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Sometimes the Truth

Location:
Planet: [Redacted]
City: [Redacted]
Objective: [Redacted]

520309c0a1989104aca355af251d7aed.jpg

The sounds of machinery and busy Imperial Scientists gave Seto enough background noise as to give him some of his sanity back. How he abhor the silence his missions often tortured him with, but for the moment a lack of silence was not the source of Seto's anxiety. His datapad already contained his report, but it hardly mattered as he quickly walked away and into an empty hallway.

Such a new technology to change the face of warfare always came with a cost; how much it would take to transport, to make and ultimately how much the repairs costed afterwards. This new weapon though gave Seto slight pause, even though he wasn't new to the idea of chemical based weapons it still gave Seto thoughts. Dangerous thoughts Seto reminded himself as he continued to scan his report on his datapad.

"We just want to give the Galaxy something to laugh at I guess," Seto mumbled to himself. Maybe the insanity of it all was spreading too fast, Seto wouldn't deny the possibility after all, Just look at how things are shaping up. . .

The offices were up ahead and now the only thing breaking the silence were his footsteps and rhythmic tapping of his datapad. When political turmoil hits Seto's usual plan often revolves around selective hearing and cautious commitments and loyalties. Unfortunately with an entire Order dedicated to being 'Inquisitive' it often proved difficult to remain hidden and inconspicuous. I'm just going to get this report sent via a Communication's Officer, Seto mused as the prospect of returning back to his superiors for a debrief did not exactly excite him.

His knuckles tapped the door twice before Seto opened it and walked inside. His own Force presence wasn't hidden and Seto felt confident that his intrusion wouldn't be taken as offense. But just in case- "My Lord, High Moff Malvern I apologize for my sudden appearance but I have some questions before I submit my report back to the Order. It is concerning about security."

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
​In the main office, Adron sat in silence as he read over the latest reports. There was a notably distant gaze in his eyes as he read the latest results. It had been months since the Empire had placed Adron in charge of this project, and the trials alone had proved the weapon to be...effective. Of course effectivity had it's cost, often in the line of humanity.

​There was no lying to himself. Adron was a dark man, who had wronged hundreds in his pursuit of power, yet this bioweapon was giving even him pause. The head scientist for the project, an Umbaran with a particular mindset, had told Adron that the virus had passed human trials and was prepared to be weaponized. All it awaited was the High Moff's seal. Success, by many opinion, was measured on the ability to complete the tasks assigned, then why did Adron feel like he had failed, or was going to fail?

​There was a notable tap at the door, which caused Adron to set his datapad on the table before him. "Come in." He allowed.

​Seto entered the room and was met with an evenly distant gaze, yet Adron's tone was oddly warm. "Inquisitor Couteau." He greeted, placing a hand on the table as the Inquisitor introduced himself. "I always have time for a member of the Inquisitorious."

​The statement was born from Adron's lack of esteem among the Inquisitors. He had seen their talent, seen them in action, and in the end he was never impressed. Always, he saw his own men among the Imperial Guard as completely superior to the jaded Force order. Of course Seto had managed to show he was a step apart on Tatooine, he proved he was more than a shiny cog. He wasn't surprised when the Inquisitor order sent one of their men to investigate the operations here, however he did not care for it all the same. "Very well. You operate under Baron Morcus so you are allowed such. What do you want to know?"

[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
With a gracious bow Seto took several steps forward, not wanting to raise his voice to make himself clear. Always a finicky position for a messenger, "Of course, yes, well-" Seto paused as he took a moment to look down at his datapad, "-There are concerns that with the current situation within the Empire-" Seto gestured around him with his right hand, "-That perhaps a larger Inquisitor presence could prove useful in safe guarding this new Imperial 'Device', of course this will need your approval first my Lord," Seto explained.

This was perhaps the most precarious situation Seto had ever found himself in, Well this and Tatooine, and it is with Lord Malvern too, good joke you cruel Galaxy. Seto was aware how this worked, if the refusal of the extra Inquisitors came it would make many heads turn suspiciously especially during these unstable times. But Adron Malvern is no fool to how this might look if he denies it and why would he? Seto mused, his head racked with questions ever since he first landed on this planet.

Or maybe this is just a test for me? To see if I'm able to question the loyalty of my Superiors and other Imperial Leaders, and for what? To see if I'm competent at my job? Seto nearly shouted at himself but instead took a swift intake of air. A sharp breath, "Of course I'm sure you're aware of the dangers of bringing in a large security force, it will no doubt attract unwanted attention on this new 'device'; But rest assured we can be certain of the skill that the agents of the Inquisition posses to remain covert," Seto added smoothly, years at the Sabacc table coming in handy, before including quickly, "-And of course you will have full command of any Inquisitoral agents that assist with security and the safe guarding of the 'device' my Lord,"

Seto now figured he shouldn't give Adron Malvern any cause for concern of his loyalty to the Empire, nor give him any idea that Seto dared to challenge him with any feelings of suspicion. Just. Get. Me. Out. Of. Here. Seto had taken many large bets, he had risked many great gambles but the stakes he felt now and with all this uncertainty in the galaxy had allowed an old fear to creep up. He did not need to have a target painted on his back, and Seto neither wanted to be responsible (at least not directly) for putting one on anybody else.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
[SIZE=12pt]Adrons smile curled into a small smile as Seto spoke. Members of the Imperial Guard had been placed sparingly around the complex. While their numbers were few, their skill was unmatched. This alone caused Adron to readjust himself, leaning back in his chair with a considerate look on his face. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]“Are you suggesting my Guard are unable to maintain security?” He asked, hosting an amused tone. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]Adron did not want the Inquisition snooping in his business. With the recent events he had been rather adventurous as of late. In reality the correct word was treasonous, however in his mind his loyalties had never shifted. They we're still to his own agenda. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]“Let me try to summarize for you. The Inquisition feels something of this magnitude requires their own supervision, correct? While I may have command over them at a point of station, their loyalty is to Baron Morcus, not me.” He said, taking a pen from the desk and tapping it softly against the durasteel surface in front of him. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]Finally, Adron stood up from his desk. His uniform was crisp, a pristine display of how the Imperial attire should be worn. Running a hand through his freshly trimmed hair he gestured towards the door. “Follow me, Inquisitor. I'd like to show you something.” [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]With no more than a peep, he made his way to the door, and into the hall. [/SIZE]
[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
Seto stood and listened with a small smile, even as his mind whirled with ideas and corrections he only nodded as Adron stood up and walked past him. He was not prepared for such a measured response and now Seto wondered if he had just insulted one of the few people that earned a measure of respect from him. Calm down, it is just a simple retort and counter so I can write it down on my report nothing strange Seto mused as about faced and followed Adron out into the hall.

"I mean offense and did not intend to speak ill of your security my Lord, I'm only here to clear the air with my report and assure all parties that the this project will continue to move along smoothly." Seto explained quickly, his mind working to clam things over, "-Regardless the questions of security my Lord, the report will only confirm what is self evident; That you are a loyal servant of the Empire and the only one able to see this project through to its completion and afterwards," Seto added, his flowery words escaped his lips and Seto hoped it would be enough.

Last thing I want to be blamed for is a rift between the Inquisitors and Adron Malvern, I'd be killed for sure! "The Order is also just another loyal servant to the Empire and simply offering a helping hand," Seto spoke quickly, before adding "-If needed, it's just that in these trying times help can be a scarcity." Now stay silent and focus on what Adron wishes to show us.

Seto wondered if the Inquisitorial Order back on Zenith Prime would have any forms for retirement.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
​The halls of the lab they were in were a pristine white, much like the halls on Kamino. In fact if someone paid any kind of attention, they would notice it was exactly like the interior facilities on Kamino. Why wouldn't the cloners of the Empire be consulted and expected to lead such a project? They were some of the galaxies most ingenuous geneticists, it would be murder to allow them to sit such an experiment out.

​Of course that was how the Moff council explained it to Adron. The Kaminoans were brought in to make sure the virus was capable of infecting all carbon-based lifeforms known to the galaxy. He led the two down the near blinding halls, and in short order it would become apparent that they were headed into the inner workings of the lab.

​A small repulsorlift came into sight at the end of the hall. The hall itself was lined with ten Imperial Novatroopers, the best the Stormtrooper corp had to offer. Perhaps short of the Death troopers, whom rivaled them. As they passed each duo of troopers, the men would raise their weapons over their chest in a silent salute, their ebony and gold armor a damning clash with the white walls behind them. Reaching the repulsorlift, Adron looked down to the control pad, tapping a series of numbers in before submitting his thumb to a fingerprint scanner. A large blue light over the lift flashed for a few moments before turning white, the signal that access had been allowed.

​"What do you know of this virus, Inquisitor?" He asked, seemingly out of nowhere as the door to the lift opened. Respectfully, Adron gestured for the Inquisitor to lead the way, even holding a gracious arm out as he did. "After you." After entering himself he would secure the lift, and begin a long.....long......long dissension down into the lower levels.

​"Let me rephrase that." He continued, "What do you think would happen if the wrong hands were able to claim it?" He prodded, his cold blue eyes gazing down at the man.

[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
Great, can't even pick up a read at all Seto wearily thought as he continued to walk next to Adron, their path leading deeper into the facility and before long Seto now realized how much larger this place was. A familiar whiteness gave Seto a strange feeling of dajavu but a pair of Nova Troopers broke his thought and silent with a nod Seto stepped into the lift and waited patiently.

"I apologize my Lord, but that's a bit above my paygrade," Seto explained first before turning his head to talk directly to Adron, "-But if allowed to speak frankly well," Seto trailed off, he took a moment to think of his next words. He had expected to be asked this, but not now and not by Adron of all people.

"My own issue is with this device's intent, and how such intent requires extreme retrospective and clear understanding," Seto started, gesturing around the two he continued, "-We have weapons, these lightsabers, their intent often is to kill life, but success does not require it; while our Star Destroyers can kill a lot of life , its success too doesn't require loss of life. When we develop these tools, we set the parameters for success that may not match its intent." Seto finished, his eyes trailed away from Adron and towards his own hands.

"This new device's intent is to kill all life, and its parameters set for success is the death of all life when used. The intent sends a message when used, and that message is that no life matters for the pursuit of victory." Seto responded before looking back towards Adron, "-I do not believe that there are wrong hands my Lord, just that I don't even believe there are any 'right' hands able to wield this weapon," Seto added.

His eyes turned away and faced in front of him as he continued, "We live in a cruel Galaxy, and the best thing we can do is to laugh along with it or the worst thing we can do is pretend that the Galaxy cares about what resides in it. This doesn't mean we don't have to care, in fact it can be said it's our purpose to care while we live because in the end the Galaxy will always have the last laugh." Seto finished with a small chuckle.

Though as if remembering his position, "Of course my Lord Malvern I'm simply speaking frankly and by no means believe I have any authority on the matter. It's only an opinion. An opinion I'm more than ready to disagree with." Seto quickly voiced his defense, nodding towards Adron.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
​As Seto spoke, Adron cocked a brow at his words.

​Smart man. He mused, before gesturing for the Inquisitor to continue. Seto's stance on the weaponry was the sort of thing that could cause the Inquisition to knock on his door if they knew. Luckily for him, Adron would be the last person to make a report to his order. With Seto's disclaimer at the end, Adron let out an amused chuckle. As the lift came to a stop at the bottom of it's hold, Adron clapped his hands softly. Partially through admiration of the man, but mostly through a show of amusement. "Well done. For an Inquisitor." He said before clearing his throat, and looking to the man.

​He glanced back at the lift's door before looking back to the Inquisitor.

​"I'm going to ask you a question Inquisitor. There is no wrong answer, however depending on yours you may die right here in this lift."

"What do you believe in?" He said, his eyes narrowed down at the man before him.

[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
Seto's eyes widened slightly as he slowly digested the words from Adron's response. He paused to give himself a moment, again trying to consider his words and how to properly phrase them. Seto nodded and placed both hands behind his back, "That is not a question I can easily answer my Lord, but with the promise of a blade pointed towards my throat, I'll do my best." Seto explained first, a bemused expression flashed over his face for a second.

"In a broad sense of the answer; nothing, but myself and my own life. I see great power that often grants people an illusion of Godhood, but without the wisdom and understanding to match such power to me all I see," Seto gestured with his hands up around him, "-Is a joke done by the Galaxy as to laugh, as after quick million years nothing is left of such power and not even one's own dust will remain to serve as a memory. Only the Galaxy will laugh at these jokes through eons." Seto remarked, offering a shrug.

"Until there comes someone with the power to shift a galaxy and has the wisdom to match such terrifying power, I'll keep on believing in the life I have and continue to put value in my life as well," Seto explained, "-Perhaps that is why I joined the Inquisition so I can find someone that can turn me into a believer, but regardless in the Empire belief is not a requirement only loyalty and duty." Seto finished. His eyes kept a gaze on Adron, but the comment about his own death remained fresh as ever. Not inclined to have the Galaxy laugh at me after I die just yet.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
​Seto would feel the Force close in around them, the lift felt trapped into a stasis that had no intention of budging. Adron had effectively drawn a barrier from the twisting Nether of the Force. Seto's answer caused Adron to smile a bit, regardless of the fact he hadn't wanted to. By definition of his standing in the Force, Adron was selfish and cared only of his own ambitions. In the early stages of his life he believed it to be an eccentric statement, however he found it was completely true over time. He no longer hid it, he now accepted it.

​While Adron did not share Seto's view on the galaxy having such a negative view on its inhabitant. More or less he simply believed the galaxy cared little of it's inhabitants one way or another.

"No. The Empire does not require your beliefs to align with theirs. It is wise that you see that."

​There was a pause before Adron looked to Seto with an amused look. "What if there was another path? One with more....well, more everything?" He promised.

[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
Seto slowly felt himself being closed in on, but perhaps his old instincts at the Sabacc tables kicked or maybe he had stopped caring, either way Seto remained relaxed as he nodded to Adron's response. Loyalty and belief did not need to be combined to allow them to serve the Empire. After all it would spell ruin for Commanders to believe in all the same things, make their tactics and strategies plain and expected.

Though Seto raised an eyebrow at Adron's question of a new path, it sounded as if he promised new possibilities and Seto's old instincts perked up once more. "I was a notorious gambler before I joined the Empire so I weigh risks carefully for all paths I take," Still am a Gambler really Seto corrected himself,"-So forgive me when I ask; What are you exactly offering?" Seto asked. It was a risk to ask such a question and careful world play often could lead to wildly different understandings. And I don't like misunderstandings.


[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
​With no amusement on his face, Adron stared down at Seto for a moment before finally a soft chuckle erupted from the man.

​"Well, if you prove a problem I can just kill you." He said, before tapping the panel before him. A loud hiss occurred, before the sound of metal sliding against glass echoed through out the lift. The front door finally slid open, and the pristine white halls were draped in a red cloud that seemed nearly unmoving. A second look would reveal this red cloud was the Imperial Guard. Twenty of the Empire's finest soldiers stood in a vigil silence as they lined the long white hall. Adron gestured for Seto to take the lead as he spoke once more.

​"What do you know of our Emperor?" He asked, arching a brow at the young man.

"I mean, what do you really know of him?" Adron pressed, gesturing to the red robed men who lined the hall. "These are his most loyal soldiers. And every one of them is under my command. In reality, they are MY most loyal soldiers."

[member="Seto Du Couteau"]
 
The color contrast between the white and red irritated his senses, and the fact that Seto felt even more constricted outside of the lift than when he was inside did not help. Though he continued to hold a bemused expression as he quickly took a few steps ahead of Adron and kept walking down the hall. With another hint of a promise of death came out Seto still wasn't sure how to exactly wade his way through, more so the atmosphere wasn't hostile but it certainly wasn't friendly. Sometimes I miss the old streets.

"I have to ask though, whoever taught you the art of diplomacy certainly had an interesting method that included promising death twice in less than five minutes," Seto remarked, he turned his head to scan the Royal Guards as he walked past them, "-But if it works, it works." Seto added, turning around to face Adron as he continued to walk backwards.

"Which matches my ideas on Government Leaders, if they work, they work. A rather pragmatic approach all things considered," Seto started, gesturing with his right hand and pointing at the top, "-Though our Emperor is well, very difficult to imagine in a broad sense," Seto explained, his eyes narrowing and his gaze cast away thinking deeply for his next words.

"For example, if I were to play a game of Sabacc there are ways to play against all types of players. If I were to play against a player like yourself, I would make sure the stakes are high and see what happens when I call your bluff," Seto started, with a small shrug he continued, "-Now you may be bluffing or not but you might second guess yourself and that is what I'm looking for, a way to see how you react and what you react with; Do you call and show me you weren't bluffing or fold because you were? Regardless I can use that information even if I loose my hand or not."

Seto returned to walk normally as he continued his metaphor, "But with the Emperor, well, I have a much different player to understand. Or rather I have a player that is very difficult to read, which isn't always a good thing. He can raise his bet and suddenly fold, or he can walk out without winning anything and when other players can't get a read they might choose not to play anymore and find a different table," Seto finished his metaphor as he raised both hands up.

"Being mysterious and pushing state sponsored altruism might get everyone to start following and marching to a beat, but if the path isn't clear and requires a brand of loyalty that is of the blind variety, well-" Seto offered a small shrug, "-The Inquisitor Order wasn't created from a position of luxury but of necessity," Seto added.

"But of course, Gamblers like me might make decent judges of character, we don't make good leaders-" Seto started, a small smirk tugged the corners of lips doing so, "-We often make bad bets and find ourselves losing more than what we were able to afford," he finished.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
[SIZE=12pt]Seto’s comment on diplomacy was met with a closed lip smile. “I believe in being very upfront.” He admitted, though that was a tentative standing of his. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]Seto’s words were met with a shake of his head. “You can't understand someone you don't interact with, Inquisitor.” Adron declared, before pausing in the middle of the hall.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]As Seto continued to speak, Adron found his metaphors a mixture of mildly amusing and annoying all in the same moment. Finally, he held his hand, closing his fingers as if making a silent command for Seto to be quiet. “The Emperor is a Sith Lord.” He revealed, before shaking his head once again. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]“Not only that. He's prepared to sacrifice half of the Empire, just to assure his soldiers are loyal to him. He's going to start a civil war.” He told Seto. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]They continued down to the hall, where a single door laid in waiting. “The Inquisition will lead this civil war against a few separate factions.” Tapping the console a bit, the door slid open to reveal a second hall, this one was manned by Novatroopers who were equally silent as the Imperial Guard. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt]“I've decided not to participate.” Adron said, a hint of amusement. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12pt][member="Seto Du Couteau"][/SIZE]
 
Seto remained silent, now thankful to simply listen as they continued to walk down hall before entering through another door. It revealed another hallway lined with more guards, but instead the crimson armor of the Royal Guards, now Seto saw the familiar armor of Nova troopers guarding this passageway. An impressive amount of security no doubt and now the young Inquisitor felt sure that he was walking deeper into web that would make it difficult to escape.

The Emperor being a Sith Lord wasn't that surprising, usually people of great power and influence often required extraordinary abilities. Silver tongues and lots of credits only make great businessmen and gamblers Seto mused. But he stopped short after hearing the rest of Adron words. While the rumors and mutterings of some commanders and leaders would be excused and swept away, policing every word and thought was impractical so throw away comments weren't always taking seriously. Besides if people start looking over their shoulder and afraid to look at the shadows it would make the Inquisitor's job harder.

He continued to walk behind Adron now, listening and slowly working through this new information. This Civil War was to be lead by the Inquisitors sat wrong in Seto's mind, not that he thought they were inescapable of it but more so that it made little sense. Except one thing did though, So it seems people are getting tired of the playing this game and wanting to leave the table after all Seto finally thought.

"I won't ask about your new weapon anymore and what you intend to do with it Lord Malvern, but I do have to ask, what would you like me to include in my report back to the Order?" Seto asked.

[member="Adron Malvern"]
 
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