The Line of Succession (Brigid)

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Dravius Stari
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The Line of Succession (Brigid)

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-01-01 09:28

Dravius sat at a desk, writing a letter he would, had been encumbered with emotions, have described as a letter he did not feel very much like writing. Since he was not, he expressed a similar view by simply thinking that this time could be utilised more efficiently in other means.

Dravius was on Naboo, on enforced 'shore leave'. With the war happening, one relief was that the minutiae that crippled senior officer's tended to recede quite drastically, although 'shore leave' was still something he had to contend with. Even he had to take orders from the Grand Marshal. Whether someone had slipped the suggestion to the Grand Marshal, or IMEXCO were concerned for him he could never say, the Marshal and he had a frosty relationship, built partially on the fact that the Grand Marshal believed Dravius was conspiring against him, and partially based on the fact that he resented the younger man's popularity. Still, a Vice Marshal was required to follow orders of a Grand Marshal, and he was not insubordinate.

Naboo's lake country. The area was sparsely populated and the villa was owned by a farming family that had seen somewhat better days. Lucius of all people had found it with his eye for finding places that might prove useful. Still war was war, and so the arrangements were made through a complex web that by the time it was unraveled, the man himself would be safely back at the controls of a fighter that cloaked, docked in a capital ship that cloaked. The important thing was, it was safe, it was private and it was the perfect environment for relaxation.

A fire burned gently, the only noise in the large room the crackling of the wood. The lighting had been switched off and Dravius leaned back in the seat writing the letter onto the datapad. Dravius was in the library, which was full of datadisks that could keep a curious man occupied for a century.

His armour was in storage, and the mask he wore was hardly a replacement for the helmet of a stormtrooper, but his senses suddenly picked up a presence in the room, although it was friendly. He placed the datapad on the desk as a voice behind him spoke softly.

"You keep this up and i'll have to report you myself. You're supposed to be relaxing. Even you can relax"

She watched the datapad being placed on the desk and smiled.

"I thought I was quiet this time. Or do you really have eyes in the back of your head?"

"To answer your first question, I am taking some recreation time, and to answer your second, you were quiet. But you forget that I have been trained to fight without eyes, without ears, and without hands. A combat sense is a real thing, and without it...you die quickly. That's how I sensed you and that you were not a threat."

"Cute. What are you working on?"

"A letter. One that I did not want to write"

She came over and picked up the datapad

Code: Select all


Dear Mr and Mrs Xravida 

It is with sadness and a deep sense of regret that I write to inform you that your son Group Captain Fenzeon Xravida was killed in the line of duty. When he died, he was flying cover for troops in a mission that allowed us to win a crucial piece of territory in this war. Many lives were saved by his actions. No words of mine can hope to dull the pain, or fill the hole left by him. He was a fine soldier, and perhaps more importantly, a fine man. I am honoured to have served with him. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Vice Marshal Dravius Stari, Director of Flight Operations, Imperial Space Force 
Dravius sat back in the chair and watched Mirandrax as she read through the letter and her eyes filled with tears. She was in her black leathers, a costume she wore almost as much as her uniform, although as naval officer she understood there were strict instructions. Even Dravius wore his uniform under the robes and did so conspicuously. Still, shore leave meant that dress rules did not apply, although you could hardly tell with Dravius, who had switched a flightsuit for a simple service uniform, sans hat and the rank slide. A tear rolled down her cheek as she brushed it away. The leathers allowed for gloved hands, but she was not wearing them.

"That was beautiful. Did you know him well?"

"No. I met him twice, once at a general induction and once during a mission. Seemed solid. Hapes gave me a briefing on him."

"But....thats not honest"

"How so?"

"You're writing as if...you fought together...like you were brothers"

"We were. Soldiers are brothers. We're a brotherhood. A family. We breathe together, eat together fight, bleed and die together. He could have lived any other life, but he didnt. He chose to serve. That deserves to be honoured. His parents deserve closure with honour. I cant write all of these letters, not in peacetime, and definately not in war."

Dravius rose from the chair and walked to the window next to the fireplace and looked out at the starry night.

"I do what I can for the men that I lead. This is something small..so I will do it"

Mirandrax walked over to Dravius and stood behind him as he stared into the night and placed her chin on his left shoulder, close to his neck as her hands gently rested on his shoulder blades. He was silent, and the room was silent except for the crackling fire and the soft breathing of Mirandrax.

"You're a good man Dravius. Don't ever forget it"

He nodded slowly and spoke again, his voice dropping in volume, but still retaining its neutral tone.

"I will not. The letter made me think about myself. My own arrangements are less than stellar Mirandrax. If I died tomorrow in combat who would get my letter? McFini? The Supreme Commander?. Who knows how to look out for the clones? to feed and clothe them. To entertain them. To maintain the accounts, the base. I have no heirs, nobody to take over in case I die, which is more likely than you may think. My rank will not protect me in space. I am not invulnerable, nor am I immortal"

"Well I guess nobody is really immortal...are they?..

"No. Which I why I need an heir....and someone to manage my affairs in the event of my unexpected demise"

"You know your position as DFO isn't hereditary. If the worst happened, the ISF would pick a new DFO"

"Yes, thank you for that lesson. I am aware of this. You know I meant the clones. They still need better weapons, proper armour and we have to fill an armoury for them. Not to mention supplies, equipment, libraries, training facilities. There is so much to do."

"You should watch yourself. ISIS dont like threats to the Federation".

"This I know. I've sparred with Crystala, although it wasn't by choice. Besides, the only thing they're really doing is rennovating an old factory and working for the Director's sister. That's hardly a conflict of interest"

Mirandrax nodded and fell silent as Dravius broke gently from her grip and moved to a larger window, resting his hands on the sill.

"I have decided that until I have the heir I need...You will handle my responsibilities. If the heir is too young, you will act in this capacity until they are of age. Age is an elegant benchmark, but it surprisingly enough it works most of the time. Do you accept?"

As he turned to face her her eyes widened in surprise as she nodded.

"Yes...although I did not expect that you would ask this of me. You know I would of course do anything that I can to help you. Without you I would not even exist....and as for an heir...I can help you with that"


He shook his head slowly as he paused before continuing. Long conversations were never his strong suit, but he had them when they were required, much like a physical, or much worse a psychological assessment. Those were the bane of his existence.

"No. My heir must be produced through engineered means. It will be cleaner that way. You cannot provide the necessary material as my DNA is linked with yours. There would be...difficulties. Even though such a heir would not be produced naturally....and I know you would miss certain processes in regards to that, I cannot afford any errors. I have to build from the ground up with fresh genetic material..but I am grateful you offered"

Mirandrax's lips twisted into a mask of anger and her hand clenched into fists as her eyes narrowed slightly

"I'm not offering you a lift to your ballet recital Dravius. You know that I have a limited lifespan. I have what, 10, 15 years?. I am fertile, I am strong. I can give you the heir you need and you're worried about a few proteins. We're not siblings and you aren't my father. The levels of genetic similarity would place us as something along the lines of distant cousins at best. You should know, you engineered our DNA. How many other chances will I have to have a child?"

"There can be no margin for error. Not even one. Do you think this decision was easy to make? I am engineered. It is not an easy life. You would not want the problems it brings. I saw in you from the early days potential. Clones come out the same, but do not develop the same. You have showed more drive and determination than all of the soldiers we produced. You even gave yourself a full kit of emotions. I trust you. I know what it means to not ask you. Even if it wasnt a natural reproductive process. But I am what I am, and I am not perfect. I made the call. I am truly sorry I could not ask you. The other truth is you're too valuable to me to be a genetic sample."

The hands slowly unclenched from fists as her lips untwisted and her eyes opened as she nodded.

"Alright. If you had asked me..."

"I know. I spent a long time thinking about it, believe me."

She grinned and chuckled softly. "You don't make impulsive decisions. I know. Those are emotional ones"

He nodded and stepped closer to her, and within a second his hand gripped her throat. The grip was gentle, but firm, and she gasped in shock as his hands closed around it. Mirandrax was too stunned to do anything other than stare at him with wide open eyes.

"You are closer to me than any person in this galaxy. I permit you certain...allowances I would never make for another. But now you know things that could have me executed. If you betray me, I promise you that I will hunt you down and kill you. No matter what. You need to understand that. Do you understand?"

Mirandrax nodded and as quickly as it had gripped her neck, the hand whipped back. No marks were left on her neck, but she gingerly felt around her neck before staring at him.

"Sometimes I know why they hate you. You can be so damn cold. Its fine with the clones, and the men, and with the enemy, but with me?!"

"I know. I didn't mean to hurt you. But you know that if I have to do what needs to be done, I will"

She nodded and shot him a look full of vitriol as he moved closer. She stepped back out of instinct, but he was faster, and his hands pulled her closer to him. She nodded and rested her head gently on his shoulder and whispered softly.

"You can be so kind, and so cruel. There are times I wonder who you really are"

"We can find out together. After all, I just made a physical overture towards you. From what I understand, not being kicked in the face puts me in a very small minority of men in the Federation"

Mirandrax giggled as she removed herself from his arms and patted his shoulder gently.

"I'm glad you brought me here. You should meditate by the fire...and know that I am in the Amidala room, two doors down from you. I'll be waiting"

"For what?"

"I have the answer to the question you posed with me"

With a grin and a wink she exited the room and Dravius moved back to the chair. He sent the letter to Beatris to distribute and his eyes closed as he began to meditate.

...who are you Dravius Stari?....

It seemed one person knew the answer. Perhaps he should visit. It would after all, be the polite thing to do.
Last edited by Dravius Stari on 2013-04-17 07:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Dravius Stari
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Re: The Line of Succession

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-02-23 14:48

Even in the villa, Dravius had been cautious. He had scanned the place thoroughly for any kind of electronic surveillance. He had mapped out the buildings security strengths and weaknesses. He had even reviewed weather patterns on the flight in. He knew the floorplans inside out. He had not informed Mirandrax of this, but he could see that she had expected it from him. She knew that he would file away every detail of the villa that he could within the matrix and so leave nothing to chance.

...."You don't make impulsive decisions. I know. Those are emotional ones"...

She of course had been right. As he mediated the matrix began to piece together various actions, words and reactions of Mirandrax. She knew him better than anyone else. Although he told her this and thought it was true - this analysis had only ever been done on the surface. Alone, and at peace, his mind probed what this really meant.

....she knows things about you that are not on any file...and yet she has her own file on you....assembled herself through making herself your closest confidant....so she wants you go to her....so she can find out who you really are.......she must know deep down that you have no need for questions of purpose, or self. These have been answered. You are Dravius Stari, Soldier of the Empire. The rest as always, is immaterial....

He slipped out of meditating and stood, stretching his limbs. Taking a final glance around the room he exited and walked down the hall. The villa was empty enough that his steps made enough noise to alert anyone else close by. Fortunately, only Mirandrax would be close.

The Amidala room was named he had no doubt from the former Queen that had depending on your point of view been a total disaster or a triumph for the planet and the galaxy.

Dravius stopped at the door, noting that it slid open and he stepped into the room. The door shut behind him and within a nano second he glanced around the room. It was well appointed with luxurious finishes and fittings. A small fireplace was present in a corner. A might befit a queen. Ingoring the ironic aspects his gaze fell on Mirandrax who was smiling at him, and in the bed with the covers over her.

"I was hoping you'd come"

"I know. I also know why you said what you did"

Mirandrax face changed seamlessley to one of surprise. "Oh? and tell me why I said what I did"

Dravius nodded slowly and continued. "You want to know who I really am. You know that I know who I am. So the real question is Mirandrax, why do you want to know?"

Mirandrax grinned

"I dont although you're close. I just wanted you here"

She sat up, showing the robe of white silk that he had seen before. Her voice dropped to a whisper.

"Come to bed"

She undid the robe and threw it past him, and it landed on the rug in front of the fireplace. Dravius shrugged and offered the following

"You do love drama"

And with that, he approached the bed.
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Re: The Line of Succession

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-03-24 13:00

Morning came and a hand reached for a glove. As the glove was pulled on, the owner of the hand glanced to his left and noted the image. Sleeping peacefully and blissfully unaware of anything happening in the world, the Ensign had an inscrutable smile on her face.

At this point, he had two options. He could get up and leave, or he could stay. As pondered letting the matrix loose on this option, he decided against it and decided to remain in the bed. The war was raging, and the outcome was far less than certain. Mirandrax could easily die in the war. Add to that her limited lifespan, and the picture grew starker.

...besides, the rest is good for you.....

The matrix had fired a potshot across the bow of his mind, but it was done. He glanced again at her and noticed her eyes open slowly. He head seemed to turn instinctively to the left and she smiled when she saw him.

"You're still here?"

"Naturally. I'm under orders you know"

She laughed softly and stared into his eyes, although they remained hidden by the mask.

"I thought you would have gone by now..."

"Would you have been disappointed if I was gone?"

"Yes"

"That is why I stayed"

He watched as she blushed and cleared her throat, before sitting up. She grinned as she looked at him with a better perspective than she had before.

"You know, i'm sure i've seen you wearing less at a banquet."

"That's not entirely true. Ask Commodore Morrison, I like dress uniform"

She grinned and shook her head as he looked at her, his eyes boring into hers, although he had the benefit of the mask to shield them from her gaze.

"Would you like breakfast?"

"No...can you stay here with me?

Dravius regarded her for a long moment, and then nodded slowly.

"Yes, for a while"

She smiled at that, and within seconds, her head was on his shoulder. The war, and the line of succession could wait.

For a while.
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Dravius Stari
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Re: The Line of Succession

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-03-29 12:09

The leave had come to an end, and indeed like all things in life, the moments of respite were all too short. Dravius found himself at the table of his ship, The Shogun with Mirandrax sitting opposite him. Each had a datapad, and there were a few datadisks between them. Mirandrax was carefully studying the datapad and Dravius was watching her.

"It seems clear enough....but you have no heir?....what are the plans there?"

"You are correct. I am in the process of finding a suitable donor of genetic material. It isn't easy, as you well know. Once the donor is found, the actual...creation...will be swift. With the war as it is, I need this taken care of quickly"

"Alright. Well, I've made my mark on the relevant parts as you requested. Is there anything else?"

"No. Lucius will handle the other few matters. It is done. Thank you for doing this."

Mirandrax smiled wanly as the put away the datadisks into the case that sat on the table, along with the datapads. The case locked with a code known only to Dravius and she stood up and looked directly into his eyes.

"The Supreme Commander trusts you. The Space Force trusts you. I trust you. You...better stay alive...or i'll be dead"

Dravius lifted his head for a moment before he nodded. He stood and took the case off the table and looked at Mirandrax

"Don't be morbid. Go and rest. We'll be home soon."

As Mirandrax left with a sly grin on her face, Dravius made his way quickly to his quarters and transferred the contents of the case into his robes. Once this was done, he opened a secret panel within the wall and slid the case inside. He smoothed his robes back into place which betrayed no hint of the extra weight they had taken on. Taking another moment to survey the room he spun around on his heel and headed to the bridge to begin final preparations for the ship to drop back into realspace.

As he strapped himself into the chair and his fingers danced over the control panel, the matrix floated a final hypothesis.

...perhaps, this leave was not a total loss. She agreed to what you sought in the first place, and you can trust in her loyalty....once Lucius completes the final arrangements, the clones will be safe. All you will need then is an heir...
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Re: The Line of Succession

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-04-17 07:19

Dravius had spend the last few days isolated from everyone. Mirandrax, Lucius, even Commodore Morrison were all kept at bay. He had been in deep meditation as one question needed to be answered.

...who would be the donor...

Mirandrax had been rejected. In truth her emotional claim that did not share a high percentage of common DNA was true, however she was no scientist. However, it was a question of more than percentages. What was shared and added to the mix was worth more than simple percentages. There was another problem too, a simpler one.

She just didnt cut it. He had not told her, but Mirandrax had a limited lifespan that was not an easy workaround. That had been part of the initial specification of the Supreme Commander and he did not have the time to totally re-engineer the code in a way that would not draw his wrath. When dealing with a rumoured Sith Lord, caution was always the best approach.

Luciana and Crystala were out of the running as well. Crystala was likely to have him arrested for the mere suggestion, and Luciana was his business partner. Only fools mixed business and pleasure. This ruled them out. Teela remained problematic at the best of times, and Dravius had enough problems with external and internal threats to add a crazed female pirate pilot. This ruled her out.

This left one live option, and a slightly awkward one at that. He had met her only once, but they had a connection of sorts. He had employed some basic flirting techniques that were open to an officer with a mask and robes. It had gone well enough. He had pulled her file and he saw an impressive field record and testing scores. While he didnt have a scan of her DNA, her file indicated that she would be a fresh contribution. The Supreme Commander's program could continue apace and would not be disrupted, and should she say yes, he would achieve his goal quickly.

.....Brigid is the only one....

As he came out of meditation he stood slowly and stretched, and commenced plans.

He reached into his robes and pulled out his datapad and sent a short message.

Code: Select all

Good Morning Operative Ohm,

Hope you have been well. If you'd care to join me on my ship, The Shogun, docked at the Intimidator it would be good to catch up. Come as soon as you can. 

Vice Marshal Dravius Stari 
As soon as the message sent, he headed for his ship. There would be preparations to make.
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