Name: Aklee Roosh
Profession: Vicereine of the Imperial Campaign Expedition
Weight: 113 lbs
Aklee just stared out the window of her office on the Imperial Capital world, Bilbringi VII. The usual flow of airspeeders zipped around the air-lanes that encircled her skyscraper. Sometimes it didn't seem real. Only a short five years ago the Nemesis found it's way back to the civilized galaxy. It had been the formation of the New Imperial Federation, and she remembered clearly the battle over Elrood. It seemed like a different lifetime, but then only yesterday. With a planet to finally call their own, after nine years adrift, Aklee had established Kessel Transportation, the first transport business founded solely under the new Imperial government. That had garnered her business preferential treatment, and the rapidly expanding Federation worlds had put her on the forefront of the civilian transporting industry. Kessel Headquarters had moved four times since then, the final move being to the new Capital, not long after it had been taken.
But now she suspected her life was about to under go another great change. High Marshal Torkin Grissom had an appointment this morning, and lobby security had buzzed her a moment ago to announce his arrival. He'd be riding up the lifts as she sat and thought. Five years. She hadn't seen him in five years.
The office doors opened behind her. “It's been a long time, Wing Commander.” Torkin said.
Aklee spun her hover-chair around to face her old comrade. “Don't be ridiculous Torkin, I put that life behind me a long time ago.” Her smile cut the serious tone in the orderly and pristine office environment, and she stood to round her rather large desk.
“Okay... Aklee.” He smiled back, and gave her a light hug. “Or should I call you President?”
“Aklee, please. Can I get you some stimcaf?” She pointed over to a cabinet on the side of the room.
“Oh come on, stimcaf? What happened to you? I know you have Firedancers in there.” He grinned. The lines on his face surprised Aklee, as did his receding hair line.
“Guilty!” She winked. “But it's too early for alcohol.”
Torkin's pleasant face melted away as he gave her a serious glance for a couple of beats too long. Then he erupted in laughter. “Now who's being ridiculous? Come on, you've never been to good to drink with me.” He helped himself to the cabinets, opening them one by one in search of the drinks.
“It's in the bottom left one,” she corrected. “Glasses are in there too.”
“Now we're talking!” He stooped down to get at the correct cabinet door.
“So come on, enough wasting time. To what do I owe this pleasure?” She crossed her arms and leaned against her desk as she watched her old friend.
The High Marshal stood again with two glasses, a bottle, and a big grin. It brought back a lot of memories of drifting through space. Nine years of their lives had been spent together, hoping every day that they'd eventually have a home to return to. He had only been a Deputy Flight Director back then. Clearly he had done well for himself in the last five years. Aklee was so glad that he had survived all the fighting.
“Am I that transparent?” He asked.
“I know you wouldn't come marching back in here if you weren't ordered to.” She raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, your words wound, woman.” He set the glasses down on the table and started pouring drinks.
“So I'm right. Right?” She lifted the first one he poured, but didn't drink yet.
“Yes. As a matter of fact I am that much of a snake.” He winked again.
“Oh that I know.” She winked back. “So out with it. What does the Empire want with me today?”
Torkin's smile diminished some, but didn't disappear entirely. “I'm sorry about the divorce. They showed me your file before they sent me.”
“Torkin Grissom, I've been through much much worse.” Both of her eyebrows raised this time.
He shrugged. “I know. You deserve better though.”
“You're deflecting.” She warned.
“Actually, I'm not. I'm being more honest than I probably ever was with you in the past. Your file also included the results of the custody hearing. I'm even more sorry about that. It's not right, taking a Mother's children away. It's why they're interested in you, actually. Well, part of the reason.”
Aklee took a hard swig of the firedancer, he face contorting against the strong drink. “Interested in me? I'm too old to fly like that anymore.”
“That's a lie and you know it.” Torkin winked and nudged her shoulder. “But that's not what they want. All the people from the old days are gone. They're either dead, retired and with family, or still active and in a position of importance from which they can't be taken. You, however, are in a unique position. It's an unfortunately position, but unique. I sincerely wish I wasn't here with this proposal, as much as I enjoy seeing you again. But then this isn't my call. They just sent me because they think it'd help to give you a familiar face.”
“Okay, okay! Enough theatrics!” She stepped away from the desk, glass still in hand. “What do they want?”
“There's a project soon to be announced. They're sending an expedition to the unknown regions. They're calling it ICE.” He took a sip of his drink.
“ICE?” She asked.
“Yeah. Imperial Campaign Expedition. ICE is catchy, eh?” He shrugged again.
“I guess so. What does this have to do with me?” Her eyes narrowed.
“Well, look at your unique circumstances. You have a lot of experience with deep space survival. You lived it for nine years. Your company has been one of the most successful business ventures from the early years, so you have a lot of experience with leadership. You know the military, you know how to speak our language.”
Aklee cut him off. “And I don't have any personal attachments, being recently divorced and now with out much contact with my children?”
Torkin tipped his head, curled one side of his mouth, and shrugged all at the same time. “Exactly. They want to offer you a job. They want you to lead it.”
“I don't want to re-enlist.” She said. “I did my time. It wasn't what I expected it to be.”
“No, they don't want you to reenlist. You won't be military. There are already enough active duty personnel signing up. You'll be a Vicereine.” He stepped away from the desk now too.
“A Vicereine?” She repeated, almost solely to hear it again to make sure it was real.
“Yes. A Vicereine. It'll be your show. This isn't solely a military operation. There will be civilians along too. It'll be so independent that it'll need it's own government. That's you. If you want it, that is. It's just an offer.”
Aklee took a slow sip from her glass. “I wasn't expecting anything like that.”
“The Emperor remembers you.” He added. “From the old days. He wants someone he can trust.”
She hadn't known Ace Roscoe very well. He was one of the best pilots from back then, but they were in totally different flights. But it was impossible not to have at least some contact with everyone when you're stuck on a ship for nine years, no matter how long. That he trusted her this much after so long surprised her.
Her thoughts went to her two children, both still extremely young. She was barely a part of their life anymore. That was what she got for marrying a lawyer. Now they had a new mother, and her own daughter had even called this new woman mommy. That had probably been the most painful moment of her life.
“I need to think about it.” She said, returning to the present by looking at her old friend.
“Of course, Aklee. You have time. They've made my the Executor of this contract until it's signed. If you have any questions at all, please just ask. How about a toast?”
“A toast? To what?” She raised her brow. “I haven't agreed to anything yet.”
“To old friends, and bright futures, whatever they may be.”
She smiled again. “Of course. To old friends and bright futures.” She held up her glass.
As the harmonic ring of the glasses clinking chimed through the room, she knew that the Empire's call had been timed impeccably. If she couldn't find meaning in her failed family, she'd find it somewhere else.
ICE, she thought. I can grow to like the sound of that.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest