No way! The Empire knew? Then, did Ghost… No, there’s no way any of the guys in Alpha Squad would betray us. It, just can’t be… Calm down. They probably don’t know anything of the meeting. Vhiran took a deep breath before opening the channel. But, what’s going on then? Just what is an Imperial capital ship doing here?
“Unidentified fighter. Identify yourself and state your business on the double,” the ship’s communications officer ordered. The man’s voice sounded young, inexperienced even. It probably hadn’t been that long since he had graduated from the military academy.
With a bit of help from the Force, this might just work. Here goes. “I am Inspector Darius Vakluu of Imperial Security Operations,” Vhiran said, remembering a Republic security officer he had once encountered on Coruscant, before leaving for his mission to Aargau. “I am under order of Colonel Vak Somoril to inspect the Empire’s spice mines for suspicious activity said to take place there. I demand you let me to the surface immediately!” Vhiran tried to sound as authoritative as he could without overdoing it, strengthening the sound of his voice and emphasizing the strict tone with the Force. He could hear the officer on the other side of the channel gulp. Was it working?
“I, I am terribly sorry, Inspector,” the officer started nervously. “But as of this morning, Coruscant standard time, Lord Vader has declared the planet Kessel completely off-limits to all who have not received permission from him personally. I’m, I’m afraid I cannot let you pass.”
Vader! Just what we needed. Vhiran narrowed his eyes. I’ll have to get to the others as soon as possible then. “You have not been in the navy for very long, have you, boy?!” he bit back at the young officer. “Perhaps you have not heard what I said. I am here under order of Colonel Vak Somoril of the Imperial Security Bureau to …”
“We have not received a message on any such order, mister Vakluu.” This voice was different! A senior officer seemed to have taken over communications. “Also, I find it quite, intriguing to find Inspector Darius Vakluu here in the flesh, while apparently he has been dead for over a month now,” his silky but cold voice sounded. “You may have tricked this brat here, but you cannot fool me. This ends here!”
Shamila’s eyes widened as the Venator’s hatch opened. She quickly looked at Vhiran. “Mas…” But her Master only sat there, motionless, with an empty look in his eyes. The girl gulped. She sat as if paralyzed, only able stare at him.