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Sith Politics: No More Games

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07.25.2021 , 05:23 PM | #11

[A Snippet]

The sleek new brushed stainless metal sliding doors were incongruous, contrasting sharply against the ancient hardened red sandstone of the Temple of The Sith, an ancient complex located on Korriban. Darth Virulous and Khem Val had been waiting in the antichamber along with other powerful Sith lords. These Sith lords, like Virulous and Khem Val, were the apprentices and servants of dark councilors, who were holding their meeting within the Dark Council chamber on the other side of the metal sliding doors.

The antichamber was uncharacteristically crowded because there were many additional Sith lords waiting for their respective dark lords. They had all been stealing glances at Virulous and at Khem Val standing beside where she sat.

“How has she not been eaten by that monster all of this time!” was what many of them were thinking, “She has to be incredibly powerful if that monster hasn’t been able to eat her!” was what many of those concluded.

It unnerved many of the Sith present, listening to the beast’s stomach growl as he drooled at the mouth, staring longingly at them. The Dashade unashamedly stared at them all. He imagined himself surrounded by dead Sith laying about the anti-chamber as he sat leisurely on the bloodied stone floor, enjoying a feast.

“There is so much good food in this place with me!” the beast thought, hungrily, “No! I must not! I must not bring shame to my master!” Khem Val admonished himself, fighting his primal urge to feast.

Virulous assumed the additional Sith were there as extra security. Tensions had already been running very high between the dark councilors these days. The fear and distrust the dark councilors held against one another had magnified these tensions, and Darth Marr was having a very hard time holding the Dark Council together in the absence of Emperor Vitiate’s powerful rule.

She did not know that her master’s rivals on the Dark Council had bolstered their numbers in case a battle against Nox and his followers broke out as a result of the coming confrontation in the council chamber. However, the others in the anti-chamber didn’t know this either. They had not been informed by their masters.

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07.31.2021 , 06:55 PM | #12

[A Snippet]

Nox, feigning sleep, used The Force to monitor her slow and careful approach. He couldn’t actually see her, but he could sense where she was and what she was doing. He could tell that her hands were empty. She was weaponless.

“Perhaps the idiot will go for my sabrestaff,” Nox thought derisively of the traitorous apprentice.

However, his plan to be completely exposed, even to the point of not wearing his armor, as he always did, seemed to be the bait that was going to suck her into his trap. Nox’s broken heart had already given way to his ever growing anger, as he sensed her making the approach to kill him.

“Stupid, Virulous!” Nox thought, reviling his apprentice, “You’re going to throw everything away! Why couldn’t you have waited for me to ascend the throne, so that I could elevate you to my vacated seat on the Dark Council?! Impatient, short-sighted dolt!”

She stopped in her tracks, making it clear to him that she was not going to go for his sabrestaff.

“Then will she try a Dark Force technique?”

Nox recalled that Virulous had been using The Force to eavesdrop on his private meeting with Darth Zash, right after Zash had been elevated to the Dark Council. He and Zash both sensed the intrusion, and he decided to lay a trap for his apprentice, asking Zash to tell him of her Dark Force technique which allowed her to instantly kill a disrespectful subordinate with a light touch on the subordinate’s shoulder.

“Hasn’t she figured out how easily that technique could be countered?! Fool!” he raged at her.

However, his face remained placid as he continued to feign sleep, ready to strike at her.

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08.07.2021 , 12:36 AM | #13

[A Snippet]

The Jedi Council had convened to discuss an important piece of intelligence that had virtually fallen into their laps. Because of the war and other issues internal to the Jedi Order itself, only three Jedi Councilors were in attendance for this meeting.

The SIS, the Galactic Republic’s spy agency, sent an agent to brief their Jedi allies on a very important development. The SIS were the ones who had come across the information. They’d already done much of the leg work, vetting the intelligence windfall which had literally been breadcrumbed to them.

The SIS held a great deal of suspicion that the report might be a trap since it was fed to them, but the information was valid, having been verified and corroborated with other sources. Given the nature of the information contained in the report, however, they felt a strong need to involve the Jedi Council.

The biggest problem about the intelligence report was that there was nothing the SIS didn’t already know that was in it. Yet, the way the information was tied together, yielded insights that could only have come from an Imperial insider.

The SIS representative came to the end of his report.

“Our analysis of this comes down to two things,” the agent said to the Jedi Council members in attendance, “One: this is a trap to expose our agents working within the Empire. Or, two: someone on the Dark Council has betrayed a rival and wants to use us to do something with this information.”

Two of the three Jedi in attendance, quickly glanced at each other. The third Jedi simply stared at the datapad sitting on a display board hovering over the Council table near the three Jedi. She was actually meditating, using The Force to pull more secrets from the datapad, which was of Imperial manufacture. She didn’t like what The Force revealed to her, but she decided to say something about the matter set before them.

“The infighting among the Dark Council has begun,” Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan told her colleagues on the Jedi Council. “They are now vying for the imperial throne. This may seem like good news, but The Force tells me that things will not go our way so easily. In fact, I get the sense that The Force is telling me, ‘be careful what you wish for.’ We need to move carefully.”

“And what are you not telling us,” Jedi Master Gnost-Dural asked, dryly.

Satele Shan, staring at the imperial made datapad, thought carefully about how to word her response.

“It will cost us greatly, whether we take action, or don’t take action,” Satele finally answered.

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08.14.2021 , 01:15 AM | #14

[A Snippet]

The seal, which kept the atmosphere from escaping into space, was broken as the ramp came down, allowing the sounds of battle to boom and reverberate into the cramped troop compartment of the dropship. The whine of the ship’s engines was nearly drowned out by the sounds of war.

Virulous wasted no time, moving quickly down the narrow center aisle, barely avoiding the austere narrow metal benches on either side while making her way to the ramp at the back of the small armored troop transport.

She was amazed at how agile the much taller, bulkily armored, and more heavily encumbered soldiers were as they exited the dropship ahead of her. The armored troops carried, not only their weapons, but additional equipment and supplies. She marveled at how gracefully they moved, and with such ease, out of the confined space.

“They must practice this a lot!” she marveled.

As her black medium grade flexible armored boot struck the top of the ramp, Virulous felt as though she had run into a wall of hot humid air saturated with an awful stench. At first she thought it was the stench of death, but it wasn’t very long before she realized it was not death, but filth. Underneath her black rigid armored mask and skull protector Virulous crinkled her nose in objection to the stink.

The Imperial Army platoon she accompanied had been assigned as her security detail, and she was impressed by the tight discipline of the individual members. In less than twenty seconds the thirty men and women had exited the dropship and had already taken up defensive positions among the squalid hovels around the square.

Yavin 4’s star shone brightly, and hotly. She was glad that the hood of her black robes, at least kept the hot rays of the star from directly heating her skull protector and mask. Her robes also kept the star’s direct rays off of her flexible body armor, but the humidity was stifling.

Virulous became thrilled when the high-pitched whine of the engines wound up to a banshee’s scream as the dropship shot upwards, buffeting her in its downdraft and covering the sounds of battle. In a very few seconds, the ear-splitting banshee screams of the engines were themselves drowned out by their unforgiving body-reverberating roar, as the dropship vanished into the sky on its way back to space. In less than a couple of hours it would return with another load of heavy infantry.

Virulous looked around the square, as the maddening roar of ten, space-bound dropships faded into the relative quiet of ordinary explosions and blaster rifle reports. On the ground, in between the damaged and destroyed hovels built on all four sides of the open square, which the dropship had landed in, it became apparent to her that the Massassi didn’t understand the concept of sanitation and hygiene. The evidences were on the ground, here and there, that they did not go far enough away from their hovels to do their business. It also appeared that their idea of garbage disposal was to simply throw it out the doors of their primitive huts. Rotting trash was everywhere.

“These savages better hope I don’t step in any of their messes,” she thought, disgusted by their habits, “I’ll make them pay for soiling my boots!” she thought, imperiously.

The petite Sith lord giggled at how silly that sounded, but for the noise of the battle all around the square, no one heard her. She turned her head on hearing a suddenly intense volley of blaster rifle fire, and noticed a heavily armored soldier making his way to where she took cover.

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08.21.2021 , 06:03 PM | #15

[A Snippet]

As the droids busied themselves with clean up and securing the canisters which had held the ingredients, Nox left the pit, climbing the metal grate steps and delving into the jungle on the hunt for fresh prey. It wasn’t very long before Nox found himself stalked by a very fierce predator. He’d spotted a vine tiger, a species found natively in the jungles of Dromund Kaas.

He knew that this particular predator hunted in packs of two or three and sometimes four.

“I should have brought Khem Val with me!” Nox thought, regretfully.

The dark lord Force leapt up to a large tree bough high up from the forest floor. The three bests stalking him froze still, but Nox had already spotted one of the two cubs before leaping to the tree limb. From his vantage point Nox spotted the other cub, and after a bit of careful searching, their mother.

“She is no beast! She is a monster!” Nox thought, truly impressed, his heart beginning to race.

The cubs were chest high to him, so they were probably at least four months old. Their mother was large enough to look down on him if she wasn’t crouching down in the brush. Nox knew of these creatures’ intelligence. He knew they would soon change their plans, and they did.

Their mother made two quick distinct growling sounds. Her second growl was an octave lower than the first. Instantly, the two vine tiger cubs dashed forward, running past Nox’s tree. As soon as they’d gotten behind him, they stopped, turned, and looked up at him.

Nox’s heart pounded in his chest. He was thrilled, and he was scared. He kept his eyes on the cubs’ mother. She remained still, crouching fifty meters from the tree. After a bit, Nox realized that she was the diversion as it occurred to him that one of the cubs might be climbing the tree.

Looking behind himself, Nox saw that one of the cubs had indeed climbed halfway up the tree trunk, but was climbing no higher. Nox’s instincts told him he was in immediate danger of dying. Adrenaline shot through his system, causing his heart to jump into hyperspace.

As soon as her prey on the tree branch turned to look at her cubs, she uncoiled her wound up crouched body, surging thirty meters in one bound, and then leaping the remaining twenty meters to the branch, ten meters above the jungle floor, where her prey had perched itself.

The beast hadn’t counted on its quarry to leap up higher into the tree. She expected her prey to obliviously stay put or to jump down from the branch to flee. The vine tiger could tell right away that her prey wouldn’t make it to the next limb which could support his weight. She twisted in the air, with her four viciously clawed paws facing upwards so that she could catch him as he fell back towards the ground.

“Damnation!” Nox cursed.

He used too much power in The Force when he tried leaping higher into the tree. The big tree branch gave way from under his feet, snapping with a very loud crack, like a shot. As a result, he didn’t generate enough momentum to go high enough to reach the branch. He grabbed his sabrestaff and twisted his body in midair to face behind himself.

As he began to descend, he activated one end of his sabrestaff and held it at the far end of the staff hilt to extend his reach. His empty off hand crackled with electrical Force energy as he prepared to fight for his life.

Nox was struck with a sudden pang of fear as he saw that the beast had calculated his failed leap and had oriented itself so that he would descend into the vine tiger’s bosom, its paws were spread wide, ready to catch Nox in a razor clawed embrace.

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08.28.2021 , 06:31 PM | #16


Following his call to Moff Valion Pyron, and after setting up his shuttle transport, Nox called Andronikos Revel.

“Hey, Boss, what do you have brewing?” the pirate asked casually.

“Find Khem Val. Arm the ship for heavy space combat, and get a platoon of heavy infantry loaded for ten days of combat. Be ready for launch as soon as I board the starship in Kaas City spaceport in six to seven hours.”

“All Nine Hells, Boss!! Who’re you going to war with?!” Andronikos exclaimed, adding, “By the way, I’ll need fourteen hours to prep the ship and get the troops with their supplies.”

“Fourteen hours?! I don’t…!” Nox started to blast out, but bit off the rest.

Nox held his tongue, stifling his first impulse which was to shout at and berate the semi-retired pirate. Andronikos could see the fury in his employer’s eyes. He could easily tell that his employer was struggling to hold back. He could see the dam of fury was at the busting point, and that soon his employer would not be able to hold back any longer. Andronikos figured he’d better explain.

“It’s fourteen hours, because I’ve got to order the military around, and they’re all about filling out forms and following procedures. But don’t worry, Boss. I’ll be sure they know it’s your ship and that you’re in a ripping hurry.”

“Very well. I’ll be there in fourteen hours,” Nox said, very plainly seething with rage.

“The blasted Jedi are on Korriban,” Nox explained, revealing to the pirate the source of his fury.

“All Nine Hells…,” Andronikos replied soberly, realizing what was at stake. He asked, “You don’t want me to get Virulous, too, Boss?”

“No. I’ll contact her myself,” Nox replied brusquely, cutting the connection.

Shortly thereafter, Virulous’ holographic image appeared above his device.

“What is your will, Dark Lord?”

Nox took note that she did not kneel.

“Hmmm… It seems she does not believe she needs to show me the proper respect anymore,” Nox thought, testily, “I’ll have to rectify this misunderstanding of hers.”

“Have you completed your mission?” Nox asked, tersely.

“I have, my lord, and I have succeeded,” she replied solemnly, with quiet pride.

“Oh! That explains her change in attitude!” Then a realization struck him, “Is she even Virulous, anymore?”

Realizing, with a pang, that she might not even be the same woman that he’d fallen in love with, Nox decided not to call out his apprentice on her failure to kneel before him.

“Does she still love me? Does she even still consider herself my apprentice anymore?”

He asked her, much less tersely as some of his anger left him, “When will you be ready to return to me?”

“My lord, we have already left orbit,” Virulous reported, “In an hour we shall enter hyperspace.”

“Bring your forces to Korriban. You will join me there,” Nox instructed, explaining, “The Jedi have invaded Korriban with a strong military force.”

The quiet pride, evidenced on her face, morphed into ever increasing outrage as she replied, “I look forward to showing you my new found power, Dark Lord,” Then her face twisted into a mask of fury as she snarled her declaration. “I will destroy those filthy Jedi!”

“First meet with me, my apprentice,” Nox cautioned, “We must present a single, powerful force, and not attack piecemeal.”

“As you say, Dark Lord,” Virulous replied evenly, though fury still showed on her face, “When my task force arrives in orbit, I shall contact you for instructions.”

“Very good, Lord Virulous,” Nox replied, cutting the connection.

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09.03.2021 , 10:12 PM | #17

[A Snippet]

Lennell Juuntos wandered out of his quarters and into the common crew section. He spotted Khem Val and turned about to hurry back to his quarters. The behemoth had threatened to eat him if he saw him again, and the ship’s captain vouched for the monster, too.

“Yeah, you wouldn’t be the first of the Boss’ apprentices that this brute’s eaten,” Andronikos lied, at the time, but then truthfully added, “Never let yourself be alone with him, kid.”

Khem Val spotted the acolyte trying to flee to his quarters.

“Food! Come back here!” Khem had shouted at the hapless youth, “Report to my master in the control bridge. It is time for you to serve him. If you fail in your duties, I shall make you into my next snack!”

The youth did as he was told, giving the Dashade monster a wide berth as he rushed past. Lennell ran all the way to the control bridge, slowing to a walk only after he was safely out of sight of the behemoth Dashade.

Upon entering the darkened command bridge, the youth just happened to face the main canopy. He was treated to a rare sight enjoyed by very few starship passengers. The blue-white mottled glow of hyperspace had given way to the streaked traces of the stars which then very quickly shortened into pinpoints of light against the deep black backdrop of the vacuum of space.

Andronikos quickly slapped the fire control button to quickly begin the preprogrammed Identify Friend or Foe query sequence. The data generated was then fed to the next system in the fire control operations.

The artificially intelligent controller in the Target Identification, Acquisition and Engagement system immediately assigned priorities for the order of target engagement, in this case from nearest to furthest. In less than a second Nox’s Imperial Fury-class Interceptor’s fire control systems had completed all of their functions, identifying several warships in the vicinity, and determining which ones not to shoot at.

Andronikos, Nox, and the boy, braced themselves for the starship’s automatically controlled wild maneuvers as the fire control system guided the Fury-class corvette against the nearest enemy target and to immediately begin firing upon the enemy warship.

This promised to be a heart racing experience for them all. Nox’s warship would join the surviving Imperial warships in the area which Nox expected to be locked in a desperate battle over Korriban against the hated Republic enemy.

The starship, however, remained quiet, flying normally.

“Nothing’s happening,” Nox observed nervously in the commander’s seat, “What’s gone wrong?!”

“I’m checking, Boss,” Andronikos replied, tersely.

Lennell Juuntos, could tell by the terse and tense reactions of his master and the ship’s captain that everything had gone wrong.

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09.10.2021 , 08:40 PM | #18

[A Snippet]

As soon as the turbolift doors hissed shut, Nox pressed the turbolift call button. Then he turned to face Zash.

“When this is done, Lord Zash, I plan to take our military and reconquer those worlds Marr sacrificed to buy us time. I also plan to conduct a punitive campaign across Galactic Republic Space. I will make them pay dearly for this outrage.”

Zash said nothing. She merely stared off into space.

“I know you don’t like hearing talk of my eventual ascension to the throne, Lord Zash,” Nox told her, “but you had better get used to it, and you had better face the reality of it.”

He waited to see what she would say.

“The Dark Council will have the last say,” she replied.

“Then you intend to stand in my way,” Nox said, nodding confirmation of her position.

“I will follow the Dark Council’s will,” she replied carefully.

“The Dark Council will follow me,” Nox told her, “They have only one other choice, and he is weak.”

Zash knew perfectly well that Nox spoke of his rival Darth Marr.

“That’s quite a thing to say about the most powerful Sith in the empire,” she said, and then pointed out the obvious, “He controls virtually all of the military. He leads a Dark Council of participants willing to follow him. You put him there with that vote, Lord Nox.”

“And recently we voted that power out of his hands,” Nox reminded her, adding, “I intend to bring about the end of our war with the Republic.”

“You intend to sue for peace?” Zash asked, intending to deliver a barb.

Nox smiled at her weak attempt to provoke him.

“I intend to so ruin them, that they shall beg me to end the war,” Nox said, adding, “and they shall have their peace, after paying retribution and after dismantling the bulk of their navy.”

“They’ll never agree to dismantle any part of their navy,” she replied, scoffing at the absurdity of his proposed demands, then pointing out, “You don’t even have the military forces to conduct such a campaign.”

“That will change,” Nox said before adding, “In the face of my campaign of rage and ruin, they will agree. I’ll give them an out,” Nox told her, explaining, “I’ll compromise. I’ll demand that they decommission and dismantle a significant number of their capital ships, but I’ll allow them to build a large number of smaller, less armored and less armed ships to take their place.”

Zash merely shrugged her shoulders and shook her head doubtful. Nox shook his head at her stubbornness and shortsightedness.

“During our time of peace, we shall rebuild our own military, and ready ourselves for the time when the Galactic Republic violates the treaty requirements. They shall start from a position of weakness, and we from a position of strength, for our third and final war against our greatest enemy.”

“So, you want the treaty to fail?”

“Of course. How else will we be able to destroy the Republic?”

“We could just keep fighting them,” Zash said, thinking it was obvious.

“We have been badly hurt, Lord Zash. We must recover.”

The left turbolift doors hissed opened.

“Let’s go,” Nox ordered.

Zash bristled at being ordered about. She was going to say something about it, but felt the presence of a strong foe behind her, and thought better of it. When she turned about, she saw Lennell standing there, a look of exhaustion and stress on his face and slumped shoulders.

“Lord Nox,” she asked, following Nox into the lift, “What did you do to that boy?”

“He watched the bloody massacre of a few Jedi and watched Khem, suck the brains out of one of them.”

“I see,” she replied, shaking involuntarily, having witnessed the monster’s feasting in the past.

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09.17.2021 , 06:40 PM | #19

[A Snippet]

Virulous entered the turbo lift standing in front of and facing Zash. Her hood was pulled back, and she held her armored skull cap and mask in her hand. The youth stood next to her. Finally, Khem Val squeezed into the lift. By necessity, he had to kneel in the cramped lift, and the others were all squashed into each other.

Virulous could see the discomfort on Zash’s face and giggled.

“Too close,” Virulous said, laughing, “I know.”

Zash merely shrugged, rolling her eyes.

“You know, Lord Zash,” Virulous started to say.

“That’s Dark Lord, to you,” Zash said, sternly.

Virulous ignored her and continued with what she wanted to say.

“The dark lord intended to leave no Jedi for you to slay. You’re lucky that you came up when you did. You’ll have your chance to show your qualities in battle. I look forward to showing you what I can do, too.”

Zash was furious and said what needed to be said.

“You’ll pay for your insolence, runt!”

Nox intervened.

“Lord Virulous, you shouldn’t be so obvious with your taunts. You’re causing her to lose face in the presence of her apprentices. I almost feel bad for her,” Nox, told his apprentice, chuckling.

Then Nox turned his head to face Zash.

“Lord Zash, Lord Virulous is not the same woman she was when you last saw her. Lord Virulous has successfully conducted the Force Walking ritual. She isn’t the same anymore, and she is strong.”

Nox enjoyed the shock that very briefly registered across Zash’s face, after hearing that. Zash remembered Virulous’ words on Nox’s starship, on the way down.

“I have Arus’ knowledge, her wisdom, and her cunning. I’m not the same as before.”

“With some exceptions, your people are so rude, Lord Nox!” Zash said, with some frustration.

“Well, Lord Zash, we are rivals, after all,” Nox explained.

The turbolift doors hissed open, allowing Khem Val the chance to extract himself from such a confined space. The others also felt great relief as they once again were able to space themselves out.

“Oh! I can breathe again!” Virulous exclaimed, as she exited the turbolift.

Zash seethed in her fury and vile hatred as she exited the lift behind Virulous. The look Zash gave at Virulous’ back hid nothing of her vile disgust and hatred for the petite Sith lord.

She could not help but stare as the short and nasty woman donned her matte black armored skull cap and mask and pulled the hood of her black robes over her head. When Virulous spun about, looking for the boy, Zash could see that it seemed as though her face had been swallowed by a black void under the hood of her black robe.

Zash was so focused on Virulous that she hadn’t noticed that Nox stood behind her. One of her two apprentices, however, corrected that problem.

“Dark Lord, may I recommend that we take the right flank against the Jedi?”

“It’s as good as anything else,” she replied, veering to the right, and out of danger from an attack from behind.

Nox could tell that Zash was rattled, even if she remained defiant.

Meanwhile, Khem Val led the procession of Sith lords down the wide red stone hall and around the corner towards the antichamber. As Nox stepped into the large waiting area, he noticed a lack of bodies and his followers, Eviscerous, Calaverous and their apprentices quietly waiting for Nox and the others.

“Dark Lord,” Eviscerous began, “they have barricaded themselves in the Dark Council chamber. The doors are welded shut.”

Nox detached his sabrestaff from his utility belt, igniting both ends. Then he activated his personal shield generator.

“Steel yourselves! The final battle commences!”

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09.24.2021 , 07:48 PM | #20

[A Snippet]

“Their primary mission?” Nox asked, his interest piqued, although he had an idea what that might be, “What was their primary mission?”

“The death of Darth Arkous, Dark Lord.”

“Ah. Yes,” Nox said, “The Jedi I slew confessed that was their goal,” then he asked, “Then, what was their secondary mission?”

Now, the Chiss general allowed his feelings to show on his face. His disgust showed as he swept his hands to the vista around them.

“This,” he said, adding after a brief pause, “The destruction of The Temple of The Sith, and the Sith Academy and Dark Council chamber within.” Shaking his head in great disgust, he went on to explain, “Dark Lord, our engineers continue to find explosive charges set inside the temple.

“They had demolished the giant statues and the obelisks in this fashion before finally taking control of the temple. Darth Arkous and his remaining forces held out long enough to greatly delay the enemy. Then you arrived in time to stop them from demolishing the pyramid, itself.

“It is fortunate that you arrived when you did. The speed and violence of your assault interrupted their work inside the temple and saved it, Dark Lord.”

At that moment, Moff Valion Pyron and his entourage of staff officers entered General Riiy’enni’sansa’s command post.

“Dark Lord,” the moff said, “I am deeply honored to find myself in your august presence, again. I have received a preliminary report, from General Riiy’enni’sansa, of the success of our operations here to retake the temple, and to destroy or capture the enemy.

“I am deeply gratified to find you safe and victorious over your enemies, Dark Lord.”

“We utterly crushed them underfoot,” Nox said, adding, “Every last Jedi that defiled our sacred temple and the Dark Council chamber is dead.”

“Forgive me, Dark Lord,” Virulous said, “One Jedi escaped.”

Nox became greatly infuriated on hearing this.

“How did you allow this to happen, Lord Virulous?” he asked, his voice hardened by anger.

Virulous quickly bent to her right knee, planting her right fist onto the ground.

“Dark Lord, he had a very great head start, and although I had gained on him, he made it to his ship, and immediately launched it, making his escape.”

“I hadn’t heard about an escaped starship,” Nox said, in frustration.

Nox turned to face his military leaders, looking alternately between the General and the moff.

General Yennis explained.

“I was still in the middle of my report, Dark Lord, when the moff arrived and paid his proper respects to you. I hadn’t gotten to that part, yet.”

Nox looked as though he would start berating the Chiss general, but the Chiss continued his report, before Nox could speak.

“The ship’s launch was immediately reported to our fleet in orbit. Hopefully, they intercepted it, Dark Lord.”

Nox turned to face Moff Pyron, looking as though he expected something from him. Valion Pyron turned to his staff.

“Find out what’s happened with that ship,” he commanded, “Get me a report, quickly,” he said, with quite a bit of austerity.

Nox waited quietly the entire five minutes. It was the most stressful five minutes either the moff, or the Chiss general had ever endured in a long time, and the stress was not relieved when the report was finally made.

A holographic image of an admiral commanding the fleet’s defensive posture reported to Moff Pyron. He had no idea that, just outside of the pickup range of the staff officer’s holo-transceiver, Darth Nox was listening.

“Moff Pyron, upon receiving a report of an escaping starship, fighters were scrambled from the four nearest Harrower-class dreadnoughts. The fighters were almost within attack range when the starship, quite dangerously, executed a hyperspace jump, just outside of the planet’s atmosphere.”

Nox’s anger grew upon hearing this; he asked the moff a pointed question.

“Moff Pyron, why use fighters, knowing they have such limited range?” implying incompetence and pointing out what was obvious to him, “The very same Harrower-class dreadnoughts which launched those fighters could have blasted that starship with their ion cannons!”

The admiral giving the report heard Nox’s voice and realized that Moff Pyron was in the presence of the dark lord. So, when Moff Pyron asked him to explain the reasoning to the dark lord, his expression on the holographic image changed from bored professionalism to great worry.

“Uh… Dark Lord! I’m Admiral Hammit. Uh… Dark Lord, the trouble is that directly below the enemy starship, at the time, was the Temple of The Sith. If our dreadnoughts fired and missed, the ion cannon beams would have impacted the temple, and we would have probably also caused untold casualties among our own ground forces. The risk was too high. We simply….”

“That’s enough!” Nox shouted, “I’ve heard enough!”

An uncomfortable silence followed which was finally broken by Lord Calaverous.

“Dark Lord, look on the bright side,” he said to Nox’s back.

Both Eviscerous and Virulous shot Calaverous incredulous looks at his brazen familiarity with Nox, especially while Nox was angry.

“When he gets back to the Jedi Council, he’ll recount tales of horror and crushing defeat at your hands. The Jedi will fear you more than any other Sith in the Empire.”

Nox turned his head slightly in Calaverous’ direction, standing behind him, but said nothing. His features showing that he had not been mollified. Eviscerous felt a need to help his old friend and added his own two credits.

“Wait until they hear of the Dark Lord’s great and powerful Dark Force attacks. And when this news is broadcast across the Empire, even the Dark Council will finally understand who their next emperor is going to be.”

Moff Pyron and his staff, and General Yennis and his staff were floored on hearing those words: their next emperor.

“The struggle for the throne has finally begun!” Pyron thought, excitedly.