle began to glide effortlessly through the sea of stars, a beeping as a course was laid in.
The small girls' eyes widened as she took in the sight of the approaching planet, the perfect serenity and silence of space travel a new revelation to her young mind and a sharp contrast to the violence she had recently experienced. She'd never travelled through open space before, though she had often dreamed of such a thing, running away, and joining a pirate band, or being the first female Imperial ace pilot...
It seemed now, however, that those dreams would be terminated. A little over 12 hours ago, she had been taken from her homeworld by her new 'companion'. She did not understand why, and she was afraid to ask the aged man who piloted the shuttle why he had escorted her away, without so much as a goodbye to the parents who had loved her. She feared they were dead, and knew, somehow, that they were no longer.
Her tears had finished now, though her eyes were still red-rimmed. It was outside of her power to return to her family, and so there had to be a purpose to her pain. Somehow, her destiny had to lay intertwined with this elderly man, she could feel it.
She had tried to study him earlier, but found he had withdrawn into the hood that cast a dark shadow over his eyes, leaving only wrinkled lips exposed. Though plain, it was clear he was wealthy and of considerable power, from the thickness of his cloak to the way he carried himself, despite his age.
Fidgeting in her chair, she still felt uncomfortable; she had the distinct impression it was her unwilling 'friend' that caused her feelings of unrest. Something about him felt somehow unnatural, and set her on edge, and at the same time excited her, filling her with energy she was too afraid to express. The atmosphere crackled with electric, it was almost painful.
Few words had passed between them, and this made her more uncomfortable. She detested the silence, and yet, she did not know what to say. She was a mere child, what would she express that he already did not know? And yet even as a captive of sorts, she had not been lashed to the chair, or prevent escape. It was his mere presence that paralysed her so, and this in itself scared her.
"I feel your conflict, child. You need not fear me, only obey. No harm shall come to you."
He spoke in barely more than a whisper, and yet it held her attention. "You are strong, little one, and this is why I have chosen you above all else." He turned his head to her, and yellow eyes fixed upon her, in as close to a tender look as the embittered man could manage. She broke the gaze, and fixed her eyes ahead, on the small planetoid that they were closing in upon.
"Chosen me for what?" She dared; her lips barely moving. He said nothing more on the subject, and she settled back into her chair, preparing to land on the small planet that had arisen before them.
The red haired girl was led inside a fortress of what appeared to be an ancient temple, worn grey stone rising up before them from where the place the shuttle had touched down. It seemed almost sacrilegious, such a modern device resting upon the altar of some ancient forgotten god. The world around them, for miles, seemed to be shrubbery, tall trees hiding whatever creatures may have inhabited the world, an unnatural mist hanging a few centimetres clear of the top-most leaves, shielding the canopy.
She had to run to keep up with her host, not realising she had been staring at the horizon, the light in the tunnel turning from dim sunlight to bright UV lights, built into the ceiling, wires wrapping like vines over the faces of long-lost idols. Before them, dark metal doors, frozen shut and impenetrable, loomed out of the artificial light, a sinister feel to the too-shiny metal. It felt so wrong, this intrusion into an ancient culture; even if its worshippers were long dead... A code was tapped into a panel by a hand, withered as a prune, and the blast doors before them opened, allowing them both access into the private storehouse.
The girl child had never seen anything like it; thousands upon thousands of metal cylinders rose up before her, covered in dust. Dim lights cast an ominous image, harsh contrast and deep shadows making the image before her all the more disturbingly surreal. To her, the complex seemed to be a dirty secret this decrepit old man was hiding away until the opportune time. She did not understand what they were; only that she should never reveal what she had seen.
There were other things, too. Treasures plundered from decimated planets, some worthless but for sentiment, others inlaid with so many precious stones it put even the Imperial Palace, with its twinkling panels, to shame. She extended a hand to touch a delicate figure, only to feel it collapse in her hand.
"Worthless, child; beauty is worthless within this galaxy, unless it is supported by power." He trod on the visage of the long-necked beauty, her painted face powder beneath his foot. Palpatine seemed amused by her awe; the child would lose that, he would make sure it was driven from her.
He indulged it, however, for the time being, considering her feminity and her age. Leaning down to take her hand, she tugged her towards one of the cylinders at the far end of the hidden chamber. His secret; his pride and joy.
Unlike those she had seen before, this one was lit; a sinister light outside it flickering, the glass reflecting the cool blue.
Standing upright, a person lay in the shiny metal pod; another eerie light illuminating pale skin, make it almost transparent, long eyelashes twitching against the soft skin of her cheek. Impossibly long hair tumbled down her shoulders, covering what looked to be a naked body, lips a pale shade of pink. She looked doll-like and breakable, despite her adult height. Like the figure that had fallen just in her hand.
"She is pretty." Palpatine smiled at this innocent admission, her voice almost wistful.
"'She' is to be the future of my Empire, little one; though you are the only one apart from myself to know." His hand reached out to caress the glass pane over her cheek, his expression unreadable, something twisting between restraint and desire within him. She had seen that look before, and knew better than to question it." She holds an important secret within her."
"You can trust me." What else could she say? He terrified her, and the look he gave her was more threatening than any retort he could have fired back. It assured her silence through threat of what punishment he might hold especially for her. Tapping in some keys on the panel beside the glass view slot, the light sequencing changed, and the person within opened their eyes briefly, before losing consciousness again.
"She will be returning with us to the Imperial Palace." He spoke with finality, daring her to argue with him. She merely nodded, horrified at the expression of realisation that had dawned upon the young woman's face, only to fade into submission as the oxygen supply was depleted.
"Won't your secret be easy to learn if she returns with us?" She asked innocently, enquiring a niggling doubt that was pressing her to break the silence.
"No. Imperial Palace hides many secrets, and when you arrive, you will see why." Palpatine chuckled; out of the thousands of rooms, surely one especially lonely one would be house his pretty clone until she matured fully... "Now come, my dear Mara Jade. The future awaits."
Her hand lashed out, the small dagger clasped in her hand burying itself deep into the torso of the droid's metal casing, short circuiting it in a clatter of collapsing parts. Sweat poured from her, the fine clothes she had been given uncomfortable, and still she continued the onslaught against the unseen enemy, droids falling to the floor as she carved them down.
Personality had not yet been accessed in her mind, only the urge to fight onto the death; of either her invisible adversary or herself. She felt no fear, no anticipation, just obedience to her master. She had been trained well. What was once a weakened female form was now supple and strong, without appearing over bound with muscle or lacking in femininity. Both her looks and her strength would be vitally important to her future role.
Mara Jade's eyes followed the woman's progress blindly, her well concealed feelings reacting to the appearance of this barely remembered figure from her past. As an Emperors Hand, she had seen a lot of fighters, she'd killed a high percentage of them; it couldn't be the movements which made her feel like this.
A lot had changed since that small frightened girl had been taken from her parents; that girl had grown into a young woman, tempered by the danger of being a Sith Masters favourite, educated by the knowledgeable and the skilful alike. She knew a dozen ways to kill someone with her bare hands; so why did a teenage girl give her this awkwardly uncomfortable feeling?
Upon entering the room, all that had been present was the well dressed teen, kneeling submissively before a table, clutching a teapot and pouring into a cup for the hooded figure seated before her. Mara Jade hung back when she saw the raised hand of the hooded man, her own danger sense screaming at her.
Her senses proved accurate as a trio of droid warriors loomed through the darkness, attacking the pair at the low table. The female kicked, whirling around as the weak neck joint broke, yanking a dagger from her ankle strap as the other two closed in. Thrusting the knife hand behind her, and the free one forward into the circuitry of the droid, both collapsed in time for another group to emerge.
Mara Jade walked carelessly over the droid carcasses, following the summons of the hooded ones hand, and sat, taking the now abandoned pot and pouring herself a drink.
"Do you think she's ready?" An aged voice cracked, speaking to Mara with a hint of amusement lacing his tone. Mara Jade looked around, her nose wrinkled in disdain. It was messy, very messy. Not to her taste or style.
"I suppose she gets her job done." She sipped at the small cup. "Is this your plan? To plant automaton assassins in Court? Is it really getting so dull?"
Their conversation was punctuated by the death throes of the mangled droids, their shut-down protocols exploding to prevent any battle knowledge being downloaded by any unwanted beings. No sooner had a droid exploded, that another collapsed to the floor and performed the identical action, soon to be mirrored by another.
"Predictability is becoming more and more frequent; I had hoped that things would liven up with the Grand Admirals so set against each other...Did you find any information on Zaarin?" Palpatine asked, smiling as he watched the destruction.
"No. And I won't; he's too clever for that." She replied. They had both known it was a futile move to investigate the increasingly discontented Grand Admiral's assets and holdings; his mutinous feelings were High Treason, and would not be shared with anyone. But they had tried. And she knew where to plant evidence, if she should ever need to.
"Well then, it looks like I'm going to have to force his hand..." The ancient face smiled crookedly; "You need to deliver this for me, I trust no one else's discretion as I do yours."
She took the offered slip of paper and the address on top, her eyebrows raising slightly as she read the name and the place of residence.
"You're sure? You could have a political explosion on your hands." She didn't want to believe her mentor would be so careless as to allow the Court to rip apart the one prospective hope for the future Unknown Region conquest.
"Trust, Mara. I thought we had established that between us many years ago..." He shook his head, as if disbelieving her lack of faith in him. Really, he knew she was merely playing it cautious, satisfying her own curiosity and impulses as well as the safety of the Empire.
"I've never told anyone of your little project, have I, my Lord?" She cast a look at the still-fighting woman, her shoulder now exposed and bleeding, a droid apparently having gotten a clean shot at her.
"I told you once beauty was nothing without power to support it. Dania will prove my point by proving to be the distraction the Vice Admiral denies himself." Palpatine smiled and drained his cup, and placed it back down. The conversation was ended, Dania could feel his concentration shift away to the fighting woman.
Mara suddenly realised exactly what it was that had made her uncomfortable; she was used to the duplicity of her master, marvelled at the genius it took to manipulate the entire Court so well. It was that this was something new; Court would not expect any of this.
For such a delicate creature to suddenly leap from that role into a mindless defender, laying her life down for someone who so clearly had the situation under control...she sensed something about this woman, something big. The Force was with her, and yet not...at least not in any real sense, for her to manipulate. It made no sense.
Shaking her head, Mara dismissed it, ruefully wondering if she was losing her touch. Since when had she cared what became of faceless nobodies? Dismissing the entire memory of the woman, Mara bowed to her Emperor and left the room and the mindless devastation behind.
This is supposed to be an explanation of the timeline, and to define the AU in which Inertia exists, but I would also like to thank you all for taking the time to read my efforts into the amazing realm of SW EU; this is not some meaningless authors note, but a genuinely grateful author. Nothing makes a story popular except for those who take the time to read it. I've come a long way in the 5 years or so since I first began to write, and I have a good feeling that Inertia will be the best that I will ever write.
The realm in which Inertia exists is very close to the original SW timeline; I've gone to great lengths to make sure that everything is as accurate as I can make it; if you find anything questionable or incorrect, please feel free to leave a comment and I will endeavour to either change my storyline or find a suitable explanation. Certain events have to be changed, clearly, to allow Dania and Dsai'llyana; I ask only that you enjoy it, and if you feel so inclined, comment at the end.
Again, many thanks to you all, May the Force be with you!