The Senator's Secret

The preeminent durasteel skyscrapers of Coruscant's glistening Ambassadorial Sector gleamed in the radiant daylight, reflecting just as much the sun's exuberant rays as the lavish lifestyle of the upper-level politicians that inhabited the Senate District. Its elaborate and convoluted skyline comprised a plethora of soaring spires, towering turbolifts, and prodigious penthouse suites that seemed to transcend the heavens and beyond, rising kilometers high to penetrate the world's congested atmosphere, which was bustling with ceaseless lanes of air traffic. A single colossal building, however, gallantly surmounted above the rest, dwarfing the contiguous skytowers and engulfing them in its sweeping shadows. This grand, thousand-story high-rise was known as 500 Republica, and it was the destination of Senator Palpatine of Naboo as he walked briskly in the direction of the extravagant structure.

The senator inhaled a breath of cool, crisp Coruscant air, slightly tainted, perhaps unnoticeably, by the subtle tang of industrial processes. As he strolled along the ferrocrete path, Palpatine glanced up at the stunning structure that loomed dauntingly overhead, and regarded it with awe; despite the fact that he saw the building on a daily basis, its true magnificence and unabated glory never ceased to astound him. Averting his gaze from the remarkable tower, glimmering brilliantly in the daylight, Palpatine shook aside the sleeve of his shimmersilk robe to consult his chronometer. Making note of the Galactic Standard Time, which glowed a shade of crimson from its holo-display, the senator picked up his pace as he moved toward his residence at the revered 500 Republica; his luxurious senatorial apartment awaited at the nine-hundred-eightieth story and he had a scheduled engagement he did not want to miss.

Looking ahead, he noticed that 500 Republica's enormous foundation was visible a couple blocks away; he was going to meet his appointment in time, he decided. However, as he glanced about in observation of his surroundings, Palpatine couldn't help but notice something very peculiar and perturbing, a trait drastically uncharacteristic of busy and active Coruscant.

Of the trillion citizens that constituted the city-planet's vast population, not a single soul was present on this particular block, on this particular day. The vicinity was uncannily empty, appearing as barren and deserted as the Jundland Wastes of Tatooine.

Odd, Palpatine mused, though he dismissed the thought to the back of his mind, continuing briskly along his course and mentally preparing for his forthcoming appointment. He had almost reached the end of the block when all of a sudden and in the blink of an eye, an arm lunged from around the corner and a blistery, alien hand seized him by the robe, pulling him into a dark, narrow alleyway.

Once shrouded in the dim confines of the alley, swept in shadows, Palpatine's assailant threw him against the permacrete wall, causing him to let out a startled cry of pain and surprise. The senator turned to face his aggressor and observed that he was a Nikto, a Kajain'sa'Nikto, he believed, judging from the mahogany tone of his rough skin and small, jagged cranial horns that subtly protruded from his coarse scalp.

The Nikto gripped Palpatine by his azure senatorial robe, holding him forcefully against the wall. The senator squinted through the gloom to further profile the attacker: he wore a maroon cargo vest on his upper body and an unequivocal scowl on his beaked visage, and brandished a blaster, which he pointed menacingly, his finger resting lightly on the trigger.

"You know what this is!" the Nikto barked as he thrust out his hand. "Let's see the credits!"

Palpatine also managed to ascertain that the mugger was most likely under the influence of some unlawful spice, most likely ryll, he deduced from the strong smell and the unnatural manner in which the Nikto's eyes blazed yellow like Tatooine's twin suns.

"Now!" the mugger roared, striking the senator aggressively with the barrel of his blaster.

Palpatine cautiously craned his neck to peer out of the alley, so to determine whether activity had resumed on the empty block and any passersby or witnesses were present. The vicinity, strangely enough, remained deserted.

A smug smile crept like an arachne across Senator Palpatine's aged face.

The Nikto acted as though he was going to bellow another command, but before he could so much as utter a single rebuke, a blinding burst of blue energy exploded from the senator's fingertips and swept the would-be mugger off his feet into a turbulent lightning storm of torturous electricity.

The bright blue bolts of wicked lightning surged freely from Palpatine's fingers and engulfed the Nikto, causing him to writhe and howl in pain as they seared his skin and cauterized his insides, until finally the senator relaxed his hands and the violent storm subsided.

The mugger's charred body collapsed limply into a lifeless heap on the ground, reduced to little more than a black, smoldering corpse. Smoke poured in billows from the Nikto's scorched carcass and the crisp Coruscant air now reeked of burnt flesh.

Palpatine looked around once more to assure that no one stood witness to the incidence that had just transpired. Unbelievably, not a being was present on the block at this hour. He glanced down disgustedly at the smoking corpse that lay tangled on the ground before him and scoffed haughtily, deciding to leave the body at the scene. It could be easily perceived as a mere accident; perhaps the Nikto had inadvertently stepped into the beam of a power coupling, thus electrocuting him to death.

No matter, Palpatine mused casually as he stepped out of the shadows of the alley and into the broad daylight.

The senator from Naboo nonchalantly brushed himself off, and continued on his way to 500 Republica; he didn't want to be late for that meeting.