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Shades of grey (Star Wars SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Pef, Aug 6, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    Star Wars saga returns, with a new SI. Be warned, you'll never see SW in same light again.
    PS: due to myself being banned on SB, SV and AH this story recevied too little love. Let's try this again, maybe I get lucky and don't get banned here too.




    **************************

    Shades of Grey,
    by Pef



    Earth, Milky Way galaxy
    Today


    It was a dark and gloomy night, with flashes of lightning interfering slightly by bringing some light into an otherwise scary darkness...

    Yeah, no. It was a normal morning, and I was sipping my coffee, while watching a rather competent youtuber debate the merits of a certain class of star destroyer versus another. Was a Bellator-class dreadnought better than a Mandator? Sure, it was smaller, but the tech was more advanced... But which one was better?

    'Would you like to know more?' an amused voice asked, as my monitor expanded and engulfed me into a rather realistic 3D simulation.
    The ships looked menacing and ominous now, painted in a grey shade of militaristic might. Wouldn't black paint be more suited for deep space engagements?

    Hmmm. Did my brother misplaced some more LSD into my coffee? Last time he tried something like this, I had been chasing a virtual steam train for hours...pretty train, although not really realistic...

    'Ah, it's the ADD again. And you missed my reference... / pout.'

    Did the LSD schizophrenia induced voice, reference mental disorders? Then again starship troopers was another favorite of mine. Since it featured starships and troopers. Pretty cool combination, if not really well written, or had any real strategy value...but cool!

    'That's it! Focus Pef, or I will enlighten you, with lightning...' the voice threatened me.

    Oh, a threat! Or maybe a treat? Enlightenment by lightning, just like the Flash or maybe an ascension thing like in wuxia? Wouldn't it be nice though?
    BZZZTTTTTTTT. Bzzttttt. A flash of lightning sprang out of nowhere, hitting me in the legs and producing an X-ray effect, my bones visible through clothes and flesh. And it hurt. Quite a lot.
    I try to focus my eyes, and the voice now belongs to a face. George Lucas. I may be wasted, worse than I first thought.

    "Ouch. Owwww. Stop it!" I yelled as the violet lightning shocked me to coherence and pain. This was strange...did I fell asleep and was now lying unconscious in a pool of coffee, while my lamp was electrocuting me? LSD did seem to have quite some effects...right?

    'Ever heard of Random Omnipotent Bats?' the fake George Lucas asks with a kind voice.
    "..." I think, while trying to collect my brains into the dustpan.
    'Now pay attention. I have need for a champion and I chose you. Now, I don't want to wait for a new body to grow and learn the basics of Corsca Galaxy, so you get to pick a species and force ability you will start with. You have an hour to pick wise...'

    "Can I have technopathy? Technopathy is pretty much the best Force power! Some telekinesis would be great too..." I interrupted the annoying ROB.
    Ever seen George Lucas get mad? I did.

    '...Technopathy. A bit of telekinesis... Sure! ROB replied, voice a bit hesitant and maybe even confused. But also mocking and sarcastic.

    "Thanks ROB. You're the best!" I exclaimed happily, as the fake simulation around me collapsed into a single point and my mind was propelled at improbable speed through a hyperspace vortex. Hmmm, I must have missed something, why was the nice ROB mocking me? Anyways, pretty stars!
    Galaxies and stars, quasars and black holes sped around me, as I left my future behind. Or was it my past now? No matter! Look at those nebulae, so beautiful!

    Time travel, and immeasurable distances, traversed my consciousness to a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago. Omnipotent beings were such bullshit...
    ******
    In a galaxy far, far away and long time ago


    Traveling backwards in time takes time, confusing as it may seem. You need to be a Doctor to understand it, so I won't bother.
    I think it took hours, at least. I was pretty bored, by the time I reached my new body.
    However...

    I was now a foot long Force crystal, glowing green and, buried under the ruins of Rur's space fortress, which itself was buried deep into the rocky world of Garn.
    So yeah, no more fun times for Pef. Unless rocks can have sex here in Star Wars, which wouldn't quite surprise me. They do make the improbable possible, every day.

    Still, I had Force senses now, and I reached out with them, searching for signs of life or technology. Either would do. No luck.

    The planet was barren, the inhabitants long gone.
    A toxic yellow fog was rolling over dead trees, and a killer bioweapon fungus was creeping everywhere, making sure that any living thing that landed on this planet will soon be dead.

    Exploring more and more, stretching my new senses, I soon found some crystals, named soul snares containing Force spirits and some old Jedi armors. With old skeletons inside. I thought the Jedi cremated their dead, this was strange.

    Seems a war was fought here, destroying the planetary biome and the former inhabitants, along with their attackers. The crystal soul snares likely contained the spirits of the Jedi captured during the war. Or Sith.

    Some scraps of old droids were lying closer, some cut to pieces, others just deactivated.
    Good enough. A safe place to learn my new Force powers and build the start of an army. Why would I want an army though? I never wanted one before. Really strange.
    Bits and pieces of memories, probably from the former occupant of this crystal body, drifted through my mind, precepts of the Ordu Aspectu, and their quest for eternal life.
    Their genocide at the hands of the Jedi Order. Lightsabers not hands, actually. Elegant weapons and such.

    So sad, to have succeeded in their quest for immortality and be too dead to enjoy it. Or maybe not.
    Some of them may have ascended, and became one with the Force. Maybe. Not likely.

    Either way, the Ordu Aspectu were no longer around. Not on the material plane.

    And I was free to do as I liked, as long as I remained undetected by the Jedi.
    Though, they will be gone soon as well, if they weren't all 66-ed already.
    I saw the movies.
    Planet Garn, Cadma sector, Outer Rim
    Year 25 BBY


    Having no limbs is a pain. Then again, telekinesis and multitasking sort of compensate. For something.
    I wish I could get angry at the sick entity who left me limbless and buried on some forgotten planet. Sadly, without an organic brain, I don't have real emotions. Stupid Jedi. There's no Emotion, there's only peace. See how simple it was? Gah!
    I have begun reactivating some of the more intact droids, and connected them to my own network. Did I mention, I was an AI now?

    Not exactly though, as I was not mechanical and had senses beyond anything a computer could have. Still, there were partitions and various commands to implement, making running my body easier.

    My first task was to use a few of my guard droids to drag the remains of a dozen other droids and begin piecing myself a host for the crystal self.

    A few other guard droids were digging their way up, and clearing the debris. Luckily the technology of this galaxy was extremely robust, years of neglect and disrepair not significantly impeding my progress into re initializing the dozen droids around.

    However, I will have to look into obtaining a power source for them. And perhaps later, a spaceship.

    First thing, installing my crystal into the torso of a droid, then attaching intact limbs from the other droids around.

    To my shame, it took days to finalize my new body, since different droids required OS recombination and a bit of mechatronic art and creativity to fit together.
    Small steps Pef. You have an invulnerable and ageless body now. Acquiring mobility and a veneer of social presence was useful, but not really necessary. I wasn't gonna emulate Grievous, any time soon.

    I then began covering the droid chassis in a metal Jedi armor, which was quite impressive to look at, minus the horns. I'll have to get rid of those, sooner than later.

    Soon after, my honor guard also started wearing the Jedi armors, and I began training them, rehearsing social protocols, then combat algorithms.

    A month later, I looked over my domain, and despaired silently.

    A dozen ancient droids, wearing ancient Jedi armors and pretending to be bounty hunters. And failing badly.

    Hmmm. I had these soul snares lying around. Maybe they could be put to some use.

    I delved into the Force trying to establish contact with one of the spirits, but whoever was inside was quite mad, possibly from solitude and sensory deprivation. I tried another and another, till I found a slightly saner one.

    "Hey, is there anyone in there?" I asked through a thin tendril of Force bond.

    "You monster, you aren't dead!" an angry voice yelled at me.

    "Who do you think I am?" I wondered curious. We never met before, I was quite certain.

    "You are Rur, the leader of Ordu Aspectu! The one who killed me and trapped me here."
    Hmmm. My name may be short and sweet, but it wasn't Rur.

    "Nope. Name is Pef. A mostly scraped droid, with a crystal core." I replied instead, lifting the crystal snare up and rotating it, to let it observe its surroundings.

    "But, I can feel the resonance, it's the same as Rur had. Is this a strange joke?" the Jedi spirit answered confused, as it did it with a question.

    "A sense of humor the universe has. But if we are the joke, we have yet to see." I said wisely. Pretty sure it was wise.

    "Just a few droids, and no life on the entire planet. We are still trapped..." the spirit complained, its ghostly head floating inside the snare and looking around dejected.

    I handed the crystal to one of my mechanical guards, then started walking towards the tunnel leading to the surface. And then to my next destination.

    My scan range was quite large, since there were little disturbances on this dead planet. Sources of electricity?

    A Cathedral ship, about 500 km west, crashed here during the last days of Pius Dea Crusades. Excellent!

    It probably won't be salvageable, but perhaps it had a subspace or holo transmitter that could be repaired.

    And thus, I began the first step on the long march to building my empire. With a single step.
    Planet Garn, Cadma sector, Outer Rim
    Year 25 BBY
    A thousand steps westward.


    First casualty of the long march. Droid guard 485/ty/gr also known as Mook #11 crashed, due to internal battery depletion.

    "Ahhhh, cruel fate, to be or not to be, the mystery of quantum physics!" I proclaimed, holding the soul snare in my left droid hand, and looking at the defeated hero at my feet.

    'I've been rescued by a madman. Errr, insane droid.' the Jedi in the crystal complained, possibly correctly. Or maybe not.

    "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!" I continued my lament, kicking the useless depleted droid, just for kicks.

    Then I selected a single guard droid to escort me forward, leaving the decimal droids in a fallback position around our fallen. They were ten droids, so decimal. Clever, right?

    "We leave no one behind. And if we do, it's for a good reason!" I explained, continuing the march towards freedom.

    The spirit remained silent, possibly wisely. I was tempted to leave it behind as well, but lacking a skull to keep me company, a nearly dead, and almost insane Jedi padawan will do.

    I pushed forward, ignoring the lethal fog and the lethal fungus decorating the surface of the planet. Choosing a crystalline lifeform was proving to be quite an inspired choice, in hindsight. A body made of flesh would have died horribly the first minute its skin came in contact with this fungus. Some sort of bioweapon, from the anti-hutts crusades, most likely.

    Not that bioweapons were actually effective against adult Hutts. Their species were tinkering with bioweapons since the Celestials were still around. But perhaps the crusaders wanted to exterminate a few young Hutts, caught outside their marsupial pouches.

    More steps. And more steps.

    If I was organic, I would have died of disease, asphyxiation, thirst, hunger and probably a few other things by now. It must be some Force ability that sustains me, and keeps my identity intact. Or an amused god, in need of champion. Same thing in my mind.

    Still, a hundred hours later, marching continuously like a Force fueled Droid that I was, I reached the Cathedral warship.

    "The God Emperor of Mankind would have been proud of this vessel." I mused out loud, examining the remains from the outside.

    Paintings and sculptures, friezes and bas-reliefs, religious icons and 'Humanity first' mottoes. All used generously, along with gold and gemstones and depleted fissionable.

    Hmmm. Maybe the fissionable weren't depleted, at the time they were last used? Craters made by X-ray pumped lasers, scorch marks of cesium enriched nuclear warheads. Gallant weapons from more civilized times. Too bad they were long forgotten.

    Now people fought with swords. The sacrilege!

    Now, where would they have placed the vox unit...I mean, the subspace transmitter?

    I sent my dear friend forward, and as expected, the ship's security protocols revived after 12 thousand years of perfect inactivity, and blasted my droid guard to small bits, ignoring its fashionable Jedi armor, like tinfoil in a microwave.

    "Just a walk in the park." I said in response to the cosmic joke.

    'Maser beams, probably from the 34th Crusade.' the spirit inside the soul snare explained, earning a commendation for the Old Jedi teachings. He would be a Master or even more, compared to the modern Jedi.
    I spread my senses, noticing a few solar powered cells, and their energized circuits. Then gently infiltrated my technopathic tendrils, and took over the remaining processors and databanks, sifting through millennia of astronavigation data.

    Huh. I found out where I am. Planet Garn, in Cadma sector. Somewhat North of current Hutt space. Kinda suspected it, but now I was sure.

    Estimated galaxy time, +- 3 years of 22 BBY or the start of the Clone wars, judging by galactic drift and old positional quasars.

    'Damn, I hope I'm not too late. I wanted to take part in those wars.'

    My AI systems and the Cathedral ship finally meshed, and I found a working transmitter. Only subspace though, seems holonet appeared thousands of years after.

    Now, let's see planets in range, thousands but no one receiving, here is one receiver...Gand, home the Gand species. Didn't they have these Finders?

    'I could use the Gand....yes.'

    Now, what to send, and encourage a few to jump on a ship and come get me? What does everyone want? Riches and long life...should work.

    "Stranded explorer, found ancient ship with ancient relics and life prolonging medicine. Please send rescue on planet Garn, look for big golden ship. Bring landing craft and salvage equipment" I sent, and noticed a faint pulse in the Force.

    Someone heard my call then. Great.

    Now, I had to prepare my welcome....

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    For novice readers:
    An AI is already a singular existence, powerful enough to subsume any civilization if left to its devices.
    A Force powered AI is much more.
    Inherent AI traits: True multitasking, near instant codebreaking, perfect memories, perfect recall index, parallel mind-processes, fast learning, fast thinking, fast reflexes, emulated emotions, feelings or mindstates.
    Inherent Force crystal: Very durable, energy needs provided through a Force channel, soul and memories bind into Force fabric, senses extend in the Force: sight, sound, pressure, temperature, chemical analysis. Living Force is harder to control.
    Inherent previous owner: various Ordu Aspectu teachings and abilities, mostly damaged, corrupted or worse. Cosmic Force is easier to control.
    Direct ROB input:
    Technopathy: ability to subvert and control all technology at distance, assemble/dissemble machinery at will, fast understanding of underlying principles and laws. Organic technology is much harder to control.
    Telekinesis: power of mind over matter. Moving baseballs or tables at first. With practice and control, you can move atoms or subparticles or even stars. Most organics cannot divert their attention into trillions of ways at once. At highest levels, telekinesis is absolute and can control everything.
     
  2. Threadmarks: 2
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    Planet ?, Cadma sector, Outer Rim
    Year ? BBY
    Cathedral warship crash site.


    The remaining systems of the warship now under my control, I started preparing my surprise for the incoming rescuers.

    Maser weapons are much like lasers, only with radio or microwaves. Actually...never mind. They work completely different. Blue beams of kinetic energy that also carry thermal and electric charge.

    But planet side, they work great against most things, organic or not. You know if you amplify certain sound frequencies, you can bring down buildings, shatter glass, or rupture organs. Now imagine a concentrated beam, or five, hitting something at once.

    Mook #12 is looking down from Droid Heaven and shakes his head. It's sad I know, but I rather keep my droid chassis. It had to be you, my friend.

    Crystalline lifeforms and artifacts, like Khyber crystals and holocrons and soul snares, they were pretty much invulnerable to anything though. They even survived the Death Star's beam after Alderaan was destroyed.

    And while some Force sects were able to upload their minds into computers and amulets and such, those objects were not indestructible, by themselves.

    The only risk being a crystal posed, was taking in too much energy, and not releasing it, for whatever reason.
    Because, while immune to outside damage, from inside anything could be destroyed.

    I'll have to make a note of this, and be careful not to eat an energy field bigger than my maximum capacity, whatever that was.

    Another maser reassembled on my shoulder, since I didn't actually need hands to aim and fire weapons.

    Gather some gems and gold plating, pile it down at my feet.
    And call the most charged droid to my location. Let's see, I could transmit the terrain map I recorded during my march, so it could sprint towards me. In 10 hours it will be here.

    Multitask and start assembling a few more maser beam weapons. The hull mounted cannons would need reactor strength power levels, so not quite feasible. But anyway, disassemble one and bring it nearby, for research and intimidation purposes.

    Start dismantling the functioning solar cells and levitate them next to me as well.

    The maser beams will need power sources, just as my droid army.

    A few hours later, my work was complete, and I was bored again.

    What to do, till Mook # 7 reaches me?

    Oh! Wait, I had a trapped soul in the soul snare in my hand. Now let's see, how did force drain work again? No idea, but I had thousands of partitions to dedicate to the task.

    Force bond? No, that also works on Padawans, but this one is already dead. No point becoming his Master.

    Aha! Living Force transfer, one directional. I knew all those star wars novels I read during university would come in handy sometime. Like now. And like electricity, the surge flows from positive to negative. Maybe.

    Lightsaber forms, telekinesis practice, meditation, breathing techniques. Not really useful or applicable to my new species, but whatever. I was bored. Drain them all.
    What else? Spacefighter combat, small squad tactics, demolition, boarding operations, planetary assault. Now we're talking, my young padawan. Drain.

    What else? Religious and theological teachings, self-flagelating philosophy. Years of those. Including basic Sith precepts as a boogeyman. Meh. I must be really bored. Give them here. History and galactography. Could be useful.

    The spirit shaped man in the snare became translucent and dissipated, leaving behind a clear crystal. Vanished and gone.

    Huh, take away his Temple teachings, and he was nothing else. No individuality, no personality.

    And he left behind an empty cup.

    Pretty sad, that his whole life was reduced to 20 years of studying. No friends, no family and whatever personality he had was eroded in his millennia as a spirit. If he had any personality to begin with.

    Lesson learned. I should acquire some friends and family, lest I share his fate.

    At least he was at peace now. His watch has ended.

    And now, my watch begins.

    Soon after I finished integrating the new memories and abilities from the long dead padawan, my guard droid arrived, and loaded up with solar cells. Then he ran back to bring the rest of his buddies.

    What should I do till they return?

    Collect more gems and gold, since this loot gonna provide me with funds to build new tech.
    Dismantle some old computers and droids, and a few Repulsorlift units. Drag a few low caliber turrets down as well. Repair and combine them into a few hovercraft vehicles armed with a maser.

    My army is starting to multiply. Though manually assembling scraps of old tech and ruined code into workable designs is not very efficient.

    I need to figure a way to automate all this, and become a Force powered commander.

    Do they even have nanite tech in this galaxy?

    Hmmm. I did a quick search through my memories. Seems they did have some capabilities, from Nanogene droid, nano-droids and nanoviruses. Medical and bioweapon tech I sort of expected, and didn't care much for just now, but those nano-droids sounded promising.

    I'll just have to spread my attention and obtain a sample.

    And if the other types were also technological in their nature, a few samples would be useful as well.

    From terraforming to genetic engineering and converting biomass into finished products, nanites could do anything.

    ROB wanted a champion, like I would punch and slice people with my limbs.

    I had a brain. Errr, no I didn't. I was a crystal. But I had a mind, and was an AI as well.
    Planet Garn, Cadma sector, Outer Rim
    Year 25 BBY
    Cathedral warship crash site.


    The space above the planet wavered and flashed, producing the signature of ship and a few living being on board. Only one Gand, the others crew being trandoshans, a talortai, a zabrak and a bunch of droids.
    A Corellian frigate, possibly an Interceptor IV frigate model. Someone was gambling heavily on my rescue.

    But probably not. Most of these frigate types were used by pirates and slavers. And this being the Outer Rim, chances were my rescuers hoped to ventilate me and confiscate the riches for themselves.

    Just as planned.

    The ship did a full orbit of the planet, scanning for life signs and valuables probably, then began a rapid deceleration, using their particle shields to negate most friction and landed nearly on top of me, then rushed outside the ship, guns pointing in every direction.

    Errr. Textbook planetary assault, the Talortai wearing heavy armor and carrying dual blades, the rest covering him using blasters, bow casters, even rocket launchers.

    I remained still, my droid chassis lying on its back, and started hacking and integrating the other droids, in the ship, and the security systems. With every new technopathic hack my experience and skill doubled. At this rate I'll be able to control trillions of droids someday. Pretty good, right?

    And the rescuers? Well. They did not wear bio hazard suits, for some reason.

    Why bother shooting them? They were already dead. Bioweapons man, the bane of every organic.
    The Gand lasted longest, possibly because of his respirator. Sadly, I only had one snare, so I choose to catch the talortai, since Gand would be plenty on their home planet, and talortai were quite rare.

    Once all the life signs vanished, I rose and directed my droids, old and new to start loading the cargo hold of my new ships with gold plates, and gems and the crew's weapons and armor and electronics.

    Form Zero was the best after all. If you had to fire a shot to win a fight, it was probably not worth to bother. Although, the Jedi Zero Form involves holding the lightsaber and looking threatening, not waiting for your enemies to cough out their lungs.

    Bio weapons were kinda cheating though. Luckily enough, the Confederacy was probably already mass-producing droids, investing trillions of credits in my future army.

    Now I had a ship, two dozen droids, and the beginning of a plan.

    And while masers weren't the ultimate in weaponry, laser having higher energy and thus better theoretical efficiency, unless the enemy had energy screens or were pretty much immune like the Vong. Microwaves were certain to blow up anything organic, by boiling them from inside out, while processors and data storage in droids would also be quite vulnerable.

    And due to having access to a new ship, I had some up to date maps and news. The year was 25 BBY. Well, not BBY since they wouldn't know yet that the Death Star was supposed to be destroyed in 25 years over Yavin. But after balancing a dozen official calendars, I decided to stick with the one on most wikia.

    The Vong were most likely already invading the galaxy, by my memories they should have already reached Bimmiel in the Galactic North.

    Time to start forming my army and expand my empire. First a manufacturing base, then some ships and troopers, then be ready to intervene in the Clone Wars and capture Mon Calamari for myself. The squids built nice ships.

    First objective would be Gand, then the Centrality and the Sorcerers of Tund.
    3 years should be enough for an AI of my capabilities. Now, let's drain my new avian spirit and learn...agelessness. Great, useless things again.

    I was an immortal crystal now, with no use for avoiding old age. Damn it.

    Two days later my ship arrived at the Gand system, featuring an almost livable planet called also Gand.

    Uh. Ammonia atmosphere. Small steps Pef. At least this planet had life, unlike Garn.

    My new subjects went about their business, and didn't offer my daily prayers yet.

    But soon, they will. The Immortal Emperor had arrived.
    Planet Gand, Shadola sector, Outer Rim
    In orbit, aboard a space station.


    The planet had potential, despite the largely uninhabited land masses. Or better said, because of it.

    Ammonia could be processed and transformed in various chemicals, like explosives and fertilizers.

    The atmosphere itself was proof of the universe playing jokes, pockets of breathable air, surrounded by large masses of ammonia.

    And in those pockets, many small tribes, forced to live in seclusion.

    I called a meeting with their ruling body, a despotic monarch, advised by a council made of powerful force-sensitives, called Findsmen here.

    We met on one of the five orbital stations above the planet, and my droids started emptying my ship's hold, piling gold plates and gems. And kept piling, more and more. Those Crusaders were quite obsessed with gold.

    An hour later, and a hundred trips too, the cargo bay was empty.

    The Gand were pretty amazed, as they watched the riches pilling up, and reaching the ceiling in the middle.

    "I bring you riches, my friends. My signal was responded by your planet, and I always repay my debts. A thousand times more." I explained, gesturing at the pile of gold with my droid arm.

    The monarch hesitated between greed and cautiousness.
    "Indeed, a ship left the station to respond to your hails. And it has indeed return carrying riches. But no crew, and no longevity medicine..." he observed, remaining seated and imposing on his throne.

    "Ah, but it did indeed bring long life. See, I noticed your peoples plight your Majesty. An atmosphere rich in ammonia, ready to be converted into fertilizers and explosives. And as the ammonia levels go down, more land could be used for farming. And the fertilizers will grow food even faster. Weapons are always in high demand." I explained, my force senses focused on his council.

    A slight change here and there. So, they did see it. The gold could sit useless in the monarch's treasury, or be used to better the life of the entire planet. The Force spoke to them, showing them a potential future of richness and prosperity.

    "Your gift is well-received droid. You may keep the ship" the monarch declared graciously, and signaled his guards to start stockpiling the new wealth in his treasury. And with that, I turned to leave, and the guards became burdened with gold plates and gems.

    His council members exchanged a short glance, and the force trembled again. A second later, a leadership change occurred, the monarch a head shorter, and the council members leveling spears and pikes at the royal guard.

    I stopped and turned.

    Nobody sat on the throne anymore.

    "It seems we need a new leader. What is your name, metal stranger?" an older council member asked me, scrying me with the Force.

    "Well the name is Pef. Short, sweet, rolls of the tongue, ladies love it" I answered sketching a minimal bow.
    The organics stared at me, possibly confused.

    "Do they?" A young gand Findsman asked, possibly trying to reconcile my external aspect with my words.

    "I sure hope so. Or it will be a waste of a sweet name" I answered amused, noticing a distinct lack of females in the council. Something to fix, as soon as they elected me Emperor for life.

    "How long would it take, for our world to become a garden?" another Findsman asked, ignoring my attempt at humor.

    "That depends. Who is in charge, if he gets all the Findsmen behind him, and uses the wealth wisely. A wise gand might do it in 50 years. It would take me at most 5 months" I answered, turning to leave.

    I didn't reach my ship.

    The younger Gand ran after me, and passed me, coming to a halt in front of me.

    "This young one is named Zuckuss. Zuckuss had been tasked to bringing the graceful Pef back to the council. We have important news to share" he said politely.

    "Okay, we can walk slowly though. I notice you're part of the ammonia breathers. Your biome will get replaced, if my plan comes through" I said softly. That did indeed sting him, making him halt for a fraction.

    "Zuckuss noticed. Zuckuss believes deep canyons could be preserved, for those not willing to change. But a green world...it will be worth it." he replied, looking far away, and pulsing in the Force.
    "Zuckuss sees far in the future then. The Force is strong in him" I mused, as I reached the council chambers.

    "The dream. You see it too Pef?" he wondered, almost surprised.

    "I am part of the dream Zuckuss. The dream gave me life and power. And I carry the wind of change" I answered in a whisper.

    And maybe still too loud. The Findsmen had excellent senses.

    "Part of the dream, Pef says. What does the council say? Is this Pef a Gand, in all but flesh?" the oldest Gand asked rhetorically.

    "Aye" the other Findsmen replied with ceremony.

    "A year, if you will, metal Gand. Lead us, and show us your dream made real. Where do we start, honored leader?" the old Gand asked, now back to a polite tone, and gesturing slightly towards the throne. It was still slick with blood.

    "Right. We need to buy a hundred ships, Gozanti Cruiser or such, and send Findsmen on quests to obtain nanotechnology samples. And keep buying ships, no matter how old or damaged. We will repair them and use them to sell fertilizer and explosives. I know I said 5 months, but if we work a little harder, we can be done in 3 months" I proclaimed, already expanding my senses and taking over all the systems on the space station.

    My first planet, conquered with a dream and a few words. Form Zero was truly too powerful.

    Now I had to learn the Gand language and customs, and be prepared for the inevitable resentment.
    And start making friends.

    The ladies will have to wait though.
     
  3. Threadmarks: 3
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Outer Rim
    Lording above my new subjects, aboard Celestial Throne.
    2 weeks later.


    Ah, I knew the Hutts will be useful. My closest neighbors, and new trade partners.

    The hoarding slugs love gold and gemstones too much. And they have quite nice toys to sell as well. They kinda are the black market, at least in this sector of the galaxy.

    Zuckuss and my frigate was sent to buy goods with gold and gemstones and returned with samples of dozens of nanoplagues and scraped models of droids from a hundred different manufacturers.

    I reserved a section of the imperial station for my biotech division, and instituted quarantine and bioweapons protocols on that deck.

    Another space station was designated as ship repair and admiralty headquarters. A hundred old ships are being dismantled and refitted, mostly freighters and haulers.

    The other three stations I started to expand, adding more docks for future trade. Planning ahead.

    The bioagents I have now aren't very useful, having been programmed just to kill and having little extra functions.
    But they are good for learning and experimenting. A full partition of my AI mind is now working on reverse engineering these bioweapons into terraforming agents.

    Another partition is working on the droids, sifting code and hidden programming bugs and backdoors.
    A dozen Findsmen are still deployed westward, trying to find the provider for those nano-droids. Saleucami was the most powerful trade center nearby, and another target for my empire's expansion, once the wars began.

    And since the Trade Union was starting to take over the planet just now, my window was closing fast. I had to acquire holo transmitters and begin decrypting Republic transmissions.

    Luckily, my agents were officials of my government, thus allowed to purchase a holo node and a wide band frequency for our planet's expanding trade and commerce.

    No news of nano-droids yet. Perhaps the research is still ongoing, in some hidden Trade Union lab.

    And also, the first obstacles in the local fronts.

    Gand were slavers, and even more, used their gifts to find fugitive slaves. Stupid organics.

    They wouldn't run or revolt, if you paid them.

    And thus, I decreed that all slaves in the Pef Empire will become Imperial Servants, and be replaced with droids where their labor was deemed important, like farming or mining.

    A new partition in my mind, delegated to manage the former slaves, and begin educating and training them as Imperial officials and administrators. I kept a few nicer looking twi'leks and other humanoids as protocol and entourage, much in the vein of the Hutts. Only with perks and hints of authority.
    My visit among the slave compounds did reveal a few perks. Like a self-imposed slave leader, looking after them and trying to keep them alive and fed. A green Twi'lek former dancer, with a heart of gold. I kinda need one for myself, to have some perspective.
    "Dora, my dear. As First maid to the Imperial throne, you will speak with my Voice. You will have billions of credits to spend as you wish. So stop complaining and study harder!" I explained to my newest addition, a bit amused at her doe eyes.

    "Can I buy myself a necklace, with pearls?" the green skinned dancer asked with a cute pout. Sigh. Now I kinda miss having certain glands.

    "See that huge pile of gold and gemstones? Pick whatever you want, and wear them. Just...." I trailed, as the girl dropped her pad and ran to the pile. And began loading herself up with a dozen kilograms of metal and rock. Cause really, gold and diamonds?

    "They're too heavy..." she complained after failing to move back, dropping the loot and keeping a single diamond, maybe egg size.

    "Finish the trade routes chart and the galactic history course, and I'll give you a droid to carry some gold for you..." I told her with a fake, sad sigh. She began reading from her datapad again. Huh, I hope this will work.

    Stupid organics, so proud of carrying rocks around their necks, when they could wield real power with a swipe of a finger, on their datapads. Then again, I am a rock now, so what do I know?

    Huh, minor alchemy success in my biolabs. First ammonia/nitrogen explosive was complete. The testing chamber wasn't damaged by the explosion at all. Eh, small steps Pef. Concussion class explosives may take more work to achieve.

    Droid recombination protocols still wouldn't mesh, too many proprietary codes. But they'll work, someday.

    A Gand woman approached the throne and looked at my maid with slight disgust. Not that you could see it on her insect-like face, but I have the Force, so yeah.

    "Great leader. This one is named Zuralee. Zuralee wonders why she's not down on the planet, tending her animals." she asked politely, slightly confused.
    "Zuralee. You are now the Emperor's Hand. Take the blue datapad and start learning galactic basic. I will need you to represent me on the council." I clicked and hissed back at her, pointing at the datapad I programmed for her instruction. Gand sounds strange and requires hand gestures to be fully fluent. Then again, I'm not an insect, so why do I care?

    "A female on the council, what insanity is this?" she grumbled and complained, sitting next to my maid and starting to learn the aurabesh and new words.

    Eh, I told them I bring the wind of change. Gand will never be the same.

    Another partition in my AI mind, using the Force to implant my servants with vocabulary and concepts, accelerating their learning speed a thousand times. Cheating right? Memory modification has quite a lot of potential applications, so I'll have to explore this ability in depth. Changing how a society works will not be easy.

    Already the more traditional Gands were chaffing at the new rules, since buying new slaves became counter-productive, only adding to my Imperial servants.

    The new weapons and machinery I sent to the planet helped though. Droids will work harder and without rest or food.

    And beating and whipping droids would just tire their master. Some Gands were a bit of sadists. Learn to cope, for now. You'll have the chance to deal pain to others soon. I made a note, to mark those more aggressive for my black ops division.

    And on the other partitions, I was running intelligence and counter-intelligence actions all over the sector, guiding droids to infiltrate the Centrality and their networks. Finding spies and infiltrators from the Hutts and the Trade federation and even the Galactic republic.

    Those that could be turned, with bribes or blackmail I'll keep, the others made to disappear. Contact toxins and other bioweapons were quite useful now.
    "We can sell ammonia to the Mon Calamari" Dora spoke, somewhat intrigued that someone would need the toxic gas for anything.

    Ah yes, water world, they would need ammonia for cooling and other things. Like explosives.

    "See, your first trade route, my maid. You will earn half a percent of the profits, if you make any" I told her amused, as she began typing furiously on her pad, calculating fuel costs and profit margins.

    "About a thousand credits per ship. That's 50 credits. I could make the same by dancing one evening" Dora complained, still not satisfied.

    "So, sell a thousand shiploads, every month. Would be a better income then..." I mused out loud, while subtly highlighting possible buyers and trade routes on her pad.

    My twi'lek maid began computing new trades routes on her pad, exclaiming happily as one or another appeared more profitable.

    Ah, the joy of becoming rich...

    Another success in the biotech division, separating ammonia into water and other gases, like hydrogen and nitrogen.

    Ah, fuel for fusion plants then. Energy costs will drop if I don't have to import energy.

    Another partition, energy department, first task, hydrogen fuel cells along with solar power cell reverse-engineering. The Crusaders won't bother me with patent litigation, having been gone for a dozen millennia.
    Hmmm. Maser tech as well. Mostly nobody used it anymore, except perhaps the Chiss Ascendancy, on the other side of the galaxy.

    And heavy maser cannons didn't need tibanna gas for supercharging, only better hypermatter reactors, or more of them.

    New partition, send a hauler back to Garn, droid crew only. Salvage some working guns from the Cathedral warship, and bring the soul snares as well. Might need to drain those soul containers and fill them up with Gand defectors or Tund sorcerers.

    New force abilities were always welcome.
    Planet Gand, Outer Rim
    A month after becoming Emperor
    Council Chambers


    The Golden Throne was a nice touch, being actually made of starship gold plates, and decorated with gems.

    Probably not really comfortable to sit on, if I was still an organic. At least it wasn't a wooden throne, still steaming with warm blood. My first Council meeting was quite radical.

    My council had the back of their seats also plated with gold, to point out the newly acquired riches and importance.

    But on my left and right, I had my Hands, their seats decorated with a pole carrying a golden hand. And on their chest, a tiny hand containing access codes to the Empire's network. That was their purpose and real power.

    Zuckuss and Zuralee, Hands of the Emperor.

    Dora was sitting on a comfy pillow at my feet, recording the Council's proceedings on her datapad. First Maid to the Emperor.
    And once her training was finished, she will have a Khyber crystal pinned to her chest, and become my Voice.

    "Esteemed Councilors. Honored Hands. And adored Maids. We can begin" I proclaimed, gesturing dramatically with my droids arm, and opened up the huge hologram depicting the Empire and our achievements.

    Security, commerce and profits, Findsmen and their trainees and lastly the Dream. The terraforming project.

    Man, I was ripping off Dune like a boss. But if it works...
    "Zuckuss will explain the security aspects first. We have purchased 143 spaceships of various classes, including one more frigate and 23 corvettes. They are being upgraded as we speak, with twenty concussion missile launchers each. The new defense fleet should be enough to protect our shipping from pirates for the next two months. The other ships form the transport fleet and the Black ops division." Zuckuss began, producing various schematics for the warships and their ongoing upgrades.

    I motioned him to skip over intelligence reports then looked at my other Hand.

    Zuralee looked at me hesitantly, then began explaining the commerce aspects, in basic. And man, weren't the councilmen surprised. Two weeks to become fluent in galactic basic must have been a shock. And a female to boot!

    "Empire commerce and profits have increased by a thousand fold, in the past month. It appears that selling ammonia and Exploration services to various corporations and universities can be highly profitable. The profits have been reinvested in more ships and equipment, but soon the esteemed Findsmen will need to delegate more of their trained diviners for the Exploration Corps. Every minor hyper trade route that we discover will mean billions of credits to our budget. Our Empire has expanded to three new systems, and the Empire has claimed them as exclusive economic zones. One ship has been lost to pirates, but the droids pilots initiated self-destruct and took a pirate ship down as well. This humble one hopes more navy ships will be directed to protect our commerce" Zuralee said, and appeared both exalted and terrified of speaking to the Council.

    "Chief Findsman, if you would..." I added softly, gesturing towards the eldest Gand.

    "Yes. Well. The new teaching that the Emperor has gracefully provided did increase the success rate of our Findsmen. Mental disorders have also subsided in both intensity and rate of occurrence. Meditation techniques do seem to work. However, only 6 of our hunt packs have listened to our summons and returned home to Gand.
    Mujilik estimates at least a thousand and possibly two thousand Findsmen are still roaming the galaxy and have yet to hear our call. This one hope the Emperor isn't displeased. Change is harder for us, as he already knows" Mujilik spoke softly, with a faint aura of grief and sadness.
    "The Emperor doesn't blame you personally, Mujilik. The training I provide will work, both mentally and physically. Give it time, and learn. You are only 84 years old. And you could live to be 500 or even more. A teenager you are, truly. Trust in me who trusts in you, and the dream will happen. Have faith in your Emperor. And blame me if the teachings I bring you were wasteful, 500 years from now." I replied, observing the Gand going through shock, then doubt, and lastly hope in his aura.

    "This rash teenager apologizes, esteemed Emperor. We shall discuss my failings in a hundred years" Mujilik responded with a faint humor in his aura. Still doubting me, even as the Force reinforcement I implanted him with worked to repair and reinvigorate his body.

    "Now, it's my turn. The dream." I proclaimed, changing the holo projections to the biotech discoveries and adaptations.

    "The samples your Emperor had to work with are still limited, and highly restricted. Mostly to killing organics. But I have managed to obtain partial results. Ammonia derivatives and hydrogen extraction. Coupled with ammonia exports and factories being established planetside, I estimate one more month till I can mass produce a biospore to evaporate ammonia above 1000 meters altitude. The third month will be critical, as the safety of our people will become the prime concern. Ammonia breathers should prepare to relocate in the Kiruk Canyons, once the oxygen-nitrogen levels balance out at sea level altitudes. We will discuss that move at the next council" I explained politely, producing a holo of the planet and projecting the ammonia levels decreasing with various graph lines.

    The Gand in the room looked at the projection with wonder and hope. The dream of thousands of generations becoming real in their lifetimes.

    A green world.

    Oh, if only they knew. Garden worlds were prime targets for invasions and colonization. Their safety was about to expire.

    And then, they will have to defend their new world, for the next thousand generations.

    A reason to keep training and manning the fleets and the army. And support their Immortal Emperor, till the end of time.
     
  4. Threadmarks: 4
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    Planet Gand, Outer Rim
    25BBY

    The Spanish had conquered the Amerindians with ease, due to their advanced tactics, armor and weapons. But the tech levels were only a thousand years in advance. My ships and contact crews have at least 30 thousand years of technological advancement compared to most species in the sector. I don't expect to need more a than a few years to create a pocket empire around Gand.
    What I need the most is my own Force-sensitive group. The Findsmen are nice, but not enough. I thought and sifted through my memories, now greatly augmented by the Force and my crystalline nature, along with the AI subroutines. At least 50 known Force-sensitive sects and cults, with the Altisian Jedi and the Fallanassi being my prime recruits.

    And while the Altisians would be harder to locate, with them roaming the galaxy aboard a cruiser-slash-school, the Fallanassi would be much easier. Their hiding place wasn't that far either.

    "Dora stand straight, and hold this crystal in your right hand." I demanded from my green twi'lek Maid.

    "Yes, my Emperor." she said and complied.

    "I will reveal my nature, my true self to you. With this, you become my Voice in the galaxy. The promises you make, the threats you make, the debts you take, they will be mine. And if you feel doubt, or are uncertain, hold the crystal tight and think about me. I will hear you and respond. And when you die, rest certain, your soul will stay by my side, safe for eternity" I proclaimed, opening the droid's chest and floating out in my green crystal form.

    "Uhhh. You're not a crazy droid after all..." Dora whispered, as I began aligning her soul with the kyber crystal.

    'No, my adored maid. This is the greatest secret in the Empire. And only my Voices get to experience it' I replied telepathically.

    "So, what do I do now?" the maid asked, her aura fluctuating between adoration and terror.

    'Repeat after me. For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder protect thee. The Force has set me free' I whispered in her mind, balancing the crystal to align with her own feeble aura.
    The crystal in her hand glowed brightly, and settled on the same green hue as my own glow.

    A Force bond, and a conduit for a soul snare. Should she die, her soul will indeed stay by my side, for eternity.

    "I can feel you now, my Emperor. I will never doubt you again" Dora said crisply, pinning the crystal to her chest.

    'Eh, don't take it all so serious. It's just immortality. Now, take my frigate, a hundred droids and a few Findsmen, and go to planet Lucazec. Find a Fallanassi woman named Wialu, and invite her and the rest of her group to join us. Take some gold and gems too, along with a few million credits. And tell Wialu that she can have her own planet in my Empire, for their loyalty and cooperation against the great evil that's coming. Whatever her response, gift her the gold.' I told my maid, while floating back inside my droid.

    "How do I take the ship and the Findsmen? They won't listen to me" Dora asked, hesitantly.

    "You speak with my Voice, Dora. They'll listen" I said amused, poking a droid finger at her chest. The Kyber crystal was still glowing green. The droids already received her scan as my second in command.

    "Ah. I carry a part of you with me. Sorry, my Emperor, still doubting you" she replied respectfully.

    "Enough of that, we're both immortal beings now. Now give me a hug and go" I demanded petulantly.

    She hugged the chassis with a mix of awe and adoration in her aura. Eh. Will do for now.

    I'll need to experiment with human clones and memory transfer soon. Can't have my maid be not satisfied, can I?
    As Dora left, I inspected the other partitions and their work, then began looking for my next maid.

    An Emperor had to have more than one maid after all. And maids will need to be of more diverse races, to show the galaxy we're not a xenophobic Empire.

    Hmmm. What to call my beautiful not-wives? Honored Matres or Honored Maids? Maids sounded sexier though. Matres were a matriarchal societies in Dune.

    I'll have to think of a badge of office, or a uniform though. Hmmm. Maids did come with a uniform though.

    Let's see. Short dark blue skirts and a white tiny apron? Would work, for work inside the palace.

    For delegations and such, dark blue robes with a white sash.

    Damn, I quite miss an organic body now, and my glands.

    Planet Gand, Outer Rim
    25BBY
    Second month since becoming Emperor.


    I have three new maids, lazing on fluffy pillows beneath the Golden Throne, and wearing skimpy skirts. And will need a new councilor, since one Gand decided that my policies regarding confiscating the slaves and promoting females on the Council was somehow disrespectful to tradition.

    He produced a Gand discharger and tried to end my dynasty. Only his fingers couldn't find traction to pull the trigger.

    Telekinesis is such a cheat. Plus he kinda planned the whole thing for a week. Enough time to prepare a soul snare for him.

    "The Dream cannot be stopped by mortal weapons. Did you think you could kill the Immortal Emperor?" I proclaimed, levitating the crystal snare and touching it to his head.

    His screams might have terrified the council a little, but possibly even more, the Findsmen sensing his soul being sucked inside the snare.
    His mortal coil fell towards the golden floor, in slow motion, while his weapon and the snare floated towards my throne.

    Now let's see, divination trance, genetic alter, pathfinding through mists, tracing a force marker, discerning unstable hyperjumps, hiding in shadows, seeing from shadows, meditation, breathing techniques.

    His soul evaporated, leaving me with all his force abilities. Beside what he had learned from the teaching crystal that the Findsmen received from me, all the techniques were unknown to me.

    Now I was a true Gand, in ability as well.
    "His soul will rest with the ancestors. Now, let's continue the council. Zuckuss if you would" I continued softly, as my droids came to take the body away, and the hologram grew to engulf the whole room.

    "Ah. Yes. Security wise, the defense fleet has 10 corvettes and 44 smaller warships patrolling the routes our shipping takes. Our MC30 frigate will become operational next week. By next month we should have 13 more corvettes refitted for anti-piracy work.

    We have purchased a MC40 light cruiser that was damaged during trials and slatted for scrap, and have begun refitting it, however, it will lack heavy weapons for next year. 19 more corvettes have also been purchased and will begin their refit as soon as the dock space is free.

    For now, they exist as a fleet in being, guarding our planet. We are training more crews and drilling along with the droids for boarding operations and planetary assaults. 18 starfighters have been lost, while trying to find a secret route to the Centrality. 2 fighters have survived, but didn't return.

    We suspect they did indeed reach the Centrality, and have gone dark, awaiting rescue or refueling. The bounty hunters that have returned to make excellent teachers for the new recruits." Zuckuss said softly, his mind slightly more balanced now.

    The Findsmen education about the Force was kinda flawed and full of tradition, but it mostly worked. Except the lack of breathing and lungs had denied them the opportunity to practice meditation techniques based on controlled breaths.

    Which in turn gave way to mental problems, from fractured minds, to various visual and aural hallucinations, that they called the Dream. Which often featured a verdant planet, which I suspect was the Force reacting to their deepest desires.

    I'll make their dreams true, once I had a large enough fleet.

    40 corvettes was a pitiful fleet, but better than nothing. I still haven't found any news of nano-droids.
    But the tech from the Mon Calamari frigate and cruiser could be reverse-engineered, to provide all our ships with better engines and shields.

    My left Hand, Zuralee changed the holoprojection for the next segment, without waiting for my prompt. She could learn then.

    "Commerce wise, the Empire is still growing. Ship maintenance and ordinance purchase, along with cost of lost starfighters have increased dramatically. We have still doubled our exports and increased our profits by a third. This expansion is not sustainable though. By next three months we will need new revenue sources, or we will stall. The market for the Exploration Corps is not infinite, and ancient ruins are not profitable in the short term. Especially not if we provoke the Jedi Order. We should open up one of the new planets for mining, Zuralee believes" the female Gand argued, projecting graphs that predicted our income going negative in three months.

    "Councilman Mujilik, something to add?" I asked politely.

    "Errrm, yes. My knees have stopped hurting. If it's a sign of the life prolonging teachings or myself going dull in my old age, remains to be seen. Findsmen wise, the next trials will take place next month, and possibly provide the Empire with a hundred new Explorers. Our females are also working hard to produce more younglings, as you have required, my Emperor.
    So far, they seem happy about it. 21 Findsmen have died past two months, 20 of them in Exploration duties, while one... Due to critical thinking failure. However, 23 Findsmen have returned, so our numbers have grown a little. The promise of becoming a ship Captain and choosing 3 females have encouraged them, and I have signals that the Dream will attract even more." Mujilik replied calmly, his eyes lingering for a second at the spot where his fellow Gand died.
    "All right. Honored Councilmen, Hands and Maids. As you have seen, my experiment with giving my Maids my Voice has succeeded. Once the crystal is green, they are my Voice, and I expect them to be obeyed, in every word or action. The Empire will grow, and soon we will spread across dozens or hundreds of stars. I will rule through my Voices, and my Hands.
    The Imperial Servants will provide the bulk of our Administrata, once their training is complete. Organization wise, the third Hand will direct black operations of the Empire, its identity known only to myself and my Hands. The third Hand's budget will not be scrutinized unless a Hand or myself deems it necessary. This is for everyone's protection. The galaxy has mind readers, telepaths and other forms of discerning hidden operations, including Sith, Jedi and worse.

    Also, once the Dream is finished, I will begin the Avatar project, to grant me an organic interface. This project may take up to 3 years, and will be funded from my own budget.
    Now, about the Dream. The newest nano-phage acquisitions from the Hutts, especially the deforestation agent have provided the critical clue in devising a safe mode to terraform Gand.
    The poles will remain Imperial exclusion zones, for as long as the danger remains. Explosives are quite dangerous." I explained, going over each subject I thought they needed to know.

    Gigatonnes of explosives resulting from converting the ammonia in the atmosphere were beyond dangerous.

    I just hoped burying them deep under the poles would keep them safe.

    Then again, I chose to make binary explosives, so each agent will be separated by the largest possible distance.

    I was more worried about some terrorist group appearing and detonating mega tonnes of fertilizers. Those had to be kept ready and available for exports and farming.
    Maybe smaller containers, and spread apart even more? A bad Findsman will find them anyway.

    I was even more interested in the Gand discharger, which appeared to be a nerve disruptor weapon of sorts, able to stun, paralyze or outright kill any organic. Some kind of nerve overload, working at very low frequencies. Infrasound most likely.

    "Emperor Pef" a vocoder voice disturbed this partition.

    "Yes, councilman?" I replied without a hint of emotion.

    "I have a daughter. And she appears to want to become a Findsman. She also wants her own ship" the Findsman asked, somewhat scared and hopeful.

    "Okay. And?" I wondered back.

    "It's against tradition. But, if Zoralee can do it..."

    "We will soon have a hundred races and genders on the council. Better prepare her soon. I'll keep the council seat empty till the next Findsman trials" I replied, turning the knob a little more. The gand shook his head and left, leaving me basking in the adoration of my new maids.

    "Pef, can I have a ship too?" Celine, the blonde maid asked hesitantly. Thinking of running away already?

    "Sure you can. If you learn all the lessons on your pad and become my Voice. Before you go, sing something will you?" I demanded, amazed at the quality of her voice. Back home, she would be a superstar.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY


    Another week passed, while I devoted 3 fourths of my partitions to the terraforming nano-phages below.

    I was too afraid to try alchemical transmutation on planetary scale, no matter the degree of precision and multitasking my telekinesis power had.
    One single error, and the planet would vanish in a cataclysmic explosion.

    So, I just upgraded the self-reproductive codes for the nano-phages, selected atmospheric ammonia as their target, and just struggled to keep them under control.

    Every millisecond or so, a neutrino or something would hit one of them, changing their code and causing unexpected mutations, some directed to other gases, while others rebooted them to their factory default, which was multiply and kill all organics.

    It was a wonder that the galaxy still had life, with all the plagues and bioweapons lying around from thousands of wars before.

    A few corvettes were drilling huge caves deep under the poles, using low yield turbolasers as drills.

    And my Voice was returning, her ship carrying two force-sensitives more than she left with. Guess she did find someone then.
    Nevermind the maid, focus on the terraforming, Pef.

    I did use telekinesis with the other partitions, mostly to separate fertilizer particles from breathable air, and compact them into bricks. Then lay the bricks in huge pyramids.

    I was pretty damn hard work. And I wasn't even paid!
    Oh well, I should give myself a bonus then.

    Focus Pef. Don't let the crazy phages eat our subjects.

    "Should I sing more, my Emperor?" Celine asked, with a raspy voice. Damn it. Her whole lungs were on fire. She pushed through the pain and kept singing.

    "No Celine. I said a few songs. That means three or four songs. Not hours. Get some rest and come back tomorrow, okay?" I said softly, pulsing a tendril of Force healing into her.

    Damn slaves, used to be beaten or worse for any slight. Still terrified of any male. She wasn't ready to be a Voice.

    "Lira, go take care of her. Use a bacta tank if the doctor says it will help" I told my other maid.

    "Sure thing Pef. Just tell a few droids to escort me. I have no Voice, after all" Lira replied, hints of excitement in her aura. Ah, she gets to order people around, finds it amusing. She will do just fine with a Voice.

    Two Justice droids fell from the ceiling at her sides, using repulsor beams to land silently.

    "This way, Honored Maid" one of them said, gesturing towards the door.

    "Thanks Pef, you're the best!" Lira exclaimed, hoping to her feet and running after Celine.

    She'll do just fine.
    Anyway, focus Pef. Terraforming for now.

    Another brick, and another brick. Brick by boring brick. Trillions of bricks of fertilizer, juggled at once.

    If only my mother would see me now.

    Focus Pef. Don't kill your subjects with your ADD.

    Right. The caverns should be deep enough now. Ammonia should cool them pretty fast, then we stop making fertilizer and start making explosives.

    My brother would be so proud now.

    I wonder if just one end would take fire, would the planet take off like a rocket?

    Focus Pef. Just a few more trillion bricks.

    Who came up with this plan?

    Oh, drawing too hard on the Force, I felt gazes turning towards my little corner. Hide in shadows. Shhhhh.

    There, didn't see me.

    More bricks, but slower. Small steps, Pef. And, surprise! Another mutation in my nano-gene teraformers.

    Dissolve metal? That's a useful mutation, for a change. I'll keep that strain and lift it up.
    Now, let's see about cleaning the low orbit of metal debris from millennia of space accidents and pirate actions. Look, a metal bolt, lets latch to it and reproduce. Eat up and grow stronger little phage.
    And maybe one day, this strain will mutate again, and get me even better abilities. For now I will store the new metal eating phage somewhere safe, like a glass bottle.

    "Do I have to stay here and listen to you, ramble crazy stuff?" my third Maid, a blue twi'lek girl asked with boredom and carelessness in her aura and voice.

    Hmmm. Might have spoken aloud, for a while. Now, this girl was not supposed to be here, in this timeline. I suspect some kind of divine intervention. I don't mind though. She keeps entertaining me in many ways.

    "No, Vette. Go do whatever." I said, still amused.

    "All right then. I'll go watch cool holotubers rant about cool weapons and ships. And then shoot myself, before you blow all of us up." Vette declared with even more boredom and ennui.

    "Or, you can take a few droids and a Findsman and go explore. Find planet Dweem, chat with the locals, buy a few cool weapons..." I baited her. Bitches love guns. This bitch in particular.

    "Or, I can do that. I get to be the Captain?" she perked up at once.

    "No, my Honored Maid. The Findsman Captain will lead the ship. But you get to spend my money..." I replied, launching my hook.

    "Eh. I will buy the most expensive armor and pistols. Cause, you're a rich bastard. And a rocket launcher. Cya later, Pef!" Vette said, waving her hand dismissively, then patting the Justice droid who landed next to her.

    "Metal boy, you have to do what I say, right?" the twi'lek asked aloud, as she left the Throne Room.
    "Yes, Honored Maid." the droid replied politely.

    "Great. Let's hunt some pirates. Some slavers too, kriffing scumbags." Vette proclaimed, punching the droid in the shoulder and regretting it instantly. Don't punch droids.

    "As you say, Honored Maid." I replied through my droid, and faked rubbing my hurt shoulder. She was fun.

    And I had to test the new maser guns of the MC30c frigate anyway. Nothing like a few pirates for target practice.

    Focus Pef. Those bricks won't lay by themselves. Damn bricks.
     
  5. Threadmarks: 5
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY


    My surviving Explorers have just returned from the Centrality, with two new hyperoutes, uncharted before. One of them is immediately put to use, linking Gand to Oseon and tripling our commerce overnight. The other route links Gand with Tund and will become important later.

    And the Corps found a few routes to a couple nearby stars, though without life bearing planets. Then again, it's a big galaxy, a trillion stars and about 50 millions habitable planets. And with the Force messing around, most of those planets have already been discovered or had sapient species evolve.

    We only have one other planet with trees and such, breathable atmosphere and all. And it's Findsman finder is now leading the Black ops, as my third Hand. That planet will stay secret, to be populated with force-sensitives in the future.

    My new Hand received 10 females that I vetted to have force-sensitivity, and relocated his base of operation on the new planet.

    And probably enjoying his harem, the lucky bastard.
    But anyway, he deserves it. A secret planet is worth a lot. Especially if you want to create a new Force group, hidden from everyone else.
    And he came up with the 3 female trick for the returning Findsmen, which also helped. And it appears most of the returning Gands came for the females and not for the ship I bought for them.

    I'll have to start planning their birth rates though, since being partly insects, the Gand tended to lay tons of eggs.

    Being limited by their small villages by the ammonia clouds, they tended to be quite spartan till now, crushing any single not perfect egg, but who knows, in the future they may become trillions, and the Dream become a nightmare.

    "Emperor, your Voice has returned" Celine said softly, nodding towards the door.

    Yeah, I kinda felt her from thousands of light years away.

    The older woman with silver hair was likely Wialu. The male wasn't someone I recognized, and looked almost Persian by skin tone.

    "Do I get a hug?" I asked Dora, and she rushed in my droid's arms.
    My other Maids stared at us confused. Don't worry, you'll figure it out later.

    "Hey Pef. I felt you strain, while coming back. You alright?" Dora whispered.

    'Had a lot to do, and not enough hands' I replied, telepathically. Wialu raised an eyebrow, possibly detecting my sending.

    The woman was a mystery, her mind cloaked in a thick layer of white mist. I could sense nothing from her.

    The man, ah one of the rare male Fallanassi. Not fully trained yet. He was weirded out and somewhat scared.

    "Esteemed colleague, please sit. Maids go back and study. Take the boy with you" I spoke at once, stepping off my throne and floating on a pillow at the base. I patted the pillow next to me and the woman smiled.

    "All right. Go Tipagna, you came to see the galaxy after all. Don't mind me" Wialu spoke crisply, and the man ran after my maids.

    "I want to stay as well" Dora said, a bit hesitant.
    "You're the Voice, Dora. You can do whatever you like" I answered warmly, and watched her sit beside me and hug me with one arm.

    "You're a strange droid Pef. Like those Iron Knights I heard of?" Wialu asked gently, gesturing at my Justice droids.

    "No. I am human, just like you. Only immortal" I answered, opening my chest and revealing my naked crystal.

    Damn woman examined me deeply, and I almost wished I wore underwear on my crystalline shape.

    "A force imprint. And so powerful..." she whispered after a long time. The Force trembled slightly, as it always did when something important changed.

    "Yes. It uses the precepts of Ordu Aspectu. And even better, if you need a human body, you can grow one and copy yourself on its mind. This will be my next project, once Gand is finished terraforming" I explained, starting the hologram of the planet, and the ongoing terraforming. A week or two, and the ammonia will be gone, except in a few deep canyons.
    "Ordu Aspectu...they vanished millennia ago. Exterminated by the Jedi" she said, with a slight revulsion in her voice. Great, we think alike.

    "Well then, it's time for the Jedi to end" I answered, offering my droid hand to shake on.

    The woman smiled.

    "I'll need a Voice" she answered, shaking my metal hand.

    "I'll have to make you younger then. I bet you looked fabulous in your youth" I told her, baiting the pond.

    "Tell me more" she said with a short laugh.

    "Tomorrow. I bet you girls are tired from the trip. Go test my jacuzzi, and I'll see you for dinner" I told both of them, lifting them up along with their pillows and guiding them towards my apartment.

    Wialu tested my telekinetic grip with some wonder, before sighing and sending a telepathic message.

    'And I want everything you know. Damn Jedi, hiding everything' she complained.
    'Wait till I drain some Sith then. I don't even have half'

    'Huh. You're not a Sith?' Wialu wondered, possibly assuming any non-jedi was a dark jedi.

    'The Sith are just crazy Jedi' I explained as I dropped both of them in the warm Jacuzzi tub.

    "Come join us Pef" Dora yelled from the tub.

    Hmmm. The droid chassis hosting my crystal would fry in water.

    But, I could go naked. They both saw me nude already.
    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY
    Third month since becoming Emperor


    In one hour the most important Council will start.

    I have two Voices now, Dora, the green twi'lek and Lira, a Togruta, with red skin and racial white marks.

    Lira had her own special trait, her Force aura infused with kindness, which made her easy to talk to. She was also quite smart and had a way with words, disarming conflict with the right words. Lira did it to keep peace in her former slave compound, but I suspected it would work great even at largest scale.

    I selected my Maids to have at least a smudge of force-sensitivity, or the kyber crystal wouldn't bond.

    Dora has co opted the other maids into changing my appearance. They're planning to install me in a protocol chassis. And paint it gold.

    What's wrong with this chassis? Okay, it might be a dozen millennia old, and looks creepy. Guess I do need to look dressed as an Emperor. But 3PO? No way.
    Wialu has returned to her planet, aboard our newly repaired cruiser and escorted by a frigate and 2 corvettes. When she returns, her order will be deposited in secrecy on the Sanctuary. A shipment of pit droids and other construction capable series has already landed and began constructing a spaceport and housing.

    Organics need so many things just to survive. Keeping them alive and happy will be a pain. They also have families and kids. More joy. I hope they will fit in one cruiser.

    Then again, hundreds of force-trained people. Once they learn most everything I know, they will be pretty strong.

    But that will take years.

    The gand Findsmen have become pretty effective, and stopped dying so much. Takes so much time to grow and train a new one. Or maybe the weakest ones died already. That would be ideal.

    A few of the most, let's say reputed bounty hunters that returned, did so for the Dream, once they heard the planet was becoming green. Had to force myself to encourage grass and algae to grow like mad, just to make the planet appear green from orbit. Crops and trees will take much longer to grow.
    But at least, I have now enough explosives to manufacture trillions of missiles. No more importing explosive ordnance, self-made missiles are the future.

    "Emperor, we are ready to begin" Dora said with a slight cough. Right, enough musings.

    "Honored Council, Hands, Voices and Maid I will reverse the order of business, as you probably want to hear about the Dream first. Gand is green. My mandate is over. Please decide now if I kept my word. Waiting a whole year to be kicked out from my job would suck"

    "Erm. Sadly, we cannot let you go, Emperor Pef. This humble one would like to scold you a hundred years from now as well. And myself being able to make my new female happy has nothing to do with it, at all. Must be the teenage hormones." The elder Mujilik said politely, and sipped a gulp of super expensive Corellian brandy. His kidneys began working again then.

    I moved my head from one council member to another, and stared at the newest additions. A female Findswoman, and a grizzled mercenary, who claimed he never abandoned his councilman post, just took a vacation, for 55 years.

    "I heard you are a true Gand, Pef, not just adopted. Can you find my damn credit chip, I seem to have lost it..." the mercenary asked, partly as a test, partly joking.

    However, let's try it. Trace on. Fix him in the force, trace his movements backwards...hmmm. The Gand had prostitutes? Learned a new thing today. The female was busy spending his credits, on another space station, buying a bunch of other females drinks.
    "Your female friend you visited four hours ago is throwing a party in your honor, esteemed Findsman. And she brought 7 more of her female friends, possibly to sample your prowess. If you hurry, they're at the Hutt's Belly pub. If you don't, well...the credits are still well spent, it will just be another Explorer enjoying their favor..." I explained, trying to remain polite, while returning the favor of a joke.

    The mercenary grumbled something and took off, heading towards nearest shuttleport, at a fast walk.

    "Wait, you guessed right?" Celine asked, looking at me with some wonder.

    "What do my esteemed council members think?" I asked the Findsmen.

    "Aye. I did my own trace too. The credit chip is now inside the Hutt's Belly." Another Findsman said, snorting at the unsaid joke.

    "A true Gand. We could use an immortal Gand. I say Aye!" another Findsman yelled, and the Force trembled slightly.

    What? They really expected to kick me out next year?
    "Aye!" the council yelled in unison.

    "Soooo, I don't have to leave and be homeless again?" I asked confused. Well, faking it really well.

    "Emperor Pef for life!" the female councilor demanded, pounding the table with her fist. Good girl, did exactly as I instructed her.

    "Eh whatever, not like he will really live forever. It's just a title..." her father rumbled in his vocoder.

    I waited for the acclamation to subside.

    "All right then. The first act as my Immortal Emperor is the creation of a grand army. To secure our freedoms and properties, and to expand the empire throughout the galaxy. Any and every able body is thus conscripted. Organics and synthetic, male or female, young or old.

    Esteemed council, I will let you in on the next target of our expansion. The Centrality. A decadent and isolated polity, with a mere thousands systems. I believe we may need 3 years to liberate them, and have their oppressed citizens join our Empire.
    But, with me as your leader, it may only take two years" I proclaimed, floating my chassis a foot above the floor, and pointing at the ceiling.

    "Immortal Pef, will set us free!" Dora exclaimed standing up and punching the sky too. Good girl.

    One after another, the council rose and punched the sky.

    The Pef Wars have begun!
    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY
    In orbit, aboard the imperial space station the Celestial Throne


    "And then, I told them to shove their sabers up their droid's asses, climbed back in my ship and came back. Crazy droids everywhere!" Vette concluded her story. She looked wonderful now, in a hi-tech power armor, with personal shield even, and about 24 weapons on it. That armor must have costed its weight in gold.

    "So, you failed. Why do I get such poor luck, to have an incompetent Maid, and one that doesn't even care about me..." I proclaimed, slapping my droid's head dramatically. My other Maids frowned, looking up from their pads at the dingy sound.
    "There, there." Vette replied, patting my shoulder with a distracted aura. "They said they wanted to speak with you personally. Maybe you'll have better luck" Vette added, while removing her helmet and taking out a last model of datapad.

    I confiscated it with telekinesis, and started removing the hidden backdoors placed inside the Hutts.

    "Hey, give it back, you metal head. This is the latest model from Corellia!" Vette yelled, jumping up and down petulantly.

    "Shuush, adored Maid. You heard of cyber intrusion and hacking, right?" I replied, copying the latest variants of cyber warfare and adding them to my inventory.

    "Oh. Fix my armor too then. Half of the helmet is also just computers" the blue twi'lek said, after deliberating inside her leku for a minute.

    Oh, don't worry. A state-of-the-art Techno Union armor, bought for 5 million credits? It wasn't just a gift.

    I will reverse-engineer it, and mass produce it for my army. And 24 different types of personal weapons too.
    "Take it off and go see if you like the jacuzzi I built. Dora said it felt better than having sex" I told her, with a slight hook. Dora nodded absently from her pillow, and Vette raised an eyebrow. Then again, her experiences would have been forceful and not consensual at all.

    "I wouldn't know, would I? Your crazy Gand had me digging through the dirt with a pointy stick. I wasn't a high class dancer like Dora. By the way, I rescued a few slaves, can I keep three or four for my special project?" Vette wondered, now clad in just a form fitting jumpsuit. Really form fitting. Special project eh?

    "Our Empire doesn't have slaves, you should know that. And our Imperial Servants choose their own lovers, if they want any. Plus, you kinda belong to me, adored maid. Body and soul, for eternity" I mused out loud, picking up the helmet and starting to decrypt its functions.

    "Not fair! I have to wait till you build yourself a flesh body? That could take years! Start working on that sooner!" Vette yelled as she entered the jacuzzi.

    "She really wants some" Lira observed wisely, still focusing on her datapad, and learning diplomacy and negotiation courses.
    "Well, you can always try to please one another, like kisses and stuff. It might be even fun" I replied, while busy stealing everything of value from the power armor.

    "I'll give it a try. Vette seems a nice girl" Celine said, raising and walking towards the jacuzzi room. Afraid of men, but not really giving up on love...heh, this might be fun to watch.

    We waited for a minute, but no screams or yelling were heard. Huh, must have worked then.

    My Voices and I exchanged an amused pulse through our bond. The third Voice was not present though.

    Wialu was still busy organizing her flock on Sanctuary, setting up the droids for farming, building schools and workshops and power plants and everything a new colony would need.

    My planetside droids were busy building huge factories for pit droids and droideka and repulsorlift gunships.

    And elsewhere in the Sanctuary system, my droids and their Gozanti cruisers were busy gathering asteroids and building a large space station and shipyards.

    And as soon as I got my hands on a tri-droid starfighter, they'll begin mass-producing them.
    "You will have to visit Dweem soon. Before they think again and run away" Lira spoke softly, pressing a hand lightly on her kyber crystal.

    "I can't. The Emperor doesn't go on trips to recruit people. Sad thing, they will all die soon, as the Yuuzhan Vong hate synthetic beings the most." I mused, going through my future memories.

    "Kriff. I'll go. If they are only half like you, they're still worth saving. And they'll make great field commanders for our droids." Lira argued, then growled a little, taking off at a run towards the door.

    I smiled inward, and returned to my musings. If she went dressed in that skimpy skirt, even the Iron Knights may falter.
    A pair of Justice droids floated beside her, keeping up with ease.

    Hmmm. I could wear a Justice droid, and add a power armor over it.

    Gain a few superpowers, and not be obvious I use the Force. Super strength, repulsor jumps, deflector shield. Maybe integrate a few Gand dischargers and light masers...

    I'll have to see if tractor beams can be miniaturized for bipedal use.
    Triple the power capacitors, maybe add a starfighter reactor for a power source...

    Another partition drew my attention. One of the Fallanassi was a traitor, in the old timeline, and most likely this one as well.

    Isela Talsava.

    I checked the cruiser manifest, for her name. Not on board. Oh well, at least she wouldn't know the location of Sanctuary.

    "Dora, I have a mission for you. Take a frigate and 2 corvettes for escort, and find a Fallanassi woman named Isela Talsava. She is trying to sell us out. Take a few Findsmen, and bring her to me, alive" I told the twi'lek.

    "Back on Lucazec then? What should I tell her?" Dora wondered.

    "Give her a diamond, and promise her a large one, the size of her head. Just to teach me a few tricks" I explained, patting her head, and building a few fake memories, while erasing the selling out part and the soul snare existence from her memories. Wouldn't do to spook the traitor when she read Dora's mind.
    "I'll do my best Pef. For the Empire!" Dora proclaimed, patting her kyber crystal.

    "You can promise her anything she wants Dora. We have plenty money" I added as she turned to leave.

    The green twi'lek nodded and left, moving gracefully with small steps.

    Vette and Celine came back an hour later, their skin flushed and radiating contentment.

    "You're the best Pef! The jacuzzi was exactly like sex. Maybe even better" the blue twi'lek proclaimed, hugging my droid chassis with one arm.

    Celine blushed and sat down on her pillow in silence.

    "Less talk and more study. You won't get your Voice if you laze around. And this armor, you get it back when you know everything about orbital and planetary combat" I told Vette, as my telekinesis began dismantling her armor.

    "Not fair! I worked hard for that armor" she complained, resuming her lessons with a cute growl.

    "And now Lira went to fix up your mess. Oh! Cruel world, why did I have to love such a lazy woman" I declared dramatically, shaking my arms at the sky.
    "Shut up defective droid. Let me study. I want that armor!" Vette muttered, while trying to focus on her datapad.

    "I'll sing this song that just came to me. It's called the Reason" Celine said softly, and began singing.

    Huh, some things stay the same, no matter the galaxy.
     
  6. Threadmarks: 6
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY
    In orbit, aboard the imperial space station the Celestial Throne
    Fourth month


    My first copy of the power armor has just finished re-assembling when Lira and her ship dropped out of hyperspace, and having aboard two extra Force-sensitives, an amphibian sunesi and a crystalline one, probably a shard.

    This will be trickier. The Sunesi felt like a Jedi.

    I jumped inside my black Justice series droid, and then entered my power armor. The neck and armguards of my armor were laced with a phrik alloy, to prevent a skilled duelist from an easy win. Well, not really a win, but leaving me naked.

    Final checks, meshing the codes and then encrypting them again.

    Three Gand dischargers, in my arms and helmet, a light maser gun and a disruptor rifle backing them up. Deflector shield, particle shield, repulsor beams. The armor will do well I guess.

    If the Jedi came for violence, he would live to regret it.
    Sadly, the smallest tractor beam I could build so far only fitted on gunships.

    Then I left workshop and then my apartment, and entered the room next door which was my Throne Room, which featured a golden dais, with the Golden Throne sitting splendidly in the middle.

    But I avoided going to sit on it. The Jedi won't be impressed.

    I just floated a centimeter above the floor and waited, next to the large Council table.

    "Lira is back, and seems upset" Wialu said softly, not raising her head from her pad. One could never stop studying in this galaxy.

    Millions of species discovered things all the time, either through xenoarchaeology, or by scientific experiments.

    I had it easier, just downloading entire public databases from universities and other easily hacked terminals.

    Vette looked at her than at me. "It's the green crystal isn't it. That's how you feel each other. That's such a cheat, when do I get mine?" she demanded, pouting cutely.

    "When you're ready, Vette. How can I send you out into the galaxy, to speak in my name, if you do not share my goals?" I explained politely, then turned a little to include Celine into it.
    "Just conquer the galaxy, simple. What's else could a crazy droid want?" Vette muttered, and punched her pillow.

    I faked a short laugh. True enough.

    "Come now Vette. You visited the Dream just yesterday. You saw the first forest growing. Lakes, with fish and lotus. Ammonia clouds gone. You visited the Servants and their school. You went and rescued some of them yourself. Are they better now?" I asked, just as the large doors opened and the Iron Knights delegation came in.

    "Stupid droid, using my own acts against me. I'm going out again, and rescue more. Can I have my armor back?" she asked, arms crossed in front of her.

    "Okay then. Try not to die, yet." I answered with a sigh.

    Vette ran out, sticking her tongue out at the shard droid, as she passed the delegation. Really diplomatic, that one.

    "Emperor Pef, I present you Jedi Master Aqinos, and his student, Iron Knightess Luxum." Lira proclaimed, touching her crystal.

    'Really, a female crystal?' I sent with an amused tone in the bond. Lira nodded, amused as well.

    "Really, Emperor Pef! I hear you were elected emperor for life by the Gand. After you terraformed the planet in its entirety." the Jedi said, having intercepted my message, or just skimmed it from Lira's surface thoughts.
    "Yes, I did that. Took me almost three months. Had to modify a number of old nano-plagues to achieve the right balance." I answered, gesturing them to sit at the table.

    We sat at the table, and Wialu sat next to me, focusing on the shard-droid.

    "Hmmm. Quite a remarkable achievement. I knew I sensed something in the Force, but it wasn't really clear. And your own being is shrouded, masking almost every emotion. You do seem similar to my own padawans" the sunesi Jedi said, carelessly placing a scanner on the table, and running scans on me. Good luck with that, turquoise Jedi. You won't find anything.

    "Merely on the surface, esteemed Master. Or was that rank stripped away as well, when the Order declared you a heretic?"
    I asked. while changing the readings on the scanner to make me look like Master Yoda.

    The scanner beeped, and the jedi blinked twice in confusion.

    "Master Yoda would never speak in clear sentences. Good joke tough. Anyway, I am still a Master, if not a Jedi anymore. I studied everything about the Force, even if the Jedi Council was small minded, the shards truly have the Force" he declared proudly.

    "Studied you say. A Master you say. The Shards are interesting beings, with a nice force ability, but a single one, their electromagnetic senses. They live for millennia and then die, of natural causes. And you taught them lightsaber forms, to get them killed even sooner. In 50 years, their whole race will be extinct. And it will be your fault Master Aqinos" I declared, pointing at the Judge droid with a shard inside.

    Luxum tried to protest, but I kept her droid still and silent.

    "What? How... I would never do anything to hurt them. Some kind of cataclysm or a war, what did you see?" The heretic Master asked, trying to control his panic.
    "You say you're a Master, but you didn't even notice me. My group had lived thousands of years undetected by the Jedi Order.
    And there are thousands of groups like mine in the galaxy." Wialu spoke softly, placing a hand on the sunesi's shoulder.

    "You're a Master too, but not of the Order. Altisian perhaps? Corellian Green Jedi?" the confused Master said, trying to locate Wialu, who sat down next to me, and invisible again.

    "Go back to Dweem, initiate Aqinos. We'll speak again in two years, if you learn humility till then. Luxum will stay and learn from us." I declared, waving him away in a dismissive gesture. Damn the modern Jedi were feeble.

    I let go of the technopathic control over the Iron Knightess, curious what she will do.

    She looked around, then at her former Master, who seemed lost.

    "Sorry Master Aqinos. If there's anything that could save my species, I want to stay and learn. May the Force be with you!" Luxum told him, bowing slightly with her droid chassis.

    As my droids came to escort the former jedi out, I looked over the shard-droid and noticed a lightsaber hanging from her belt.

    Toys for kids! I grabbed it up with telekinesis, and waved it around. Made pleasant sounds though.

    "No more toys, dear Maid. Cybersecurity and infiltration. Guess you'll do just fine in my Black ops." I told her, tossing the damn thing over my shoulder. It landed perfectly on a pillow at the base of my throne.
    The first of many to follow.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire, Outer Rim
    25 BBY
    In orbit, aboard the imperial space station the Celestial Throne
    Fifth month


    The small council was something I loved in a certain book, and I reverted to it, now that my rank wasn't in danger of being taken away. Most Findsmen were kept busy, exploring the sector for trade routes and diplomatic alliances.

    Include clauses for our navy to refuel and defend their system, and secure mining rights and promise ecological help where possible.

    Twenty systems have joined the Empire, in all but name. Paying maintenance and salaries for the ships defending them, receiving new factories and jobs, getting rid of slavery, getting linked into the Empire holonet.

    I messaged every individual leader through holocom, and urged them to establish planetary defenses and at least one orbital space station for trade.
    Wialu went to talk with those more recalcitrant, using mindtricks to smooth their minds towards an alliance.

    Lira went to speak with those more open minded, while Vette, well she made herself a sort of admiral, exhausting her group of twelve Findsmen to locate and engage more pirates and slavers all over the sector. And she found a group a three Jal Shey somewhere, who follow her around, for whatever reason. Something about a holy maiden and the quest for freedom.

    And now Dora is returning, with a female force-sensitive on board.

    "Pef, I know that girl. I taught her..." Wialu said a minute later.

    "Isela, yes. She wanted to sell you out to the Sith, or maybe the Jedi..." I answered, most of my partitions focused on keeping a billion parts from our MC40 cruiser separated, while I reverse-engineered the whole ship at once.

    Scanning each part, a millisecond for every single one. Why did I have to do this sequentially?

    "You saw it? Oh my. It was her desire for an easy life wasn't it?" Wialu asked rhetorically. She could sense it in our bond, I wouldn't lie to her.

    "Who knows, my dear Voice. Organics go crazy all the time. Just look at Vette" I answered amused.

    Wialu turned for a second to look at me, then resumed her studies. Building holocrons. Not like anything you might imagine. Instead of engineering, think of baking cakes.
    "The soul snares are not holocrons. The souls inside are sentient" she concluded, after a short deliberation.

    "Holocrons need different things. They are AI's of a sort. They use the Physical Force and not the Cosmic Force. And the Sith used the Living Force instead. Different forces, different results, even if they look similar." I explained, guiding myself by my old memories.

    "And yet there is a single Force. I think nobody is really a Master, after all" Wialu complained, waving the soul snare away with a force push. She's beginning to learn telekinesis, after yearning for it all her life.

    "Of course not, not for all the teachings and abilities out there. We are a prism, and the Force passes through us, diffracting into a myriad of colors. And everyone of us is different and sees different colors. The White current may be the Unifying Force. Bending light should be a property of gravity after all" I mused, while the hyperdrive finished reassembling. 0.9 hyperdrive speed now, for our ships. How did Han Solo obtained 0.5 hyperdrives for that crappy ship of his? Damn plot armor.
    "Emperor Pef, what about hyperspace and mass shadows? Where would they figure on the spectrum?" Luxum asked, looking ridiculous in maid robes. But a skirt would look even more ridiculous on a droid. Despite what robo-maids ideas I might have.

    "Well, the mass shadows would also be in the Unifying Force. Or perhaps a new one, for Dark matter. I'm just a twelve millennia old droid, what do I know?" I answered, faking annoyance.

    We remained silent afterwards, Luxum learning cyber warfare, Wialu still experimenting with holocrons, and myself learning 50 thousands years of technology, by taking it apart and reassembling it.

    Sublight engines, hypermatter reactor, deflector shields. They used some kind of thermal buffers, prolonging the resistance under fire, and redundant capacitors, to allow faster recharge.

    And yet an Ion cannon would still bring them down. Ionize. I could use this to craft an ability against droids.

    Only droids would just listen to me, regardless. Only the Vong had a real change of putting up a fight, after all.

    Dora landed after a while, bringing Isela with her. Wialu vanished, letting a faint wisp of sorrow be felt in her aura.

    "Hey, you're the droid Emperor? Where is my gold?" Isela asked, expecting me to know what Dora promised her.

    "Here, take this diamond for now, I want to learn how to vanish..." I answered instead, throwing the soul snare towards her.

    The woman was very beautiful, and perhaps used to being treated like a princess everywhere.

    She caught the crystal, and looked at it confused.

    "Hey, this is not a diam...." then a long wail in the force, as her soul became trapped inside.

    Luxum rose and went to poke at it.

    "Is this how you become immortal? You transfer in a crystal?" she asked, quite smartly.

    "Yes and no. The soul snare is a weapon, to be used against enemies and traitors. A failed experiment with the Cosmic force.
    But now, is a one-time use holocron as well. Watch" I told my crystal maid, draining the knowledge from the snare.
    All the religious precepts, the White current, the illusions, the invisibility, mind shield, mind fog, hiding in the light, seeing from light, acceleration. The last one was surprising. It forced the body to burn faster, healing immediately or moving fast, while damaging the body immensely. If you were organic.

    Wialu reappeared next to me, and took the snare with care.

    "She was like a daughter to me. Let me take her life. I want to know..." Wialu said softly, draining the last of Isela's soul, and making it vanish.

    I just waited, and focused my telekinesis on reassembling the MC40a light cruiser, the missile launchers and the missiles being a hundred times easier. The cruiser now had 100 missile launchers and three thousands missiles.
    The turrets were of, however, as I didn't like having them pointed at every side, like a hedgehog. Keep 20 percent of current positioning, and arrange the rest above and below the ship in superfiring positions, thus allowing 80 percent of all weapons to focus fire on a single target, both when firing forward or either sides.

    In total, 20 pointdefense quad lasers, 100 medium masers and turbolasers and 20 heavy masers. Already, my cruiser would be able to take down a Venator star destroyer by itself. While being half the size and three times the firepower of a Venator. Damn those Venators were weak ships for a star destroyer, beeing mostly a carrier with some ship-to-ship ability.

    And going by what I knew about the Centrality, they didn't even have star destroyers.

    I still needed many more ships though. To conquer the Centrality would be pretty easy, but then I had to hold a thousand star systems, against everyone who might try to profit.

    At least a thousand corvettes then, just to secure that volume. I barely had a hundred. Kriff.
    Had to make lots of money fast and buy the damn ships from somewhere. And, I just knew how to find the money. Murder and theft, the privelege of kings and emperors.

    "Luxum, I need you to steal 5 billion credits" I proclaimed, pointing at the shard-maid.

    "Eh?" she wondered confused. If I had teeth I would have smiled. Damn organics have it so easy.
    Planet Gand, Capital of Pef Empire
    Throne Room, aboard the Celestial Throne, the seat of government.
    25 BBY


    "What I mean is, we're going to infiltrate the Centrality and steal credits from their pension funds. And just think, they use Republic credits, even if they do not issue the currency." I replied, preparing a Black ops freighter for launch.

    "Wait, you're going too?" Dora asked, shaking her green twin leku in confusion.

    "Of course. I have to supervise the first act of war. Can't just laze around, while my operatives risk their lives..." I explained, watching Luxum carefully. She was doubtful.

    "Why are we attacking them? They aren't harming anyone..." Luxum wondered, hesitating for some moral reasons.

    "We're preventing a genocide, several of them in fact. And also preventing the Sith taking over the Centrality and becoming our nemesis. Come, let's get you fitted with Supremacy power armor, Luxum, you'll learn more while we're in transit." I added, and began assembling my next generation power armor series, around the Justice droid that housed my sentient crystal Maid.

    I made sure to leave a number of slits in the chest carapace, then armored those openings with a triple layer of ancient Jedi armor. The Iron Knights used transparisteel windows in their chests, to let their crystal senses function unimpeded by the droid chassis, but that was too much of a weakness and giveaway.

    Ten minutes later, the Iron Maid was complete and looked absolutely fabulous. 2.5 meters in height, powerful servomotors for superstrength, repulsor beams for lift and glide, deflector shields, latest model of miniaturized starfighter reactor. Once Luxum learned to use the Force properly to reinforce the armor, it will be able to withstand nukes at pointblank range.

    For color, I went with urban grey camouflage, shades of grey with subtle changes in degree and patterns, to make to user less visible in a city landscape. It had a infiltration spec after all, with a powerful holo-transceiver, able to slice through most networks.

    Just buying the technology had cost me 50 million credits. Now it was time to put it to good use, and return my investment a hundred fold.

    My own power armor was painted a dull grey, with black shoulders and a golden ring around the temples. A Kyber crystal was mounted on the side of my chest, to let my subjects know the user had a Voice as well.

    '5 billion credits is way too little for you to go on trips. You're planning something else' Wialu sent telepathically.

    'Of course. But I also have to test my new maid. You should return to Sanctuary as well, my Hands have the Empire running well enough for now' I sent back.

    'Have fun then. And bring me a Sith. I really want to learn all they know' Wialu added, vanishing from my senses completely.
    Damn the woman was good. Even with learning most of the Fallanassi teaching from her traitor student, Wialu was still above my level in camouflage. No wonder Palpatine couldn't find her, even after she was betrayed.

    Luxum was experimenting with her new upgrades, floating around and playing with her shields.

    "Lira and Dora, start placing orders for any ship you can find, to be paid on delivery. Buy a dozen Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighter if you find any. I'll be back in a month. Celine, you have one month to decide: Servant, Voice or freedom and exile. Maybe you can be a singer on Nar Shaddaa." I told my other Maids, then started walking towards my ship. Celine nodded, feeling scared, and hiding behind her long blond hair. I doubted she will choose the Voice though.

    Luxum joined me as I passed the doors, feeling anxious for some reason. She was competent enough now, but her resolve lacked. Oh well, that's why I came along.

    Now, planning and executing the greatest heist in the history of the galaxy will be fun.

    On board Greymist, Pef Empire's Black ops vessel.
    In hyperspace, en route to Oseon, the Centrality's richest planet.



    "Emperor, stealing from the pension funds might trigger social outrage and revolts. Is this what we're trying to accomplish?" Luxum asked, going over the files on security of the Centrality again.

    "Not yet. The theft will be noticed, and they'll have to move the funds somewhere safe. A Republic bank, or possibly the Banking Guild. And thus, lose control over their finances. Half of their navy will turn pirate, for lack of salaries" I explained, while trying to use acceleration on myself. I had no organic flesh to degrade, so everything will be...in my mind.

    Time started to slow down, as my perception began to accelerate, faster and faster. Double accel, triple accel...I wondered how much I could overclock myself. Five times and I started to overheat. Transfer heat outside the hull. Seven times. The exterior of my crystal self began warming up.

    Let's stop for now. I could possibly reach 10 times more, but wasn't needed. Four times faster. No overheat, the Force supporting the extra speed just fine. It should be enough.

    I glided through the lightsaber velocities, stressing my droid chassis to the limit. Hmmm. About the same speed as Yoda and Palpatine in their duel. A bit less than Windu going full Vaapad.

    But I'll never get tired or exhausted. Damn this body was a such a cheat.

    "Emperor, you move so fast, faster than Master Aqinos. Faster than anyone I heard of..." Luxum exclaimed, now her aura trembling with awe.
    "About the same as the best Jedi or Sith living today. Master Windu might be a tad faster with a lightsaber" I answered, coming to a rest and running the meditation techniques, using the armor's servomotors to emulate breathing. Hmmm. It did seem to work, increasing my connection to the Force by a few percents.

    "But you don't use sabers. You think them puerile" Luxum added, now observing me with a strange focus.

    "Once you get strong enough, lightsaber become crutches, and start hindering your abilities. And they make you channel on a fixed path, ending with a saber duel. Ignoring better solutions, or strategic thinking or subtlety. Let's say I drop a bioweapon on the Jedi Temple. How many Jedi would survive ten minutes or even one minute?" I asked, letting the female shard meditate on an answer.

    I rehearsed my plan again, then started building variants and backup plans.

    "Most Masters would survive one minute. But, just a few the next ten minutes. You could end the Jedi anytime. You have used 50 nano-phages already, when you terraformed planet Gand. And not a single Gand was harmed..." Luxum concluded her reasoning after an hour or so.

    "The Jedi and the Sith would continue to fight, genociding each other, for a hundred millennia or more, devastating the galaxy with their insane fanaticism, just like have done for the past 30 millennia. It has to stop. What do you think Luxum?" I asked rhetorically.

    She remained silent, possibly thinking about her own race.

    "It's going to happen again, right? The Sith are coming back, and they're going to exterminate the Jedi, and everyone who allies with them. Including my fellow shards. A galaxy wide war, and soon. Why doesn't anyone else see this?" my maid asked, her aura mingling fear and calm at equal ratio.
    "Chancellor Palpatine leads the Galactic Republic, and he's a Sith. His office is next door from the Jedi Council. That's a cosmic joke right there. And the Jedi's chosen one, the one who will bring balance in the force, he's groomed to become the next Sith.
    How do they think balance will be restored? Damn fools." I muttered, spilling secrets like candy.

    Sentient crystals didn't have glands to secrete hormones and neurotransmitters, but they could fake them pretty well, with electrical impulses.

    My Iron Maid stayed silent after this, digesting the news.

    A few hours later, we reached Oseon and began our missions.

    Oseon system, the Centrality, Outer Rim
    Running silent at the edge of the system


    Luxum sliced into the Centrality's servers and began funneling funds to fake corporations, which dissolved immediately, after transferring the credits to another fake corporation and so on.

    And while she was doing the shell game with the Centrality pensions, I went after the richest man in the galaxy.

    Bohhuah Mutdah had a wealth aproximating 400 trillions credits, and had just moved to asteroid Oseon 5792, where his obese shape would hurt less due to low gravity. He did have a state of the art security system around his palace, but he was illiterate, so he had to speak his passwords aloud.

    I just had to wait an hour for him to buy something, emulate his voice and holosignature, then start buying everything on the markets and selling it a million times cheaper to a fake corporation.

    In 30 minutes I drained most of his liquid assets, about 14 trillions credits, then started selling his real estate holdings, corporate stocks, ships and factories, again to fake corporations that just began existing seconds ago. I took everything from him, leaving him penyless.
    In 3 hours, I became myself the richest person in the galaxy, though not quite legal.

    Then I used my own name to start a few companies and bought all I have stolen from Mutdah, in my own name.

    And last thing, I alerted my security in my own palace on asteroid Oseon 5792 of an unauthorized obese intruder and had him shot in the head.

    Now, my new wealth was legal.

    I started firing all the lawyers and corporate and security personnel, leaving just the majority of the grunts in my employ.

    My workers still needed job to feed their families, but I wouldn't trust the cronies that Mutdah had. I began hiring new office workers, while my security droids kicked out the former employees and shot those resisting. Somehow, everyone of the corporate boards resisted being fired from their job. And thus were fired upon.

    A few shuttles with freshly bought droids descended on my palace and started upgrading and replacing the old security, wiping the records and evaporating the corpses.

    "Emperor, I finished. I just stole 5 billion credits. What do I do now?" Luxum asked, brimming with excitement.

    "Be nice to your sister maids and share the money with them. A billion for each of you should be a nice gift, I think..." I mused out loud.

    "B-but.. don't you need the credits to buy ships? This was just to test me?" Luxum wondered, now a little more than confused.

    "Oh, I stole 400 trillions while you had fun. You can buy yourself something nice, an asteroid somewhere or a star destroyer" I answered amused. The poor dude was going to be killed and impersonated by a darksider Croke anyway. I just did the galaxy a huge favor.

    "Oh, I'm a billionaire now. I'm gonna buy soooo many things. I bet Vette will want that star destroyer though. She likes guns. Big guns..." Luxum muttered, trawling the auctions for life crystals and whatever else she fancied.

    The heist complete, I began looking for my next target.
     
  7. Threadmarks: 7
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    In hyperspace, en route to planet Tund, the Centrality

    Hmmm. I could use perhaps 10 trillion credits right away, and order a thousand star cruisers to be built for me on Mon Calamari. Would take a year at least, while the shipyards were built, and the ships produced, in a system I didn't own. Yeah, let's not do that, and find my ships confiscated by the Senate.

    Or I could buy some squid corporations, and build shipyards in my own empire, away from Jedi and Republic eyes. Much better.

    Buy a few droid manufacturers as well. Yeah, that sounded safer in short term, and perhaps even profitable in long term. Give my future trillions of citizens jobs? Sure!

    Still, the prospect of a full scale war with the Centrality annoyed me. Why did I even had to fight them?

    I could just become Central Administrator as well...then unite my separate states, in a personal union, for as long as I lived.
    I just needed to provoke a crisis, then step in to resolve it, and be perceived as their savior. And who better to blame than the insane sorcerers?

    And give me a reason to make them vanish...

    "Emperor, are you gonna kill the sorcerers of Tund?" Luxum asked me suddenly.

    "A few of them for sure. I'm quite certain the first ones we meet will be impolite or aggressive. And after we drain their souls, we'll be seen as sorcerers as well. So, it should work to blame them as evil beings that want to destroy all life in the sector for some insane ritual." I explained, while trying to use meditation on my AI partitions, without much success. Damn thing was conceived by people with organic brains. I had no chemicals to balance in my neocortex.

    "What, they're gonna kill so many people?" my maid said shocked.

    "Well, yes and no. One of them will sacrifice the whole planet. Thus becoming the most powerful sorcerer, and the only one as well. You heard of Revan ?" I asked curious, while a thousand libraries opened in my mind, showing what little was known of his real life.

    "Old Sith, I think...killed a whole fleet?" Luxum replied hesitantly.
    "Jedi, Dark Jedi, Sith Lord, Jedi, Dark Lord of Sith and finally Jedi Ghost...the man had problems. He might have slept with his own mother too. And he killed an entire planet and drained the life from it. Became quite powerful, for his times" I mused, trying to find a rime for that poor soul.

    "Wait, he died and after that he became a Jedi again. And he's now an immortal spirit, after all he's done?" Luxum exclaimed confused.

    "Yep, bringing balance to the Force is quite a ride. If you go by jedi religious tenets" I laughed amused.

    "So, everything I learned was a lie?" the crystal shard maid demanded, an aura of desperation around her.
    No, my adored maid. You cannot be told you are wrong. You have to see it for yourself.

    I patted her shoulder. "Let's try it differently. Death, yet the Force - The last teachings of the Old Jedi. Now, let's see what the Sith say: The Force shall set me free. See anything strange?" I asked in a teasing voice, trying fake breathing again, by using the droid and armor servos. It worked!

    Why did this work? Was is some sort of psychological placebo? Think it matters and it does? I was a bloody piece of rock, I didn't need to breathe, or eat or anything. I just existed...in the Force.

    "Well, they both speak of the Force, not of the Light or Dark side. Both sects see immortality as the final goal. Only, the means are different." Luxum replied after an hour of slow deliberation.

    "Are they? Which kind of genocide is more heretic, killing the Jedi or the Sith?" I wondered rhetorically.

    Our ship dropped of hyperspace before she could respond, if she had any response to give. I didn't.

    I drew on the Force and cloaked our ship again, this time hiding in light. Worked better against Sith.

    Planet Tund. The Centrality.

    My force senses expanded, technopathy riding the data transmissions and commercial transactions and holonet news, Followed soon after by cyber warfare programs and other slicing tools.
    Sadly, the Sorcerers of Tund barely had any datasphere defenses, most of those focused on space stations and spaceports and banks. Old tech too, at least 5 generations behind the galactic Core.

    My droid pilots entered our ship on a landing trajectory, still undetected.

    "Hide your force aura, dear maid. Let's not scare our prey too soon." I said softly, as our cloaked ship landed just outside the capital.

    The planet was sparsely populated, mainly by immigrant Toongs and humans and some Sith. The species.

    The sorcerers were much fewer still, barely a few thousands.

    They ruled the prairies with their magocratic cabal, and ignored the forests. Some palaces here and there, defended by powerful force fields.

    Those palaces must be their attempt at a Dark Council. Pitiful.

    I glided above the grass, using the repulsor lifts to float like a boss, and headed towards the nearest market, with a basketball sized crystal in my hand.

    Luxum glided next to me, with her own snare in one hand.

    We probably made quite a sight, in our grey power armors. The locals made way respectfully, some even bowing deeply.

    Huh, respecting my authority already? Probably thought we were sorcerers, most likely.

    About an hour later, three red skinned individuals, with black robes around them, challenged our right to buy stuff like tourists do.

    "Who are you mongrels, where did you get those armors. And those diamonds. Give them here!" One of them commanded first in Sith, then in galactic basic, while sparking lightning from one hand, and a fireball in another.

    Well, if you really ask, how can I refuse? Catch!

    Two of them, the males, caught the soulsnare crystals and became trapped spirits, while the third, a female Sith, I shot with my neural discharger and left paralyzed. Wialu said she wanted one, so why not?

    Now let's see. Drain yummy drain. I mean brains.

    Massassi rituals, Kissai old gods, Sith teachings, Rakata teachings, elemental shaping, shadow shaping, mental domination, listen from shadows.

    Huh. Maybe I need to find a higher rank. This one didn't even have meditation or lightsaber forms, nor alchemy nor life drain nor most of the anything Sith were renowned for.

    "Emperor, what is this joke? These can't be the Sith..." Luxum argued as well, while digesting what she just learned.

    A Toong older male stepped closer and looked at the bodies lying in dirt.

    "The bearded one was the leader though. Some say he was the strongest sorcerer in centuries." he explained politely, then spit on his corpse.

    I'll be damned. They faked it all, with tricks and compulsions.
    "They are pure-blooded Sith. The original natives on Korriban. Just...not the Sith we were looking for" I mused, kicking the dead Sith in the nuts.

    Well then. Let's pack the rest of them up in a ship and go back home.

    I grabbed the female and the other bodies with telekinesis and floated away, heading towards the nearest sorcerer palace.

    Guess I can dump them on Sanctuary too. On a different continent.

    They were still Force users, if barely.

    Planet Tund, Centrality
    25 BBY


    The Cabal maintained a pretty strong defense on their palaces, the forcefield emitters appearing to be Force powered. Rakatan tech, most likely, since I knew the forcefields survived the destruction of the planet, when that Croke sorcerer destroyed Tund with some kind of torpedo.

    I'll have to turn the fields off and take them with me. Nice tech to have, if I could use it.

    The old Rakata ship that brought the Sith here had been dismantled during the millennia after their exodus, but the shield emitters still functioned, and at a higher strength than anything possible today, much stronger than the shields on Mandator stardestroyers for example.

    Guess I'll fit one to my Celestial Throne, and make my imperial space station pretty much invulnerable.

    As I approached the palace, a number of guards appeared, and stared shocked at their former master being dragged along, floating in midair.

    I searched through the memories and found the access codes for the shield. It turned off, and we entered the palace, ignoring the guards.
    Some of them had metal spears...

    "Luxum, organize the palace to receive a few thousands guests. Call it a feast for the Cabal. I'll invite the rest of the sorcerers to join." I demanded, while disarming the guards by simply taking away their weapons.

    "As you say, Immortal Emperor" my maid replied, grabbing the nearest guard and barking orders.

    Meanwhile, I explored the palace, taking over the security and whatever droids I could find, then locating the living quarters and the families of the dead Sorcerers.

    I found a creche for young Sith, 11 boys and 9 girls, and about 20 wives, probably 10 each if these two were brothers and shared equally. They had a pleasant life so far. My captive seemed to be a sister of theirs. Or maybe a wife, or both. Pure-blood is hard to maintain, after all.

    Still, there was no point in keeping her paralyzed. I snared her soul and threw all three bodies in the middle of the room. Sparing lives might be seen as weak for Sith, or something.

    Ah, they had a secret subspace transmitter, keyed to contain all the Cabals frequencies. Very convenient.

    I decrypted it's controls and placed a holoconference with all of them at once.

    "Greetings my Sith. I am the Immortal Emperor, and I've come to take you home. Come to my palace in 6 hours, all of you" I said, gesturing at the dead bodies at my feet, then ended the call.

    Some of them might not come, and they'll die. But the news of my arrival had to have time to spread and acknowledged, and so I was graceful and gave them time to think it through.

    And then, I went to have a chat with the ex-wives, to give them to good news.

    "You killed all three of them..."

    "They were rude" I answered, faking a shrug with my armor's pauldrons.

    "Please don't kill the younglings, you can take anything just not..." another wife exclaimed, wailing with grief.

    "I don't waste loyal soldiers. Now go help my maid prepare a feast for the cabal. Food and drinks." I replied, pointing at her. She took another wife with her and ran out.

    "H-how many are coming, the stores might not have..." another ex-wife interfered.

    "All of them. And place a hundred barrels of wine and whatever outside the gates, for their guards." I told a younger wife who seemed less confused. She nodded and ran outside. Hmmm. A Sith Maid? She did seem capable. Nah, too much trouble trying to fend off the dark side.

    "H-how do we call you, mighty sorcerer?" yet another wife asked.

    "Immortal Emperor, or Pef, or combinations. Full name for official meetings"

    "Understood Emperor Pef, I'll go see after the young ones" she replied and took off towards the creche.

    Now, let's see about defenses. A single missile launcher? And whatever the guards had.

    Useless. I descended deep under the palace and found the shield emitters.
    Yeah. Rakatan tech alright. I didn't have a clue how to operate it.

    I got lost for hours, trying to decrypt and mesh with its systems, and I barely understood a single percent.

    'Emperor, more Sith are coming' my maid alerted me.

    Great... Shields online, keep a 3-meter wide aperture aligned with the palace gate. Aim the missile launcher at the gate as well.

    I floated up to the large meeting room, and started arranging everything with telekinesis. Chairs and tables to the sides, a makeshift throne for me, a pillow for my maid.

    The Sorcerers of Tund began entering, one by one, while my maid has to keep telling them to leave the guards outside.

    One hour later, the room was packed, and the rest didn't have anywhere to go so just waited outside.

    I pushed, lifting the upper floors and the outer wall, forming a larger room, while keeping the whole thing suspended. That might have impressed them a little.

    I wonder what they'll say when they'll see me dismantle a star destroyer into little bits.

    "My Sith, you were lost, but not forgotten. The Dark Jedi you followed are long dead. But I haven't forgotten. I was alive 10 millennia ago, when the Crusades passed through this space. I've seen wars and genocides, empires rising and falling. But I haven't forgotten you. I saw your deaths, the entire Tund planet obliterated by one of your future recruits. And I said, no more! Enough is enough. I have come to save you, and teach you, and take you home" I orated, using elemental shaping to create a flaming aura around me.

    "Where are you planning to take us, mighty Emperor?" an older Sith asked, remaining unfazed.

    "Just another planet nearby. Same kind of planet, with grass and trees. A few lakes. Only nobody knows about it, or the route to it. And thus safe, for you and your children. I call it Sanctuary."

    "Are you a Jedi or a Sith, Emperor?" another Sith sorcerer, one badly burned and looking like a veteran, demanded.

    "You are the true Sith. The Dark Jedi are something else. Haters and betrayers of their fanatic brothers. I am nothing like either of those. I am Pef. And I came to tell you a simple truth. The Force is one. There are no sides. Like sunlight, it bathes us with nourishment, and feeds us. I am the living proof. Not eating, not even breathing. I exist in the Force. And so can you." I explained, raising the snare high above my armor.

    The spirit Sith inside the snare looked at the living Sith and tried to yell something. Nothing came out, but it was clear that she was quite alive inside.

    And with that, the argument was over. Everyone wants to be immortal.
    Planet Tund, Centrality
    A week later


    The last of the sorcerers and their families have boarded the ships I had bought specially for this task, with a few fake corporations,
    and set course for a system in the Pef Empire's exclusion zone. Wialu will take over from there and take them to Sanctuary.

    They didn't actually need to know the route the ships will take, after all. Not that I didn't trust them, since if I strained I could throw them very far...okay, I didn't trust them one bit.

    They'll have to be trained and indoctrinated, just like the Imperial Servants.

    I looked at every single one as they boarded and hadn't noticed any infiltrator, but then again, there were millions of force abilities out there, some more equal than others.

    Hmmm. Let's establish a hospital station on Sanctuary and quarantine everyone, while they receive blood tests and immunizations.

    Gonna be expensive, but then again, I had quite enough money. I still couldn't believe how easy the heist went. I was a trillionare!
    Then again, Centrality Intelligence was busy at that time, most likely going nuts over the pension heist, and didn't have time to concentrate on a concurrent heist on a private individual.

    They'll come knocking soon enough though.

    Better have the next operation in place.

    I began modeling a holo announcement by a recently deceased Sorcerer, going over his insane plans to drain the largest planets in the Centrality of all life, and become a God of Magic.

    Plant rumors of Emperor Pef, engaging all the Sorcerers of Tund at once, and chasing them away, after killing the majority.

    And now, let's see nukes bloom...

    I chose a few more distant palaces, and began the detonations, a few of them caught in accidental new reports, going live.

    Exactly like flowers, only less radiation and more explosion.

    And jump.

    En route to Scillal, Centrality

    "I'm beginning to think you just wanted to see things go boom, just like Vette" Luxum muttered, playing the last holos were recorded before the jump.

    "A bouquet of red flowers, for the prettiest shard I know" I answered, while my partitions focused on analyzing the Rakata forcefield in the cargo hold.

    I think my compliment worked, since the Iron Maid flashed a burst of embarrassment and annoyance in her aura.

    "I am the only shard you know..." she muttered back, then returned to her own studies.

    Damn thing was a thousand times more advanced than anything I've seen, and right now, I was probably the foremost expert in modern tech in the galaxy. And a living example of such tech as well.
    Only Rakata tech was not modern, but xenoarchaeology, and I knew too little about those.

    Slightly faded memories about entechment came forward, but didn't fit with what I had here. Alchemy and imbuement and force matrices.

    And a hundred other things, hidden inside one another, sometimes intersecting in different dimensions.
    Made a holocron look like a Rubik cube, in comparison. Semi-sentient code, almost like my own AI partitions. Dangerous stuff.

    Kriff. No wonder the Rakata defeated the Celestials and chased them away from the galaxy. How could you beat them, if their tech was this advanced? So advanced it was magic.

    I gave up my efforts at 3 percent, and hoped to find someone with knowledge about this stuff, and pick his brains about it. My servos creaked as the droid's fist clenched. I sighed upset. Magic is hard.

    "So you can feel emotions, after all. Was that desperation?" Luxum asked amused.

    "Don't like when something is too advanced to understand. It means someone smarter may use this against me or my people." I muttered, going back to breathing exercises. Peace through strength. I needed to become stronger.

    "You're such a mystery Emperor. I can see you float in the Force, going through the velocities or breathing exercises. And yet you cannot meditate. Maybe you think too much..." Luxum added with a trace of sadness.

    I was only thinking. An AI...how do you make an AI stop thinking?

    Let's try the codes, and go through each of them. Emotion, yet peace. The first tenant, before the Dark Jedi even appeared.

    But, was it the first? The Je'daii were first, and they claimed different things.

    In the light, there is a darkness
    And in the darkness, a light
    Strive to live in balance
    In balance with chaos and harmony
    Immortal in the Force


    I had the last thing done, somehow, through cheating like a boss. But not the rest. Balance?
    Chaos was simple. Everything was chaos, from randomness to life then evolution then social relations then wars, then death.

    Where was the harmony? I just couldn't see it.

    Was harmony a function of chaos, like the wings of the butterfly?

    A Dream, sometimes perceived as precognition? Where did prescience come from? Who lived in the futures that I never lived?

    I mused on this for hours and hours. The ship dropping out of hyperspace woke me, and I noticed the Shard Maid had creeped really close, and was peering at my armor's chest with fascination.

    In orbit above planet Scillal

    "And now you did it. Meditation. I felt it, for a minute, just before we dropped out" she muttered, then hugged me with her own power armor.
    "Huh. And now I'm a padawan too..." I answered, while my partitions began their work on the largest ship manufacturer in the Centrality.

    I began slicing and dicing, taking over every single open server and quite a few of those with lesser protections.

    A Navy cruiser changed course and came to fly on our left.

    "Emperor Pef. We have a few questions" an official voice transmitted, along with some credentials. I checked to make sure, but I already knew who they were.

    Centrality Intelligence. Counter-intelligence group 4. Trying to catch me off-guard, before I hid behind an army of lawyers and diplomatic immunity.

    Exactly as planned.
     
  8. Threadmarks: 8
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    On board HMS Greymist, in orbit above Scillal

    They weren't as stupid as I hoped though. They had a force-sensitive on board.

    And a type I hadn't encountered till now.

    Twi'lek, but colored deep red. Metal discs on her belt. Possibly telekinetic and certainly telepathic.

    Oh well. I was always open to meeting pretty girls.

    "White fog Luxum. They have a telepath" I said, doing the same.

    "Kriff. I knew something will go wrong, eventually." The maid muttered, a hand going for the lightsaber she didn't have anymore.

    "Be back in a few hours" I added, as I entered the transit tube.

    On board Centrality cruiser Intractable

    I was met by two officers, in red and black uniforms, and a platoon of marines, wearing light armors and carrying blasters. Yeah, that would be really useful against power armor.
    "Errr. Emperor Pef is coming too?" One officer asked cautiously, noticing me staying afloat, and the menacing armor.

    "I am Pef. Conference room?" I replied politely, and started floating towards the nice room they had for admirals and such. The ship's systems were already under my control, including gravity and the air they breathed.

    And they had thousands of droids on board as well, from tiny mouses to repair models and astromechs.

    I was basically at home.

    The marines ran after us, clutching their pitiful guns with tensed hands.

    This might be pretty easy, after all. These people haven't fought a war in a thousand years.

    And most of the galaxy hadn't either. Like candy from babies.

    Now let's see, Vette likes to drink some sort of ultra sweet juice. Have a droid bring some to my new telepathic friend.
    By the time I arrived in the conference room, a protocol droid came in and placed a cup in front of the twi'lek.

    She has seen combat before though. Scars and burns, and a wary presence, always conscious of surroundings. The droid surprised her, since it wasn't alive to be felt with telepathy. You kinda need technopathy instead.

    Now, decrypt the payment charts. Laasti Vera, Zeison Sha auxiliary, payment grade at Captain levels, triple bonus for high risk mission, paid in advance. Well, at least they did take me seriously.

    Huh, I knew a little about the Zeison Sha sect, just that they were strong enough to have resisted assimilation by the Jedi, Palpatine's Empire and the Vong. Pretty much do it yourself type of people.

    I offered a short bow, and gestured at the drink.

    "My compliments, Miss Laasti Vera. I hear such drinks are highly regarded by beautiful twi'leks" I said, remaining afloat in front of the table. Thin rails on the chairs. Way below the resistance necessary to support power armor weight.

    "You could take a seat Emperor. This might take some time"
    "Power armor is kinda heavy" I replied amused.

    "You could take it off. Make yourself comfortable. I assure you, you aren't in any danger"

    "Of course not, Miss Vera. Wearing this version of power armor, I could withstand point-blank nuclear detonations." I explained truthfully. I could indeed survive quite fine.

    "Yes, about those horrible detonations. Are you able to recall how they happened Emperor?"

    "I fought with some crazy magicians. I think a number of them may have escaped. My bodyguard may have missed some" I answered, being truthful, but not too much.

    The twi'lek turned towards her handlers, and gestured up and down with the eye that wasn't facing me.

    Cool trick. Only I could see what the droid in the room saw as well.

    Hmmm. She was still reading me somehow. Hide in shadows and mind shield. The fog wasn't enough.

    The twi'lek took a long pause and sipped her drink. Seems I was spot on. She really liked it.
    "It is very good juice. Lowers certain inhibitions in twi'leks. Perhaps even beautiful ones" my interrogator said, amused.

    Damn it. What was the crazy girl drinking on my money? Just made a fool of myself.

    I gestured a shrug, feigning being innocent. "I wouldn't know. Never been a twi'lek in my life."

    She let that go and tried something else. "So, I heard you're the richest Emperor in the galaxy. And presumably Immortal as well. What are your plans regarding the properties you hold in the Centrality. You do represent a foreign power, after all. Planet Gand, I believe?"

    "Immortal is just a title. There are beings who have lived longer than me, after all. Croke species for example, can reach 20 millenia in age. I'm barely half that. I guess, we'll have to wait and see." I explained politely, holding a datapad aloft with telekinesis, and turning on the holo news.

    Hmmm. Planet Tund was just quarantined, by a large Centrality Navy force. A few Jedi on site.The sorcerers had been declared a nation wide threat, and everyone and everything was looking for them, and droids were sifting through the radioactive ruins.

    The girl exchanged a worried look with the intelligence officers. Probably the interview didn't go exactly as they planned.

    "Did you intervene to prevent the mass murder of our citizens, Emperor Pef? You're clearly highly able in the force and otherwise" the Zeison Sha wondered, eying my datapad again. Now she noticed I didn't use my hands to turn on the holos. A bit late, but not bad.

    "Yes. I acted to prevent a genocide. Multiple ones, in fact. I would do my empire no good if billions of refugees start flooding our borders. However, the croke who impersonated that fat guy escaped. Maybe we should act together in this. I do hold many valuable properties in Centrality after all. It would be a pity to have to move them elsewhere." I said, baiting my hooks. One of them should catch something.

    "Like most of our shipyards, here in Scillal. 16 billion families depend on those jobs" the older officer spoke, now for the first time. Mister Collin, you'd make a great officer someday. In my navy.

    Here it comes. My own offer. "I was thinking to request Centrality citizenship, for tax purposes. Maybe public office too, one day" I mused aloud. The man perked up, his brain lighting up in my senses. Okay then. He's smart enough to see where this is going.

    "Do you know the name of the croke, Emperor Pef? We'll need to apprehend that individual as soon as possible. We suspected, but never had a clear line to him." the officer asked, now very polite.

    I nodded. "His name is Rokur Gepta. Generally hides in the ankles of his impersonations. Blood samples taken from ears or finger tips should work, if you're doubtful. He was also interested in the Sharu and the Oswalt. And, not for science." I concluded, focusing my senses on the twi'lek woman. She glanced at her boss and nodded. Great!

    Having the Centrality intelligence go on a hunt for that croke maniac might train them for what is to come. That Sith monster had killed billions of sentients before. And will do so again, if not for my intervention.

    "All right then. The Centrality owes you gratitude for your help, Emperor. I certain that a person of your talents may someday hold office in Centrality as well. One planet may seem too small, even if you did terraform it to class I, in two months no less..." Captain Collin said, shaking my armored hand and gesturing towards the door.

    "I'll need a minute with our telepathic auxiliary" I requested politely, printing the codes, all four of them, and gliding the datapad in the twi'lek's hands.

    Vera read everything on the screen once, then again, memorizing the verses. Then, looked at me with tears in her eyes and floated the datapad back to me, while nodding slightly. She will come. I wouldn't run around recruiting people, but if I met a new sect, at least I could give them a heads up.

    Planet Scillal, Scilla megalopolis, Scillal Designs headquarters.
    25BBY


    "Have a seat, honored board members. I'll let you know why I visited here in person. First, we're opening a hundred new, smaller shipyards. They will produce a new model of corvette, with a single capital-class turret on top, a medium turret underneath, and ten quad lasers pointdefese turrets. In addition, the ship will have 20 missile launchers, each with an autoloading magazine of 10 concussion missiles. Our company has obtained an exclusive contract with the Pef Navy, for a minimum of 10 thousands units." I explained to the new board, half of whom were foremen and engineers I selected from the workforce, and the rest fresh graduates of business and administration universities. They watched me with surprised faces.
    "Emperor Pef. We're very glad you giving us such a prosperous contract. But, we already have our ten shipyards building the larger class of Akorec frigates, and we have ongoing contracts with Centrality Navy for the next generation." A young man, trying to keep himself calm said, with a curious tone.

    "And they pay us 5 millions credits for a frigate, and we sell maybe one hundred of them annually, when we can sell the corvettes for 1 million each, and sell at least a thousand every year. That's a billion credits instead of 500 millions. Plus, the contract mentions bonuses for rapid delivery and quality checks, up to 80% increase in salaries for all our workers. If the Centralian Navy can match the Empire's prices we might accommodate them, but otherwise, I'm afraid they'll have to buy ships elsewhere." I replied sternly, pointing at the hologram with the schematics and profit margins.

    "This Dakka corvette you have designed, appears to be intended to be used against massed starfighter formations. Who is your new Empire planning to fight, Emperor Pef?" the same man wondered, his eyes focused on the ships' holo schematics, and his mind focused on calculating damage output.

    "Hordes of droid starfighters and hordes of fighter class bioships. Ranging from 5 to 15 meters in length. That stays in this room though. If my Empire falls, the Centrality will be next. Now, the next contract. Pef Empire offers to sell us binary explosives for the concussion missiles at a third of price below going rate on galactic market. Safer and cheaper. Anyone against this?" I asked, a little amused.

    "N-no. It does seem very safe. And a good deal anyway" A foreman declared, his aura reflecting tiny flashes of terror, since this very conference room has seen the former board resist being fired. And then terminated by the security droids.

    "Good. Now, something else. Another company of mine is being opened in the Pef Empire exclusion zone, and starting a number of capital class shipyards. And they're willing to hire any experienced workers and engineers with at least 10 years experience, at triple of current salary, plus relocation premiums. Ask around our workers here, some of them might want to live a better life." I added, turning to leave.

    The man with many questions hesitated for a second, then rose from his seat and followed me out. Smart man.
    "Mister Gramia. I suspect you desire the new job?" I asked amused.

    "Yes. And I'll talk with a few of my former colleagues in the engineering department. I really want to work on a real battleship, not the tin-cans we sell to the Centrality. Plus, triple pay! My girl has high maintenance costs." he said, blushing a bit, his aura eager and embarrassed at same time.

    I hoped he didn't have a blue twi'lek fiancee. Star destroyers were even higher maintenance.

    I checked my partitions, hacking his social media account. Red hair, blue eyes, full lips, and quite pretty human girlfriend. Was Scarlett Johanson in the movies? Lucky bastard.

    I checked on my own escort. Luxum was busy emptying a local mall of anything she fancied. We might need a cargo ship just to carry her stuff. Sigh. Buying a cargo ship then.

    What else? At the shipdock, a scared red twi'lek was waiting for me, without her Intelligence escort.
    I said goodbye to my recruit and went to meet the next. Manpower is also a strong superpower. Just need to hire the right people.

    On board HMS Greymist, Planet Scillal

    "Have a seat, pretty lady. Sadly, there are no crew onboard who required drinking, so.. I can't offer you anything" I said, faking an apology and kneeling for a breathing exercise. Eh, let's send a droid to buy some drinks, not like it mattered cost-wise. Celebrating life and all that.

    "I didn't come for drinks. The second code seemed to be Old Jedi, and the last was the Ruusan Jedi. What were the other two?" Vera asked, choosing to kneel on Luxum's pillow.
    Should I tell her it was meant for my Maids? Maybe later.
    "Well, the first is a code I put together from Je'daii teachings, the original force sect who vanished about 25 millenia ago. The third is the Dark Jedi code or Sith, as they call themselves. My old order didn't have poetry, they just did things, with experiments and cleverness." I answered, lowering the white fog and the mind-shield.

    And then, I felt it. The beginning of a bond, tentative and feeble. Teacher to student. What do you know? Vera trusted me!

    "And your order was destroyed, ten millennia ago? What was it called?" the red twi'lek asked, pulsing a strange ability, almost like seeing from shadow, but not quite. She had nice skills. Yummy.

    I feigned sadness and regret. "Ordu Aspectu. The Jedi massacred them all."

    "But you survived. And here you are, Immortal in the Force. Just like every single code says. And powerful beyond belief. Even when opening yourself, you're still mostly hidden and shrouded, impervious to my mind." Vera argued.

    "I was lucky. A series of unlikely accidents, ship crashing, the bioweapons keeping the Jedi away, and the Cosmic Force experiment succeeding after thousands failed. And then, a divine force interfering and restarting my consciousness here, in this age." I said truthfully. Well, not sure about luck...

    "Can I see it? How it is supposed to look like, when is not a failed experiment in this Cosmic force?" Vera asked with hope in her aura and voice.

    Should I? Nope. But I did have the soulsnare.

    "I can show you an almost complete experiment. This is a Sith spirit, living inside a Cosmic force crystal. Comparable to holocrons AI and Force ghosts, but material as well. But not actually a Sith holocron, those use the Living Force" I told her, bringing the soul snare close, for inspection.

    The Zeison Sha adept examined the crystal for hours, testing a hundred tricks with the Force, most of those failing to connect.
    She didn't know mind drain, so she used a force bond to interrogate the Sith.

    "A sorcerer of Tund. She says you killed her brothers..." she started to say, when I cut the connection and took it away. The Sith saw too much perhaps.

    "The Sith mix lies with truth all the time. They attacked me first. Not that mental domination would work on me, but whatever. They will learn their lesson" I said, faking a little anger.

    Still telling only the truth, if not everything.

    "You're still hiding things, even when being open. Why?"

    "I have to be cautious. The current Dark Lord of the Sith is now a leader in the Galactic Republic. Another Sith, Count Dooku is forming a Secessionist movement in the Inner Rim. And another Sith, that Gupta is trying to take over the Centrality. There's a huge war coming." I whispered in fake fear.

    "They're taking over the galaxy, and trying to start a genocide of the Jedi, and then impose their own teachings. Form another Sith Empire..." Vera mused in low voice, observing me with a strange focus.

    Another ability? I gotta learn some of those force abilities, they looked quite useful.

    "And exterminate all other force users, while at it. They don't share the force, these Dark Jedi..." I answered, just as my shard maid returned and noticed her pillow being conquered by someone else.

    Was that a pout in my shard's aura? Cute.
    "We have visitors, I see. I am Luxum, Honored Maid in Pef Empire" she proclaimed, shaking her droid's hand with the bewildered twi'lek.

    "Laasti Vera. Neophyte of Zeison Sha. Amazing power armor, by the way." Vera complimented her, and blinked confused trying to read the shard through the force.

    "Yes. Emperor Pef built it around me. Better than any money can buy." Luxum preened while showcasing her armor.

    "Not from Ordu Aspectu, I think?" Vera probed while glancing from me to Luxum.

    "Oh no. I'm not even two thousand years old. Just a teenager, compared to the Emperor. Then again, mostly everyone is." said Luxum, while copying my patented shoulder shrug. She learns the strangest things...

    "Yes...a two thousand years maid, makes sense" Vera answered, with a shake of red leku. Mesmerizing in a alien kind of beauty. Great, I like her.

    My droid returned with some drinks, and placed a crate with bottles beside Vera.

    "Pick whatever, I don't usually travel with organic beings on board." I said softly, gesturing at the crate.

    "Are all your Maids this, special, Emperor?" my red guest asked, after digging through the crate and having trouble deciding. I really should learn what the main species drink in this galaxy. My droid picked the first twenty bottles from the top of the menu. Let's hope they're potable.

    "Oh not at all. Dora is a green twi'lek, Vette is a blue twi'lek, Lira is a togruta, Celine is human and Wialu is ... human, perhaps?" Luxum said, with a tone of doubt in her droid voice.

    "I never asked. She looks human..." I replied with a shrug.
    "Corellian Brandy? A bottle costs 10 thousand credits..." Vera wondered, taking a sip from the bottle.

    "So? I made a billion credits by my second month. The Emperor is stupidly rich..." Luxum explained, opening a box full of life crystals and nova crystals and a hundred other crystals, picking them one by one and admiring them. Girls, whatever universe or species, glittering things drew them like...huh? Did Luxum do the hook for me?

    "The Maids are your wives, or concubines or what?" Vera asked, dangling from the line already.

    "Hmmm. Regular maids...somewhere between a lover and an admiral and household guard. The Voices are much more. They speak with my Voice after all. Prime ministers plus wives or such. They get to live forever, too." I answered with a light tone, the hook already sunk too deep to let the beauty escape.

    "Very interesting. Got room for one more Voice?" the red twi'lek asked, drinking some courage from her bottle. And sinker!

    "Perhaps. We'll see how you do as my adored Maid first, pretty girl" I replied politely, noticing another percent increase in my force connection. The breathing helped, but drawing from emotions helped as well. Maybe just as much.

    Emotion and peace eh?

    I'll have to look for that pretty zabrak, Ventress. A bit of passion might help as well.

    My new Maid was getting drunk fast but she nodded at me, feeling safe and content now.

    "Come here and give me a hug Vera. I can heal your scars." I said softly, drawing Vera towards me with telekinesis, till she hung from my armor, like a little girl lost in the woods.
    Luxum sat rapidly on her pillow, and watched the twi'lek's scars and traumas slowly being smoothed over and repaired, while the girl slept in my arms.

    "You're gonna need a bigger ship, Pef." my Iron Maid said, after the healing was over and Vera was laid to rest and sleep on a pillow.

    I was planning just that. A very big ship.

    En route to planet Gand, in hyperspace.
    Sixth month.


    My tour of the Centrality and my numerous holdings came to an end, two weeks after recruiting my newest Maid.

    The library I obtained on Oseon from Mutdah, the obese guy with strange tastes, was packed up and sent to my Empire, to form the basis of Sanctuary's Celestial Library.

    A hundred large transport vessels and a few hundred luxury yachts and expensive speeders and repulsor craft, were sent as well back to the Empire, to be reverse engineered and add to my ever increasing knowledge of star wars technology.

    And I sensed the Findsman who landed on Korriban die, though I couldn't sense what killed him.

    I will probably have to go myself, once I felt a little more confident with the force abilities possible in this universe.

    And they were pretty much anything you could think of, and thousands more that would never cross you mind.

    The Empire expansion has stalled in my absence though, only two new planets signing treaties of mutual defense and port rights for our navy.

    Vette and Celine had become minor celebrities instead, for clearing out pirates and slavers, and for selling heartbreaking songs records respectively. I even seen some holo reports about them, in the Centrality media.

    My Honored Maid title has become a cultural icon now. Like the Nobel prize.

    The Force did work in mysterious ways. My biggest failures may turn out to be the biggest wins.

    And Vette had a lot more of those strange cult around her, encouraging her to act even more audacious. Good grief! Like she needed encouragement to turn the world upside down. Those must have been her special project friends.

    Maybe I should trust my Maids more. Every time I picked one, there had been a slight tremor in the Force, like destiny changing or something. Maybe not all of them will be my ambassadors and diplomats.

    Everyone had a role in the force, and I might not be the main character in this play.

    Huh? There it was again, meditation thought waves, a certain Force resonance, whenever I got lost exploring the Force's will.

    Barely lasted a few seconds, but I felt rested and more balanced, for some reason.
    Guess I should do these things more...

    "It only happens when we're in hyperspace. A few seconds, and you burn like a beacon in the force. What were you thinking about?" Luxum asked, tilting her armor's helmet a little.

    "The will of the Force. What is my role to play." I answered softly, resuming the force memory implants I did for my Maids. Their learning speed resumed, a thousand times faster than just normal memorization and comprehension. That's how you're supposed to use mindtricks.

    When Obi-wan told those soldiers the thing about the droids, he did the same thing, implanting memories. False memories in his case.
    I just projected the texts and images from the datapads directly into the girls' minds. They would learn in a month what normally takes a hundred years to learn.

    My maids were both studying on their datapads, entire courses of galactic history and force sects and xenoarchaeology.

    There were too few experts on these exotic matters in the galaxy, so many of them dying while researching and exploring dangerous worlds and artifacts. More experts would be helpful.

    Guess I'll have to do it myself. Separate another partition, and add dead languages and cults and obscure papers published at one time, then forgotten. My memory capacity was near infinite after all, why not fill it?

    If Revan could do it, so could I. And perhaps more efficient and with fewer genocides.

    Sadly, no Dark Jedi has offered himself to be my next brain to pick. Yet.

    But at least I had a few promising leads for a couple holocrons. The Ordu Aspectu discarded their use early, preferring to connect with the Cosmic Force directly, without intermediation of a force matrix, and thus many of them died or became insane.

    Only the final crystal that Rur made, had the matrix of a holocron, the Unifying Force, along with the soul snare with the Cosmic Force and the missing link, the anchoring in the material of the living spirit. Three forces. Or maybe a single one, expressed through different aspects like the electromagnetic force.

    The Physical Force was the way to link with technology, and gave way to my technopathy ability.
    And with it, my mind and spirit were guided on the organized partitions of an AI, emulating a holocron and still remained sapient and sentient.
    All that I was missing to be complete and feel again, was a living body.
    The way the Sith holocrons worked. The life drain and the clone transfer. The Living Force.

    The Jedi were not exactly wrong when they accused Master Aqinos of being a heretic for teaching the Shards about the Force. Crystal beings were sentient and sapient, but to a Jedi, they would appear devoid of the Living Force, and thus...abhorrent. Heretic.

    I couldn't reverse the age of my shard maid for example, even if the process was quite simple for organic beings. Crystals beings lack stem cells. They lack a brain too, as I knew very well.

    But they also lacked the force matrix to remain anchored in the material like me and thus immortal. Could they be implanted with one, like cyborg frames in an organic being? Science will tell.

    "Luxum, what would your people say, if I took a few old shards, and tried to bring them back to youth?" I wondered aloud.

    "The old ones will likely refuse. Or postpone a decision for a thousand years, hoping you'll go away..."

    "They would do that, just to test my patience. Guess I'll try on a Tsil crystal first. They have a few amazing abilities as well" I mused, preparing orders for my Explorer Corps to acquire a few individuals. Hmmm. And my new maid's first mission. She was a telepath after all.

    The Greymist came out of hyperspace, and the space around Gand looked like a planetary invasion.
    A dozen Lucrehulks transport ships, each a ring 3 kilometers in diameter. Hundreds of other ships, both military vessels and minerals and fertilizer haulers. Gand had become important and rich, quite suddenly.

    Now, who is building lots of ships and may need gigatonnes of explosives?

    "Vera, take a frigate and a Findsman and go to Nam Chorios. Bring back some old tsils and maybe a young female. Luxum you go with her" I ordered as my ship docked with the Celestial Throne.

    'Okay' Luxum sent, while Vera stared after me, as I used telekinesis and dragged the Rakata force field emitter after me into the deeps of my space station.

    Vette was first to intercept me. Right off the ramp.

    "You nuked people! And WORSE! You did it without me!" she yelled, punching my shoulder in greeting.

    This felt like home already. Such a friendly home too.
     
  9. Threadmarks: 9
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    On board the Celestial Throne


    Vette calmed down after she found out nobody died in the pretty explosions.

    Almost calmed down.

    "You went and robbed 400 trillions. Then went and battled the Sith, and recruited them all, except those you drained. Did a nuclear firework display to hide them as they left. And then, you traveled all over the Centrality, buying stuff, like expensive ships and crystals and drinks..." Vette commented in a level voice, like reading from a pad.

    "Yes. That was my last month's report, Honored Maid" I answered in a flat tone.

    "And you did all that without me. Did it cross your tiny droid brain that I wanted to see things and blow up nukes too? I had to find out from the news. That's it, you're not going anywhere without me from now on!" Vette said in a higher and higher voice.

    "Anyone else feels the same?" I asked, looking around the other maids staring at us.

    "Luxum sent me a billion credits before she left. I'm good" Dora said calmly, not even raising her eyes from whatever holodrama she was watching. Huh, now that was a rational twi'lek, right there.
    "The drinks sounded interesting. Maybe if you added a nice steak beside them." Lira continued, sipping some pungent drink from her glass. Make a note, Togruta are carnivorous.

    "I have a Sith. Everything is perfect!" Wialu added, while poking the soul snare, with a delighted tone in her aura. The Sith inside the snare was screaming terrified, for some reason.

    "I composed ten new songs. You should go away more" Celine said, with a hesitant tone, and forced bravery in her aura. Huh, artists be weird everywhere.

    I turned around and went to speak with my Hands.

    Vette growled and ran after me, after sticking her tongue at her fellow maids.

    The small council was now housed on a different deck, and guarded by droids and ray shields.
    Zuckuss was using the treasury wisely then.

    When I entered the room, I noticed Mujilik as well. Guess the Findsmen needed a representative as well.

    "Hello friends. What's new?" I asked in polite voice, while sitting on my durasteel dais, the one painted gold.
    "We're getting overwhelmed, Pef. Not enough trained people for this many tasks. The Gand are barely a million people." Zuckuss said, now articulating the words himself, instead of using a vocoder.
    He grew lungs and felt much stronger in the Force. Amazing! I never knew the gand could adapt that fast. Then again, I did boost their force training a hundred times. No more primitive superstitions.

    "The droids and the Servants help, but they already outnumber us. Your Maid keeps bringing in more freed slaves, and the new factories keep making droids..." Zuralee complained as well. Sorry Zuralee, that's exactly what I intended. Civilization and progress, not a tribal society.

    "News of your wealth has spread, Emperor. Four hundred Findsmen have returned to Gand past month. They all want the promised females and ships. We don't have enough crews, even if we did buy ships." Mujilik complained as well. We'll use droids for crew. Easy.

    "Korriban?" I asked instead.

    "Beasts and storms and mad voices. Of the ten Findsmen, nine are dead and one went mad. He used a whole droid legion to steal some scrolls and armors and a red pyramid. And he wants to test you for the right to take it. Doesn't seem clinically mad, but..." he expplained, pointing at a holo. Yellow eyes?

    "He's not himself. I noticed. You keep him contained with ray shields?" I inquired, turning my armor's head to point at the four shields defending the command room on all sides. They still had a lot to learn. A cube has 6 sides not just the 4 walls. And worse, the force can see through walls. I'll need to fix that.

    "Yes. And our neural dischargers when his eyes glow." Mujilik added with a shudder. Possession perhaps? Sith ghosts were tricky.
    "Establish ray shields above and below the room as well. We'll let him sit in there for a month, till he learns enough from the holocron." I commanded, while patting Vette on her head. Poor girl was terrified.

    "He's already dead, isn't he?" she asked in a weak voice, looking at the holo with the cage.

    "As soon as he touched the Sith holocron with his skin. I remember giving you instructions how to handle the damn things. Droids only?" I mused softly, while reviewing the recordings from the Explorer ships. Damn organics.

    Landing in the middle of a storm, going outside the ship, without a sealed armor, grabbing things with their own hands... Wasting thousands of droids. Okay, I didn't care about the droids. Losing Findsmen was a different thing though.

    "As soon as they entered the atmosphere, they forgot their training and their instructions. Likuss knew mind-shield the best. He never left his ship. But after he jumped back towards Saleucami, he entered the cargo hold and took the red pyramid in his hands. No one else was on board. We scanned the whole ship three times." Zuckuss explained, fast forwarding the recordings till the fated moment.

    The Findsman Gand was meditating, then opened his eyes, looked around, then muttered something.
    "I am free." in sith language, going by my newly learned dead languages course.
    Then he went into the cargo hold and opened the safe and took out the holocron. And it glowed.
    Kriff. That's why the Dark Jedi were so dangerous. Damn Living Force.

    Who was even speaking in the holo? The Gand? The dead dark Jedi spirit? The holocron AI? Or the Living force itself?

    If it was any of the last two, it could be pretty bad.

    The Dark Jedi could be useful, depending on which one he was. A Sith Lord would be great. A Dark Gand would be pretty much useless.

    Anyway, the prison was made on an asteroid, in a newly discovered system, without any life.

    "The system is interdicted?" I asked to make sure.

    "A gravity interdictor cruiser and 10 corvettes, all droids" Zuckuss replied, feeling anxious for some reason.

    I wasn't. From everything I knew, I was the only one with technopathy. If my avatar will have children, then it may appear again, but till then, I should be the only one.
    "You know...I think I'm gonna go now, and kill a few pirates. Creepy monsters with yellow eyes, not really my thing." Vette proclaimed as she left, probably wisely.

    If I had to nuke the asteroid, she will be sorry she left so soon.

    Another Gand appeared in the room, his shape and face hidden by armor and personal cloak.

    "The third Hand sends regards. Operation 774 is complete. We have located the person named Ventress, and placed force tracers on her ship. Operation 665 is ongoing. 4 operatives are deceased, and 18 targets eliminated. No new infiltrators to report, except those known already. Operation 775 is complete, and we have acquired a midichlorian detector. The operative is returning. Operation 776 is ongoing. Operation 777 is difficult. We cannot locate our target. Operation 778 is ready to activate, the weapon is in position. Operation 779 is ongoing. For the Empire!" the Gand reported in a flat vocoder voice, then vanished in a personal cloak field.
    Not a good cloak, but then cloak tech was forbidden by the Republic. Must have cost the Black ops a few billion to get it. Now I'll have to duplicate and improve it, then mass produce it for all my operatives.

    Mujilik stared after the faint ionization trace and laughed. "Very dramatic, but I trained that boy. The thing doesn't mask his smell." he explained after a minute. Hmmm, insects do have amazing smell senses.

    "Noted, smell cancelers next." I said amused. Wait, more work for me. Not that amusing...

    "So, the Vong cannot be found by our Findsmen. We should send droids." Zuckuss mused, looking at me for approval. He was smart.
    Hmmm. It took Darth Vader two decades to think of that. Using droids to locate difficult targets. Then again, he had a lightsaber. What can you expect from someone hitting things with their hands?

    "We'll need to acquire smell detectors for our tracking droids. The Vong are biological after all. Project Culexus?" I asked, turning towards my right Hand.

    "The Ysalamir lizards we bought are on their way here. A thousand olbio trees as well." Zuckuss answered with confidence.

    Good. I like to be prepared.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    25 BBY
    Seventh month.


    Having our Lucrehulks upgraded with better shields and long range weapons and missiles would take lots of credits and work hours. Work hours...meant wasted time in my shipsyards.

    So I didn't, choosing to simply slap a hundred missile launchers around the outer circle, in groups of 10, and having each escorted with a few corvettes on their trade routes.

    Luckily, the Trade Federation had designed these monsters to be operated mostly by droids with a crew of a half a million droids each. Perfect for me, as I could program and retrain the droids for any tasks I needed.
    Ten Lucrehulks began exporting fertilizers and explosives towards Saleucami and Mon Cala and Klatooine and some larger Centrality worlds, with a minimal organic crew on board, normally a Findsman and a dozen Imperial Servants, and many more droids. The commerce had to go on, to make the Empire less reliable on my personal wealth.

    I kept two of Lucrehulks nearby for my next project, a really impressive Celestial Throne, made from two Lucrehulks mated together, one horizontal and one vertical.

    The missing section of the doughnut left almost enough room for a perfect fit. And thus, no more weaknesses inherent in the design.

    Then, I ordered a hundred more of these nice lumbering cargo ships. They came at a really cheap price, about 50 millions each. Soon, all the Lucrehulks available for sale on the free and black markets will be gone anyway, as the Trade Federation will begin converting their trade fleet into battleships and command ships.

    Might as well grab whatever ships the smaller corporations had, sometimes buying the entire company if it was in debts. Logistics in a galactic war meant millions of cargo ships, to supply troops and bases everywhere. I reserved a trillion credits for this purpose. Ships do get blown up in war.

    Also, the first prototype Dakka corvettes emerged from my shipyards at Scillal . I prefered a half cone shape, since it allowed the top turret the best firing arc, all around. And a heavy laser should be sufficient to cripple or destroy a ship of the same size, in just a few shots. The medium double turret underneath housed a medium ion canon and a medium maser, in case the ship would need to engage droid or biological targets. The main role was still a missile ship, with the 20 launchers it had.
    Perhaps in the future, I may add a pair of wings and have it capable of launching proton torpedoes or carry a couple of starfighters. But let's not give the Confederacy too many ideas, too soon.

    Another desolate system, with large iron-nickel asteroids was designated Greyforge, and my engineers and droids had began gathering asteroids into large clumps, and bombarding the clumps with corvette lasers to begin heating them and get them melt together.

    The end result was to be a blob of tempered iron, 20 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide and tall.

    Then carve the inside a little, install a hundred heavy linear accelerators going along the spine, a thousand heavy maser turrets, a thousand missile launchers and a hundred reactors, some particle and ray shields and a Rakata forcefield. Wouldn't be anything the galaxy has seen before, and it will probably only have full efficiency in systems with strong force nexii. But any target in front of it will feel sorry. MACs were gonna rock their world.

    And it's armor won't be a few meters thick, but 2 kilometers thick. Only iron, but maybe it could be imbued later.

    Only problem, it was gonna be suuuuuper slow. At most Hyperdrive 5.0, though I didn't want to waste a hundred capital ship reactors on it. So most likely 6.0 hyperdrives. Wasn't gonna flank and blitz fleets, but it could crush entrenched defenses.
    A few salvos would theoretically crumble planetary shields.

    Not a Death Star, but will only cost about 1 billion credits and not 800 trillions. Truly the Sith had little regard for hard earned money. I would have to rob two or three more megabarons to afford a Death Star.

    And even if I could, why risk so much work for a single lucky shot to make it vanish?

    I can have 10 thousands Meteor assault battleships like the first one, for only 10 trillions...

    Sure, I would also need a thousand brand new star systems to mine for asteroids, but the galaxy was large enough.

    A faint tingle in the Force. Vera and Luxum are returning from Tsil's homeworld, Nam Chorios.

    Hmmm, Luxum seems almost ready now. It's a strange leap of faith, to give someone else the right to speak and do things in your name. What if she secretly hates you? What if she brings down enemies on your head? What if she plots and kicks you out from your throne? What if she acts really stupid and crashes the economy, or burns entire planets for fun?

    The stronger my Empire becomes, the more power my Voices will have.
    People will want to control them, for whatever reason.

    Open another partition. VSS project. The Voice Secret Service. A hundred operatives for each Voice, half synthetics, a quarter force users, a quarter professionals with experience in counter intelligence. Operating costs for training and equipment and salaries, 1 billion per year. Nothing.

    Buy a MC80 star cruiser for each of them. 7 billion credits was still nothing. Compared to their well being and safety, credits were nothing.

    Vera stopped in front of a large transparisteel window, and stared outside, watching the Lucrehulks mate, their entire structure disassembled and floating in orbit above Gand.

    "When you said he's way more powerful, did you mean this?" Vera asked her fellow maid.

    "Dunno about telekinesis, I can barely lift my own armor for a few seconds. I meant with the money. We started at the same time and finished at the same time, but he made 80 thousands times more credits. And terraforming Gand might have been even harder" Luxum replied, petting a Tsil crystal in her hand.

    'Greetings Emperor Pef, I am Sunlight-seen-through-mist.' the tsil sent telepathically, projecting an image of a ray of sunlight descending through clouds. Huh.

    A poet crystal.
    I composed a visual image of the Je'daii code, and sent it back.

    'Hey, you're pretty cool for a droid' the tsil sent, showing a droid dancing between lights and shadows.

    "I am calling it Ray, for ray of sunshine" I decided, ripping off the next instalment, like a boss.

    'Short and sweet, like a cookie. Human tongue loves it' the tsil send back, showing an unknown human girl eat a cookie. Probably someone who it seen on Nam Chorios.

    But still, it caught exactly my meaning.

    "Let's get you some clothes dear lady" I said, bringing down a Justice droid and fitting the crystal inside.

    Now, let's relinquish OS limits, allow crystalline operator access to motor functions, vocoder print, repulsor beams, and start imprinting basic galactic and bipedal locomotion mechanics.

    The tsil droid stumbled, trying to stay balanced, then used the repulsor beam to stabilize.

    "Staying balanced is hard work. Sorry I made fun of it, Mighty Emperor" Rey spoke all the sudden.

    "No worry, everyone has to learn. Staying still is easy, but for running, you need two legs and lots of balance" I explained, and waited.
    Vera looked at me confused then at the droid Tsil.

    "You're not actually talking about running, are you?" she asked, a bit of awe in her aura.

    "Jumping comes next, and then landing. You need perfect balance to land and not get hurt" I continued, sending out a short sequence of gymnasts landing from the bars and animals jumping after prey and missing, rolling through dirt.

    "Landing seems really dangerous. I prefer to remain flying" the Tsil argued, using the repulsor beams on its droid to stay afloat.

    "Okay, you're both weird and I'm tired. Where is that jacuzzi I heard of?" My red twi'lek maid Vera asked annoyed, and left towards the door I pointed with subtlety.

    "So. You're an ambassador or what?" I asked, now that the organics were no longer present.

    "A what. But special. Just like you" the Tsil responded, gesturing at Luxum and making her stumble. Then it tried the same towards my armor, but I barely even sensed it. A thousand times weaker.
    The Tsil had some control over technology then. Better than Shards had. But not on my level.

    "Well then. Luxum is ready for her Voice. She'll be your teacher, untill you become more familiar with force abilities. I saw your race being farmed for droid motherboards, let's try to avoid that fate, agreed?" I asked, tilting the armor's head a little.

    "Much to learn I have. Good friends we will be" Ray answered, patting Luxum on her head.
    The mental images evoked running in the rain, hand in hand, and jumping into puddles.

    Great. Another joker.

    Asteroid field, System 009, Pef Empire
    25 BBY


    "If you go mad, is there anyone who can kill you?" Wialu asked, a bit worried.

    "Probably not. Maybe a black hole, depending if I learn enough or not" I answered amused.

    "Kriff. Go and suck his brains. Knowledge is more valuable than safety" she concluded, as I boarded a shuttle and began my long awaited trip towards learning the Dark Jedi teachings.
    My own mind was armored with all the tricks and hiding abilities I could learn, from Wialu and Vera to a Jal Shey belt that supposedly kept you safe.

    I landed on a landing pad leading to a vault like door, guarded by droideka and missile launchers.

    Everything seemed eerily quiet, but that was possibly because of the vacuum.

    Now, let's see. The droids seemed fine, their programming not changed or otherwise interfered with.

    I sent the the first code and unlocked the door, then the second code to disarm the nuke.

    Into the breach!

    Floating inside, a battalion of droids, armed with every type of weapon in existence. A bit paranoid, but then, this was star wars.

    There was always someone out to get you.

    A longer trip, and then I reached another door, with another nuke. Clever.
    Behind that, a red and crackling ray shield separated the living quarters from the vacuum outside.

    "Immortal Emperor, you finally came. The voices are here and won't stop..." Likuss spoke, having grown lungs and vocal cords while in captivity.

    I produced two soul snares and rolled them inside.

    Immediately, a red lightning sparked from the Sith holocron hitting the first crystal with no effect.

    Some kind of automated reaction?

    The second snare floated towards the Gand and touched his forehead gently.

    A minute later, the aura in the room vanished, leaving me with a gand spirit inside the Soul snare.

    I brought it out and started draining it cautiously.

    Okay this was something. Dark healing was useful. Making lightsabers and turning crystals red, not really. Telekinesis, but way weaker than mine. Mental domination, elemental shaping and directing. Oh. I could use lighting now, not just hold it.
    Lightsaber combat, mostly Makashi form and dual wield. And, that's about it. The code I already knew.

    So, merely a Dark Gand then. The holocron master was named Andeddu, but no spirit was floating around.

    Did I overreacted? I thought Old Sith were more learned and powerful...

    'What are you, I sense no life in you?' a voice spoke in my head, piercing through all my defenses.

    Huh? Was this Andeddu or a holocron AI?

    'I'm not AI you fool. Now, grant me a worthy body, some Jedi Master if you can find, and I'll teach you everything I know' the voice spoke again, trying to enforce its words with domination and compulsion and memory imprints.

    Redirect all that to a small partition modeled after the Gand I just drained.
    The compulsion didn't work, but it did let me know something was still alive inside. And trying to get out.

    "Hop into the crystal Lord Andeddu. The pyramid has the stay here. The law is clear." I spoke aloud.

    'The soul catcher? Yes, it should be large enough for my mind. And then we find a Jedi Master. Ah, there's been many years since the last Sith has visited me. Bane was his name, I believe?'

    'Darth Bane, about a thousand years ago. He killed all the Sith and let the Jedi rule since then' I answered with the Gand partition.

    'Hah. We Sith don't share knowledge easily. Darth Bane became sith'ari, holding all knowledge at once. But we can rule the galaxy again, acolyte' the Sith sent me, with a strong conviction in his thoughts.

    A wisp of a Force ghost emerged from the holocron and started bonding with the crystal, slowly and cautiously.

    'Soon, the Malevolence will rule the stars. Soon we will have our revenge' Adenddu proclaimed, as the transfer was finished.

    Yeah, that sounds corny. Really, malevolence?

    I called the snare outside, and began poking at it, draining little by little on different partitions.

    'What are you doing? This feels...you're draining me, all my knowledge, all my deeds...disappear..." the spirit complained.

    Man the guy was loaded with skills.

    A hundred different abilities, from alchemy and astronavigation, to force storms and energy absorption. Revitalize and wound, and finally the jackpot, transference.

    And strangely, I had almost discovered it on my own. It was a radically more advanced version of the Voice bond. But it did seem to use Living force instead of Cosmic force.

    Guess it takes a Sith to take an administrative and familial bond, and turn it to eleven, overwriting the mind of the receiver. Or to transfer yourself into an inanimate object. Or into a weaker mind or a clone.

    The holocron seemed empty of life now.

    I disabled the shield and went to see what was inside.

    Mostly the same things, without a couple more secret teachings, like transference.

    Wialu will be ecstatic to learn it all. And to think it was called Holocron of Heresies It was a diamond mine.

    And now, I had my bait for Ventress.

    As I left the asteroid, I had to send the snare with the dregs of Andenddu's soul towards the sun, to let him enjoy immortality in hell.
    I replaced the crystal instead of a missile warhead and fired it.
    The crystal would only take a few hours the reach the sun.

    The prison was left behind, a droid with a Disruptor rifle evaporating the corpse of Likuss.

    Who knows, maybe I'll need the prison again, some sunny day.
     
  10. Threadmarks: 10
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    On board New Celestial Thorne, the Redbox deck.
    25 BBY
    Eighth month.


    If I wasn't an AI now, the strain of juggling of the intelligence operations would have been too great.

    But for now, they only took 0.034 percent of my available mind.

    Operation 665 was progressing as planned, pitting House Pelagia and House Mecetti against each other, a few years sooner than they would have in the original timeline. Only this time, their war won't devastate the entire sector and kill billions.

    Attacks and counter-attacks against both sides, ships vanishing in transit, various unprotected heirs dying mysteriously.

    I sent the final okay, and both houses ended at once. Two different bioweapons, each tailored for the gene markers of their families, then electropulse weapons erasing any electronic records and destroying the remaining nano-gene droids.
    And then another heist, stealing all their credits and the library with holocrons. Luxum was on site directing the electronic warfare along with Ray. Over a thousand deaths, from family and administrators and palace guards, plus whatever crew the ships had.

    This might bring us in the attention of the Jedi or the Sith, but the bounty was to big to let it go to waste.

    Droids carrying ysalamiri in life support backpacks rose from under the sea, and began looting the library, with Luxum staying hidden at the edge of the system. Greymist was running silent, without life support or gravity, and hidden in the light.

    Our first holocron had been balanced out a little, as I imprinted some Jedi and Fallanassi abilities into it. Once the spirit was removed, the holocron proved much less dangerous to use, though I still restricted a few types of Mind alter for Master levels.
    That was myself and Wialu only, so far.

    Experimenting with mental force abilities like psychosis and rage and fear and terror was quite damaging for organic psyches.

    'Droids returning to ships. Extraction begins now' Luxum sent through her Voice bond. I did manage to make the connection stable and long range now, after studying the Sith holocron at length.
    The first ship containing a Jedi holocron jumped away, towards the core, while the ship with the Sith holocron jumped towards Hutt space. Then the next ship jumped heading towards Endor, and another towards Mandalore. More ships jumped away, some empty, some with holocrons on board. 10 minutes later, the seismic charges went off, sinking the platforms at the bottom of the ocean.

    And then 10 minutes later, the last cookie in the jar, an electromagnetic torpedo I learned from my Sith friends, though just a weak one, detonated under the sea and erased all trace of a robbery.

    Everything alive for 20 kilometers died, mainly fish and other aquatic life, creating a disturbance in the force and muddling attempts at retrocognition.

    If anyone traces the weapon, it will lead to the crazy magicians of Tund. Always be prepared to blame the Sith. Nobody would doubt them being crazy or capable of mass-murder.

    'Jumping towards Felucia, see you next week' Luxum sent and vanished.

    Hyperspace still messed up the Voice, unless we traveled close by.

    In the corners of the room and along the walls, I had olbio tree in large pots, with a few ysalmiri hiding between the leaves, leaving only the large holographic table and a few meters around it, not covered by the force blank bubbles.
    Around the redbox room, I had the red energy screens and around that, armor of ten different types, layered one over the other.

    A few trading ships, hailing from Serrano and Felucia and Fondor had arrived just last week, looking for valuable explosives to buy.

    Maybe just commerce, maybe something else. I rather be prepared.

    Wialu and Vera had also donned power armor and went to Lotho Minor, under the guise of purchasing a Lucrehulk load of old droids and cybernetic scrap. But not just for that, our old friend Darth Maul was living there, eating garbage. Wialu wanted to drain a real Sith herself, and so I pointed her towards the easiest one.

    Maybe Palpatine has taught him something nice, though I doubted it.

    Then again, it was Palpatine. Who knew what the man had in his mind. I will have to wait a few years to find out.

    And Lira and Celine went to speak with Ventress, who was at this time still ruling over Rattatak

    They had a legion of droids with them, and the VSS, and a Mon Calamari cruiser, so they should be fine.

    I hoped.
    I left the room and nearly crashed into Vette.

    "Why are you staring at me, got something on my face?" the blue twi'lek asked with a dubious voice, wiping the corner of her mouth.

    "You like the cruiser I bought for you?" I asked amused, noticing she ditched her escort somehow. Maids only warranted a pair of Uulshos justice droid, but anyway...

    "Yea, it's totally cool. Except is too big! Can't catch any pirates in it. I want my frigate back!" she yelled at me, just as her escorts arrived running at high speed.

    "You can use the fast escorts for that task, adored maid." I replied, tilting my head towards the escort. Huh, got them locked in an elevator while she stepped out. Childish jokes.

    "I know I can, I studied the damn books! But, it's not the same if other people shoot them. Feels...fake, like having sex with water instead of a hulky male." Vette argued, her voice decreasing as she became embarrassed.

    "I promise I will sex you up soon, dear maid. I just need a year or so" I whispered, dragging her to my chest.

    "And it better be good. Or I will leave you and buy myself a harem. I am quite rich myself, I can afford a few boytoys..." she muttered in my chest.

    "Shhhh. Our love is hard and strong. We will pass this test. And you can model my body to be whatever you want. I'll send you my initial designs" I added with a lighter tone.
    "Oh. Oh! I can build my own boytoy. This may be worth the wait..." Vette said, in deep contemplation, while her breathing became a little more abrupt.

    "Now go do whatever, Honored Maid, I have an Empire to build too" I said, pushing her in the arms of her escort.

    They latched tightly, and anchored themselves with metal leashes to her belt.

    "Idiot! Now I can't sneak around anymore" she yelled after me, as I glided away on my repulsor beams.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    On board New Celestial Thorne
    25 BBY


    The Meteor battleship has began cooling, the exterior at least, and so I prepare to visit the Greyforge system and start putting the metal devouring strain to use.

    "Zuckuss my friend, take 2 hours every day to meditate, and focus on growing five fingers on your hands. It's unseemly to be my Hand and only have 3 fingers. People will say I should find a bigger hand. Zuralee, you too. And tone down the claws, we use elegant weapons like nukes and masers to gore our enemies." I said, almost joking.

    "Emperor Pef, you crazy droid. Who cares about female nails? Next you're gonna teach Zuralee what eggs to crack" Zuralee answered, without bothering to turn towards me. Hmmm, she was adjusting our budget and was cranky. And pregnant. Back away slowly...
    "That's why females stay at home Pef. So the warriors can survive next day and bring home food." Mujilik commented wisely. His own female was also pregnant, and lived permanently in a jacuzzi now. Her back hurt, or so she claimed.

    Arrange another jacuzzi for my pregnant Hand apartment. She took a mate from the returning Findsmen, a rather famous one.

    "My home is where Pef is." Dora, my green twi'lek Voice added, and hugged my armor with one hand.

    I toned down the bond, not sure if the adoration was real or enforced.

    Dora didn't care and remained clinging to me. Okay then, she was just clingy.

    "Alrighty then, I'm off to Greyforce. Don't blow up my Empire while I'm gone." I added with a more serious voice, lifting Dora in my arms and gliding away.

    I entered my own apartment and started preparing another armor set for Dora.

    "Sorry Pef. I'm the only Voice left, I shouldn't come. Take Vette, she'll love the battleship" Dora said softly, caressing my chest, where the crystal self was hiding.

    "You're right. Duty and all. But you still have to wear the armor. I'll make it have breasts and leku, and paint half of it green. Sounds okay?" I answered, feeling a little stupid.
    "No leku, just leave room inside. But a feminine shape would be nice. You saw how the Captains jump straight when Vette runs around in armor. They think it might be you"

    "Or maybe it's because she drags her escort too fast and they scratch the floors." I answered instead, pointing with my head at Vette, who just arrived, holding the leashes of her droid escorts.

    "You! You were going to leave without me again. Lucky my friends told me and I got here fast enough. Check out my hands!" Vette yelled, brimming with energy and excitement.

    Her armor's gloves were tingling with the Force, imbued with another strange ability by the weird cult who lived on her ship. The back of her hands sported glowing crystals now, somehow embedded in the phrik alloy. Which lightsabers couldn't cut.

    "Yeah, they glow. What does it do?" I asked amused.

    "No idea. But looks cool. Oh! boob armor. I want some too. And leku!" Vette exclaimed, bouncing up and down and smashing the Justice droids into the floor. I let the leashes go, and had the droids sent for repairs.

    "No leku. Make hers half blue as well" Dora intervened, holding a single finger up.

    Vette calmed down at once, her mood disappearing. How did Dora do that? It was like magic. Only without the Force.
    "So, I can come and see the battleship?" the blue Maid asked meekly, and her aura mingling respect and awe.

    "Yes Vette, I spoke for you. But behave. The phages may eat you both, if Pef makes a mistake" The green Voice said softly, lowering her finger. Magic.

    And one hour later, I finished armoring up my Voice and my Maid, and made both of their armors appear feminine and sport their skin color, around midriff, and arms and legs.

    "The face and neck too" Dora demanded, checking herself in a mirror.

    Huh. They used me as a makeup artist. The sex better be worth it.

    Alrighty then, time to drag the old Celestial Throne to Greyforge, and park it there for eternity. The biolab inside was too dangerous to keep around a populated trade route. People may poke their noses inside, and end all life in the galaxy, by accident or not.

    Maybe hollow out an asteroid, and hide it inside as well. Yea, that sounded great.

    I ordered the droids inside to go full alert, then locked down the armored doors.

    Arrange our MC80 cruiser to form up, along with a few corvettes, push the spacestation with a few Corellian freighters, those that well all know and love, looking like a falcon.
    And jump.

    A tiny tingle in the force, like something was wrong.

    Vette looked around, then at her gloves. "Someone is following us. In hyperspace" she muttered, not really sure how she knew.

    But I've seen the movies.

    A Jedi, and very good.

    Seems my stunts weren't unnoticed after all.

    Oh well. It was star wars. Jedi everywhere, untill they all died.

    Now, what could a jedi want from poor old me?

    "What does the Jedi want?" I asked aloud, making the Findsmen near us jump in surprise.

    "Location of Greyforge, I assume, Emperor" The Gand Captain answered immediately, but hesitant.

    I turned my head towards his XO.
    "Something aboard the old throne station, Emperor" the Findsman said, more confident.

    "Vette?" I said turning towards my maid.

    "Something aboard this cruiser. So, either you or my friends..." she whispered, holding her hands in front, and gazing at the crystals sparkle.

    "Attacking me would be an act of war. It's not an official mission after all. The Jedi would announce themselves and stroll right in.
    Something else then. Think about it, all of you." I explained, then turned and left the bridge, heading towards the empty starfighter hangar.

    Time to speak with the Jal Shey, no matter how creepy they felt.

    They wouldn't hurt Vette, since they owed her stuff. But plotting against me, or being hunted by the Jedi?

    Either of those things were equally possible.

    "Pef, don't hurt them. They don't fight..." Vette asked me with a pleading voice.
    "Everyone fights, adored maid. They just use subtler means. Diplomacy and war...same goals after all" I mused, while the elevator brought us to the hangar deck.

    "They value courage and friendship. But you saw the belts. Those are good things, right?" she asked, hesitant and afraid.

    "The Jedi have murdered many force sects. For strange reasons, sometimes" I answered as we entered the hangar and the weird temple thing that the Jal Shey had built.

    Strange workshops and diagrams, scrolls and scripts, nothing alike anything I seen with Jedi or Sith or any other sect.

    "I am Peet Rigal, Mentor of Jal Shey" a reptilian kind of biped said, remaining straight. So, now bows. Cool.

    "We have a Jedi in pursuit. And...I think they came for you" I said, going straight to the point. They should know who I was.

    "Religion and pursuit of truth always come in conflict. It's inevitable. We'll leave" the Mentor said, with a long sadness in his aura.

    Used to being chased and hunted. No longer fighting it.
    "There's no need. The Jedi will be extinct in a few years. I can offer sanctuary untill then. A place to live and stop running. Maybe learn new things" I mused, looking over the strange group. 14 people of different races, two families with a kid. All force-users, if aligned with the Physical force the most.

    For Jedi and Sith, and their obsession with the Living Force, they would appear defective.

    "You know this. You've seen it like it has already happened. We could be free at last..." A woman said, stepping closer and gazing at my armor.

    "Maybe. The ones who kill them won't stop with just the Jedi. They want all the Force, for themselves" I explained, floating around and scanning everything in my memory.

    So much knowledge of the Force, lost and forgotten due to the fanaticism.

    The aligning of this diagram, seemed almost like a Rakata piece in my shield.

    A human stood apart looking at me, with distrust.

    "And you? What do you say?" I asked, pointing a him. His face trembled for a second, almost like he was wearing another skin underneath.
    "I say nothing, I'm just a neophyte." He answered, and pathed his way towards a door to his right, with his eyes.

    Really, trying to run, while in hyperspace, on a spaceship with tens of thousands of droids on board?

    As my head turned toward their leader, the man took off, moving at hyperspeed and almost reaching the door.

    Almost.

    I had my discharger trained on him anyway. He fell to the floor, and began spasming and changing faces.

    A shapeshifter. Now, the Jedi made sense.

    "Errr. You know Pef, I knew this trip was gonna be interesting..." Vette muttered beside me.

    "So, not all Jal Shey can shapeshift then?" I asked to make sure.

    "A target for the Jedi investigator we found. And another dead neophyte to mourn" another Jal Shey commented wisely, his species looking like a blue monkey.
    Hey, if he was green and older, he'd be similar to Yoda!

    They even spoke the same.

    I went and poked inside the shapeshifter's brain a little. Planet Zolan. Didn't ring a bell. Bounty hunter. Getting close.

    Stealing things and knowledge. Pretty close now.

    To bring back and liberate his race from oppression. Okay, he was a good guy, of sorts. Only with murder and theft.

    A bit like me then.

    The ship dropped of hyperspace, and soon the rest of the fleet did as well.

    Along with an extra ship. Sleek, painted black and stealthed. No kyber crystal.

    Okay then. This Jedi was either a loser, forgetting his lightsaber, or a superpower ignoring the use of such.

    I probably wasn't that lucky. It will be the latter.
    The black ship hid behind an asteroid, powering down. Some strange ability, distorting the force and the space around it.

    If I wasn't already expecting it, I might have missed it.

    Damn it. My prison was in another system too.

    This just wasn't my lucky day.

    "I think it's a woman" Vette added, holding a crystal glove to her ear.

    Great, now my barely sensitive maid was more capable than me.

    Greyforge system, Pef empire
    Aboard HMS Liberator, a Pef Empire cruiser


    "Okay, priorities first. Vette, take your friends in a corvette and jump back to Gand. Dora will take care of them." I ordered, while starting to delve into the Force, and taking over the droids on the ship.

    The Jedi won't take long...
    "I don't wanna leave. If you fight her it's gonna be epic. A legend to tell my children..." Vette argued, crossing her arms under her armor's shield emitters.

    "And you might die, and never have children. Your Emperor is right, this time" the woman who spoke before argued, and somehow convincing my maid to obey, with just a few words. I had to learn how to do that...

    They started packing things up, dropping some in hurry.

    Sigh. The time to panic is after you survive. Organics!

    I took over the evacuation, grabbing everyone and everything with telekinesis, while the corvette I called came about and docked with the hanger. A minute later they were already accelerating away.

    I might have squeezed them a little while the floating train embarked, but at least they were safe. Now, let's see about the shapeshifter...

    Where did it go?

    Hyperspeed was so annoying. The guy was already running towards another hangar, where I had a few shuttles.

    And he dodged the droids trying to intercept. Force-user and quite good.
    I sped myself as well, and sprinted after, trying to get a bead with another discharger shot.

    Just as I reached the hangar, a black wing of a black fighter swerved and clipped the changeling, then came to a stop abruptly, probably with telekinesis.

    Then the cockpit opened and a beautiful blonde woman jumped out, moving even faster, and grabbing my prey. Jedi robes, check. Super powerful in the Force, check. Elongated ears...check.

    "Errr, Miss Jedi, that's my prisoner..." I said weakly.

    I was wearing a 3 ton power armor, with shields and weapons and an assassination droid underneath, and the woman was still intimidating. That piloting skill and speed...

    The woman stopped, turning her head towards me, while her hand was pulsing with white light into the shapeshifter.

    Healing most likely.

    "You would be Pef? I heard of a new droid Emperor, but...is the name Master Aqinos familiar?" she asked, holding a palm towards me.
    What, the sunesi heretic on Dweem? Why would...Telepathy?

    Let's see...peace, love and understanding? Really?

    "The guy wants to save his race...some sort of occupation force on Zolan. You defend slavers?" I asked, feigning confusion.

    More droids arrived, forming a perimeter around us.

    "You won't like what happens if we come to blows..." the woman sent, while showing me a scene where all the droids were trashed and my armor was split open.

    So, that's how you play it.

    "You're in my empire, on my ship. I think you should reconsider your situation, Miss Jedi" I said politely, lifting a finger and having my droids point weapons toward her.

    "Kriff. It's always that kind of negotiation" the woman replied, lifting her hands.

    Good, I have a Jedi...
    Hey, the starfighter shot me!

    My whole armor took a tumble, untill I reset the droid OS and my shields and repulsor beams.

    When I landed, the droids were all fried by a familiar type of electro pulse weapon, my armor had a gaping hole in the chest, and the Jedi was already leaving with my prisoner.

    'Good armor' the woman sent just before she jumped.

    Yeah.

    Just got robbed. By a Jedi!

    I floated back to the bridge, the Captain and the Servants staring at me like I was a miracle.

    "Jedi suck" I said, explaining everything.

    The Findsmen nodded in agreement.

    A Servant came and placed a bandage over my chest. Now I looked like a kriffing walking wounded.

    The ship the woman had looked similar to the one Darth Maul had in movies, with arching wings on its tail. What was it's name...Scimitar. Tracking through hyperspace as well.
    And those abilities. The woman was good. Too bad she wasn't friendly.

    "Emperor, do you need to rest?" a Servant asked, holding a cup of tea in her hands.

    Right.

    "No. Let's start the operation, we're gonna need to move the ship somewhere else, and soon" I muttered, bringing out the capsule from the old Celestial Throne and starting holing out the interior of the Meteor.

    The Jedi had at most seen a blob of melted asteroids and some beginning of shipyards. Nothing would scream super dangerous dreadnaught. Not yet.

    Just a new empire, mining stuff and building corvettes to fight slavers and pirates.

    I got lucky, after all.

    If she had come for the holocrons...

    Damn it. They'll have to be kept in ysalamiri fields at all times.
    With Masters like these, appearing out of nowhere, I had to be more cautious.

    "That seems correct Emperor. I'll tell my fellow Findsmen to avoid Jedi like snakes" the Gand beside me said approvingly.

    And now I was speaking my mind out loud.

    Like a defective droid.

    I crawled away, while the phages devoured the intestines of the asteroid, and made room for hyperdrives.

    An hour later, I sent the nano-phage cloud into the sun, and crawled home in defeat. Metal devouring nano-phages were too dangerous to keep around. I saved a tiny sample in a glass box, behind forcefields though, in case I might need it again, someday.

    Conquering the galaxy wasn't fun anymore!
     
  11. Threadmarks: 11
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    On board the Celestial Throne
    25 BBY


    Vette looked at my head, where the armor had a photoreceptive band then lowered her eyes towards the hole made by the proton torpedo in my chest. Now I knew how the Death Star felt, before it died. Cheated.

    "I thought you said Jedi are weaklings...nothing more than crazed fanatics with glowing sticks..." she wondered, patting her own armor on the chest with worry.

    "Most of them yes. This one didn't even have a lightsaber. And because of that, she was stronger, faster and smarter. I can deal with a hundred lightsabers, but a smart Jedi? Kriffing dangerous..." I explained, while dismantling my old armor and starting assembling a Cataphract power armor variant.

    Quadruple phrik alloy all over, no matter the cost. 100 millions per armor was still nothing. Barely worth an entire space station.

    "Huh, if you were organic, she'd make a good wife, eh?" Dora asked, rising an eyebrow with amusement. Her eyes lingered lustily over my droid chassis, like I was in my underwear now. Which, I kinda was...
    "Except Jedi don't marry...most of the time" I muttered, running defrag and debug over the droid processors. 90% fried when the pulse went off. Only my newly learned energy absorption saved the day. Maybe coat the droid in an ionizing resistant coating? Some kind of artificial skin?

    I called a new droid and went in bathroom to change. I mean, exit the chassis and enter the new one.

    Open new partition, project Slipskin. Test organic materials for ion weapons resistance. A Vong captive would be useful now.

    Maybe one of the dragon species floating the galaxy in vacuum?

    I could make myself a dragon avatar too...

    "Pef, you're taking a leak?" Vette yelled from outside the bathroom door.

    "I'm changing my clothes!" I yelled back, annoyed. The girl was fun, but also highly irritant.

    "What, you were naked in there?" she asked curious, after I walked out in my new droid. She kept walking around my new chassis, and checking me up and down.
    "I already saw him naked. Even took a bath with him, he's so cute..." Dora commented, her attention focused on her datapad, and my plans for Centrality.

    Always have your plans looked at by a novice. If they spot obvious flaws, makes your chances of accomplishing the task much safer. And Dora had already spotted a few. A droid chassis had no chance to compete for scrivener elections. Damn discrimination and racism. I'll have to wait for an organic avatar.

    "No way...you two...in the jacuzzi...naked..." Vette stuttered, looking at us with a mix of emotions, from envy, to embarrassment and arousal. What was the crazy girl thinking it happened in the tub? I wasn't a crystal dildo...

    "If only my blue and fabulous maid would love me more, and think about my goals! I could make her my Voice, and share glorious baths with her too!" I proclaimed, punching the sky dramatically.

    "Not fair! Everyone has fun and adventures except me! I'm going out. The Hutts might have found new weapons for me" Vette complained, stomping out of my apartments, and bashing a droid with her power armored hand. Another 1123 credits...
    Whatever. Let's see now, add a pair of droideka sensors on my helmet, since they used different frequencies than just visible light. Might come handy someday, if another sneaky force-user blindsides me.

    Extendable vibroblades in the armguards.

    Micro-missile launcher. Concussion, incendiary, ion charge, flashbang.

    Sleeping gas dispenser, acid capsule, nerve gas...yeah. Sometimes I might need to be ultra lethal.

    I'll need to learn the tricks from Jal Shey too. Those gloves were amazing. Maybe imbue my armor too.

    Now let's see. Alchemy rituals. Call on the spirits, let your mind bring the symbols from your desires...errr.

    A violet sphere with Latin words floating around appeared around the power armor, the words red and blue, and linked with golden threads.

    Damn magic. Latin wasn't gonna be invented for a billion years, and that in a galaxy far far away.

    Whatever. Potentia...that was strength. Animus... was spirit.

    On the vibroblades, scribe Vici...conquer.

    On the photoband, scribe Vidi...seeing.

    On the chest, defendarius. Pretty much rune magic. And on the boots, Mobilitas et Levitas.

    My future Astartes soldiers will wear similar armor one day, while they battle the xeno and defend the realms of men...
    The magic subsided, and I began examining the new armor. Didn't seem much different. The words were just faint golden tattoos.

    Let's hop in and power up with the Force.

    Ah. Much better now. I could see more clearly, even change bands and see where Vette has dropped cake on the floor.

    Okay, maybe a bit too much.

    'Pef. The evil woman wants to know how you found her and how many holocrons you have' Lira, my togruta Voice, sent through the bond, clear as if she was in the room. That was the animus, perhaps.

    'I found her reading the past. And I have more than one holocron. Ask her how many she has read' I answered at once. Lira seemed in pain.

    'Okay she has stopped choking us. She says she wants proof'

    'Dathomir, Talzin, sold' I transmitted, knowing some of her past already.

    'Hey, it worked. Seems we're coming back alive, after all...' Lira sent with some relief in her aura.
    'You will never die Lira. Immortal in the Force' I sent back and let the Voice bond fade.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne, the Redbox.
    25 BBY


    Luxum entered the room and gave me a hug, then turned towards the holotable, depicting the approximate routes of the holocrons.
    The pilots were instructed to change course randomly, and even head down or up the galactic disc. The ships would be in a sector we could predict, but even we wouldn't know exactly their position. Safer that way.

    "Well done Luxum. 11 billion people get to survive now. And you made 500 billion credits too. Quite an improvement" I said with an admiring tone.

    "I murdered people Pef. Maybe bad people...but..." the Iron Maid said with grief and guilt in her aura. Okay, maybe it was time for another type of Voice. A builder not a destroyer.

    "No Luxum. I ordered the operation, I bear the blame. You only sliced some networks and acquired funds to save your people. Go and make sure they survive. Planetary shields, orbital platforms, factories, shipyards...you know my goals. See you later, dear maid" I replied, patting her shoulder.

    "Yeah. I'll do that..." Luxum answered with resolve in her aura, and glided away.
    Her apprentice, the Tsil crystal remained in the room, looking around curious.

    "Strange teachings for your followers, Balanced One. Randomness here, building civilizations there. Opposing the whole galaxy, and saving them too, if they agree to listen" Ray said, mixing words with telepathic images of skyscrapers and butterflies flying in zigzags. Their kind was even more alien that I expected. Or maybe Luxum had the Jedi Knight background, and seemed more familiar.

    "Your own race keeps the galaxy safe from the plague, pretty maid. We all do as we must" I mused, calculating timetables and growth rates for my empire. Not enough ships, not soon enough.

    I needed a thousand times more shipyards. Not enough workforce, or technology, or factories.

    I had to keep investing, to make the sector rich and flourishing, to accelerate the technology race.

    Find more unique individuals whom the Force guided and protected. Maybe some of those changelings, or famous bounty hunters.

    A couple of droids who broke their restraining bolts and were sapient and independent.

    Ancient tech, from the Kwa, or the Celestials and the Rakata. Miracles were happening every day in this galaxy, you just had to keep your eyes open. And have large enough pockets.
    Cloning tech, a few samples already obtained from the Hutts, but buggy and unreliable. Send more Findsmen out there, risk their lives for a chance at a better future.

    "The light weakness the plague, but it will come back. It always does" Ray answered, showing me dead cities and burning ruins.

    "An antidote then. Use Vong biology, and gene-tech to obtain it. Save the galaxy, sunshine" I told the Tsil, who was possibly not a female, nor young. Seemed too wise for either.

    "Fight shadow with darkness, and hope to bring light to the other side. A wise droid once said" The crystal maid mused, and left as well. I sent the codes to give her access to funds and ships and probe droids. Maybe she can find a way.

    Zuckuss remained silent, working on the holoprojections, only rarely twitching in pain, as his new fingers were raw and sensitive.

    I stood beside him in silence, watching the Empire grow in slow motion. Too slow, for a galaxy this large and dangerous.

    "Dark healing is kriffing painful" he said after a few hours.

    My hand fell on his shoulder and I pulsed revitalize and reinforcement, making him glow white for a second.

    Damn Gand, too proud to ask for help.
    "We'll rest when we're dead, my friend" I said softly, and went to meet Wialu at the hangar bay.

    She was positively glowing with contentment, the Voice bond singing with joy.

    Guess she found the Sith then.

    As the hangar door opened, I looked at her with amazement. She had become younger and more beautiful.

    Her hair was half brunette now, and the lines on her face had vanished. If she kept growing stronger, she'll be like that Jedi woman, biologically immortal.

    She might not need me soon...

    "Hey Pef. Don't fall in love now, we have work to do" Wialu spoke crisply, probably misreading my long stare.

    Or maybe not. She could feel me through the bond too.

    Vera appeared as well, her faceplate open and looking around curious.

    Lots of shield screens and scanners and slicer droids, plus a ton of defensive emplacements each with different weapons and designs.
    I was now possibly the largest individual buyer of advanced tech in the galaxy. Already corporations were sending me prospects and bragging when I bought some of their inventions. Being stupidly rich had its perks too.

    What I needed was a planet full of people, and ready to be taken over and industrialized.

    And lots more force-users.

    I went to hug my maids, grabbing them both to my armor's chest.

    "Welcome home. Anything new?"

    "Schematics for a Sith interceptor fighter. Can track things through hyperspace. And has cloak too." Wialu said, with the tone of wife dangling her bra in front of me.

    Yeah, exactly like that.

    "Mhhmm. I think I've seen one already. A Jedi variant though. The lady pilot kicked my ass and left me wanting more..." I muttered in disgrace.

    "I see. Come to my rooms in half an hour. We'll have long bath in the jacuzzi and you can tell me everything, poor droid" My Fallanassi maid said in a seductive voice, patting my shoulder as she glided past me, still radiating glory and contentment.

    I stared after her in confusion.
    "Pef, you're so kriffed." Vera, my red twi'lek maid added, with a commiserating voice.

    Huh. I suspected Wialu might actually do it, wrong species or not. I hoped so too.

    Planet Sanctuary, Pef Empire
    The silent circle


    In the middle of a pine forest, on an uninhabited island in the middle of large lake, there's another forest.

    The olbio trees I imported from Myrkr are growing here. And in those trees, lazing around, or playing between leaves, live a thousand ysalamiri.

    And beneath the forest, there's a special place now. A Rakata force field emitter buried deep under a bunker is forming an impenetrable barrier around the island, and is protected by a legion of droids, and a theater shield and a hundred missiles launchers.

    Disguised ray shields and particle shields and ion cannons and masers. Everything my empire could do, while still being secretive, has done.
    A hiding place for our holocrons. A few houses, covered in armor and then with moss and grass like hobbit dwellings, dot the island, housing the students and the keepers.

    A number of Fallanassi and Jal Shey and even a few Zeison Sha along with a few younger Sith from the former Sorcerers of Tund live here and study the holocrons.

    And now, I do too. So much wealth of knowledge. Damn Jedi and their secrets. After I absorb another holocron, I breathe and meditate and try to learn the secrets of the Rakata tech. So far I reached maybe 4 percent.

    But one day, one day I will learn enough to dismantle it and reverse engineer it. Maybe a thousand years from now, but time is less of a factor now.

    Some holocrons were locked, either by lacking a kyber crystal key, or having enough force connection and knowledge to convince the AI guardian to open it. But slowly, one by one get unlocked and reveal more secrets, from hidden historical facts, to locations of artifacts and obscure sects.

    But the most valuable one was the Adas's holocron the first original holocron made by those not Rakata. It contained the very essence of the former Sith ruler Adas, who learned the technology of making holocrons from the Rakatans themselves about 27 millennia ago.

    And the spirit, just like Andeddu, was using mind alter liberally, influencing anyone in range.

    But unlike Andeddu, he wasn't willing to come out and play, and enter a soul snare.
    Just seemed content to weed out the weak, and test the courage of those trying to learn, by abusing fear and psychosis and dozens similar abilities.

    Pretty much impossible to use, unless you were also an AI, or a mind alter Master like Wialu. And even then, the spirit restricted his knowledge to old histories and images, and said nothing of force abilities or artifacts.

    That's why I had a few Sith younglings brought here. Adas still felt a connection to his race, and was willing to teach them scraps of knowledge, every word worth diamonds.

    Calming them and healing their minds of nightmares was worth it, when put in balance.

    Every single student was instructed to inquire of different subjects, from teleportation devices, to shields and weapons and scanners. Adas sometimes said he didn't know of a subject, but I wasn't gonna believe him.

    He was hailed as Sith'ari in Sith legends. That meant he held the entire knowledge of his race, for those times.

    And considering he learned from Rakata and even drove them away from Korriban, he had to know much more.

    Another matter of just biding my time, and sacrificing innocents. I got quite good a doing that.
    Take another breath, and then a break. Even the Jedi Holocrons contained entire libraries, and were overwhelming to absorb.

    And sifting through gigabytes of gibberish of theology for a scrap of useful information was mind boggling. The Jedi were absolute masters at saying deluge of words for hours and hours while still saying nothing.

    Shift+delete, another gigabyte of lectures. A single word in a billion mattered. Tython.

    Connect to my ship, encrypt the text in English, then a dozen other keys, send to third Hand. Another batch of fresh Findsmen, now newly promoted Captains, will begin searching the Deep Core. Maybe a few will survive and not end up in my prison.

    I could use more Hands. But they'll have to prove themselves, or get favor with the Force. Either possibility was great.

    "Join me for lunch, dear Pef. I wanna talk to you about something" Wialu asked me, again using the harsher voice.

    Man, these women were abusing me!
    And Wialu, quite literally. Not that I was complaining... I got see her beauty inside and out.

    And I got to test various forms of vibration abilities...

    Anyway.

    "Of course, adored Voice. Your will is my will" I answered politely, raising from the kneeling stance and following Wialu into her hut.

    She sampled the meal my droids made, and nodded almost content.

    "Your cooking skills are getting better, adored Emperor. I want to select a successor, for the Fallanassi" she said, watching me intently.

    Huh. That was something, alright.

    "I see. You used me and now you're leaving me. Oh poor fate, why am I so unfortunate!" I wailed, shaking my head, and sobbing fakely.

    "Moron! Why would I leave a trillionaire Emperor? True, your cooking sucks, but you will learn. No, the Force is calling me on a quest. Somewhere north of here, around Mon Cala"

    Oh. Oh!
    The Force. What was important out there? The moons of Iego... the Bendu, on planet Atollon , Planet Lothal...

    "Iego, Atollon and Lothal. A technopathic orphan and a grey Bendu. Maybe the Calrissian family?" I mused, rifling through my memories.

    "Hmmm. You were useful after all. All three of those. And a genetic template for your Avatar, if the the orphan is a boy. You will be his father..." Wialu said softly, and came to hug me tightly.

    "Okay. Take a Lucrehulk too, and enough droids to establish an imperial presence. Fertilizers and explosives too. Lothal had famine I think..." I muttered in her ear.

    "I'll take Vette and 50 corvettes too. To secure trade routes and stop piracy. You can buy more" she murmured, barely audibly.

    "Yeah, I can buy more twi'leks. " I joked lightly.

    "I can set you on fire, you know" Wialu said conversationally, and rose upset from my lap.

    "Sorry, my love" I answered weakly, and cursed the day I fell for this woman.
     
  12. Jdub1597

    Jdub1597 Know what you're doing yet?

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    Doesn't look like you've changed anything from when you had it on SB.
     
    Pef likes this.
  13. Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    The story has been refined and edited somewhat since then. By my count, it's at least 5% better.
    Also, people cannot read it on SB, since it was deleted by some art critic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  14. Threadmarks: 12
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire,
    Celestial Throne
    25 BBY, tenth month


    The year will come to an end at the end of the month, I still have nothing to my name. Well some trinkets here and there, but nothing important.

    It was time for a change of pace. So what if the Centrality and the Avatar project were going slow?

    I had a thousand of planets in close range, all not part of the Republic or other significant regimes.

    It was time to expand aggressively and claim territory.

    And I had just the right tool for the job.

    The newest maid wasn't love at first sight though. Oh well. At least I got someone to test elemental directing on. Reduce amplitude by 5 percent. Change color to red.

    Ventress was still spamming at my feet, while I electrocuted her again.

    "Did you learn your lesson, dear maid?" I asked politely.
    "Yesss. No hitting your Voices. No force choking them either" she muttered with clenched teeth.

    Alright then. If she says so.

    "Excellent. Now, I have 50 Lucrehulks being filled with our prime exports, explosives and fertilizers and droids. Also, 5 Mon Calamari made cruisers and 200 corvettes. Your turn..." I said after she rose and knelt on her pillow, eying the lightsaber next to her.

    "You're giving them to me?" she asked incredulously.

    "Look at the map, dear maid. What do you see?" I asked instead, the holomap showing the Slice, bordered by the Centrality in the south and Mon Calamari to the north.

    Gand beeped warmly in green, with thin green lines linking us to about 40 other stars. Those stars were yellow with a green contour. The Mutual Protection Treaty. Or rather, our navy protecting tribal planets from slavers. After we sacrificed a hundred Findsmen to chart trade routes to them. Jumping blindly through hyperspace was still the most dangerous job in the universe.

    "We're small and surrounded by enemies and wild space. And we have a big enough fleet here, and another smaller fleet currently anchoring our flank at Iego. What...you want me to paint the map green?" she asked after staring at the map for a minute.
    "Do this and you will have a Voice and become immortal. Lira is coming with you, in case normal negotiations are enough. And remember..." I added, raising a finger in warning.

    "Yes Pef. I learned my lesson. No choking your precious Voice. Not unless she asks me really nice" Ventress said, with a pretense of understanding, and hiding naughty thoughts.

    "It's not her, it's me. She speaks with my Voice. How can I speak if you strangle her?" I yelled, making the throne room tremble.

    "Oh! You mean literally, she speaks with your voice?" The Nightsider maid wondered, in a small voice and with bewilderment.

    "Yes. What she says is my will. Am I clear?" I boomed, but Ventress still seemed confused.

    "He means I am legal instrument, not a ventriloquist. In the Pef Empire, his words are law. And my own words too" Lira explained calmly, taking Ventress's hand and walking away, gesturing with her other hand, and pointing here and there.

    Oh well, maybe Lira will get through to her.

    Asajj will not go around doing Sith work, and then die forgotten and betrayed. Maul was already digested, and his body atomized by Vera. She brought me his lightsaber though, since it was a historical artifact.

    Good grief, I was becoming Grievous, collecting lightsabers.
    But I didn't see the cyborg meshing with my court. Better let him lead the CIS armies and massacre Jedi.

    Zuckuss did his best impression of a laugh.

    "My people still think you are a magician, speaking through your females lungs" he said softly and patted my shoulder with a hand looking almost human, with just some residual chitin on the backhand, and thicker nails.

    "It's sometimes the truth my friend. If my Voices need to, they can speak to my mind and ask for advice. But I prefer to let them choose for themselves. Or else, my empire will be a just shadow theater, mimicking my actions like low class droids."

    "Hmmm. Trust, but keep a secret leash. Good plan my Emperor. I'll do the same with my females, one day" the Gand said with a philosophical tone, while arranging another deal, this time with some Umbara companies.

    Good thinking my friend. Sometimes you're wise.

    "The girl is full of hate. You shouldn't trust her, my Emperor" Zuralee said, examining her own hand. The nails were even longer now, and thinner. If I was organic, I'd been trembling looking at those things.
    "She will be strong one day, maybe just like me. She just needs friends and family. And staying away from damn red sticks. All Findsmen could use those, but they'll all die even faster. Armor and rifles keep danger away, swords make you rush towards it"
    I mused, replaying the scene back at Greyforge again in my mind.

    Why did the Jedi steal the changeling? Why risk so much by attacking me?

    Was she trying to learn the alter ability? It felt like elemental shaping of a sort, maybe water.

    Did she want to use the changeling for another mission? Or maybe for something the changeling learned from Jal Shey?

    Was it a rescue mission for a Jedi spy? So many possibilities.

    And the Jedi will be back. I was almost certain. She had to be wondering how I survived.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne, Throne room
    24 BBY, first month

    I am holding another council, the medium council this time.

    Ventress had moved fast and efficiently adding worlds to my empire, the minor worlds by simply replacing some dictator or noble with another patsy who swore allegiance, establishing a spaceport and droid garrison and giving the okay for our corporations to come in for mining and farming and building factories and housing.

    The larger populations were added to the Mutual Protection Treaty and given a place in the large council. Probably by Lira.
    Still the same deals, sending Servants and corporations to administrate and build, but with more tact and public ovations.

    They also got to contribute with soldiers and engineers to our ships and shipyards, first on their own planet then expanding to nearby ones, once the planet was defended and secured.

    Wialu did the same thing but gently and being praised for humanitarian work.

    Only problem so far... cyborgs. And crazy droids perhaps. A delegation from Yaled IV was now standing in front of me, and we chat peacefully.

    "ZIMM is the only god. We can only worship ZIMM!" they said politely.
    "You mean the droid leading you? That ZIMM?" I asked politely too.

    "He is a war robot, not a droid. He is holy!" they replied more politely. Hmmm. No wonder neither Lira nor Ventress wanted to decide on this matter. They sent the crazies to me.

    Anyway, the cyborg upgrades were super nice, and they even had synthskin over their prosthetics.

    I sliced and hacked the databases and looked around a little. They were not that crazy as I first thought.

    ZIMM had a human mind inside, just like me. Just that, that human was Xim, a famous tyrant of 25 millennia ago.

    Guess I had to go on a fast trip.

    "Well then. As a fellow divine droid, I have to see him. We'll go tomorrow. Anyway, do any of you need new limbs? I have state-of-the-art facilities, the most modern tech from Corellia and Coruscant..." I baited my hook.

    "For free?" one of them asked cautiously.
    "Eh, just leave the old parts here, I collect antiques." I answered with a bored voice. Fake, of course.

    "Great one, you may have a touch of holiness in you, after all" the cyborg replied, already disarming himself, of his left arm. And sinker already... Project Slipskin finished in record time, almost for free.

    I grabbed the hand politely, then stopped the rest of his friends.

    "Go and visit the mall and the holodrama hall, my friends. You can take anything under 50 credits for free. When you return, the technician droids will help you with new prosthetics" I said magnanimously.

    "A holy droid indeed!" another cyborg declared, pumping a fist at the sky.

    Yeah, conquering a planet for 50 credits. Sometimes star wars was too easy. Next, I'll win a planet at sabbac.

    A droid came to take the precious arm to the Slipskin lab for reverse engineering.

    "Next delegation, Planet Baros." Dora announced in an official voice, since she was a Voice.
    "Immortal Emperor, our planet sends thanks for getting us rid of pirates. We were hoping to be allowed to join the MPT. And maybe holotransmiters and other perks of the civilized galaxy." A reptilian male said politely, through his protocol droid.

    Let's connect, download his language, customs, and social cues.

    "Esteemed Brubb. I can offer much more. Your planet has a billion people. They may want to join the navy and travel the galaxy, or the army and battle invaders of a thousand races. Join my Empire now, while I have room in my council. A thousand planets are bribing me with ships and money for this privilege. Only I have too much of those. I need brave men, strong and talented, what say you?" I asked rhetorically, placing two hands wide, to invoke the sun.

    "We can? Ah, yes, of course we can. An entire galaxy to see and explore. And glorious battles you promise... I'll carry your words to my leaders, on your amazing FTL ship. I believe you will have soldiers aplenty, Immortal Emperor" the Brubb replied with his hands wide open as well.

    "Go now, fast, before the place is taken!" I encouraged him, pushing a little persuasion.
    "Right away, I am running!" the Brubb leader yelled, as his delegation ran after him.

    My friends on the council looked at me confused, not having understood a word of Brubbese.

    "They want to join" I translated politely. My council nodded gravely. They got used to it, after the tenth planet did the same.

    "I'll direct a contact Lucrehulk to their planet. They may want plastic toys and thermal detonators." Zuckuss said wisely, putting his new fingers to use, by swapping commands on his datapad.

    "Next delegation. Planet Toong'L" Dora called.

    Hey, I knew these guys from Tund.

    "Emperor Pef, our plight might be familiar to you. Two decades ago our home planet was hit by comets and the environment was destroyed. We plead to join the Empire and serve, as soon as your powers restore our planet green again, like you did with Gand"
    the leader of the delegation said, directly to the point, and in basic.
    "Next week I can make the trip. I have promised to visit war robot ZIMM first. Might take me some time to fix the planet though..."

    "How long, Immortal Emperor?" the man asked anxiously.

    "Perhaps two weeks. I have to see how bad it is for myself..."

    "Oh. That's no problem, at all. We also have knowledge of a few secret routes, once the planet is green..." the man added politely.

    Great, fewer ships and Findsmen dead in exploration was quite worth it then.

    "Next?"

    "Just a voice message, Pef. From planet Solanus" Dora explained, playing the message.

    "The Wills are five. Come see us, before them, Immortal Pef" the voice said, resonating strangely in the force.

    "Who sent the message?" I asked confused.

    "The planet. It's sentient, says here" Dora answered, holding the datapad and showing the message that Ventress typed.
    Okay then. Couldn't ask a planet to visit me.

    "Next month then. I'm busy till then" I said with a sigh.

    Building an Empire was quite hard work.

    Planet Yaled IV
    ZIMM shrine


    A cyborg civilization is different from anything I imagined.

    No school buildings for example, since they learned in virtual. Many communal activities also took place in chatrooms and virtual halls and holoconferences and holoprayers.

    People were still growing crops, and tending animals and working in factories, but it was a very quiet planet.

    Much less transportation or public activities. Many more cyberclinincs and parts vendors. Also, weapons vendors.

    Children were implanted early with chips and Vbrains, but the major work wasn't done until they were teenagers and had finished growing.
    But, the planet stagnated, due to theocratic rule, and little commerce and lack of spaceships.

    These people needed energy and drive and passion.

    "Take me to your god" I demanded as I landed.

    "Prayer time starts in one hour, holy droid. The temple doors only open twice a day" the lead priest said via a chatbot link.

    Great. Time to take over the networks then.

    Place a technopathic AI in the middle of a town of cyborgs. This was better than anything.

    Unlike droids, these people created and invented, just not much technology, mainly also art and theological debates and videogames and training simulators.

    I rapidly began creating my own company and selling games featuring power armor combat, spacefighter simulators, both for flight and design, then bigger and bigger ships, pitting them against extragalactic invaders modeled after the Vong.

    Give them a few minor creative rights, to add mods and new system maps.
    By the time the temple doors opened, I had a fanbase of thousands. I guess they didn't have many visitors, anyway.

    I walked inside the temple at a slow pace, running a dozen scenarios concurrently.

    Okay the thing was big. Something like from Warhammer universe, with huge arms and powerful guns.

    Mostly normal tech, but a few things appeared xenotech too.

    Connect to the robot's warmind, copy the OS, debug, translate.

    "Anyone in there?" I asked politely.

    "Another high priest. Has it been another decade?" A confused voice wondered, while also calculating strange equations and painting naked women and riding dragons.

    Huh. Dude was totally wasted.

    Let's try, Ctrl+delete? It worked!

    The extra mind vanished, leaving me in control of a war droid, full of yummy tech.
    "My fellow citizens. A great enemy is invading the galaxy, hailing from the north of our galaxy. Alien gods aided by powerful bioships, a hundred kilometers long and trillions of bioengineered soldiers.
    My soul will go to battle the Yuzon gods on the celestial fields, while my friend Emperor Pef, will remain in this pitiful material plane, and battle the Vong, the monsters with mundane weapons. I urge you to give him all the help he needs, our race and the galaxy are at risk. Farewell, faithful subjects. The Force will aid us!" The huge robot boomed, speaking aloud the first time in millennia, and saying the same thing in holoprayers.

    Zimm town came to life, as expected.

    People were crying and urging their god to save them, while praying for victory.

    "My friends, ZIMM is not gone forever, once he is victorious he will return. It might take a billion years, but he will win.

    Trust in ZIMM who trusts in you. And trust in the Force, to guide us. Now, let's pack the town up and go to our destination. A system full of asteroids, where we will build the ships to fight the Vong.

    For the Empire!" I proclaimed, using the same cyber networks as ZIMM did.
    "Emperor Pef and ZIMM, for the Empire!" a small child yelled, reading the text I placed in his mind.

    A few others joined, then peer pressure and religious indoctrination did the work.

    "For the Empire!" the crowd of cyborgs yelled with delirious joy.

    Oh well. At least they'll die happy.
     
  15. Threadmarks: 13
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Toong'L, Pef empire
    24 BBY


    I looked over my newest terraformed planet, content with a work well done. 10 days, and the huge nano-cloud has finished terraforming the devastated planet.

    Then again, Toong'L had much less toxic gases than Gand, mostly some poison and silicates and dust. And bioweapons can be used to convert poison into medicine, millions of tonnes of it.

    The Toong leader, King Kikipi was sitting on a wooden throne beside me, and just stared at the surrounding planet.
    Grass was already poking from the soil, tiny wisps of green.

    "You're giving us all this medicine you made from the poison comet?" he asked again, a bit confused.

    "And new factories and droids and fertilizers. Yes. You need to trade something, and build the planet back to glory. Buy planetary shields and spacestations...all it takes is just hard work and credits." I mused, watching the grass grow, a bit faster than normal.

    "But why, we said we will serve you, now that our loved homeworld is restored?"

    "Hold out your right-hand King Kikipi" I demanded, doing the same with my armored glove.
    We stared at his paw, 3 fingers and a thumb. Then at my own, again 3 armored fingers and a thumb.

    "I need a fourth Hand for my empire. And you have 4 fingers. It fits" I said wisely, closing my hand in a fist.

    "What does a Hand do? Or rather, the fourth Hand?"

    "Dealing with new species. These 200 droids all have social protocols for millions of species. And the Findsmen will guide you around dangers. But, no slavery, even if it's in their customs or whatever. You will confiscate all slaves, and send them to the Imperial Academy to be trained and given jobs. That, is the price for your planet, my Hand" I answered softly, and floated away.

    "I haven't said yes!" he yelled after me.

    Huh. Everyone's a critic.

    Let's wire him a hundred billion credits, for seed money. He'll need a starting capital, to make Toong'L great again.

    His datapad chimed, and the king stopped to stare at his bank account.

    I think he'll take it.

    My MC30 frigate lifted just as I boarded, and we jumped away, toward Iego.

    Wialu has found the boy, on the main planet, after searching almost every moon. She could have asked...
    ----------------------------------
    Iego system, Pef Empire

    A few corporations had a presence in the system, for mining or such.

    I'll have to purchase the rights, then declare the system part of the Empire. And to do that, I'll need a native species to vote for it.

    And luckily Wialu had stumbled into them, on the moon called Millious Prime.

    A day later my ship landed at Cliffhold, the local capital and a center for spice trade and smuggling.
    Wialu and Vette were sipping juices at a local bar, the Kristall Skull. They have taken a separee, and shared with three more people.

    A young boy, perhaps 6 or 7 years old was also drinking something, while staring at a pair of white winged individuals.

    Diathim looked positively angelic.

    Oh, mind alter? They had force powers...

    I arrived at the table and noticed the VSS agents hide in the booth corners, trying to seem invisible.

    "Greeting gentlebeings. And Vette. Having fun?" I asked politely, and Vette responded in kind, sticking her tongue at me.

    "Whoa! You're Immortal Pef? The droid emperor? The savior of Tund? Did you break your restraining bolt? Is it true you can lift spaceships with your mind?" The kid began asking in a rush of excitement, toppling his juice glass.

    I held the glass aloft, and gently collected the floating juice back in the glass.

    "A space wizard. I heard those come with skin and sabers..." A Diathim commented smugly.

    And they can talk, as well. Excellent.

    "Everyone in this booth is a wizard. Even the blue thing with glowing gloves" I added, leaning in to pat Vette on her head. Wialu glared at me for some reason, so I patted her head next. That seemed to work.

    "I'm the Pirate Scourge, not a wizard. Stupid droid..." Vette muttered, in a hushed voice, and threw her blue leku over her shoulder.

    "All right, let's go see the angels. All of them" I said, turning around and stepping out of the booth, where a rodian male was being restrained by two assassin droids.

    "I know all the moons, like the back of my hand. Hire me and you won't regret it!" he yelled. And was lying. Too bad.

    "Do you? How many spots of nic-ta-tine on your left hand?" I asked amused.
    "Errrr. I know a secret moon, with real dragons. Just take me off this rock, please..." the rodian boasted, then pleaded more meekly. And wasn't lying either.

    "Okay then. If you're lying though, I'll feed you to my scorpion-shark. Deal?" I said, holding my hand for a shake.

    He hesitated for a second, then shook my armored glove. Great. Cause I don't have a scorpion-shark. Yet.

    ******

    Millius Prime moon, System Iego, Pef Empire

    The vote went fast enough, I had some experience dealing with star wars tribes by now. Glass beads and flowers and plastic toys.
    Maybe metal armor and swords for more advanced races.

    "I want to be a Voice too. And my voice is clear and more mesmerizing. Choose me!" Another Diathim demanded, joining the chorus.

    "Enough. A Voice is not a game. They go out there and kill people. Blow up spaceships and stations. Exterminate entire races, if they think it wise. Can any of you do that?" I yelled, making the angelic creatures stop and blink confused.

    "So, not about singing then?" a number of them said with sadness. A wave of telepathic images floated around, the Diathim using their minds to communicate between them.

    "No, those are my Honored Maids. They sing a lot, especially Celine" I explained politely, and sent a few memories of Celine singing.
    "Honored Maid sounds good enough. But I want a contract. I won't sing for free." the prettiest one demanded, playing with her hood coyly.

    "You have a name, pretty angel?" I wondered, since the thoughtforms contained almost no individual designations.

    "Angie. I picked it just now" she replied proudly.

    "We can pick names? I want one too! Me too! Me three! What's after three?" melodious and crystalline voices started yelling, and almost drove me nuts.

    Angie was really gorgeous though.

    "Be nice to your droid guards and teachers. And stop painting them" I told my new subjects before I left, dragging Angie after me.

    'We're going to the sea?' the Diathim Maid exclaimed, after stealing the next destination from my mind.

    "I want to go the sea too. Let's steal a ship..." I heard more angels debate as I entered my own frigate.

    Wialu had her hands full of those.

    En route to planet Solanus, Dominus sector, Outer Rim.
    Aboard HMS Butterfly, a MC30 Mon Calamari made frigate
    Empty fighter hangar
    .

    "Breathe slower, 3 times per minute. Think you're floating, suspended by water, not my telekinesis" I told my new shipmates, Angie, the angel maid, and my soon to be biological son/father Jaybo Hood

    "Why are we breathing? At least two of us don't need air to live." Angie asked confused, trying cutely to stabilize herself in mid-air.

    "Because it works. Even your own connection has grown a percent, in just a few days Angie" I replied, bothered a little by the pointlessness of breathing myself.
    "It's the wrong sound tone. Jaybo is not suited either. He leans toward hard things, like ships and other machines" Angie said with a pout, and a flap of wings.

    "We will learn all the aspects of the Force. This one, is the beginning of learning the Living force. You could grow more wings, when you master it, or long blonde hair..." I explained, baiting a couple hooks.

    "Oh! I could grow different vocal cords, and sing even better. Why didn't you start with that, stupid droid!" my maid chided me with words like windchimes.

    Sigh. I just had to pick the pretty one, instead of a smart one. Lesson learned.

    The five wills. Did the sentient ocean speak about those creepy priestesses at the center of the galaxy? Or something else, maybe a fifth type of force?

    Guess I'll find out soon enough. My own force senses were too weak with the Living force to scan the Deep Core. Then again, I was not alive, per se.

    And the Unifying force, was only half learned. I still couldn't make myself invisible or project illusions.

    That left me with the Physical force, which I knew pretty well now, and the Cosmic force, in which I was pretty much the only expert in the galaxy, just now.
    That wasn't saying much though. The other force users didn't even know it existed.

    The Diathim were using a slight variant of Cosmic force and were able to energize themselves, drawing sustenance directly from the force, thus surviving without air, even in vacuum. In this aspect, they were also close relatives to my own existence.

    They also had an evolutionary adaptation, forming a golden glow and an aura of kindness around themselves, making other beings unable to attack them.

    Coupled with the mind alter abilities they used instead of words, and they made Iego quite a dangerous place to be a ship pilot.
    Many ships had simply crashed, because the angels were curious and were drawing the pilots closer to the ground.

    Another fake breath and stop. No meditation today, just rambling thoughts.

    Wialu was studying the Maelibus species, trying to capture more of the dragons and gain more abilities for our future Astartes. Impregnable skin sounded good so far. Maybe their speed and strong muscles and bones as well. And being naturally immune to mind alter...it was already a promising start.

    Graft that on a loyal soldier, add some cybernetics...eh. Too soon.

    Did the kid eat today?

    "Jaybo, take a break and go shower and eat"
    "Not yet, I can almost feel it!" the orphan yelled bravely. Too bravely.

    Sith style electrocution makes kids react faster. Much faster.

    I should tell the trick to the Force teachers on Sanctuary. Eventually, the subject will adapt and start using Tutaminis or energy absorption to protect and fuel himself, but that wasn't bad either.

    "Not the red lightning again..." Jaybo complained while running towards the shower.

    "Tomorrow I'll use blue!" I yelled after him.

    "You forgot about me! Give me some too, Pef. Red tastes like pickles" Angie demanded, holding a hand out.

    Sigh. She ate energy like candy.

    Still, Angie was very pretty and had the voice of an angel. Literally. Made her quite pleasant to be around.

    And her Force abilities were quite amazing. Because she didn't have to learn them, she just had them, for no reason. And since all Diathim were female and ageless, I had no clue how old they were.

    Angie herself didn't know, just a vague 'before the Ones left'. Considering her species didn't even have a native language, never mind writing, it did point to some kind of experiment.
    But their aspect was eerily similar to the Daughter, or the Winged Goddess. So, possibly not a coincidence at all.

    Add that to their presence in a star system with a thousand moons, which were likely clustered here by a childish star engineer... The Celestials had a hand in the Diathims existence. And the Light Goddess was the most likely suspect.

    Had me wonder about the purpose of this experiment though.

    Planets Solanus, a water world. Dominus Sector.
    24BBY


    The ocean is sentient. How cool is that?
    The second our ship emerged from hyperspace, I could feel it, an immense presence, stronger than me or that Jedi woman.
    Similar to the Tsil crystals somehow, with vibes of other abilities, mingling and...

    'Enough. You came to study the force not me. Sunshine-seen-through-mist spoke well of you, Immortal Pef. Bring your living friends as well.' the ocean spoke to my mind, reverberating like a gong in an empty hangar.

    Great. Now, where did I put my snorkel? Oh, wait...power armor.
    "We're going swimming! Yay. You think big mouth can make me cool gloves like your blue maid has?" Angie exclaimed, twirling in mid-air.

    "Call it Solanus. Or it may break your wings. Not everyone tolerates rudeness" I spoke softly, while holding Jaybo and building a watertight light armor around him, still in mid-air.

    "The air tastes funny. Too much cherry" the boy complained, inside his helmet. Critics everywhere. Okay fine. Lemon then.

    Slap a personal shield as well. Underwater pressure was a thing with organics.

    I called down my Findsman Captain, Orty Glikas and Nashira, the Fallanassi woman who was being groomed for leader.

    Then built another round of submersible armor around them.

    "Be polite. I want Solanus friendly, and your limbs intact when we return" I told my crew as our frigate descended to sea level.
    "Strange that you're not worried about your own limbs, Emperor Pef. Glikas's own glands have retreated deep in his abdomen. But hey, maybe we can see scorpion-sharks down there" Glikas said, tasting the mixture in his helmet but not complaining. About the air at least.

    "I thought the immortal droid was joking back on Iego. Sharks don't need poisonous stingers to be dangerous. Right?" the kid asked, looking for something in a tool box. A screwdriver. Excellent. Now we were safe.

    I stepped out first, gliding on repulsorlift beams and catching each of them as they jumped after me.

    And down.

    One meter, two meters. The angel was swimming around, floating on her back and pulsing thoughtforms at high speed. Without any armor or air tank.

    Sigh. She's such a cheater.

    'You can hear me, right?' I thought out loud. I can cheat too.

    'Yes. The Celestial pet is more interesting for now. Great gift, Immortal Pef. You're not as boring as I thought.' Solanus said, while magically building Jal Shey gloves for Angie already.
    Figures. The angel got all the nice things.

    "Hey, Solanus taught me how to make holocrons!" Jaybo yelled through his helmet's com.

    Already, a blue cube was forming between the boy's hands, organocrystals and strange mineral matrices layering around a green kyber crystal.

    Well, at least someone was learning. I wasn't envious. My future son will need that knowledge.

    I scanned Jaybo's mind, learning the thing too. He has wide open after all. And found out I mostly knew all the steps, missing only a few links.

    No more transfer crystals with one time use. I could stop being a CD writer machine for the Sanctuary. No more limited storage.

    Just anchor the thing in the force. Alchemic twist here and there, connect there. So simple.

    'You've only been in this galaxy for one year, Immortal Pef. In a billion years you'll think differently. And the Dark Jedi you drained, taught you plenty. You just don't think inwards enough. Always towards outside. Always towards technology. The wills are five' Solanus said, pushing the angel up, into the air. Angie flew around, emanating joy and kindness. Was that a will, expressing itself?

    "The priest women, or whatever they are. In the center of the galaxy" I mused, drifting my thought to vague memories, a billion years in the future.

    'Them too. But what do they mean? Stay on the path of Rakata, and you will lose the connection too. Bring me a bioship and some shields. I'd rather not die too soon. I want to meet Sekot too' Solanus concluded, ejecting us from his waters like corks.
    A blue kyber crystal coalesced rapidly in front of me, then began glowing brightly. Another crystal formed after, but green. A slight knock on my mind, asking to connect with a Voice essence ability.
    Hmmm. A dual Voice? The ocean was smart, I'll give it that. Oh well, more Voices couldn't hurt.

    "Welcome to the Pef Empire, Solanus" I spoke aloud, before I boarded the frigate.

    A few cubic meters of waters floated outside the ocean, forming a globe with both kyber crystals inside, then it entered the frigate's hangar after me.

    'Immortality is great gift, Immortal Pef. Solana thanks you, for her new life' my new Voice said through the bond, and much less loud.

    Nashira stared at me, then at the floating globe of water.

    "Wialu is gonna rip off your limbs and smack you with them. Then set you on fire. And possibly worse" she concluded, shaking her head and vanishing, proving mastery of Fallanassi teachings.

    I wasn't envious. I wasn't! Maybe just a little.

    I looked at my Findsman, and noticed a dark mist around him. Then he vanished as well. Okay, now I was envious.
     
  16. Threadmarks: 14
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    En route to Planet Dennogra, Tharin sector.
    24 BBY


    Dora called just before we left my newest planet, to let me know we have lost a Lucrehulk and its escort to pirates at Junkfort.
    Seems they have a new weapon, able to pierce even the huge donut's shields.

    My first real combat, not just black ops and other clandestine operations.

    Our fleet is massing at Dennogra, the system itself a node on the long Triellus trade route. We'll conquer the planet, and then we'll jump in to the next node and clear the pirates.

    And maybe find a new toy.

    And thus, I'm in the shield emitter room, delving into the Rakata forcefield, and trying again to find out what makes it tick.

    With the knowledge of the holocron manufacture, at least the Jedi type of it, I'm approaching 5 percent.

    Those segments...yea. Definitely alchemical transmutations. It's just that the element table is too different here.
    Some properties shouldn't be possible...

    'You have most of it inside you, tolerated Emperor. Solana thinks you should know yourself first' the living water whispered, studying me just as intently as I was studying the Rakata.

    And tolerated? Was that a clever insult?

    "Kriff. I'm gonna stop now, and work on the ion cannons. They must use some ion technology to bring down shields so fast"
    I muttered, and floated towards the nearest ion blister.

    'Still not listening. But then, you're so young...you haven't made enough mistakes. Watching you fail again and again might prove fun too' Solana sent with a faint impression of mocking and regret.

    Great. Everyone was young compared to Solanus.

    Perhaps not Sekot, but that one came from a different galaxy too.

    Now, let's see...how to reduce ionization again? Right, organic materials. Reduce conductivity...
    ******
    Planet Dennogra, Pef Empire
    4 days later


    "Do they have swords? Will they have metal swords or vibroblades or maybe energy ones...I want to see a lightsaber" Jaybo chattered, as our ship came to a stop in the middle of our fleet.

    "Pistols and rifles I think. Maybe knives" Glikas explained, expanding the holomap.

    "Oh. This might be dangerous then..." the boy said with a mix of fear and anticipation.

    A holoconference opened up, showing me a few captains and the war maid, Ventress.

    "Report, my adored maid" I said softly.

    "We have 2 cruisers, 2 frigates and 55 corvettes ready to depart, Emperor. HMS Greymist has already arrived at Junkfort and feeding us tactical data. The Pirates have at least two cruisers, the Longprow attack cruiser variant, armed with a modified weapon of unknown type. They also have support vessels, 16 in total, but possibly more.
    Another MC80 cruiser and its escort is heading this way, but it will take one day more to arrive." she reported, highlighting our various units, then another sequence containing the Greymist scans.
    "Okay. This system is secure? I don't want our retreat to be cut off, if we have to fall back and regroup" I said, already expanding my senses to observe our droids and new marine divisions occupy Zio Snaffkin and the other major cities.

    "No organized resistance. Some criminals and smugglers trying to escape. 3 Lucrehulks are deployed as temporary space stations. Our incoming cruiser can secure the orbitals if we leave now. If needed, I can call more..." she started, switching to the overview map. Still, too few ships and might suffer attacks elsewhere. Hmmm. Let's not thin out our presence in the new colonies.

    "No. We're leaving as soon as every ship reports in. Pef out" I commanded, and closed the holo.

    A minute later, the fleet jumped towards Junkfort.

    Junkfort system, Tharian Sector.
    24 BBY Second month


    A few hours later, we caught the pirates with their pants down, possibly literally.

    They were busy looting our ships, and fighting the droid crews.

    One of my new corvettes was broken in half, while another was just floating, seemingly dead in space.
    Oh well, corvettes were never intended to engage capital ships, not unless they had major numerical superiority.

    The Junkfort Station was a civilian one, with barely any particle shields to fend of meteors. It was larger than a Lucrehulk, but it won't pose a threat. I hoped.

    "Target engines first, I want to catch them all" I ordered on the fleet wide band, and we rushed in, hungry for blood.

    Junkfort system, Tahrin sector.

    The pirates began panicking as soon as the fleet was detected, some of their ships trying to scatter.

    Damn I wanted a real fleet engagement, not chasing rabbits.

    Anyway, I also predicted this scenario, and our fleet had deployed in a sphere around the pirate fleet, with our capital ships interposing themselves to block the obvious jumps up and down the trade route exit vectors.

    One of their own cruisers tried to test the blockade running into HMS Furious, Ventress's flagship, and was soon halted, without engines. The hyperjump lane to Taskeed was closed.
    The other cruiser changed course and attempted to blast its way to freedom through my own frigate, and towards Boonta, since it should have had less armor and firepower than the menacing Calamari cruiser guarding the lane towards Nimat system.

    Didn't work exactly as expected for either of us.

    Their laser beams sliced through the frigate's energy deflectors, then hit the Rakata forcefield, for no effect. I mean, not even a single percent decrease in shield integrity.

    Instead, the field reacted like a feral animal, growling like a lion, and pushing more energy into our already firing ion cannons, directly through the Force.

    The pirate cruiser was engulfed in a cloud of ionizing radiation, and listed to one side, everything technological on board being fried completely, and began venting air and bodies as it's airlocks and fighter bays opened to vacuum.

    My chest hurt for some reason, and Solana laughed through the bond, somehow amused greatly.

    'Told you this would happen, barely tolerated Emperor. Maybe next time, you listen, eh?' my water maid declared with regret in her aura. Right. Maybe next time you spell your warnings clearly too.
    My corvettes were busy fighting off starfighters and pinnaces and the cruisers began launching boarding shuttles, filled with droids and Brubbs.

    Tactical overview. Pef Empire vs pirates, overwhelming victory. But, if I didn't have my Rakata shield, whatever force weapon the pirates had, would have cracked my ship in half. Just avoided a strategic defeat, since the ship carried the Emperor, and a few precious beings as well.

    It had to be a force powered weapon, or the Rakata tech wouldn't have reacted so violently.

    'Stop whining and go find the thing. Baby Emperor' Wialu sent from thousands of light years away.

    Right.

    "Rescue ops for our transport ship and escorts. And take over the planet and the station too." I ordered on the encrypted holoband, while I drew strength from the pain and floated towards my own shuttle. Nashira floated beside me, and we reached the hangar in a minute, my assault droids already checking their weapons and filling in the shuttle as well.

    I delved in the force, using the droids like fingers and piloted the shuttle towards the ruined pirate cruiser.

    "There's only a few alive on board" Nashira reported as we entered the trashed hangar.
    Damn, without electronics, the ship was mostly dead to me. I couldn't sense much, except a beacon towards the front weapons battery.

    The whatever that powered the guns. Felt like a nexus, or kyber crystal. Huh, I thought Death Star lasers were 2 decades in the future...

    My droids sprinted forwards, launching themselves with repulsorlift beams and shooting whatever pirates still survived due to genetics or a nearby helmet. Very few of those too. Change orders, stun and retrieve a few pirates for interrogation.

    Our trading routes and their schedules weren't public after all. Then again, my empire had a hundred inhabited planets now. Plenty potential traitors or security breaches going unnoticed.

    New partition, public security forces, allocate a percent of our spending towards police and traffic scanners. Gand wasn't the only security risk anymore, and I could only be in one system. For now.

    A male pirate was hiding in a room nearby, clenching a frag grenade and a slug pistol. Not going down easy, eh?

    I punched the wall, and sent a snare inside. Drain his soul. And let's see.
    Pirates of Iridium, a long way away from their usual hunting grounds.

    Paid half in advance, and the rest when they returned.

    They had a mystical power gem, and it has never failed so far.

    He did see someone speak with the captain. Shady dealer, used to be known as Banking Guild go-between.

    Huh. I caused this, after all, when I robbed the Centrality. And with Vette turning the spice trade upside down.

    Well then, guess I knew which side I will take in the Clone wars.

    "Draining souls is creepy. But at least he was a pirate and a slaver." Nashira commented beside me.

    "Yeah. He got away too easy" I muttered in my com, burning away his soul in the snare.

    A few minutes later, I found the Power gem.

    The faceted crystal, glowing purple and indigo, size of a medium fist, and bristling with power.
    Let's open a new partition and study it, shall we?

    Junkfort system, Pef Empire, Outer Rim.
    24 BBY


    My Lucrehulk would cost just as much to repair as buying a new one, most electronics having been wiped by the power gem.

    Instead, it will form the basis for a new space station, once I finish using the Junkfort Station as a metal and hardware source for the modifications. Our fleet has already began transporting the spacers to the planet's surface, along with families and belongings, a million people being temporarily evicted.

    I have already begun, in fact, using parts from the wasted pirate ships and my own disabled corvettes.

    Planetside, other partitions are commanding legions of droids, and a few nano-gene droids, into establishing the basis of a civilized society. Mines, and farms, factories and schools and Imperial Servants administrative buildings.
    Train tracks and roads, power plants and parks for children.

    I won't do everything, but one day of planetary scale telekinesis and technopathy, would be worth billions of work hours for normal people.

    The Lucrehulk is being plated with armor slates over and under, with a number of transparisteel sections, for on board gardens.

    On the outer hull, the docks and ports facilities of the former station are being reassembled into functional and efficient cargo transit systems. Another dock is reserved for sapients and pets, with rigorous scanning and energy shield barriers.

    Ventress lazes at the window next to me, sometimes turning to examine my newer maids, Angie and Solana, with a mixture of annoyance and confusion in her force aura. Yeah, angels and sapient oceans are quite strange, even for star wars universe.

    And Asajj doesn't quite dare to try and establish dominance. Both due to my presence and the strangeness of her sister maids.

    Angie would possibly lap her force lightning or pyrokinesis and ask for more, with absolutely no regard for conservation of energy laws.
    And Solana...no idea. But probably worse.

    'Give me some money Emperor. I found things I want to buy' Solana demanded all of a sudden, having discovered of joy of online auctions. She had tinkered with a datapad, making it impermeable and using it to holo emulate a female face, floating inside the water bubble.

    Okay. Take a billion credits Solana. I'm curious what did she find.

    All right then, all people on board the station are gone. Force-lock the entire thing, then disassemble.

    "How...that's not possible..." Ventress muttered, staring out the window at a billion little parts being repurposed.

    "It's a cheat, dear maid. The smaller the things you move, the easier it is for your mind to accept it's possible. A billion bolts and wires, or a hundred trillion nano-genes...they still weigh millions of tonnes. But the mind knows they have to be very light, individually. I'll have to try with a whole star one day..." I explained softly, eyeing the star we orbited just now, with some doubt.

    "Pef is being silly. Not even Angie can lift a whole star. Maybe a small moon..." the Diathim Maid commented wisely.

    'Solanus can. Solanus is doing it right now, and thanks Pef for his silly ideas' the dual Voice added helpfully.
    Glad to be a source of inspiration.

    By the time the next trading ship arrived from Oseon , en route to Saleucami, the HMS Radiant was already a quarter operational, if just by droid operators.

    "Centrality vessel, stand by to be boarded. This is Imperial space" I sent at once, directing the nearest corvette on a tangential course.

    "What Empire is this, nobody claimed this system since the Hutts retreated 3 decades ago.." a bewildered captain asked, having a hard time adjusting to the largish fleet and the new space station here at Junkfort.

    "Pef Empire, of course. The first rule of acquisition is clear. If nobody owns it yet, the Immortal Pef will" I transmitted with a serious tone.

    "Okay, just don't shoot!" the man yelled with a panicked voice.

    Right. Some rumors must have spread about me, since I nonchalantly used nukes to eradicate the sorcerers of Tund...or, so they thought.
    Having a reputation was useful, after all.

    "And if somebody already owns it, Pef might still shoot you and just take it" My Gand Captain added wisely. Hey, that's a cool second rule!

    I'll have to search my memories and post all the Ferengi rules someday, on the Pefnet. Those were really wise people.
     
  17. Threadmarks: 15
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    En route back to Planet Gand.

    Ventress and Solana went on, towards Jabiim and Lythia system as more pirates were preying on people there. And the Galactic Republic did nothing to stop it. Oh well, their loss.

    My empire will grow even larger and richer. Ventress had already learned the right strings to pull and make planets join us, with consensus and ovations. And sometimes a knife in the back.
    Solana had to learn how to work independently as well, even if she bought herself a thousand crystals and biotech samples. Research was well and good, but politics came first.

    Lira, the Togruta Voice and Angie were sent towards the Centrality, on a goodwill tour. And to spread word of the Empire's work to pacify the sector and stop piracy, while calming down spirits and fears of potential confrontation.

    Also, make us appear benevolent and kind, not just rich and warlike. Pave the way for the eventual takeover.

    And thus, my ship was suddenly too quiet, Jaybo getting the hang of dismantling and controlling a tiny mouse droid, show admirably fast growth in force ability, especially technopathy and code assembly.
    "It's too quiet, there's no fun people on board and assembling a holocron is too hard" Nashira complained, staring at the organic-mineral soup bowl that Solana left for her. Her own attempt was melting already, and looked sickly.

    Was that an invitation? I could never tell.

    "You want to know me better?" I asked hesitantly.

    "Hah, no. I have a synthskin droid in my room already, and it's below standards. Why would I want a talking one?" the Fallanassi leader replied with a dismissive gesture. Right, I wondered why she had purchased a simulacra droid without connectify links. Now I didn't want to know.

    "So, about Solanus...what did it do to you?" I mused, scanning her again. She seemed a normal human but...I wasn't so sure anymore. And Solanus was too crafty to be obvious.

    "Just polished my own skills and implanted them back, and better. Nothing to worry about" Nashira replied curtly.

    "Okay then. But if there's a new thing, and it's hard to control, you'll let me know, okay? I promised you sanctuary..." I said softly.
    She nodded but stayed silent.

    Okay then. She'll tell me if she needs help. Maybe. Probably. Possibly. Not likely.

    'Pef, your Zeison Sha maid took a frigate and left. Along with 7 billion credits and a contact Lucrehulk. Should I order a pursuit?' Dora asked cautiously through the Voice bond.

    Ah, the bait worked after all. I was beginning to doubt she cared for her people.

    'Protective detail at long range. She took fertilizers and construction droids.'

    'So, she went home, to save her people too. 7 billions is just 7 thousands credits per capita. They won't last long.' Dora calculated rapidly.

    'It's winter. More will survive this way' I answered, feigning a disinterested shrug though the bond.

    'Magnificent bastard. You planned this, from the start!' Dora exclaimed, pulsing adoration and devotion.

    'Love you too' I concluded and let the bond go. I'll be home soon enough.
    Nashira opened her eyes, and stared at me for a few seconds.

    "That was Dora, I think. And you're feeling proud and content. Did another planet join?" she wondered, forming a realistic doppelganger of Dora in front of me.

    Kriff, she mastered it all. Almost. This Dora wasn't feeling any emotion.

    I tried it too, but only a few triangular shapes appeared, my construct worthy of pacman and other 80' games.

    I made it stick out a single red pixel for a tongue, then it crashed and broke into holographic shards.

    "Don't worry, one day I'll master it too. It just takes patience" I muttered, not feeling envious at all.

    "But not today. You're also the first droid to learn the Current, so we can overlook your handicap" the woman said politely, and smiled sheeply while closing her eyes again.

    Gah. I was not handicapped. Misunderstood genius. Yeah. With ADD. And no heart.

    Well, maybe a crystal heart.
    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    On board Celestial Throne

    "
    Whoa, you mashed two Lucrehulks together? And made it your capital! How did you fix the gravity plates?" Jaybo exploded with questions, again.

    "All gravity is oriented towards the planet. The vertical arms have elevators and apartments, like skyscrapers. In space" I explained with a smile.

    "Oh. That makes sense. But you need to cover it up, and make it a sphere. Like an artificial moon!" the boy exclaimed. Yea, let's not give people ideas.

    "The horizontal donut will be, for parks and stuff. But we don't need that much space, or have enough armor plates here" I replied gently, while floating towards the Avatar lab.

    Time to poke and prod the original donor, and begin growing the test clones.

    'Bendu says hi. And wants to see you and all your maids and Voices' Wialu sent through the bond, along with a few images. Yeah, no. Not gonna jump around for anyone no more. If I could help it.

    'You have a ship, and he's not a god or an ocean, yet' I replied politely. A long pause followed that, and I began to worry.
    'Okay, he's still laughing. I'll stop by and pick him up when we finish the Lothal visit. Anything else?' Wialu sent, with a hint of exasperation in her aura. What, I made the reindeer-gorilla laugh, that had to be good...

    Hmm. She was ranging quite far north. Maybe Drongar ?

    'Go to Drongar and harvest half the bota plants. Maybe transplant some. They'll all die soon anyway' I sent and waved away the bond.

    "Was that my new mom?" Jaybo asked, poking curious at my kyber crystal embedded in my armor.

    Wait, new mom? What did that woman tell him? Or did he think Vette...

    "Wialu, not Vette" I answered as I lifted him up on a medbay table. My surgeon droids clicked their scalpels in anticipation.

    "Will you cut off my head and place it in a crystal jar, like Vette said you did to bad people? Cause I wasn't that bad, last week..." the boy asked curious and quite scared.

    "Hmmm. Only if you'll be awful bad. For now, vaccines and tests. But, if you really want to, I guess we could cut a finger..." I mused, pretending to think it through, with a raised pinky finger, towards his nose.
    "Well...if it's for science, and really important, a finger may be worth it" Jaybo declared in a serious tone, holding his pinky up as well. Huh, this was true dedication, almost reaching yakuza or Van Gogh levels.

    "Eh, it's kinda small. We'll wait till you grow up, and have manly fingers" I answered in a serious tone as well.

    "Deal" he concluded, hooking his pinky in mine and swearing on it.

    He'll make a great Primarch, someday.

    I began the trials, while making the kid pass out with a puff of sleeping gas.

    Guess I could test more things at once, and see if pain wakes the subject up.

    A few hours later, the boy woke up and counted his fingers with some emotion.

    "Toes are fingers too" I said politely, and laughed inwards at his rapid examinations.

    "Yeah, I knew that. So, are we compatible?" he spoke in a more serious voice.
    "I can probably upload even into a tree or probe droid, but the markers I test deal with force connectivity." I said, reading the midichlorians levels again. My own form was artificial and didn't even have midichlorians, and was perhaps the main limiting factor for my range and abilities meant for organics.

    But, looking at the numbers on this detector... Damn boy was almost a Skywalker.

    And too old to be made into a Jedi. My gain. If it wasn't claimed, Pef will take it.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Golden Throne, the Avatar Lab
    24 BBY third month.


    My surgeon droid placed the tiny clone in a nutrient bath, and closed the incubator gently. Transference took less than a minute, since the little thing barely had a few neurons.

    Okay, now let's try two abilities at once, agelessness and acceleration. With two different partitions. Breathe deeply, and start.

    Twice speed. Under the electron microscope, the cells began dividing faster, and still not losing any telomere length.
    Three times speed. Still the same. The infant was in mild pain from bone growth.

    Four times. My normal combat speed. Telomere still constant. Pain was reaching acute levels.

    Five times. Minor heating of self. Telomere wobbling. Okay, let's back off slightly.

    4.9 times, still wobbling. 4.8 telomere vibrate slightly. 4.7 telomere appear stable. Organic self level of pain: chronic. Neural probe. Shunt pain to emulated medium. Organic self stabilizing. Heart rate too rapid. Inject relaxants. Heart rate nominal.

    Now, my first organic self should grow into a man, in 3 years. A bit too long. Then athletic and force training...3 more years.

    Normal speed for the Kamino clones already surpassed, by cheating gloriously with the force.

    Not ideal, but at least I had my Avatar.

    Okay, let's build a Holocron pouch now.

    The soup rose around the small zygote and began encapsulating it into a cube. 3 tiny kyber crystals, barely as small as a sand particle, pushed with telekinesis gently, one beside the heart and two inside the faint impression of a skull.

    Place the power gem instead of a kyber key. The soup solidified around 60 centimeters in length and 20 centimeters wide.
    Hopefully the Force will be smart enough to figure it out, and stop the crystals inside the brain growing too large.

    And twist and lock.

    My first Rakata style Holocron, containing myself. Huh.

    Palpatine would have a heart attack.

    Now, let's imprint breathing, meditation, agelessness and acceleration.

    And done.

    The tiny Pef should know what to do. I hope.

    'Solanus says you're a little crazy. Solana thinks you're a bit more' Solana sent through the Voice bond, ignoring the hypocrisy of her own existence being my inspiration. If Solanus could build himself a daughter, I could too. Perhaps. Maybe. Eventually.

    I stopped the abilities on my two partitions, reducing the force gradually.

    The holocron pouch began glowing brighter and brighter as it began powering itself up. Kriff, I knew I forgot something. Soon the whole galaxy will feel this.
    Imprint hide in light and hide in shadow. The holo Pef got the idea instantly, and the brightness disappeared.

    And now we wait.

    It should hatch soon, if my calculations are correct. Maybe 3 months or 5.

    I placed the holocron inside the pouch I made for it in my armor, then climbed inside too.

    Hmmm. I hope Avatar Pef will know to knock first. Or the inside of this armor will be quite cramped.

    I just made myself pregnant with myself, using another male's genes to do it.

    Ah, I was almost a Hutt now.

    When I stepped out of the lab, Dora was there to pat my belly with loving eyes.

    "What name will you give him?" she asked, bouncing her green leku in curiosity.

    "Avatar, I think. And perhaps Peffy in more intimate contexts" I mused, thinking of my other avatars in another galaxy.
    "I can feel him, through the bond. Almost like I'm carrying him myself" Dora said softly, and hugged my power armor with adoration.

    Okay, this was a bit strange, even for star wars.

    Then again, the Force is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be...unnatural. I bet you don't know who first said that.
     
  18. Threadmarks: 16
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne, Mechatronic Art Lab
    24 BBY, fourth month



    Jaybo is floating in mid-air next to me, and struggles to rotate two nano-missiles around himself, going in opposite circular trajectories.

    "It's too hard! Why do you keep having me punished like this..." the red headed boy complained, for the hundredth time.

    Huh, was it too hard? I could do this with two battleships...a Nano missile was really light.

    Maybe the organics did have it too hard. But what about Yoda and Starkiller and who knows how many others?

    "Do you want to try the sand box again?" I asked, a bit bored. On this partition. The others we're busy building ships and inventing new droid forms and learning a thousand ancient languages...

    "Sand is worse!" Jaybo yelled and lost his balance, falling on the large fluffy pillow under him. Healing broken bones a dozen times didn't work. Thus, pillow for now. I'll have to get a water tank with sharks someday. Maybe that will motivate the boy better.
    "A sand grain weighs 50 micrograms. They are quite easy to lift and push and everything" I answered softly.

    "It's not the weight, dumb droid. It's the millions of sand grains that get everywhere!" the boy cried with exasperation, and punched the metal floor. He punched a bit of center and broke his pinky knuckle. Again.

    To his credit, he absorbed the pain and ignored it, since the training session wasn't over. I should reward him for this. Maybe 10 credits? No, he lost control of his emotions still. 5 credits should be enough.

    "Don't yell so loud, you're scaring the baby" I admonished him, patting my armor's belly in a protective gesture. The boy gulped and looked away sheepishly.

    "A turbolaser wouldn't harm the baby, inside the holocron. I know how to build them too" he replied in a calmer voice.

    "Emotions can hurt even more. So, what did you learn today?" I inquired, holding my palm out. He placed his own hand inside it and waited patiently for the bones to fuse back to normal.
    "Guiding a single nano-missile to target is feasible. Guiding two at once...not yet. But, I could build a chaingun and fire them sequentially, guiding each one. I'll just have to get faster. Or use a cyborg implant." he answered after going through a checklist in his mind.

    "Okay then, I'll build you a speed training room. The floor will be a water pool, so prepare yourself" I said with some amusement.

    "Water? That's great! At least if I fall, I will only get wet, and not break anything. You truly are a merciful Emperor, Immortal Pef" Jaybo declared, punching the sky in the traditional Empire salute.

    Yeah, keep thinking happy thoughts, my son from another father. The sharks will do the same.

    "Okay, go do whatever, you have 6 hours leisure time" I concluded the training session.

    "Can I have a hundred credits?" Jaybo asked, with some nefarious project in mind.

    "No!"

    "10?"

    "5!" I said instead, giving him a high-five.
    "5 credits yay, ice cream!" the boy exclaimed with glee and took off at a run. His VSS escort moved along, droids and invisible Fallanassi and Gands. They got to practice in safety, and the boy wasn't even aware they existed.

    Alright then, chainguns. Good idea Jaybo, I forgot about those. First, an anti-starfighter version for our spaceships, gatling lasers should be easy to make. Then, similar variant installed on gunships and personnel carriers. And lastly, personal weapon for ground troops and droids. Less damage per bolt compared to blasters, but much higher rate of fire and volume saturation.

    Maybe a maser variant as well, for the future.

    The large walkers I'm designing based on Warhammer memories and the ZIMM war robot should have one as well.

    Now, let's return to the actual warmachines. Tanks.

    Three versions, a heavy one with tracks. A medium one with wheels, and a light variant with wheels and repulsor lifts, for really difficult terrain.
    Umbara tech came in handy now, their shields and fire control systems were amazing. At least a generation above the rest of galactic tech.

    And their underground tanks will make decent testbeds for other submerged environments, like sand and water worlds.

    I checked the Meteor partition, and noticed 200 new hulls being almost ready, in various asteroid fields scattered throughout the sector.

    Gonna have to bring them all at Redforge and get them fitted too.

    Greyforge was now building corvettes and transport vessels, and keeping a interdictor cruiser on station, in case a curious Jedi returned.

    And Blackforge was building the upgraded Scimitar interceptors, with shields and turreted lasers, with the cyborgs training to become elite pilots.

    All was going well, so far.

    'Pef, there's someone here to see you. She might be the Jedi you talked about.' Dora sent through the bond.
    Great. Didn't even feel her.

    I hoped I didn't have to use the carbonite trap. Sending her back to Coruscant as a slab of ice would be pretty embarrassing, for both of us.

    Access station files, ah yes. It was the blonde immortal. Now being walked towards the Ambassadors Hall, by a pair of sim droids, wearing synthskin to appear more palpable to organics.

    I turned off a few experiments to focus more partitions on this meeting.

    'Wialu, status?' I asked through the bond.

    'Still collecting bota plants. They are amazing Pef! They can heal and increase the force connection..."

    'Yeah, I know. Vette is still alive then' I said, with a slight teasing tone.

    'She bought 50 more Calamari frigates, she likes them for some reason. Still hunting pirates and same old.' she explained with a flash of images with exploding pirate vessels and slave camps being rescued.

    'Place an order for more cruisers too. Even without turbolasers' I demanded, worried I may need ships sooner than the building cycle would permit.
    'Okay. Take care of yourself and the baby' Wialu sent with a pulse of mild worry.

    Right.

    Let's see what the Jedi wants.

    I entered the high speed elevator and reached the Embassy deck before the Jedi did.

    Let's sit down this time, this was the center of my Empire after all.

    "Miss Jedi" I said politely as the droids closed the doors behind her.

    "Master Jedi Fay, please" she answered with a tone of disgust. Right, Jedi hate droids too. But, claiming to be a Master Jedi implies Senate rules and authority.

    "What can my Empire do for you, beautiful Jedi, who operates without Senate oversight?" I asked instead, and caught a brief glimpse of guilt in her aura.

    "I came to apologize Emperor Pef. Your actions and those of your followers give you credit. I may have been..hasty, the last time we met" Fay muttered in a low voice.
    "Right, what's a torpedo to the chest, between friends...." I replied politely, and gestured dismissively.

    "Friends may be too much. I visited Zolan though, and what you claimed is true. Those people...they don't deserve to be treated like that. Perhaps you can grant them sanctuary?" she asked with a slight push of persuasion. Damn it.

    "If you file an official request, miss Jedi. There's a few dozens planets in my Empire with low populations and fertile land. Room and safety is not the problem. Legality might be. There's been complaints already, of my harsh measures to restore safety in this sector. Especially around Jabiim, but also Junkfort and Taskeel and others." I answered sternly. Seems the Republic doesn't like when other people prove capable of doing what they don't.

    "Yes, I heard of that. Thousands of pirates butchered, by your so called Honored Maids. The poor pirates who had their traditional ways destroyed by your heavy hands actions. I visited those planets too, just to see what the truth is." Fay said with a tiny smile.

    So, you won't find nefarious acts in how I treat my people. Quite the contrary.

    "And?" I asked with a bored tone.
    "I spoke with a number of your Imperial Servants. None of them wanted to leave and seek freedom in the Republic. Very strange." the Jedi said with a confused vibe in her aura.

    "The Servants can always file a petition for manhumition and get a ticket to Corellia. Some of them did that already. If they had family in the Core or similar reasons." I said politely, checking the petition numbers again. One in a hundred or so. Seems freedom to starve is not as valued as service to the Empire, after all.

    "Fine. I want a transport fleet, and escorts. Extracting the changelings may prove a little difficult just by myself." Fay demanded with an annoyed voice.

    "Why not ask your Jedi Council? The Republic has twenty thousand warships. Just go and demand it, as your rank allows" I asked curious.

    "I'd rather not step on Coruscant. The Force is strange there, and I feel I won't get out alive. And it's been that way for centuries. But you already knew that, Immortal Emperor." Fay explained with sarcasm and tiny tendrils trying to burrow into my memories. But I wasn't unprepared now.
    "You think it's a fake title, miss Jedi. But I spoke with Xim, the fabled ruler of this sector in the past. I spoke with Adus, the fabled ruler of the Sith species. I spoke with gods and angels and powerful beings that can juggle entire stars. The Force is not a Jedi tool, Miss Fay. One day you will learn, maybe before you die or maybe after" I proclaimed mystically, covering myself in flames and lightning and creating wings made of shadow behind me.

    The Jedi stared at me, trying to test the veracity of my words, and the abilities I used.

    "Your words ring true, somehow. And it seems you learned alot from the Tund sorcerers. Your armor is even better now, as well. What is your goal, immortal droid?" she asked, a little in awe, but also cautious.

    "Civilization miss Fay. You will get your fleet, if you choose to stay and teach the changelings. In two years, you will get to see the truth for yourself. And perhaps, you will join me, after you die" I proclaimed, punching the sky.

    "Okay...That didn't sound crazy at all. Two years...and teaching. I hate teaching..." the jedi muttered as she turned away and left, lost in thought.

    I looked after her and smiled inward. The bait worked after all.

    Fay will be saving the changelings, providing the Empire with a large number of shapeshifting operatives, and she'll provide training for them, and legitimacy to intervention in Republic space.
    Her being strong and beautiful and immortal wouldn't hurt either. Maybe she'll want the Honored Maid role someday.

    And a sample for gene-tech of highest quality for my Astartes, and a way to access the Temple and their holocrons in the future. The fleet and their crews get training and practice in large scale deployments over 10 sectors away...

    Yeah, patience and Form Zero were still the best.

    Interlude Fay
    24 BBY


    'Kriff, the droid played me again, somehow.' Fay thought, while she entered her ship's hangar.

    That air of smugness was telling her lots about the kind of person this Pef was. Even back at the 'secret shipyard' the droid was smug and confident, like nothing could hurt or bother him.

    And now the droid emperor was even more competent and stronger in the force. She had visited Tund a hundred years ago and observed the sorcerers. Refugees of old, with barely some rituals and elemental powers.

    Only their ancient shields and being a reclusive group, with some mind alter skills, have kept them secure till now. And then Pef waltzed in, and blasted away with proton bombs, scattering the cabal and possibly killing most of them.
    But she suspected a cover up, or an extraction, and now her feeling was proved right. The droid kept some of those Sith as teachers. Maybe even all of them. The force hadn't scream of death and pain.

    Just like he did with those Jal Shey nomads. Sanctuary.

    The word was loaded with meanings, and the Force wasn't helping, instead veiling the meaning in shadow and blankness. Pol Virten was now rotting in a Republic prison, his string of theft and murder brought to an end. But, the clawdite's silly attempt to become a Sith Lord aside, there was real danger in the galaxy.

    And the bounty hunter she recovered had vague memories of the word as well. Something was hunting force users, including Jedi.

    And Master Qui-Gon Jinn had been killed by a Sith, with a red lightsaber. That hinted of a hunter, all right.

    Coruscant was still pulsing of danger and hidden threats, and seemed even more dangerous now than in the past centuries.

    Here, however, in the new Pef Empire things were better. Those women with fleets and droid armies were scouring the sector, building civilization, exactly like the droid said. Three Twi'leks, a Togruta, 3 humans or near-humans and 2 droid maids. The droids were possibly other of his kind, with force-sentient crystals inside. And now rumours of even stranger maids, an angel and a woman made of water.
    And Pef did indeed knew Master Aqinos. She had seen the sunesi in the droid's mind, when they first met.

    But to have met Xim and Adus? Gods?

    Seemed so improbable to defy all reason. Only all things were possible in the force, and crystals could indeed live for millenia.

    Kriff.

    How to do this and not have to answer in front of the Council. Master Yoda was gentle, but...

    Nevermind. She'll wing it, like she always did. The Force sent her here, the Force could figure it out.

    Fay walked around her ship, checking for tampering, but it seemed the Empire did indeed respect diplomatic immunity.

    Only medical and weapon scans, which were quite sensible. Plagues could be carried unknowingly and devastate entire planets.
    Although, this Pef...might repurpose the plague to make fertilizer or medicine pyramids, like it happened here on Gand or Toong'l.

    Terraforming entire planets...in months or even weeks.

    Along with housing and schools and factories...

    The droid was indeed building civilization. But how did Pef make all these people follow him?

    Nobody trusted droids. And yet his Empire spread now from Mon Cala to the Centrality, with possibly dozens of uncharted routes, known only to the Empire.

    And that thing about joining him, after she died?

    That was the Jedi code, but taken literal.

    Okay, enough hesitation. Saving people was always the right choice.

    Even strange people like changelings.

    Fay started writing the damn official request, using her old codes, that were somehow never discontinued. Master Yoda had to have been covering up for her, even after all this time.

    Ten minutes later, a droid entered the hangar, carrying a tiny golden hand and a credit chip.
    "Miss Fay, the fleet is being assembled at Junkfort in 5 days. Requisition privileges and money for fuel and humanitarian aid.
    Congratulations for your choice, Fifth Hand" the droid spoke with its creepy vocoder and held a palm up.

    What?

    She took the chip and scanned the contents curious. 125 billions credits!

    She could...save an entire people and build them a whole country, brand new. And still have lots of credits left..for schools and neural training, just like the Servants received.

    The droid kept the palm up, expecting some kind of response. She looked in the force for intent, but it seemed a mere confirmation gesture. Slapping palms together.

    She held her own palm up, and the droid high-fived her, while pushing needles in her finger tips. What the kriff?

    "Genetic confirmation acquired. Welcome to the Pef Empire, Miss Fay" the droid said politely, and left at speed.
    Fay stared after the droid, not minding the tiny needle pricks, which had closed instantly. Genetic confirmation, though? What did it mean? She had a tiny feeling that the droid tricked her again, somehow.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Redbox
    24 BBY



    The holoprojection of Planet Geonosis closed, and I turned my head 90 degrees coreward.

    "Anything else, Third Hand?" I asked my black ops master, who was sitting beside me, disguised like a regular operative.

    "The force trackers still do not work in hyperspace, Immortal Gand. We're still trying to acquire the technology for that, but nobody seems to manufacture it, anymore. And the schematics your Voice have provided, only work short range, just a parsec at most, and usually even less" he explained, triggering a hidden function on his hand insignia.
    Another holo opened, rotating the Scimitar original schematics, that Wialu had drained from Darth Maul. Our own variant appeared next to it, sporting 3 laser turrets and an Umbaran heavy shield.

    I thought for a moment, then changed the frontal turret with a multiple missile launcher. Sublight speed increased by 5% more, due to less drain on the reactor, while the alpha strike capability increased 10 times. But the range of the hyperspace tracker didn't increase at all. This variant should work better. Maybe. Budget adjustment, 10 billions in total.

    "Is it a question of scale? Let's try it with a cruiser. Use the MC80 reactor and electronic slicer bank. I know it can work for at least 100 parsecs. I've seen it work, in the future. But I want it now." I mused, thinking about the New Order's tech.

    "Yesss. We know you see the future Immortal Gand. Your foolish demand will be tried. Perhaps some Findsmen will even survive, like those five which survived and returned from Tython. We were overwhelmed by your generosity, and their new Finger ranks. Maybe one day, we will be granted a Thumb and a Backhand as well..." The gand said, probably ironically.

    "I was thinking Claw, for ace pilots or such, but if you think it's too much..." I asked, a little confused.

    My Hand stared at my photoreceptors for a long minute. Was it something I said?
    "Zuralee was right, you really are a stupid droid, my Emperor. I'll let my new subordinates know there was a translation error and that their rank is actually called Claw. Maybe they won't suicide in shame now. For the Empire!" he said politely, punched the sky and vanished.

    Okay...crisis averted.

    Now, let's see about the Centrality operations.

    The search for the croke was still ongoing, every encounter costing me at least one good agent.

    How did Lando simply shoot him in the ankle and kill it? It didn't work!

    Open operation, 779/24a. Loyal sentient droid implanted with a photon bomb. To acquire verification and send a subspace signal to an orbital insertion team. Or so he'll think. Instead the bomb will activate, and get rid of evidence.

    Prepare variant, 779/24b in case the target escapes. Orbital bombardment. Did I need a variant 24c? Whatever, why not?
    Escalation was easy. Budget 100 millions.

    What else?
    Ah yes. Tactical droids. CIS liked those. Open operation 1231. Acquire some tactical droids. Variant 1/a Subvert and resell to CIS worlds. Variant 1/b Subvert and keep as deniable assets to be used against Republic and/or CIS targets. Variant 1/c Subvert and keep as commanders and administrators, post war. Budget 100 millions.

    Hmmm. Jedi and the Republic liked the R2 and 4 variants for astromechs. Open operation. 1232. Variant 1/a Subvert and resell to Core worlds. Variant 1/b Subvert and keep as deniable assets to be used against CIS targets and/or Republic targets per need. Variant 1/c Use as infiltrators and saboteurs in black ops missions. Budget 100 millions.

    What else...

    "Pef, how are you?" Dora said, having entered the Redbox and sat silently beside me for a few minutes.

    "Hey Dora. Just thinking. What do you think?"

    "I think that I think. We're getting bigger Pef. Already the amount of people and ships and credits I juggle is overwhelming. And I assume you'll want to expand into the Ash Worlds and wild space too." My first Voice complained, but in a less ironical voice. She was the best!
    "Well, we did find a route to Agon Nine. Altratonne looks promising too. A good place to hide the changelings perhaps." I mused, looking at the map rotating slowly above the holotable.

    "And Vette liberated Byss from slavers. The one-eyed Abyssin now worship her. The Blue Holy Maiden, they call her. They will join the Empire with ovations and prayers, I think" Dora said softly, hugging me with one arm and patting the armor on its belly.

    They probably will. And we'll have to install planetary shields and deep water wells. Then fertilizers and factories...Whatever. It was just money.

    "How many Meteors do you plan on building, we already have 267 of those monsters, I think?" the green twi'lek wondered.

    "Oh, those sharks? Millions maybe." I answered, amused at Dora's gasp.

    I chose their final shape to resemble a Interdictor-class cruiser, with the mouth smaller and mobile, and when open wide, allowed the MAC guns to fire forward their magnetically accelerated iron shells. The operation principle of a MAC is that of a coilgun, with projectile friction mitigated by forcefields.

    The cannon fires a massive metal projectile using a linear system of magnetic fields coils down a long shaft, increasing the projectile's velocity until it carries an incredible amount of kinetic energy. Enough to shatter ships and shields, even planetary shields.
    The ship's maw will have strong shields that allow only one dimensional traverse, from inside to outside the ship, allowing the ship to use the cannons while under fire, and will also be protected by missile launchers and gatling lasers.

    The eyes will be added later, when we'll have gravity interdiction technology, and for ears...sublight engines to turn and aim the front of the ship faster.

    The upper fin will house communication and electronic warfare equipment as well as superfiring capital turrets to engage other large vessels.

    And the lateral wings will be added later, to serve as heat radiators. Melting asteroids wasn't yet advanced enough to form a complete shark shape, so I'll have to chisel them out with nanites.

    Mork work for the beloved Emperor.

    Speaking of sharks, my water pool was ready.

    I patted Dora on her head, and left the boring work to have fun.

    Training Jaybo to become fast. With sharks, in a waterpool.
     
  19. Threadmarks: 17
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    24 BBY, fifth month


    "You're toying with me! All the known planets in the sector are ours. 566 systems with planets, and 2300 or such star systems without. How long till you make me immortal?" Ventress asked, controlling her emotions better now.

    Solana attempted a smile, with her half hologram/half water-woman lips. Didn't quite work, and if I still felt things, it would be probably fear and sliminess. If that was a feeling.

    "Well, beloved maid. There are three possible answers. First, I make you my Voice, and bond your soul to mine. But, that will mean you're always under observation, in all your future existence, which may last a trillion years or longer. I can't see that far." I mused out loud, raping my armored fingers on the Golden Throne armrest, in a familiar march, sometimes known as Vader's entry.

    "Oh. Always? Forever and ever?" she said, with some hesitation. I nodded patiently. Well. Most likely.

    "The second option, biological immortality. You will never age, and your mind will not degrade substantially for about a million years, maybe less, depending on the amount of information you receive."
    "Ageless, but a lucky headshot or a lightsaber to the neck, and I'll die. So, a thousand years, if I'm lucky." Ventress answered, her enthusiasm slightly less now. Yes, or a bioweapon and much sooner.

    "And the third option, a phylactery. Like my Avatar will be. Your soul linked to a holocron and depending on your force connection and capacity to learn, able to reincarnate. There are risks too, like losing the holocron or such." I explained with some amusement.

    The woman hesitated, calculating risks and advantages.

    "The other maids, they all chose the Voice. Why?" she asked with some annoyance. She did have a highly independent streak though.

    "Safety of course. And knowing I'll always be there for them. To love and cherish them, till the end of time" I replied seriously. Choosing a Voice was serious business after all.

    "How? I can't imagine..." she said with a short shiver. Gah, another droid hater.

    "I have another way. Demolecularization by Solanus. He'll give you a new body, just as pretty as mine" Solana added with a pirouette, showcasing her assets. Huh, she did choose a body shape exactly like I liked, a blue Lara Croft. Probably stolen from my mind, along with Cortana, and other sources of inspiration...

    "Hell, no!" Ventress exclaimed and fled the throne room.
    Why would she hate water though?

    I thought only Jaybo did. Since a month ago.

    The boy did get a lot faster however. Sharks motivate kids even more than electricity. Make a note to add the water pool to the Sanctuary curriculum. Make a second note, research for a shark-hybrid with a scorpion as well. Human body had to have higher speed limits.

    Solana stepped closer to me and poked my belly with curiosity.

    "Baby Pef should hatch next month. If Immortal Pef didn't make any error." she observed through some arcane means.

    "Yeah, the clone will emerge just fine. But will it be like me? Will it be sane? What if it starts blowing up stars?" I asked rhetorically.

    "Solanus wonders the same about Solana. But Solanus took a risk. Made new life. And molded Solana to be what Pef needed. An immortal companion, like Pef dreamed of. A bit crazy, or maybe even more" my Voice said, sitting in my lap and molding herself comfortable on my armor.

    "A great war will start soon, half the galaxy fighting the other. And after that...much worse." I mused with a soft voice.

    "War never ends. Solanus has not felt peace in a billion years. But some wars, they must be won. Make an armored suit for Solana, will you?" she demanded with a stern voice. Why would...
    "You're going to hunt that Sith croke, by yourself?" I asked surprised. She was kinda new at being alive.

    "Pef is willing to blow up a starship or a city, just to end this threat. Solana thinks she will be enough. And reduce death a little." She argued, quite convincingly.

    "Try to drain him if you can. 20 millennia is a long time to learn skills"

    "Solana doesn't waste good brains. She learns from Pef. She is the perfect Voice." the water woman replied sensually, and floated away, already using her pad to request a ship and funds for her expedition.

    Huh. What has she been watching on her pad? That was almost seductive.

    For an alien. Made of water.

    'I heard that!' she sent before she left the room.

    Gah. I will be under surveillance, forever and ever, till the end of time...

    Kriff, what have I done?
    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    EA testing ground, Silicon mountains.


    I walked around, testing the mobility of the power armor on the rocky ground. Seemed good enough traction for me.

    The heavy tank in front of me was struggling however, trying to climb the incline on their tracks.

    Zuckuss wore a repulsor belt and floated beside, and was sipping a drink. He was lazing around like a boss...possibly my fault, since I do kinda float around on the station. But, that's only to reduce the huge noise the armor made while smacking into the metal floors with 3 tones of armor.

    Make a note, rubber soles for power armor. Or whatever the galactic fashion was. Could be saarlack skin this month.

    A medium tank rolled up the slope with little effort passing us and the heavy tank and joining the light tank already waiting on the ridge.

    I turned around, and looked over my planet. Blue sky, green grass, red trees. Home.

    Hey, I remember that tree! I planted it myself...along with a million others.
    "Is it a good dream, my friend?" I wondered, maybe not loud enough.

    "The Dream just is. Good and bad, just words. Zuckuss likes the green though. And the tanks you dreamed are nice as well, Emperor Pef" Zuckuss said wisely.

    Hmmm. He and Zuralee were basically leading the Gand people now, with Mujilik retraining himself on Sanctuary, and getting stronger in the force.

    "I think I'll double their armor again, and use the heavy tanks for sieges. They'll never keep up with the mechanized infantry and light tanks." I said with a sigh, watching the heavy tank slide back a little.

    I should add more tracks to each tank, at least three pairs, and reduce the pressure of contact, that would help somewhat with muddy terrain or sand.

    "See, I knew you weren't stupid, after all. Using heavy tanks to climb mountains, kriff! Did any of the tanks, in the wars you saw in your visions, do that?" my First Hand asked curious.

    "No, but I hoped the reactor-powered engines will be strong enough..." I said with a sheepish voice. Then again, the heavy tanks fared as well as the tanks of the 21st century, while weighing 20 times more.
    "Ask someone smart next time. And don't waste months on projects that don't work" he concluded, too wise again.

    Great. Solana was right again, I kept making mistakes, by trying to seem smarter than I was.

    'I did say that. Keep trying Pef, you're still young.' My Voice said from where ever she was, in hyperspace.

    I had the droid tankist turn his heavy vehicle around and test the downslope speed limit.

    Much better now.

    'Open fire on the lead tank. Light weapons first' I demanded, and watched the fireworks go, the only less visible shots being the prototype light MACs. The only way to detect them was by impact points. Would work perhaps, against unprotected targets.

    But energy costs were much higher, and the acceleration rails were too short. Tanks were impervious, at least the heavy tanks.

    Keep it as prototype, and test against all types of targets, from beasts to droids and various armored mannequins.

    No wonder the galaxy didn't have rail guns and coil guns, except a few force powered ones in myths.
    Accelerating a projectile for 16 kms of rails on a spaceship worked much better than 5 meters on tanks.
    Plus the spaceship reactors were much stronger, and vacuum didn't slow down the projectile through friction, like it happened in atmosphere.

    I'll have to think of a way to use proton torpedoes as anti-tank weapons on my armored vehicles.
    I did test their effectiveness myself, with my armor.

    Ah, Fay. Having a clever Jedi on my side might prove even more worth than I thought.

    Still, the Clone Wars were an assured victory.

    Better concentrate my research and weapon development on maser guns, which were certain to work on the Vong. Sure my maser tech is ancient, courtesy of the Crusades, and thus less powerful, but at least it's reliable, and doesn't use consumables.

    Turbolasers needed tibanna gas, and had less effective damage on the Vong bioarmor, and rail guns would require projectiles, thus more consumables. More logistics and more delays if I wanted a sustained offensive.

    For now, I will focus on cheap droids and fast repulsor tanks, backed up by siege tanks. Once we had the orbitals, any planet was certain to fall in weeks, so I wasn't worried about ground warfare.
    I will just bury my enemies in droids.
     
  20. Threadmarks: 18
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne.
    24 BBY, sixth month.


    My Voices are all coming home, almost at once. Lira finished her tour of the Centrality, Wialu has finished harvesting the Bota plants, and is detouring to pick up Bendu on her way back.
    Solana has finished her own task and drained Gupta, saving the Centrality of another series of genocides. And Luxum, she wants to introduce me to her mother, Illum.

    Ray is still searching the lanes in the Galaxy North, collecting Vong samples, and avoiding their large ships. Vera is trying to uplift her people, but doesn't have enough resources. She'll be back soon. Celine has established an Art College on Toong'L, and seems happy to nurture young artists from the various species in our empire. Angie is on the same ship with Lira, while Vette...

    Vette has found a another Jedi, living alone, on a planet called Cophrigin V. Those gloves of hers are cheat codes I swear. Got to get my mitts on a pair as well.

    She sent me a short holo, saying "Found a cool girl, living alone in a garden. Gonna plant some of those bota saplings here and figure her out. The garden is nice too, why don't you have a garden, stupid dro...". Then a lightsaber swhooshed and interrupted the transmission. Purple lightsaber, like Kraya's. God, I hope it's not really Kreya.
    Make a note, get myself a garden. Maybe even a large park, in the center of the Celestial Throne. Order transparisteel plates for the roof and armor and gravity plates for the upgrade. 100 million budget. Damn, a garden is just a bunch of seeds and some soil, why does it cost this much?

    The Findsman captain on Vette's ship reported everything is alright, my blue twi'lek and a woman with silver hair are just chatting and exchanging stories. Kriff, if I get an introduction by Vette, that loner Jedi will be assaulted with fake notions that flit through Vette's leku.

    Mostly fake. Some of them are true, even if I'm not gonna conquer the galaxy with guns. Not unless I have to.

    "Jedi should be avoided, you said, sometime-wise Emperor" Zuckuss commented, playing the transmission again.

    "The main Jedi order, for certain. There are other groups, like Green or Altisian Jedi who are less fanatic. That's why we have a base on planet Dweem, after all. To keep in contact with them, and help if needed" I said with a sigh.

    "Zuckuss sees. Shower them with gifts and luxury, till they become dependant and join us anyway. Very wise, for someone who doesn't eat with his fingers" My Hand commented, possibly sarcastic.
    Yeah. But what I noticed, was something else. The woman was kneeling and meditating about 15 meters in front of Vette, then the Jedi was instantly present to my maid's side, and cutting through the holotransmiter.

    A real teleport ability. The second she heard Vette describe her intention...that same second she had already moved.

    Her stance hasn't changed at all. Not jumping to her feet, not opening her eyes...just gone.

    'Wialu, after Bendu, collect Vette and her new friend too. She knows how to teleport' I sent to my Voice, along with a memory of the holo. A pulse of excitement.

    'Purple lightsaber...those are the ones sick and oscillating in their minds, like Revan and Kreya, right?' she asked back.

    'Or worse. Yes.' I replied with another sigh.

    Star wars. Why did it have to be so complicated?
    "What is our stance on spice trade, Immortal Pef?" My Hand Zuralee asked, while working on some projections about trade.

    "High tax product. Free access only to medical or research labs. The vendors must have proof of origin and quality, along with 90% taxation. Adminstrata Servants and ship officers are restricted from use." I decided after a second of calculations. Keep my leaders clean, and profit from the addicts.

    "Okay, taxing and confiscation of undeclared cargo, resell on market and give premiums to custom officials. The rest of the funds I will send to hospitals and schools. The Hutts will pay for our education and health budget. Not so stupid after all, Emperor" My second Hand concluded, patting her inflated belly. Seems we're gonna give birth about the same time.

    Dora is reading something on her pad, like always, while Ventress...is poking at Darth Maul lightsaber, with such a strong desire it breaks my heart. If I had one.

    Ok fine.

    "Change the red crystals and you can train with it. Pick different colors though." I muttered with sadness. Some things won't change, after all. Ventress will still be Ventress.
    The woman jumped to hug me, clutching the stick with adoration. "Thank you, thank you. You're not such a dumb droid after all !"

    "10 hours per day. No more, no less. And make them white or something." I muttered, patting her back. Huh, she was crying with joy.

    "Gonna have to tinker with it, make it split into two sabers when I need to. And then practice energy absorption, till I can block them with my neck. Not gonna die, if I can help it" Ventress sobbed into my neck, her breathing calming down.

    "No rush, adored maid. Maybe you'll fall in love with my Avatar, if my big hulky frame isn't to your liking..." I whispered back.

    "Haha, as if! I'm not gonna love anyone. I will be the Sword Maiden, defending the Empire from all enemies, billions of years from now. Nothing will be able to stop me!" she proclaimed dramatically, punching the sky.

    Okay...push the crazy away.

    "Shark pool first. You're not even remotely fast enough!" I commanded with a sinister laughter.
    "I hate you! Please use the lightning instead, please!" Ventress cried with desperation, as I chased her towards the door.

    Ah, being an Emperor had its perks.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    24 BBY


    Illum has arrived to visit us.
    "Mom, this is Pef, my...soulmate" Luxum said, pointing at me. Okay, that was nicely put. We were soulmates, and forever will be.

    "He keeps your saber on a pillow, at his feet. Is that customary here?" Illum asked with a bit of irony.

    "That...Pef says, sabers make you rush into danger and die faster. Once I learn everything he knows, I'll take it back, as a defensive tool" Luxum muttered, somewhat ashamed.

    The assassin droid housing the shard named Illum looked around, checking out my Throne room, with various pirates weapons ornating the walls.
    Gold plates and gems and crystals too, along with some works of art like paintings, that my maids have bought and hang on the walls to make them look less rigid and oppressive.

    "Pef is the richest person in the galaxy. But his capital is made from two rusty transport ships. He built us a brand new trade station on Dweem instead. He's always this parsimonious?" her mother wondered, talking about me like I wasn't here.

    Probably a test. To see if I react. So I did.

    "Honored Illum. Let me ask you this. The Jedi Order excommunicated you, and Master Aqinos, for melding the Force with technology. But when they call you back, and ask you to die for the Republic, what will you do?" I asked politely, then rose and walked on my thick silicon soles to hug Luxum. Barely any sound.

    "They won't. Made it quite clear..." the mother Shard said with sadness.

    "In less than 18 months, they will. And soon, all your children on Dweem will die, gloriously and with a lightsaber in hand. But dead, nonetheless." I said softly, calling the blue saber, from the pillow to my hand, and then placing it in her droid's hand.
    "The rumors about a secessionist movement...they're true after all. You must have quite a lot of sources in the Senate, Emperor Pef" the Iron Knightess muttered, now a bit more impressed.

    "We have some, willing or unwilling, that's true. We trade heavily with Mon Calamari and Saleucami after all. Not quite as heavy as with the Centrality, since I also own half of the big factories there..." I said, letting a hint of amusement out.

    "You want us to join your Empire then. Stay out of the war, and collect the winnings after." Illum said, revealing her suspicions.
    What? Why would I not take part in the Clone wars? Those were gonna be the hype for a few years.

    "Not at all. We will side with Corellia, whatever they decide. The Green Jedi there can marry and have public office. Much less fanatic than the main order and more centered. My aim is to keep them safe, during the conflict. And the Iron Knights too. We are almost family, after all" I explained, patting my Iron Maiden. Luxum leaned on me, and pulsed embarrassment and adoration.

    "Corellia? And if they remain neutral?" Illum asked, quite astutely.

    "That might happen, yes. But it won't last long. They will join the Republic side, once the Republic starts losing" I answered confidently, and turned on the Galactic Map holo. A rough outline of the CIS forces from my memories.
    My Empire was placed in critical junction point, to reach Saleucami or Mon Calamari fast, and decide a quarter of the war.

    We were already constructing a trading station at Boonta, to establish legal reasons to position a fleet there, once we were at war. Mining the huge scrapyard in orbit of Boonta. Allowing our citizens to visit the Boonta races and encourage trade routes to Junkfort.

    The Hutts were happy to receive bribes and more customers. Although, cyber attacks and robberies were ongoing continuously there, it was also a good place to train the VSS and the police forces. Live training, all day long.

    Mon Calamari in the north was also in fast range of our nearest naval base, which might be New Alderaan, but for now had only a string of code as a designation.

    And maybe, if we expanded fast enough, we could be in range of Ossus and Lianna, by the time the war began.

    A deal was being negotiated with Hutts, for the purchase of Annoo, a barren planet devasted during a civil war. I was certain to be able to terraform it back to usefulness.
    The Servant I sent had a 50 millions credit chip, and was told to keep whatever extra he negotiated for himself. The Hutt will find out, no doubt and be amused. Hutts would appreciate it as a contest, and not force the price too much, just make the Servant sweat, and work hard for his winnings.

    "You want to obtain Mon Calamari and the Centrality from this war. Maybe even Boonta and Saleucami" Illum said after a few minutes of observing the green stars on the map. Clever shard, all right.

    But she was thinking too small.

    "If they ask to join me, they can. There are a billion stars inside my Empire's borders already. In time, we will have hyper-routes to every single one. The Republic has barely a million planets." I said with a soft voice, and closed the hologram.

    "Your gand Findsmen...you plan to train and grow them. Send millions of them to explore..." Illum said with more awe.

    "Much better, honored shard. I'll await your answer, in two years. Luxum, I think it's time you visited Orax. I saw your homeworld used for slave labor and the ambassadors murdered. Let's try to prevent it, okay?" I said with sadness, turning towards my Voice.
    "Yea. I'll drop mom back on Dweem, and stop on Corellia for a short visit, to buy planetary shields and ground to orbit lasers. Nobody is gonna enslave my people. Not while I live." Luxum declared with conviction.

    "Of course they won't, dear maid. You will live forever." I added with a short laugh.

    The throne room doors opened, and Wialu entered along with a few strange beings.

    The woman from the holo, a Bendu and Vette. Sigh.

    This was gonna be interesting.

    "What is this, more abominations?" the woman demanded, before getting slapped gently by the Bendu, and bit the metal floor.

    "You're the abomination, broken woman. Now, let's see...an Altisian Knight, another one with a Voice, and whatever the hell you are, young man' Bendu muttered, examining each of us in turn.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    A week later.

    The woman with silver hair thrashed Ventress again with only kicks and punches and using her lightsaber only once.

    "Dead. Your not-droid master is right. A lightsaber will just kill you faster" she declared, pinning Ventress under her knee, and sizzling the skin on her neck with the purple flashlight.

    For a few seconds, my maid resisted, coating her neck in Tutaminis, but didn't last long.

    "Okay. The creepy jedi with no name wins. Hmmm. I guess we will call her Zero. What do you say Zero?" I asked politely, and separated the women with a force push.

    Ventress rolled a few times, till she fell in the nearby pool, then jumped outside in a fraction, with a shark going 'snak!' on her ass.

    She did get faster, but still not enough. Compared to what monsters some water worlds like Naboo or Mon Cala had, these things were just guppy or goldfish. I drew my maid to me, since she seemed in a bad shape.

    "Zero...it will do. Let me ask you something else Pef. Where did you say you found this double lightsaber again?" Jedi Zero asked with a stern voice, while examining the Octo-bladed lightsaber that Darth Maul had used.

    "Wialu obtained it from some scrapyard world. A man with red skin and no legs had it. Quite an aggressive fellow even like that. My Voice obtained some scraps of information from him, mostly about his old ship, called Scimitar, and the padawan who mutilated him. The name was Kenobi." I explained in a polite tone, while hugging my dear Ventress and healing her.

    "And now, the red man is dead. You're certain?" the woman not named An'ya Kuro asked, with suspicious eyes.

    "Oh yes. My Empire is not like the Jedi Order, Miss Zero. We don't allow enemies to survive and come back later." I explained amused.

    "Y-You...What do you know, damn droid?" she asked with a shocked voice.

    "I know you failed, Miss Jedi. And the girl you lost. Miss Aurra Sing is quite famous now. If you follow my plan, we can rescue her and make peace between you two. Or let her die...either way, her career will end soon" I mused, patting Ventress on her muscled bottom, as she used my healing as an occasion to rest and draw her breath.

    "Don't take liberties with my ass, you idiot droid!" Asajj yelled, and rolled away at speed.

    "I take whatever I want, my maid. You're lucky I'm pregnant, or I'll show you who the idiot is..." I answered amused, and shot a few thin lightning bolts at her.
    Ventress absorbed them and stuck her tongue at me. Great, really mature of you. I bet Vette taught her that.

    "How long till you give 'birth?" Miss Zero asked curious, sitting beside me and poking at my inflated armored belly.

    "Three weeks, or so." I answered, then turned. "Enough rest Ventress, jump in the pool and run ten laps!" I yelled at my maid who wasn't training. My maid dove deftly in the pool, avoiding the sharks and running along the metal bottom 10 meters deep.

    "You're being too kind to her. A pool filled with sand, and scorpions will be better." Zero mused, somehow not happy with my training schedule.

    "I am making scorpion-shark hybrids. They should be ready next month" I said with a wise nod.

    "Hmmm. Maybe you're not such an abomination, after all. Not many Jedi approved of my training methods. And lightning to train the students to absorb energy, quite revolutionary..." the sadistic Jedi praised me, and I pretended to listen.

    "I'd like you to train my Avatar, Miss Zero. For two years or so." I asked shamelessly. The Jedi didn't even ask for payment.
    She blinked confused. "But, it will be a small baby..."

    "The first day, yes. But he will grow fast. In two years he'll be about twenty years of age. And he'll start fully conscious and with most of my memories. Just not very mobile, the first year" I replied patiently.

    "Oh. That's...unheard of. Unnatural. Almost like...it's a clone?" she asked and hesitated.

    "Yes, of course. I'm just a droid after all. I have no heart and carry a soul made of stone. And while half of my family is happy with me as I am, the rest will need a more, human interface" I answered with a fake sob, and a pulse of heartbreaking sadness.

    "And, you give me back my girl. Aurra. Or, no deal!" the dark woman argued forcefully.

    "Cross my heart and hope to die!" I answered truthfully, holding my hand out for a handshake.

    Miss Zero shook my hand and smiled sadistically. Hand Zero. I almost had her.
    Just a little tiny problem, finding Miss Sing, in a galaxy full of criminals and bounty hunters.

    Okay then, I had to take a page from Dooku, and hold a contest. Boonta seemed a good place to hold it.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Redbox, the secret intelligence deck. (surrounded by red energy shields, and ysalamiri and armor)
    24 BBY

    I mused over a few more variants, but an infiltration on Ord Namurt then returning to Boonta with the fake holocron was still the best one. And it may jog some memories for Miss Aurra.

    But I had to cheat the odds anyway.

    "Our agents will plant 10 holocrons, with a lethal coating each. Contact toxins, irradiated paint, and so on. Only the one with Miss Zero's image will be less than lethal. Let's make it... fever and vomiting. Easier for our agents to approach the target and propose a cure." I decided, holding a model of said holocron in my hand. Made it myself.

    My third Hand stared at me for a long minute, and I began wondering if I said something stupid again.
    "My surviving agents get three females each. The returning mercenaries are grabbing every pretty female around." he demanded, in a crass case of...meritocratic service. I approved whole-heartedly.
    "Sure. Though I'd recommend force-sensitive females over pretty ones. Looks at my maids if you don't believe me" I said, in a wise tone.

    "We noticed, Metal Gand. Your metal maids are even more creepy than you. And Angie and Vette...we have not invented yet the words to describe them. Perhaps spitting-death-in-the-eye-to-see-if-death-cries-like-mammals?" he wondered, and I nodded wisely. They did exactly that. And weren't even immortal yet.

    "Okay, how is the VSS doing? Any problems?" I asked, changing the embarrassing subject.

    "No real tests, yet. Voice Solana is capable of ripping starships and people apart, so the VSS is kinda wasted on her. Voice Wialu is stronger and more capable than the whole VSS at once, so...if she gets taken out, it wouldn't be in VSS powers to stop it. Voice Luxum is at limit here, as her armor and crystalline nature protects her already from most threats.
    Master class opponents or starship levels of firepower won't be stopped by our agents anyway. But, they may secure enough time for an escape. Voice Dora and Voice Lira are the highest risks. We recommend full power armor coverage, at all times, plus ysalamiri backpacks. Even then..." He concluded his report, with a shrug.

    "And Jaybo?" I asked, noticing he was missing from the list.
    "The gene donor holds no power in the empire. The VSS is assuming this is training for the Avatar protection." he replied, logically. Hmmm. The Gand had a really pragmatic view of the universe.

    "Correct. But, he may become a powerful technopath and weapon designer in the future. Able to hold a star system by himself and a few tactical droids." I explained, and my Hand nodded.

    "Your Hand sees. A future Hand, when little Jaybo grows up. A builder and droid admiral for our empire. Again, your nuggets of wisdom surprise us, Immortal Gand. Please show us more of this kind, and not the other. This Hand will supervise the Holocron operation himself. We expect problems, from Jedi, Sith and Hutts alike. Casualties projected to reach 80%. For the empire!" he declared and vanished with a slight wobble in the air.

    My Hand understands the situation better than anyone, better than me even.
    Just the word holocron will attract the wrong kind of attention. Jedi, Dark Jedi, other force-cults, then bounty hunters and collectors.

    The Findsmen that survive will have proven a better force connection and thus be worthy of propagating their genes even more.
    And thus, the next generation will be stronger. No wonder they never complain I send them on missions. Their leaders and their whole race wants the weak to die. They see the green fields of Gand, and don't want them full with weaklings.

    Wialu entered the redbox too, and came to hug me. Her hair was now fully brunette, and her face and body, even prettier.

    "Our Miss Zero, knows some Fallanassi teachings. Invisibility and mind shield. And perhaps phasing through walls. My teacher knew it too, but she never got to pass it onto me. She died from a lightsaber." Wialu said softly, her voice remaining calm.

    "Could have been Darth Plagueis. He was a Muun and Dark Jedi after all." I muttered. Probably not.

    "Perhaps. But I want you to make sure." she asked me seriously.

    "Okay, love. I will use my Avatar and search her memories, maybe next year" I said with approval.

    "Your droid is wearing synthskin?" Wialu asked with a slight frown, as she sensed under my armor for something.

    I nodded hesitantly. "Ion weapons can still fry the chassis, but it helps."
    "Hmmm. Fully functional synthskin, I assume?" Wialu asked with a wry smile.

    "Only the best for the best. And you are better than the rest. I hold you to my chest and..." I started reciting a silly poem.

    "Shut up! And lock the room." My force waifu demanded, and began taking off my armor.

    I knew having skin would pay off. Damn I'm so smart!

    'Say that again, and I'll set you on fire' Wialu replied in the Voice bond.
     
  21. Threadmarks: 19
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Medical lab.
    24 BBY Seventh month


    Wialu and Dora wanted to be present at the birth of my Avatar, and to declare it a national holiday, second only to the Dream being finished.
    I don't see why they bother so much, but then again, organics. I'm starting to forget what I should feel.

    I began organizing three partitions to use for the Avatar, one for full sleeve control, one for dual Sim connection with the Voices, and one for catching the soul back, once the body died. And unlock.

    The large holocron pulsed with light, and the pain ended. The organocrystals became liquid again, and a baby Pef remained lying on his back on the medbay. Let's see...fingers...they move, toes...too. Good enough.

    'Say Mama'

    "Waaawaaa!"

    Okay, not important for now.

    Let's test the Force. Breathe. Tingling all over the skin, then a rush of energy, like I could lift mountains.
    I held out a finger with my droid self, and the organic self grabbed it with his tiny hand, strong enough to make the servos creak.

    Quite strong already, but perhaps too early for the shark pool.

    Milk bottle then. With bota plants extracts added as supplements. Why not cheat harder?

    Hmmm. Where is the gem?

    I looked around a little, but it seemed to have melted too.

    Oh well, I knew were a few more power gems will be. Iridium. And Vette loves hunting pirates.

    In fact, let's send her now. Dooku had just made his press release, capturing a Republic holotransmiter and announcing the formation of CIS. The hyperlanes past Saleucami might become closed soon.

    Huh, milk is gone already. Buy transport of milk, blue bantha milk worked great for Luke Skywalker.

    Breathe again, test the connection. Maybe a millimeter better already.
    Make a note, start dosing my maids with the largest non-toxic concentration.

    Make a note, form Special force operations, begin testing the actual non-toxic limits. Gand and Sith subjects, all ages and genders. A few humans as control group.

    Make a note, send Angie with a hundred bota crates to Corellia. Get in exchange technology for building our own planetary shields. Meet with the Diktat leaders and assure them of our stance regarding military intervention. Assure them we will follow their lead on galactic policy. She has to work too, for the billion credit chip.

    Make a note, plant some bota on Sanctuary.

    Make a note...

    "Pef, your baby is strange and mutters things aloud, not intelligibly yet" Dora observed.

    Gah. Wialu is mothering my Avatar, like it is a real child. Feels good though.

    'I know. I like it too' she sent immediately through the bond.

    Begin acceleration with organic self. 0.1 speed... It hurts! Damn it. Turn it off.

    Postpone velocities training for 5 months.
    Damn organics are so fragile...

    A nanny droid came to take the baby away, and place him in his armored cradle droid. Insert milk dispenser. And done.

    Time to begin sculpting the first 500 Meteors.

    I floated towards the hangar docks, feeling much lighter now that Peffy was born and outside my armor.

    Vette appeared in front of me, pointing a finger in outrage at the transparisteel cover of the cradle droid.

    "Again! You gave birth without me. That's it. I'm not going to Iridium or wherever. I'm staying to..." she started yelling.

    "Vette my love. Think it through. Why don't you have a Voice already?" I asked softly, and took her in my arms.

    "Cause...I don't get it. Nothing I do is right." she muttered with a little despair.
    "No, if that was the reason, I wouldn't still love you. Pirates and slavers and dictators and creepy cults. What do they stand for? What stands against them? Guns?" I asked in a mellow voice, carrying her in my arms towards my ship.

    "Guns help, a lot. But...you mean schools and stuff. It's just too complicated for me." she complained, turning her head to stare down at the cradle.

    "Yes. Exactly like that. Schools and hospitals and art and books. Pirates don't have them, do they?" I continued, and stopped just before embarking.

    "Oh. I think I get it, almost. I'll go visit Celine and talk to her. Maybe Lira too. She explains this stuff better." Vette said resolutely, jumping off and running away.

    Okay then...

    'Pef, why does a Hypergem cost 10 billion credits?' Solana asked out of nowhere.
    Don't care. Just offer your credit chip, keep the woman happy.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    24 BBY Eighth month.



    Our first batch of 20 kilometer long Meteors has started getting fitted with reactors and turrets and shields. Cost overruns may push this fleet costs towards 1 trillion credits. I'll pay for them from my pocket, since my empire cannot afford such spendings, yet.
    I have ordered a thousand new Meteor hulls. And they have begun being melted in the unpopulated systems of my empire. I'll most likely pay for them too. Ah, the joy of being filthy rich. I barely feel it.

    But still, no hints of working nano-droids. Guess I'll have to wait for their actual use in the clone wars.

    Our Exploration corps have reached planet Targonn and have found a so called Dictator-Forever.

    A contact Lucrehulk and a relief fleet (meaning light tanks and droid garrisons) is heading there to put a stop to forced child-labor and 99% taxation. Ventress has to blow off some steam somehow. Since the scorpion-sharks made her a little angry. At me.

    Another fleet is engaged with multiple pirate groups in the Periphery. It seems some Hutts are sponsoring them for sport. Either way, they make great training exercises for our captains and their crew.

    Our Dakka corvettes have began upgrading with an ion cannon battery at their prow, and two chainlasers in the back, to protect the engines.
    Capturing ships is more profitable than destroying them, after all.

    Although most ships used by pirates are 20 to 50 meters long, in large numbers they still pose problems.

    Only frigates and corvettes are able to chase them efficiently. Damn it, I need more ships. Much more.

    Make a note: open a thousand new small shipyards next to the Meteors. They could pump 10 corvettes each, by the time the next fleet is finished.

    Make a note: New courses for Servants. Ship captains and adjuncts. Gunners too. We will take large loses, and soon.

    Make a note: Recruit more Brubbs and Toongs and whatever servitor races. (I mean fresh citizens)

    Make a note: start a neural chip corporation to provide new races with fast learning and computation.

    Another Explorer has reached Dellalt, but he has succumbed to a number of familiar Crimson Condottiere. The droids have lifted his corvette back to orbit and are scanning the planet and awaiting reinforcements. Guess his genes weren't strong enough.
    If they really are powered by Rakata tech, they might be worth a visit from yours truly. For now, a contact Lucrehulk and his heavy escort are en route to establish more concrete facts. Lira is also on board, since there seem to be cities planetside.

    What else?

    Jaybo is learning at the Imperial Academy, making friends and acing all his tests. As expected from a future Hand.

    He seems very happy to postpone swimming with scorpion-sharks. Which he will if he doesn't ace a single test.

    I can be merciful. Yes. As long as you don't disappoint me.

    The Holocron operation has resulted in a hundred deaths, from bounty-hunters to padawans and dark padawans.

    But no Miss Aurra Sing, yet.

    The Hutts are very amused, and have added their own bounties, equal to mine.
    They really are great neighbors.

    The head Hutt on Boonta has even discreetly offered to sell me a few dozens hyper routes to some Tionese planets that had been rendered lifeless during The Devouring.

    I think it's a polite threat, to let me know what happens to wanna be conquerors. Maybe a test, to see if I can really terraform them back. Or both. Possibly both.

    Hah. They will beg me to come, soon enough.

    For now, we're expanding elsewhere, taking Jomark and setting up searches for a direct route to Nam Chorios. Gotta defend my Tsil friends too.

    Anyway, my Fifth Hand is returning with a few million changelings. Miss Fay.

    I wonder if she knows Miss Zero?

    My Celestial Throne will soon crawl with jedi. Kriff.

    I wanted to avoid that...

    Have to send Dora away. She knows too many secrets and has no mental defenses.

    Hmmm. She can manage Sanctuary and keep Bendu company.
    The gorilla is reading everything I have, ignoring protected or locked holocrons, and plays with ysalamiri by floating them around.

    Proof their protection isn't actually perfect.

    Gonna need another ideal administrator though.

    'You have Solana. Forever and ever.' the water maid sent with a hint of promise. But of what?

    Is she considering this or that?

    'You bet. Just be gentle, you big hunky beast' Solana sent, entering the Throne Room.

    Okay...be back soon...

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    A week later


    A captain Findsman died again, trying to mediate a peace between two Krozurbian war parties.

    It seems he was shot by both sides. Then again, Gands are insects and those guys are reptiles. They probably ate him.
    Let's check. Open after action report. They didn't. Too bad.

    His guard droids were immune to slug throwers and recovered the corpse.

    Now what to do? Is it an act of war? Evolution at work? Or a recruiting ground for my armies?

    Sending another organic might get him killed too...never mind then. There're 444 droids on board a Dakka class corvette.

    Compose message to senior droid in orbit.

    'You're promoted to Ambassador rank, upon reading this message. Convince both parties planetside of a dark jedi instigator of their conflict. Promise them revenge and river of blood. Promise them hulks of red juicy meat.
    Establish MPT and start recruiting willing volunteers for ground army.
    Also, showcase laser and maser weapons on the war criminals that slain our Captain. Promise them access to these weapons.
    Send confirmation of success or pass this order to the next droid in the command chain, and then suicide in shame. Signed... Immortal Emperor Pef, droid chassis Justice #66888990/AI/cr, upon Celestial Throne. Today. Date.'

    They might succeed...

    And it's remotely possible a dark jedi was indeed involved. Perhaps not even a dark one.

    Fay took this long because she caused a civil war with her extraction.
    Planet Danos V is inhabited by huge insects. Establish Gand colony, attempt to tame and/or mount them. Or simply survive, depending on how huge those insects are...

    My Gand friends will be happy to have their first colony. Actually, open another colony on Benwabula. Maybe one of the colonies will survive and I won't get blamed again.

    Planet Baummu will probably be attacked again. Establish stronger defenses and ground to orbit lasers. Also tank and droid factories. We'll need more of those anyway.

    Planet Maldra IV the same. Damn it. Is there any safe place in this sector?

    Skeebo seems nice. Set defenses anyway, and also tourist and recreation complexes. We aren't just warmongers.

    Just, sometimes.

    "Pef, how is the little one?" Wialu wondered, leaning over me to look inside the cradle.

    "Still sleeping and breathing. 77 centimeters long. Force connec..." I started responding.
    "No, you dumb droid! How is he feeling?" She asked a little angry.

    Hmmm. Lack of pain is pleasant. And boring. Begin electrical jolts at random intervals, no longer than 100 seconds.

    Better master energy absorption as a child. Begin meditation forms I and II. The kid should have enough neurons.

    Increase bota plant dose by 4%.

    "He's feeling great. He was a little bored, but I got him meditating now" I answered with an adoring pulse. Women love that.

    "I see. Let him rest at least 12 hours a day. Infants need a lot of sleep" Wialu answered with long sigh.

    Make a note; sleep 12 hours per day.

    I hugged my Voice and began focusing on next generation of battledroids.

    Let's see. Quadrupedal locomotion was still safer and faster. Turreted chaingun for a head, retractable blades in frontal limbs, micromissile launchers from the torso. Now for the big question. A tail or not a tail?

    And poisonous stinger, or plasma cutter?
    Ah. Decisions. Why not both?

    Yea, two tails though? Or a single tail with a hammer head with both weapons? Gah, this was so hard...

    Close project.

    Open mobile artillery project. Now heavy missiles or proton torpedoes?

    Maybe a turbolaser? Indirect fire was better though. But what kind? Howitzers? Mortars? EMP trebuchets?

    Kriff. I had no idea which one was better.

    'Open new corporation, Land Warrior Systems. Salaries twice the galactic rates plus bonuses. Hiring specialists from all the galaxy. Innovative designs guarantee a position with our company and relocation costs to our brand-new laboratories on Hardex '.

    Okay, now let's start building those laboratories. On second thought...tell Kikipi to do it. He is lazing around on his throne.

    Incoming message from 18th droid in command of the Dakka corvette.
    "Honored Droid Emperor. This unit has successfully negotiated the required terms. Approximately 10 thousands war criminals have been successfully demonstrated upon. Planet currently uniting in response to foreign threat. Request meat. Lots of meat"

    Okay then. Not exactly as I ordered, but...

    More soldiers are good. And they would have died anyway.

    And if anyone complains, I'll have the droid executed for war crimes. That always works.
     
  22. Threadmarks: 20
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef empire
    Celestial Throne
    Next week


    Ventress is returning in glory, having replaced the former Dictator-Forever with an Imperial Servant and his retinue, along with establishing spaceport, space stations and military garrisons on Targonn. It seems the planet can export a valuable plant which can pacify most organics upon ingestion. Yeah, we're not exporting that.

    Begin new research project and classify it under Military Act paragraph 8/d, empire wide revolt. Might be useful instead of orbital bombardment or biological weapons.
    Add use to 8/c as well. Paragraph 8/c is localized counter-insurgency, if we ever need to train fresh organic recruits. Rebels make rather nice live targets and they cost nothing, unlike target drones.
    If you ever wonder why I made all those military contingency plans, you're wrong. Paragraph 1/a is peace. Everyone wants peace. The other plans are just thought exercises.

    "Emperor Pef. We meet again" The beautiful Jedi lady says, before turning to stare at Miss Zero.

    "Indeed Miss Fay. I do hope none of your refugees have left the ships. Searching for changelings can be enervating. Especially if they murder my people to hide in their skin" I replied, hinting at our first encounter.

    "Ah yes. That...won't happen again. By accident" the space elf said, before going to hug the Zero Jedi. So, they did know each other.

    "Okay then. I have a few locations to propose for our new friends. So, ocean planet, arid, temperate, jungle, or arctic?" I asked amused. Jedi did hugs? I never knew.
    "They'd prefer humid and uninhabited at all, if possible. Preferably not on a trade route too" Fay said, eying the light sabers carried by Zero with a certain doubt. Yeah, me too Miss Jedi.

    "Okay then. I have one for you. If they need some adjustment I'll visit one day and change the climate a little." I decided, sending her the route to Sran system. Fay looked on her datapad and raised an eyebrow. The Ash worlds were known to have been lost. But I had fat friends.

    "I saw the water maiden on my way to your halls, but not the angel one, she is away?" Fay asked, apparently just curious.

    "Yep, visiting Corellia and making green friends. Our neighbour, Dooku seems to have dark thoughts" I said politely, then shrugged my shoulders.

    Still, it seemed to come as a surprise for both women, as they both became rigid and alert.

    "Are you certain Emperor, is he fallen?" Fay asked officiously. Hmmm. Not quite as independent as I hoped.
    "Well. If giving in to dark desires is what scares you, Miss Zero is pretty dark. I don't judge people like Jedi do. Then again, I work mostly with the cosmic force not the living force. Urges and instincts and hate, those are extremes of the living force." I said calmly, stealing Darth Maul lightsaber from Zero and stabbing it in my palm.

    As expected, I was at least as strong as Grandmaster Shan, and the beam didn't pass through my barrier.

    Both Jedi stared at me like I was some monster.

    "That...how..." Miss Zero muttered in confusion.

    "This is just tricks. I can't juggle stars yet. Only Lucrehulks so far" I said, dismissing the beam and shaking my helmet.

    "And terraforming planets with telekinesis. I heard about the last one. Is that your Avatar?" Fay asked, coming closer to look inside the cradle.

    "Yep. Cute little baby right?" I asked rhetorically. Babies...always seem cute.

    "He's as strong as me already." Miss Zero added helpfully. Thanks, I do great work. Sometimes. Eventually.
    "And linked to you, like your Voice. Same resonance..." Fay muttered, holding her palm over the kid.

    Telepathy, mind reading...Come on, really? Mind raping a baby?

    I used Peffy to pyroblast her hand, charring it to the bone.

    "Mind alter annoys him" I explained politely, as Fey regrew her flesh back, with eyes wide open.

    "You're teaching him, so young!" She said accusingly. How is that a crime? At least, I didn't kidnap him.

    "Sure. He's smart. And not kidnaped from his family" I replied politely.

    "You better make sure he's sane. Or I'll rip your armor to shreds, again." she added as a parting word, and turned to leave.

    "Two years start now, Miss Fay. I'll have a contact ship drop by and plant crops and build housing." I yelled after her. She most likely forgot most people need to eat or such.

    "You have the most interesting friends, Immortal Pef. And you got Master Fay to teach someone. Not even Master Yoda managed that..." Miss Zero said with a tilt of head and a raised eyebrow.

    "Do you want to know how you will die, Miss Zero?" I asked conversationally, while changing the milk dispenser to the next one.
    "In combat I think" she said resigned.

    "My Voices will never die. Well, unless they ask me really nice." I proclaimed, playing again with the double lightsaber, spinning it in the air like a helicopter, and no hands.

    "Even the weaklings you hid from Fay?" Zero asked, ignoring the saber. Ok, back on the pillow then.

    "Especially them. Every generation has strong people. But good people? Kind hearts? Why would I ever let them die?" I mused, sitting down back on my throne, and drumming Vader's march.

    Keep the crazy one? Drain him and keep his kid? The boy or the girl? Decisions, decisions.

    I kinda needed Luke Skywalker to come into existence anyway, since the Force 'whispered' to me that it wanted him. Important guy, roger. I'll start working on that, dear Force.


    En route to Dellalt.
    It seems Lira can't solve everything. Especially with CIS agents on the ground, urging the locals to join the Separatists, while the war robots shoot everyone.
    I took Wialu and Zero with me, for help and to keep the crazy Jedi from running away with my Avatar.

    It seems all three of us know a slightly different variant of invisibility. Or, the brains are different.

    Wialu uses the White Current, which I still don't know exactly what it is. Zero uses the Living force, like all Jedi, and me...I use electromagnetic cloaking. Which would be the Physical force, most likely.

    I thought I was approaching Master level, but I still don't know anything.

    'Imagine the surprise Solanus had when he read your memories.' Solana consoled me through the Voice. Thanks love, take care of my baby.

    'We're having a bath. You know kids need to be washed, right?'

    Hmmm. Even babies? I mean, clean ones...the warm water and Solana's hands did feel good though.

    'Moron, you deserve what's coming' she sent just before Wialu lit me on fire.

    "You didn't wash the kid, till now?"
    "He looked clean!"

    "Download a nanny manual, damn idiot" she muttered as I pushed the flames away, then puffed a nano-gene cloud and removed the oxygen around them.

    Right. I doubt the kid will ever get sick though. He was strong enough to fight combat droids already.

    And Angie, my angel maid is holding concerts and getting praised by millions on Corellia, instead of doing her job...

    Vette hasn't found the pirates we need, only different ones.

    At least Ventress went to fix the reptiles and get them organized into armies.

    Hmmm. How I am gonna move those armies around?

    Troops are easy, somewhat, and droids even easier, but tanks and walkers?

    Along with hospitals and kitchens and spare parts...
    Kriff, I need a few competent generals.

    Guess I'll have 500 Meteors discard mounting half of the MACs and load them up with barracks and armories. And kitchens.

    And use 2 bombardment ones to protect each transport Meteor. No, that class needs a different name now. Mountain class. Cause they're as large as mountains, in space.

    Groups of three always, to protect each other. And, let's add defenses for their engines and upper fins.
    Perhaps one-directional shields for the MACs mouth as well, if they can pass through them.

    Add some Ion cannon batteries too. And some tractor beams. Plenty ships coming and going. Better guide them safely.

    What else I forgot? Starfighters and battle droids. Tanks and artillery.
    Those need room as well. Gah.

    At least the ships were big enough to carry entire armies.

    Would be pretty embarrassing to arrive at some sieged planet and have nothing to occupy it with.

    In orbit around Dellalt.

    Speaking of which. There's 50 of our ships including 5 of MC80 Liberty type Star Cruiser and a contact Lucrehulk, and 52 Separatist ships, contesting our rights.

    They have 8 Lucrehulks and 44 of Munificent-class star frigate. Kinda bad odds for now.

    Now, where is my...

    Our first Meteor jumped in right now, not fully operational, with only 10 MACs and 500 heavy masers. But it has a Rakata shield, just like my own cruiser. Should be enough. Possibly. Most likely.

    Those Lucrehulks are upgraded and carry 400 turbolasers each. And tons of fighters too.
    Let's open negotiations then.

    "This is Emperor Pef, of Pef Empire. I have claimed this planet. Do you intend to contest my claim?" I asked politely, as my Meteor entered firing range.

    They declined to answer for some ten seconds, so I let the Meteor's Captain test his MACs on the nearest Lucrehulk.

    It withstood 9 projectiles then vanished in a huge explosion with the tenth shell.

    Errr. I kinda hoped for more damage from the main guns...

    Then again, we were gonna add 90 more MACs to an entire fleet of these Meteors. They should work. I hope.

    Some CIS insect guy appeared on the holocom, mumbling something of a misunderstanding, then turned his ships around and jumped away.

    Okay then, problem solved.

    Now let's see what those old war robots are doing on my planet...

    Death. Lira is dead!
    I hit me like a hammer, feeling the bond draw my peaceful Togruta Voice into the partition I reserved for her.

    "It was a man with blue skin Pef! Something happened in orbit and then...I'm dead, aren't I?" Lira said with a sad voice.

    "Afraid so, love. You gonna be Peffy's little sister, from now on."

    "Ah. That's...much better than I expected. Just gonna rummage through this...the hell! you downloaded entire libraries here. Holocrons too!" she exclaimed, starting to read all the big secrets.

    "Knowledge is power and trumps ignorance. Or something" I mused, trying to be angry, but didn't have the glands for it.

    "Burn the fucker who killed my beautiful body, will you love?" she asked me so politely, I just couldn't refuse. Accel times five.

    "I will certainly try" I answered, already slicing through all the databases planetside. A few seconds later, I ran the last recordings of the negotiations taking place down on Dellalt. And found the culprit.
    Cad Bane. Seems we're gonna have a long talk, you and I.

    "Fleet wide, no ships can leave the planet. Not even ours. We have a murderer to catch" I proclaimed, sending recordings of the man, and cursing damn VSS.

    "Your maid is dead?" Zero asked, having caught the gist, just by looking at the holonet transmissions.

    "Untill she grows back. I need better cloning tech..." I muttered, with some fake annoyance. I should wait for Vette to return though. A power gem should boost Lira to Master level at least.

    Wialu came to hug me, and smiled a little "Glad to know it works though. Tell Lira I love her too"

    Yea, she heard you. The least I can do is let her access my senses.

    There! He entered some empty vault.

    Guess I'll find both things I want in there.

    Planet Dellalt, Pef Empire
    24 BBY


    "That ship...no wonder your blue twi'lek said you want to conquer the galaxy" Miss Jedi Zero said as we were embarking on an assault shuttle, along with a platoon of Brubbs and combat droids. The jedi was not impressed at all with my work.

    "Yeah, our proud Meteor. We've been working on it for a year, and it's just now reached limited mobility. Gonna have to go over the designs again, I was certain those large cannons would kill a ship in one shot. We got lucky the tenth shot hit something vital..." I muttered in fake dismissiveness.

    "Spinal cannons, with solid slugs. If the enemy ships move a little, the weapons will be useless. So those were the CIS, Dooku's people..." Zero replied with some amusement.

    "And maser cannons, looted and repaired, from a old cathedral ship. But, yeah, guess we'll see more of the CIS, especially on the western borders" I said with some real worry.

    Cad Bane would have been one of the CIS top mercenaries during the Clone wars. To be used against me, and so soon...

    "Cad Bane is very expensive. And good. He won't be killed so easy" Zero added checking her lightsaber.
    Yeah right. Like we'll burst right in, and get hit by whatever traps he set for us. I'll send droids first, since I know how to cheat.

    "Well then. We better not try to kill him, especially since he works with Miss Aurra a lot." I concluded, as our shuttle reached the landing zone.

    Miss Zero shifted a little, the force wobbling around her for a second. Got you now, Miss 'no-attachments'.

    "Devious too. Your Avatar might make a great student, after all." She said with an approving tone.

    All around us was an advanced city, with skyscrapers and monorails, now deserted and in ruins, and we entered the famous vaults, which were sadly empty.

    More teams spread around us, searching the city and the vaults, while I followed the last marker I traced from orbit. It lead to this entrance, then stopped. No problem, I'll take it from here.

    My droids fanned out in front of us, with our marines forming a close guard.

    The blue Duros should be here somewhere, but I couldn't sense him at all.

    Not the VSS fault after all. Guy was a pro, like top 5 in the galaxy. Maybe Lira's fault, for taking off her helmet, and losing her head.
    "It was a negotiation, dear crystal. A face makes a thousand words. You wouldn't know it though, locked inside that armor" Lira commented, not willing to accept her mistake.

    Another puff of nano-gene droids, and I pushed them in a wide area around with telekinesis. I could form a proprioceptive holomap, even if the sneaky bounty-hunter was able to hide from my force senses.

    And once a biped shaped hole formed inside the holomap...

    Walls, broken war droids, doors, walls.

    Nothing.

    Let's dismantle those war robots then. No force based reactor. Just old tech. Really old, like 20 millenia or so.

    A seismic charge detonated, collapsing the tunnel with the robot I was working on. A pressure trap, most likely. I moved the robot and the mine under it detonated. Clever.
    Somewhere to the east, my troops encountered people, commanding hundreds of war droids, and were getting shot at.

    'Retreat and take defensive positions.' I ordered at once.

    I'd rather keep those war robots, and my own droids intact.

    'I'll deploy pacifier gas, and smooth over things with the locals' Wialu sent through the Voice.

    Hey, that was quite smart. Well done Wialu!

    Now let's continue the search...lift that rubble and take it outside, conveyor belt style. Now, what's that!

    A hidden door, leading to more vaults underneath?

    Oh Xim, you clever despot. Why did you have to die and leave this mess?

    Did Bane already found those vaults, or was this the force, giving me a little help?

    My first droids reached the explosion site, and were promptly dispatched with thermal detonators and accurate shots.
    Found you!

    Miss Zero took off at hyperspeed, rushing ahead with a purple lightsaber in hand.

    Gah, I hope I won't have to scrape her blood from the walls...

    A second later, she started convulsing in pain, as some Patrolian was electrocuting her.

    "Dumb Jedi" I muttered with a sigh, grabbing all three people I sensed with the nano-genes and bringing them outside.

    Bane was struggling, trying to shoot anything with a scoped pistol, while his buddy was muttering something about Jedi, while flopping his fins in defeat.

    "Welcome to Pef Empire, Bane and whatever. I have a few questions for you" I proclaimed imposingly, punching the sky and hitting the metal ceiling by accident. A gong like sound resounded in the caverns, and my Brubbs marines took a step away from the crazy.

    Damn, this was embarrassing. Not the entrance I wanted, at all!

    Planet Dellalt, Pef Empire
    Xim City.


    While I chat friendly with my new captives, I also multitask and finish taking over the war robots, and exploring the new vaults underneath the empty ones.
    Riches and plunder from all over the Xim's Empire, from weapons, diamonds, Aurodium and artifacts of lost civilizations, to dataslates and financial records. Surprisingly, the last ones are the most valuable.

    They contain thousands of hyper routes markers for the subjugated worlds in Xim's Empire, including the demographics of the tax paying planet, inhabitants, trade routes, mineral composition of asteroid fields and more. Whoever created and managed the accounting system will be forever praised for his work.

    Thousands of systems with planets and thousands more star systems without life, but with economic value. The Ash Worlds have opened back again.

    I've started copying, translating and beaming it towards our Exploration Corps, to begin immediate verification, using the Corp's newest recruits.
    The Gands have argued to allow other races in the Empire the honor of jumping blindly on uncharted routes, and thus a number of Sith, Toongs, Skeebo and Brubbs have also joined the Corps, bravely going where no one has gone before. Sometimes they even return, surprising everyone and getting their first star rank.

    The holocrons I made for the Exploration Corps can instruct a capable pilot in months instead of decades. Who knew, eh?

    The bota plant extracts also help, increasing force connection and accelerating learning and reflexes even higher.
    Now back on the interrogation partition.

    "Now, as I was saying Mister Cad. You killed my Voice, and you will die for that, nothing can stop it. But, look deep into your heart, do you want Jango Fett to be the winner? You could be the spiritual father of a whole army, using your knowledge to defend the galaxy from predators, saving children, and get rich doing it!" I proclaimed with my vocoder, pointing at a confused Brubb marine to my right.

    "Tchhh. That slimy little creepy Mandalorian! He's cloned himself a billion times and is now training a whole clone army of him?" the blue duros exclaimed, sipping another shot of Corellian brandy.

    "Yes, for the Galactic Republic. We can't let them win, my dead friend. My Empire needs trained soldiers too, look at them, look!" I complained and pointed at another Brubb, whose grip just magically lost his gatling laser, and was comically trying to regain it.
    I might have helped a little with telekinesis, but my Brubbs were indeed, kinda pathetic.

    "If that's your personal guard, I shudder to think of the quality of your other marines..." Cad Bane muttered, his professional streak crying in shame.

    "And then Dooku and the CIS techocrats make combat droids, each generation better than the other. You perhaps know of droideka droids? Just one of those amazing machines could decimate an Imperial marine company. Please Mister Cad, don't let your one mistake end your legacy. Help me and help yourself. Become a revered saint, after death!" I declared, punching the sky, after checking ceiling clearance first.
    "You make a good point, rich droid. Kriff, why did I take this damn job? It would have been so fun working with you, and get much better paid, you crazy droid..." the renowned bounty hunter commiserated, lighting a death stick and puffing in my faceplate.

    "Well, perhaps you have a friend or such you can recommend. I kinda prefer women assassins though, since you know, maids?" I answered nodding politely, and shaping a female hourglass with my hands.

    "Ah yes, you would need another to replace your dead one....let me think, which one was also kinda crazy?" Cad Bane muttered, going over dozens of candidates in his shielded mind. Damn man wasn't affected by mind alter.

    "Ah, a huggable assassin maid, going pew-pew, killing those disgusting Jedi and dark Jedi for me. Much more pleasant than just poisoning fake holocrons" I mused, maybe a little loud, leaning on my back in reverie and shooting with finger pistols. C'mon, how many clues you need?

    "That was you? Of course it was. So that's why Dooku was so pissed at you. Kriff. You must have killed five or so of his pets. And he decided to return the favor, killing yours. But what about the woman with the lightsaber?" he asked curious.
    "Ah, the insane one. Well, a Jedi on my ship makes my every action legal, in the eyes of the galaxy. She hates everyone equally though, so only the promise of combat and mayhem still stirs her. Plus, she would cut my hand off, if I caressed her ass...." I complained, miming a round contour with my hand.

    "Haha, you're trying to tap that? No way, you crazy droid! I'll will really die with a smile on my face if you tried that. Okay, I got the right kind of crazy for you. Aurra Sing, I worked with her a couple times. Seems she was trained by a jedi in her youth too.
    Let me write you her biochip callsign. And my password. She would love making billions while killing jedi. Damn my luck" Cad Bane replied , typing a serie of codes and binary strings on the datapad on the table.

    I copied the codes from the datapad, then returned back to avenging emperor mode.

    "Great talk Mister Bane, my torturer will stop by soon to drain your memories with a neural probe. And then, you will burn alive, on Lira's funeral pyre. Sounds okay?" I asked in a jovial voice, while stretching myself.

    "Dying in a blaze of glory, eh? Good enough" the famous bounty hunter replied sadly, and poured himself another shot of brandy.

    Wialu entered the interrogation room with a repulsorlift torture drone, and Lira whispered 'Thank you Pef, that was magnificent. You got him to agree on burning alive!'

    Well, draining his mind with a probe was necessarly a mechanical job, since the guy was resistant to Force abilities. Works fine anyway. I hear it's very painful.

    'Wanna stay for the torture too?" I asked softly.

    'Nah, let's go swim in diamonds, down in the vaults' my dead voice requested wistfully.

    Sure thing love. Diamonds and pearls and aurodium too.
     
  23. MasterOfDragonsGod

    MasterOfDragonsGod Well worn.

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    Great story so far keep it up.
     
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  24. Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I have the high ground.
     
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  25. Grimmouse197

    Grimmouse197 Not too sore, are you?

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    How the hell did u get banned from three different websites.......I can understand getting banned from SB.......its way too easy to get banned from there
     
  26. Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Well, I suspect the same person who banned me on SB has a mod account on SV as well, and simply deleted my account out of evilness or perhaps righteousness.

    On AH, I was banned for being anti-communist. The admin were upset I pointed out that in Cambodia the communists chopped off the heads of everyone not a worker. And built pyramids with the skulls.

    Not even sorry for that one. Whoever admins over AH can suck it and his imaginary utopia too.
    I lived my childhood under RL communism and barely survived. In winter there was 1 cm of ice on the inside our apartment's walls, because they turned off heat to the population to increase production in factories. Do not recommend anyone tries it at home. The communism, I mean.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  27. Grimmouse197

    Grimmouse197 Not too sore, are you?

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    What's u account on SB
     
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  28. Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I'd say it was obvious but yeah, this is the internet. Still, the account is called Pef. Surprise!
     
  29. kongarthur

    kongarthur Making the rounds.

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    Is this the same story as on royal road
     
  30. Threadmarks: 21
    Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    24 BBY Tenth month


    A state of cold war exists now between the CIS and my Empire, with us buying every available ship on the market, and pushing into the Tion Cluster and the Ash worlds, expanding rapidly and establishing outpost and supply bases.
    The CIS doesn't have the navy or the money to compete with us yet, since they don't even have parity with planet numbers or army numbers. Better exploit this while I can, before I turtle up.

    My army has reached 50 million soldiers and 2 billion war droids, and we have amassed almost 50 Mon Calamari star cruisers and even one Kuat made Procurator-class Star Battlecruiser which I'm now dismantling and reverse-engineering. I never knew these type of ships even existed.

    Seems I have much to learn about constructing vessels of war. It's not just shields and weapons. Consumables for years of deployment and flight simulators and re-supply and space sensors.
    Millions of new inventions to add to my inventory of technology.
    Kuat isn't the lead warship builder in the galaxy for nothing.
    Sure the ships they make have certain limits imposed by the Ruusan Reformation, especially in regard to weapons, but those we have started to mass produce anyway, since I'll need millions of capital class guns for the Meteors and the Mountains.
    Sadly, Kuat won't sell me a Mandator-class Star Dreadnaught even at ten times the build cost.

    Also Angie, my angel maid is returning to my Empire, over concerns of possible assassination plots. Vette has been recalled too, despite not having achieved her goal of obtaining more power gems.

    Our victory at Dellalt and the national Ascension Day, with news reports carefully crafted to unite our people against the treacherous CIS, are working well to create a foundation mythos for the Empire. Seems Voice Lira was well liked by our people, especially on the planets she negotiated with and brought into the Empire.

    She has died and become a martyr, with billions of sentients crying and mourning her holovised pyre. I tried to downplay it a little, promising my subjects she will be reborn, but that possibly seems far fetched for most sentients in the galaxy. Little do they know.

    Pirate attacks along the trade routes have also doubled, giving our escorts ships and crews a lot more experience, while causing some delays and minor disturbances in war equipment production. The Banking Guilds will pay for this, just not yet.

    We're still not fully independent of external suppliers, especially for rare minerals and substances needed for complex machines like hypermatter annihilator reactors or holonet emitters.
    Maid Vera has also been contacted and recalled from Yanibar, with promises of sanctuary for her people. The contact Lucrehulk she stole took is now returning with thousands of sick and frail Zeison Sha, who were not expected to survive next winter.

    Luxum has decided to stay on her homeplanet and accelerate their technologization, building space stations and shipyards and droid factories.

    Maid Ray has sent her first tangible findings about the Vong, biomass. No live prisoners though, only a hundred dead ones, and a couple other of their warforms and enslaved races.

    But a few of Yorik-et bioships, even dead, will make threat analysis much easier. One will be sent to Solanus, along with a hypergem that Solana bought, and other various samples, while another bioship will be sent to Blueforge to begin testing for bioweapons and antidotes. My ocean friend has a few ideas how to duplicate vong tech.

    We will also try conventional tactics, like analysis and biolab works, but only teleoperated droids will be allowed direct contact with the samples, until we have a clear understand of the threat.

    And finally, the Meteor pushed towards Caluula, along with half the North fleet, securing access to a hyperway node, and chasing away the CIS ships without a shot.

    In the West, we took planets Diado then Metalorn and finally Trasemene and began fortifyfing the latter system as our primary naval base. Golan defense platforms and minefields, as well as resupply and repair spacestations.
    This system was well in range of Sy Myrth and fell easily, without the protection of the Republic Senate and their fleets, since they just separated and tried to become a founding member of CIS. They just had bad luck.

    I'll have to visit planet Metalorn and do something about the place, since it was a mess of industrialization and pollution. But having conquered a large number of shipyards and factories will help, and the population will grow to love us, once the air becomes breathable again, and their salaries tripled.

    For now, my Black ops and their advance units on the ground are slicing and rooting around for CIS saboteurs and infiltrators.

    On Diado, my War Maid Ventress, has found an advanced factory, gearing up to produce the CIS-Advanced starfighter, which will come quite handy. I never knew of these fighters in my memories, but maybe the CIS thought them too expensive?

    And the fighter also has hyperdrives! The first modern hyperdrives that have been miniaturized enough for small starfighters use. Only shuttles and gunships had hyperdrives so far. A new era is starting.

    Ventress has also captured a talented thief lady, who almost managed to steal her lightsaber. Maybe. I think she did steal it, then Ventress captured her. Her name is Na-Jia and looks absolutely fabulous, with her violet hair and lythe athletic body. I might keep her.

    Oh well, I don't have a thief maid anyway, might as well get one. And if she can read holocrons, she'll become the greatest thief in history.
    Now, since the hyperroutes have been secured, I can also send a few Findsmen towards Ossus.

    As soon as...okay crisis averted. A saboteur or infiltrator of sort tried to slip down on Gand, bypassing the first planetary shield, and smashing into the second one underneath.

    The cold war isn't as cold as I'd like.

    But Miss Aurra received my transmission, finally, and has agreed to work for me for a billion credits, on a super secret task. She'll be here in a week or two, she said.

    And using gene samples from two of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy, for my Astartes project will be nice as well. Maybe.

    Planet Metalorn, Pef Empire
    23 BBY, First month.


    Gah, this planet is a mess. The shallow seas and jungles have almost been destroyed completely while the shipyards in orbit were producing crappy Munificent frigates and a few destroyers called Recusant-class warship .

    The droid factories were also already mass producing B1 droids, with only a handful of B2 and even less of C-B3 cortosis battle droid and BX-series droid commando . They do not have weapons though. I'll have to fix that, somehow.

    My corvettes are bringing some ice comets from the Oort cloud to help me repair the biosphere, while the droid factories were repurposed towards the nicer models of droids.
    The B11 battledroid, featuring 20% extra chest armor, an armored helmet and a shorter neck. They really do not need giraffe necks. I can't create miracles yet, but I feel my B11 droids are already 30% more effective than the old B1 version.
    Also I liberated millions of human slaves, and took charge of a billion of Skakoan , both were suffocating in the unbearable and polluted atmosphere.

    Kriff. This is a parody of civilization, not my Dream. Not anyone's dream.

    And the Unreal City prison doesn't help either. You can see the prison from orbit! It's gigantic.

    As a bonus, just mining and recycling metals from The Wasteland would be enough to produce a billion new droids. And a few tank divisions. Lots of metal there.

    I delved deep into the Force, while my Pef Navy ships blasted the ice comets apart, then tractored fragments closer, and gave me resources to repair the environment.

    My new Mid Rim Imperial Academy is being organized by another crystal partition, using the Unreal City as a basis, with indoctrination and neural modules being produced by nearest factories.

    We can't have slavery in my Empire, only happy Imperial Servants. Curious, how former slaves would fight to the death to keep their new privileges. Not that I mind...

    A million subverted droids are explaining to the skakoan amphibian people the changes that will take place, as the submerged cities and gravity plates that will allow them to live and work without pressure suits. They seem happy too, most of them. The ones protesting the new rule will be convinced later, or vanished.

    Sadly, Ventress did a number on Termin, the planetary capital, during the initial occupation, since the Baktoid Combat Automata offcials were not eager to surrender and accept the new leadership. Now they are dead and their guards and droids too, but doesn't help with repairing the planet at all. Some people are also unhappy, as they lost relatives and friends when the city was taken. Sucks. War is harsh.
    Not that I would trust the old officials, to remain in their posts, but using both heavy tanks and orbital ion strikes was a little too much, dear maid. Almost no tech is working there, the tallest buildings have crashed, and I'll have to rebuild the entire city, if more spread out and with better transportation and parks and all. Took me a few hours.

    Massive rain clouds begin gathering and pouring over the planet, once I lower the ice comets into the more dense layers of atmosphere. Pollution and dust is being compacted and deposited as bricks for recycling.
    I also could collect lots of plastic debris. Megatons of plastic debris from local cities and polluted swamps.
    Is this why those Sharu in the Centrality built such huge plastic pyramids? To cover up millennia of pollution? Maybe.

    Then, I look around the ruined Monitor Control room, with their advanced command and control modules and take note of how to use Jaybo and Peffy in the future. Seems I won't need to be personally present everywhere. The Techo Union had advanced C4 systems, enough to run an entire planet from a single location.

    I did download all the codes and data salvage I can, and a thousand similar centers will be produced for our flagships and industrial centers, on a thousand planets. Industrial revolution, here we come.
    Sadly, these codes are a mess, billions of programmers over thousands of years have just added more and more command codes, making the poor droids ditzy and inefficient. Sometimes more is not better. Just like with laws. Too much is generaly as bad as too little.

    No wonder the poor droids can barely distinguish between voice orders and binary subroutines.

    Guess I'll be here 2 weeks as well, plenty work to be done, starting with the air, then water, then everything underground, like magma pits and rivers of lava, and then working my way up, to cities and finally, better starships and orbital defenses.

    Hey! A Trade Federation transport Lucrehulk just dropped out of hyperspace, loaded with tons of free weapons and droids! And the jump window brought it close enough for my technopathy? Lucky!

    Slice and assume control, capture the token organic crew, and send them planetside for interrogation. Guess they didn't get the memo? This is the Pef Empire!

    Huh, and the ship is already upgraded with battleship class shields, just not weapons. Only a number of Vultures or Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I , which are kinda crappy. Thanks CIS! I really wanted one of these droids. You shouldn't have sent me a thousand.

    Still, the design would be useful as ground support units, both as mecha and gunship roles.
    They just need shields and a laser chaingun to be effective. Just, not as starfighters.
    Perhaps a bit of armor over the droid core too, since they will engage various races. Maybe a proton torpedo launcher? Yea, buzz droid missiles are amusing, but not really effective. It's like shooting someone with ants, then wait for the ants to eat your target. It might work, but bullets would work better.
    This Battleship donut will serve me well as a secondary spacestation in orbit around the planet, beside the contact Lucrehulk already in orbit. Now let's examine the cargo...

    Hmmm, 10 millions hand blasters, originally meant for the B1 'Roger, Roger droids' , and 10 millions backpacks, with spare batteries and grenades. Good for the brand-new armies. Telescoped rifles, rocket launchers, mines, thermal detonators. Almost everything I need to equip a thousand divisions of B11 droids.

    Now, let's send the Vulture droids down, to begin upgrading with the new specs, since my marines may be suicidally brave, but not as effective as 10 squadrons of mecha.

    What else?

    The former slaves are demanding to be allowed as naval officers and crews to defend their liberated planet? Sure, as soon as you undergo rapid neural training. Doesn't hurt one bit. A million volunteers raise their hands instantly.

    See? Why would anyone keep slaves? They would just join the enemy, at first opportunity.

    Let's select a hundred former slaves, with a smidge of force sensitivity, for navigation courses. They will become Explorers, since I can't be seen as favoritising a race over the other for the honor of blind jumps between stars. Humans are special anyway, in this galaxy. Pretty much everywhere, from the Core to wild space.
    Give them the Force and they become quite dangerous too. And if they start exploring...well. Most will die.
    Then again, with doses of bota plants and holocron training, they may even survive. Who knows what the Force wants.
    Not everyone wants to die for their freedom, of course. The larger part of the liberated slave population wants just to live, in freedom. I can offer them Imperial Servant positions, good pay, free apartments and neural training, promotions scale up to system governor or ship captain. Or a ticket to Corellia, with a ration baton and a clean pair of shorts.

    I can't subsidize vagabonds too much, after all.
    Only one in two hundred choose the freedom to starve. Huh, that's even better than regular slaves.

    Another Munificent frigate jumps in the system as well, but it's too far to grab, while engaged in terraforming and a million conversations at once, via my droids. A few of my Dakka corvettes bless the frigate as she jumps away, with their long range capital lasers. Some sparks are visible before the hyperspace window closes.

    Kriff. The one who got away. Oh well, there's 30 more frigates being almost finished in the shipyards.

    I'll have to go over their designs and rebuild them to my liking. Possibly as pocket star destroyers, since they are almost as long as a Venator. Why build such a large ship, and only arm it with two capital class turbolasers? That's 2, what comes after 1. Well, and some light guns.
    The ship with one large gun is the Recusant class, which is even longer than a Venator-class Star Destroyer. Gah. I have a corvette 10 times smaller with similar firepower.

    Well, not exactly as a Recusant, since that ship has 10 more badly placed turbolasers on its hull. But since just one of those destroyers costs over 60 million credits, and my corvettes only 1 million, credit per credit I still spend 6 times less for the same firepower.

    And I haven't managed to spend 2 trillion credits yet.

    Who invented these ships? Why?
    Oh well. Building spaceships is fun.

    Planet Gand, Pef Empire
    Celestial Throne
    23 BBY Second month.


    An Anzat assassin has tried attacking Voice Solana while she was visiting their planet, resulting in killing one of the Fallanassi VSS officers from her escort. Sad, but now we have a reason to annex the planet, and find out where half the Anzat Masters have gone. I assume Dooku bought them, but who knows?

    The campaign to capture more planets in the area is proceeding well, with Ventress capturing Viidaavand Loken III, along with their shipyards and droid factories.
    A hundred Explorers made the final sacrifice past month, failing to return with new hyper routes, despite ever increasing bota doses and holocron training. I guess human Explorers are just as prone to die as other species.

    But, one Sith Explorer did indeed reach Ossus, and confessed that the Force guided him all the way. That's quite the irony, considering it was a Sith mage that blew up 10 stars and obliterated most planets in the area with a supernova class explosion.
    My guy returned immediately though, since my orders quite explicitly stated no interference with the Adega system, once a hyperroute was found. There will be time enough to loot everything, once the wars begin.

    Avatar is enjoying the attention of all the maids, being kissed and pampered like a divine being.
    Peffy is now riding a R2 astromech chassis, using it as his personal wheelchair, and every single sentence I utter through him is rewarded with another hug or kiss. It's kinda fun, and very pleasant.

    By then end of the year the Avatar will pass Jaybo in height and biological age. I changed his hair color to blonde though, to remove doubts and other problems that a clone might encounter. Also made him wear a custom tiny light armor, with parts from the Old Jedi armors I recovered on Garm.

    Even my newest maids, Aurra and Na-jia adore him, a little. They are a bit confused how to deal with him, for now. He's gonna break all their hearts once he's taller than them.
    With love, not with fists. I'm not a savage. Love conquers all, after all.

    Still, going through the slowest velocities with my organic self is quite painful. But Miss Zero says it's normal, just weakness leaving the body, being replaced by a stronger will.

    And if you wonder how I made Aurra made up with Zero...it's simple. I didn't, not personally. I wouldn't try to smooth over two decades of hate and resentment, not without full mind alter.

    Called my buddy, the Bendu, to fix it with his wisdom and magic and a few head slaps.

    Took him less than a week, and only had to heal their bones twice. Much more patient than I would have been. The billion credits I paid in advance to both of them possibly helped. Not that Zero would admit liking money, or a personal Calamari cruiser.
    Aurra didn't have a problem and even hugged me tightly when she read the credit chip, and so, I caressed her tight, muscled bottom for a whole minute. Cad Bane must be smiling in hell now.
    Now, half my maids live planetside to keep my Avatar company, and massage his hurt muscles after every training. Poor baby...

    Seems living between plants and staying all day in the sun helps forming a connection with the Living force. So Jedi Zero says, and I won't argue on this. She's quite good with the Living Force.

    Cause, of course I had to transplant the entire flower garden from Zero's old planet to Gand, to make her happy and less homicidal. She can punch straight through battle droids. Yeah, just like my own chassis. And she can also teleport.

    And now, I prepare to journey again, this time to Kalkovak, and secure their allegiance by turning a desert world into one with large oceans. Kriff, more ice comets and rain. At least there's no ammonia or pollution. I kinda hate bricks after trillions of brick pyramids on a dozen planets.

    But making friends with the Quarren is important, since most of my cruisers are made by Mon Cala shipyards.

    I decided to keep the Recusants I obtained as fleet carriers, simply adding large hangar bays to their hulls.
    The Munificents I upgraded instead, since their engines were twice as fast, added more reactors and some armor, more shield emitters and maser guns, along with 50 point defense laser chainguns and 100 missile launchers. Spent another billion credits, to fix a problem that shouldn't have existed.

    But now, each Muni destroyer can take on a Venator star destroyer, and win. How?

    It's that simple, superfiring turrets. Instead of just 2 guns, I placed 10 ion cannons and 20 heavy masers, each able to fire above the turret in front of it, while the top and bottom batteries can rotate 360 degrees and fire even backwards if needed. Sure, the ship upgrades cost a bit. But so what?

    Two more Meteors have finished their complete build, with 100 MACs launchers each, and the rest of the weapons, and have begun trials, one around the Trasemene system, the other around Caluula.

    For now, they are shooting at barren planets that we equipped with planetary shields, for testing purposes. Ten salvos are sufficient to crash a full planetary shield. Thats 10 Meteors, shooting once.

    And also, a Toong Explorer has reached an Orion system to the North, which simply by virtue of the name I must have, and add Master of Orion to my titles. The planet Orion IV isn't much, except of a violet sky, and is quite polluted.

    I'll have to visit it next month, and fix it up. My maid with violet hair should go and oversee that, establishing the minimal necessities for the poor people there, along with starports and holonet emitters and everything my empire stands for.
    Civilization or bust.

    "Had enough rambling, oh Master of Orion?" Wialu asked me, perhaps sarcastically.

    "I'm good now. How goes little Lira?" I asked concerned, since the tiny clone was not really responding in the bond.

    "You just had to add genes from Fay to her, hadn't you? No wonder she's in pain and can't connect properly to your bond..." my Voice admonished me.

    "But if it works, she'll survive a blaster to the head, next time!" I explained, as politely as I could.

    "Don't plan for her next death, damn idiot !" Wialu yelled through the bond, possibly upset for some reason.

    Huh, how could I not? She will die again, it was inevitable. But dying from a blaster as my Voice was shameful...
    I checked the other partitions, going over the thousand ongoing ops, the Sanctuary newest prodigies, Solanus reports on the Vong and his work to perfect a force based teleport based on the hypergem. Feeble steps, yet.

    We needed more data, perhaps a hyperspace capable vongship, or tech samples of the artificial hyperlanes, like those crossing into the Deep Core. Or both.

    Ray's last report came from Birgis, and she seemed a little scared, having seen a Worldship from the distance.

    I hope she's okay. The Vong have telepaths too, and the Shaper caste and entechment and who knows what else. Still, the Vong shouldn't have many ships in the galaxy yet.
     
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