A mainstream news program originating from Coruscant leads off with its headline story during brunch hour…
The animated logo of GNN plays as the broadcast begins. The intro music plays, with the anchor speaking over the tail-end of it.
“This just in, we’ve got live coverage of the Grand Festival of Empress Vaylin on Zakuul! That’s right folks, the Empress’s media secretary has granted GNN the right to raw footage of her party at her palace on Zakuul. Our attending reporter on the ground, Jan Durling, will give us additional details. How’s the party down there, Jan? Having fun?”
A young human woman in nearly garish formal attire is shown; Zakuulan citizens and a smattering of waiters and other staff are passing by in the background.
“You betcha, Cathy! Zakuulan socialites and partygoers are everywhere. I got the chance to mingle with a few of them, and I was even able to personally give my compliments to the chef and kitchen staff for an excellent nerf steak.”
“That’s great Jan.”
The feed cuts to a holorecording from one of Zakuul’s droid holocameras.
“And here we can see Indo Zal, personal attendant to Empress Vaylin, talking to two Zakuul Knights. What do we know about Indo Zal, Jan?”
The feed returns to Jan Durling, who is talking to a rather handsome Zakuulan. She turns around suddenly, looking a little surprised and blushing as she returns her earpiece to its place.
“Oh! Uh, yes, Indo Zal. He’s the personal attendant to Empress Vaylin, and rumor has it he is not happy with her rule. We can’t confirm or deny these rumors, but some say that he’s an Alliance sympathizer. He denies these claims, though, and has stated in the past that his only desire is to throw the grandest parties in the galaxy!”
“And it seems he’s outdone himself this time, Jan.”
Without warning Vaylin approaches on her platform and is surrounded by three droid holocameras. The GNN broadcast switches rapidly from feed to feed until it settles on alternating between her hologram and raw footage from her droids.
“Zakuul! My empire! The Alliance tried to destroy me, but I ground them to dust. Now the Outlander hides in fear, as my fleet rips through the galaxy.”
“I am the wrath of the dragon’s fire. I am your eternal empress!”
Cheering from the Zakuulan citizens follows Vaylin’s posturing.
“Today we celebrate the Eternal Empire’s strength, and watch our enemies suffer. The rebels who spit on Izax… and the worm who betrayed me.”
Several prisoners, including Indo Zal, are paraded around the central pit and then pushed onto the ray shield. A mixture of fear and hatred cloud their expressions, but they put up little struggle against their Skytrooper captors.
“They deserve an eternity of torment. And no one, not even the Outlander, can save them.”
A figure strides through the crowd and speaks out loudly enough for even Vaylin to hear atop her platform. The cameras do not make out the face of the Outlander very well, nor do they capture the Outlander’s voice very accurately.
“The Alliance never abandons its own!”
Without warning, the ray shield deactivates, and the prisoners and their Skytrooper captors are dropped into the pit. Vaylin approaches the railing of her platform, placing one hand on her hip while the other hand gestures at the Outlander.
“So you’re Indo’s puppet master - or is Father controlling you both?”
The Outlander responds once more.
“You’re the only one under Valkorion’s spell. Does the public know about your conditioning?”
The GNN broadcast changes feeds to show Vaylin reaching out with her hands and using the Force to pull a decoration hanging from the palace ceiling. Before she can drop it on the Outlander, the distorted voice rings out again.
“Kneel before the dragon of Zakuul!”
Vaylin drops to her knees and screams; the huge decorations drops and shatters into several chunks in the back of the main hall.
“Smile for the cameras!”
After the Outlander’s lame one-liner, several EMP explosions rock the palace; Zakuul Knight squads acting in response are held up by the beasts released from automated captivity and some of the citizens begin to ambush the Skytroopers and take their weapons from them. Vaylin activates her yellow lightsaber and scowls.
“You can’t win, Outlander!”
“Your own people have joined the Alliance. I’d say you already lost.”
“After I kill you, I’ll mount Indo’s head on the throne room wall.”
The palace is rocked once again by more explosions, and the blaster bolts from a gunship’s cannon rip through the glass and burn the flesh of some of the panicking citizens. Zakuulan troopers enter the upper level, and a holocamera droid catches former Emperor Arcann while another shows Vaylin leaving the platform. The feeds on the GNN broadcast are switching rapidly as some of the holocamera droids are destroyed in the fighting. The Outlander and another dressed in a red and black jacket jump into the central pit just before the blast doors close over the pit.
Suddenly, the feeds show Vaylin and Arcann dueling in the roof garden. She throws a speeder at him, knocking him over. As Arcann recovers, she jumps over his body onto a speeder, which zooms away after a short moment. The dialogue between the Outlander and Arcann is lost in the sounds of battle and chaos nearby, and the two begin fighting Vaylin’s Horizon Guard. After they are defeated, Arcann and the Outlander turn to the remaining droid holocameras and start speaking, but the feed is lost for the duration of the Outlander’s speech. When it returns, it shows Eternal Fleet ships bombarding the palace, which explodes in short order.
The feeds are lost once again and the stunned anchor’s mouth is hanging open slightly.
“That… that was something. Um.”
She starts to look at her datapad, then around at the camera crew surrounding her.
“We’ll have a panel discussing the incredible turn of events today in three standard hours. Stay tuned for more information.”
The news is once again abuzz with talking heads debating and analyzing the events of Vaylin’s crashed party and the implications of the Outlander and former Emperor Arcann working together.