Continuing the character study theme I plan to do on a roughly weekly basis, this week we have Ardus Kaine, the Grand Moff of Oversector Outer and the founder of the Pentastar Alignment of Powers.
Ardus Kaine was born the son of a humanocentric father who kept pressing Kaine to excel in life but also instilling in him a sense of inadequacy and fear of failure that would paralyze him with indecision throughout his life. Kaine was devoted to the New Order and became one of it's most ardent Moffs but not it's humanocentric policies at heart, rather because he felt his father would have wanted him to do so. While he bore no love for aliens he didn't despise them either. He was a confidant of Emperor Palpatine and in many ways Kaine came to see Palpatine as a replacement father figure and hero. He also disdained many of the seedier variety of the Court, personally becoming a lifelong enemy of Ennix Devian, one of the Emperor's assassins. Kaine seemed destined to become a center of power on Coruscant. Then came the death of Tarkin and Kaine was given Tarkin's old position of Grand Moff of Oversector Outer. While this was a promotion and gave Kaine control of the largest territorial region in the Empire, he saw it as a punishment and rebuke. He saw it as exile from the true centers of power- Coruscant and the Emperor. Kaine stewed over this and ruthlessly put down rebellions in the Outer Rim with such cold efficiency that he soon became more feared in his locales than Vader and the Emperor. He also used his position to pull corporations to the New Territories and many business contracts by granting tax breaks to any that did. Kaine turned the New Territories from a backwater into an economic powerhouse in little more than four years. He was to lead the attack to blockade Mon Calamari after the Rebels were crushed at Endor in preparation for the DSII's annihilation of that world. However at the staging area for the assault Kaine received word that Palpatine and vader had been killed and the Empire was rudderless. He saw an opportunity here.
This was where Kaine made a fateful decision that was to have long ranging consequences beyond his imagination. He decided to abandon the attack on Mon Cal and to pull ALL his forces to Entralla and the New Territories under the pretense of awaiting a clear chain of command and pulling back from an 'indefensible' amount of territory due to size. This decision directly led to many worlds with Rebel leanings in the outer Rim to declare for the NR, it also opened Mon Cal to the NR lanes fully and gave a much needed respite to the badly mauled rebel forces after Endor. In short Kaine's decision to fall back likely saved the Rebellion when it was badly weakened and gave it strength to boot with new worlds. In addition his defiance of the Ruling Council showed that any commander with sufficient local strength could ignore commands from Imperial Center and get away with it, this example led to Delvardus going rogue from kaine and a whole host of Imperial Commanders in the Outer Rim forming their own little Kingdoms after Kaine withdrew further weakening the central Empire.
Kaine however saw the Empire itself as doomed and planned to create an improved version in the New Territories that would be a condensed version of the Empire that would thrive on business while keeping a massive military as a deterrent to outside interference. he quickly gathered five of the most powerful corporations in the region and fourteen of the Moffs to sign the Pentastar Alignment into effect. This would insure they all kept their power and profits under Kaine's protection from outside influence while they would in turn support his military and economy in a new state. Since a majority of the forces from Oversector Outer had followed him to the New Territories Kaine held the largest personal fleet and force of all the Warlords in a condensed state of 14 sectors that all had strong Imperial leanings and populations. In short kaine had created the most stable and sustainable Kingdom of all the Warlords. Kaine also invited many prominent figures to his new Kingdom, Jerec and many of his Dark Jedi came as inquestors, Grand Admiral Grant joined the PA in an unofficial advisory role. Kaine also put in a policy of non intervention in the galaxy's affairs outside the Alignment's borders. In this way he felt the other Warlords would bleed themselves white fighting each other and the NR while his state would only grow stronger with time. It was in this that kaine really hit his stride, he was an administrator and improved on the old system. He created a streamlined governmental system divided into five parts. Politorate, insurrection, Judgement, Protectorate and the Pentastar Patrol all handling their own departments while answering to him.He allowed near humans and some non humans to serve in the PA Enforcers, bolstering his forces while also giving non humans a stake in the PA. He allowed corporations to runt heir own affairs and ethics so long as they were loyal which gave them incentive to keep his regime going and finally he ensured peace and stability in his regions instead of the endless war promised by the Warlords making his faction seem extremely appealing to imperial refugees.
This is however when kaine's indecision began to surface again and became his dominant policy, while he did fund Jerec's quest for the valley of the jedi likely as a deterrent against a revived Jedi Order, he stopped short of providing the Inquisitor any real forces to assist him overtly and when Jerec died he was simply replaced by a weaker Darksider and the policy of waiting continued. Delvardus was defeated and fled to the deep core, the NR closed on the Core and Imperial Center and still Kaine did nothing. Kaine was seen by many of his followers as the natural savior of the Empire and a possible next Emperor, but Kaine wasted this by declaring he would not ever be an Emperor and was content with his position currently as head of the Alignment. He refused to assist the imperial Forces outside his borders, he didn't come to Imperial Center's aid when it as under Rebel attack-when if he had he would have been given the mandate with Isard more or less deposed and he reaffirmed that his only policy was one of preparation rather than intervention citing the Empire as doomed. This was the final straw for Grand Admiral Grant who felt that Kaine would NEVER act and so defected to the now ascendant NR. The Alignment slipped to second place among the Warlords when Warlord Zsinj absorbed much of the IR after Isard's loss of Coruscant and Thyferra. Then Zsinj died, his Empire dissolved, Teradoc lost most of his Empire and fled to the deep core, the IR lost more and more territory and the NR was practically on the Alignments doorstep, yet still Kaine refused to act. In truth Kaine was afraid, though he wouldn't admit it to anyone, even himself. He had created the PA and was it's Emperor in fact if not in name, yet he was deathly afraid of losing what he had built, within the Alignment he was absolute, even if he had to constantly guard against his corporate allies discontent with him. If he gambled that on the outside he could lose everything, and Kaine simply wasn't willing to risk that, claiming he was only a steward of the Imperial ideal and would not commit his forces to anyone unworthy- in short an excuse to bide time indefinitely. Kaine did allow non humans to serve in the PA Enforcers
This was when Thrawn returned and with only a few ISDs began to play havoc on the NR forces for a year with hit and runs, rebuilding morale and showing that the NR could be bested in battle. Thrawn became massively popular in the rank and file of the military. Kaine began to fear a coup so to head that off he joined his cause to Thrawn's claiming to fully support him in his supply needs under the name of a temporary confederacy. Thrawn's campaign was a wildly successful event in Imperial history with very few casualties for much gain, Kaine was even preparing to bring in the Reaper to assist at Bilbringi and no doubt reclaim his mantle as Thrawn's and the Empire's savior with a crushing victory there when news came of Thrawn's death and Kaine again wasted an invaluable opportunity to seize a victory. Rather than attacking bilbringi and defeating the wounded NR fleet there and saving the valuable Imperial Shipyard, Kaine instead saw Thrawn's death and defeat as vindication that he should not sally forth. If even Thrawn with his advantage had failed and died at the height of his power, Kaine could also die and lose everything and so the Grand Moff waited again. However a mysterious commander appeared to summon all the Warlords together into a coalition to retake Coruscant. With the Deep Core forces mobilizing to their fullest Kaine stayed locked in his Alignment as the Imperial Forces dove into full scale civil war, this was when Palpatine revealed he had returned and demanded Kaine pledge fealty to him. Kaine who had pledged his whole term as PA head of state to be Palpatine's steward was now forced to prove it and launched a campaign from the Outer Rim in a drive to the core. In a dozen victories Kaine steamrolled over the NR opposition all the way to the core in a startlingly effortless series of successes. For all intents and purposes the NR had ceased to exist, driven from control and massively reduced with the Imperial coalition recovering vast swaths of territory they now sought out the various pockets of resistance that had been left isolated in their lightning advance. It was in this moment of seeming triumph that Kaine was at his most vulnerable, he was outside his alignment and surrounded by fellow Imperials that hated him as much as any rebel did. One of these helped a NR deception to kill the Grand Moff, after learning that the NR had persuaded Grand Admiral Grant to feign wanting to return and assist Kaine by meeting him over Palahni without forces as Grant wanted to be sure he wouldn't be killed by Imperials for his past defection, Ennix Devian leaked information about Kaine's exact itinerary and shuttle to the NR so they could tailor their attack to succeed without issue. Ironically, in the end Grand Moff Ardus Kaine, the eternally cautious and meticulously untouchable leader of the largest Imperial faction left standing at this point was killed alone in a lambda shuttle by NR E Wings of Apha Blue because for the first time in his life he acted instead of waiting.
Kaine was a brilliant statesman, a calculating tactician and strategist who ironically saved the Empire he abandoned with his legacy in the end but he was a woefully indecisive man and his early actions did lasting damage to the Empire as a whole.