Don't Spill the Wine: Sith Lords, Imperials, and the Spice Cartel
Don't Spill the Wine: Sith Lords, Imperials, and the Spice Cartel
How beautiful it must have been to live on Alderaan. A world celebrated for its gorgeous landscape. It's spellbinding art. It's intoxicating wine. How such a simple thing as wine invokes a sophistication in a person. A sort of respectability trapped inside a bottle. A dominance. How fitting a Sith Lord, an Imperial, and a Spice Cartel gravitate to such an alluring liquid.
Mild spoilers below
The Sith Lord
First, we must travel back. Way back. To the time of... The Clone War! The war has raged for three years. The will of the Jedi slipping. The blood across their hands soaked any moral compass left as their vision became darkened. Something unthinkable was decided. There was no going back. Quinlan Vos (Jedi Master) tasked with a mission of futility was joined by Asajj Ventress (bounty hunter) who relented and decided to help him.
Even after multiple failed assassinations of her former Sith Master Count Dooku (Leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems), Ventress would have her revenge. Revenge long overdue. Dooku trained her as an assassin. Mocked her up in the ways of the Sith, but was merely using her. She was his toy to be thrown away at the request of Count Dooku's true master, Darth Sidious. A man that orchestrated the Clone War itself as a long con of supremacy.
After Ventress was thought to be killed, she fled to her homeworld of Dathomir. Rejoined her sisters as a witch, but Dooku took them away from her too. No longer a Sith. No longer a witch. She moved on to become a bounty hunter, not trapped by anyone, free, but Dooku still lived. He had to die. There is more to this tale, but that is for the novel to share. Here we focus on the moment Ventress and Vos inevitably faced off against Dooku.
As the leader of the Separatist movement, he was seen as a humanitarian. A savior fighting the good fight against the corrupt Republic. Untouchable. During a celebration of Dooku's heroics on the planet Raxus (First seen in The Clone Wars episode "Heroes on Both Sides"), he sensed a presence. Ventress. They exchanged words. Unpleasant words. Unpleasant thoughts. They both knew that by being near each other that death must follow. Dooku arranged a time and a place. That night on the overlook. The trap was set. Or rather he thought it was. Through Dooku's overconfidence, he did not question she had an ally. A Jedi ally. Quinlan Vos locked away General Grievous (Cyborg leader of the Droid army) like an impetuous child sent to his room.
That night the moment came. Asajj Ventress alone at the overlook. Fireworks blessed the night air in a celebration of her failure. Dooku brought her a final farewell: Alderaan wine. A drink so flavorful. Perfection. Just like Ventress, the wine was a work of patience. Of art. Something that required time. Patience. Determination. All a waste in the eyes of Dooku's master. Pity. Dooku pitied Ventress. Pitied himself in that moment, for what he thought was to be her final moment. She never drank a drop, but he did. Even after he found out Grevious was not coming. A battle ensued between Asajj and Quinlan versus Dooku. To learn more, check out Dark Disciple by Christie Golden.
Second, we travel many years past the end of the Clone War. The fall of the Republic was not a death, but a rebirth! A renewal of strength in a system that works... If there is loyalty. A unified Galactic Empire. A new order of peace and prosperity to those, who work together. To those who do not value that loyalty... The strength the Empire... Then they must be made honest. Hence, the Imperial Security Bureau was formed. Every lie leaves a fracture hidden in the truth. An ISB agent is trained to shatter those points at the source of corruption. Linchpins of the Empire!
Not all ISB agents have military rank, for example, Agent Kallus five years before the reveal of the ultimate battle station in the universe did not need a rank to be feared by dubious Imperials. Kallus was loyal. True loyalty is absolute. How fitting the name of the Star Destroyer floating over Lothal, Lawbringer. Law bringer. Bringer of justice. In charge of the Lawbringer was Captain Hiram Zataire. A connoisseur of the finer things in life, his motivation in the Imperial Navy was of pride. Of power! Too bad one rotten meiloorun fruit ruins the bunch.
Unexpected by Agent Kallus' visit on Lothal, Zataire attempted to win over Kallus. Be ever so in his favor. Parade his loyalty. Zataire boasted about his wife. His two daughters. One who was currently serving under the wing of Lord Tion on the star destroyer Devastator! However, there was this wrinkle. His son was not so keen on the realities the galaxy.
A rebel sympathizer... One who had gifted Zataire earlier, with a bottle of Alderaan wine. A gift that might prevent Zataire from losing face. Losing his position! A new label and a little adhesive was placed on the wine bottle (Lothal vineyard). Zataire hoped Kallus was not a man of details. Zataire was loyal... But a little inebriation and flattery might get Kallus off his back quicker. Zataire's son would fall in line, but not if he was exposed. To find out what happens next, check out The Rebellion Begins by Michael Kogge.
The Spice Cartel
Lastly, we land in the age of the New Republic. An age of prosperity. New opportunities arise. New beginnings. Order. The fall of the Empire was not the only power structure to crumble. Jabba the Hutt. Dead. Long had he enslaved the Niktos. One Nikto of importance was Rinnrivin Di. He was not just a spice cartel. He was the coming tide. A bringer of the future! Through his backers was his rise to power so swift. So fast it gained the attention of Senator Leia Organa: his savior! Organa, the senator, who snuffed away the foul stench of Jabba's oppression. The ender of Jabba. The Huttslayer. Organa was someone he cherished. What better way to honor her glory, by giving her the one thing no one else could give? By the stars! Rinnrivin gave her such a gift, after she arrived on Bastatha. Something only she would appreciate.
With the gift acquired, Rinnrivin arranged a friendly meeting, with the magnificent Senator. Friendly as in kidnapping her on the way to see him. Rinnrivin could not have the pesky authorities around to ruin their moment. There first meeting. One that would not be their last because Leia Organa was not distraught. She was to the point. Sharp as a vibroblade. Only his gift could soften her icy demeanor. He knew the one place Organa had not been to in a long time was home. Home was what he brought. Sweet Alderaan wine. One of the last bottles, or perhaps... The... Last... Something she would never forget. Little did Rinnrivin know the trap he was in. Blaster fire. Their meeting cut short! To find out what happened, check out Bloodline by Claudia Gray.
Three separate people. Three separate eras. Linked together through the joys of sweet Alderaan wine. How they share it's splendor. How they use it as a tool to mock a response of respectability. Check out those stories to find out more!