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The Executive

Posted on Sun Jul 18th, 2021 @ 8:41pm by Bomoor Thort & Thane

Chapter: Chapter VI: The Last Bastion
Location: Morthart's Private Resort, Forest, Bastion
Timeline: Morning (Day Three, Week Four)

The warm orange sunlight of a humid dawn had graced the tall forest trees just a short while ago, beams of light stretching through the thick foliage and sporadically illuminating the earth below. The calls of innumerable birds were stretching in every direction, with only the weakest of breezes rustling the leaves of the near-tropical climate, the entire forest teeming with lively fauna.

Deep within this beautiful retreat was a clearing, where trees had been purposely cut away to establish a splendorous resort, forged of modern technology and equipped with all of the luxuries expected of a high-class hospitality facility, but portrayed as a simplistic wooden hideaway. Canopies stretched from many large and open windows, along with balconies, verandas and open decking for the residents, visitors and staff occupying the locale.

It was a new construction, purpose-built for its first and current owner, being effectively tailored to their every whim and desire as they made their temporary home on the Imperial capital world of Bastion. Despite its advanced nature, every effort had been made to maximise on comfort and to conceal any outward depiction of the extreme levels of security and technology built in every square yard of the deceptive complex-cum-resort. Some outhouses nearby were clearly occupied by guards, discreetly surveilling the immediate vicinity without destroying the illusion of complete indulgence and relaxation that had been so carefully strived for in its design.

Lounging across a sunbed on the forward decking, garbed in an immodest and silky ensemble that revealed her lithe form, was the Zygerrian woman whose mind had given rise to the private retreat. Lying back, a stemmed glass filled with a clear but fruity alcoholic cocktail clasped in one elegant hand, Executive Wutali Morthart of the GalactaWerks Corporation was enjoying the morning warmth offered by Sarti, the solar system's sole star. Whilst it was not quite as warm as her species ultimately preferred, her tactical decision to have the resort built in one of the planet's warmest climates had left her quite comfortable.

As she took another sip of her beverage, Morthart minorly adjusted her position on the lounger and closed her eyes, allowing the gentle breeze to brush over her fur, relishing in the relative silence and luxury that this most recent and most-rewarding assignment had offered her. Indeed, she had every reason to be satisfied; her allies within the Council of Moffs had effectively castrated the dissonant leader of their backwards country, and her goals - or rather, the Company's goals, of course - were increasingly within reach.

Morthart would miss the comforts of Bastion when her work was completed, but it would be to return to the Board as the conquering heroine, an economic empire of her own growing from the ashes of an old regime, her future (and wealth - and power) assured.

A noise most resembling a gentle, self-satisfied purr rumbled from somewhere deep within her, and she devoted herself to a well-earned morning nap.

Morthart’s ears twitched reflexively to the rear as she detected the familiar sound of mechanical servos in motion. Somehow, the cybernetic implants in her second-in-command’s arm managed to be at just the right frequency to make her body cringe reflexively. Most people’s ears were probably not able to detect the higher frequency coil whine of his artificial limbs, but to her, it was all too audible. Perhaps it was some long baked-in genetic quirk, or maybe it was simply because the arrival of Ritchell Mosquith usually spelt the end of her relaxation. It was a pity because he had been a ruthlessly efficient companion on this assignment, carrying out her plans without hesitation and with an intelligence that usually meant she did not have to be bothered with the lesser details - a trait she greatly admired and appreciated in her underlings.

She daintily twisted her legs off from the lounger to face him as the sound of his polished boots on the stonework and fluttering of his long jacket started to combine with the mechanical whine to the point where it was less obvious. Even in this warm climate, he still wore his heavy outfit, paired with his black and gold mask that obscured all but the strands of jet black hair that sat atop his tall frame. Morthart had often wondered what he looked like beneath that mask; while she had access to the files describing the nature of his injuries and subsequent mechanical enhancements, they sadly lacked any pictures.

“Apologies for the interruption, Executive,” came his muted, but pronounced voice, “But I have word from the capital.”

"Superintendent Mosquith," she greeted icily, peering deeply into the dark sockets of his cybernetic facemask, ever-searching for some semblance of true Humanity within the husk-like outward appearance of this diligent being.

It had become an insistence of Morthart's to bring Mosquith on each of the assignments she was given or elected to spearhead, what with the degree of autonomy a junior member of the Board such as herself was warranted. Having had a sterling record serving the Company during numerous engagements, including a storied history during the Second Outer Rim Conflict - albeit one that could not be traced back any further - he had proven his worth to her through his ruthless efficiency and unwillingness to compromise with inept servants. In many ways, using Mosquith as the entity to be feared within her own realm of GalactaWerks was the perfect way to shift blame for any cruelty that would otherwise have been laid at her pristine feet.

What was more enthusing, was that Mosquith did not seem bothered by this reality. Given his intellect, he was undoubtedly aware of it, but he made no move to challenge the status quo, nor did he have any outward desire to ascend beyond his current, albeit quite senior, position within the Company. He had been excelling but resting well with his current level of authority for many years, and Morthart had long ago decided that she would continue to take him with her as she ascended through the positions of the Board.

Either that, or have him killed, so no-one else could make use of his unique managerial style.

"Tell me of this news," she commanded, shifting her position just slightly so that the sunlight reflected from his pristine and ghastly mask did not shine into her eyes. If Mosquith had elected to disturb her, he would have judged the information incredibly pertinent.

“You may recall in my last communiqué that we were monitoring the situation involving the seemingly-derelict vessel that breached Bastion space,” Mosquith began without hesitation once permission was granted, “After initial interception by the Indictor, we were able to ascertain that several life forms were found aboard the vessel but, for a brief while, intelligence gathering was hindered as Grand Moff Tarses was quick to order the lifeforms be transferred to one of his secure facilities.”

One of Morthart's brows dropped, adding additional darkness to her bemused expression. Tarses, despite being the formally-appointed leader and de facto emperor of this curious Imperial vestige, as well as the individual that had formalised the relationship with GalactaWerks, had been a constant aggravation to Morthart's endeavours in this region of space. Moff Edwoff Anthark had been the true ally that forged the link between their two disparate factions; Tarses had simply been the one to put the ink on the contract, prior to a very clear, and very sinister, shift in viewpoint on their supposed alliance.

It left a sour note in Morthart's mouth, which did not follow her beverage quite so well. Still, she drew some satisfaction from realising that these were the last gasping breaths of a dying leader. A new dawn was rising on the Bastion Moff Empire - and it was emblazoned with a GalactaWerks logo.

“However, Tarses could not contain this secret for very long owing to an incident resulting in the deaths of multiple Imperial workers in the facility,” Mosquith continued reciting the events as though reading them off a datapad but with his eyes fixed forwards with cold focus, “A report on the incident identifies four Force-users involved, two of whom escaped the facility, as well as an unknown Jawa and two Humans, one of whom is a Mandalorian.”

Morthart did not recognise the species named 'Jawa', but the other details were certainly of interest to her, although she limited her outward expressions - including avoiding any shift in the positioning of her ears.

"Four Force users?" She queried aloud, not even yet commenting on the presence of a Mandalorian within Bastion's borders. It certainly led her to wonder what could draw such a motley group to this part of the galaxy, for it could only truly be Jedi and Mandalorians that would care for their activities in this pariah state. She gestured for Mosquith to continue, however, now listening even more intently to the account.

“Furthermore,” her masked subordinate continued, “Tarses engaged one of the Force users with one of the prototype CROSS suits, resulting in its destruction. Those involved in this incident have been detained until further notice, but the more troubling development involves the two Force users that escaped.”

This was now beginning to evoke a small, amused smile from the corporate executive. It was a deliciously remarkable story, with a number of entertaining and unique characters that had come together under some very peculiar circumstances. It was all too much to be coincidence, of course, and it was plain to Morthart that, despite her smile, it was not something to be overlooked as idle intrigue on Bastion.

Finally, Mosquith produced visual aid in the form of a small holoprojector scrambling together two mismatched-looking persons, “The two individuals, one Human and one an Ithorian, managed to breach Disra Palace and somehow acquired an audience with Moff Grand Tarses himself. A situation which, if you don’t mind my personal assessment, was likely manufactured by the Grand Moff himself, through a calculated lapse in palace security," he went on, confirming Morthart's suspicions. "The end result of this clandestine meeting was the appointment of these two individuals to the position of Military Commissars, granting them sudden and considerable authority within the Imperial hierarchy. It does also mean that their names are a matter of accessible record now: the Human is listed as ‘Thane’ and the Ithorian as ‘Bomoor’.”

"That cunning old vornskr," she said after a few moments, her voice drenched in both venom and humour, as she finally rose from her lounger. She collected a sun hat that had been resting nearby and perched it over her head, her feline ears carefully nestled within, as she stepped past Mosquith to rest on the nearby wooden railing, eyes scanning the wooded horizon. Whilst some of her suspicions were ringing true, she could not countenance that two Jedi would be made commissars. There was something more sinister afoot in the clockwork mind of the ageing Grand Moff.

"Having you keep a close eye on that grey corpse's little operations was a wise move, Superintendent," she said, congratulating both of them in the same comment, her nose twitching at the scent of some nearby blooming flowers. "But it is perhaps only a brief headstart in our ability to respond to this most recent incursion against our plans here; Tarses will invariably have to make his appointment of these outsiders known to the Council of Moffs. He is playing a bold hand publicly. Whatever I may think of his geriatric smell and politics, he is shrewd and prone to overthinking. He'll only have done this if he really thinks he can tip the scales in his favour."

She now looked back to Mosquith, who had mostly stayed stationary, in spite of Morthart's walk past him, and had only minorly angled himself towards her, maintaining his respectful, stoic pose. She rested her elbows on the rail and slouched a little, being the absolute picture of relaxed authority, despite this most peculiar announcement.

"And what have you learned from those names?" Morthart asked, knowing Mosquith would not have rested on his laurels before his attendance.

“Very good,” Mosquith nodded, “Of course, I did cross reference those names in several available databases and surprisingly found reference to these two individuals in a report by our own Intendant Thendleton, during his time on Onderon.”

Morthart resisted the urge to furrow her furred, angular brow. Everyone had their own views on Marius Thendleton, and Morthart was no exception. His distinct lack of progression in the past two decades were a testament to his character, yet he had never quite deviated nor embarrassed the Company so far as to lose his title and position within the organisation. Morthart did wonder, however, if his long-term assignment to her had been some sort of punishment for a slight she had unknowingly committed in the past, for not smiling at a senior Board figure, or not laughing at the right executive’s joke during a logistical meeting. Regardless, the rambunctious intendent had become something of a mascot for them.

“During his failures,” the Zygerrian corrected Mosquith gently, still looking to the distance.

“It would appear the two were Jedi padawans from the Reborn Jedi Order, at the time,” the stressing of the final words indicated that that most likely was no longer the case, “They were involved in the events that led to the cessation of the Republic-sanctioned Company activity on the planet.”

A hint of mirth was just barely detectable through his emotionless mask, “Seems as though they were too much for Thendleton to handle, unsurprisingly,” Mosquith continued.

“The old buffoon is out amongst the foliage, hunting toothless critters,” she responded.

“Their full names were included in the report, which I have cross referenced with our database on the Reborn Order,” said Mosquith. “The Human Thane is Caanan and would-be heir to one of their noble houses of Verus, while the Ithorian, full name Bomoor Thort, is Öetragan, notably the son of diplomat Bruta Thort and Mumin Mozo, a herd leader turned rebel. She has her own report in our database, owing to her recent disputes with the Company. It is also worth noting that both men have terminated their membership within the Reborn Order and are, according to our latest documented intelligence, unaffiliated Force users.”

“Unaffiliated no longer, I would wager, Superintendent,” Morthart said after a few more moments of consideration, both uncomfortable and enticed by the flurry of details her companion had relayed to her. Her mind had already begun engaging in its usual mental gymnastics, spinning and launching at all of the implications, complications and possibilities this information was revealing. She did not reach her position by allowing such intelligence be declared without some action being taken – it was one of her talents, in fact, to quickly recognise such risks and opportunities.

In many ways, her talents rested more with the exploitation of political circumstance than actual economic investment. Thane and Bomoor were undoubtedly political figures – or could be – and already had gathered some curious fellows to whatever their cause may be.

To Tarses’ cause, she convinced herself of.

“Continue to have them monitored, my friend,” she declared, now turning back to face Superintendent Mosquith (if he could even be considered to have a face), “and increase the marine and droid presence on all of the shifts across our installations on Bastion. You will also send a communique to the Board demanding reinforcements from the other Imperial outposts and from outside of Bastion space; we will not have these petty moffs outwit us through the use of sword-wielding mercenary monks.”

She began to walk past him, intending to garb herself in her usual regalia and prepare herself for a day of business dealings. The cool air of calm sophistication had been subsumed by her new focus. The relative peace of GalactaWerks’ gambit on Bastion was facing its first true obstacle, she felt. Edwoff Anthark’s softly-softly and considered approach to upending Grand Moff Tarses’ tenuous authority would be dashed, if these renegades elected to take their heads from their shoulders for some burdensome concept of morality.

“Get it done, Superintendent,” she said, slipping into the double doors of her not-so-humble retreat. “Let us see if Edwoff’s toadies are half as capable as you.”

“I will address those matters immediately, Executive,” Mosquith began typing on his datapad to begin making the necessary arrangements, adding while his superior was still in earshot, “I will also temporarily suspend all leave for employee’s stationed with us here, including Intendant Thendleton.”

He tapped firmly to send his last request off before looking out at the vast jungle where the older human was presumably galivanting amongst the local flora and fauna, “We wouldn’t want him to miss this reunion.”

 

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