((Continuation of the story started here and continued here. Told from Kyriaki's point of view))

Our destination is a fancy terrace. Two Disciples, both with the auras of Masters, and one Force-blind officer are busy gossiping. But they cease their chat immediately the moment Eisen comes into view. He waves their salutes off. “With no disrespect to the Vader and my own person, if we do this all the time, no one will ever get a word in. I’m sure he’ll understand. I certainly do,” he says jovially. He gestures to me. “Meet our newest Disciple. The clone of the young lady the space people made such a big deal of they cut a bloody swathe through the Dominion for her. Fortunately, we saved this one before the Dominion could mess her up,” he declares grandly, as if he was the one who, as he puts it, ‘rescued’ me.

My thoughts must be hidden. I must not just say the words, it must be like I believe them. Courtesy must be my armour. I approach the male Sith Lord first. He wears a Party uniform. His face reminds me of a turtle. “I greet you, Lord Thrul,” I incline my head slightly.
“What a fetching young thing you are. Truly a great example of human womanhood.” I stiffen. His mouth curves into a lecherous smile. Creep. “Thrul, do control yourself. Remember, this isn’t a Jedi academy where Masters lust after their clone Padawans,” Eisen chides him then laughs.

“No impropriety intended, my Leader. I’m merely pleased to see that this clone is far better put together than what usually leaves the Dominion’s assembly lines. I’ve seen some horrible things in their laboratories...if you can even call them that.”
“I was fortunate to be spirited away from their laboratory before they could ruin me. I believe we’ve met before, my Lord.”
“Oh, really? Pray tell, child.”
“It was a couple months ago at the Academy. You were giving a speech at a rally. I believe it was about the role of the Humanist Party. I was one of students in the crowd.”
He smiles smugly. “Yes, now I remember. I do like to take an active role in guiding our Humanist youth on its path to greatness. As the first great Supreme Leader said ‘he alone who owns the youth gains the future.’”

How ironic that it is a movement largely run by old fossils drunk on power. I swallow what is really on my tongue. “And the future belongs to our proud Humanist state.” I approach the Sith Lady next. “Lord Lachesis,” I bow my head slightly. Her hair is a crown of silver and her eyes are like amethyst. She looks haughty and superior. My dislike is instantaneous. If I recall correctly, she is distantly related to the Supreme Leader who was killed during the rapture. Doubtless the fact that she does not rule gnaws at her.
“I see the clone knows her courtesies,” she remarks haughtily. “But are you really with the Disciples or have you just learned to sing a pretty song? Many of the Dominion’s clones suffer from...defects - mentally and physically. Tell me, girl, what happened to the rest of your line?”

Does she know? I feel a thrust of anxiety. Pain flares inside my stomach. My vision is swimming just a bit. No now. I cannot use the Force while her eyes are on me. I must endure. I manage to steady on my feet. “To my knowledge, they perished during the fighting, my Lord. I survived. You could call it natural selection. The strong claw out of the pit, the weak perish.” My creation was a rush job. Some of my siblings died in the tank. They never even received names.
“And you have not suffered from any...defects yourself?”

I overcome. I always do. “No moment of weakness that cannot be overcome by Sith sorcery and a Humanist will to rise above my origins, my Lord. It is true that I was grown in a tank, and that I have no paternal or maternal, only a debased template, but I was raised in the embrace of the fatherland. Our way is struggle, and what greater struggle is there to break the shackles your origins placed on you and embrace the truth? Through the Force, my chains are broken.”

“I’m sure you’re not implying that I’d welcome a mongrel to my table, dear Lachesis?” Eisen asks ever so jovially. Deceptively so.
“Certainly not. I was merely concerned because of reports that this young one was woken up prematurely before the Dominion’s quacks were done with her. I would not want her to suffer due to Jedi failings. If the clone has broken its chains and dedicated herself to becoming a true warrior of humankind, all the better. I will be following your progress with...great interest.”

Finally, only the Marshal is left. Marshal Nikator is an honourable man. They are all honourable, these honourable men. So honourable he exhorted KEC death squads to murder captured xenos and 'dissidents' - children included - en masse, but to do it somewhere he and his men could not see so that his honour would not be stained and his hands remained clean. I am already disgusted. Alone among the group, he is Force-blind, so I sit down and do not bow my head. The mundane cannot rule...but someone as high-ranking as he can help determine who does. “Marshal Nikator, at the academy I read all about your victory over the Vong Guard. At Ulm if I recall correctly. I strive to match the bravery of our loyal soldiers.” It took a lot of bravery to bombard a city with chemical weapons. Cesar flops down on the floor beneath Eisen.

“Our struggle is fierce, and will grow fierce the stronger we become. But we are fighting a crusade of liberation to free Tephrike from the xenos-Jedi and their slaves. Have you gotten the chance to fight for the fatherland yet?”
“I have not had the honour of seeing battle yet. But when the Scarlet Keep was under siege, and Furcht’s unworthy son got himself killed fighting the Supreme Leader, Despina Nikita and I brought down the shield generator. We killed some traitors on the way.”
“And then young Kyriaki and I killed some Jedi assassins together,” Eisen chimes in. “Ah, to be young again and experience the thrill of battle. I loved to fly my TIE and test myself against the Dominion’s best. It was glorious. I miss it sometimes.”

“But Providence had greater plans for you. When the fatherland calls, the strong answer,” Thrul chimes in. Do I sound like that when I am trying to ingratiate myself?
“I remember. Nikita. Fierce warrior...but mean-tempered, like a rabid Kath Hound. Unfortunately, she has not become the hero her brother was,” the Marshal remarks. “At least she had the sense not to go down with the false Leader.”
So Nikator knows of her. Curiosity gets the better of me. “I understand she was rehabilitated and returned to service. Do you know what became of her?”
“Last I heard, she was with a penal unit, fighting insurgents. Maybe when she returns, she will have regained her honour."

“Anyway, we are not here to reminisce,” Eisen declares. As if on cue, a well-dressed feline smile approaches. Eisen has not called for her, so he must have commanded her here with the Force. “What is your command, Master?” the feline asks. She is deferential, but not afraid, and her head is not bowed as low as that of the other slaves. Her throat is free of a collar and she bears no scars or bruises.
“Do be a good girl and arrange some refreshments for us, Miraj,” Eisen instructs her, giving the xenos a smile.
“As you command, Wise Master.” The feline bows her head briefly to acknowledge the Supreme Leader’s guests.
“Thank you, dear.” Eisen seems to sense my reaction. “Is something on your mind, young Kyriaki?”
“Oh, no, I was only momentarily surprised by the lack of a collar.”

“Just as we train our animals, we train our indentured xenos. The xenos will never achieve anything worthwhile without the firm hand of the human species at their leash. But violence cannot always be our first recourse. We don’t teach an animal by beating it, after all. As we train a Kath Hound, a Bantha and an Orbask, so must the xenos be trained to accept their place in our world. Most are only good to be beasts of burden, but some have the mental faculties to serve a higher purpose and oversee the less gifted specimen. Miraj here is one of them. Why would she need a collar? She’s practically a family. A few small gestures go a long way.”

I understand all too well. “If we condition the xenos to exploit each other for us, the privileged ones will do everything to maintain their station. So long as they are fed and the pens are locked, a farmer doesn’t have to fear being outnumbered by his animals” I think of Shakka. A knot forms in my stomach. I am not so different from this rotten cabal of monsters. We are all liars here. And the truth of the matter is that I must be the best of them all.

The Supreme Leader smiles thinly. “Good girl.”
“Of course, we must always make sure they never forget their place. And weed out those breeds too dangerous to keep around. Think of the Mon Calamari, the Yodalings, the Vong demons and the Twi’lek whores. They have been the instigators of every anti-Humanist conspiracy.” Lachesis’ voice is filled with disdain. I wonder whether she truly believes what she says or just finds it convenient to advance herself.
“Surely you are not implying that our Leader – the rightful Leader of the Imperium - is neglecting the racial question?” Thrul asks tartly. Now he looks less like a turtle and more like a snake. Eisen leans back in his chair. I can tell he is enjoying this.

“I say no such thing, do not make insinuations, Thrul. But you and I remember the day when those beasts rose up in revolt. Adlerberg was a graveyard, filled with the bodies of thousands of good human citizens. They murdered, looted and burnt. It took weeks to clear them out. All because these heretical Light Sith opened the gates to their pens. Right now, the Guard and the Dominion are at each others’ throats, but...”

“We shall crush them,” Eisen finishes. “At the right time. The present constellation is to our liking. Let them exhaust each other. And we will reckon with the gang of traitors, the xenos bandits still hiding in the forests and even that pathetic cult of Light Sith if they even still exist and weren’t just one of Furcht’s phantoms he liked to scare the Council with. Your ferocity does you credit, Lachesis, but be sure to not burn our labour supply with your zeal. It was the folly of past governments to herd the xenos in ghettos close to our cities. A mistake I will rectify. Which brings me to a matter of importance. Tell me, young Kyriaki, have you ever heard of Hope Falls?”

I furrow my brow in consideration. “I believe there was a film. ‘The Grand Marshal Gives a Home to the Xenos.’”
“Right! My great gift to the xenos! After we crushed that barbaric rebellion Lord Lachsesis referred to and brought the usurper to justice, we had a large xenos problem on our hands. Our enemies spread lies about how we had committed ‘atrocities’. We needed to clear the ghettos. They had become a breeding ground for diseases and unrest. Our people needed the space. But where to put all these xenos? Some fools wanted to execute them en masse.” He continues as the head serf and two other xenos step in. “But I had a better idea: a large agricultural reservation run by the xenos for us...under our guidance.”

Under the watchful eyes of the head slave, a Duros and a Gungan carry trays bearing drinks, cake and other refreshments. Eisen is still speechifying when the Duros suddenly spills the wine. Most of it lands on the carpet, some it splashes on my dress. The xenos looks shocked and terrified. “This one is so sorry...Lady...Master. This is one is unworthy...”
“You fool!” the feline yells. She presses a button. The Duros’ body spasms and he cries out in pain as an electrical shock courses through him. I suppress a wince. “Clean it up now.” She looks apologetically at the Supreme Leader. “He is new. He will be chastised, Master.”
“I thought the Gungan would be the clumsy one,” Lachesis comments. Meanwhile, the Gungan remains silent and continues doing his duty.
Eisen raises his hand. “Now, now, it is fine, nothing is broken.” He looks the Duros right in the eye, and speaks with the air of a kind uncle. “I am sure you will never make such a mistake again, boy.”
“No...no, Master. This one will be good!”
“Apologise to my guest.”

He drops to the floor and lowers his head to my boot. “This unworthy one begs your pardon a thousand times, Your Perfection. This one is clumsy and weak, but meant no harm.”
It is all so petty and silly. I let him hang in suspense for a moment or two, then finally I respond: “You are forgiven. You serve in the household of the Leader, so clearly you have some worth. You will clean my dress with your own hands. And fetch me a new one.”
“Th-thank you, thank you, Lady. You are most k-kind,” he stammers and quickly gets up to wipe the stains away. “This one is grateful to serve.”
Eisen grins. “You and my daughter are about the same height. She’s not here a lot, but her closet is full. It should have something appropriate.”
“I will see to it personally,” the feline head slave declares. “And make sure this one does not forget his duty,” she says with a meaningful look to the Duros.
“Now, my lords,” I smile angelically, “where were we again? Ah, yes, Hope Falls.”