Fury of the Accountant
A long time ago in a galaxy far,
FURY OF THE ACCOUNTANT
has struck back.
A newly built DEATH STAR
spells the imminent demise of the rebel alliance.
But in the quiet corners of the Empire, a villainous plot to
undermine the Emperor’s new super weapon has been discovered…
Two hundred miles above the largest moon of Endor, a grotesque shape rotated in the dark of space. It was not fully spherical as a good fifteen percent of the outer hull was still under construction and hundreds of internal levels had yet to be formed.
Aboard an imperial shuttle gliding toward the unfinished monstrosity, Chief Accountant-General Fiss Cal seethed through the shielded portal. Work on the second Death Star was supposed to have finished weeks ago, yet the space station was still months from completion. Before the day was out, someone would feel Cal’s ire.
Guided by tractor beams, the shuttle settled in the large landing bay. With a secured briefcase in hand, Cal impatiently rushed down the gangplank before it had fully opened. He leapt the last eighteen inches to the hard metal floor, startling a mouse droid which scurried away with a litany of high-pitched beeps.
A uniformed man stepped toward Cal.
‘Welcome, Chief Accoun-’ he managed before Cal cut him off.
‘Listen, Corporal,’ he said hurriedly, ‘there is a thief here somewhere and I will find them. I intend to use the full power of my authority to punish this vile scum as a lesson to all who would rob from the Empire. Now, take me to the Purser’s Office.’
The corporal blanched under Cal’s tirade. Without another word, he turned and led the Accountant-General from the landing deck and into the depths of the largest vessel ever built. Along the way they passed a formation of stormtroopers hurrying by to some unknown task, an off-duty Imperial Guard rooting in the folds of his red cloak for change for a vending machine, droids of every conceivable size and shape and construction workers grumbling about the cowboys who had been in before them. Finally delivering his charge to his requested destination, the corporal left to hunt down a stiff drink
Cal entered the room. A humanoid droid greeted him.
‘Good afternoon, sir. My name is I8BO, financial-and-filing clerical unit. I am fluent in thousands of book-keeping methods and can quote the duodecimal system to pi decimal places.’
‘But you’re programmable,’ Cal sneered, ‘which means you can be corrupted without even knowing it. Get me the biological purser.’
‘Certainly, sir,’ I8BO answered. If it had been offended by Cal’s comment, it hid it well. But then, metal faces were renowned for their lack of expression.
I8BO tottered to a doorway, paused as it opened with a hiss of air, then disappeared through the portal. Several moments later a thin Toydarian flew into the room, his blue wings flapping incessantly. Cal had never seen a Toydarian off-world of Tatooine, but respected the species’ business acumen and keen shrewdness with credits.
‘Ahh, you are the top-dog accountant, eh?’ the Toydarian asked.
‘Chief Accountant-General,’ Cal said. ‘And you are?’
‘Bleeto. I am the Purser of this bold undertaking. Every purchase order, every invoice, every chargeable service passes through me first. There is not a monetary transaction that takes place onboard that I do not know about. I take my orders directly from Lord Vader.’
Cal smiled, cruelly. The temperature in the room dropped.
‘And I answer only to The Emperor himself,’ he said.
Bleeto’s wings beat faster, the only sign that he had been affected by Cal’s words.
‘Vader? Emperor? We are on the same side, you and I, eh?’
‘Then perhaps you can tell me,’ Cal said through pursed lips, ‘why thousands of galactic credits are bleeding from this pitiful excuse for a space station?’
Eyes widening in shock, Bleeto replied, ‘Missing credits? Nothing is amiss in our ledgers. I look after everything judiciously, eh?’
Cal leaned forward, resting his hands on the counter between them. His eyes narrowed and his voice dropped, his words icy and loaded with menace.
‘Perhaps you know where these missing funds are because you balance the books.’
‘Accuse me of thievery, would you?’ Bleeto’s voice rose. He blinked several times, scratched his drooping snout, then continued in normal tones. ‘I would lodge a complaint but instead suggest we work together, eh? Together we find the culprit. And perhaps the reward?’
‘Yes,’ Cal smiled again, though no more warmly. ‘We will find this culprit. And when I have finished with them, my punishment will be so severe they will wish we had sent them to the spice mines of Kessel instead.’
Placing the case he’d been carrying on the counter, Cal opened it and retrieved a datacard.
‘This contains the money trail. A log of the many, many hours I have spent following credits pass from Empire accounts to shell corporations to false companies to Mandalorian banks. The thief is careful to cover their back, utilising every known form of transaction and always using a different route to siphon a great wealth, but every trail always leads from here to a company called Cisa.’
‘Cisa? I have not heard of this company. Did you investigate them?’
‘Of course,’ Cal snapped. ‘Their records are sealed, hidden behind reams of Imperial red tape.’
‘Imperial? Then it is a governmental body?’
‘Most Imperial offices are known by a three-letter abbreviation,’ Cal said, ‘so it is equally possible that this is a private account disguised as an official department or, far worse, a fake entity set up by a rebel sympathiser. If these missing credits are funding those rebel scum, I could deal a victorious blow by cutting off the source.’
‘End the war with no more blood spilled? That is a fine motive, because corpses do not spend credits. And how can I help achieve this goal, eh?’
‘Every transaction I have discovered,’ Cal replied, tapping the datacard, ‘begins from this station. The access code changes each time, but-’
‘As Purser, I have the log of requests for changes to the access codes. If we find out who has changed their access codes-’
‘I find the thief,’ Cal finished.
Bleeto drifted over to a bank of computers and flicked a switch. Above the counter, a hologram of the Death Star appeared. As the Toydarian worked furiously at the computer panel, the image split apart, zoomed in, rotated, shot to another section of the space station. To one side, an employee record appeared, instantly replaced by another. The records changed so quickly, Cal only saw a blur of faces. On the other side of the ghostly image of the Death Star, records of government departments were displayed.
Cal glared through the transparent images at Bleeto.
‘I already know where the stolen money ends up,’ he said. ‘Do not waste time on searching for clues there.’
‘But a second pair of eyes may help, eh?’
As he flew back to the counter, one of the three rapidly changing images stopped and a quiet beep signalled success. Above a written description which was too blurry to read, the targeted Imperial department was revealed in three glowing letters: C, S and A.
‘Cisa,’ Cal confirmed.
A second beep took their attention to the personnel records. The files had stopped, showing the person who had requested multiple changes to their access code.
‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ Bleeto said and quickly made his escape back through the portal he’d come from.
Behind Cal, the door to the corridor whooshed open. The hairs on his nape stood up at the sound that followed: a grating, machinery driven inhale-exhale of air. Turning from the dark mask of the holographic display, Cal’s eye fell upon the real thing.
‘I find your lack of faith disturbing,’ Darth Vader said over his menacing breathing.
Cal gulped, sweat beading on his upper lip. He had found the identity of the person sluicing credits from the Death Star’s construction and, at the same time, the thief had found him.
‘Why?’ Cal squeaked, his normal composure gone in the face of the Sith Lord. ‘You have no sympathy for the rebel scum, and you certainly don’t need the money.’
Vader stepped forward, silent but for the shudder-inducing inhale-exhale. He raised one gloved hand.
Cal felt his throat tighten but was not sure if it was from fear or the Force.
‘Two years ago, I revealed my true paternity,’ Vader said in his deep, resonating voice.
Cal nodded dumbly. There was nobody in the Empire who had not heard the rumour that Vader was the father of the Luke Skywalker, the hero of the Battle of Yavin. But what would that have to do with the missing credits?
‘Do not underestimate the power,’ Vader explained, ‘of the Child Support Agency.’