Date: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 12:10 PM On Coruscant, deep within the quiet maze of the Imperial Palace, two cloaked informants entered the Throne Room at the appointed time and handed their report to the Emperor. The gnarled hand took the data packet, which also contained several photostats inside a sealed pocket. Palpatine started to read the summary and then paused and frowned up at the deliverers. "Give me an oral report of your findings," he ordered. "First of all, it was interesting how we found how the Empress' invitations for the fashion show..." The Emperor held up a pale hand to halt the man. "I prefer a SHORT oral report. This information has no pleasure for me," he snapped. "Yes, Your Majesty." the man bowed. "Please, my Emperor. Let me present the information," responded the female informant crisply, "My comrade became much too involved." The dark ruler nodded his assent. "Get on with it," he growled, with an impatient wave. And she began to summerize the Empress' recent movements. How, like the Palace Tours, she had conceived a private enterprise 'Azarra's Boudoir', based upon provocative lingerie designerwear and promoting it with a fashion show in November, with the assistance of Dani of Zeltros, among others. There was coverage of the event by the press - an article by a popular magazine writer praised it with every detail of the parade of the risque clothing modeled on the runway. Also premiering was a purfume, the Empress's own scent, ALLURE -The Scent of Aristocracy. Pausing to catch her breath, the informer glanced at the figure of the Emperor with a cautious eye, but the shadows beneath the cowled head concealed his reaction to the news. "The enterprise includes a mail order catalog, 'Romance Galactique', offering 3 other lingerie lines - IMPERIAL ELEGANCE, DARK SIDE DESIRES, and CORUSCANTIES (with the tag line - Experience the Feel of the Seat of Power) which was given out to the females attending the show. It was announced that non-humanoid lines would be coming out in the catalogs in the upcoming months; the first being Hutt lingerie. Released concurrently in fine stores throughout the galaxy was the PRINCESS line of clothing and accessories, including jewelry and lingerie. All pieces have the word "Princess" prominently featured. The Emperor's fingers seem to twitch and tighten around the armrests of his throne. The first informer chimed in. "For the upcoming holidays, something she calls 'BUSTIART' will be available, a service where artisans paint a bustier on your body for special occasions. It's worn with a long satin skirt. Appointments for the paintings are being taken." The Emperor raised his hand for a question. "So are you telling me the Empress' so-called "boutique" is an actual store, now conducting business on Coruscant?" Both informants nodded their heads. The female explained that "The Boutique", which is the Empress' store in the LucasSpire, would close after two weeks and was the only place the trousseau designs can be purchased. After that, it was announced those designs will no longer be available, although orders of merchandise from the catalog will continue to be taken. "And that concludes our report, Your Majesty," the female informant stated, hoping for a quick dismissal. The Emperor leaned forward and gave them a curt nod. "Indeed," his frown deepening "I have heard enough," he said in a smooth, well-controlled voice. "I commend you for the completeness of your report. And now you are expected at your supervisor's office. No doubt you will be as resourceful for me in your new mission." "Yes, Your Majesty." Both informants bowed deeply. "Dismissed." The Emperor waited until the Red Guards firmly shut the double doors - and then slammed his withered hands against the cold steel armrests of his throne. Palpatine's pale, sunken cheeks began to turn an angry red as he stood, teeth-clenched, and raised his fist in the air. He let loose a loud shout of exasperation. "A Z A A A A R R R R A A A A A!!!....." The name reverberated throughout the enormous chamber. The Throne Room was conveniently sound-proof, which suited the Emperor for containing the usual sounds that emitted from an interrogation subject during his or her...session. But now he needed it to conceal his own internal torture. "Azarra Vader..." he hissed again, as he rose from his seat and relentlessly stomped the spotless black floor with his boot, "The woman's making a laughing stock out of me!" Memories of his Empress' antics - her running off to Iskandar after the wedding, insisting on being Force trained by Rikonis (of all people!), then the Palace Tours and souvenir shop,along with the recent Cruise crossed his mind. The constant stream of barbs, which at first seemed harmless, later on annoying, had been fairly tolerable until she had done this latest venture, a flaming EMBARRASSMENT to him.... Being a Vader, Azarra had her usefulness - but that was no longer the case. In his dark mind, he pictured her lovely face and cursed the day he let his emotions get away with him. And he knew - KNEW! - that Azarra was staying with him because she thought she was protecting her precious Trinian. Palpatine's lip curled with hatred at the thought of his son with Vader's daughter. The dark ruler stared hard at his reflection in the gleaming floor. He was ALWAYS in control and even SHE would not change that. The darkness in him shivered up his body. The Emperor picked up the spy report and reread it to himself, shaking his head. "Yes. Things will be different now, my Empress. I'm afraid you and your careless popularity are becoming too expensive for me," he mused aloud. Suddenly curious, he pulled the photostats of the fashion show out of the data packet's side pocket and eyed the parade of images of intimate femimine attire, each more revealing than the other. Then he paused at the final piece modeled by the Zeltron male - what they called THE CLOAK, made from sheer black material with lightning bolt outlines that radiate iridescent blue as the wearer's body heat increases. The Emperor recalled the informants had reported the lights went out; the runway cleared and when they came up again, Azarra mannequins lined the walls wearing all twenty-five of the designs. The edges of the dark master's frowning lips slowly began to twitch, trying to take control of his emotions - but then he could contain it no longer...the Emperor began to laugh louder and laugh harder than he ever had before! The old man's laughter still echoed across the room as he padded across the floor and entered the double doors of his office. A plan was forming in his mind as he activated the commpad on his desk. Immediately he began dictating two communiques; one to Azarra herself, the other to a clever crime lord in a distant system, brilliant in cheating, sabatoge, and falsefied documents and ID, and who owed him much for certain... favors he had bestowed upon the fellow. He smiled to himself. "I've been too soft on you, my dear Azarra," Palpatine hissed aloud. "You were busy playing your little games, but now it's MY turn..."
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