"Bring him here." The man bowed and waited, his face blank but his blue eyes fearful. "Name." "Thomas Wensley, your majesty." He cleared his throat and suddenly furrowed his forehead as if he'd felt a pang of pain. The Evil Ruler glared. "Ah, yes. I believe you were one of four who are authorized to secure the locks to the lab and the storage area, is that not correct?" "Yes, sire." Wensley's attitude was nervously respectful. "I take it in shifts with Timmis, Inkja, and Torne and we carefully check and verify all who come into the lab." "I want you to tell me every unusual movement that occurred during the last few months. Anything out of the ordinary." He looked at the young man warningly. "I will remind you. I am able to read your truthfulness. So \--give me a full report." The young man opened his mouth, then cringed violently. His hands went to his head and he sank back on his heels. "Auugggghhh!" His body jerked, the fear in his eyes turning into sheer terror as pain exploded in his head. "Sire--I--I--saw--!" He collapsed forward with a scream, his blue eyes wide and staring as he fell, suddenly lifeless. Blood trickled from one nostril as he lay sprawled at Palpatine's feet. The emperor's expression darkened. He turned to the Doctor. "See if you can revive him." Padi crouched near the body and touched it, drew a scanner from a pocket...and shook her head. "No pulse, Sire. And readings are indicative of massive brain bleeds." She looked up at him... "Sire, perhaps something might remain to be read-- " Palpatine nodded. "I'm not surprised in the least. This man was an obvious victim of a death trigger. His mind has been tampered with a highly-skilled Force user." He reached down and touched the side of Wensley's head. He closed his eyes and raked through the rapidly fading memories that were still clinging to the dead brain. There weren't many of them, most obliterated by the massive double edema that destroyed the majority of his cerebellum. Palpatine grasped at a flash of an image of a dark cloaked and hooded personage against the door of the genetic materials storage area, but it fragmented away, leaving him no wiser to the identity of the intruder. But he had his suspicions....he did indeed. He withdrew from the dead mind and scowled again. "The lab will be transferred to the ECLIPSE now." Padi nodded. "I will prepare the cylinders for transport immediately, your majesty." "Take those first two to assist you now. I still wish to investigate the other three who had access to the security locks." "Yes, Sire." Dr. Padi bowed and exited the room. She pointed to the slowly recovering Evin Lassiter and Technician North. "You two, come with me. The rest of you, await your interview with His Majesty." She ignored the murmur that rose behind her as she took her assistants toward the main lab room. Directing Evin to activate the self-power units on the base of each cloning cylinder, Dr. Padi had North disconnect the chambers from the facility's main power grid. She moved into her office and typed in a series of commands to her deskcomp. She had a procedure all set for a move such as this. She'd moved the lab at least twice before, although not with such haste. The computer chittered back at her briefly and began to duplicate its files onto data cards as she fed them in. It didn't take long and she had plenty of time to program the genetic refrigeration units to lock up, and self-power for transport to the ECLIPSE, before Palpatine returned to the office. She rose and bowed. "I am deeply sorry that I have failed you, Your Majesty," she said. She was setting up the primary clone's casing to be run on it's own power supply. Unlike the ones in the outer lab, this one had several extra fuel cells attached, just in case. "It was not your failure, Doctor," he told her motioning for her to return to her task. "You are merely human, and cannot withstand the power of a trained Force user. I found signs of tampering with the memories of the other men who worked directly with Wensley. No triggers, not that it changed their ultimate fates." Padi shot a glance at the surveillance screen. Red Guards were removing four limp forms from the conference room. In the main lab, the remaining staff members were finishing setting up the equipment for transfer. There was no conversation, only a strained and urgent silence broken only by necessary commands and responses. Finished with the cylinder's self-power supply, she turned back to the computer and withdrew the final backup card. A new series of key taps and the matrix was wiped clean of all data. She then physically removed the matrix memory and smashed it with the heavy granite paperweight that held down the printout sheaves on her desk. Palpatine moved about the office, his cane tapping on the plasteel floor, picking up various items and examining them before returning them to their spot. But he kept returning to the sealed silver casing that housed his clone--his next self. His gnarled hands rested upon the surface, as if trying to touch the body within. "This is a treasure beyond price, Doctor. A treasure beyond price." "Sire?" She swept the backup datacards into a shielded carrying case and laid it on the desktop. The printouts and reports went into a similar bag and she turned toward the Emperor. "I will ensure that our supplies are properly sealed for transport and that the genetic library is safely ready to go." The Emperor nodded absently. "We will use my personal shuttle to transfer to the ECLIPSE. You and the equipment shall remain on board while in transit and I personally will key in the navigational coordinates. I will provide appropriate staff for you in the new location." Padi nodded, understanding the tacit admission that her current staff would never leave the lab once everything was ready to move onto the shuttle. "As you wish, Sire." She bowed once again, leaving Palpatine with his dormant twin. When the door closed behind her, he patted the sparti cylinder once more. "You go to a new home where you will be safe and waiting for my need of you. And I will find out who had the audacity to invade this sanctum without my permission. Be sure of that. Be sure of that!"
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