Ward of the State

This is an entry to Darth Skorpius’ “Write My Bio” contest. His character has massive memory loss from an “accident”, details unknown. His first day of current memories is October 7, YC 110. YC 110 was a momentous year for New Eden, including the events of the Empyrean Age novel, when Tibus Heth, Maleatu Shakor and Jamyl Sarum came to power over their respective empires.

Conveniently, a very important event happened 4 days before Skorp’s rebirth.



July, YC 110 – Location Unknown.

“She needs to be protected.”

“Her affairs are none of our damn business. I’ve got one war to deal with already, I don’t need to be sparking others.”

“You need an ally.”

“We have Caldari Prime already.”

“For less than a cluster-standard month. Hardly worth bragging about yet. She can ensure that it remains uncontested.”

“I’m not interested. What will she do in return?”

“You’re being a fool.”

“I’m sick of you pushing me around.”

“Send the men. I’ll make sure her speech can be construed in your favor.”

“No. Send your own. You seem to forget who is running things now.”

“I made you, Tibus Heth. I can unmake you just as easily. Never forget it.”

Heth was quiet for a long while before he quietly muttered, “Fine.”

***

August, YC 110 – Otsasai, Lonetrek, Caldari State.

Admiral Naan Lekspar, Caldari Navy Security

The trip from the school to Otsasai had been tense. It was unfathomable to Darth “Skorp” Skorpius that a summons from one of the Fleet Admirals could be anything other than dire news.

Admiral Lekspar strode into the room, flanked by a pair of guards. She took a slow walk around him as he stood at rigid attention. Seemingly satisfied, she sat in her chair behind the large desk in the office.

Skorp stared at the wall above her head.

“Ensign Skorpius.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“You’ve scored quite well on your hand-to-hand qualifications. How is your swordplay holding up?”

Skorp was genuinely surprised at this. The ancient Achuran knife-fighting combat training was a hobby more than anything, but he had won awards before coming to capsuleer school, and had stayed in fighting trim. “Well, ma’am. It helps me to blow off steam.”

“The death of the other trainee recently was … unfortunate.”

“I have made appropriate restitution to his family and corp, ma’am.”

She nodded slowly as she scanned her datapad. “I see that. I also see that you’ve done a bit of extra credit to prove your loyalty to the state.”

Skorp flushed, but focused intently on the wall behind her desk, and did not break his composure. “My duty is to the State and her people, Ma’am.” It shouldn’t surprise me, he thought, that an Admiral is aware of these things.

“We’ve been watching you the last few months. Much more closely than you are likely aware.”

He waited. Now it was coming.

The Admiral leaned back in her chair, crossed her legs and stared candidly at Skorp’s face. “You’re what we need for a … unique assignment. It comes from the very top. You will be doing covert work, and you will not speak of it to anyone  – before, during or after the assignment.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“It may not make sense at first.”

He waited.

“You’ll be guarding Jamyl Sarum.”

“What!?” he burst out, completely losing his composure this time. Of all the things he expected, this was … well, not even on the radar.

Now it was her turn to wait, as Skorp processed this information. “Questions, soldier?” she asked after a time.

“More than I can possibly count, Ma’am.”

“Will any of them prevent you from doing your duty in service to the State?”

“No, Ma’am.”

She nodded. “That’s why you’re the right man for this mission. There are a handful of others you’ll meet soon. Sarum cannot trust most of those nearest to her. It is in the State’s interest that she gain the throne, and that she is well-disposed to us.”

She stood, tapped on her neocom, entering his new orders. “Report to Ieyata Oijari at the Business Tribunal station in Namali. He’ll have specifics for you. Dismissed.”

***

September 1, YC 110 – Sarum Family Assembly Plant, Sarum Prime, Domain, Amarr Empire.

Skorp had once believed capsuleer training to be intense – no more. Merimeth Sarum himself had overseen their training, and they were ready.

Skorp had helped to retrain his squadmates in Achuran knife-fighting, and Merimeth had shown them how to adapt their style with traditional Amarrian compensations for the long robes that they would need to wear while accompanying the Empress.

Those robes were the core of their disguise, the cavernous hoods covering much of their face to outsiders, yet of a marvelous fabric that allowed them to easily see out. Protective headgear could be concealed beneath them as well. The crowning achievement, however, were the surgical modifications they made to give his Achuran features a Khanid-like cast.

They would begin their duty in the morning.

***

Coronation Day: October 3, YC 110 – Emperor Family Station, Amarr, Domain, Amarr Empire.

Empress Jamyl Sarum I of Amarr

For a month, Skorp and his squadmates had marched alongside the Empress’ retinue – and along the paths they would tread today. The Caldari walked before her and behind her while only her closest Imperial Guards walked beside her.

Skorp was not sure what he thought of her. She was often calm, and strangely soothing, but her fits of rage were terrible to behold. One moment she would speak of freeing slaves, and bringing the Empire forward to help civilization. The next she would be talking of conquest and reclamation in ways that seemed completely at odds with her own statements.

Regardless, so far there had been no direct attempts upon her life from within, though several abortive external attempts had been made and thwarted by the Amarrian security forces. But today was the day of greatest risk.

Any elevation of any new head of state is full of pomp, circumstance and ceremony, the Amarrian probably most of all. Custom dictated that on the morning of the coronation, the Empress would walk through the Hall of Conquest to the Coronation Ship.

With her guard around her, the Empress fairly beamed, her eyes manic, as they walked down the carpeted hall, past statues representing each of the peoples that the Empire had overrun and assimilated as it grew.

And suddenly, having walked this all many times a day for the past month, Skorp knew there was something wrong. Something missing. His eyes landed on the statue of the Starkmanir Minmatar tribesman – empty-handed.

Skorp’s body reacted before his mind could. He pulled his blade and leapt forward toward Jamyl Sarum.

Matari Warrior with a full-size Khuumak

A man beside her was already in motion as his cowl fell away, revealing a face twisted with anger and hate. His arm swung wide, the voluminous sleeve opening to reveal a short, one-handed Khuumak-like mace, its brutally-spiked edge aimed toward her for a killing blow.

Skorp’s leap was timed well, but aimed poorly in the sudden violence.

For him, all went instantly black.

He was spared the pain of the horrific impact of the weapon as it tore through his face, the sickening crunch of the front of his skull shattering like a ripe watermelon, and the wet thud of his body’s dead weight hitting the floor in a rapidly expanding pool of blood.

The Amarrian guards and his Caldari brethren fell on the culprit immediately.

Jamyl Sarum turned to Merimeth, and simply said, “Save this man.”

There were no further attempts on her life that day.

***

October 7, YC 110 – State War Academy School, Kisogo, The Forge, Caldari State.

Darth Skorpius, Post-Reanimation

“Where was he that someone attacked him with a Khuumak?”

“No idea, but Minmatar space is a good bet. Savages.”

“It’s unbelievable that he survived long enough for them to download anything from his head. The points damaged the frontal lobe and the hippocampus was almost entirely destroyed. His personality and memory are not going to be all there. Did you see the pictures?”

“Yeah, I guess the only thing that saved him was that helmet he had on beneath his hood. Apparently it stopped it from going clean through his whole head.”

“Well, it’s now or never. His clone is uploaded and ready to activate. I even gave him a nice scar on his face … maybe it’ll help him remember.”

“Activate.”

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2 Responses to Ward of the State

  1. Pingback: Ward of the State Wins 3rd Place in Skorp’s “Write My Bio” Contest | Interstellar Privateer

  2. Pingback: Fifteen Minutes | Interstellar Privateer

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