It took a very great deal indeed to make Admiral Sreven Sleer feel uncomfortable in her own office, a rising star of the Federal Navy she was valued by her superiors, admired by some, feared by many but respected by all of her peers and subordinates and with patrons in places higher than the very top of the service, higher even than the top of the Federation itself she was set fair to continue her rise to the very pinnacle of the navy and then, maybe, beyond. few things interested Sleer, she had no hobbies, no interest in romantic entanglements and loathed any kind of social engagement, even the military life into which she had poured herself these past twenty three years was only a means to an end. It was power gave Sreven Sleer her reason to get up in the morning, the pursuit and exercise of power and the people to who's attention she had latterly come had power beyond imagination, power that most would have laughed at even the suggestion that it existed at all, for someone like Sleer such power was seductive, intoxicating even yet when a representative of such power was sat opposite them even the highest flyer wondered, if only momentarily whether they had soared a little too close to the sun.
"What was the last task you were assigned?" the man, if man it was asked in a flat almost monotone voice with the feint electronic hiss that told the trained ear that the speakers true voice was being artificially disguised, the face was also hidden behind a bland, close fitting mask and Sleer had no doubt that, were she foolish enough to check, there would be no record that this person had ever even been on the station.
"To monitor, limit and where necessary disrupt the activities of the followers of Kahina Tijani Loren," Sleer answered, her voice as coldly confident as ever but her anxiety was rising, had these people expected better? Had her efforts been satisfactory? Was she a failure, a liability even? Would she leave the room alive? "Then following her death to manage the situation to ensure her legacy led to no lasting difficulties."
"And how would you asses your execution of this task?" Sleer bridled at the question, she was unused to having her performance assessed in anything but the most glowing terms by admiring, almost fawning superiors. for there to be even an implication that her performance might have been anything other than exemplary made the Admiral's hackles rise but then the unease returned, just what was good enough for these people? It had been her first important job for them and though she felt she had done well there were still some loose ends remaining, was only complete success acceptable?
"To use military parlance I would judge the operation as 90% successful. There has been no mass uprisings of the kind feared and we have been very effective in isolating and suppressing or containing the few revolts which have taken place. Loren's chief supporters are either dead, disappeared or squabbling amongst themselves, they talk endlessly but do nothing. Outside a few student campuses and backstreet anarchists the names Kahina Loren and Salomé have been forgotten." Here Sleer allowed herself a brief smile of savage triumph. "She doesn't matter anymore."
"And the other 10%?" The voice asked without inflection.
"Some of her leading followers not only survived but continue to fight in her name, they need to be watched but so far they have been unable to rally significant support to their cause, indeed if my reports are accurate they have been driven from the core worlds altogether."
"Your reports are accurate, I collated them." The figure replied, the words suggesting irritation but the tone as emotionless as ever. "Isaiah Evanson who commanded Loren's personal bodyguard and Stannis Jellicoe former Consul of the Children of Raxxla who also flew with her the night she died. They have allied themselves with a notorious mercenary captain named Phisto Sobanii and a rogue IISS agent named Kari Karenski amongst other malcontents, petty criminals and fanatics. All this you know but what you will not know is that they recently surfaced in Colonia and are already making trouble out there in the name of their dead heroine."
A wave of relief swept over Sleer, she had not been tried and found wanting after all, she was being given a chance to tie up her loose ends, not an easy one but an opportunity to enhance her value to these people.
"Colonia is a long way from my jurisdiction," Sleer began thoughtfully, "and the Federation is very reluctant to be seen interfering in the affairs of the place but with a little time to put plans and people in place I can have the chief troublemakers eliminated."
"We do not want them eliminated." Then figure replied unexpectedly. "You are correct, Loren's legacy has been has been well managed by you and by others, there have been no serious rebellions and her surviving followers are so divided they have even been firing on each other, to the rest of the galaxy she has been forgotten, and we want her to stay forgotten. Evanson, Jellicoe and the rest can shout as much a they want, nobody's listening, even their old allies think they're fanatics and murderers, alive they are a nuisance but kill them, especially all at the same time could arouse suspicion, and potentially risk them becoming a symbol, possibly bringing Loren and her legacy back into the limelight."
"Then what do you want of me?" Sleer asked keeping the puzzlement out of her steely voice.
"At the moment these 'Loren's Reapers as they call themselves are less trouble alive than they risk being dead but that could change, while we have little interest in Colonia so long as it remains a Utopian fantasy of explorers, oddballs and Imperial dissidents we cannot allow it to become a stronghold for revolutionary fanatics rallying around the name of Salomé, so tomorrow you will receive a new posting attached to the Federal Foreign Service ostensibly as an adviser to Neseva on naval matters but your real task will be to observe and obstruct Loren's Reapers, we have people in place, sometimes quite high places out there who will assist you and you will have a budget for hiring muscle, the Reapers have already made a lot of enemies who won't care where the money and ships come from to fight back. Good luck Admiral, I'll be in touch.