“They are ready to be inspected, Adjudicator.”
The Sullustan, his severe, blue uniform seeming to have edges blurred into the metal of the deck, stood up straighter and made the Sign of Justice across his chest as the Adjudicator turned before gesturing with a stubby finger to the thick transparisteel window. The skyhook was revolving lazily, the glittering world of Coruscant below, and the strong tether which linked it to the apex of the Judicial Arcology was even now buzzing with a pair of high-speed elevators bringing up further supplies or low-ranking visitors.
Clad in his lavish and heavy cobalt-blue robes of state, Adjudicator Gallien nodded to the Sullustan commissioner and turned to look. Along the other windows, various dignitaries also stood, peering out as if the cold low-orbit outside was a zoo full of wild beasts. With the slow rotation, however, their goal soon became clear. Isaac’s left eye twitched slightly at the sudden brightness.
The gleaming and fresh ultramarine-blue hulls of yet another Judicial Defence Group reflected the sun, even brighter light coming from the polished shine of the viewports and weapons of the vessels. It was a standard formation, and one that Isaac had seen before a few times in previous inspections, but it was politically important to attend these shows of power. The news-nets tended to pick it up and portray it as evidence of job dedication – a reputation that the Adjudicator was certain he did not wish to dissuade. Besides, seeing their shining new squadrons of vessels made people feel safer, and so long as there were more on show every week, the plebs were still happy to turn over their hard-earned credits for their own protection.
It had not even seemed too long ago that there had been hours-long fights in the Senate over the new funding allocation for the Judicial Department, or the new taxes, or the increasing burden of old ones to pay for the gloriously expensive project it had become.
Advertising, as ever, had had its uses.
After all, if you were against the elimination of crime and terrorism, as well as against protecting the Republic against powers as yet unknown, one was clearly not a patriot in any sense of the word. The vote, in the end, had been an easy victory, as the opposition had clattered to the table like a set of dominoes as their popularity poll figures began to crash.
In the end, of course, he had succeeded. Something which Isaac Gallien, Senator for Berchest and Adjudicator of the Judicial Department and Forces, was certainly used to. And it had happened. The Judicial budget had more than tripled in the past eighteen months, and the taxation on the citizenry was emptying their wallets even more.
But oh, what compensation…
Behind the Adjudicator, one of the twelve Justices of the Supreme Court came up beside him – a quiet, bespectacled, and thin woman who looked about twice Isaac’s age and four times as senile. The justice’s bony hands quivered slightly, sending rare flushes of blood and colour into her veins, and tremulously spoke.
“All rather marvellous, isn’t it?” she said, looking out at the compact warships which were now drifting out of view thanks to the skyhook’s rotation.
“Of course, Justice Thasgail. For the first time, we have the means by ourselves to ensure that the law is upheld. No longer shall the Jedi be the only enforcers.”
“Well, well then! I suppose… suppose I shall get myself some more rootwine.”
The fairly absent-minded Justice pottered off towards a droid obsequiously serving drinks, and Gallien turned his attention back to the window and his thoughts.
It seems that the lifetime appointment of Justices of the Supreme Court of the Republic can be a bane to their work… he mused internally. Still. So long as they are kept under the darkness of their drooping eyelids, I shall have their support.
The assembled vessels would come into view again, soon. After that, the usual parade-ground-perfect drill of changing formations and ‘attacking a target’ would be shown off to the skyhook’s observers. It often seemed to Isaac that nobody tired of the charade but he, though one could not know that by looking at him or even speaking with him. Feigned interest had won votes before, and would do so again. And the others were all happy with the show, the “ooohs” and “aaaahs” as starfighters performed a textbook starburst sounding identical every time.
In spite of all, however, things seemed to be going well. The Adjudicator allowed himself a private smile at the thought. All the cogs were turning, the pawns moving ever unknowingly into place. And with them, the votes, and the money, were never far behind.
Adjudicator Isaac Gallien
Senator for Berchest
Leader of Republic Judicial Department & Forces