QI’RA: Chapter Twenty-Seven

Departure for Coruscant

Qi’ra had never been on a Star Destroyer before but she was thankful that it was under positive circumstances. Captain Peer was the first to greet her, a smile on his face as he led her across the massive hangar filled with stormtroopers walking to and fro, Imperial officers going to foresee their various duties and walls lined with TIE fighters and TIE bombers that looked more impressive up close. Even Nienye and T-38, who also hadn’t had the luxury of being on a Star Destroyer, were highly impressed.

Seeing her gazing at her surroundings in wide-eyed wonder his smile deepened.

“Impressive isn’t it?” he asked as they left the hangar, entering a perfectly polished hallway.

Qi’ra nodded appreciatively. “Seeing this hangar and knowing there are many other Star Destroyers just like this in the Empire’s fleet reminds me how powerful the Empire truly is.”

The captain leaned toward her, chuckling. “You have no idea,” he whispered.

They walked through the Destroyer for a while, appreciating the simple architecture and orderliness of those aboard the vessel. Their belongings had already been taken to their rooms, courtesy of Captain Peer.

When they finally reached the bridge Qi’ra was wowed by how cohesive everything appeared to be as officers stood at consoles and relayed messages to everyone on the bridge.

“This is just a tiny part of the machine that is The Empire,” the captain said proudly, spreading his arms. “And now,” he looked at her, “you are another cog in the system.”

Qi’ra’s smiled slightly lessened. “I don’t know if I appreciate being considered a cog.”

“Think of my words as a compliment, for we are all parts to this well-oiled machine. Only the Emperor himself has any real authority over the system and it’s best to keep it that way.”

Qi’ra could hear the subtle warning in his voice. She turned away from him, walking to the other side of the bridge with T-38 trailing her.

“So,” Nienye interjected, “how long before we reach Coruscant?”

Captain Peer, averting his attention from her, turned to Nienye with a tight smile. “Polaris is actually rather far from the heart of the Republic but it should take no longer than ten hours to reach our destination. While on this voyage, there will be plenty of refreshments in your quarters.”

“I would like to retire to my room then,” Nienye spoke.

“Well then,” Captain Peer snapped his fingers and a black protocol droid arrived at his side in seconds, “Y-540 will accommodate you.”

As the droid led Nienye off the bridge Qi’ra watched him leave, her eyebrows furrowed. She had never seen him so hasty to leave. She would have to talk to him later. She gazed out of the window, watching as Captain Peer walked along the bridge, relaying orders with his hands clasped behind his back.

The motor powerfully roared to life and Qi’ra’s eyes slightly widened as the ship began to slowly move forward before lurching into hyperspace. She couldn’t help smiling. Sometimes the thought that a ship this massive could move through hyperspace was amazing.

T-38 placed a hand on her shoulder. “You are becoming someone of importance, Qi’ra. Your standing in the galaxy is taking you far.”

Qi’ra smiled. “Oh, you have no idea.” She leaned toward T-38. “Very soon, I know I will be the face of Crimson Dawn.”

T-38 stepped back, clearly startled by Qi’ra’s words. “Qi’ra, you can’t be serious.”

Qi’ra nodded.

“Qi’ra,” T-38 hissed, “Darth Maul is not one to be trifled with. He killed Pre Vizsla, a powerful leader of Mandalore, he killed Duchess Satine Kryze, the actual leader of Mandalore in a revenge-stricken quest against the Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do not let your thirst for power blind you to his actual power. He is not one to be trifled with.”

Qi’ra’s expression darkened. “I’m not afraid of Maul.”

“Maybe you should be,” T-38 stated before storming off of the bridge, her dark cape flowing behind her.

Captain Peer turned to watch her leave before throwing a furrowed glance at Qi’ra. She averted her gaze, embarrassed by her bodyguard’s departure. She understood her misgivings and she appreciated the warning but her plan to finish Maul and take over Crimson Dawn was not slight. It would work but it would take time. And time is all she needed.

She turned her gaze back to the blue streaks zipping by outside the window, raising her chin in silent defiance.

Coruscant, here I come.

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