- "You may just miss something that could make your career. Or you could be lucky enough to miss something that could destroy your career."
- ―Orson Krennic
"The Voice of the Empire" is a short story published in Star Wars Insider 170 on December 16, 2016. The story is a tie-in to the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the novel Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel and is written by Mur Lafferty, with art by Jason Chan.
Plot summary[edit | edit source]
On the day of the second annual Empire Day, HoloNet News Editor Mandora Catabe meets with fellow reporter Calliope Drouth to inform Calliope of her immediate retirement. Eridan Wesyse, an obvious Imperial, who is presiding over the meeting is named by Mandora as the successor to the position. Calliope, who has sensed from Mandora the obvious gravity of the situation, is then informed by Eridan, that she will be promoted to Senior Reporter and thus named the "Voice of the Empire." Calliope, who is praised by Eridan for her recent work over a piece covering a Wookiee "threat," knows that the Empire has largely been misconstruing her work by undermining and censoring her reports. Fearful of retribution, and following the subtle hints that Mandora had been conveying during the meeting, Calliope reluctantly accepts the position. She is informed by Eridan that her first report will be that very night - at the Imperial Ball - and that her main objective is to interview dignitaries as well as report on the attire of those attending. Eridan informs her that it will be her duty to give the public and inside view into the Empire, to effectively make it more accessible. Before the meeting is adjourned, Mandora gives Calliope her old recording droid, X-0X, which notably does not transmit live feed, another restriction brought on by the Empire. Calliope, along with the decades old, basic recording droid, sets off for home to find something more suitable to wear.
Once back home and dressed for the oncoming occasion, X-0X (who Calliope now suspects has been modified) now perched on her shoulder, begins to transmit a pre-recorded hologram of her old editor, Mandora. She informs Calliope that the Empire is taking over the Holonet News Network, and that despite all of the obstacles and frustrations that will ensue from continuing to work under an Empire ran news outlet, she needs Calliope to stay. Mandora, who states the options Calliope has, informs her that besides playing it safe with the Empire, her friends could certainly use her talents as a reporter; this option, however, would require a more subversive form of reporting.
That night at the Imperial Ball, with X-0X atop her shoulder, Calliope begins to survey the ball to find anyone who might can give her the leads she needs. She spots a junior diplomat from Alderaan who was sent in place of the Organa's. After a quick exchange at the bar with Pol Treader the diplomat, a high ranking Imperial decorated with a white cape enters the room. Moving over to two officers near the bar, Calliope asks them who had entered and learned that it was none other than Commander Orson Krennic. Learning their names, officer Tifino (who works for Krennic) and officer Ianna Wick. Calliope offers to buy them drinks.
Calliope manages to get the officers talking, intentionally steering the conversation from sensitive topics. Calliope asks the two officers for the their thoughts on the dress of the various dignitaries around the room all the while continuing to fill their drinks as needed. During her small talk with the two officers about transfers, X-0X inexplicably stopped working. Tifino who begins to speak about Krennic, lets slip that the Empire has been very interested in Jedha. Officer Tifino excuses himself, during which time officer Wick confides that she carried Tifino through academy and that she deserved to work for Krennic. Wick tells Calliope that the Empire is interested in some sort of crystals, crystals that Tifino and his team luckily found which earned him a promotion.
After Tifino returned, X-0X fell to the floor after temporarily coming to and was picked up by none other than Orson Krennic. Engaging Commander Krennic in conversation, Calliope informs Krennic that the old droid is simply kept around for nostalgia. Realizing the droid is broken Krennic offers to repair the droid as he knows some technicians who would be right for the job. To not make matters worse, Calliope doesn't make an argument to the offer and instead urges Wick to speak to Krennic about a possible promotion. Seizing the opportunity, officer Wick begins to make her claim that she would be valuable as a scout to Krennic's team. During this time X-0X comes back to life, with Krennic distracted Calliope takes the droid and disappears to continue her report on the ball.
Later, as Calliope finishes her report on the the Imperial Ball via camera broadcast, she is praised by Eridan, now her editor, for her revisions to the script, remarking that he would have liked to have seen more interviews. Noting that X-0X malfunctioned during the ball, Calliope reflects on the broadcast. Her hands positions and the specific words she used during the transmission had been simple code to be deciphered by subversives watching. All of it had been information to convey the importance of the Empire's interest in Jedha. Calliope had chosen to work behind the scenes against the Empire. Keeping in mind that as long as she did her job right, no one would know her work.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
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