The Sidori Gambit

Imperial Divisions

In which the Empire isn't as united as it appears

by The_Flax

Moff Yeagar swiveled around in his cushy chair and peered through the wall sized window pane behind his two guests. Gastogne’s Karakas mountain range was unremarkable in a galaxy filled with wonders, but Jeremiah Yeagar found the rocky peaks majestic and in a way, they made him think of himself, towering over their surroundings. To say Moff Yeagar was a powerful figure in the Sidori Cluster would be an understatement, Moff Yeagar was the penultimate authority in the Cluster and his word was law. That’s how it was in theory at least, in practice things were more… fluid.

The puffy Moff absently scratched the back of an earlobe and decided his guests had waited long enough to impress upon them his importance. He stared at the first of the two officers, Captain Irene Hayes, and realized his petty stratagems were lost on her. She sat straight like a duracrete pillar with her graying dark hair bundled severely behind her head, the expression of her angular, gaunt features, impassive and her gaze unflinching. Yet none of these were her defining characteristics, slowly Moff Yeagar’s stare drifted to the left side of her face, completely covered in burn scars and he almost gaped, for the scarring seemed much lighter in her profile.

The nervous smile of the second officer, Captain Crip Hokum, managed to bring him back to reality as he turned to consider his associate. Hokum had been operating with him here for the better part of year and the young blond man had already started losing his lean form and the telling crispness of every young officer straight out of the academy. Unlike Hayes, a rare breed, Hokum hadn’t been promoted for his competence and he would probably make Admiral before the older woman, something that had not been lost on Moff Yeagar who already had the young Captain deep in his pocket.

Acknowledgments were exchanged and without an invitation to do so, Hayes connected her datapad to the holoprojector of the Moff’s large desk, then again, this presentation had been the goal of this entire meeting. With the punching of a few keys, the projector sprang to life, depicting a tridimensional view of the Sidori Cluster and outlining all the Imperial systems it contained.

“Let me get straight to the point,” She started. “even with my Victory added into the mix, we are extremely short on ships to adequately patrol this sector. As my colleague so kindly pointed out to me earlier, we are in the back end of nowhere after all. What I propose is this:”

The projection shifted to reveal projected deployments and Yeagar stared once more at the older woman, studying her instead of her proposal. Hokum visibly cringed as he saw all of his precious ships scattered throughout the Cluster, but Irene Hayes continued in a stern voice.

“We fan out the flotilla and divide our operational area into sectors with Victory taking Velcor’s Cross, placing her at the center of the web. Now I know these pirates are more organized than most and that they could take us out piecemeal with such a deployment,” Hokum nodded and was ignored. “that is why I propose changing every ship’s standing orders and tell them to avoid action unless they are confident they can win. Meanwhile, our lighter units will scout deeper into the Cluster in an effort to locate the pirates’ operations center. Hopefully, with this deployment, the pirates will be forced to concentrate their forces to strike at any one target, which means they’ll be more limited in their number of attacks while we might just get lucky and destroy more than a few of them. In the end though, its only a matter of time before we find their hideout and destroy them all.”

The Moff didn’t need to understand the plan to know that she believed it would work and that probably meant it would, if her record was to be believed. That was precisely why he had to shut it down.

“That’s pretty aggressive Captain,” he said calmly, remembering a comment in her file. “this isn’t an all out war we are waging, we cannot simply callously throw away civilian lives simply to attain our objective.” She was on the verge of protest, but apparently thought it was better to keep quiet and Jeremiah Yeagar smiled inwardly. “No Captain, I cannot in good conscience authorize your planned deployment and instead I must insist that you join the current anti-piracy deployment, for the good of every Imperial citizens in the sector.”

Captain Hayes’ features remained devoid of expression, save for her eyes, oozing with contempt for her superior. She rose and addressed him curtly. “Will that be all, sir?” As he nodded she was already leaving without being dismissed, but the Moff was too deep in thought to notice. When the automated doors to his office closed behind the severe Captain, Crip Hokum gave a sigh of relief.

“I told you this would happen if we kept sending reports with no improvements, citing our lack of effectives to contain the situation.” The young captain quipped accusingly.

“Yes, yes. I know, but there was little else I could send, Crip, we aren’t actually making any progress, are we? Besides, if they really wanted to send us reinforcements to clean up this place, they wouldn’t have sent one ship.” Jeremiah picked up a stylus and started toying with it in his right hand, his left absently waved through his short brown hair. “No, Crip, this is exile. Somebody wanted to get rid of her and they sent her to our little playground under the pretense that we needed the help.”

“Alright, Jeremiah, if you say so, I’ll stand by your call, but it still bothers me.” The blond youth replied more seriously this time. “First off, she’s Senior Captain in the sector, no matter what connections I have, when push comes to shove, she outranks me.” The Moff nodded and he continued. “Which brings me to my second point, she’s a hard-ass. She’s not going to like what we are doing here, Jeremiah, she’s really not going to like it.”

“Then we better make sure she doesn’t find out, Crip, we better make damn sure she doesn’t.”



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