The Emperor’s First Hand

An Asajj Ventress Story

It was a night of endless possibilities. Trant Malik, Prime Minister of the planet Hissar and Regional Governor of the Solak System, was making his final preparations for the first official Imperial Gala, held by none other than Emperor Palpatine himself, which was scheduled to take place in Coruscant Hall, one of the planet’s most prestigious locales.

Plus he had a blind date….and, as she leaned against the side of the doorway, Trant immediately realized, she was to die for.

“By the stars, you, my dear…are gorgeous,” Trant, who was forty years old, said as if he were but a teenage boy looking at his first girly magazine.

“Pick your jaw off the floor, you old geezer,” the heartbreaker said as she seductively walked up to the governor. “Don’t get too excited – I’m only here because someone paid me well to do so,” she continued as she ran her long fingernails down Trant’s jaw line.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a blind date, but for the lonely politician, it was close enough.

Her name was Selene, and indeed she was drop dead pretty. She wore a sequined red dress, which only went to accentuate her shiny crimson red lips. Her jet-black hair, which had been curled for tonight’s festivities, ran slightly past her shoulders, and complimented her pale complexion very well.

And she’s got it where it counts, Trant thought, almost loud enough so even his date could hear his excitations.

“Are you just going to stare all night, Mr. Malik,” Selene began to ask as she circled Trant, showing off even more of her assets, “or are you going to take this little belle to the ball?”

Every once in a great while, a man builds up enough courage around a woman to pretend to be smooth, but when that does happen, it’s usually at the wrong time. “Are you sure we even have to leave the house tonight?” Trant asked with a boyish grin.

“Come now, Trant,” Selene asked as she started through the door and once again leaned up against the side, “what would the Emperor think if one of his governor’s passed him up for a simple seductress like me? After all, I’m only pretending to like you anyway,” she added, attempting to sound facetious, but no doubt telling the truth.

“You certainly have a way with words,” Trant replied as he offered his company an elbow, “but I suppose you’re right. Let’s go, but do promise you’ll try to have at least a little fun tonight.”

“Oh, my dear man,” Selene answered as she stared intently into his eyes, “there is no question in my mind that by the time tonight is over, I will be completely satisfied.”

Formerly known as the Republic National Amphitheatre, Coruscant Hall, which featured the most ancient and elaborate Coruscanti architecture, was located about twenty blocks down from the Imperial Senate building. On the rear entrance side of the massive complex was the newly built Freedon Nadd Memorial Reflective Pool, whose name confused almost all of its visitors, but whose stunning elegance impressed all who came to see it. The main entrance of theater faced Palpatine Plaza, at the center of which was just one of a plethora of Emperor Palpatine statues that had been erected since the demise of the Republic.

The awe-inspiring amphitheatre was the home to many large-scale events, from symphonies to the inaugurations of local officials, and tonight it would host the most grandiose event the area had ever seen, the First Annual Royal Imperial Gala.

The purpose of the occasion was to celebrate the passing of the Tarkin Edict, which gave regional governors much more control over their respective systems, while still maintaining the Imperial Senate intact. Since the formation of the Empire nearly six months ago, on the surface it appeared to be business as usual in the Senate, but truth be told, the Senate had become nothing more than a giant collection of powerless figureheads, assembled simply to give the galaxy a semblance of order…or perhaps it had always been that way.

As he passed by the over-exaggerated statue of Palpatine, Trant could not help but snicker.

“What’s so funny?” Selene asked as she looked up at her already somewhat intoxicated date.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I can’t help it. The man just cracks me up,” Trant said jovially as he put a small flask of Corellian whiskey back into his suit pocket.

“Who? The Emperor? Your Emperor?” the elegant escort asked with an unusually scornful tone.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I give the guy credit. He was definitely in the right place at the right time, and I can’t fault the fella for making the most of it, but c’mon, who’s he trying to impress?” Trant asked as they made their way up the large set of steps leading to the main entrance. “I mean, you don’t see me puttin’ up Governor Malik statues all over Hissar, do ya?”

“No,” Selene calmly answered with a smile, “but then again, you don’t have any real power, now do you?”

“Hey!” Governor Malik exclaimed as he stopped, turned, and grabbed Selene by the shoulders. “I’m payin’ you good money just to spend a little time with me, so I suggest you mind your stinkin’ lip or you’re gonna be out of a job real quick.”

Selene grinned, confusing the man who was trying to intimidate her, “And I suggest you lay off the whiskey, because you are sounding stupider by the minute, and if you do not take your grubby paws off me, you are going to be out of something much more precious than a job. Are we clear, sweetums?”

Trant let go.

“Good thing I like ya, lady. Come on, let’s get inside. It’s freezing out here and I’m starving.”

The couple sat at a table that was dimly lighted, yet was still fairly close to the dance floor, just in case they had the rare (or drunken) impulse to use it. Strangely enough, Governor Malik was drinking a glass of ice water, while Selene was sipping on a glass of vintage wine imported directly from Alderaan. It was not cheap either, but if there was one thing Selene knew how to do, it was spend a man’s money…and she did it well.

“So you’re a young buck,” Selene started as she ran her foot up the lower half of Trant’s leg, “how did you get to be governor so quickly? Must’ve been a pretty big pile of dead bodies.”

“Ha. No, no one was killed directly,” Trant chuckled as he blushed slightly. “You see, my family’s been in the arms business for years now, so when the Clone Wars came along, we hit pay dirt.”

“How’s that?” Selene asked rhetorically as she tilted her head, looking genuinely uninterested in what he was saying.

“Well, I guess I can thank that man right there,” Trant continued, pointing to Emperor Palpatine, who was speaking with Governor Tarkin and a couple senators, “for being a complete and total idiot.”

“That’s kind of harsh, don’t you think?” she asked as she delicately put her wine to her lips. “Most people think Emperor Palpatine is one of the wisest men to come along in recent history. He did save the galaxy, after all.”

“Hey, now we’re giving him too much credit,” he retorted as he cut into his nerfsteak, cooked so rare it was still groaning. “I mean, who really won that war?” he asked with a mouth full of nerf. “The Jedi. Too bad what happened those sorry saps.”

Governor Malik began choking on his piece of steak, and began to turn blue as he grabbed frantically at his throat.

“Looks like you have just as much trouble with what goes into your mouth as what comes out of it,” Selene said, curiously uncaring that her date was dying before her very eyes.

“Aw, quit your gasping,” she said as she hit Trant in the back hard, freeing the imprisoned nerfsteak.

“Thank you,” Trant gasped as he tried to put air back in his lungs. “How can I ever repay you?”

“Don’t mention it,” she said as she sat back down. “You are already paying me quite handsomely. You might just have to give me a little extra at the end of the night. Now, what were you saying about Palpatine?”

“Well, throughout the whole war, I was providing weaponry to the Republic at huge discounts, so I quickly gained favor with ol’ Palps over there, and out of nowhere, promotions started coming, one right after the other. Before I knew it, I was Prime Minister. Then he makes himself Emperor, and bada-boom, I’m Governor!”

“Sounds like every other crooked politician out there.” She leaned over the table until she was face to face with Trant and whispered, “So what makes you so special?”

“Well, the beauty of the whole thing is, all the while I was selling the Republic guns, I was doing the same for Dooku and his Seps – it was friggin’ beautiful! I sell more and more, and the war gets nastier and nastier! I’m getting promoted, and I’m bringing in the credits! And now, Hissar still provides the Empire with a good deal of its arsenal, and we’re supplying these little rebel sects with guns too. I’m telling ya, it’s a win-win situation.”

He is the one…kill him…immediately.

It will be done, my Master.

“This place is a bore,” Selene said as she ran her hand up Trant’s thigh. “What do you say we head on back to my place for a couple more drinks, and we’ll see what happens?”

The governor raised his eyebrows, “Oh, I have a very good feeling about this.”

Selene took her high-ranking date back to her penthouse, which sat atop one of the tallest apartment complexes on all of Coruscant. Drinking their wine on the terrace, Trant and Selene gazed down at the clouds that were gently gliding by below them.

“How do you like the view, Governor?” Selene asked as she massaged his shoulders.

“You mean the clouds, or the angel standing right behind me?”

“Ha, you are a smoothie, aren’t you? Maybe you’re not so bad after all,” she said as she ran her fingertips down his chest.

“No, actually, you’ll find I’m quite good at what I do,” Trant answered as he looked up at the beautiful siren leaning over him.

“Really?” she asked as she lowered the straps of her dress off her shoulders. “Well, I think I’ll go change into something a little more comfortable, and we’ll take care of this right here.”

“Ooh, sounds good,” Trant replied as he watched his favorite person in the world walk inside.

Mere moments passed, and then Governor Malik heard the words he longed to hear,

“Ready to get what’s coming to you, Governor?”

Trant bolted out of his seat in pure excitement, turned around, and…Selene looked completely different. She had taken off what must have been a wig, revealing a bald head on which there were a few black tattoos, and her ravishing gown had been replaced by a black sleeveless body suit, making her look like a veritable warrior.
The transformation was complete when she ignited two red lightsabers.

Trant started to sweat. “I guess what they say about you Jedi is true. You are crazy!”

“Wrong thing to say!” she exclaimed as she kicked him against the railing. “The Jedi are extinct for a reason. I am the Emperor’s Hand, and for your crimes against His Excellency, you are hereby sentenced to death.”

“Please. Please! I’ll do anything!” Trant cried as he fell to his knees and clasped his hands.

“You have but one thing to do, you insignificant slime. And that is, die.”

“You – you can’t mean that. Tonight was going so well and-”

“Fool! Even if the Emperor did not wish it so, I would still end you out of principle. But now I will give you the choice of how you want to die. You can either have each finger and each toe cut off, followed by your ears, then nose, then-”

“Okay, okay, what’s my other choice?”

“Jump. If you are lucky, your heart may stop before you hit the ground. I hope not.”

Trant Malik straightened his face, stood up, and for the first time in his life, showed the slightest bit of dignity. He got up on the railing, closed his eyes, and let the heavens take him.

Asajj Ventress smiled.

You have done well, my new Hand. Come back to the palace, and you will receive your next mission.

It will be done, my Master.

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