Prologue: Election Night
Admittedly, I wasn’t there that night, but I’ve spoken with a lot of people that were, including the man himself. Still a relatively young man at the time, he waited with the rest of his crowd of sycophants and advisers already having bought into the cult of personality even though he had yet to achieve (until later in the evening) any political office at all. It hadn’t really occurred to anyone in the room how rare it was for a human politician to get so far only going by one name. Maybe for a Rodian or a Wookiee, but not for a human. Yet, for reasons that only became clear when I learned the full truth years afterwards, on this first election day he was simply known as Palpatine.
I would talk more about the first opponent of that election, the first man to be publicly defeated by the aspiring and career-minded future Emperor. However, all records of who that individual was, including their name have long since been erased in the Imperial archives. Apparently, there are things that even Grand Vizier of the Galactic Empire cannot be privy to. Suffice it to say that if there was anyone in the room that was uncertain about the outcome of the vote for the open Senate seat for Naboo, it wasn’t Sheev Palpatine. The election was close, of course, to allay any suspicion that the newcomer to politics on this level could win handily, but as always, things had been engineered just with an expert level of precision.
One person who was there noted that the only time anything resembling nervousness or apprehension came across the politician’s face would be when his communicator would indicate he had an incoming message in his private office and he’d excuse himself temporarily. A separate report that I was able to gain after some… encouragement… indicated that someone had seen the fading hologram of a large male Muun that had addressed Palpatine as “apprentice” but those reports can no longer necessarily be considered a canonical part of this story.
It was also known that Palpatine had come from a very prominent family on Naboo, but surprisingly, there were no representatives of the family, immediate or extended, that were present there that evening. Nor did anyone who was there ever remember having met one of these family members, despite the fact that no one would have dared to question Palpatine’s commitment to Republic family values.
One interesting addition to the crowd that evening was a representative, albeit an informal one, of Chancellor Kalpana’s office. Once elected, the new Senator from Naboo would very quickly ingratiate himself to the new Chancellor and become an essential part of his political organization, despite the fact that the party lost power not long after to another in the long dynasty of Valorums to run the Republic, but that would be much later. It was evident, though, that the representative of Chancellor Kalpana did not want to be there on what he considered to be quite the backwater compared to his native Coruscant. However, he very obviously didn’t want to disobey or seem disrespectful of whoever’s orders had sent him to Theed that evening. He knew the role that he played in the larger plan but Palpatine never forgot even the smallest slight.
Either way, as the evening went by and the Alderaanian wine started to flow (with a glass in the hand of everyone but the senator-elect) any worries or doubts completely faded. This would be the first of many celebratory nights for those of us in the inner circle, but I have no doubt that Palpatine that night simply sported that smooth smirk that always indicated he had foreseen all of this.