Author's Note: what follows is part one of a story I'd originally posted on the Jedi Council boards over at I bring it here for the general consideration. Enjoy.


Naboo.

A peaceful world. Pastoral. Calm. A wealthy man might consider it worthy of a vacation, but even the countless credits of a respected Senator would belie the planet's importance.

34,000 light years from the Core, Naboo was but a settlement to travelers—squatters—from the planet Grizmallt thousands of years ago. An indistinguishable jewel among the cosmos.

Even the greatest jewels have flaws.

His name is Palpatine. Little concrete evidence of his early life exists in Imperial Archives; the truth perhaps veiled behind lie after lie, each intended to portray His Majesty as timeless, deathless…a perpetual force for justice and security in the New Order.

At a time when corruption was the standard, and graft was a way of life, Palpatine swept into office and superseded the Old Republic with his new Galactic Empire. It was supposed to last ten thousand years—rivaling even the greatest of the empires Sith masters of old had crafted from blood and death.

But the Empire was doomed from the outset. Like the Republic it conquered, the Empire was crafted on a similar predication of patronage, bribery, and fear. All of these tactics were designed with the express purpose of keeping rebellious systems and rebellious Senators—however small their number—from voicing their concerns to a public Palpatine did not trust. A public to which the new Emperor scarcely made himself present.

Sequestered in the most private of his chambers inside the labyrinthine Imperial Palace, Palpatine was something of a myth, even until news of his death spread and riots on Imperial Center brought his reputation to burn in crude effigy. Palpatine was a cipher to the public. A ghost. Ruling by fear and by proxy—through servants in the manner of Darth Vader and even alliances with criminal organizations like Black Sun—Palpatine stretched the Empire's durasteel hand across the stars.

Through edicts from his office, the Wookiees of Kashyyyk were enslaved and tortured by Trandoshans eager for pelts, for retribution, and for blood. Through Palpatine, the Bothan Spynet was nearly obliterated; it's every living record close to assimilation into Imperial Archives. Most heinous among his crimes, perhaps, was the eradication of the Jedi Order, carried out in secret by utterly compliant clone soldiers from Kamino—the Army of the Republic. Sworn to protect and serve.

But this is the story the Alliance knows, and tells to its children.

The truth is...different.

Palpatine is different.

As Darth Sidious, training and losing apprentices every so often, Palpatine engineered the events that brought about the end of the Old Republic. He seduced Dooku of Serenno, a known plutocrat and ordinarily unflappable in matters of loyalty and money, to serve the Dark Side of the Force. He even swayed Anakin Skywalker—the Chosen One, if the ancient prophecies were true—to become Darth Vader. The Scourge of the Jedi. But...too much has been made of Anakin Skywalker.

This story is of Palpatine. The man he was. The man he became. And finally, the man who is.


Continued...