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Fandom Star Wars: Power & Control

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Cassia felt as if she could read the doubts, the hesitations, and the thoughts that Poe flickered through. She wasn’t sure if she was always so easily able to read him, or he always wore his heart on his sleeve, but she reminded herself to assure him later that she wanted to do this. To return to the Resistance.

Of course, a conversation with General Organa was still needed, and that would be her ultimate decider.

Her sister smiled at Poe. “I know you won’t.” Not only because she heard enough stories of Poe’s loyalty and bravery from Cassia, but because Cara could just feel that he meant every word he said. “And I know you will keep her safe.”

Cassia couldn’t tell if her sister meant she knew that Poe or the Resistance would keep her safe, but a gut instinct, or maybe a sisterly instinct, told her it was the former. Dammit Cara. “We’ll be fine on our own, but thank you for the offer,” her sister continued.

Cassia nearly stepped in right then, but a tiny voice drew her attention. She looked down at her nephew, and her heart almost broke into two with his question, and with the uncertainty in his eyes. Not even Cara stepped in. Sighing, Cassia stepped closer to Karhem, and kneeled so that they could be face-to-face easier.

“You remember those bad guys that killed your father?” The toddler nodded, but remained silent. “Poe over here and his friends,” she motioned over to the man in question, “are doing everything they can to stop these bad guys from hurting anyone else, and I used to help them until I came back to help you and your mom.”

The little boy’s eyes were wide as he shifted his gaze between Cassia and Poe. “You mean like heroes? Like those old tales of the Jedis?”

Cassia chuckled and rose back to her feet. “Something like that. Now, I need to go and pack a few things before I leave, but I will be sure to talk to you again before we do leave, alright?”

The little boy nodded. “Can I play with BB-8 in the meantime?” Cassia didn’t answer, but instead looked over at Poe, as if BB-8 already didn’t want to entertain the boy.

-

Kylo could see the metaphorical feathers of Varsha ruffle with every passing comment of his and the Knights’. He wondered exactly just how far he could push her until she snapped back in a way she knew would draw forth physical anger from one of them, especially himself.

He was curious to see that happen.

He knew already of the anger she held, of how she wanted him dead. Of course, many wanted that. He was certain Varsha would have to fight General Hux for that honor of either striking the final blow or watching his body fall cold to the floor.

The others laughed with her light jab. “We don’t strive to be great hosts,” one of them commented with another chuckle.

While he spoke, Kylo’s dark gaze followed Varsha as she sauntered forward. His brow twitched, but he forced himself to remain silent as she spoke, and when he sensed one of his Knights were to interject, he held up a hand to silence them. He allowed the words to sink in. “Although the idea of you bending over is delicious,” he began, and the Knights laughed.

Again, he raised one hand, and motioned for them to leave. Without another word, though several of them desperately wished to have gotten in one last word, they left, and once again, Kylo and Varsha were left alone. “Maybe we can find some common ground yet, Senator,” he hummed, taking one step closer to her, leaving little space between their bodies.
 

KyloGlenn

nothing compares to the emptiness we both share
Poe watched as Cassia kneeled before Karhem, as she gestured to him as she spoke. He felt saddened by the information. The additional information of Karhem’s father, and how he was somehow lost at the hands of the bad guys. He looked at Cara, then, with sympathy in his eyes. He wanted to say something, about how he was sorry, feeling as if the offense was on his hands, personally.

But he said nothing.

His eyes returned to Cassia and her nephew, a small grin growing on his face as he spoke of heroes and ‘Jedis’. He wouldn’t group himself in with that. But his friends? Yeah, definitely. His own aunt, she was one of those heroes. She would be again, too, if she decided to stay with the Resistance. He knew, technically, it was just a talk with Leia. But he felt in himself that he was taking Cassia away from her family. For a while.

Hopefully, one day, when the war was over, he’d be flying her right back to this house. Landing in the meadow. And she could hold her family and not have to worry about leaving again.

Poe didn’t have to think before he answered Karhem’s question, “Yeah, of course, buddy. I think BB-8 would be happy to play with you. The droid knows a thing or two about Jedi, too.” Poe winked and BB-8 beeped enthusiastically. The droid was good with kids. Poe looked to Cassia, “Do you, uh, need help packing?” He asked, running a hand through his hair.

His intention was, partly, to interrogate her. Ask her why she hadn’t trusted him with this information. He understood the desire to protect her family. But didn't she know he'd have gone to any length to protect her? Her family?

-

Varsha supposed she should have expected such a crass and indecent twist of her words from Kylo Ren. Somehow, she had foolishly expected more from the man. Oh, and stars how the Knights’ laughter irritated her. The sound assaulted her ears like an airhorn. It took much of her strength not to snap on any of them. On Kylo. She could only glare as Kylo dismissed them. She stared where their retreating forms had been long after they were gone.

She and Kylo were alone. But she felt no better chances then than she did when she was surrounded by the Knights.

He stepped closer, crowded her, but she did not step back. That’s what he wanted, wasn’t it? For her to cower, or show weakness? Well, she wouldn’t. Her fingers curled into a fist and she placed it between them, pressing it against his terribly firm chest. A poor attempt to keep him from coming closer, as if her hand could keep him from doing anything.

She frowned at his suggestion, now having to crane her neck a bit to glare at his face. “I don’t know if I want to hear what you’d consider common ground. I’m not sure you know what that means.” She wasn’t certain what his angle was. Kylo Ren was hard to read. “I don’t know who you think I am. If you’re propositioning me in exchange for my agreeability, it won’t work.”

She let her hand fall to her side. “You’re not the first man, let alone person to try. Perhaps it’s worked for you before. But if you want it, have some sense. You’re the Supreme Leader. The First Order’s decisions are yours alone, but I am here to advise. And I’m quite good at what I do. There's no shame in being informed."
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Karhem cheered as he was told he could play with BB-8 some, and the droid seemed just as enthusiastic to stay with the kid for a little bit longer. Cassia smiled at the sight, a bittersweet smile as she knew it would be some time before she would see her nephew’s joyful smile again.

Taking a nearby seat, her sister remained focused on the boy and the droid with a soft smile.

Cassia turned to Poe. The implications in his question did not escape her notice, nor did the way his hair moved when he brushed his hand through it. Snap out of it. This is Poe Dameron, your friend.

Her inner thoughts did not help her at all.

“Uh, yeah, sure, follow me.” She gestured with a wave of her hand for him to follow, and Cassia set off down a short hallway and to a bedroom on the left. The room was fairly clean, and the bed made up. The one thing that showed a bit of Cassia’s personality was the desk in the corner, covered with various tools.

“Close the door behind you.” There was a conversation to be had, and Cassia didn’t want her nephew overhearing anything. She walked to the bed and knelt on the floor beside it. Reaching one arm under it, she pulled out a suitcase and set it on the bed. “I know you’re probably left with more questions than answers.”

-

Kylo could only feel amusement from the glare of the woman, as if she could cause any harm to him. The Knights were gone, and they were left alone once again.

He had stepped closer, and Varsha made a futile attempt to stop him in his tracks. Bemused, Kylo did pause, if only to see what she had planned, if anything at all, or if she wanted to say anything.

And oh, she did. She had a few things to say to him. A flicker of anger flashed across his face. She dared to be so bold to him? But he didn’t allow the anger to linger. He even felt a slimmer of admiration, for Varsha did not once back down from threats by one who could snap her neck in an instant.

Really, Kylo had to commend that tenacity.

A few seconds later, after silence from Kylo, he backed up a few steps from Varsha. “Maybe I was wrong about you.” He wasn’t entirely convinced in his words. “You are a bold one, foolishly so, aren’t you?”

The question had been rhetorical, but Kylo half expected her to answer anyways. “And perhaps overly confident in your own abilities, but that remains to be seen.” He would judge if she was indeed a great advisor.

He took a few more steps away from Varsha and sat down in a nearby chair, all while his dark gaze remained focused on the woman. “Well then, if you have anything to advise me on right now,” his arms gestured open, “I am all ears.”
 

KyloGlenn

nothing compares to the emptiness we both share
Of course Poe followed her down the hall, into the bedroom on the left. He took his first glance around her room as he closed the door behind him, as per her instructions. No doubt were they going to have a conversation, Poe would have wanted the privacy even if it was just Cassia’s sister and Karhem wasn’t at risk of hearing anything. He wasn’t sure if he’d get upset or not.

He didn’t want anyone to see him as anything less than the dashing, brave pilot he had become known as.

His glance around the room didn’t yield anything that made the place scream Cassia. It was so clean and organized. It didn’t hold the same personality he was used to. Except for, of course, the desk in the corner. Now that was the Cass he knew. He gravitated towards it to examine it while she pulled out her suitcase. He couldn’t help but snort when she said he probably had more questions than answers. “You think?”

He sighed, fiddling with a tool before he turned back to her. “Why didn’t you tell me? About anything? I thought…,” He thought they were closer, better friends than that. “I could’ve done something, I could’ve kept all of you safe.” That was a tall order, and perhaps it wasn’t true. But he could have tried, he could have done everything he could. Karhem’s father, if he’d known...Poe couldn’t have stopped him from being a part of the Resistance, but he could have made sure he wasn’t sent anywhere dangerous.

Or maybe he could've talked to the man, put into perspective the fact that he had a family to think of. Something, anything. “The Resistance has connections. Me, I have people who could have helped look after all of you. I just–I don’t understand.”

-

Varsha was silently relieved when Kylo backed away from her. She took that as a sign of him not going to snap her neck. For the moment, anyway. Her shoulders relaxed, even as she crossed her arms over her chest. And she would answer his rhetorical question, of course, “Maybe I am. Maybe I am foolish, but I’m not a fool,” that sounded asinine itself.

She knew she was pushing Kylo, and that act was foolish. She wasn’t deluded about that. But she wasn’t incompetent, and she knew whatever perceptions Kylo had of her were wrong. She was raised for this, trained. Maybe she was overconfident, but she did know what she was doing.

“I have a lot to advise you on. Where should I begin?” With his bad attitude, maybe? A lot of them were personal attacks with some unkind words, so she wouldn’t say any of those. She would keep it professional. In subject matter. “Perhaps with the lack of support from, well, the people you should be seeking support from.” The ones in high positions. Snoke had managed easily enough because progress could be seen, with Starkiller.

“Many are hesitant to back you and the First Order because you’ve shown no promise since taking the mantle from Snoke,” which well, was questionable in itself. How did one girl kill Snoke and his entire guard? There had to be more to that, but that was probably too much. “You’re lacking direction and you’re losing the politics.” If he was a leader, he had to show it.

“You need a statement. I can help, if you tell me what you want. Your goals. Beyond hunting down one Jedi.”
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Cassia allowed her gaze to flicker towards Poe as he took in her room and notice the slight mess on her desk. Her jaw clenched, but Poe had every right to feel the way he did right now. Just as much as Cassia had every right to withhold the information that she did from him.

The clothes in her dresser held more attention and fascination for her as Poe began to spew out his questions. She didn’t have the courage to look him in the eye right then, not while she was formulating an answer. Clothes were grabbed from the dresser and thrown haphazardly into her suitcase.

“I didn’t tell anyone,” Cassia started, before sighing and turning to finally face him. Well, she didn’t tell anyone except the General. “You already do so much for the Resistance. Did you really need something else to think of?” They had been close friends, and Cassia knew Poe would do anything to protect those he cared about. It was exactly that she had been afraid of. They didn’t need him. The Resistance did. “Something to distract you from the bigger goal here?”

It had been a decision Cassia hated, to withhold information from Poe, but she also didn’t regret it. “Yes, you may have connections, but we live in uncertain times right now.” Cassia paused in her packing and sighed. “I know it was a big thing to not tell you, and for that I am sorry. But I’m not sorry for the choices I have made.”

~~

Varsha remained guarded near Kylo, that much he could see. He nearly snorted at her inane comment, but maybe she was right. Varsha may be foolish, but she wouldn’t hold the position she did if she was a fool. She knew what she was doing, though had she ever had to deal with someone like Kylo Ren?

He doubted it.

She certainly didn’t wait before starting her analysis of what Kylo should do. Much must have already been on her mind, and Kylo didn’t know if he was impressed or annoyed. Perhaps both.

“I have support.” He had some. “Fear helps.” It certainly helped some officers to quickly accept Kylo’s new position as Supreme Leader. No one dared to question him, for fear of his anger. But within him, he knew fear wouldn’t lead to loyalty.

That was far more valuable.

Varsha’s words were those Kylo didn’t want to hear, but he had to, because she had a point. What kind of leadership had he shown the First Order aside from his anger? Politics...had never quite been his strong suit, despite who his mother was. Clearly the genes did not pass on.

So what did he want?

“I want to build a new empire,” he answered. To finish his grandfather’s legacy. “Create and have full control of this empire.” And ensure the end of the New Republic. Kylo took a step away from Varsha. “How can you create a statement from that?”
 

KyloGlenn

nothing compares to the emptiness we both share
“What I need or don’t need to think of isn’t really for you to decide. That’s me. And I’ve always kept my focus on the bigger goal,” it’s what his whole life revolved around, what he’d dedicated it to. Everything he did, in some way, was for the purpose of saving and protecting the galaxy. Just as he’d been raised to believe in. “I’m quite capable of multitasking.” He’d already had a dedicated space in his mind for Cassia.

Not that he’d say that. But it included her and everything about her, and he’d have easily extended that to her family if she’d let him in on it.

Poe sighed, resting a hand on his hip, the other running through his hair and holding it back for a moment as he gathered his thoughts and feelings. He wasn’t angry with her, not so much as he was...hurt, he supposed. He was uncertain of how to put that into words. “You don’t have anything to apologize for anyway.” She didn’t have to apologize for not telling him.

She certainly didn’t have to apologize for her decision.

“You’ve just been doing what you thought was best for your family.” He supposed he understood that much, partly anyway. He got the intent, not the method. “A goodbye, at least, would’ve been nice.” He did mumble as he moved to sit awkwardly at the edge of her bed. “Or a lie,” like she’d been reassigned or something. Something that would’ve given him more closure. Instead of being left with the feeling of abandonment. Thinking she’d given up everything for no good reason.

Of course, he’d probably have made a scene about her reassignment, taken it up with General Organa. Still. He’d thought so many bad things about the situation, about her. He was ashamed of that now, and wished he hadn’t thought them in the first place. He had no right to be angry with her. “Cass, if you decide to stay with the Resistance...there’s no room for any more withholding.” Even if she thought he couldn’t, shouldn’t, be distracted.

-

“You’re going to need more than fear to get you where you want.” Varsha put it simply. She tried to word it in a way he’d make sense of, hopefully, with something he knew, “Not even Palpatine managed what he did with fear alone,” even if it had been a factor. He’d earned loyalty, even if much of it may or may not have been manipulated.

“If you want this empire, if you want control of it, you have to actually be capable of it. Which requires quite a bit of work, unfortunately,” for both Kylo and herself, since she’d accepted the task of helping this man.

“But creating a statement from it is easy, in theory. You can’t tell someone this statement, you have to show it. Make yourself known to the galaxy, to the Senate, as a leader. As someone in control already. By that, I mean informed, put together. They need to know you’re not a petulant child.” He was far from a child, of course, but her point stood. Ruling with anger and fear didn’t inspire much.

“Even if your goal is to abolish the Senate,” which Varsha wasn’t opposed to, even with herself being a Senator. It was just a means of power. “You need political knowledge. You need more allies within. Fear won’t work on a lot of them,” many of them had seen the Galactic Empire come and go.

Of course, he couldn’t charm all of them. ‘If any…’ “Perhaps the most clear cut statement, and I have no doubt this is something within your realm of capabilities, is shows of power. Claim things. If some planet refuses to submit their allegiance or their resources, take them. Not out of anger, but calculated.” Importantly, make sure everyone knew it was a power play and not spite. “I know you’re more competent than you seem,” a bit of a backhanded compliment. He could handle this, if he put his mind to it. How else had he gotten where he was?

She truly doubted it was a matter of simple convenience.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Cassia almost felt like a child being chastised. Poe certainly could focus on the bigger picture, and she knew she should have made any assumptions about him. Assume he would allow himself to get distracted from the Resistance, which, in hindsight, now seemed ridiculous to Cassia. Had Poe once suggested he would allow for easy distractions?

Never.

Her eyes rested on the way his hair bounced as his fingers ran through the strands. Stop it. Now was not the time to allow her mind down such a path. If there was ever a right time.

Cassia sighed, and moved to sit on the edge of the bed next to Poe. “I suppose I could’ve done things better,” she admitted. There one day, gone the next, not even a note left behind to explain what was going on, with Leia agreeing to her secrecy. “After I heard what had happened, I just...panicked.” And she needed to see her sister as soon as possible without much thought to everyone in the Resistance, even Poe.

“But if I decide to leave again abruptly, I’ll be sure to tell you first.” Cassia intended her last statement as a joke, but deep down, she wondered if she could leave again. Leave the Resistance behind, leave Poe behind, leave everything again. But then there were her sister, and her nephews. They could take care of themselves, but they were the only family she had left.

Jumping into a sarlacc pit may be an easier decision for her.

One hand reached out to squeeze Poe’s arm, before Cassia pulled back and stood up. “Though I think my sister may complain if I show back up so soon again.”

~~

Kylo didn’t immediately say anything. He knew Varsha was right. He needed more than just fear. Palpatine had fear, but he also had loyalty. Manipulation. Kylo could do that, but he knew proper manipulation may need some help. Such as help from the woman standing before him.

He was willing to put in the work to obtain the empire he wanted, but was he willing to get the help he needed to see his dreams come to fruition? He had to try.

And Kylo had been called a petulant child once or twice before. Previous Supreme Leader Snoke came to mind. He had to ensure that no one would even dare to think of him in such a way ever again.

But did he wish to abolish the Senate? Not even the Empire did that until later on. Having a system of close allies to help watch over the thousands of galaxies would be ideal, something similar to the Moffs of the old Empire, but he didn’t voice that thought right now. It could come later.

Kylo fully considered Varsha’s words of advice. Yes, he had the plan of showing the might of the First Order with taking planets, but he had to ask, “And if you had the choice of which planet to strategically take first, which would you choose?” The destruction of the Hosnian System showcased the might of the First Order well enough, to which he wondered if other planets in the Core would easily surrender.

Dark eyes studied the woman intently. “Perhaps I judged you too harshly.” The words were almost mocking in tone, but he meant them to some extent. Kylo would keep a close eye on Varsha for the foreseeable future, and if she slipped up, he would be quick to know.
 

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