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09.10.2012 , 12:11 PM |
The Sword of Mercy: Goals and Ambitions 3
. Today's entry is 1000 words. Significant spoiler elements are taken from SW Act 3 and IA Act 2 to set up this reality...
...in which our young LS-by-inclination Ruth is subject to brainwashing and Castellan restraints, and Quinn reveals himself much, much earlier as Baras's agent and Ruth's handler.
This occurs after Belsavis, after Pierce declares for Ruth, and after Baras tries to get rid of Quinn, but before Voss. In fact it's probably right around the time Ruth tries to cut a deal with Darth Ekkage.
The Minister of Intelligence noted the time and left the command center in the Citadel. He headed upstairs to his own private office, where he had an appointment with yet another meddling Dark Council member.
The Intelligence staff had cleared out of the room. The only person standing in the Minister's office was a big soldier, bearded, angry-looking.
The Minister flicked a quick look around and then went to touch a button on his wrist console. If no support was in sight he would have to call it in.
"Don't bother, Minister," said the soldier, "I'm just here as scheduled." He nodded back at the doorway. The Minister turned around to see the slim Pureblood, Darth Vowrawn, strolling in.
"Ah, Minister," oozed the Sith, "thank you for your hospitality! I'm so happy the scheduling worked out; I know the agency has been very busy of late."
The Minister tightened his lips and bowed. "It's always an honor, my lord."
"Now, I'm here because of my friend Lieutenant Pierce, so I'll give him the chance to talk."
The big soldier, Pierce, cleared his throat. "Right. Heard about your little Castellan restraint program. IX serum ring a bell? Brainwashing, mind control?"
"I can't comment on any such notion," said the Minister.
"I believe you can," said Vowrawn.
"Believe you'd better," said Pierce. "You've used it. Repeatedly. What's worse, you've handed it to Sith Lords who you knew were going to make the most of it."
"Where are you hearing these claims?" Then he answered his own question.
That malcontent. That traitor. He had made a brief intense effort to sabotage the whole program before he disappeared. The Minister had taken a serious personal risk to give him the restraints rather than death, and the minute the Cipher freed himself he thanked the Minister by going out to cause as much damage as he could.
"Cipher who?" said the soldier. "All I know is that Darth Baras started using it on other Sith, and the resulting mess is likely to ruin a lot more than I think you were expecting. It's a pretty sick setup you've got, Minister."
"It isn't mine, Lieutenant. It was a Sith who ordered the research in the first place, a Sith who approved its use, and yes, a Sith who chose to keep some of the results for his own use."
"You going to tell me that mitigates your part in it?"
"Don't play dumb. I only do as I am ordered."
"Funny, the other guy says that, too." The big soldier lunged forward and delivered a right cross that sent the Minister sprawling.
He sat up as soon as he could, touched his jaw to check for anything broken. Glowered at the big soldier while trying to maintain his dignity. He could fight back – he could easily have dodged, for that matter – but he wasn't fool enough to engage or escalate physical confrontation with a Sith's protégé. "We all do what we have to," he said.
"Hm. Yeah." Pierce made a fist again, looked at it, looked back at the Minister. "And I had to do that."
"Pierce, if we might continue?" suggested Vowrawn. "Personally I find the whole program deeply distasteful, not to say too dangerous to keep in the wild. I would be much obliged, Minister, if you would hand over what records you have on the program and the making of this serum."
The Minister stood and straightened his jacket. "I fear you came far too late for that. Darth Baras broke our original research agreement and simply confiscated most of our material on it weeks ago. Only he can fully recreate it now."
"Well, if there's any spare notes you left lying around, now's the time to mention them." Pierce idly flexed his fingers.
"I don't think beating him is going to reveal anything of interest," said Vowrawn placatingly.
"Nor do I, milord. So if it makes no difference either way, I'd rather work out my frustrations on a guilty party."
"I don't know what you hope to achieve by either striking or lecturing me," the Minister said coldly. "If I resisted the order, I would die and someone else would take my place to obey. This is the way the world works. I don't know what you hope to gain with your principled stand."
"All I want," rumbled Pierce, "is to find out what a woman would say to me if she were free in her own mind for ten bloody seconds. That's all I'm after. Seems I've got to rip through the entire Ministry of Intelligence plus half the Dark Council just to get it. I can do that if I have to. I've got time."
"Now, now," said Vowrawn, "I don't think we need cause the Minister any further trouble. I'll have my people talk to Baras's people, and I'm quite certain we can sort this all out."
"Yeah," said Pierce. "Right."
"At least we're narrowing down where to look, again, thanks to your tips and your very daring spy reports. You have truly shed some interesting light on Darth Baras's activities since you first approached me." Vowrawn smiled amiably. "You know, Lieutenant, if more servants were like you, this galaxy would be a very interesting place."
"It would be a field of corpses," the Minister said bitterly.
"Maybe," said Pierce, "but maybe more of the people who actually deserve to live would still be out there."
Vowrawn kept smiling. "Thank you, Minister. I shall call on you again."
The Minister bowed stiffly.
Vowrawn walked out side by side with Pierce. "You feel very strongly about all this," said the Sith.
Pierce closed and opened his fists again. "Yeah. I do."
Baras came knocking at Intelligence after he and Quinn realized the significance of Ruth's run-in with Wynston on Quesh. (Got all that?) When Baras's intelligence apparatus failed to pin down the info leak that was Cipher Nine, he went into cleanup mode and started taking the IX Serum materials into his own archives.
Edit: Also, I do love the Minister of Intelligence, and I think he's a superb character, but I can understand wanting to tear him limb from limb, even knowing the restrictions he operates under.
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