The office didn’t have a name. A lot of offices in this building didn’t have official, public names. but this one didn’t have a name AT ALL.
Memos from here needed no introduction.
It was a very nice office, espcially by the standards of New Republic Intelligence’s officially-nonexistent departments. Green shimmersilk walls, plush seats, and a caf machine next to every desk. Once, decades ago, someone had designed a departmental logo, in sarcastic defiance of their enforced nonidentity. It dominated the rear wall.
The black-and-white-streaked Bothan sitting behind the desk farthest from the door didn’t have a name, either–at least not one you could find in any New Republic database. In the office, they called him “Seven,” and they obeyed his orders.
Right now, Seven’s attention was on the screen inset on his desk, which showed another office. This office had a name on the door, a real person behind the desk, and a fresh-faced young NRI agent striding through the door for his rookie assignment. The kid had no idea, Seven reflected, what a depressing cliche he was.
Seven typed the name “Kyota Starkiller” on his datapad. A file appeared, listing Starkiller’s upcoming assignment:
“Report to Shay Memorial Base on Xenen in the Kartuiin Sector as the cladestine New Republic Intelligence liasion to Aurora Force.”
Seven read about the kid while he watched.
Starkiller aready didn’t like his assignment.
He tried to keep it out of his voice: “Aurora Force?”
He obviously didn’t succeed. “You’ve heard of it?” Asked the man behind the desk.
“It was a case study in the Academy.” That alone, he did not add, was more than enough reason to be a bit jittery. But this, if he recalled correctly, was a special case even among NRI case studies.
“Isn’t that the unit that Luke Skywalker himself is afraid to work with?”
The man sighed. “Not… exactly. But it has been a long time since we– and by WE I mean all the branches, not just the NRI–has assigned anyone new to that unit. Well, sort of.”
“Um.” The colonel pursed his lips. “Every so often, someone will receive orders to report to the AF, but when they send out a query, no one in the chain of command will admit to sending those orders. But no one seems to want to question them either.”
“So we suspect they have their own way of acquring new personnel.”
“Friends in high places?”
“Or something. You probably know from the Academy that they have a lot of Jedi.”
Starkiller sighed. “So you decided to send me, a fresh-faced young NRI agent on his first assignment with no experiene dealing with Jedi whatsoever, to singlehandedly ferret out the secret of your rogue unit.
This is quite the holofilm cliche.”
“Yeah….except that we didn’t.”
“Decide to send you.”
There was a pause.
“The AF did?”
The colonel sighed. “The NRI Academy doesn’t graduate no fools.”
Starkiller’s first thought was actually that a career in the NRI had worse things to offer right off the bat. After hacking into his psych profile last year and parsing the doctors’ opinions, he’d begun to fear that they were going to assign him to interrigations. Maybe he had the AF to thank for keeping him from turning into one of THOSE spooks. “So, is that the end of the briefing?”
“No, we have two orders for you. One, report back as much as you can, but keep in mind that we can’t be sure your reports aren’t offered under the influence of mind control.”
The colonel shrugged. “You seem like a nice kid. As nice qas we get around here, anyway. Don’t get killed, it would depress me.”
“I’ll think about it.”