The darkened throne room sent a chill of fear skittering down A’sksh’s spine. The sentient’s fur rippled against the terror, flowing like a wave down his back. Bothans were not supposed to enter these chambers. No non-human was supposed to sully this room with their degrading presence.
But he had been summoned by the most powerful Imperial alive, and he could not, would not deny that summons. Nervously, A’sksh moved forward until he was confronted by a series of steps leading to a dais. A throne sat in front of the chamber's sole viewport, diamond-bright stars the only illumination in the darkness-enshrouded room. Quickly, the Bothan knelt, fearing to create any slight against his Master. "You…you called me my Lord?"
Ponderously, the throne swiveled toward the kneeling sentient. "Rise, my minion."
Claws slipped against metal as A’sksh hastened to do as he was commanded, his head still bowed to his Master. "I have news my Lord," the Bothan stuttered, almost shocked by his own brazenness. He DARED to speak before his Master commanded? Was he a fool? No, he decided firmly. He was not a fool, he was a hero. A true hero of Bothawui. Unlike those fools that died while smuggling plans to the Rebellion.
"What have you learned?" The voice was thin, reedy, but powerful in ways that A’sksh could not even begin to comprehend.
"The Rebels have acquired a new weapon. A biological one."
Yellow eyes gleamed in the darkness, causing the Bothan to tremble. "So the Rebels’ morals are finally slipping. They are relying on disease to bring the Empire to its knees?"
"No, my Lord. This weapon is a new species. Some sort of genetic construct that was made to create and perpetuate chaos."
From dark robes, thin, cadaverous hands emerged, fingers steepled thoughtfully as A’sksh’s Master considered this new and potentially useful information. "Tell me about this creature."
"It is called Experiment 626…."
A’sksh could feel his Master’s interest increase with every word spoken. Soon, interest became fascination and approval. It was intoxicating experience for the Bothan.
"The creature is indestructible?" the weathered voice rasped.
"To all elements save water. His unusual abilities are linked to a very high molecular density. The creature sinks like a stone."
"But other than that flaw, the creature is unstoppable?"
Suddenly, nervousness swept through A’sksh. "Hypothetically, yes. In reality, no."
An ominous silence spurred A’sksh to continue. "The creature developed a conscience of sorts. He allies himself with a child named Lilo. He is her protector. And from what the reports describe, the only being that can control the beast."
"He loves the girl?" His Master’s revulsion at the concept was obvious.
"Yes, my Lord."
"Then she is the key to controlling the creature." A’sksh risked a glance upward. His Master’s hood had fallen away, revealing a luminously pale face wrinkled from the strains of using the Dark side of the Force. The Bothan quickly averted his eyes, not wanting to seem too presumptuous in front of the Master of the Empire.
But his Master had sensed his impertinent gaze. Lightening crackled over the Emperor’s robes, causing A’sksh to back away nervously. "Find the girl," the Sith Lord hissed, "Bring her to me!"
As the Bothan scurried out of the audience chamber, Palpatine eased back onto his throne. First he would capture the girl, then Experiment 626. After a few tests to see if the creature was as indestructible as the Galactic Federation claimed, the alien’s DNA would be shipped to the numerous cloning facilities Palpatine had secreted away throughout the Galaxy. It was almost tragic that the fate of the Empire would be won by an abomination, a non-human, but there seemed to be little choice. An army of the creatures would be impossible to repel. The New Republic would fall into chaos and the Empire would flourish among that carnage.
A malicious chuckle echoed through the chamber as Palpatine considered which beings would be sacrificed first to ensure the resurrection of his power. When compared to the grandeur of his weakening Empire, the lives of a genetic experiment and a human child seemed insignificant…
To be Continued...
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