Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire, Part 3

Aliens are one of the most fascinating aspects of the Star Wars saga. They look strange, sound strange and act strange — all things at odds with another iconic element of Star Wars: the martial order and perfect conformity of the Galactic Empire. This series sheds a light on some of the most notorious alien henchmen of the Empire to straddle these worlds, drawing upon the films and the Expanded Universe. In case you missed them, please read part one and part two.

Given the many aliens who worked alongside Senator Palpatine during his rise to power (Sly Moore of Umbara, Mas Amedda of Champala, Onaconda Farr of Rodia, and Kashyyyk’s Yarua, among others), few could have foreseen the ideological changes that would accompany his assumption of the Imperial throne. Palpatine’s true beliefs became evident only after it was too late for anyone to stop his sinister plans.

Senator Onaconda Farr

Senator Onaconda Farr

Aliens, in Palpatine’s view, existed only to serve the humans of the Empire, whether willingly or through force. The enslavement of the Wookiees, Mon Calamari and others during his rule came as a shock to the galaxy, yet such tendencies were always present, if subtle. As a Senator for Naboo, Palpatine shared his people’s distrust of the Gungans who co-inhabited his homeworld. Despite a new understanding being established between the two peoples during the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, he ruthlessly tricked Jar Jar Binks into convincing the Senate to grant him special wartime powers. His manipulation and subsequent abandonment of the Trade Federation shattered the Neimoidians’ power base, even while helping to build his own — and in having the Geonosians help design the Death Star and other war technology for him in secret, Palpatine maintained the illusion that he himself was a peaceful, benevolent leader.

As Emperor, Palpatine fostered the concept of Human High Culture, asserting that humans were inherently superior to all other species. Though not all humans supported this notion, enough did so that aliens soon found their rights and freedoms restricted under Imperial edict. The widespread prejudice encouraged by the dictates of the Emperor’s New Order only made things worse for nonhumans everywhere.

Senator Yarua

Senator Yarua

Still, Palpatine was definitely not a stupid man. He knew a valuable resource when he saw one, and utilized alien species for his own gain. Thus, a small number of aliens managed to gain positions of power within Palpatine’s dream of a New Order.

Sly Moore, Imperial Advisor

The name of Chancellor Palpatine’s aide, Sly Moore, was little spoken by the time of the Rebellion. But the oldest Imperial courtiers remembered her well, especially by a different sobriquet: Queen of the Empire.

Sly Moore

Sly Moore

An ambitious Umbaran with an unsettling dead glare, the ashen Moore was calculating and ruthless. She dressed in an intricate and obscenely expensive shadowcloak, which could render her undetectable to the naked eye, and hid within its voluminous folds a stiletto-like knife known as a vooktar. Rumored to have blackmailed her predecessor Sei Taria into retirement, and managed to become as close to Chancellor Palpatine as his trusted human male confidants, Sate Pestage and Kinman Doriana — and some whispered even closer. Exploiting the mind-clouding abilities of her species, Palpatine sometimes had Moore impersonate his Sith persona of Darth Sidious, enabling him to appear in two places at once. And while nobody could prove anything, after the rise of the Galactic Empire, gossipvids and sludgenews stories claimed she and the Emperor shared something more than a professional relationship.

Despite the tabloids’ inability to corroborate these lurid tales, Palpatine’s appetites for concubines — such as his courtesan-cum-assassin Roganda Ismaren — was well known, and the Imperial public latched onto the sensationalistic title “Queen of the Empire” bestowed on Moore by the Galactic Gossip. In the aftermath, the stoic Moore became an object of adoration and worship, and the glamorization of her image and role in the Empire only increased as her public appearances became rarer and rarer.

Sly Moore in the Senate Chamber, with Mas Amedda (left) and Chancellor Palpatine (center).

Sly Moore in the Senate Chamber, with Mas Amedda (left) and Chancellor Palpatine (center).

At least part of the reason for Moore’s frequent scarcity, even in the days of the Republic, was that she and the “Chancellor’s Hand,” Sarcev Quest, were busy on the planet Byss, serving as custodians to several darksiders-in-training, recruited from the rejected Jedi stock of the Agricultural Corps. While Quest handled the students’ formal Force-training, Moore helped bend their minds to the dark side. The Umbaran also used her peculiar talents to root out survivors of Order 66 and, for a time, supervised a pair of Shi’ido scientists, Mammon Hoole and Borborygmus Gog, as they conducted experiments in abiogenesis — the spontaneous generation of life. To that end, Moore provided them with a female Bordali test subject. However, Moore herself had come into the possession of Force-sensitive DNA from an undisclosed source and was deeply interested in a technique once perfected by Darth Plagueis: influencing the midi-chlorians to create a zygote in a fertile female.

At last report, Moore abruptly disappeared from the Imperial Court shortly following a public appearance during a New Year’s Fete celebration, where unsubstantiated murmurs began to spread of her “delicate” condition. It was rumored that she was sequestered to the Ghost Nebula, the home of her species, where she departed life during child labor while giving birth to a nameless mutant offspring who was immediately spirited away by her old confederate, Quest.

Triclops: mutant son of science… or the dark side?

Triclops: mutant son of science… or the dark side?

Though the memories of Moore’s glory eventually faded, whispers of Palpatine’s “three-eyed son” continued circulating far and wide in the galaxy, and an impressionable three-eyed slave from Kessel named Trioculus would never forget the majesty of the Umbaran lady or her unofficial title.

Mas Amedda, Vice Chancellor

The story of the once-noble statesman Mas Amedda is a sad, but redundant, political tale of moral compromise and the corruption of power. A Chagrian from the watery planet Champala serving as Speaker of the House and Vice Chair under his friend Supreme Chancellor Valorum, Amedda once helped foil an assassination plot against the Republic leader. A few short years later, he would actually give the secret order to have him murdered.

Amedda’s deep voice often resonated around the Senate as he called for order when the Republic’s government lapsed into pointless bickering. To show his command of the vast chamber, he would often allow a flicker of his long, forked tongue. The radiation from Champala’s sun was responsible for the evolution of his pale blue flesh, but it was the brutal politics of the Senate that gave him his thick skin.

Vice Chancellor Mas Amedda

Vice Chancellor Mas Amedda

The Vice Chair was no exception to his people’s propensity toward peace. Law-abiding by nature, he was almost obsessed with procedure and order. In a bureaucracy as corrupt at the Republic’s, Amedda always thought of himself as an honest politician. But for that very reason, he was often unpopular. His role in controlling — and often simply silencing — the raucous Senatorial governing body made him few friends. Amedda grudgingly accepted he didn’t have a chance in Hoth of becoming Supreme Chancellor himself and effecting the change his Republic desperately needed.

Then, when Palpatine came to power, Amedda saw a singular opportunity. Like many other politicians, Amedda thought the soft-spoken Palpatine would be a figurehead, easy to manipulate. But unlike the corrupt Senators who intended to manipulate Palpatine to further their own ends, Amedda saw himself in a unique position to manipulate the new Chancellor into doing the right thing. And indeed, early in his tenure, Palpatine seemed perfectly malleable and susceptible to implementing many of Amedda’s suggestions for the good of the Republic. But the Vice Chair was soon to receive a rude awakening.

Mas Amedda, soon to betray Chancellor Finis Valorum (right).

Mas Amedda, soon to betray Chancellor Finis Valorum (right).

Shortly after the annihilation of the Outbound Flight project, a Jedi mission of peace for which Amedda had passionately lobbied, Palpatine not only revealed to Amedda that he’d ordered the mission’s destruction, but that he was, in fact, a Dark Lord of the Sith, sworn enemy of the Jedi and the Republic. Palpatine explained that he’d known all along Amedda and others had tried to manipulate him, and that in truth, he had manipulated them, pitting them against each other like pawns to do his bidding. The Chagrian was crushed. Amedda thought he could use his position to deceive Palpatine and secretly lead the Republic out of darkness and into a glorious new order. Instead, he was responsible for the exile of Palpatine’s enemies and the deaths of countless innocents.

But Palpatine appealed to the Chagrian’s most basic nature. Contrary to killing Amedda, the Dark Lord explained that they were both mere cogs in a transcendent “Grand Plan.” The Jedi, the Republic and even the revenge of the Sith were all mere components in the greatest experiment ever attempted, an experiment stretching back beyond the time of Xim the Despot and the ancient Infinite Empire. Palpatine, too, shared Amedda’s vision of a New Order — but this New Order was not the same as the Republic or even Palpatine’s future Galactic Empire, for these were only practical manifestations of Amedda and Palpatine’s shared dream within the limitations of time and space. This truth was what the earliest Sith people had understood, so long ago.

Mas Amedda, allied with Chancellor Palpatine.

Mas Amedda, allied with Chancellor Palpatine.

And then, Amedda understood, too: Absolutes were an illusion. For 25,000 years, democracy had had its chance. Beyond the Republic and beyond the Sith, beyond the contrary yeas and nays of the Senate, which were only the two opposing ends of this illusion, was the inexorable dream of perfect procedure — and of peace. That was eternal. And it had fallen to him and Palpatine to bring it into reality. Amedda accepted his destiny and pledged his undying loyalty to the Supreme Chancellor. And among Amedda’s first duties was planning the assassination of his friend, former Chancellor Valorum.

Thus, despite the noble ideals he’d once held so dear, Amedda subsumed himself to the Grand Plan, hunting Sith relics for his master on worlds such as Yavin 4, and standing by Palpatine’s side when he declared himself ruler of a Galactic Empire that would endure 10,000 years. But as Imperial policies became increasingly human-centric and hostile toward alien species, Amedda slowly withdrew from public politics. From a secret Imperial Citadel on the planet Byss, in the very heart of the galaxy, Amedda diligently outlined preparations necessary for his New Order for the next thousand years, the next 10,000 years… and beyond.

Mas Amedda and Sate Pestage (center) advising the Emperor.

Mas Amedda and Sate Pestage (center) advising the Emperor.

Additional artwork colors by Mark Hudson

Sources

Aliens in the Empire

Dark Forces: Rebel Agent

Dark Forces Saga

The Essential Atlas

The Glove of Darth Vader series

Jabba the Hutt: Art of the Deal

Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

Jedi Search

Kessel: Hell in Space

Masters of Teräs Käsi

Mysteries of the Sith

Return of the Jedi

Revenge of the Sith

New Essential Guide to Alien Species

Star Wars Customizable Card Game: Reflections

Star Wars Galaxies

Star Wars Gamer #5

The Star Wars Sourcebook

X-Wing: Rogue Squadron

AUTHOR BIOS

Rich Handley is the editor and co-founder of Hasslein Books (hassleinbooks.com), the managing editor of RFID Journal, a frequent contributor to Bleeding Cool Magazine and the author of four reference books (Timeline of the Planet of the Apes, Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, The Back to the Future Lexicon, and The Back to the Future Chronology). He has written numerous articles and short stories for the licensed Star Wars universe over the past two decades, and was a columnist and reporter at Star Trek Communicator magazine for several years.

Abel G. Peña is the author of dozens of Star Wars fiction and nonfiction articles for Star Wars Insider, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Fact Files and StarWars.com, a co-author of Vader: The Ultimate Guide and Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and a translator of rare and forgotten Star Wars comics. Abel’s work has also appeared in the anthology Italy From a Backpack, Dungeon/Polyhedron, and the Wizards of the Coast official website. Abel can be found at abelgpena.com, Facebook and Twitter.

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