The Imperial Naval Academy

The rhythmic sound of mechanized breathing filled a sterile room that was flooded with white light on white walls. The intensity of the lights nearly blinded the Imperial officer as he entered and walked smartly across the durasteel floor plates, making a clicking sound with his black boots. The officer grew nervous as he approached a black figure, sitting with his back turned. The mysterious figure was rumored to have magical powers that could cause death or insanity with a mere thought. Surely, these were fables designed to keep the rabble in line throughout the Empire, but just imagining this power gave him the creeps. A cold tingle ran down his spine as he came to attention.

"Lord Vader…I have the-"

A dismissive gloved hand rose into the air. "Yes, Commander Ozzer, I have already read the application files."

How did he know what the officer would say? Was there any truth to the wild tales of dark power? The commander stood, speechless. All he could see was the back of Lord Vader's black helmet, reflecting the harsh lighting back at him. The sound of the breathing made his skin crawl.

Vader lowered his hand. "I have selected this year's cadets for the Imperial Naval Academy. There is one student who is…most impressive. I sense that she will be of great value to the Empire."

Yes, her scores were excellent…in the top one percent to be exact, but…. "She is only fourteen, Lord Vader. That is far too young. I would recommend-"

Again, the hand went up. Commander Ozzer knew that there would be no further argument on this. There were rumors of other officers who had crossed Lord Vader or had…let him down. He was not going to be one of those people. He was a loyal servant to the Emperor and if letting a fourteen year old girl enter the Academy was going to advance his career, than so be it. "Yes, Lord Vader."

The commander stood there for a few more seconds while an awkward silence grew. He straightened his black jacket as he realized that the conversation was at an end. He thought he should say something in parting, but knew, deep down, that he should just leave. With a click of his heels, he turned with military precision and marched from the chamber. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as the bright lights receded. It was the first time he had ever seen the Sith in person and he hoped it would be the last.

The meeting had unnerved him and he pulled on his high collar to loosen it and catch his breath. As Commandant of the finest academy in the Empire, he was normally a confident man and he didn't like feeling this way. Part of him resented the oversight into his affairs and having been summoned like an errand boy by Lord Vader didn't help his mood any. He grunted sourly as he passed a group of cadets standing at attention for him.

Commander Ozzer slid through the door into his office and sat heavily into his black office chair. He had written a declination letter to the girl already, but fortunately for him, he hadn't sent it yet. She was way too young – most cadets started their plebe year at 17 or 18. A couple more years of seasoning and she'd be perfect. He read over her application again. Her mother had been killed in the crossfire of a rebel attack…damn insurgents…they should know what's best for them. Her father was an instructor and loyal member of the Empire. The girl's psych profile was a bit sketchy, but within normal tolerances. She'd bend to the will of the Academy. But, as Vader said, she was impressive. She was already an accomplished pilot and had the highest entrance score in many years. But could she stand the emotional demands of the training or would it break her?

Well, no matter. It was decided. He brought up the letter on his monitor and quickly changed it to an acceptance letter.

Miss Juno Eclipse,

Congratulations, on behalf of the Galactic Empire, I take great pride in offering you an acceptance into the Imperial Naval Academy….

He would keep an eye on her. If Lord Vader said she was special, he wanted to be there to see what happened.

W/N - Thanks to Padawan Mage for the inspiration on this. I hope you enjoy this little intro.