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quavering voice came from the intercom speaker. "We would ask you to cease your bombardment of Ukio while we discuss terms for surrender."

"My terms are quite simple," Thrawn said. "You will begin by lowering your planetary shield and allowing my forces to land. They will be given control of the shield generators themselves and of all ground-to-space weaponry. All fighting vehicles larger than command speeders will be moved to designated military bases and turned over to Imperial control. Though you will, of course, be ultimately answerable to the Empire, your political and social systems will remain under your control. Provided your people behave themselves, of course."

"And once these changes have been implemented?"

"Then you will be part of the Empire, with all the rights and duties that implies."

"There will be no war-level tax levies?" dosLla asked suspiciously. "No forced conscription of our young people?"

Pellaeon could imagine Thrawn's grim smile. No, the Empire would never need to bother with forced conscription again. Not with the Emperor's collection of Spaarti cloning cylinders in their hands.

"No, to your second question; a qualified no to your first," Thrawn told the Ukian. "As you are obviously aware, most Imperial worlds are currently under war-status taxation levels. However, there are exceptions, and it is likely that your share of the war effort will come directly from your extensive food production and processing facilities." There was a long pause from the other end. DosLla was no fool, Pellaeon realized—the Ukian knew full well what Thrawn had in mind for his world. First it would be direct Imperial control of the ground/space defenses, then direct control of the food distribution system, the processing facilities, and the vast farming
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