Our bond is abruptly broken and I take a few seconds to realize where I am.
Rey’s memory has shocked me.
I now understand the reasons for my parents' separation. For so long, I hated my father for leaving, but now I’m glad he did. I thought It was because they didn’t agree with each other on many things…but I didn’t know about any of this.
This is all Skywalker's fault. If he wasn’t dead already, I'd be happy to kill him again.
I always knew that somehow, he fit somewhere in the making of my parent’s fractured relationship, and Mama was always torn between being a good Jedi, then a senator and a mother and wife. But until this day I hadn't realized how much she was willing to sacrifice, and the hold Luke had over her.
"Supreme Leader?” Pryde says, bringing me back to the present. “They’re escaping, should we pursue them? "
Yes! A thousand times yes! The experience I’ve just had only fuels my desire to put an end to all this.
The last time, when we attacked the Raddus, I hesitated. My thumb couldn’t press the control and take the shot. This time, I won’t.
After all, she too wouldn't hesitate to do the same if I can believe Rey's memories, at least not if she thought it was for the good of the galaxy.
“Put our entire fleet on their trail!” I bark out.
“Should we shoot them? "
Yes, atomize them and put an end to the Resistance once and for all.
But Rey, I need her, Palpatine wants her. He thinks I'm nothing but the obedient, deferential heir. Once she joins me, no one will be able to stand in our way. Neither the Sith nor the Jedi. The First Order will become the only order.
“Spare the Millennium Falcon , destroy all the rest. "
From the command deck, I watch the destroyer canons fire at the rebel X-wings. Even they realise that they can’t fight this one, and the remaining fighters jump to lightspeed. Even the Falcon.
“Target the Millennium Falcon , follow it but stay away. I don't want them in our targeting range.”
Hux stares at me in disbelief but I don't care what he thinks. I can't afford to lose sight of her.
"Supreme Leader, the Resistance fighters are in our line of fire, why not end this for good?" Pryde intervenes.
Does he not learn? Did they question Snoke’s orders or does my presence embolden them?
“Just obey, General Pryde.” I grit. I’ve had it with this man.
“The members of the Council would like to know the reasons for your actions,” he persists. “So far, they have supported you despite their growing doubts, but this is highly irregular. They seem to have lost their trust. ”
Lost their trust? I’m the Supreme Leader! They don’t need to trust me they need to follow me!
Furious, I rush into the Council Chamber. I'm tired of these fools.
"General Pryde informs me that some of you have questions regarding my decisions?" I maintain an air of formal authority. They still take me for a mindless brute, but it would seem all those lessons on diplomatic decorum finally became useful, mother.
I scrutinize the expressions of the council members. They avoid my gaze but their fear is evident. They are right to be afraid...
"There are rumours, that Emperor Palpatine has returned. These rumours…unsettle us," one of them carefully intervenes. Is it true ? Has the Emperor returned? If the news is correct, it changes our outlook, I hear him think.
Just like his inability to end the Resistance, another voice to my left thinks.
I take a deep breath. I am tempted to slice them in half with my light saber or force choke them, but it is still too early. They may be Snoke’s obedient pets that’ll never agree with me, but their connections and resources might yet be of some. Besides, finding these many diplomats would be hard in a military organisation.
I may not be in a position to kill them, but I cannot let them question my rule. I must not risk a mutiny within my ranks.
“The rumours are true,” I declare. The shock is evident on their faces.
“I met Palpatine. He is weakened but still alive. He has a ghost fleet capable of reducing the entire galaxy to dust and therefore putting an end to all opposition. He's willing to give it to us in exchange for something on board the Millennium Falcon. That's why, in the best interests of the First Order, I want that ship captured. I suppose your dissatisfaction at my actions is now quelled? "
The quiet room erupts in mummers.
Despite their best efforts not to react, I notice that many of them turn to Pryde, waiting for him to confirm what I am saying.
My suspicions are therefore justified. The General is playing a double game, underneath his unambiguous exterior, he is undermining my authority for a higher one. Maybe he's even been in touch with Palpatine from the start.
"However, that does not explain how the Resistance escaped," Pryde continues. “It is certain that they had been warned of our arrival. "
I give him a cold look. "Indeed. There is a traitor among us. I expect him to be eliminated, General. I hope that for your sake you will be efficient. "
He hesitates briefly and then an obsequious smile forms on his lips.
“You can count on me, Supreme Leader."