Saying goodbye was never something I had been good at, goodbyes are not fun so but they were said, tears were shed and promises of letters that will never be written or sent were made and that was that. The upside of the whole day was that I got to ride to Coruscant in a Lambda Class shuttle.
I loved these ships, never actually seen one so close before let alone go inside. I had only ever seen one once before from a distance, but it had been love at first sight, they were in one word, gorgeous. I had never seen a ship so elegantly designed before and had been thrilled to be able to finally go inside one. Perhaps even one day I would be able to sit in the cockpit and see what it was like to fly.
The trip to the planet at the center of everything was dull and uneventful. The shuttle was only half full. Most of the folk on it looked either scared to death or bored to death, either way, no one spoke to me. That was fine by me, I had too many things on my mind. Too much had happened in too short of a time. I was still dealing with the fact that the parents I had known my whole life were not my birth parents. I was an unknown, a foundling child without a real past. What had scared my mother so badly that she had felt the need to hide me away on an Outer Rim ship?
I knew very little of the galactic history, history had not been my strong point in the little amount of official schooling I had had as a child. While, I loved to learn and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge I was choosey about what I wanted to know and stubborn about not learning the things I considered dull and insignificant. I was regretting this now, perhaps I should have paid more attention in class when the history of the rise of the Empire was being taught. Perhaps I should have actually gone to school more often instead of skipping classes to hang out with the mechanics in the pit. Oh well, live and learn.
Coruscant, I had never been there and had no way, absolutely no idea how to describe it. An entire planet covered by buildings. It was just down right weird to actually see it with my own eyes, especially for me coming from a world where there are hardly any buildings much less tall shiny sky scrapers that go above the clouds. I had heard much about this planet from the off world traders and other pilots but I had never been this far into the core worlds before. We had arrived early in the morning so I got to see a pretty spectacular sunrise, a single sun sunrise and it was as strange to me as the cold of the air.
There was a representative waiting to meet me at the Palace shuttle pad, Erysie Candala a tall, terribly thin and very efficient looking woman. The clip board data pad in her hand had said everything. She introduced her self while ushering me along the walk ways and gave me a brief run down on the job. I got the feeling that something about working for the Empire scared the sandjiggers out of her. She kept muttering something about ‘his last assistant’ in past tense. It made me afraid to ask what happened to that last assistant, whose last assistant? She was not very specific about who it was I would be working for.
The Imperial Palace was a huge complex built on top of the older palace. It is in its own way beautiful and although it was extraordinary in its architecture, I found it overwhelming. It bothered me to be so high up off the ground and not be in a space ship of some sort.
Ms. Candala showed me to my quarters, they are bigger than the apartment I shared with Rhystall back home. I wondered how one person could use so much space? I asked her about the heat and she showed me where the control was but gave me a puzzled look I didn’t bother to explain that Tatooine was not sun deficient and that where I had come from was whole lot warmer than here. She handed me a data pad with the full job description and the card key for the assistant’s office. She informed me that the apartment came with the job but many of the Imperial employees eventually found off palace places to live. She did not specify why that was but I got the impression it was not a good reason. While she never lied to me out right, I knew she was not telling me the whole story. I wondered what it was she was hiding from me and more to the point, why.
I thought I would get a chance to shower and change but no, apparently I was too me my new employer straight away. He didn’t make me nervous but how Ms. Candala acted when she said his name did.
So I asked her just how high ranking was this high ranking official.She gave me one of those looks that said ‘poor you’ and said ‘You could say that, he is the Emperor’s Right Hand man.”
“So,” I asked her hoping for a good answer. “If he is so powerful, what does he need me for?”
Ms. Candala smiled sadly. "All our top Imperial Officials have Personal Assistants.” She shrugged. “The empire generates a great deal of work, much of which can be handled by office assistants. Unfortunately His Lordship has yet to find an assistant that suits his needs. He is quite demanding. No one we have hired for him has lasted long at the job."
"Why is that?" I asked thinking that perhaps I might yet be able to get home quickly.
"Because they keep dying." She said curtly.
"Dying?" I asked, "What kills them?"
Ms. Candala stopped walking and looked at me squarely." He does."
I must have looked like a dying wamp-rat, opening my mouth and then shutting it again.
She just nodded and continued walking."We hope that you'll be able to travel with him, of course." She continued. "He is often away from the Emperor on Imperial business, although,” she paused, “it is unusual for his assistants to accompany him. You will be fully briefed."
I had no idea what she was speaking about but instead of asking I simply nodded in agreement.
I did wonder why she wasn’t giving me any names though.
I was very quiet and it made he uncomfortable, she was one of those people who had a great need to fill the silence and so she babbled. "You are very fortunate. To work with His Lordship is a great honour. We had a great deal of trouble choosing the best candidate for the job, but you fit our needs perfectly. It was your skills with languages that clinched it and of course your skills as a communicator. You are very accomplished for one so young. You graduated in the top five of your year; you excelled in your business externships. Where promoted swiftly within Hutt Imports and Exports Ltd. As well as being an accomplished dancer, mechanic and translator. You are quite remarkable. It's amazing really; you were just what we were looking for. It was lucky that we found you. Your application came to us, out of the blue, so to speak.”
"Yes, that is certainly amazing." I said. It was all complete bantha poodoo, I had taken some night classes in business management, but nothing spectacular and I had certainly never graduated top of anything before in my life. I almost giggled out loud at the accomplished translator line, but in a sense it wasn’t that far off the mark, I was fluent in several languages but how many would be used out here? While Huttese, Rodian, Jawaese and thieves cant were among what I could speak fluently I doubted there would be much use for them in this cultured place. I would have loved to get my hands on this resume and had a good look at it. I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew who had sent it in and made a mental note to myself, that the next time I saw Bib Fortuna I would feed his head tails to the Almighty Sarlacc.
Ms. Candala showed me where the assistant’s office was, my office and then we went to the main office to meet my new employer, I hoped he would not be as big of a bastard as Jabba the Hutt was, but I had a really bad feeling about it. I swear, the air was swirling and you could feel tension and fear everywhere. I remembered what my father and my friend Jyrki had always said about fear and took a few deep steadying breaths to calm myself then walked in behind Ms. Candala to meet my new boss.