The New Jedi Order: Exigence (WH40k/SW) (2024)

Functional Dysfunction
Another Empire | TBD | TBD​

This is a day for Borsk Fey'lya. Before Coruscant's primary even hints above the horizon, he rises from his bed. His apartments are within the Palace itself - he has not set foot in his far more lush and sumptuous luxury accommodations in the Senate District in months. His datapad is already prepared with a brief. It covers the previous five hours, five hours in which he was dead to the world, five hours in which catastrophes and cataclysms might be conjured. While he takes his breakfast, delivered by an aide - some distaff member of his clan - he skims the reports. He absorbs the gist, discards the rest. The galaxy has survived another night. There is still a Republic.

He exhales, releasing a modicum of tension.

HoloNet news reports cycle in the background, nattering away. He has half an ear for it, judging the gentle waves of public opinion. He goes through a series of stretches and minor strength training, as prescribed by his exorbitantly priced personal trainer. An aide keeps him company, holding a towel while outlining the day's itinerary. If Borsk has any adjustments to make, his aide will handle it.

He spends five minutes, precisely, in the 'fresher. Sonic scrubbers speed the process, unpleasant though they might be.

Borsk is settling into his office, high in the former Imperial Palace. The name has never been shaken, despite attempt after attempt over the years. On paper - the Republic House. In truth: the Imperial Palace. The edifice will accept no other title. He fields holocom calls for most of the morning. Senators and corporate magnates, ministers and generals, members of his cabinet and High Command and the Advisory Council. Functionaries of his party and staff from his office.

A thousand demands on his time bombard him without respite. He passes off those less important to his surrogates. He delays meetings with assurances of value and sincerity. He scowls and ignores recorded messages.

There's an ambassador from Tapani who has been after a one-on-one for the past week. There's a group of petitioners from the Gordian Reach who have been giving his staff hell. Six aid bills are still pending his review and there's a full briefing on the latest moves of the war that High Command has been badgering him to schedule. NRI is getting louder and louder about a comprehensive Advisory Council session covering the growing threat of the Peace Brigade.

He also has several million personal messages. They have all arrived in the previous five hours, while he was asleep, and from what the droid tasked to manage it is telling him, most have to do with the Jedi.

It is approaching noon when Borsk takes a straight-line airspeeder to a luncheon.

Duro is all anyone will speak of. CorDuro's treason is on everyone's lips and the images of the burning orbital cities shredded and devoured by enormous worm-weapons are branded into their minds. Everyone wants reassurance. What is the Navy doing? How did this slip past NRI? With the losses at Fondor, can the fleets even protect the Core? What is being done to safeguard Coruscant?

He can tell them nothing and everything. He reassures, he pats hands and pats heads and repeats the party line. The rest of the Core is inviolate. Duro brought this downfall on themselves, rotted from within. Shipyards across the New Republic are already rolling off replacement for those lost in Admiral Brand's command.

They cannot know that Dac is having production delays. They cannot know that with the Tapani Sector calling on the 'Imperials' for protection, that rumblings across the Colonies and Mid Rim are causing projections for the next three years to practically collapse. Economic projections. Military projections. One sector alone causes this. One domino. They cannot know that the Hutts have basically become impossible to contact, their entire sector of space folding like cheap flimsy before the brutal and harrowing assault of the Yuuzhan Vong commander 'Nas Choka'.

He has to sit and listen and promise and deflect and consider the curse of knowledge. Naval reconnaissance has reported what appears to be an entire new worldship being…grown…in the ruins of Sernpidal. Entire armadas of vong ships continue to burst out of occupied regions. The probing attacks on the Imperial Remnant are stepping up. NRI has been cleaning house and discovering a frightful amount of moles.

He reassures and promises and then lunch is past and he sits in briefings and meetings, he is harangued in the halls and pressed by reporters.

There are demands to give up the Jedi. Questions about what makes a few dozen mystics worth the lives of trillions. There are petitions and proposed acts that would ban the Jedi Order from Republic space. Surely, Borsk Fey'lya, outspoken critic of Luke Skywalker, will see reason. Surely, he will understand the necessity.

He demurs and dances in couched terms and careful language.

He is not an idiot. He knows that the Yuuzhan Vong will never uphold the promise. The polished bones of Senator A'kla, the scorched cinder of Ithor, the slaughter over Duro - the list goes on.

Borsk Fey'lya knows appeasem*nt is impossible. He is not an idiot, no matter what public opinion might sometimes say.

The afternoon passes with glacial slowness and frightful rapidity all at once. There are preparations to be made for the Senate session tomorrow. He has a dinner to attend that will eat two entire hours of his evening and night. There are innumerable other things that he could be doing, but present will be particular Senators from a half dozen Colonies sectors along with at least a hundred movers and shakers from across the Core and Coruscant itself. Lobbyists and officials from half the parties in the Senate, along with representatives of guild concerns that account for several quintillion credits per annum across half the galaxy.

He must smooth feathers and comb fur and soothe egos, he must be in control. He must project absolute, total confidence.

Borsk Fey'lya is the lynchpin that is holding the Galaxy together in a single Republic. He is blamed for abandoning the Outer Rim, he is accused of favoritism, he is damned by each planet lost and every ship of refugees struggling among the stars.

He attends the dinner. He watches as self-interest and blind greed promise to lay bare the galaxy before the swinging vibroaxe.

By the time he finally returns to his bed, slipping beneath the covers in his silken underclothes, it is past midnight. He sets his personal datapad aside to await the upload of tomorrow's brief, prepared to receive the next morning's brief. He lies on his back, fingers laced on his chest, staring blankly at the ceiling above. The Republic he has spent his life midwifing is fracturing. It is falling apart. His clawed nails ache from clinging to its tumbling pieces. His palms sting from being cut, again and again, on the sharp-glass edges of his life's work splintering around him.

He fears he will be the last Chief of State of the New Republic. He makes the same promise he does each night.

Not while he lives.

The next morning, he rises long before the sun.


Dimensions peel back like flimsiplast. Branes are punctured, the flesh of reality slit and pressed aside, curling open lips like a surgical incision, whose blood is multihued and dancing will o' wisps. There is no depth to the wound; there is nausea inducing vertigo. Far from any world of the Coruscant system, in a safe hollow of gravitic influence, the empyreal exhales into the staid physics of the materium and in that breath expels a rugged spar of adamantium. Samothrace returns to the universe attended by her handmaidens: the Exemplar-class destroyers Shroud of Antorine, Stonebeast and Stargilt. Birthed of the same Forge-world as the far grander battle-barge, the three Exemplar-class shape a precise triangle with their elder sister centered within.

A youthful five decades of age, Samothrace was birthed from the ancient dockyards above Anuari. She is Adytum-class, a derived design of the Anuari voidwrights, neither battleship nor grand cruiser. She is made to ferry the XIIIth Legion to worlds that beg for liberation, that sneer at compliance. Her service is short compared to the long rolls of monsters such as the Gloriana or the stately and ancient Fourth Honour.

Turetia Altuzer is only the fourth to hold the role of Shipmistress. She has held it for the longest, for eighteen years of Crusade and impeccable service to Ultramar and the Imperium. She hopes to hold it longer still, for decades and centuries more, so long as juvenat provides and the Primarch allows.

In her breast, her heart swells at the honour done to her and her command. Not once but twice has Samothrace acted as chariot for the Primarch. He has entrusted her to ferry him across half a galaxy, he has faith in her to deliver him to the throneworld of the Republic, so that the Primarch might forge a grand alliance.

A grand alliance.

A wild and nigh-incomprehensible concept. One that has some of her peers scoffing and sneering. One that has scattered ripples through the 4711th.

Turetia Altuzer has voiced no opinion, save that of what the Primarch wishes. She has her duty and she will see it executed.

As the Warp recoils, swirling back in upon itself and sealing away the bizarre unphysics of the space between spaces, Turetia Altuzer issues a single order. There has been preparation. There have been drills. There have been rehearsals.

Flight after flight of Thunderhawks and Stormbirds, Xiphons and Furies, Panthera and Apis and Corsair arrow from Samothrace's wide hangars. They glint like darts, they weave and dance and form a tapestry of glimmering threads of molten exhaust. They are guided by the best Astartes and Imperialis pilots. Squadrons assemble in chevron formation. Wings form jagged arrays of hulking, oceanic-blue attack craft.

Samothrace disgorges two hundred and eighty six attack craft from her skirts. All are burnished and spotless, every seam sealed and rivet polished, every gun barrel cleansed of carbon-scoring. Their engines purr, their canopies glint like diamond.

This is no combat patrol. Shipmistress Altuzer expects no hostility.

They do not settle into escort positions. They do not match velocity and coast. When the last of the craft has left the embrace of Samothrace, a dance begins. Squadrons split apart, scattering on every axis. Xiphon interceptors spin and scatter, dancing away in ones and twos. Thunderhawks swirl around their larger cousins, escorting doughty Stormbirds. They interweave, sliding past one another, becoming a churning ballet of frightful precision.

Bomber squadrons spin on their longitudinal axes, pirouetting while interceptors flash through their formations in mock attack runs. Distances of mere meters separate the craft as they whip past at combat speed.

This roiling, swirling display of synchronicity flows about Samothrace. The battle-barge's bow is aimed at the distant chip of light that is Coruscant, her escorting destroyers as unmoved by the ongoing display of piloting prowess. They are pelagic hunters, sleek sharks to the whirling bait-ball of darter-fish minnows that flicker silver and white and plasmic blue around them.

The display will continue to the very edges of Coruscant's atmosphere. As Malaghi Shesh, on loan to the New Republic Navy, ascends from her anchor to greet the incoming warships, the dance gains a visual accompaniment. Lascannon flare and pulse at lowest power, blinking out delicate crimson threads. Samothrace's squadron becomes a starburst of flickering light and color, a moving firework. From the surface of Coruscant, as the Imperial squadron approaches from the nightside, the display is visible as a tiny nebula. A winking star, waxing greater.

Thus: the Exiled Imperium comes to Coruscant.


Samothrace remains in low orbit, Malaghi Shesh accompanying. The three destroyers split from their escort formation: Stargilt pulls ahead to prograde. Stonebeast slides to aft. Shroud of Antorine ascends above. The weaving dance is over; now simple combat patrols fly side-by-side with X-Wing and A-Wing escorts. Holocorders capture the new arrivals from a thousand angles. Civilian vessels drift close to the cordon maintained by the Navy. Beings across the hemisphere of the world below stand on balconies and avenues, pointing with appendages and jostling shoulder and articulation joints. Samothrace, alongside the Mandator, is a ghostly shape distinctly visible at anchor above. Most beings have seen the recordings of a ship that appeared quite similar in design brutalizing the savage vong over Fondor.

It's a heartening sight to some. It's a worry to many others.

It is all too easy to consider that such power brought against the vong could be brought against them as well - and one extragalactic invader is enough.

Now from Samothrace falls a single transport. From each squadron of Xiphon, one interceptor peels away - thirteen in all. They are an honor guard, an echelon around the single Stormbird, which begins to blush a faint cherry-red from atmospheric heating.

Offers had been transmitted. Dozens of Senators made overtures to use their own private landing pads, promising lavish accommodations and the finest airspeeders for transport.

All have been declined. The Stormbird is up-armored, bulkier than others of its kind. It is freshly painted in Ultramarine blue and finely detailed in white and gold trim. The ivory Ultima shines proud from wing and fuselage. Pennants are flown, pennants that may only mark a single passenger. Capital Guard gunships rise from the district to meet the descending transport. They slide into gaps the Xiphon squadron has allowed open.

On the roofs of many starscrapers, turbolaser batteries maintain tracking locks - just in case.

The Stormbird arrows for the monolithic construction of the Imperial Palace. Inside, there is a moment of quiet amusem*nt shared by the few passengers. They know of another location that claims the title. This Palace would be swallowed whole a million times over by that continental construct.

On soft and gentle repulsors, the Stormbird settles to unadorned tarmac. The landing pad is one of several for common Senatorial use. It is sometimes used for freight, it is sometimes used for petitioners and guest speakers. The Stormbird settles on thick tyres, with well-oiled hydraulics flexing and cradling the auramite and adamantium armored transport. A small escort of Senate security await at the edge of the landing pad. In other circ*mstances, it would be an insult. In other eyes, it would be a snub.

It is as requested.

The Stormbird sighs open its waist hatch. A man steps out, his sandaled feet treading down extended, corrugated ramp. Two bulk-armored shapes pace behind him, a stride and a half of distance - never more, never less. He approaches the Senate guards and with gentle smile and dipped head he returns stuttered and wide-eyed greeting.

The Senate awaits. The man is punctual. The guards gesture and direct him inside.


"This has happened more times than there are stars in the sky. Before this august body comes a nation: nascent or ancient, alien or familiar. They come to beg or bargain, to cajole or coerce. Twenty-five thousand years of such moments, until this galaxy itself, this grand river of stars and worlds, turns at the fulcrum that is this world. I see in you the inheritors of that legacy, not in mere name but in principle, in action. To stand here is an honour, to address: a pleasure. I bring glad tidings from worlds beyond the rim of the universe, from distances and times far and impossible and beyond naming. Once more, this ancient ground of Coruscant bears the tread of embassy. I say: may it ever be so.

I speak no flattery. Rather: fact. I am a man of logical things. I am a man of machines and mathematics, I am a man of reason and axioms. I am a man of theory and rationality; I am the man my Father shaped and I do not speak idle fantasy. When I speak, I select my words for truth, for the practical that I might describe the world as it is.

I laud you, Senators of this New Republic, for you have done such that I have not yet seen in the span of my life, nor that of my timeless Father. A galaxy of order. How many millenia? Twenty-five. Yes. I see hesitance. I am read of your wars, your dark ages. I am read of the slides toward barbarity and the sorrow of brother set against brother.

But I say this: for all these darker times, by my measure and by the solemn judgment of history, this Republic has yet maintained. In the times of Empire, in which this body was suborned and in which this galaxy was set to disorder - the guttering flame was held and kept safe, until in a short span of time, that ill-fated Empire, which was built to never last, did fall about the architects and tear them down besides. Now here you remain; this august body. This Senate of the Stars.

And I speak rightly: this is an honour.

I am Roboute Guilliman, son of Konor and of Tarasha, son of my Father, the Emperor of Terra. By some I am known as Thirteenth, by others I am Lord Macragge. By my sons, I am Father and by my people, I am Consul. I am not a man born. No woman birthed me: in truth, no man sired me. I am weapon and scholar. I am general and killer. I am architect and destroyer. I am an instrument; I am transhuman. I was made, by science and by forgotten wisdoms, and my purpose has been singular.

I am an implement of my Father, to fulfill what role He wills.

When He wills me to be statesman: I raise five hundred worlds in His honor. When He wills me to be brother, I seek counsel and comradely fraternity. When He wills me destroyer: I extinguish species. Of myself and my brothers, He has shaped Multitudes into Individuals.

I am come to speak for my people: my Exiled Imperium. I am come to broker for their survival; I am come to speak deal and debate, I am come with hand open and blade undrawn.

I am come as warning.

My Exiled Imperium has washed ashore in your Galaxy. We have passed beyond time and space and the way for our return is yet shrouded. We have left behind our home and thus must make anew here.

We are not alone. By cosmic coincidence, this galaxy of order, which this Senate stands astride, bears not one visitor from beyond the gulf of far void, but two.

Their name bears speaking.

Yuuzhan Vong.

Like my Exiled Imperium, they are adrift. Like my Exiled Imperium, they would build a place anew.

I am here to speak for my Exiled Imperium.

They have never deigned to darken the steps of these halls.

This is the warning I carry:

These Yuuzhan Vong are alien to you. In them you paint your fears. In their inscrutable advance, you flinch and founder. In their palaces of pain, in their worship of ruin, you are boggled and unmanned.

These Yuuzhan Vong are familiar to me. I have butchered my way across a hundred thousand lightyears. I have trod lightless worlds where the bodies and minds of innocents are consumed as morsels. I have burned parsecs clean of infestations that prey on the passage of time itself. I have condemned to oblivion monsters in whose shade the Yuuzhan Vong would quail.

This is the warning I carry.

There is a war that is coming and it is a war which you do not know. There is a war coming whose waves will crest above any other, whose high-water mark will swallow all lands. This is a war you do not know. Not in twenty-five millennia have you tasted it.

This is the warning I carry.

There will be no peace. There will be no embassy. There will be no decency, no honour, no quarter. There will be neither accord nor surrender.

Put these concepts aside. Cast them out. Harden your hearts.

I know this, for I am weapon. I am general. I am killer.

I am Roboute Guilliman, First Lord of Eboracum and the Exiled Imperium, Lord Consul of the Legiones Ultramarine.

I will make war upon the Yuuzhan Vong until their memory itself is burned from the stars.

This is the warning I carry.

I am a man of machines and mathematics, I am a man of reason and axioms. I am a man of theory and rationality; I am the man my Father shaped and I do not speak threat. I speak only fact. I describe the universe as it is, not as I wish it to be.

From my warning; my offer.

Use my knowledge. Use my experience. Use what I was made to be. I beg you. This galaxy is not mine, nor do I claim it. Yet I describe the universe as it is, not as I wish it to be. I am here. My sons are here. My people are here. So: I must act. It is as I was made, and I can only ever do thusly.

I ask that you stand with me. I ask that you heed my warnings, that you hearken to my teachings.

I have seen a galaxy fallen under millenia of silent, deathly night. I have carried the quiet candle that illuminated that haunted, grim darkness.

I do not wish to ever again.

Do not make me."


The silence is ringing. Finished with his pronouncement, Roboute Guilliman inclines his head fractionally, stepping a symbolic half-stride back from the podium of the speaker's platform. The podium is simple, yet adaptive, designed for any being that might range from diminutive Chadra-fan to towering Ho'din. Behind him, his Invictarii escorts are as still as carven statues.

He is clad in garments of state: toga picta and tunica palmata: spun by hand, dyed by lazulum and embroidered with gold. A ceramite brooch in the shape of the Ultima sits at his shoulder. Auramite threads glint in delicate and intricate embroidery that describe the zodiacal signs of Macragge. Crowning him, encircling his sandy blond hair sits an emerald wreathe, the gemstones cut and polished to mimic the cherished laurus ultima that grew only on the slopes of Hera's Crown. His skin is oiled and gleams in the light of the convocation chamber.

He takes in the chaotic chamber that is the Senate, filled with asymmetric tiers criss-crossed and interwoven with walkways and ladders, with senatorial boxes customized by each occupant and riotous in their diversity of design and construction. It is so utterly alien to the cool marble and mathematical lines of the chamber he had reached manhood in.

It is a metaphor for this galaxy.

The moment lengthens and the silence is invaded by the soft sound of beings shuffling themselves, of clothing and robes adjusted and shifted - there is a tension that grows, tautens, a tension that will be, must be broken by whomsoever would speak first, yet by unspoken challenge none are quite sure who that ought be.

"Pfah! Another Empire!" exclaims Gr'not Thann, Senator of the Kkanth Sector. "Just what we need right now!"

Guilliman's gaze shifts ever so slightly, flicking to the arthropoid being halfway up the chaotic tiers of the Senate.

It is as a dam has broken and the entire chamber erupts into shouts, jeers, questions and declarations. The din washes and rebounds, acoustics designed to aid voice projection now serving to only muddle a hundred Senators shouting over each other. Guilliman picks out each voice, each word. He stores them away, matching each to a being whose name he does not know, but will in time.

Mif Kumas rises from his haunches, the Sergeant at Arms braying out demands for order before his prehensile feathers flick auditory controls, slamming down privacy fields over the tiers and booths. The din ceases in an instant, though mouths and oral cavities continue to flap and work soundlessly.

"There is an agenda and I will abide it! We recognize-" Kumas declares, flicking another command. In the holotank, a Senator appears in treble size, catching the attention of those Senators who had not yet realized they were silenced.

"-Thank you, Sergeant Kumas." Viqi Shesh croons, her voice honey and silk. The Kuati is immaculate in her usual ensembles of robes, corset and skirts, but what draws attention is not her perfected sartorial taste, but rather a single livid line that traces across her temple into her hairline. Thin and red, it is laser-straight and instantly recognizable.

She adjusts her skirts, casting an imperious gaze over her peers. More than a few are still constantly glancing back to the patient form of the Primarch. It is with some effort of will that Viqi does not do so herself, instead addressing the chamber entire.

"We are honoured to welcome you, First Lord Guilliman. I especially am pleased to make your acquaintance in person once again. Kuat and the Family Shesh warmly greets you and hopes your stay on Coruscant will be both pleasant and fruitful."

The privacy barriers are dropped and the usual low-level din of the Senate returns. Borsk Fey'lya, seated with the rest of the Advisory Council, sans Shesh, watches with hooded eyes and chin resting in his palm, a single clawed finger curled over his lips. Cal Omas of Alderaan, to his left, wears a light frown and an unblinking stare aimed at Guilliman. Fyor Rodan, Commenor, leans close to Chelch Dravvad, Corellia, the two exchanging whispers.

In her own booth, eschewing her earned seat with the Advisory Council, Shesh raises her chin and by her hologram, the effect is as she gazes down at her peers.

"Kuat recognizes the warning you bring to the Senate. I, personally, will second the First Lord's condemnation of the Yuuzhan Vong. I am a politician at heart. I welcome the chance to speak to foreign counterparts. I cherish the ideals of republican discourse and diplomacy. These precious tenets of free society are what led me to extending my hand in friendship to the Exiled Imperium. And they took it. When have we, the Senate, not been willing to deal, even with our strangest of neighbors? We were open to the Yevetha, we tried to brook peace with the Ssi-ruuvi. One could count the Imperial Remnant as our greatest foes and truest opposites - but now we've found common ground and even friendship there!

The Yuuzhan Vong invaded our galaxy in search of a home - and a home we would've happily given them. Instead, they brought war and slaughter and infamy to these welcoming shores. Oh, I have heard the whispers from my peers in recent days. The so-called 'Warmaster' and his ill-conceived truce has been on the lips of every being."

Shesh's smile slid from her face.

"And yet, three days ago, they tried to kill me." She tapped manicured nail against pale skin just below the livid mark at her temple. "My very own Chief of Staff. A man I have known and trusted for my entire life, who has served my family dutifully and honourably drew a blaster and tried to put a bolt through my brain. Because the Yuuzhan Vong got to him. They filled him with lies and they promised him fruit of a poisoned tree. And the last request they made of him…" She pauses and shakes her head.

"An assassination attempt on a sitting Senator." The words are filled with as much venom and condemnation as she can muster.

About the chamber, the reaction is varied. The Kuati Senator's sudden absence from the public was noted and remarked on in gossip. Some had assumed she had sequestered herself in preparation for the arrival of the Exile delegation, as she had bound her political career in supporting them. Word from within her office was nonexistent and it had buttoned up tight, revealing nothing. Impersonal messages were all that had been received from queries sent by concerned staff of other Senators.

Senator Triebakk, for the Mytaranor Sector, appears irate. The Wookiee is rumbling, a constant low growl vibrating from his barrel chest. Voul Arastide, for the Ganthorine Sector, snorts and folds his arms, rolling dark eyes full of doubt.

"Those are bold accusations, Senator Shesh. Can they be proven?" Arastide calls, tone sardonic and bored. "It's utterly out of character for the Yuuzhan Vong."

"Out of character!" bellows Gron Marrab, for Dac. "Why, it was just the other day that the priestess Elan attempted to assassinate Luke Skywalker and a number of his Jedi!"

"A military target," Arastide remarks. "I don't like Skywalker, but you can't deny that his Jedi can be proficient killers when they want to be."

"I have extensive records connecting Pomt to Peace Brigade informants and masquered Yuuzhan Vong," Shesh counters, a sickly-sweet smile curling her lips. "After his charred corpse was removed from my office, it was easy enough to dig through his most personal files and contacts."

Arastide scowls but says no more.

"Victor Pomt failed in his treason, but I am woman enough to overlook the personal insult. What I cannot overlook, as a Senator and a proud daughter of Kuat, is the clear and present danger of the Yuuzhan Vong. It is taking us too long to wake up to their threat. We are reacting, instead of acting.

With that in mind, and to mark the First Lord Guilliman's visit to us today, I am pleased to announce on behalf of Kuat and the Ten Families the ratification of the Treaty of Fundamental Iron between the Ten Families of Kuat and the Mechanicum of Mars."

Another eruption of noise blossoms, but Shesh speaks louder, riding over the hubbub.

"Kuat has had enough of the Yuuzhan Vong. Effective immediately, the Ten Families are extending drastically subsidized contracts to the New Republic Navy-"

"Outrageous!" Pwoe, of the Calamari Sector, roars.

"-and the right to terminate, with prejudice, any and all contracts held by systems, polities, or corporations that decide to sit out this war or worse, throw in their lot with the invaders-"

"This is economic suicide!" shouts a hirsute Senator.

"-and that finally, Kuat Drive Yards will be announcing entirely new lines of vessels designed under the auspices of the Treaty of Fundamental Iron, which will be provided at-cost to the Exiled Imperium-"

The convocation chamber descends entirely into chaos. Guilliman's eyes flick to the Kuati - to her actual face, not the reprojected hologram of the woman. Viqi Shesh bears the focus of the Primarch primly, only a touch of red coloring her cheeks as she reclaims her seat, her piece said.

Security drones dart here and there, spitting stinger blasts to separate a brawl that erupted four tiers up. Jeers and pointed digits declare coward and traitor. A few senators and their staff are hounded out of the chamber by the drones. Borsk Fey'lya's projected voice is just shy of audible and even the activation of privacy barriers cannot overcome the din.

Guilliman observes it all, fascinated and disturbed at once. He has nothing more to say, not now, not during this initial session of the day. He has spoken and they have heard his words, and now he takes measure. In some ways, there is nostalgia in watching a fistfight erupt first between aides, and then sweep up senators in its spread. He has seen worse in the Curia Magna during his youth. As he aged, and most especially after the death of Konor, his presence began to buff out the more vitriolic and overt hostilities in the Macraggian Curiate, until when last he attended the grey-haired politicians had practically fawned over the Lord Macragge.

In some ways, he is impressed at how swiftly these beings overcame their initial surprise and captivation at his presence. The effect of a Primarch upon mortals is well-known, yet he supposes for any being to ascend to a position here, there necessitates a particular mulishness and resilience. His more ephemeral brothers might have found ways to turn the gifts his Father granted them in more subtle ways - he could well imagine Magnus spinning some 'enchantments' through his psykery or Sanguinius' achingly noble presence softening hearts.

He is Roboute Guilliman. He had spent a mortal's lifetime in the Curiate. His would be a way of words and nothing else. He added one final addendum, his booming tones enough to momentarily quieten the chamber.

"It should also be noted that the Exiled Imperium welcomes all Jedi of any age, species, and training, who find need of shelter from the infamy of betrayal."

Shortly thereafter, with the convocation chamber still in uproar, Borsk Fey'lya calls for recess.


There were dozens of private conference chambers seeded all around the Senate Convocation chamber, all outfitted with full privacy and security suites. It was common practice for the Advisory Council to randomly rotate between more than a dozen of these chambers – the paranoia leftover from Delta Source died hard. Today's conference room was pleasantly lush, with a small water feature in the corner and a variety of long creeping plants climbing trellises along the walls. Quite a few worlds sponsored chambers in the Senate building, donating art, furniture, flora and cultural decorations. A way to keep their interests on the mind during meetings, of course.

This one was one of Borsk's favored. The rest of the Advisory Council filtered in, conferring with each other and aides that were left at the door. He drummed his fingers on the wide, U shaped conference table, bent enough that those at either end could face each other. Viqi, to his left, exuded a powerful aura of satisfaction that infuriated Borsk to no end.

With Cal Omas the last in, claiming his seat at one end of the table, the Advisory Council was assembled. Fyor Rodan, Cal Omas, Chelch Dravvad, Niuk Niuv, Narik, Pwoe, Triebakk and Viqi Shesh. In practice, the Council had no real legislative or executive power, as it only recently came to be. A bit of goodwill from his last election, meant to act as a check on the Chief of State, humoring several of his opponents including the ever-present thorn of the Daysong party. Yet, despite its short existence, already the Council had gained a measure of prestige and expectation, with many of the public viewing it not as a lead weight around the neck of the executive, but rather as a way for the Chief of State to groom a successor. As such – the Advisory Council was now seen as a stepping stone, for all that it drove him to distraction.

Which was why he was saddled now with Viqi Shesh.

He respected her drive and her acumen, of course, as one player of the grand game to another, but in her he saw a dangerous mercenary sense. A junior senator, but already on the Advisory Council, already seated on CSI, already on NMROC, even tied to SELCORE. She was after his seat and the human woman had no idea the demands on the Chief of State. Borsk swore he'd not be the last Chief of State of the New Republic, but he'd also be damned before someone as green and as self-serving as Shesh rose to the office either.

"I'll give it to you, Viqi: you always keep things lively." Cal Omas said tiredly, the man looking haggard and careworn. His constituents, consisting of not only the Alderaanian Diaspora but also New Alderaan and the Ash Worlds, were dangerously threatened now by the Yuuzhan Vong campaign in Hutt space.

The Kuati scoffed.

"It's something we should've done months ago. A year ago. We shouldn't have let Sernpidal slide. Really – a whole world destroyed like that?" She levelled a glare at Borsk, who weathered it without concern. Tying up the official release about Sernpidal over demands to exclude any natural causes had been a decision he still stood by. It had kept half the Outer Rim from rioting immediately, for one, and for two, dragging his feet on Sernpidal had given time to model out public opinion based on how that story broke.

End result: Sernpidal was seen as a fluke and a measure of the danger of the Vong, but hadn't led to widespread outcry to raise the entire Navy to immediately slap down the Vong all at once.

<There were reasons, Shesh,> Triebakk interjected with a hooting growl, as if he sensed Borsk's own thoughts.

"Sernpidal aside, I'm surprised that Kuat is willing to agree to what you described," Borsk said mildly, running claws through his cream-colored fur. "I can only imagine the numbers if you intend to follow through on that threat. What would the losses be? Quadrillions of credits? And the hit to reputation…"

His heart wasn't much in it. Shesh's announcement might have caught the Senate off guard, but she had already forwarded the preliminaries to his desk the previous morning. Schmoozing up to him, no doubt, but looking over the discounts they were willing to throw toward the Navy…

Well, he still disliked Shesh and trusted her as much as a spice-addled skifter, but if KDY held to even half of that promise, then it was really no concern at all of his if they decided to pack up their reputation and fire it out of a torpedo tube.

His eyes had bugged a little when he read the section that mentioned spooling back up the yards capable of producing Executors

"Our reputation is and will remain sterling, Borsk." She always used his first name, which wasn't strictly against protocol but the inflection always got under his fur a little. The last woman who said it that way he hadn't seen in a decade, after their divorce, and hearing that same intonation from the Kuati was unsettling. "Kuat and KDY have always prided ourselves on exemplary service and service to the galaxy."

Dravvad snorted, chuckling under his breath.

"Some service. Well, at least the Corellian Engineering Corporation will be known for keeping their word…."

"I'm sorry, Dravvad – I think I said service to the galaxy. Last I checked, the Vong aren't part of it. I don't see the issue."

"Nor are the Exiles, but you hopped into bed with them quickly enough." Rodan countered.

"I'm so terribly sorry – should we have let Fondor fall?" Shesh shot back, eyes flashing under manicured brows.

"It's nearly worthless as it is!" Pwoe warbled around his tendrils. "Not to mention, what remains of Fondor's industry is sworn to the very same Exiles! It's as good as lost to us."

"Enough," Borsk said, raising his voice a hair. At least here they listened to him, all quieting, though pointed glares still shot back and forth. He depressed a key on his datapad. "Go ahead and send him in," he ordered.

The door hissed open and Borsk braced himself. Not physically, but mentally.

Roboute Guilliman bowed his head and stepped inside. Just beyond, as the door slid shut again, the shapes of his massive bodyguards were visible, along with Senate security. Shesh had talked about the man's presence, as had Im'nel, and the effect had been noticeable even in the convocation chamber. A magnetic sort of attraction, like a spot of light that danced in the corner of his vision, enticing him to turn and look. To simply stare, to try to make sense of something that should already make sense.

A large chair was set out for the Primarch, easily suited to his stature – brought in by Triebakk, in fact, from the Wookiee delegation. Wroshyr wood and capable of withstanding the weight of an entire shuttle, in all likelihood. The Primarch settled into the chair, his draped robe seeming to fall just right about him, arranged like some old painting.

This close to the man, Borsk's fur prickled and ruffled, momentarily itchy and irritating. He found himself clenching his jaw and willed his muscles to loosen, briefly wetting his lips and composing his thoughts. Something of a buzz hummed around like tinnitus, making it just a little difficult to muster himself. Shesh had a tinge of color on her cheeks beyond her usual rouge and Borsk took a brief moment to glance to his compatriots.

Pwoe had a grey tint to his otherwise burnt umber complexion, his dangling tendrils bunched up tight. Cal Omas had a vein bulging at his temple and his fists clenched before him. Rodan and Dravvad both looked suspicious, arms folded in eerie synchronicity and leaning back in their couches as though to gain as much distance as possible. Narik was harder to read, but the Rodian was stiff-backed and erect. Triebakk seemed unphased, the Wookiee co*cking his head left and right to take in the Primarch.

Clearing his throat, Borsk began.

"Welcome to Coruscant, First Lord Guilliman," he offered. It always stood to be polite, even if by all accounts the man was a chauvinist monster of perhaps the worst stripe. At least he could credit the humility to come nearly alone and without the ridiculous armor he apparently favored.

"It is an incredible world, Chief Fey'lya." Guilliman's voice was a rich, bassy rumble – though by no means impeded by his size and presence, each word was clear and precise with a curious accent that was quite foreign. "My gratitude for the invitation."

"Oh, it was the least we could do for the service you've done the New Republic," Shesh demurred.

Omas made to speak, paused, cleared his throat, coughed once, then tried again.

"Your speech was impressive, but concerning." Omas had an edge of strain to his voice, Borsk noted. "I'm…surprised you didn't hide your more, ah, martial past."

Guilliman considered the council arrayed before him, the enormous man poised and oddly still. Borsk blinked, and for a moment he appeared a painted, ancient marble statue, before he was man again.

"To downplay the Crusade would be to imply shame. I have none: what was done had to be done. I neither apologize nor excuse who I am and what I am. That was another time, and another galaxy. What I have seen here, in this place, tells me that the necessities of my home are unnecessary."

Left unsaid was 'so far', which any fool could read. That was always the problem with authoritarians and imperials – they could be reasonable, but only so long as it suited their always-flexible principles. The Remnant was an ally for now, but Borsk knew that in a scenario that the vong and Republic beat each other to exhaustion that Gilad would be sailing Star Destroyers over Coruscant's skies within a fortnight.

"Aside from what you think needs to be done about the vong," Narik replied.

Guilliman inclined his massive head.

Really, though he had his doubts, learning that the 'Primarch' was some kind of tube-bred genetic monster really did make the most sense.

"Just so. The attack on my world is surely known to you. We have all seen the infamy at Duro, and I have read the so-called 'deal' to save Ithor. Honor and good faith only matters if they believe their counterpart is worthy of it. They will not honour this truce and they will not stop in their subjugation of this galaxy."

Triebakk huffed.

<They began their conquest with the wanton murder of a peaceful, innocent world. Your 'Imperium' concerns me, First Lord Guilliman, but it's a foolish hunter who turns down unexpected aid in the shadowlands.>

"In part, a reason for my honesty." Guilliman momentarily met Borsk's eyes and the Bothan stilled. Blue eyes, as normal as any other human's, but something unfurled behind them in that instant and his breath seized in his chest. Then Guilliman looked to Shesh. Skywalker and Im'nel claimed up and down that whatever phenomenon it was that the man exuded, it wasn't the Force.

He was…not so sure.

Guilliman continued. "The Imperium of my Father, as I have discussed with Master Skywalker, is one that would never treat with the New Republic. The circ*mstances of my home are too…fraught for such a risk. Yet as I have said – I am a man of reason and practicalities. The truth will always out, and so I will not hide it, so that you might understand what friction there may be between our peoples. And more – so that better trust can be forged. I will be frank, Senators, Chief: I may never warm to you or your people. It may be that my mind has already been shaped all too much by the Crusade I fought, or perhaps it is by my Father's will." The man adjusted himself, an aura of sincerity wrapping him as surely as the rich robe. "Be that as it may, friendship is not required for allyship."

"That was the implication of your speech. We haven't had a chance to look over the proposal you brought with you, though the rest of the Senate will be during this recess. What was your offer? "Use your knowledge"?" Niuk Niuv's glassy eyes narrowed.

"I propose a treaty that establishes the Exiled Imperium as an Allied Region."

Borsk's eyes widened and his expectations of the man adjusted on the fly. From his bombastic and martial speech, not to mention the overt and unsubtle actions at Obroa-skai and Fondor, he had assumed that Guilliman would primarily be after some form of military alliance, and that alone. Im'nel's brief about the tense xenophobia of the Exiles and their paranoid trauma around non-humans and even droids painted a grim picture for any peaceable or fruitful agreements outside of those that had to do with little more than killing.

But an Allied Region?

He mulled the concept over while Shesh and Narik butted heads, with Dravvad chipping in with irritation at the proposition. On paper, it would not work per se, as Allied Regions were, by definition, a part of the Old Republic and now the New Republic. The autonomy was notable and a highlight of being an Allied Region, but that autonomy was still beneath the auspices of the Republic itself. He should well know – Bothan Space was one of the few remaining Allied Regions.

If taken literally, the Exiled Imperium would need to be absorbed into the New Republic, with all that entailed. They could still govern themselves and would have a large amount of leeway, but Borsk knew that was a total non-starter. The arrogance and pride of how the Exiles comported themselves alone meant that any integration into the New Republic was dead on arrival. If Guilliman's word was to be taken as utter truth, they were also the scions of a galaxy-spanning superpower – and begrudgingly, if Borsk had been in their position, he'd not want the remains of the New Republic to be absorbed into some other power.

Yet, strictly speaking, an Allied Region did not have to be part of the New Republic. Borsk found himself nodding – it might work.

"You're aware then of the legal status of an Allied Region?" he said, speaking over Dravvad. The Corellian scowled, but quieted.

"I am." Guilliman confirmed. "We would not join the New Republic, but most of the requirements I find to be eminently reasonable and acceptable, with the benefits well worth the drawbacks. There will be further stipulations, which I shall warn are focused on limitations of expansion and armament, though I believe an agreement can be reached there as well."

In an ideal world, this 'Exiled Imperium' would be swallowed up as just another sector of the New Republic, with a token Senator to shout and rail and drum up drama in the Senate… Rather, in a truly ideal world, this 'Exiled Imperium' would not exist at all. He didn't need another headache on top of everything else nor a group of human supremacists of delusions of grandeur, not when he was starting to put out fires faster than they could crop up.

Though, the Jedi had oddly thrown in their lot with these Exiles, so if this ended in catastrophe, Borsk supposed it would be easy enough to finally be able to throw a lasso around Skywalker's order and finally bring them to heel.

"You've already charmed Shesh," Borsk said drily. "The New Republic is always open to allies. Your willingness to deal on our terms is unexpected. But welcome." He checked his chrono – the recess was coming to a close. "But I'm afraid that in our Republic, the final decision isn't up to me." He rose, the rest of the Council following. Guilliman moved from seated to looming over them all in a single motion that could not be followed and Borsk grit his teeth against a wave of strange vertigo as the very human appearing man towered above them.

"It's the Senate you'll need to convince."


"No Republic world should have to suffer being press-ganged!"

The words rang out, speaking over Guilliman yet again. Idly, he placed one of his less personable brothers in the same position and sardonically wondered what abattoir of horrors Kurze might have created here. Yet at the same time, he wished for the patience of the Angel, for though he was known for his coolheaded and level mien – there were trials that could yet try him. More than two hours had passed and he had outlined under a third of his proposal to the New Republic. Almost every point he made was interrupted. Interjections and brief shouted arguments sparked up with a regularity that a chron could be set to.

"Oh, shut up!" Senator K'farn shot back, leaping to his feet. "I've already seen what Guilliman means by a tithe! One of their warships made anchor over Ploo three weeks ago – and do you know what they asked for? Water! And foodstuffs! A pittance, and the vong scouts that had been creeping closer haven't been seen since!"

"It's a protection racket!" another senator groused. He still noted each name and sector, but had long since sequestered that fact-gathering to be unconscious. Most of them, he realized, were beyond unimportant. The true fulcrums of the Senate were those he had met and a few more besides – the Advisory Council, the Inner Council, those that sat on committees and those that represented the oldest, richest worlds.

A sort of twisted order was revealed to him bit by bit. He saw now that the Republic was ruled not by this Senate, but rather a strange oligarchy within it, that allowed for these thousand seats as a means of pressure release. So that the lesser could squabble and stir trouble and feel as though their tiny voices were heard, before bowing heads and voting as those that truly held the reins wished. Borsk Fey'lya might have said he would need to convince the Senate, but Guilliman knew he already had the ear of those that would do so for him.

"A protection racket doesn't bleed for those they 'bribe'," Kvarn Jia retorted. "Fondor would have fallen without them and they sent their very own soldiers to fight and die to protect Oridin."

On went the arguments, until the Sergeant at Arms gaveled for order and Guilliman had a chance to continue. Then, the cycle would repeat all over again.

"To reiterate, Senators, the 'tithe' as described is commensurate with the material expenditure of Exile support. Eboracum is self-sufficient and our alliance with Kuat-" he honored Shesh with a small nod - "provides a great deal more. I am also of the mind that direct contribution engenders a positive civic mindset when employed: it is a buy-in, if you will. Moreover, the tithe asked for would be negotiable with worlds that request Exile assistance."

He continued, moving to the next point and that which he knew would be most contentious.

"Finally, the Exiled Imperium would petition to retain all worlds liberated-" he pitched his voice fractionally louder, subtly adjusting both his throat and diaphragm, so that his booming tones overrode the latest eruption of indignation. "-from the Yuuzhan Vong. Of course, this would not include signatory worlds of the New Republic, which would instead be placed under stewardship until such a time that the New Republic armed forces would be able to complete a transition of defense. For worlds that are not signatory to the New Republic, the Exiled Imperium would provide order, reconstruction and security for the duration of this war. Upon the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong-" again, he made subtle adjustment to drown out the rest of the chamber "-and a period of five years, Galactic Standard, the Exiled Imperium shall then conference with the New Republic for referenda on worlds claimed in this manner, such that each world might chose to remain with the Imperium or request transfer to Republican authority."

His piece said and final requirement outlined, Guilliman folded his arms, observing once more.

Should such an end come to pass, that the Vong were vanquished, the New Republic still stood and his Exiled Imperium had a swathe of worlds beneath its banner, he had little doubt that few, if any, would truly choose to return to the Republic. The duration of the war plus five years was more than sufficient time to make the Imperium indispensable and a cornerstone of existence for those beings, human or non, and secure a span of territory beneath the Ultima.

His heart twisted to consider the theoretical of spending decades, centuries…millennia here, yet he could not stand by and allow time and history to pass him by. The Yuuzhan Vong were a gift, delivered directly to him. In any other period, he suspected, he would face far greater challenges establishing the sanctuary of civilization his Exiled Imperium would be. He would not budge on this requirement. With Senator Shesh's backing, with Kvarm Jia and both Ploo and Plooriod Senators, with, he was certain, at least half of the Advisory Council, there would not be enough pushback to require significant concessions or edits.

This Senate was functional in its dysfunction, Guilliman decided. Its inefficiencies irked him and the constant, omnipresent lack of decorum was insulting to his sensibilities, but it was a ship he could steer, though the rudder might stick and scream and shout imprecations.

"Kuat approves," Shesh declared, the first to cast a vote. "I find Proposal 61.641 for the Recognition of the Exiled Imperium and the Eboracum Sector as an Allied Region to be well-thought out, fair, and overly beneficial to the New Republic. Kuat moves to advance the Proposal to a final vote in two weeks."

Kvarm Jia added his own voice, then K'farn, then Triebakk. Some abstained, some voted nay, but the tide was obvious. The rising stars were championing it, and thus, the hangers-on and lickspittles through frowns and performative concern found their minds changed and votes cast aye.

By the time Guilliman returned to his Stormbird to leave the ecumenopolis behind, Proposal 61.641 was scheduled for final vote, approved at a majority of four-fifths. Senator Shesh had intercepted him, offering her dainty, tiny hand which Guilliman had shaken with some amusem*nt and delicate care. She offered congratulations, barely hiding avarice in her expression. He returned the words, wishing the best of luck with the Magi. Truly – the Mechanicum was invaluable and His father's wisdom in that alliance was unparalleled…but even Roboute could admit the mystics of Mars could be intractable. They spoke but briefly, the Kuati tilting and shifting her hips and shoulders minutely, peering up at him, two fingers tracing along her corset. Guilliman studied the blaster burn at her temple, noticing at closer regard the oddity of the necessary trajectory.

The Senate guard were not displeased to see the backs of his Invictarii, for all that their gauntlet combibolters were dry. The volkite cavitor, however, did not require ammunition. On gentle humming repulsors, the Stormbird took again to the skies. More and more of the gunships were seeing refit with the antigravity mechanisms, turning the already deceptively nimble transports even more fearsomely maneuverable. This one, in particular, bore retrofit shield generators as well. This galaxy bore further fruit.

With similar fanfare to arrival, Samothrace gathered her lesser sisters, discharged a sleeting sheet of low-powered ranging las in salute, then lit realspace extension drives for the long burn out into the doldrums of the system. Eryl Besa, in excited seclusion with Samothrace's Navigator, made ready for another heady and exciting trip. Borsk Fey'lya convinced himself he had not made a deal with the devil. Viqi Shesh privately toasted herself with a snifter of exquisitely aged, thousand year Shesh brandy. Tresk Im'nel, elsewhere, breathed a sigh of relief he had not been required to be present at all, shivering at the thought of facing the maelstrom that was the Primarch again. Tamirit Noskaur, along with his newfound cadre of the Imperial Legatus, remain to negotiate.

And behind convincing skin and facsimiles of faces, agents stroked away dedicated villips and passed secret word on, on and on, until the fringed ears of the Warmaster were filled with whispers.

Roboute on Coruscant, check. Roman Consul glory, check. Invictarii being silent and ominous, check. Viqi alive and ANGY AS f*ck, check. We in it now boys. Kuat and the Mechanicum doing filthy, filthy things to starship frames. Roboute being amused by the cantakerous ass pain in the ass Senate and then getting tired of it real quick. Borsk trying to juggle like eighty f*cking plates at once and no one will help him.

A great thing about writing the New Republic government is that you can just make up sh*t and do whatever you want and give 0 regard to things like realistic protocol or how a government should function because you know what, if decades of Bantam and Del Rey authors can do that, so f*cking can I.

Oh yeah, and Victor Pomt? Victor Pomt?! Oh, oh yes, and it has canon support! It's literally a blink-and-you-miss-it line, but he's the one that connects Viqi to the Peace Brigade! In Agents of Chaos!

Hope ya'll enjoyed!

Oh and to my Patrons, I am super sorry I'm a bit late on the sidestory - will be up this week!

I have a Patreon wherein you can vote on monthly, Patron-selected Sidestories as well as get early access to all sidestories (early access means about 5 days to a week), along with occasional votes for POVs in the next chapter, if I find I'm going to have to bump some. Mainline chapters for NJO:VOC will never be pay-wall delayed, even though I know that might drive subscribership. I just don't feel comfortable with that for fanfics.

So if you've been enjoying NJO:VoC and you're interested in early access or more of my writing, or just want to spare a few bucks a month to support my writing, you can hit me up there. I'm between contracts at the moment, so every bit is extremely appreciated!

Finally, if you like, feel free to add onto the TVTropes Page! It tickles me that I've got one.

The New Jedi Order: Exigence (WH40k/SW) (2024)


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