Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Dice Are Rolling (The Knives Are Out) | The First Order

skin, bone, and arrogance

It was a festival atmosphere in Imperial Square.

Banners waved over the crowd -- some large, held aloft and swung on massive poles, others, small flags and waved in the hands; some printed and some homemade with varying degrees of fidelity to the original. Patriotic marches were played by member's of the Supreme Commander's Own Marching Band, among the most highly talented musicians in the First Order's armed forces. The crowd sang along to the patriotic hymns played, clapped along with the martial thrums of the marching band. Stormtroopers performed parade marches around the square to the delight of the citizens, as speakers came and went, rallying the people into a patriotic fervor.

It wasn't easy; the First Order had taken a black eye in the aftermath of Skor II. Morale had taken a hit after the executions in Victory Square, across town. Most understood the necessity for such a display; not only did it discourage future violations, but it was a demonstration of what the world looked like when disorder was indulged. But the war didn't stop because of it, and people needed to be brought back. Across the Empire, in squares and avenues, in amphitheaters and arenas, in homes and offices, the morale-boosting efforts were running at a fever pitch. But like in all other things, nowhere did it like Avalonia, the seat of the Empire.​

Greye Malvarn was the penultimate speaker. As was his usual duty, he was merely there to whip the crowd into a frenzy ahead of the arrival of the keynote speaker, the Grand Moff Natasi Fortan. The band took up again as Malvarn concluded his introduction, and continued as the Grand Moff appeared on the balcony of Number 10, Park Boulevard -- her official residence -- which overlooked Imperial Square. She approached Malvarn, taking his hand and thrusting both their fists into the air, to tumultuous applause in the crowd. Natasi let it wash over her like a warm ocean breeze. Despite their setbacks, there could be no question of her popularity among the citizens of the First Order -- particularly in the capital. But the people in the crowd could tell that this wasn't going to be an ordinary speech from the Grand Moff. She had often spoken to them in loving, encouraging terms, calling upon them to work together with her and the Supreme Leader. The intent then had been to instill patriotism in her people.

But it was no longer enough to make them love her. They had to be made to hate her enemies -- to be as dedicated to their destruction as ever.

When the music finally swelled to its crescendo, Natasi stopped waving and released Malvarn's hand. He gave one final gesture towards the Grand Moff, sweeping her towards the podium where a single microphone stood, waiting to broadcast her words to a waiting people and, no doubt, to the galaxy at large. As the final notes of the march came to their conclusion, Natasi stepped to the podium, and without preamble called: "Friends! Citizens! Countrymen! The galaxy today stands at a precipice -- on the knife's edge between order and chaos. The First Order stands alone as the indispensable nation, the only barrier between a civilized galaxy and the terroristic, tyrannical fiat of the Galactic Alliance." The crowd booed at this mention of the Order's arch enemy, and Natasi was heartened at their reaction. It was exactly what they wanted. "Make no mistake about it -- it is the Galactic Alliance, despite their feeble protestations and lying denunciations of the First ORder, who are the single greatest threat to freedom, stability, justice, and peace in this galaxy."

She held up a hand, index finger pointing at the sky to punctuate her point. "Take their most recent propaganda broadcast, denouncing the First Order's actions at Skor II. Yes -- mistakes were made at Skor II, and no one knows it better than I do -- after all, it was I who was forced by principle and honor to pass judgment on the crew of the ship that -- against the laws of the First Order and all its customs, against the orders of military leadership -- carried out an orbital strike at the center of Metrobig City. But this is the difference between the First Order and the Galactic Alliance: the First Order takes responsibility while the Galactic Alliance makes excuses."

More booing, more hissing. Natasi leaned forward, as if to demonstrate her earnestness and transparency. "Mere days after Skor II, Victory Square ran red with blood as a demonstration of the First Order's commitment to justice, and a punishment for the rogue elements responsible for the strike. Days! Yet, more than a year after Kaeshana, the Galacticd Alliance has not acknowledged their cold-blooded butchery of innocent and unarmed scientists and civilian aid workers who were seeking to assist the people of Kaeshana -- let alone moved to hold accountable those vile murderers in the Alliance's forces responsible for the atrocities."

Rage flowed off the crowd like heat from a bonfire. In this instance, not only was criticizing the Alliance for these murders politically helpful, it also happened to be true; a propagandist's dream come true. Natasi did not relent. "Instead," she said angrily, "Alliance leadership has continued their bloody and dishonorable campaign, following the tone set at Kaeshana, where their aggression and murderous intentions started this war. It is no wonder that they lie to the galaxy about the First Order -- I'd lie, too, if my record were as shameful as theirs!"

The crowd was jeering now, openly hurling their ire at the First Order's nemesis. "And who do they trot out to make these baseless attacks on us? Jaius Sovv! I have experience with this alleged man, you see, dating back to before the start of this war. Even as our brave men and women were struggling to secure Kaeshana against the Alliance and their disgusting allies, I crossed paths with Sovv. HE claimed to be representing the Alliance to seek a diplomatic solution. I should have known better than to trust Alliance scum." Natasi clenched her fists. "Like the rest of the Alliance leadership, Sovv lacks honor, and unfortunatley, his only interest in diplomatic talks was to buy more time for Alliance thugs to finish their grisly business on the surface: murdering unarmed scientists and aid workers. This is the man -- a term I use charitably -- that the Alliance sends to rail against our misdeeds? They may as well send a Hutt to lecture us on our diets."

Natasi continued, feeding the fire of the crowd's ire. "Their hypocrisy -- like their cowardice and dishonor -- knows no bounds." She adjusted her notes, knowing that she was rapidly approaching the climax of her address. "While the Galactic Alliance covers up their depraved behavior on Kaeshana, the First Order has already brought swift justice to the perpetrators of the strike and chemical weapons at Skor II. Meanwhile, we have credible intelligence to suggest that the man who ordered the strike, is being harbored by none other than the Alliance itself! Unless the Alliance returns this man to First Order custody at once, so that he may face justice for his actions, we can only assume that they are harboring him as an agent that acted on their orders."

She paused to look out over the crowd, before beginning again, her voice suddenly calm. "As I conclude, I urge you all to remember Victory Square. Remember who brought justice to war criminals -- and who has protected them. Remember who came to Kaeshana with aid and assistance -- and who came with blood and butchery. Remember who took every opportunity to avoid this costly and violent war -- and whose actions and aggression forced our hand." She took a deep breath. "Skor II was a setback, to be sure. But we have right on our side. What can the cheap, petty thuggery of the Galactic Alliance do against virtue? If we pull together, if we each contribute everything we can, we cannot be defeated. If you haven't already, now is the time: Work. Enlist. Serve. Thank you, and may the Force be with you."

As Natasi stepped back from the microphone, she could hear a new tenor in the crowd's cheers. They called her name as they normally did, but there was also a rage that she hadn't sensed before. The Grand Moff stayed on the dais for a few more minutes, waving at the crowds, being photographed by the newscam droids, and talking animatedly to Malvarn. Finally, the Grand Moff made her final bows before retreating back inside Number 10. The music and cheers continued into the small hours of the morning.

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