My past is locked in the recesses of the dismantled Imperial Intelligence headquarters on Drommund Kaas. If you were a good hunter, perhaps you could learn who I was. But assume then, that I would hunt you down and I would kill you, as I have done with others before you. I am nothing if not persistent. It would be best for you to simply know that I am anyone I need to be to fulfill my duties to the Empire, and I will do what I must to get the job done. I am Cipher Nine.
I began the most pivotal part of my career on Hutta as the Red Blade where I twisted Hutt greed to Imperial ends, but it was on Drommund Kaas that I understood my place and what I truly wanted for the Empire. Simply put, the Sith and the Jedi have no place in politics, yet it is their warring – like spiteful siblings – that bring us where we were before and where we are again today.
Darth Jadus tried to sway me with typical Force bravado at first, promises of power later. I have no connection to the Force, but I have been trained in torture resistance. When that fails me, my desire to see the Sith removed from political affairs keeps me on the path I have chosen. It caused me obvious issues with Intelligence and the Dark Council, but my skills and results have spoken louder than my bias.
I played the Dark Council’s games where it suited me or where Intelligence gave me no choice, but I will never bow to a pompous set of fool who’s only goal is to advance their individual notoriety amongst people they don’t even consider to be their peers, much less their equals. Victory is not a mere body count. No, Jadus, I never once considered joining you. I know the cost of my decision; it will weigh on me eternally, but there was no alternative.
Intelligence punished me for my actions – even as they praised me for them – because I had angered the Dark Council, and they hold too much sway within the Empire. I suppose though, that I should thank them for their meddling here. As Legate, my eyes were opened, even as I could not escape the trap laid out for me by Ardun Kothe – and by Hunter.
I will offer you this secret and admit to this temptation: Hunter. Our desires were not far apart and … he… knew this. Did he wish to sway me? Of course he did. Did I wish to be swayed…?
The Minister admonished me for my decision regarding the Star Cabal data, but he does not know what went on there. He does know that I have served Imperial Intelligence loyally and well and, after what he allowed the Dark Council to have done to me, I owe him nothing. To give him some credit, he is resigned to whatever fate the Dark Council throws upon him, even if it means his death. But Keeper. She who watched me in my darkest hours and sent me to even darker ones. I suspect she knows the truth. She knows I would not have gone so far to find the Star Cabal and to find Hunter, only to spitefully destroy that information just to keep it from the Sith. She knows that SCORPIO was with me and I suspect she knows what SCORPIO is capable of…
This is my story thus far. I do not know what my future holds. I used to have Imperial Intelligence to guide my next moves, but even then, I knew I had to be autonomous. I am not unprepared to handle this new situation, whether or not I do it alone. The Minister and Keeper – yes, I will call them that, just as they will always call me Cipher Nine – continue to assume that my crew is final and irreplaceable. A strange assumption coming from Imperial Intelligence, even if, thus far, my companions have proven their worth, to varying extent. I am, as yet, undecided about their future with me, though they all have expressed intent to stay the course.
Kaliyo remains the one I keep at the greatest distance, despite and because of her desire for otherwise. I have met several of her previous partners, lovers and marks. She genuinely seeks friendship, though she claims mere greed, but I know what her fickle tastes mean, having helped kill, threaten or betray those previous partners, lovers and marks. Imperial Intelligence is no longer, so my operations are not funded but by my own means. It behoves Kaliyo to put her skills and connections to work in that manner. This keeps her busy enough and serves my purposes. And if going out for drinks once in a while is what it takes to keep her in line, then so be it. I won’t argue my own need for stress relief, once in a while, and having me as her drinking partner means I can keep an eye on Kaliyo when she is in less than respectable places and has less hold on her tongue and blaster pistol.
Speaking of stress relief. Vector fancies himself my lover, and for the sake of having an entire Kilik nest at my potential beck and call, I will leave it at that. He knows my dislike of his nest connections beyond military and diplomatic requirements so thankfully, he disconnects from the hive mind when I desire him to do so.
SCORPIO now maintains that she will continue with me – as long as I keep her curiousity and desire for growth sated. I can trust her loyalty that far, even without restraining bolts and codes. She, unlike Kaliyo, is unable to deceive. I cannot assume this to be a weakness to exploit. Her inability to deceive does not mean her capable of being easily deceived. She will continue with me, as she says, until boredom takes her, or death takes me. If the latter does not come first, then the former will bring it at her hands.
Raina Temple is a liability. She speaks fondly of her Cipher parents, but all of it sounds like a fairy tale. She was not raised by them; they merely visited and told her well edited tales of their adventures. She wants me to train her as an agent, but she cannot relinquish her morals. What place do these have in our world? I am allowing her to train her minor Force sensitivities with Vector to maximize her combat potential. He is also training her in diplomacy and aiding him on his Kilik excursions. How long before she becomes a Joiner? Perhaps that would be for the best. Killing her would alienate Vector, and he is too valuable to lose just yet.
Doctor Lokin is a liability. His advice is sound, but I am certain that his loyalty comes only from having no place else to go. He is curious, sneaking and conniving and far too intelligent to be trusted. Of course, I have been forced to put blind faith in many other of Imperial Intelligence’s most brilliant and deadly minds. What difference is there in one who also happens to be a mutant by his own hand….
Which brings me to Watcher X. I have not heard from him since he helped free my mind, but I am certain he is still around. Part of Kaliyo hates me for allowing him to go free. She assumes, based on his words, that it was because I wanted information on her, but that is so far from the truth (though he did keep his word to provide me details of her past). Perhaps part of me was soft – not wanting to destroy something that I could very well become. Or, perhaps I, like Imperial Intelligence, know that creating people like us who know and do what we do is dangerous, but destroying us is more so. Whatever my motivations, they proved sound thus far.
For the time being, they all stay, but I am an Imperial Agent. That title may hold no more meaning in the known, or unknown universe, but for me, it holds the only meaning that has kept me alive thus far:
Trust no one.