Grand Moff Tarkin was in a frenzy. “Does no one know how to stop that abominable noise?” he screamed. The war sirens continued to blare within the Death Star several hours after it had fired its lasers, destroying the planet Scariff and its Imperial Data Centers. Admiral Orson Krennick, Director of the Death Star, had been on that planet when it was destroyed. Tarkin had seen to that.
Despite being a shrewd strategist, Tarkin hadn’t thought very far ahead when he had sent his political rival to die on Scariff. After all, Admiral Krennick knew the Death Star as well as anyone could. He had known every exhaust port, every sanitation bay, every Korthropian arc furnace. He was, in the end though, a threat to Tarkin’s political aspirations and had to be dealt with accordingly.
The wail of the sirens continued. “So we have no idea how to shut these things off?” Tarkin said in a panic. “What’s this button do?”
Tarkin pushed a cool green button. The sirens increased in volume for some reason.
Several Imperial officers in the Command Center shrugged. Some avoided eye contact. “Sir,” one portly officer shouted. “Admiral Krennick was really the only one who knew the controls. He wouldn’t let anyone else even look at the manual.”
“So we have no idea how to operate this thing?”
“Afraid not, sir. Not without the manual.”
“Well where is this manual?” Tarkin demanded.
“There was an electronic copy of it on Scariff.”
“Of course there was,” Tarkin ruled his eyes. “There isn’t a hard copy somewhere?”
The officer swallowed. “Sir, as you can imagine an operating manual for an entire moon-sized battle station would be impractical to have in a binder. I believe it was over 730,000 pages long.”
“Didn’t you fools think that having a paper copy available would be helpful in situations like this?
“Situations where we intentionally blow up our own data centers, sir?”
Tarkin’s eyes darted around the room. “Yes.”
“No sir. We hadn’t planned for that,” the officer explained. “We did want to print it initially.”
“And why did you imbeciles decide against that?”
“Well, you had sent that e-mail out a while ago that said that since supply costs were getting high we really shouldn’t be using as much printer paper or ink while on base.”
Tarkin gave a quick snort and his eyes again scanned the room. Several of the officers seemed skeptical. “That…that doesn’t sound like something I’d say.”
“I can pull up the e-mail if you’d like sir,” the officer continued.
“That won’t be necessary.”
The portly officer scrolled through his tablet. “Here it is, 10 days ago from GrandMoffTarkin@Imperial.gov. ‘Great job getting the Death Star ready you guys. We did run over budget for the build so as a cost saving measure we’re trying to save some paper and ink. Please refrain from printing if at all possible,’ signed Grand Moff Tarkin.”
Tarkin, now the second highest ranking official in the Imperial Army, scanned the room one last time. He looked back at the two blue-cloaked Senate Guards that flanked him. The blank visors on their helmets looked back cold and emotionless.
“Kill this man.”