"Senator Amidala is dead."
Shock rang through the hallowed halls of the Senate chambers as the Supreme Chancellor spoke, the reaction to the demise of the young firebrand as mixed as very varied opinions of her through her short career. On the Chancellor's dais, Bail Antilles struggled to keep order in the room.
"I apologize for the abruptness of my delivery. There was an explosion...an assassination. I have just learned of this tragedy myself...the senseless death of one of our own...way too soon." He paused, struggling to find his words. "Many of us were close to the young Senator from Naboo. I extend my condolences to all on behalf of the Senate and the Republic. I...there are many here who found themselves on the other side the debate table from Senator Amidala. I myself am no exception. On such an occasion as this...we must agree to leave politics aside and take care to remember...the universal compassion that drove us to this higher calling in the first place."
"What news is there of Captain Skywalker," a small voice called out from the back. It was Rush Clovis, the senator from Scipio. "I hope he has not perished as well."
The Supreme Chancellor studied his datapad, scrolling through the contents to find the answers. Finally, he gave up and addressed the throng. "I'm afraid there has been no news of young Skywalker, but our records do show he was on the ship before the attack. Emergency crews on the scene have not found any survivors yet..."
As the gathered senators erupted in a chaotic babble again, the pod representing the Trade Federation moved forward, and Chancellor Antilles reluctantly gave the floor to the Neimoidian. "The chair recognizes Senator Nute Gunray from the Trade Federation."
Looking more evasive and nervous than he usually was, the former Viceroy addressed the room, "despite our significant differences in the past, I can assure you that the Trade Federation had nothing to do with this vile deed and knew nothing of it beforehand. We are innocent. We strive to better the Republic...and nothing else. We are indeed purer than even the silk from the angel worms of Bakura."
If one were to look closely at him, one would almost see the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic roll his eyes. "No one is accusing anyone of anything, Senator Gunray. The Senate does well to thank the Trade Federation for the hospitality shown to our members last standard month, and we will continue to consider the Trade Freedoms legislation presented by Senator Gunray. We would do well to honor Senator Amidala by our work."
He thought he saw protest in the eyes of Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, his own fellow Alderaanian. The betrayal from the latter irked him, they being not only of the same planet but family by marriage. But his successor in the senate did not speak, and as the hubbub continued. Bail Antilles hoped that, despite the tragedy, the death of such an unpredictable senator would end up making his own life easier.
Three months ago
The warehouse was abandoned, stripped bare of all its contents, save for one box. On it was a comlink which Senator Lott Dod of the Trade Federation, his hands shivering anxiously, struggled to enter in the code given to him. After he activated it, a lone hooded figure appeared before him. The person was seemingly small, human, and though he could not see the face, he guessed it was a female. Lott Dod coughed nervously, memories of Darth Sidious from the Naboo crisis almost ten years prior coming back to him.
"Who are you," he asked.
"You may address me as Lady Mirayya." The voice that answered him was smooth. Silky. Definitely female. Though it was no less intimidating than the last Sith that he had dealt with, and that had not ended well for them. He was inclined to turn off the comlink now. His better instincts told him to run and tell no one of this encounter, not even Viceroy Gunray. But he didn't. Something compelled him to stay and listen.
"How did you discover my information," he asked, his voice bolder than he felt. "What are you to me?"
"Do you remember Lord Sidious," the mystery woman asked. "I am known to him."
Dod huffed his mouth in indignation. "Lord Sidious betrayed us on Naboo! That name is poison to us!"
"Lord Sidious betrayed many," the Lady Mirayya snarled back. "I am aware of everything that Lord Sidious did, and every instance Lord Sidious harmed those he convinced through his lies."
Lott Dod thought he could see a faint smile in the darkness of the lady's hood. "We can help each other, Senator Dod. You can consider this reparations, Senator Dod, for his wrongs."
"How can I trust you?"
"Because you have not heard from Lord Sidious in over nine years. Why do you think so?"
For once, the neimoidian senator was speechless.
"Because I killed him," the hooded woman hissed. "Because I made him pay for his failures, for his lack of vision! Because I am more powerful than he can ever imagine. Now Senator Dod...the question is...what do you want?"
"I do not understand." There were many things Lott Dod would have wished to say or do had he ever met Lord Sidious or one of his compatriots. All of those were out the viewport now.
"You are a man of talents," Mirayya almost seemed to coo at him. "You have served the Viceroy for over ten years now, watching him stumble from mistake to mistake while you cover up his shit on the senate floor. I believe in you, Senator Dod. You are better than that. You are better than the Viceroy. You are better than your station."
"Viceroy Gunray has many talents." Lott Dod looked around the abandoned warehouse nervously, making sure he wasn't being monitored, that this entire conversation wasn't some sort of elaborate sting from his very paranoid superior. "As do I. I have many capabilities. As you know. I am capable, I assure you."
"Goooood," the words seem to ooze out of the woman. "Do as I say, senator, and we will work well for each other. I foresee it."
He was so scared that Lott Dod found himself barely able to breathe. But there was something to this sith that intrigued him. Something that called to him. He felt a higher calling right now just speaking to her.
"Viceroy Gunray's position is unassailable. No one in the directory would dare vote against him."
"There are many ways to skin a neimoidian, Senator," the hooded figure's voice sending chills down his spine. "What if I told you that I can help you get rid of your Viceroy and pass the Trade Freedoms Act in the Senate?"
"That sounds," Lott hesitated, "too good to be true."
"Only for those whose tiny minds don't have the capabilities of understanding true power," Lady Mirayya snapped back at him. "I know your concerns, Senator, but have you ever considered the possibility that there is more to power than your own precious federation?"
Hearing the silence from the senator, she continued.
"What do you know of the word boondoggle?."
"I understand its technical meaning, Lady Mirayya," Lott Dod answered nervously.
"Yesssss," the hooded woman seemed to almost purr at him, "a boondoggle would work very well, wouldn't it? Invite the Senate to Cato Neimoidia. Show them all the true benefits of allegiance. I promise you the galaxy in return."
She would have liked to given the doddering neimoidian more instructions, but feeling her sister's gaze upon her back, Darth Mirayya moved to end the transmission early. Pulling down her hood, she gave Sola an exasperated look.
"If you're done playing dress up," the elder Naberrie sister said dismissively at her little sister, "I could use some help in the kitchen. I think Anakin's going to burn the steaks if you don't do something about it soon."
The greatest living sith master in the galaxy rolled her eyes. "There's nothing playful about what we're doing, Sola. This is very, very serious business I'm involved in here...the fate of the entire galaxy is at stake."
"Whatever you say, little red riding sith."
"Hey!" Padmé fingered her blood red hood indignantly. "I will have you know these robes are among the most valuable Sith heirlooms out there, passed down from Darth Zannah herself. Even the Jedi Council would pay a small fortune to obtain them."
"Ooo," Sola said as Anakin's fumblings in the kitchen came into view, the lakes of Varykino behind him past the windows. "Now there's a real sith lord worth discussing. Heard miss Zannah was a nice little number in her day. I wonder if my little sister would have had a chance with the chosen one if she was after his ass."
"Calm down ladies," the piece of ass in question yelled out from the kitchen. "There's enough for me to go around for everyone. Even you, Sola."
The older Naberrie made a throw up motion, sticking her fingers in her mouth. "As tempting as your ass may be, Anakin Skywalker, that was the most atrocious wink I have ever witnessed in my life, and trust me, I've seen plenty from Darred. Plus, I prefer my men to be a bit older...ya know...maybe at least past puberty."
Anakin shrugged at Sola's barb. "Padmé always said I was mature for my age."
"You're both lucky she never had to say that in front of a judge."
"Hey," Padmé interrupted defensively, "I was a Queen, you forget. I controlled the courts."
Anakin turned and shot an evil grin at Padmé's older sister as he cooked the shaak steaks with sith lightning. "Now that you mention it Sola, from the holocrons I've seen...Darth Zannah had some nice tits. It'd be nice to have something to hold onto for once while fucking."
Outnumbered, Padmé let out an exasperated moan and shook her head at both Anakin and Sola. "Mock me mock me mock me, that's all you do. You just wait. When the Sith finally have our revenge, you'll all discover the true meaning of suffering." With a huff, she turned to leave the room.
"Aren't I a Sith too," Anakin teased, his grin even wider.
"Go fuck a nerfherder Skywalker" Padmé shot back, almost having left the kitchen.
"Hate to see her go, I do," Anakin squeaked in an awkwardly high voice. "But love to watch her leave, I do."
Padmé turned back and shot out a spurt of lightning at her husband, who quickly caught it with his left hand while continuing to cook the steaks with his right.
"I think it's finally time, Master Yoda, to put you to pasture," Padmé replied in a serious, masculine voice. Sola guessed she was imitating Master Windu.
"Senile, I am not. A Jedi, I may be. But able to appreciate a nice pair of buttocks, I am, even on a sith. Hormones, I have, even after nine hundred years of insufferability."
"Almost ten years of training in the dark arts," Padmé said to her sister, purposefully avoiding Anakin's gaze, "and all I have to show for it all is a gods awful impression of Master Yoda."
"Hey," Anakin protested, "you're the one who keeps sexualizing Darth Plagueis."
"That's because Sidious never shut up about him," Padmé retorted. Then a grimace formed on her face, as she realized her disgust. "He must have had a thing for that Muun. Ewww."
"If you guys are done," Sola remarked as she cut up the vegetables, "I'm getting kriffen hungry. Not to say anything good about the dark side, but there's something about the way you cook these steaks with your finger zapping that really makes them taste so good."
"You want to know my secret?"
"I imagine this is Nute Gunray," Padmé said evilly as she zapped a rare steak that Anakin had not touched yet.
Somewhere, in the middle of a warm bath on the Trade Federation starship, Nute Gunray shuddered.