"She is my kriffing cousin?" Ben has never been so annoyed and horrified upon hearing the name Naberrie.
"Technically, she's your second cousin, once removed," the royal adviser points at the family tree, again. "You see, you descend from..."
Ben knows very well that Padmé Amidala Naberrie is his biological grandmother. The fact has hung over his head for a long long time.
At the age of thirteen, Padmé Naberrie had become Princess of Theed, aka the mayor of Naboo's capital city, and she had been so popular that a year later, she was elected to be the head of state, Queen of Naboo, where they have a very unique electoral system reserved mostly for the underage female persuasion.
Naboo, like Alderaan, is a pro-matriarchic society, and he can trace the name Naberrie all the way back to his great-great-grandmother, Winama Naberrie, one of Theed's best cloth weavers.
From weavers to mayors, to queens and emperors. The Naberries really have come a long way.
He raises his hand to stop the adviser. "No. I'm not going to marry her!"
"My lord, since you insist on a monogamous heterosexual marriage...."
"Since when does wanting to be a devoted straight husband a crime?"
The concept of polygamy is unattractive to him because he has witnessed how his parents and his uncle could get too uncomfortably close to his liking before his uncle became a hermit and his parents separated. That trio phrase is something he always wants to erase from his mind. And he is not really into people of the same gender or the androgynous species.
If he has a wife or girlfriend, he will remain faithful. The wrath of a royally pissed woman is one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and he'd rather not face it. He's not having his plans shot to hell because he couldn't keep his pants on.
"And the Wrens and the Hapans have downright refused to form an alliance with the Order because, you know...."
"If the Wrens and the Hapans cannot understand or accept the ABC of the marriage, then they can sod off for all I care, no matter how impressive their titles are, Duchess or Chume'da? I can do better than a widow 15 years older than me. And of course I don't want in-laws that might have had complicated flings with my own mother AND uncle!"
"And you have turned down all the other candidates, this is your last option...."
"We have a whole galaxy of marriageable noblewomen to choose from, yet all you could come up with were the Hutts and the Crolutes and other more heinous families that I don't even want to name. And now your last ditch effort to prevent someone from stealing my crown from me is to marry my cousin, really?"
Apparently being the sole Prince of the Royal House of Organa and heir apparent to Lord Darth Vader (husband of Padmé Naberrie) is not enough for the blue blood purists to support his throne in the New Order Galactic Empire that HE created after having killed his predecessor and took over the forces and resources that had been practically the legacy of his own biological grandfather Vader anyway.
To be honest, the whole usurpation IS a little distasteful but not common knowledge yet. He manages to keep it a secret even if he has to use some special kind of persuasion. Though he knows people have been calling him son of darkness and Vader wannabe behind his back.
He doesn't blame the obliteration of his mother’s home world Alderaan on Vader, who would have been so proud of Ben for finally having killing his abuser Snoke and finished what his grandpa had started. And Ben had done so while he was wearing a helmet and using an alias, just like his grandpa, whose real name was Anakin Skywalker. Though he never thought he would have to be reduced to inbreeding to keep his crown!?
But his inner voice keeps telling him: "If you don’t marry a woman of noble birth and produce an heir, sooner or later, they will strip you, they will judge you, and they will cast you to the fire!"
"It would actually be very beneficial to enter into a union with the House of Naberrie. It will concrete your status as the emperor and create tremendous potential for interstellar trade and job opportunities...."
"I know exactly how the Trade Federation had messed up the old Galactic Republic. Because my grandma, then Queen of Naboo and later Senator Amidala, had been the one to open negotiations with the federation and it ended up creating the old Galactic Empire, which was later brought down by my uncle Luke and my parents. That is also the reason Naboo has become an independent state."
"And the children you sire would bear both the honorable Naberrie and Organa names and blood, my lord. It is legally acceptable for a humanoid to marry your second cousin throughout the galaxy now, not to mention 'once removed' means she is one generation younger than you technically...."
"Oh stars, so she's technically my niece! Now that I think of it, that's even grosser! An uncle marries his niece?"
"Oh, my lord, you mean an avunculate marriage?"
"There is even a specific term for this thing?" He knows he is in trouble.
"Yes, it is common in some culture."
"What kind of people marry their relative anyway?" The idea of marrying his young cousin/niece makes him feel like a dirty old man, and he's not even that old yet.
"For humanoid species? 80% of all marriages in history may have been between second cousins or closer. The percentage is even higher among nobilities and royalties. Cousin marriage has often been chosen to keep cultural values intact, preserve family wealth, maintain geographic proximity, keep tradition, strengthen family ties....." the adviser prattles off, as if reading off the Galactic Wookieepedia. He probably is, since he's holding his trusty datapad.
Ben wants to bang his forehead against the desk, that is a lot more than he wants to know. The rational part of him knows that arranged marriages are a common practice and it is part of the strategic diplomacy for state interest. But he has begun to suspect that the adviser has been messing with his perspectives so as to coax him into an incestuous marriage, or a homosexual one, or worse, a cyborgic one!?
No, he is the last of the Organa-Skywalker-Solos, his mother specifies that she does not want him to end their bloodline, but he also doesn't want to have a baby with two heads, or two dicks? That would be really two of a kind, so to speak. The image makes him shudder. For all he knows, since twins run in his family, a SOLO might actually produce a DUO.
And the Skywalkers are known to have always managed to get themselves into the most unlikely romantic but cliché scenarios. Say, what were the odds of a poor desert child meeting his dream girl who happened to be a queen pretending to be a handmaid? And what were the odds of the aforementioned couple's poor desert child meeting his dream girl who happened to be a princess but actually his long-lost twin sister?
His father Han Solo used to say, "Never tell me the odds!" At this rate, Ben doesn’t really want to push his luck. He has a bad feeling about this.
"Stop, I just won't do it, period!"
The adviser signs, "My lord, please listen to me...."
"No, YOU listen to ME: I'm NOT going to marry my blood relation!"
"She is NOT...." the adviser practically yells, "related to you by blood, my lord."
Ben opens his mouth, closes it, then opens again. "What?"
"I'm terribly sorry, but you kept interrupting me," the adviser says, "I did say technically. You see, she is adopted, but fully recognized as a member of the Elder Houses, just like your mother Princess Leia Organa. And we have even cross-checked your DNA samples to make sure you are not somehow related, so the risk of you having children with genetic disorders is small enough to be ignored."
Now that's actually something to look forward to, considering his grandfather's mysterious conception and the fact that his father was an orphan of questionable origins. And Ben definitely doesn't want to repeat the mistake of kissing an unknown long-lost sibling like his mother and uncle have done.
He decides to stop throwing his tantrum and calms down.
"Where is she from anyway?"
"No one is from nowhere."
"All right, that is pretty much nowhere. The desert junkyard?"
"Yes. And she was one of the scavengers."
Stars, literally ANOTHER poor desert child, and this time he ironically falls into the royalty role of this trope. Is his family cursed by the desert or do they suffer from Poor Desert Children Syndrome? He frowns as he doesn't like the prospect of having a stupid filthy garbage picker as his wife.
No matter how deep the Naberrie pockets may be, there is a limit. They could get the girl out of the junkyard, but could they get the junk out of the girl? How ironic will that be if he really has to pick a trashy orphaned spouse like his mother did and then grew distant since the scruffy party of the marriage could never get used to the rich domestic/political life?
If his marriage does go sour, he'll do his best to end it amicably and leave his wife with a decent alimony, to make her less tempted to help the enemy.
Thanks to his constantly fighting parents, he has known from a young age that one day he may have to marry someone he doesn’t necessarily like, but he also doesn't want to marry someone he finds loath to sleep with and slowly drift apart and set a bad example for his children who would feel so neglected that they would become obsessed with getting attention, so much so that they might:
- A) help create a dictatorial regime, like his grandmother (albeit unknowingly);
- B) go after galactic domination, like his grandfather;
- C) bring down a dictatorial regime, like his parents and his uncle;
- D) bring down a dictatorial regime that they help create AND THEN go after galactic domination, like Ben.
You see, bipolar genius runs in the family, the sad truth is that one half of his family have been busy saving the galaxy while the other half have been busy destroying it.
At least Ben managed to accomplish this without committing mass murder, directly. Let's just say the demise of the Hosnian System is a necessary evil that still keeps him up at night sometimes. Ben didn't exactly have a say in the development and deployment of Starkiller, the updated version of the Death Stars, which his grandfather had been so fond of, which had been blasted out by his uncle, twice.
You may think you know their story, but Ben has seen more of heaven and hell than most people dream of. He wants to be on the good side, he really does. He wants to craft a redemption arc that is worthy of his grandfather's. That's why he has been trying so hard to get the rest of the Old Imperial and New Republic forces together to bring a new order to the galaxy.
But the kriffing purists have to get on his nerves by reminding him of his single, childless status on a daily basis. Can't they see how reluctant he is about sharing his genetic materials with just anyone? They should pray that he will not produce more little edgelords hungry for power or attention.
Speaking of attention, for a man who has a 12-step haircare routine, Ben does not think he is too vain, per se, by Alderaanian or Naboo standards, anyway. At least he is not that obsessed with hairdos and manicures like his mother and grandmother, yet.
The girl could easily fall onto either side of the liberation/domination spectrum. He doesn’t think they would have picked an orphan from nowhere to promote as a charity case of sorts to gain political favor, the Naberries are smart but kind. But wealthy people have done weirder shits, and the Naberries are literally filthy rich these days.
What makes her so special that she was adopted by one of the wealthiest houses in the galaxy yet she has been kept like a dirty little secret for such a long time?
A very possible reason is that she is either too ugly or worse yet, a retard?
"What is she like?"
"Very smart and very sweet," the adviser confidently shows him a holo-picture of the girl on his datapad.
Ben is surprised to see a fresh young face without any makeup on top of a simple dress, considering the infamously extravagant fashion trend of the Naboo upper class. His grandma had had so much makeup and so many bewildering headpieces on top of her head that she was barely recognizable in all her official appearances and pictures. Always regal and austere, her dresses had often been so elaborate that they limited her mobility.
And she had retained a constantly-changing wardrobe throughout her tenure as a queen and later a senator. So much so that she could go in disguise, or out of disguise, when she was in plain clothes, and by plain, it meant she had been dressed like a pretty delusional black swan.
He narrows his eyes as he zooms in to see the healthy tan skin and freckles, looking for any signs of deformity or mistreatment. There appears none. The Naberries obviously have chosen an aesthetically pleasing humanoid female specimen which he cannot help feeling a degree of reluctant admiration for. And she looks like she has been taken very good care of. "She does clean up nicely."
"Check her profile, please."
He opens the brief profile about her accomplishment and his eyebrows threaten to shoot off his forehead.
The girl can speak a dozen alien languages and she is also a very capable mechanic and a pilot. And she has gained all these skills in the desert junkyard even before getting the intensive private tutelage of a noble house where she's receiving advanced scientific and diplomatic courses.
The self-taught genius aspect of this girl distinctively reminds him of his grandfather, a slave boy who had come from nothing but later rose to power that second only to the former emperor Palpatine whom his grandpa eventually killed.
And she has recently entered the Theed branch of the Legislative Youth Program, of which Ben had been a member in his teens, too.
He knows the drill, the members meet annually for a month-long retreat on his home world Chandrila, in and around the planet's capital, Hanna City. There, the young delegates enter into mock Senate trials in order for the participants to gain first-hand experience working with galactic issues.
Ben pulls out her picture again and checks her thumbs. Sure enough, both of her thumbnails are painted stark white, a small but notable sign of her dedication to her family for a Naberrie who is aspiring to go into politics. Is she going to follow in the footsteps of his grandmother Padmé and her grandmother Pooja?
A young queen in training? No wonder the Naberries keep her under the radar. Padmé Naberrie, his grandmother’s birthname was not public knowledge even when she was Queen of Naboo. Every Naboo Queen has an official/regnal name. She was commonly known as Queen Amidala and later Senator Amidala.
He has to admit he's very impressed, but all of this seems too good to be true. Her profile is practically screaming "THE CHOSEN ONE!"
He stares at those pink lips and almond-shaped eyes and plans his next step. The annual meeting of the Program is several months away, but he cannot wait that long. He will have to meet her in person as soon as possible, maybe he can fly his TIE Silencer to the picturesque Theed. He can really use a break from all the hideous Hutts and Crolutes.
Doesn't his family still own a retreat cottage in the Lake Country, Varykino or something? Maybe he should try to contact his mother?
Stars, if seeing her picture and profile can get him so worked up, what will happen if he meets her in person?
A cough pulls Ben from his daydreaming about kissing her by the waterfall and reenacting something more explicit his grandparents might have done there. He can suddenly see the appeal of being the victim of PDCS (Poor Desert Children Syndrome™). He should probably get the copyright registered.
He caresses his chin to pretend he's pondering over something serious and decent, but in fact it's just a sly move to check if he has been drooling, just a little bit.
If the adviser notices that, he wisely doesn't comment on it, but his smug face has told him everything.
Stars, he really is a dirty old man, drooling over the picture of his pretty little adopted cousin/niece? That's really unbecoming of an emperor.
However, the best part of becoming an emperor is that he can almost always take whatever he wants.
The adviser adds, "But there is a little problem, my lord."
"How little is the problem?"
Of course there is always a catch.