In Service of The Empire

“Senator Foth Maximus present and accounted for,” I would hear through the doorway as a protocol droid came out.

The only time I would get a chance to see the great senate hall was whenever the doors opened, ever be it so brief, but every time they swooshed open I would leap to the doorway edge and try to capture a glimpse of my father.

My baby brother never seemed to care, always playing with his datapad constructing this and that as if he were a real architect. Mother sitting dignified across the walkway constantly motioning me to come back to her and my brother. I didn’t care what was on the terminal panels or what commotion was transpiring outside the in the central garden. I just wanted to see the man I idolized, doing what he did best, talking people into things they cared nothing about.

My father could sell a summer desert vacation to a jawa. I can’t recall all the times he convinced me what adventures lurked around every corner by just taking the trash to the recyclers. Rori became a significant planet in the system because of my father.

Before him, it was just a moon where hunters would come each year to fill their quota of rations. But now it has a seat in the senate and that seat is filled by my father.

Lately his session seemed longer and longer and when he would appear from those blasted doors that kept us apart, he would seem worried. Not what I was used to. My mother would greet him the same way every time, as if she was purposely ignoring his scowl.

“That wasn’t very long dear, did you enjoy your time with your friends?”

Each time he would respond with a chuckle, knowing her playful banter, “of course, I invited everyone over for drinks and appetizers.”

She would roll her eyes, turn to my brother and say “ come’n boys, put away the toys, your father has important friends to entertain at home” in a slightly sarcastic manner.

When we were young it used to grate my nerves because inevitably my brother would respond with “REALLY, a party at our house?” but now we both just roll our eyes towards each other and file in behind our parents as we make our way to the family speeder.

But today was different.

Father didn’t usually speak about his work in front of us kids and mom hardly ever prodded him to talk about work. It didn’t take much and dad was grumbling about terrorists on Naboo and how it was getting too close to home. Mother mentioned our uncle with pride in her voice.

“I’m sure Tsumi has it all under control, if there was something for us to worry about on Rori he would send us a dispatch I’m sure.”

“When was the last time you heard from your brother dear?” father bantered back.

Silence fell, mother looked away knowing father’s point. My brother looking at me, hoping I would elaborate quietly. I whisper to him “mother hasn’t heard from uncle Tsumi since the last torton festival. My brothers eyes widened as it dawned on him the festival was two weeks away.

When we arrived at home my father told me to unload the speeder while mother and my brother went inside. Once they disappeared into the house he turned.

“You know you are now of age to join the military?”

I nodded with pride.

“I have paved a path for you to join the academy, it will not be easy and your mother and brother will miss you dearly but I know you will make an outstanding officer and a great senator one day” he said. I confirmed.

“I have not told your mother yet, but you are scheduled to depart next week. I want you to be prepared, I know you will be …”

Four Years Later …

I was excited to return home and tell my father I had a commission and a billet aboard one of the Empire’s newest Star Destroyers.

It had been a year since I had communicated with my family.

By now my little brother was entering the academy, no doubt to be an engineer of some sort. Always building things he was. The shuttle landed in Restuss and as I departed I saw my little brother in the distance, standing next to the shuttleport, as if he was hiding.

I waved to him but he quickly turned away, rushing away as if challenging me to chase after him. I grabbed my gear and pursued him. I caught up to him in the speeder hanger.

“What’s wrong? Why do you look like you haven’t eaten in a week or showered for that matter?”

“Lower your voice!” he snapped back, grabbing my arm and pulling me closer to him.

He looked around before speaking softly.

“Mother and father have been missing for weeks and someone is following me. I asked the local magistrate for help but instead of answering he tried to get me to stay put. So I ran.”

“Why didn’t you get word to me?” I replied before realizing even father wouldn’t be able to communicate with me in my last year of the academy.

“I know deep in my bones the Empire has something to do with this!” he said.

“That’s ridiculous Isoe. I am the top graduate of my class with extremely high security clearance. I haven’t been approached by anyone or heard of anything strange happening on Rori.”

“Then why don’t you know about their disappearance?” he said.

Out of nowhere a stormtrooper appeared around the corner.

“Sir, I have been instructed to bring you to your parents. Please follow …”

He went silent as my brother peered out from behind me. He gripped his blaster but did not raise it.

“… both of you are to come with me, your parents are eagerly awaiting you.”

Isoe grabbed my arm and reluctantly followed, felling safe with me. Just like when we were kids and were lost in the wilderness of Rori.

We arrived at a new facility, freshly adorned with Imperial banners. As we exited the vehicle I saw our parents atop of the steps. My father was emotionless and my mother look to be holding back tears.

Isoe sprang from behind me into my mothers arms.

“Where have you been young man?” my mother said.

“I came home and everything was gone, it looked like a heard of pugoriss had ran through!”

“Don’t be ridiculous son” my father scowled, “We were relocated due to terrorist intelligence we received from Narmle.”

“See little brother, all that drama for nothing,” I chuckled.

But Isoe’s stare sent daggers into me and mother saw the same fear in him.

“This is our new home, it serves as home and work for me and your mother now,” father said.

Father grabbed my gear, dismissed the trooper.

“Dakk, how long of a commitment did you give the Empire? I have plans for you to run for mayor of a small outpost on Naboo before taking your place in the Senate.”

“Father, I have no desire to be in the Senate. My commander at the academy said I have a tactical mind and great instincts. I could command my own Star Destroyer some day.”

“We all must give to the service, but no son of mine is going to be a career soldier!”

“Let’s not talk about the future today. Let’s just enjoy being together again,” said mother.

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