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The Turning Tide: An Indictment of the New Republic
©2002 IE Ries

Standard Disclaimer: Star Wars® is owned by George Lucas and Lucas Film, Limited. Original characters are trademarked and owned by Lucas Film Limited’s Expanded Universe. Neither infringement nor monetary gain is intended by the writing of this work. Story treatment, The Turning Tide: An Indictment of the New Republic, and all original characters, are ©2002 IE Ries. All rights reserved.

Background for this piece:

This excerpt comes from part of an online role-play game. The setting is the Barchest system in the Outer Rim that both the New Republic and Empire would like to gain in their corner; it occurs during the post-Endor era of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

During the part of the game when this entry was posted, the political situation on the planet Dreo, where the seat of the system’s government was located, was still being debated and forestalled by various elements; in response, the New Republic began landing forces on the planet’s military bases under various pretenses.

The leader of the Galactic Solidarity Party, who favors Dreo and the Barchest System becoming an Imperial Protectorate, has met with Imperial military leaders and told them of his intentions to bring the system into the Empire, and they are doing everything they can to support him.

Now the New Republic forces, on their way into the system to counteract any Imperial influence they fear might be building in the Barchest System, have encountered Imperial forces, waiting just outside the system. The Imperials are about to land a ground force to help the special operations team already down on Dreo.

In the meantime, the Imperial-leaning politician has just given this speech in the parliament, a damning indictment of the New Republic and its true past...

______________________

The Turning Tide: An Indictment of the New Republic
©2002 IE Ries

The Delegate sat in his study, crafting an appeal that would either force the Parliament into action to move forward, or backfire in his face. His plan was to use the brewing political dissention to call for elections of a new Prime Minster, and in so doing, additionally bolster and garner further popular support for his Galactic Solidarity Party. He hated to oust the present Minister, who was an experienced and well-meaning soul, but the parliament had become nearly ineffectual under his leadership.

“Delegates of the Dreo Parliament,” it began, “I come to you today with a weight in my heart, and an issue that can be no longer debated ad infinitum. We have three paths down which we may collectively go as a society…” and the Delegate knew which path he intended the system to take. It was the only logical choice, and now, more then ever, it had to be made.

Rhett Kuraden would never accept the rebels and their tactics to usurp a legitimate government. As a matter of fact, he had himself personally witnessed Leia Organa meeting with various officials, both elected and appointed, during her visit here some time ago, insistent upon convincing them that they were or would be “oppressed” by the Empire. Delegate Kuraden had lived long enough and widely around the galaxy to know when he was and wasn’t being oppressed. While he did not personally feel any particular liking for Emperor Palpatine or even Darth Vader, people like Grand Admiral Thrawn or General Veers were an entirely different matter. They were the true flesh and blood of all the things that made the Galactic Empire a great and worthy institution. And these were truly the embodiment of all that the Empire stood for, even if it’d had a cantankerous monarch and a glorified enforcer leading it.

Just thinking about Leia Organa and her outlaw companion made his blood boil. Rhett combed a hand through his thinning brown hair, feeling the heat in his cheeks. He was going to find a way to pull out all that anger out and insert it into his address, and expose the troublemakers for who they really were.

That led him down another path of mental ire: his contacts in the Imperial establishment brought him the shocking news that Leia Organa was, in fact, the daughter of Darth Vader, murderer of the Emperor! And now this person had been to Dreo recently, spreading her poisonous propaganda around an already twisted and confusing set of events. Additionally, there were implications that another person had been involved with Palpatine’s murder and Vader’s death, and that person was alleged to be no less than Organa’s brother, a man named Luke Skywalker. Kuraden didn’t quite know what to make of all of this, and it just frustrated him that much more. If he had his way, he would have dispensed with Palpatine and Vader and installed more reliable leadership to begin with, and this present situation would not be happening if...

He sighed and reigned in his propensity to travel down The Road of What If. Absentmindedly, he checked his chrono again for the ninth time in the past thirty minutes. He didn’t know exactly what the Colonel had in mind, but since they had crash-landed and nearly been discovered, he assumed this probably changed the mission considerably.

He sighed again and resumed preparing his speech for tomorrow morning. With any luck, the parliament would be forced to vote on the issue, finally, and settle the status of the system, once and for all.

His private communications line unexpectedly pinged at the console. He keyed in, his hand moist with the perspiration of anticipation. Kuraden’s eyes widened as the Prime Minster called for an emergency session of parliament. Now. Tonight.

He stared out the window for a moment, considering; now was the time. He would have to make the most of it, prepared or not.

********************

“...that we should not be like other systems ruled by fear and tyranny but free to choose. Only a few scant years ago, the Rigel and Bakuran Systems were freed from the Imperial grip...”

Delegate Kuraden had entered the parliament chambers prepared to take his place at his console and attend to the crisis he thought would be discussed. Instead, he was greeted at the entrance with an emotional appeal dripping with deception and propaganda, so much so that it stopped him in the middle of the isle, halfway to his appointed consular station. He stared at the speaker, a man from the Luradi District, with disbelief and anger.

Before the man could continue, Kuraden raised his voice, cold and hard like a stone flung from a great distance, and declared, “Prime Minister, I invoke my right of direct challenge. I have yet to use my allotment for this session, but I will do it here and now.”

He had not taken his eyes off Delegate Terigo, and now the younger man’s head turned abruptly as he mouthed inaudible words.

Prime Minister Rijat, a mild-mannered man in his late seventies, merely nodded his head in acknowledgement and replied into the amplifier, “So recognized.”

For a moment Kuraden didn’t move; he locked eyes with the other delegate and then said coldly, “If you are going to talk about Bakura, then be prepared to tell the truth...all of it.”

Delegate Terigo blinked, and attempted to ignore the angry challenge and continue his speech. “...how the inhabitants of those systems were rescued from the rule of...”

“Enough...how dare you?!” Kuraden’s eyes bored into those of his adversary. He had been walking with slow deliberateness up to the podium, each step bringing him closer and making him more angry. When he reached the dais where speakers addressed the assemblage, he glared at Terigo, and through clenched teeth demanded, “Get off this podium.”

Delegate Terigo took a step backward, the emotions of surprise and confusion on his face desperately trying to work into those of indignation and defiance.

It became a momentary glaring contest, and one Rhett Kuraden was far too angry to continue. He turned his back on the other delegate and looked out over the assembled parliamentarians.

“For too long now, I have remained quiet. I have heard lies packed upon propaganda and served up to the people of this system. I have tired of it. I will no longer temper my platform with quiet hopes for resolution.”

Here, now, he slightly turned to catch Terigo as he was slowly retreating from the podium.

“To those of you who would offer lies and misinformation about Bakura, let me ask you this: who was it that defended Bakura from the Ssi-ruuk to begin with?” His voice began to boom now with fierce conviction, and he slapped his open palm on the podium. He looked down into assemblage at the heart of Independence Party, and its leadership.

“How dare you misrepresent the facts here?” he demanded, hands firmly gripping the edges of the speaker’s small podium. He was livid now, and going to expose and topple its leader, Delegate Xanui. This was something that needed to be done a long time ago.

“I will tell you the truth about Bakura, now, for those of you who aren’t on the leash and still have the ability to think independently,” and here he glared pointedly at Delegate Terigo. Delegate Xanui looked at him sourly and turned her head away to whisper to a colleague.

“Bakura was a far-flung settled world which the Empire brought into the mainstream. Yes, the manufacturing going on there was needed by the Empire, and yes, the Empire benefited immensely overall. But they certainly gave back much to Bakura, and in many ways. The Empire created a stable government, eliminated and reformed a self-serving oligarchy which abused citizens and let them starve. But, most of all, it protected them.” Now his voice strengthened and rose in volume as the perspiration began to bud on his flushed face. “When the Ssi-ruuk attacked, who readily gave their lives to defend that system?!”

He waited. There was silence.

“The Empire did. How dare anyone here belittle and minimize the loss of thousands of service personnel who fought and died to defend the people of Bakura! Embattled, outnumbered and outgunned by the damned Fluties and their horrendous contraptions, they fought back and held that system.”

Kuraden took a deep breath and swept through the hall with his eyes. It was time to expose the guilty.

He pointed down toward the section of the room where the Independence Party delegates sat. “Delegate Terigo would have you believe that the rebels - for that’s what they are and always will be - offered their help out of the goodness of their hearts. But that’s not exactly true, is it Delegate Xanui? Not three hours after arriving in the system under the guise of assisting the beleaguered Imperial Navy, Princess Leia Organa was down on the planet’s surface, preaching insurrection against the very government who sought to protect the Bakurans!” he accused, now pointing directly at her.

The hall erupted in buzz of gasps and whispers, heads turning and questioning looks being exchanged. Delegate Xanui sprang to her feet in reply, “I will not be made to answer for...”

She never got to finish.

“And now I am told that the very same person was here, not five months ago, doing the same on Dreo. Notice a pattern here, Delegate?!” he stormed, angrily, slamming his closed fist down on the podium, eyes flashing.

“The Imperials, cut off from the main military corridor because of the rebels, now accepted an offer of military assistance to save Bakura and its populace from the horrors of Ssi-ruuk capture, and what did Organa do? She fomented a rebellion and created such treachery while the Imperial government was yet charged to protect her, as well!”

“How do you know all of this is any more true then what Terigo said?” Delegate Xanui, who had recovered her composure, challenged back.

“Because I have relatives on Bakura!” Kuraden thundered back, furiously. “And if it were not for the leadership of Commander Thanas, I would probably have none left there at all. How dare you sully the service that man and his crew gave to defend the helpless population?!”

Delegate Xanui’s eyes flared widely as she slowly lowered herself down into her seat, her face clearly stunned.

“And so you see, my fellow electeds, there’s more sides to that story. The rebels only offered their help insofar as they could hurt and cripple the legitimate government, and that, colleagues, was their true aim all along.”

The words fell from the Delegate’s mouth like a death knell, and he watched a moment while the buzzing and whispering in the chamber grew louder.

“And there’s more. This same person, Leia Organa, is alleged to be the daughter of the late Darth Vader. It’s interesting that along with her arrival comes a push to join her rebel alliance. How twisted are her real objectives here? Who and what is she supporting, aside from a consolidated bid for power for herself and her family?”

“Look around you, electeds; you have been lied to and used. Have any of you taken notice of what’s sitting at our military installations?” he rumbled, accusingly. “Scores and scores of rebel armaments, vehicles and battalions. And how did they get there? Who invited them?” he demanded.

He looked directly at Delegate Xanui now and pounded his fist down onto the podium over the rising murmur in the assembly hall. “I want to know, here and now, who invited them to Dreo? Who authorized this invasion on the sovereignty of Dreo and went around official channels?!”

Kuraden watched as Xanui glanced up in panic at Prime Minister Rijat. Rijat glanced back, the accusation now realized and supported, and bowed his head, saying nothing.

“Aaaah,” Kuraden continued, mercilessly, “So Delegate Xanui maneuvered around all of us and pressured Prime Minister Rijat into bringing them here? It is no secret that I support Dreo’s entry as an Imperial protectorate, be even I know my limits.”

The damage was done, and the truth was laid bare for all to see now. Where Rhett Kuraden had intended to present his party’s overall platform in a series of addresses in the morning, he had instead fully vented all the pent up mistrust and accusations he’d been piecing together for some time now.

“I will admit that I did not personally place great faith in Emperor Palpatine himself, as a monarch. But the governmental and military establishment is another matter. Those people have done a remarkable job in settling wars, reducing crime, and stabilizing whole systems. And I will not allow lies and misguided insurgent propaganda to undercut those accomplishments here.”

Here, an image Wilhuff Tarkin flashed in his mind's eye.

Delegate Terigo, attempting to salvage the situation, rose and snidely countered, “Then I suppose you think Grand Admiral Thrawn’s tactics are acceptable?”

Kuraden stared him down, replying: “He is defending a legitimate government, what would you have him do?” That silenced Terigo completely.

“Please appreciate how any of us would feel were we defending our own duly elected government from clever, trouble-stirring terrorist insurgents,” he continued, the condescension clear in his voice. And I might add that other systems have, under Thrawn’s leadership, continued their status or rejoined the Empire; if you know anything about this commander, you must know how capable and fair he is. And before anyone makes slanderous insinuations, I remind you that he is now, for all intents and purposes, both its military and civil leader, and he is not a mainline, Core Human. Let us put to rest charges of Imperial bigotry once and for all.”

He looked around the room, shaking his head in disbelief. He couldn’t believe how the net of deception had so totally blinded many of them, and they readily accepted. Almost.

Kuraden began to step down from the podium, knowing that nothing more was needed. The damage was done, and it was more compelling then any speech he’d ever composed in his life.

Unexpectedly, the leader of the swing-block Referendum Party rose to her feet. Delegate Rayelle, whom he respected enormously, rose to her feet above the din. Her face was deadpan as she stared straight ahead. Kuraden stopped where he was to listen to her speak.

“Under the current circumstances, I call for three measures. Madame Clerk, do we have quorum in the Parliament presently?”

The Clerk of Parliament, sitting in a seat beside the present Prime Minister, punched her console and examined the screen. “We do, Delegate.”

“Then I call for an immediate investigation into this matter, and recommend dissolving the present Parliament to elect a new Prime Minster.” She looked at Rijat, his head now bowed in his hands. “I am sorry Lord Rijat, but you have seemingly left us no other choice here. I further call for the suspension of Delegate Xanui until an investigation is completed. Lastly, I nominate Delegate Kuraden for Prime Minister, and demand a vote now. No more delays; this has been costly enough.”

Kuradan’s mouth hung open with both surprise and shock. Rayelle was both personal friend and occasional professional adversary; they’d worked together and debated each other in the parliament from time to time. But this was more than he was ever expecting. Far more.

Either by shame, guilt, embarrassment, or anger, the delegates now began to prepare for the vote.

The tide had indeed turned.

********************

Outside on the streets, in shops, in business of all types, and in homes across Dreo, people had just witnessed the emergency session in entirety as the planetary news service interrupted regular programming to air the session. Some were furious, while others felt defensive. Some felt betrayed.

From every quarter, the populace now poured out into the streets to march and demonstrate. The news service carried the events from beginning to end: and in the end, the Clerk of Parliament tallied the votes and officially announced the outcome. She went on the air to announce that in an emergency session, Delegate Rhett Kuraden had garnered 531 votes to 138 opposing, and this with quorum to make the elections binding.

She congratulated Prime Minister-elect Rhett Kuraden.

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