she? A Twi’lek?”
Adraas sniffed with contempt, turned away from Malgus, and sipped his wine, the gestures perfectly capturing the Empire’s view of aliens as—at best—second-class sentients. Angral shared that view and had just let Malgus know it.
“She is,” Malgus answered.
“I see,” Angral said.
Adraas placed his wine chalice on Angral’s desk. “An excellent vintage, Darth Angral. But right at the end of its cellar life.”
“I think so, too,” Angral said.
“Let things linger around overlong and they can turn rancid.”
“Agreed,” Angral said.
Malgus missed nothing, but could say nothing.
Adraas snapped his fingers as if he had just remembered something. “Oh! Darth Malgus, I do regret that I had to refuse your woman treatment aboard Steadfast.”
A tic caused Malgus’s left eye to spasm. His fingers sank into the arms of the chair and pierced the leather. “You did what?”
“Priority is to be given to Imperial forces,” Adraas continued. “Human forces. I’m sure you understand.”
Malgus had had enough. To Angral, he said, “What is this? What is happening here?”
“What do you mean?” Angral asked.
“The Twi’lek woman is planetside,” Adraas said, as if no one else had spoken. “I’m sure the care she receives will be … adequate.”
“I mean what is happening here, now, in this room,” Malgus said. “What is your purpose in this, Angral?”
Angral’s expression hardened, and he set down his glass with an audible clink. “My purpose?”
“Who is this woman to you, Darth Malgus?” Adraas pressed. “Her presence at the battle for the Jedi Temple caused you to make mistakes.”
“Passions can lead to mistakes,” Angral said.
“Passions are power,” Malgus said to Angral. “The Sith know this. Warriors know this.” He fixed his gaze on Adraas, and the words came out a