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One important thing before you start reading: English isn't my first language. Apologies for any mistakes, especially when it comes to grammar and punctuation.

Chapter 1

The Republic has not been at war with anyone for more than a thousand years, thought Triscol. It was only to be expected that the thought of facing one would shake it to its core. And yet… And yet the sheer amount of debate centered around a decision as simple as the creation of a common army baffled him.

The Military Creation Act had been discussed for weeks already, and the end to deliberations — “deliberations”? — wasn’t anywhere in sight. Every session of the Senate looked the same: bickering, squabbles, mutual accusations, complaints, more bickering, recriminations of treason, more squabbles, some new accusations. The Senate is proving the Separatists quite right in their conclusions, he mused, even though he would never dare to say it aloud. The ineptitude of the Republic’s decision-makers was one of Count Dooku’s chief arguments, after all. But for an officer of the Senate Security Force to agree with it could be perceived as treasonous.

Not that many of the senators present wouldn’t concur wholeheartedly.

Some of the representatives believed that to establish a regular army, answering to no one but the Supreme Chancellor himself, would infringe on the sovereignty of the systems constituting the Republic. It would give the government the power to enforce its will against members of the federation in a way that would be unprecedented in the history of the galaxy, they claimed. Over the Galactic Senate itself, perhaps, since equipped with firepower, the executive branch of the Republic could attempt to extend its power beyond the legal limits set upon it. Not that anyone expected such from Chancellor Palpatine… but who could say that none of his successors would ever prove treacherous enough to attempt something like that?

Those supporting the Act claimed these arguments to be irrelevant: some acknowledged that they may well have some merit, others disagreed — but all of them believed that the Republic needs an army to defend its very existence. The Separatists would sooner or later form their own military, they argued, one which they would use to destroy the Republic and replace it with something new, a polity of their own design. The Republic had the right and the obligation to defend itself, they pleaded, and preventive creation of a common military force was required to do so.

Of course, there were also fringe opinions. Some believed that the Separatist systems had the moral right to secede from the Republic, and that the Republic had no reason to expect any aggression from them, thus making the Military Creation Act utterly unnecessary. Others concluded that a better solution would be to strengthen local security forces — planetary armies and fleets belonging to its member systems — thus providing the Republic with necessary firepower while avoiding appearing threatening to the worlds leaving the federation. Yet another group agreed that the emerging Independent Systems were a possible threat, yet thought that creating a standing military, or even enhancing regional fleets, would only exacerbate the tensions, leading to a conflict between the two.

The senator of Naboo — Triscol’s charge — was firmly in that last camp.

Padmé Amidala, the rising star of galactic politics, argued that the only thing the Military Creation Act would achieve would be to provoke the secessionists into a war, giving them a reason to create their own armed forces. The former queen of Naboo was one of the staunchest opponents of the Act, making her voice heard high and wide, quickly becoming the face of the more conservative faction of the Senate.

Triscol grimaced. Guarding one of the most well-known politicians in the galaxy was never a pleasant duty… and it was even less pleasant than usual when this politician happened to be one Padmé Amidala Naberrie of Naboo. The stubborn young woman was not an unpleasant person herself, no. For the most part, she was friendly with her staff, generous with stipends and dispensations. What she was beside that, unfortunately, was someone who seemed to actively dislike concerning herself with matters of her own safety. Before the Senate Security Act had passed a month before, the senator was guarded by a small detachment of Naboo Security Forces — so small, in fact, that it had consisted of precisely one soldier. Triscol had once thought it to be negligence on part of the Naboo. Perhaps the former queen was less liked on her home planet that it was commonly said, he once wondered, perhaps they didn’t care much about her safety. Or maybe they were simply incompetent, however improbable that was.

He was quickly forced to change this view. When the Senate Security Force took over in all matters concerning the security of the representatives, Padmé Amidala had firmly argued against most of the measures they were intending to implement. Why would she need a detachment of starfighters accompanying her on her every journey, she contested. Why a task force of guards to follow her everywhere, and another force to protect her apartments? She never had any need of being surrounded by a small army, why would she need it now? The commander of the Security Force had even appealed to Chancellor Palpatine himself to convince the young senator to allow the officers to do their duty… not that it had mattered in the end. The senator managed to get her way and limit her security to far below what Triscol considered an acceptable level.

And now, when most of the senators present were surrounded by no less than four guards, not counting their aides, the senator Amidala’s floating platform carried precisely three people: the senator herself, one of her handmaidens — a girl called Moteé — and officer Triscol Ullmak, her one and only personal guard.

The senator was sitting calmly in her chair, sipping some sort of drink provided by a serving droid, her attention seemingly focused on the speech delivered by one senator Mon Mothma of Bormea. Her elaborate gown was similar to the ones she wore during her time as a queen — Triscol had seen her once on the holonet, delivering a speech on issues between Naboo and some commerce cartel — though still somewhat less sophisticated. Her face wasn’t painted now as well, neither was her hair styled ornately, instead flowing loosely down her back.

Her handmaiden, Moteé, wore an elaborate dress as well, even though much less so than the former queen’s. She didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the speech, quite the opposite: the girl appeared utterly bored. Triscol understood that; even he, having an interest in politics, hardly cared about the speeches anymore, not since they turned utterly predictable — and that was weeks ago. Give him the name of a senator, any name, Triscol would describe his views on the Act. If the girl cared little about the matter beforehand, listening to them all arguing was certainly a chore for her.

Curiously enough, Moteé seemed also noticeably more restless than senator Amidala. While the senator sat almost motionless, only occasionally adjusting her position, Moteé seemed to be virtually squirming in her chair. Glancing at an empty glass on the table in front of her, Triscol didn’t have difficulty understanding why. A session of the Senate usually lasted between an hour and two hours, though they could get much shorter or much longer, depending on the topic. The floating platforms senators were using were just that — platforms, certainly not containing any utilities, much less a refresher. A senator could direct their platform to land and then go visit the fresher whenever they wanted, of course… but Amidala had yet to do that during his time with her, seemingly content to continue outwaiting the sessions. Her handmaiden seemed to be less capable of doing so, even during shorter sessions, often starting to act impatient whenever they passed the one hour mark.

And this session had lasted more than three hours already.

The difference between Amidala’s and her aide’s behavior was even more apparent considering how similar their looks were. Back when he started working with her, Triscol was somewhat surprised to notice that both the senator and all of her handmaidens looked very alike; it took him an embarrassing amount of time to determine that Amidala used her handmaidens not only to act as her aides but also as her doubles, whenever a situation arose that required it. Both Padmé and Moteé were brown-haired, both wore their hair long and loose, both were rather short and slim, both had brown eyes and similar facial features. Triscol supposed that it would be easy to mistake one for the other, especially if they swapped their gowns and made the handmaiden wear the more elaborate one. Unless, of course, someone were to compare their bladders, he snickered in his thoughts.

As if reading his mind, one the serving droids flying around the hall approached their platform, emitting a string of beeps in binary.

“Yes, we do, thank you. Caf, please,” said the senator.

The machine beeped out something that sounded like an inquiry.

“Yes, I prefer it in a mug,” was the answer.

The serving droid moved closer to the table, extending one of its dispensers… then paused and vocalized a few disapproving noises. The senator’s mug was grabbed by one of the manipulators, quickly to be replaced by another, this one clean. The dispenser quickly started filling it with black caf, without sugar or blue milk. The machine seemed to be quite aware of Amidala’s preferences. Quite surprising, thought Triscol, considering that she’s a senator not much longer than five months. On the other hand, the senator did seem to be fond of caf, usually requesting a new cup immediately after finishing the previous one — seemingly often enough to catch the attention of the serving droids.

Once the senator’s caf was finished, the droid turned towards Triscol, beeping a similar question towards him.

“No, thank you,” he shook his head.

“I thought most security officers liked caf,” said Amidala, turning her head towards him, her expression curious. “But I haven’t seen you ever drink it, not once.”

“Most do,” Triscol confirmed. “But I don’t need caf to stay awake. And I don’t like the taste,” he added.

The senator opened her mouth to answer, then turned towards Moteé and the serving droid, now hovering near the girl. The droid was making increasingly distressed noises.

No, thank you,” the handmaiden was saying, repeating herself. She sounded annoyed. “I know I requested it, but I’ve changed my mind, thank you.”

The droid beeped, somehow managing to convey disappointment.

“What did you request?” asked Amidala, raising an eyebrow.

“Meiloorun juice. I asked for it to be added to the menu, yesterday,” said Moteé.

Droid emitted a few accusing sounds.

“I have tried it! I drank three glasses of it, I’m not thirsty anymore,” argued Moteé.

“You’re making him sad,” said Amidala, laughing.

“I don’t need to drink anything more, thank you,” said Moteé, a commanding note entering her voice.

The serving droid seemed to get the message, turning and floating away. It did, however, pause a few meters away from them, turning around and vocalizing a few angry beeps in their direction, before finally moving to serve someone else at another platform. Droids were often allowed more leeway than organic personnel, the Galactic Senate was not an exception.

The senator laughed again, before looking at Moteé for a moment. She seemed to notice how fidgety her handmaiden was and grasp the reason in short order.

“If you wish, I can bring the platform down. Then we can all take a break…” started Amidala.

“No, that won’t be necessary, my lady,” answered Moteé, glancing at Triscol. Her cheeks seemed to redden slightly.

“As you wish,” said the senator, some amusement present in her voice. “For what it’s worth, I think this session will be over soon.”

“Thank you,” said Moteé, still sounding annoyed.

Triscol wasn’t nearly as certain as the senator was. The session would last until the Chancellor would decide that it’s time to for it to end — and Chancellor Palpatine tended to be rather unpredictable when it came to that. Still, three hours were already far above average, and the senator had more experience than Triscol when it came to such things. Thinking on that, the Chancellor himself didn’t seem to be present in the hall. His platform was parked at its pad, the man nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he had some other matter to attend to… Or maybe he just went to visit the refresher, the officer thought, amused once again.

Amidala had already shifted her attention back to the speaker — this time one of the Mon Calamari senators — casually sipping her caf, seemingly infinitely patient. Moteé, on the other hand, seemed to slowly run out of patience as the time passed. Ten minutes after the serving droid left she was incessantly tapping her foot on the floor in a fast rhythm. Thirty minutes, and she was sitting bend forward and moving her crossed legs right and left. Though at that point even the senator was sitting with her legs crossed, Triscol noted. One of the many reasons he didn’t like to drink caf was to avoid finding himself in a situation like theirs.

Triscol started to wonder when — if the session wouldn’t end soon — Amidala would decide to bring the platform down and visit the refresher. If she hadn’t forgotten about her handmaiden, it would probably be sooner rather than later. If she had — which she well might had, considering that she seemed to be somehow paying attention to the discussion — then it would be when her own need would grow more dire. Force only known when that is going to happen, he thought. For the entire month he had worked with her, when he accompanied her all the time she was out of her apartments, he had not once seen her visit the refresher. For all her slim frame, the woman seemed to be equipped with a bladder noticeably above average.

Probably a useful trait for a politician.

Or she was maybe as shy as Moteé when it came to her bodily needs. The handmaiden, while less resistant to refusing the nature’s call than the senator, was usually very unwilling to openly admit her urge to relieve herself, even if she was outright desperate… like today. She often tried to catch the senator’s attention, obviously hoping for Amidala to notice her state — but she had never asked for a leave to go up front. And whenever she had noticed that Triscol was aware of her predicament, her cheeks turned red and she averted her eyes. The officer wondered whether Naboo had some sort of cultural taboo regarding these matters. He became curious what it would take for Moteé to break it. Or for the senator herself, a voice whispered in the back of his mind.

Triscol glanced casually at the handmaiden, watching her for a moment. The girl certainly did seem to be at the end of her tether. Rocking back and forth in her seat, she was biting her lip and seemingly not paying the slightest bit attention to anything else than keeping her pee inside her body. Her face was tense and her legs were double-crossed, her dress clinging tightly to her sweating body. The officer quickly averted his eyes, forcing himself to hope that the session would end soon, for the handmaiden’s sake.

Surprisingly, it actually did.

Chancellor Palpatine had seemingly returned to the hall, as his platform was slowly rising above the floor and moving towards the center of the hall. The current speaker seemed to notice that, as he paused in the middle of his speech. It took only a minute for the platform to reach its place by the ceiling.

“Honored senators! Citizens of the galaxy!” the Chancellor’s voice reverberated, artificially amplified. “The issues and problems that have been discussed at this session of the Galactic Senate are of importance. They are vital to the well-being of the Republic and peace within it. In some of those matters we have achieved consensus, in others, different views battle still. The day has been trying and long for all of us. Let us continue our work tomorrow, after rest clears our minds and reconciles feuding spirits. I hereby declare this session of the Galactic Senate to be closed!”

A short — if unexpectedly enthusiastic — applause sounded around the hall. The announcement was surprisingly brief, Triscol observed as their platform slowly started to float towards the ground, atypically brief for Palpatine’s style. Still, it was not his business to analyze the Supreme Chancellor’s decisions, he thought, picking up his things from the table and raising from his chair. The senator was doing the same, with the help of her handmaiden-

Well, maybe without her help, Triskol corrected himself. Moteé didn’t seem interested in assisting Amidala. Instead, she was standing by the gate of the platform, her legs pressed tightly against each other, her hands on her thighs, a layer of sweat covering her face. The officer was somewhat used to seeing her when the girl was clearly needing to pee, but that… that certainly was an entirely another level. The girl didn’t look as if she was just desperate to relieve herself, she looked as if she was on the verge of wetting herself where she stood.

“Well, today’s done,” said Amidala, picking up her datapad and glancing at Triskol. “Well, not exactly done, there’s still dinner with senator Bel Iblis at seven — but mostly done. At last,” she said, then sighed.

The senator passed Moteé by without looking at her, then opened the gate and left the platform, directing her steps to the door of the hall. Triskol knew he ought to follow her immediately… and yet he chose to indicate for the handmaiden to go before him, feeling that she might well not have even notice Amidala leaving. A well-justified feeling, considering that he had to repeat the gesture before she had noticed it, glancing at him for a second, then quickly looking around, her face as red as a tomato. She did quickly move out of the platform, half-walking, half-running in the senator’s trail, with the officer following after them.

Moteé had slowed down as she caught up to the senator, changing her half-run into a strange, fast gait composed of small steps. She kept her legs close together while walking, rubbing them against each other with every step, her hands still pressed tightly against her thighs. She wasn’t talking with either of the companions, which was quite unusual for her — most of the time, the handmaiden started chatting with the senator immediately after the Senate’s session had ended. Amidala didn’t seem to be concerned about the unusual silence, perhaps not even noticing it — she certainly did look as if she was lost in her thoughts. That, on the other hand, was increasingly common for her: with every session the Senate looking the same, the senator seemed to grow angrier with the direction the discussion seemed to be taking. She didn’t seem intent on talking with either of her companions as well, paying little attention to them, to Moteé’s presumed chagrin. Triscol wondered if she was going to break the (possible) taboo and ask the senator for a leave to visit the refresher. Or maybe she was going to try and hold it longer, until they reached Amidala’s apartments in the Senate Apartment Complex? He wondered whether she was even capable of doing the latter. And yet… and yet there was a tinge of excitement he felt at the thought of the pretty girl deciding to hold it longer, defying her bladder and her desperate need.

Then the group had passed the doors to the refreshers on their way to the exit, and Moteé hadn’t said a single word about needing to visit one. She did slow down, she did turn her head in the direction of the refreshers, she did press her hands even more tightly against her thighs… but then she had walked past them, without saying anything. Clearly, Moteé did intend to suffer through thirty or more minutes of travel to the senator’s apartments. She must be amazingly determined not to be upfront about that, thought Triscol. And then a thought occurred to him: was it just because she didn’t want to mention her need to Amidala… or perhaps because she didn’t want to mention it while he was in the hearing range?

“Senator Amidala,” a voice called from behind them, interrupting his musings.

The senator and Triscol both turned around, Moteé noticeably slower to react. Hurrying after them was a young man, bearded, clearly breathless.

“Senator Bel Iblis,” said Amidala, smiling at the man. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I’m here merely to pass you an invitation from the Chancellor,” the man said. “He urges you to meet him in his office, as soon as convenient.”

Amidala frowned.

“Is it about the Military Creation Act?” she asked, though it sounded like a rhetorical question.

“I haven’t got the slightest what it’s about, senator,” Bel Iblis said, shrugging. “The Chancellor has seen fit to use me in a role of an errand boy, nothing more.”

“Maybe the matter is genuinely urgent,” she commented. “I’m on my way, thank you for notifying me.”

“My pleasure,” Bel Iblis bowed. He stared at Moteé for a moment, his brows furrowing, before shrugging and walking away.

“And so it seems our day’s not over yet,” said Amidala, sighing. “Moteé, do you know where are my-” She paused. “Moteé?”

Moteé was standing with her legs crossed, her hands by her sides, still desperately digging into her thighs. Her expression was strikingly tense, beads of sweat dripping from her face and disappearing in her cleavage. She was biting her lip and seemed to be barely paying attention to anything going on around her. Amidala kept looking at the girl, her eyes widening slowly.

“Oh, dear,” said Amidala, “I think I won’t require your presence at the meeting with the Chancellor. Feel free to spend your time as you wish, wait for us at the lobby,” she continued.

“Of — of course, your highness,” Moteé stuttered, turning around and breaking into a run in the direction of the freshers.

“By the Force!” the senator muttered under her breath, her face growing red. Have I been right about the taboo?, wondered Triscol. “Well, we ought to be on our way,” the senator said loudly, raising her head and walking in the direction of the closest turbolift. After a few steps, she paused. “Though I’m not sure your presence is required either, officer?” she half-asked, half-stated, her voice hesitant.

“I have no issue with accompanying you, senator,” Triscol said plainly.

“Of course not,” said the senator, blushing slightly.

The journey to the topmost floor of the building took them a few minutes — the Senate Rotunda was by no means a small building, even in the titanic scale of Coruscant. The Chancellor’s office was located at the apex of the dome, directly above the Senate Chamber. The receptionist at the lobby was seemingly expecting them, as they were invited into the office without any further delay: an utterly strange thing, in Triscol’s experience. He had never before visited the Supreme Chancellor’s office; he had, however, often visited offices of various senators, accompanying numerous officials he had been charged to protect throughout his career. He and his charges were almost always required to wait at least a few minutes before being allowed to enter. It seemed to be a custom in the politics of the capital to have the visitors linger in the foyer for some time. Chancellor Palpatine either wasn’t aware of it or was consciously ignoring it.

The office itself was round, with its walls painted dark red, empty of any decorations and adornments. There were only a few pieces of the furniture present: a long plasteel table in the middle of the room, a set of comfortable chairs in front of it, a single — and simple — chair behind it, in that chair — the Chancellor himself.

Sheev Palpatine was not a young man by any measure. His grey hair was kept short and tidy, his beard cleanly shaven, his face lined with wrinkles. Triscol didn’t know the Chancellor very well — he had seen him a few times, some of them even up close, but he had never spent any longer amount of time in his presence. He knew him better by his reputation: that of an honest man, trustworthy, dedicated to his job, loyal to the Republic and protective of it — in a word, a more than welcome replacement for the previous Chancellor, Finis Valorum.

Padmé Amidala seemed to be more familiar with the man, judging from a genuine smile she greeted him with. Not a surprise, thought Triscol, both of them hail from Naboo. Wasn’t Palpatine the sector’s senator before Amidala?

“Chancellor Palpatine,” she said, nodding to him.

“Senator Padmé,” the Chancellor said, raising from his seat, gesturing the senator to one of the chairs at the other side of the table. No such gesture for Triscol; the officer guessed that he was meant to remain standing. He took his place by the door of the room.

“I have received grave news from Alderaan,” said Palpatine, sitting back, “A riot has happened, in front of the local liaison’s office on the planet. It is happening in this very moment, in fact.”

“A riot?” echoed Amidala, sounding confused.

“Proclaiming secession from the Republic,” said Palpatine gravely.

“But…” started Amidala. “I wasn’t aware that there were any Separatist tendencies in any of the Core worlds.”

“Neither was I, neither was I,” said Palpatine. “Senator Organa has already left for Alderaan, both to investigate the situation and to attempt to defuse the tensions. It occurred to me that you would be able to assist him in both of these tasks — if you’re willing to, of course.”

“I am,” said Amidala. “I’ve visited Alderaan many times before, though more often as queen than as a senator. I’ve known both Bail Organa and Queen Breha for many years. If I can help in stopping violence from occurring, I certainly will.”

“Excellent”, said Palpatine, a genuine smile appearing on his face. “If you will allow me to arrange for transportation…”

“I have a J-type cruiser with me on Coruscant,” Amidala said. “I can have it ready to launch in three hours, I think.”

“Three hours is too long,” said Palpatine firmly. “Not to mention that the journey would take almost twelve hours on a J-type, if my memory serves. I believe I can find something more up to the task, if you’ll allow me.” He continued scrolling on his datapad.

“Supreme Chancellor, if I may…” began Triscol, stepping forward from his place by the door.

“Ah! An YT-2400 freighter, Chipper, is scheduled to launch in half an hour, from the Docking Bay 84. It’s chartered by the Senate for a transport of… Tibanna gas, according to the manifest. It’s also equipped with a modified hyperdrive, allowing it to make the journey in less than eight hours. Though the conditions might not be fit for a senator, I think. If you prefer your own ship…”

“The conditions won’t be an issue,” said the senator. “Time very much is.”

“Senator, traveling onboard an unarmed freighter isn’t safe,” insisted Triscol.

“Nonsense,” said Palpatine. “Even in these troubled times, the Core remains perfectly safe for interstellar travel.”

“The Chancellor is correct,” agreed Amidala. “We’re far from any worlds controlled by the Separatists. There will be no danger to me, not while we’re in space.”

“Separatists aren’t the only threat”, said Triscol. “There are also pirates and slavers. Not to mention any personal enemies who would wish you harm, senator.”

“Pirate attacks are almost unheard of in this part of the galaxy,” said Amidala, a commanding tone entering her voice. “I thank you for your opinion, officer, but I’ve made my decision already.”

Triscol hesitated for a moment, then nodded, moving back a few steps.

“Thank you, senator,” said Palpatine, relief evident in his voice. “It’s always a pleasure to work with someone as dedicated as you are. I will communicate with the captain and ask him to wait for you.”

“No need — we can make it in time, easily. Just inform him that we’ll be joining him” said Amidala, getting up from her chair. “Though we shouldn’t tarry. If that’s all, we will be on our way.”

“Again, I thank you,” said Palpatine, standing up as well. “Have a pleasant journey, senator.”

Triscol joined Amidala on her way out.

“Half an hour might not be enough to get to the Spaceport,” he told her.

“We will get there in time,” the senator said. “An airspeeder will take no more than twenty minutes. We just need to collect Moteé and we will be on our way.”

They got back to the ground floor and entered the lobby, where the handmaiden was waiting for them. Her face was still noticeably redder than usual, yet her expression and posture weren’t anywhere as tense as they were before, Triscol observed.

“A change of plans,” Amidala told her, “We’re going to Alderaan, our ship launches in thirty minutes.”

The group left the building through the main exit, directing their steps to the airspeeder stands nearby.

Author's Note

Yes, the refreshers on that ship are going to be broken. 😉 But that will be in the next chapter. Which I will finish and publish Force knows when. Currently have just 600 words of it written, out of expected seven thousand. (I plan to have five chapters total, in case anyone's curious.)

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  • 2 months later...

Loved your story, definitely can't tell that English isn't your first! Your writing is very high quality and your understanding of the Star Wars lore, particularly the sociopolitical foundations of the fandom are superb. 

I'm certainly looking forward to reading more of this! I've been mostly writing Zelda themed omo fanfics, but I have also been considering writing some about Star Wars as well. Your story has certainly further inspired me to do so!

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