Jagged Antilles - May 20, 2010 11:06 PM (GMT)
Elsewhere in the system…
With just the slightest amount of pressure Jag depressed the hand-sized control pad on the arm of his chair and the engines hummed to life with a purr rather than a roar. Everything about this alien ship was subtle and refined and Jag should have been very pleased that he now had a functional ship instead of the wreck of a 302 he’d barely managed to not crash land on this planet.
Yeah, just great…except for one little thing. Too bad the Ancients or Celestials or whoever they were didn’t think to put a hyperdrive engine in these ships.
Jag pressed down on the control pad with his fingers, the engines went offline and he sat back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. He’d promised Kiera he’d get back as soon as he could and as soon as he could was looking more and more like a pretty long time from now. He had enough data from the 302 to know his blind jump had put him far into the Rishi Maze. And though it was only a dwarf galaxy that was big enough to make a journey on sublights a long slow one. He was a long ways from Reesh. He wouldn’t be an old man by the time he got there in this ship, but he would be a mature one.
Jag sat there for a couple more minutes feeling a little despondent and then he jumped out of the pilot’s chair and exited the ship.
“Spectre!” He yelled. “Where the blazes are you? We need to get the com array working so we can contact Reesh to come and get us.”
“I’m busy!” The droid fired back from somewhere below and that snapped Jag’s patience in two.
“Unless you want to be obsolete by the time we get to anything approximating civilization, you’ll get your metal can up here!”
Spectre was a droid and as such could process and correlate faster than any sentient brain could ever hope to. Moreover, despite the personality he regularly manifested he was programmed to serve his master and right now the data was telling him that his customary personality was not in his master’s best interests. There was no doubt about it; three months frustrated isolation on this outpost was having a deleterious effect on Jagged’s personality. The sooner Spectre got him out of here and reunited with Kiera (who had a definite positive effect on Jagged’s personality) the better. Abandoning the console he’d plugged himself into, Spectre rolled out into the middle of the control room and projected his voice upwards.
“I can either come up there and help you fix the com array or you can come down here and I’ll show you how to get back to Reesh in what in my estimation would be a few seconds.”
Dead silence, followed by the sound of approaching footsteps.
“Coming down now.”
“Are you saying this is a network of Infinity gates within the Rishi Maze?” Jag asked as he stared at the display Spectre had pulled up on the computer.
“Yes. Apparently they used these ships to travel between gates.”
“That’s why they only have sublight engines.” Jag mused. “They didn’t need FTL drives on all their ships. They only needed one – Destiny.” Jag peered more closely at the script on the screen and frowned. He still couldn’t really read any of this with anything approaching proficiency. “Spectre, what does this say?”
“There are codes here, Jag, for all the gates. I’ve isolated the main gate on Reesh.” The droid replied. “We could activate it and just walk through, but I think it would be a lot more fun to fly back.”
Jag turned to his droid with a grin in place. “Oh, I absolutely agree.” He looked up through the opening to the hanger bays. “They dropped them down through there and then it was just a fast cruise through a wormhole; ingenious.”
“Jag, could we maybe admire their ingenuity from Reesh?”
Alex Skywalker - May 20, 2010 11:08 PM (GMT)
Alex Skywalker had just disconnected from his holocom call with Nial Barris and was already sensing the rising alarm emanating from somewhere inside headquarters when his comlink chimed. Snatching it up he answered with a terse, “Skywalker here.”
“Grandmaster, the Infinity gate in the main control room just activated by itself.” A tense paladin voice informed him.
“On my way.”
“Any explanation?” Alex Skywalker asked Kol Keshyr, the lead Paladin scientist on the Infinity Gate project. Together they watched the event horizon of the wormhole form up.
“Someone somewhere dialed the correct access code to open our gate. Not only that, they shut down the shield and we can’t override and put the shield up. Since the only known gates outside the Maze no longer exist, my best guess is that this is coming from inside the Maze.” Kol explained.
“Which means this isn’t the GA.” Alex remarked. “The question remains though is this friend or foe?” Alex looked back over his shoulder at the line of Jedi forming up.
All eyes were riveted on the gate, Paladins with lightsabers in hand were not tense, but they were ready for whatever was about to walk through the gate. And that’s just what they expected, beings or machines to come walking through. What they didn’t expect was a sleek cylinder of a ship flying through and hovering over them. Alex Skywalker looked up into the ship’s cockpit and just shook his head.
“Stand down.” He ordered his Paladins and managed to not quite glare at Jag. Jag grinned back and pointed upward as his ship rose.
Beside Alex, Kol Keshyr’s gaze followed the ship. “Well that answers that. I rather suspected something like this.”
“You did. And you never thought to mention it to me.” Alex was beginning to really understand why the grandmasters he’d known seemed to have such a limited supply of patience. Kol just spread his arms and shrugged.
“No ships, no codes. It was only a theory. Wonder where he got the ships and the codes.”
“Why don’t we go find out.”
Jagged Antilles - May 21, 2010 12:54 AM (GMT)
Jag was not one to show how relieved he felt, but then he remembered he was in the presence of a Jedi grandmaster and gave it up as a lost cause. Still he was one for putting up a certain bravado.
“Kiera around?” He asked as he exited the “gate jumper”, practically walking straight into Alex Skywalker’s arms. Evidently it was exactly the right thing to say for Alex’s annoyance dissipated.
“I’m sorry, Jag, she’s away on a mission.” The grandmaster replied and almost shifted his feet in guilt. “In fact, she’s not in the Maze at the moment.”
“She’s not off in that little delta of hers, is she?” Jag asked, and that did evoke the hint of a guilty shift.
“Noooo.” Alex strung out the word. “She’s off in the Phoenix.”
“Great, just great. I nearly get killed, do get stranded and what do I find when I finally manage to rescue myself? My girl and my ship are both gone.” He plaintively hung his head, then looked up at Alex. “So, what’s for dinner? I’m starving. I’ve been eating rations left over from the Mandolorian Wars for the last three months – and I don’t mean the recent Mandolorian Wars either. And Spectre really needs an oil bath.”
“You’ve already talked to Kiera.” Alex wearily replied. There were days…
“OF course I’ve already talked to Kiera. I knew I only had one shot at a com call. You didn’t think I was going to waste it on you, did you?”
Reminding himself that Jag was not a Paladin but had more than proved himself to the Paladin Order, Alex smiled. “I wouldn’t expect anything less. Come on and let’s find you a decent meal. And just to show you how grateful I am for your timely return I’m going to allow you to accompany me on an important mission.”
“You’re not serious, are you?”
“Oh, I’m very serious. I think you’re just the man I need when I go parlay with Saul the Hutt.”
As he trailed Alex Skywalker out of the hanger bay, Jag reminded himself to never again try and one-up a Jedi grandmaster. It just didn’t pay.
Daniel Solo - July 1, 2010 09:23 PM (GMT)
Daniel Solo had no friends. He had little family interaction at all. In short, he had become a loner and liked it that way. It had been just over three months since the death of his estranged brother Daven, and Daniel had reacted in a way that had distanced himself from his family and friends. Daniel had always been to himself, having spent years undercover as a Jedi during the Mandalorian Wars, and upon his brother's death during the attack on the Jedi Temple, Daniel's isolation was complete.
People grieved differently, and Daniel knew it was hard to reconcile with people who grieved in a way you could not accept. While Daniel had become depressive and angry, Jena had begun her path of acceptance, and that was something Daniel could not respect or understand. How could she just...move on? Daven deserved better than that. Alex Skywalker had been too busy to grieve with the split of the Jedi Order and now the Civil War, and that was also something Daniel took issue with.
With three months gone, Daniel had become slightly more open to other people's reactions to Daven's death, as well as his alleged killing of Grand Master Ahdar Grae, which started this whole mess. However, he wasn't willing to forgive and forget, nor did he think he could. He had said some terrible things to his family, had few friends to begin with before he closed himself off in his quarters, and had done little to help in the war against the Galactic Alliance.
Throughout his time on Reesh, Daniel had spent most of his time in his quarters dwelling and studying various aspects of the Galaxy. Most importantly, Daniel had spent countless hours going over the events that shaped his life in his head. His parents' deaths, the murder of Ziara Skywalker and Sarin Mehn on Hapes, and then the deaths of Ahdar Grae and Daven Solo. The events all seemed linked to him, to the point where he believed it was all orchestrated.
His vision just before the attack on Reesh three months ago of a very much alive but evil Daven had greatly added to his paranoia. Daniel would often crash when he thought about some of his conspiracies- that Daven was alive, that Ahdar Grae was alive, that someone, somewhere was covering up something. Mandalorians. Sith. Loyalists. Daniel didn't know nor care. As long as it meant Daven alive or trigger some outcome to end this war that was tearing apart the life Daniel had grown up in.
In his isolation, Daniel had become restless and decided after three months that it was his time to do something. He knew he couldn't face his fellow Jedi, couldn't throw himself into the war lightsaber in hand. It, first of all, had never been his style. He much preferred helping from behind the scenes. But he also couldn't deal with the beings who had either known Daven, or were there when he died.
And so as Daniel exited his quarters near midnight, he walked purposefully and with a brisk pace to the Jedi Council Chambers, where Alex Skywalker was waiting for him. He had contacted Alex via comlink a few hours previously, to set up the meeting. His uncle had been surprised to hear from Daniel after his nephew had ignored any attempts, whether by comm or personal visit, to reconcile their family.
Daniel was dressed in a simple dark tunic, his hair tousled and he hadn't shaved in months. Alex smiled, rather awkwardly, as Daniel entered the Chambers, and rose from his seat and outstretched his arms to signal a hug. Daniel walked awkwardly up to Alex and hugged him briefly, but the small gesture seemed to brighten up Alex, who had a lively look in his eye.
This saddened Daniel, for he knew his uncle was thinking this would lead to his long awaited reconcile. And Daniel knew he was only going to have to disappoint him. "Hi, Master Skywalker."
"Please Daniel, no need for titles," Alex said and sat back down in his chair, then motioning for Daniel to do the same. "I'm your uncle. Not your master."
Daniel accepted the seat and sat down to Alex's right and said, "Ok, Uncle. It is...good, to see you again."
"With both of us living in the same temple, it is rather sad that we haven't seen each other in a while," Alex said slowly, carefully. "Especially with everything that has happened. We need to stand together."
Daniel paused, not responding right away. He wanted desparatly to leave. He couldn't talk about this. Finally, he breathed deeply and said, "I didn't come here for that. I have a mission I'd like you to sanction for me."
Alex seemed genuinly surprised, "A mission?"
"Daven is alive, and I know it," Daniel said, and when Alex's face contorted into a 'knowing parent' look, he said quickly, "I do not care if you don't believe me. I had a vision where my brother was alive. I believe there has been a cover up. Everything that has happened in the past four months...it's been almost storybook. You cannot deny that. I want to go search for him and I need you to sanction my leave."
This time it was Alex's turn to pause. Finally, after a few moments, he said, "Daniel, your brother is dead. We can't bring him back. There is no point in this. We need you here."
"I can't stay here. Not when I have this sinking suspicion that Daven is alive, albeit in trouble. I need this, for him, for me. Uncle- please. I'm not asking you to believe me, I'm asking you to trust me. To understand me," Daniel said.
Alex frowned, clearly in thought. Finally, he placed his left hand on Daniel's shoulder and looked him in the eyes. "I trust that you believe your brother is alive. I also trust you to not waste your time, even in this fragile state you are in. And I also trust that you need this...journey, to help you heal. So yes, you have my permission to leave for this mission. I'll sanction it."
Daniel smiled, and both uncle and nephew stared awkwardly at each other. Daniel broke the silence by saying, "Thank you...for understanding. I'm going to go now."
"Ok, if you must, "Alex said. Daniel rose to leave and Alex said as he was leaving, "Oh, and Daniel. Be careful and may the Force be with you. I love you."
Daniel took this in and said, "May the Force be with you as well. Good-bye."
Jagged Antilles - October 4, 2010 06:54 PM (GMT)
"She's finally coming around."ť Frau Kloryn motioned for Jag to step in and take her place a Kiera's bedside. Kiera looked up at him, confused and befuddled.
"Hello, Sweetheart."ť Jag spoke softly. "How are you feeling?"ť
Kiera looked around, trying to get her bearings. Her mind was so foggy and clouded. "What happened?"
"You went EV over Taanab."ť Jag explained.
"Taanab? Oh yes, I remember Taanab." Kiera's voice trailed away in confusion. Events were so jumbled up in her mind. "How long have I been out of things?"ť
"About a week." Jag replied. "You were pretty banged up; head injury, some broken bones. Master Kloryn put you in a deep healing trance. You're all healed up now." He sat down on the bed facing Kiera and took her hand. "What's wrong?"
Instead of answering him, Kiera pressed her other hand to her abdomen as if searching inward. A fleeting look of pain crossed her face.
"Jag, this may sound a little crazy, but did you disappear during the Rishi Maze battle, get lost in the Maze for awhile?"
Jag had no idea where Kiera was going with this but with a reassuring nod from the Jedi healer he answered her truthfully.
"It got a little hairy during that battle, but I was right by your side for every minute of it. Don't you remember the two of us landing in Destiny's hanger bay?"
Evidently she didn't, but judging by her expression Kiera was trying to sort things out. "I had the strangest dream." She murmured.
Master Kloryn bent down and touched Kiera's forehead. With the master's touch Kiera's face smoothed out. "You had a head injury; coupled with a deep healing trance, I not surprised you've had some strange dreams. Things will right themselves soon enough." The healer reassured her. "A few more days' rest and you'll be fine. Now I think I will leave the two of you alone."
Jag and Kiera watched the healer leave and then Jag turned back to Kiera. "Tell me about your dream."ť He said.
After a moment Kiera began to talk. She told Jag the whole strange dream episode. Telling him seemed to divest her of the emotions she'd felt over something that had never happened. But still her expression was a little sad when all was said and done. Jag leaned forward, kissed her and pressed his cheek against hers.
"We'll have a baby, someday, when it's right. I promise. But first things first."
"First we need to give him or her a better galaxy to live in." Kiera agreed. Then her arms went around her husband and she held him close to her. She'd only lost him in her dreams, but that was enough.
Kiera Antilles - October 5, 2010 03:18 AM (GMT)
As Kiera yawned and stretched Jag came out of the refresher, crossed over to the window and changed the privacy curtain setting to "see out", filtering in the early morning light. As always the view from the quarters uplifted Kiera. It was just so beautiful on this pristine planet. She was glad that Frau Kloryn had consented to her leaving the infirmary for the privacy of their room, and she was dutifully resting as ordered. More than the healer knew, Kiera herself realized she needed that rest. But as much as she could hide from a Jedi healer, she couldn't hide from her husband. For someone who had zero Force sensitivity he read her like a holobook. He was looking at her now, frowning.
"You've got that look on your face again." Jag sighed. "You really don't remember anything from the Battle over Reesh to coming out of the healing trance, do you?"
"No, not really." Kiera admitted. "And I'm not sure that what's real isn't jumbled together with the dream. Did we go to Corellia?"
"Yes, but it's just as well you don't remember that part." Jag was back to frowning.
"Okay." Kiera said as she slid out of bed and headed for the refresher and the real, steamy, running-water shower.
"By the way, I have an idea for when you're a little stronger. I'm going to pitch it to Skywalker when he returns." Jag said.
"What is it?" Kiera called over the noise of the shower.
"I'll give you a hint; infinity gate."
Raza Sebatyne - October 16, 2010 01:24 PM (GMT)
On board the Destiny, safely floating through space above Rishi, Raza was uncomfortably sitting in a chair not designed for species with a tail. Raza never much liked sitting to begin with, but this was truly trying his patience, and for a Jedi, that was something.
Then the door to the room opened with a swoosh as the diagonally split doors instantaneously receded into the walls. Master Alex Skywalker walked in looking somewhat tired, no doubt having stayed up late to go over the recent reports of the war. However, the resilient Jedi Master still found the energy and resolve to break a smile to those in the room.
"Sorry to keep you waiting."
Raza flicked his tongue and blinked his slitted eyes. Hopefully this wouldn't take long. Tula was waiting for him in his den...room...and it had been quite some time since the two had been able to share some time alone, no small feat with a brood of eighteen hatchlings.
"So Jag, please enlighten us on this idea you've had. I believe Kiera mentioned infinity gates."
Raza's eyes narrowed as he turned his attention toward Jag and Kiera, both of whom were also sitting down at the meeting table. Meanwhile his brain flickered like a bee hive that had just been hit with a stick. Slowly thoughts began wandering out to probe for the knowledge he was seeking for.
Infinity gates...ahhh, yes.
One of the bees stung the memory and now the swarm was on as the memory flooded back to him. Infinity gates were an ancient invention that allowed instantaneous travel between two points, both requiring a gate. He couldn't remember the name of the species that invented them, but he was fairly certainly they started with a 'K'. Regardless, he recalled that they ended up in a war with the Gree who had developed a similar technology. Eventually the Rakatan Empire came along and conquered the 'K', and the infinity gates were more or less lost afterwards. Even the Gree lost their gates due to conflicts and turmoils within their own empire.
And so, another great technology was lost.
Until perhaps now.
Raza listened carefully.
Jagged Antilles - October 17, 2010 04:52 PM (GMT)
“We really need to go planet-side to thoroughly explain. Some demonstration is required.” Jag answered Alex Skywalker.
Alex rose and followed the Antilles couple, noting that Raza was tagging along. When they got to where the corridor forked off in two different directions, Jag and Kiera turned to go right while Alex turned to go left.
“Where are you going?” He asked. “The hangers are this way.”
“The gateroom is this way.” Jag replied.
Alex Skywalker frowned slightly and shrugged it off. “Very well, but I think I’ll take my fighter down to Reesh. I’ll meet you…?”
“In the gateroom at Paladin headquarters.” Jag’s tone was carefully bland. Kiera was suddenly interested in some Celestial design on the wall above Alex Skywalker’s head. She was staring at it as if the fate of the galaxy depended on her deciphering it.
“Thiz one will accompany Jag and Kiera through the gate.” Raza’s tail gave a single thump as his eyes slitted with anticipation.
“I’ll meet you there then.” Alex agreed.
“We’ll be waiting.” Jag couldn’t resist a parting shot.
Raza Sebatyne - October 25, 2010 01:25 PM (GMT)
Raza couldn't help from bubbling with laughter as they walked down the corridor toward the gateway and out of ear shot of the Paladin Grandmaster. "Thiz one findz it rather funny that the leader of Paladin Jedi iz afraid of going through an infinity portal." A long string of sissing laughter followed.
Jag smiled and cocked his head. "I didn't know Jedi Masters feared anything."
Raza bobbed his head. "Oh yez, they do indeed. Don't let them fool you with their fear leadz to the darkside rhetoric. There are some thingz that are innately fuzed into uz from hatching- I mean birth. Some beingz are afraid of small places, some going through dimensional warping tunnelz, otherz spiderz-"
Jag shivered. "Don't even mention those."
A big smile ripped across the Barabel's face. "See? Everyone has fearz. It'z only logical to fear a eight legged furry fanged creature with multiple beady black eyez scurrying toward you..."
"Stop!" Jag cried.
Raza just sissed uncontrollably, tail thumping as they continued toward the portal.
Jag threw a wicked glance back at the Barabel. "It's not wise to upset the person who controls whether your tail will make it through the gate intact."
Unphased, Raza shot back, "Thousandz of creeping little-"
"Okay okay! I give up. Tail stays."
Standing before the gateway now, Raza thumped his tail in triumph. He looked up at the odd ring standing in the air covered in strange Celestial markings. "So Kiera, how does it feel going through?"
Jag looked up as he was beginning to manipulate the controls. "Not really a big difference. Nothing worse than flying a starfighter in maneuvers."
Raza let one eye linger on Jag while he looked over at Kiera. "That'z why I'm asking Kiera. Thiz one doez not much care for flying inzane pilot maneuverz."
Kiera Antilles - November 3, 2010 04:59 PM (GMT)
Kiera laughed, not at Raza’s twisting Jag over his spider fears but for being a starfighter jockey. She kind of had the same opinion about Jag’s tactics. She thought some of his maneuvers bordered on the insane – and she just wasn’t a pilot at heart; not a combat one at any rate.
“Master Raza, it’s nothing.” Kiera reassured the barabel. “You step through the gate, and in seconds you step through the destination gate. Of course, you are going to be demolecularized, transported through a wormhole and rematerialized on the other side – but you won’t feel a thing.”
Raza’s expression didn’t change an iota, although his tail gave an involuntarily twitch. In the best interests of preserving her arm Kiera refrained from touching the Barabel, but she did smile at him as she said in a sweetly benign voice. “Knowing Jag however I’m sure there’ll be some kind of ship involved.”
Just as Kiera said, there was a ship involved. Master Kol Keshyr was busy extolling its virtues to Alex Skywalker, actually walking around the thing and patting it like a favorite child every so often. Alex wore a bemused expression and wondered about his choice of master for the infinity gate research. Kol was definitely attached.
“…and we fitted it with the crystal interface.” Kol proudly finished up.
“Did you give it a name too?” Alex asked. Kol totally missed the mild sarcasm.
“Ilum Bond II. That wasn’t my choice, but there are plenty of other ships to name.”
Alex rolled his eyes, but not so Kol could see him. “So let me get this straight: you think this ship was designed to travel through the infinity gates.”
“We know it was.” Kol replied as he crossed over to the gate control console and punched in a series of commands. What scrolled up was gibberish to Alex, but he had no doubt Kol knew exactly what it was and would soon enlighten him.
“Gate addresses; viable gate addresses. We sent probe droids…but so far we haven’t sent a team.”
Ah, so that’s what this was all about. Alex turned to face Jag and Kiera and say absolutely not, but then he saw the look on Kiera’s face, sensed what she was feeling and he couldn’t do it. She was not a warrior and she would never be one. To force her in a direction so diametrically opposed to her path was not only wrong, it was callous. And it could be disastrously harmful. What exactly her path was, Alex didn’t know, but he had to let her find it. Besides she had discovered Destiny, Sanctuary and this infinity gate. If that wasn’t a sign, Alex didn’t know what was. Who was he to go against the Force?
And where Kiera went, Jag went.
“Alright, I’ll sign off on this, but I don’t want the two of you just disappearing. Work something out with Master Keshyr; a viable arrangement. You’re military, Jag, you know what I mean.”
Jag nodded and then broke into a grin, and it came to Alex that Jag really didn’t want any part of another war either. As time passed Alex wondered less and less about the strange connection between Jag and Kiera; a connection that shouldn’t exist but did. It was what it was.
On that philosophical note, Alex made to depart and turn his attention to the little problem of being at war with the GA (and now he was losing two good personal he could sorely afford to lose). He gestured for Raza to join him and found his fellow council member staring raptly at the gate ship.
With a sinking feeling, Alex knew he was going to lose not two but three compatriots.
Raza Sebatyne - November 4, 2010 06:02 PM (GMT)
Raza sensed the Grandmasters trepidation. "Thiz one is going too."
Alex opened his mouth to retort, but Raza cut him off. "I've given you eighteen of my hatchlingz, Master Skywalker. And the Paladinz no longer have to bear the responsibility of this war alone. You have the Coaliton now. Besidz." The Barabel darted his tongue at the gate. "A Jedi Master should go along on thiz journey."
Alex still looked like a nexu whose lunch had just been taken away, but Raza could feel his insides turning into surrender. "Alright, you can go. I would feel better with a Jedi Master being with them where ever it is that they're going. The Force be with you, Raza."
"Thank you, Master Skywalker."
As Alex stepped away, Raza turned toward Kiera and Jag. "Shall we get started?"
Kiera Antilles - November 6, 2010 04:36 PM (GMT)
“You heard Master Skywalker; we need a plan.” Jag solemnly replied. “However, Master Kashyr and I have been tossing around a few ideas.”
“A Jedi is always prepared.” Kol piously pronounced while Jag whipped out his datapad and sent – whatever he was sending to Kiera and Raza’s datapads.
“This is a few ideas?” Kiera responded as she scrolled through the information.
“Thiz is a detailed plan. Thiz one approves.”
“It certainly looks complete.” Kiera agreed and looked suspiciously at her husband. “So you started planning the minute Spectre discovered all the gate addresses, didn’t you?”
Jag grinned at her. Then Master Keshyr grinned at her. Kiera thought any minute the two of them would start slapping each other on the back and high-fiving.
“I’m thrilled for you two. But do you think you could give me five minutes to…”
Whatever else Kiera was going to say was interrupted by the chiming of her wrist-holo.
“Excuse me.” She said, stepping away. “I need to take this privately.”
Kiera could feel Tamaryn’s nerves right through the transmission. All things considered Kiera didn’t blame her.
“I know this Jedi. He and I have history, and once he gets fixated on something he’s tenacious. Dumping him off on the nearest neutral planet won’t work.”
Kiera took a deep breath and accepted the inevitable.
“You’d better bring him here. I just don’t see a more viable alternative.”
Kiera ended the transmission and braced herself. She was going to have to inform Master Skywalker that the Paladins were now in the business of housing Loyalist pows.
It was interesting how a few minutes could change one’s entire point of view. Kiera was now definitely looking forward to going through the infinity gate to wherever Jag wanted to go.
Alex Skywalker - November 9, 2010 05:10 PM (GMT)
Alex just stared at Kiera wondering if he’d heard her right. They were getting a Jedi pow dropped on their doorstep? Seriously? What was Kiera thinking? She was thinking that she was going to dump this in his lap and run. That’s what she was thinking as she was already edging her way to the door.
“Get back in that chair.” Alex snapped. To his surprise Kiera stood her ground.
“Grandmaster, we have to allow this; we promised to protect them when they allowed us to use the moon for an outpost. No matter what you think of them, she saved a Jedi’s life. She could have left him there to die – or at the mercy of the Saul and the Hapans – which would probably have amounted to the same thing.”
Besides, did you think you weren’t going to have deal with this kind of thing…Jedi pows?
Kiera didn’t say it, but it was hanging right there between them. The problem with this war was that there were twists in it that no one had experienced before. Some of the rules had to be made up as they went along. Alex couldn’t think of one single example in Jedi history that covered the taking of Jedi prisoners by other Jedi. They weren’t Sith, they weren’t dark, but they were – now – the enemy.
“You know,” Kiera ventured “Master Dryfus does have the detention center up and running. He says the energy shields are rather unusual – and very strong.”
“You just want to get out of here before Jedi Hetzer arrives.”
“Oh, you’d better believe it.” Kiera readily agreed.
Alex grimaced and made a shooing motion with his hand. Kiera’s face fell into lines of relief. At the door she hesitated and turned back.
“May the Force be with you, Grandmaster.”
Alex's face softened. She had, after all, faced him in person with this dilemma.
“With you too, Kiera. Good luck.”
Otto Hetzer - November 9, 2010 07:53 PM (GMT)
Otto shuffled out of Tamaryn's ship and onto the deck of the landing pad. He had to be careful moving in stun cuffs, they didn't allow a whole lot of movement, and sudden moves could set them off. He didn't feel like being hit with a jolt of stunning electricity.
He'd never been on the planet Reesh before. Concentrating in the Force, he tried to perceive the colors of the bland shapes around him, but Force sight seemed to be limited in its ability. He could tell were the floor was and distant walls, but he wasn't sure what color they were.
And then he felt the presence.
Snapping all of his attention forward, he could see the powerful Force glow of Alex Skywalker walking onto the hanger platform.
Tamaryn was standing behind Otto, so he decided to wait and let Alex come to them.
"That's Jedi Hetzer alright."
"Master Skywalker." Otto bowed his head in greeting.
Alex breathed out a sigh. "What are we going to do with you?"
Before anyone else could reply, Otto spoke up. "I've been thinking about that, Master Skywalker. I know I'm your prisoner, and that keeping a Jedi captive is a very risky and difficult affair. I've wondered what is that I should do." Otto paused, the decision he was about to make was a heavy one. "There is no right and wrong in this conflict. I no longer want to chose sides." He looked up with his dilated eyes. "I give you my word as a Jedi that I will not try to escape, that I will not try to harm you or anyone associated with the Paladins or the Coalition. I will not try to sabotage your efforts or leak information to your enemies. I surrender myself fully to your command."
To emphasize the point, Otto slowly bent down to his knees in submission, head tilted forward.
Alex looked down at the Jedi Knight, a man who once a boy, a padawan who had attended his classes at the temple. A Jedi Knight who had served under Master Graf during the Five Year War with distinction. A man who had once been sent by the Jedi Council to stop a Jedi who went rogue. A Dark Jedi. A woman, though Otto probably thought it was secret, who had been romantically involved with that very same Jedi Knight who was kneeling before him in submission.
Alex didn't want this war.
And he certainly didn't want Jedi prisoners.
He laid a hand on Otto's shoulder and carefully looked inside the troubled Jedi. There was not one drop of deceit inside of him.
Alex looked over at Tamaryn. "Take the stun cuffs off...and Otto, get off your knees. You're making me feel silly."
The Grandmaster flashed a quick smile, one that Otto couldn't see, but he felt it. In that one moment, his burden felt immensely lighter.
"Thank you, master."
Tamaryn Farlander - November 14, 2010 08:30 PM (GMT)
Tamaryn motioned with her hand and the cuffs fell off. She looked from Otto who was getting to his feet to Alex Skywalker.
“A couple of things here, Skywalker. First off, Otto here was pretty banged up when I rescued him. I healed him, but I’m sure you know the drill. Second, before I leave we need to talk.” There was no insubordination in Tamaryn’s tone, but there wasn’t any subordination either. Alex Skywalker was not her boss.
“To the first, you do have a point.” Alex replied and addressed the young Paladin who’d accompanied him. “Escort Jedi Hetzer to an available room and send for Master Klo’ryn to check him out. As to the second, I suppose I must talk to you.” He sighed in mock resignation.
“Funny guy.” Tamaryn shot back. “No wonder they made you the leader.”
Alex’s mouth twitched with amusement but he said nothing until Otto was well out of sight.
“Your secrets are safe. Otto Hetzer gave his word. He’ll keep it.” He stated rather emphatically. “He knew what he was doing when he bargained to stay here.”
“I’m not following you.” Tamaryn readily admitted, wondering why Jedi always had to make things more mysterious than they were.
“He’s a Jedi. He can’t return to the Loyalists and not support the GA. His only choice would be to leave the Order. At least here he can still be a Jedi.” Alex explained to her.
Tamaryn looked up at Alex in a reflective manner. “A prisoner of his conscience.”
In spite of what Kiera had told him – the Farlanders weren’t what he would assume they were – Alex had taken exactly that route and assumed they were basically a small crime family with a Force advantage. Now one of the Farlanders was right before him and maybe giving something of a lie to his assumption.
"I’d like to talk with you further. Would you come with me to my, ah, office?” Alex asked and it was a genuine request. He was well aware that this woman would bolt at the first signs of anything approaching authority over her on his part.
“Why your office?”
“Because this is a hanger and I don’t want to be yelling to make myself heard over the noise of every ship landing or taking off.”
Tamaryn put her hand to her mouth, but it was too late; Alex had already caught her smile.
“You know it occurs to me that you and Otto have something in common.” He said as they walked to the room he hated referring to as his office. It made him feel like an accountant or something bureaucratic.
“I know I’m going to regret asking, but what?”
“Neither of you wants to take sides.”
He left her to reflect on that while he seated himself, not at a desk. The desk was shoved off to the side, and a comfortable conversation area took predominance in the room. Tamaryn chose a chair across from Alex, lounged back with one foot on the opposite thigh, making herself quite comfortable.
“Alright, what did you want to talk about?”
For some reason just about everything about this young woman amused Alex. Almost everything; the extreme grayness didn’t amuse him, but she wasn’t outright dark. He sensed no evil in her whatsoever. Otherwise he would never have considered what he was about to propose.
“The fact is that Kiera isn’t available to liaise anymore between your family and my order. Someone needs to fill that position.”
“What’s happened to Kiera?” Tamaryn asked with rising alarm.
“Nothing at all. She’s exploring the Rishi Maze with Jag and a Paladin master. The point is that her focus is now on something entirely outside of the galactic situation. And her contact may be infrequent and spotty. From what I understand, you owe Kiera some kind of family loyalty, but the situation is changed by Kiera's absence. The Paladin’s, however, still need your services.”
“You’ll have to pay for them just like everyone else.” Tamaryn matter-of-factly stated.
“That won’t be a problem.” Alex replied without explanation. Only the Paladin Council knew the sizable amount of credits that had been place in Alex Skywalker's discreet hands.
“Then I would suggest contacting…”
Tamaryn was interrupted in mid-sentence by the sudden appearance of a Bothan who immediately began to apologize and back out of the room. Alex Skywalker motioned her in.
“Did you come to report on Otto Hetzer, Fra Klo’ryn? This is the young woman, Tamaryn Farlander, who brought Otto to us. She also healed him.”
“You have a healer’s touch.” Master Klo’ryn smiled at Tamaryn.
“So he will be fine?” Alex asked.
“All he needs is rest. Too bad though that his droid isn’t with him.” At the puzzled looks on Alex and Tamaryn’s faces Fra Klo’ryn elaborated. “He has a hover droid programmed to his needs. The droid, Boz, is in his quarters at the temple on Coruscant.”
“I don’t suppose they’d just send that droid along here? No? Didn’t think so.” Tamaryn remarked.
As the Bothan healer left, Tamaryn frowned, thinking hard. After a long moment she looked at Alex Skywalker.
"I'll give my family your message, but I can't promise anything besides paid-for services. And we decided what services we provide."
That settled, Tamaryn got up and left.
Alex watched her until she was out of sight. He had to be satisfied with what he'd gotten, but he hadn't gotten what he wanted. Still, he didn't think he'd seen the last of Tamaryn Farlander.
Raza Sebatyne - November 16, 2010 07:28 PM (GMT)
Raza was a Barabel, which made him somewhat unique to humans. Looking at the pulsing liquid blue portal before him, he washed away all his trepidations and fears. It was like he took those irrational impulses scattered about his brain, gathered them up, placed them in a box, and put the box away in a storage closed so he wouldn't trip over them anymore. It was as simple as that.
He took three steps forward and vanished into the portal. For that instant, he was neither here nor there. It was almost like traveling through hyperspace, only without the protection of an armored ship around you.
Swirling around in a molecular maelstrom, with bits and pieces of his existence turned into nothing but scattered vapor, he was just as quickly squished back together and fell flat on his snub nosed face.
After a moment of dry retching, Raza managed to look up and gaze at his surroundings.
It was easily the strangest world he had ever scene.
The grass was purple. The leaves on the trees, which were solitary, placed here and there, where also purple. Above, the sky at least looked normal, a typical soft blue with surprisingly puffy white clouds. Nothing strange at all about it.
Raza bent down to his knees and took a closer look at the grass. It was extremely thick. Unlike the flat blades of grass he was used to, this grass was round, like a hair. It also tapered off the same way, thick at the root and thin at the tip. The texture of it was soft and the grass carpet was relatively short, each piece of grass about six or seven centimeters in length.
A strange noise stole his attention and forced him to turn around.
The portal, which he hadn't even looked at yet on this side, belched out Kiera.
Alex Skywalker - November 17, 2010 08:13 PM (GMT)
(((OOC: continued from Deception)))
When Tamaryn uttered the word “Sith”, Alex felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and he didn’t automatically discount her story. The young woman was definitely rattled, and besides that, Alex could sense she was telling the truth. Whether whoever she’d sensed was really Sith, there was definitely something not right going on at the Coruscant temple. And her description certainly pointed to a very dark presence.
Alex wanted to discount it on the grounds that surely the Jedi would have sensed such darkness – but he couldn’t. Darth Sidious had hid himself right under the nose of the Jedi Council for years; had fooled everyone. And then there was Alex’s own sense of clarification at the time the Order split in two. At the time he’d put it down to the Loyalists leaving and heavy burden of dissension being lifted. Now he wondered if it was more simple (but so much more disturbing) than that. The Darkness had departed. That his clarity had increased with the Paladin removal to the Rishi Maze reinforced the Sith theory. Whatever the dark entity was, the distance and atmosphere of the Maze decreased the clouding around the Paladins. Alex wasn’t the only Jedi who’d remarked on the improvement.
To his own mental discomfort Alex could even explain Tamaryn Farlander’s ability to sense the darkness within the Temple when no one else could. She was outside the Jedi box. In fact, Kiera had demonstrated something of the same thing when she’d returned to Kashyyk from Ilum. And they were related.
Something had to be done about this; some action taken. Alex pondered the situation silently then came to consensus with himself. Activating his wrist holo he paged his assistant.
“Please have Jedi Hetzer brought here.”
Otto Hetzer - November 19, 2010 04:28 PM (GMT)
Otto was disappointed that Raza wasn't here. Supposedly he was off with Kiera and Jag on some secret mission. Furthermore, most of the Paladins he had known before the split weren't even here. With the war on, they were needed elsewhere.
However, he had found Teso Sebatyne.
Actually, Teso had found him.
"I'm not so sure it's a good idea you come with me, Teso. Master Skywalker only asked to see me."
Teso looked up at Otto as they were walking through the corridors of the base on Sanctuary. "That'z okay. Thiz one can wait outside until you're done."
Otto smiled. He had known Teso since he was just a little hatchling, before the Five Year War was even brewing. Raza had even made Otto Teso's honorary claw father.
"So what do you think Master Skywalker wants to see you about?"
"I don't know." Otto replied.
"Is he going to mind wipe you?"
"No." Otto laughed.
"You sure? You probably know all kindz of enemy secretz. That'z what they do with prisonerz. They interrogate them for all their secretz then mind wipe them. You could have been interrogated and you wouldn't even know."
"Well, see? I wouldn't even know. So I guess I can't answer your question."
Teso was quiet. "Could be a secret mission."
"Not everything is a secret you know."
The little Barabel thumped his tail, the equivalent of a shrug. A few moments later, they arrived at where Master Skywalker was waiting.
"Alright Teso, you wait here. Hopefully this won't be long."
"Have a seat, Jedi Hetzer." Alex waved a hand at a simple looking chair that Otto couldn't see, at least, not exactly. Force vision allowed Otto to discern what the object was and to sense the motion of Alex's arm.
Otto's ears noted the formality in Alex's greeting, he also noted the emphasis on Jedi and not Paladin or Loyalist.
Alex waited for Otto to sit, he also threw a nod over at Tamaryn who followed suit. With everyone seated, he continued. "Otto, I called you here because Tamaryn discovered something rather interesting in her last...excursion." His gaze was only mildly stern. "She took a trip to the Jedi Loyalist Temple on Coruscant in an effort to retrieve your droid, however, while she was there, she detected the presence of a Sith."
"Or multiple Sith, I can't be sure." Tamaryn corrected.
"Or multiple Sith," Alex admitted, "either way, this changes everything. The mere fact that the Sith are able to hide their presence in the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant shows that they aren't just some Dark Side Jedi or Force users dabbling in Sith techniques. After the death of Darth Peragus, the Jedi Council took great means to ensure that that Sith knowledge was destroyed."
Alex took a breath. "It also means that the Sith are most likely orchestrating this entire war, or, at the very least, aggravating it and ensuring that it continues to whatever the scheme they have."
Alex paused again as he studied the faces of Otto and Tamaryn. "So, with the presence of Sith on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant...the Loyalist Jedi Temple..." a flash of realization sparked across Otto's face, "yes, now you know why I asked to see you. You said you surrendered yourself to my command, Otto, but I'm not about to order you to do this. Yet this is a matter that is neither Paladin or Loyalist in nature. This is the duty of every Jedi in our Order: to prevent and eliminate the existence of the Sith. So...Jedi Hetzer, would you be willing to infiltrate the Loyalist Temple and seek out these Sith?"
Alex looked over at Tamaryn before she could even open her mouth, as he could sense her eagerness to interject. "And you would not be going alone, Otto. Tamaryn would be going with you."
Tamaryn froze, then smiled.
Surprised at how quickly Otto had come to a decision, Alex gave Otto a bit of a blank stare.
"You're right, Master Skyalker, this is neither a Paladin mission or a Loyalist mission, it's a Jedi mission. It's my duty."
"Good. Now, I think the best way to make this work is if Tamaryn poses as your apprentice-"
Alex grinned at Tamaryn's unguarded reply. "Otto is a senior level Jedi Knight among the Loyalists, it is only natural that he would adopt an apprentice."
"Hmm." Otto hummed in thought. "How would that work?"
"Come Otto, you know as well as I do that the Jedi have never been very good administrators. We have a few good slicers who can forge the records and make it appear that Tamaryn is on the Loyalist roll call." An idea popped into Alex's head. "In fact, I think we can adjust the records to show that Tamaryn was a part of that GA special task force you were on, Otto. You could establish that you took her on as your apprentice during that time."
"That would work." Otto agreed. "Assuming your slicers are good enough." He looked over at Tamaryn. "Can you take orders?"
Tamaryn returned a nasty glare, one Otto could easily sense in the Force, and Otto did his best to hold back a laugh. "Don't push it."
"Well then, I'm glad we got that settled."
"One question, Master Skywalker. How do you want us to handle the Sith if we find them?" Otto waited for Alex to reply but the Jedi Master didn't say anything. "I mean, should we try and take them out, or do you want us to try and capture them..."
"For now, I think it would be best if you gathered intelligence. We don't know who they are yet, and how many of them there are, or what they are up to. We need to make sure that we don't miss any. It won't do us any good to take out the apprentice and leave the Sith Lord to run amok."
"Alright, I'll get our slicers to work. In the meantime you two should probably find a ship and work on your cover story."
Tamaryn Farlander - November 24, 2010 05:06 PM (GMT)
"Time out, guys."ť Tamaryn said making the correct galactic sports gesture with her hands. "This is not going to work. I mean the part about me being in the military. Seriously, do you think anyone is going to believe that once, well, once I open my mouth?"
Alex looked at Otto, remembered that the Jedi Knight could not see him, and put a little focus into the look. "She has a point." He returned his gaze to Tamaryn. "m open to suggestions."
"Okay, let me put it this way. I think it's safe to say out of the three of us I have a lot more experience with lying. The first rule of successful lying is to stick as close to the truth as possible. That way you don't trip yourself up with your stories."
"And your story would be?" Alex inquired.
"Hey, I'm just a simple salvager with a few Force tricks trying to make my way in the galaxy. Ended up in the right place at the right time, rescued Otto, and being the Senior Jedi Knight that he is, he recognized my Force connection. None of which, incidentally, is a lie and therefore no lying will be detected."
"You're sense of what constitutes lying needs a little fine-tuning." Alex dryly commented. "It's a massive lie of omission. However, you're probably right. Are you good with this?"ť He asked Otto.
"I'm fine with it. Actually, I'm looking forward to whipping her into proper apprentice shape, and this just gives me more opportunity to do that."
"You're really pushing this, you know."
They were making good progress to Coruscant when Tamaryn dropped out of hyperspace and just hung there in space.
"What's going on?" Otto asked.
"I'm making some necessary adjustments to the ship's records. We can't leave any kind of trail that leads back to Reesh. We also need a new name and transponder code."
"Good thinking. What are we calling the ship now?"
"You're the master; why don't you name it." Tamaryn jokingly suggested.
"Very well. Knight Rider." Otto offered with a grin as Tamaryn groaned.
"That's the worst name I've ever heard. Knight Rider it is."
Alex Skywalker - January 28, 2011 02:50 AM (GMT)
Sanctuary -- Continuum
Alex Skywalker looked from the two beings lying on infirmary beds, hooked up to monitors and addressed the two beings hovering close by.
“You just excel at getting into trouble, don’t you? You weren’t even gone two hours. Are you going to make a habit of this?”
“Probably.” Jag replied. “Although next time we'll be better prepared.”
“If I agree to a next time.” Alex scowled. “Master Kloryn, what have you learned?” he asked the Bothan healer.
“Kiera is fine. The residual effects have worn off.”
“I told you I was fine.” Kiera popped up from her bed, sending the monitor zigg-zagging crazy waves across the screen.
Fra Kloryn released Kiera from the monitor with a wave of her hand, and Kiera hopped off the bed to join her husband and the others as they studied the alien. He was heavily sedated, as much for his own protection as theirs. The Master healer was now drawing their attention to the monitor attached to the elderly alien.
“You see this?” She pointed out two distinct and separate patterns. “We’re dealing with two separate entities. That “thing” in his abdomen is not an appendage; it’s a separate intelligence, and from what these patterns indicate, it holds dominance over the other intelligence.”
Even Alex, who’d seen just about all there was to see, recoiled a little. “Can it be removed?” He ventured.
“No, it's permanently attach at this point.” Master Kloryn replied and Jag nearly gagged at the idea. “It isn’t just symbiotic; it’s parasitic in nature. Beyond that I haven’t had time to learn more.”
“Well, it’s worse than that.” Kiera spoke up, and her expression was of a person truly sorry for something. “I’m afraid it was reading my mind, gathering information, and it gathered quite a bit. I on the other hand, learned nothing of its true intentions. Whatever it injected into my brain, it clouded my abilities. The experience was…euphoric.”
“Fortunately, Kiera didn’t know the dialing sequence, and the energy shield is in place at the gate, but we need to change our identification code.” Jag stated. “They might have gotten that information from Kiera.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to put these missions on hold.” Alex said. “It’s potentially too dangerous and we’re already dealing with a war. We don’t need an enemy on our backdoor too.”
“But that’s exactly why we do need to proceed with these missions.” Jag argued. “This is our home. There’s nowhere else for us to go because we certainly can’t go back out into the known galaxy. We need to learn exactly what is at our backdoor.”
“Thiz one speaks the truth, Master Skywalker.” Raza spoke for the first time since the discussion had started, and everyone, including Alex, turned their attention to him. “What iz strange and unknown iz not necezzarily an enemy. But if it iz, knowledge iz essential. Knowledge iz survival. And this time…” Raza looked down at Jag and bared his fangs. “We will take the ship.”
Alex Skywalker - May 7, 2011 03:07 AM (GMT)
Alex Skywalker was sitting in his office enjoying a rare moment of peace when his erstwhile assistant poked his head around the corner. Just by the look on the young man’s face, Alex knew his moment of peace was over.
“Sorry, Grandmaster, but Master Sabatyne, Paladin Antilles and, ah…”
“Captain Antilles?” Alex supplied. “Don’t tell me they’re in trouble already. They’ve only been gone…” He glanced at his chrono. “Three hours.”
“Oh no, sir, they’ve returned. They said to tell you ‘mission accomplished’.”
“What? Alright, this I need to hear. Send them to my office.”
Without a doubt Jag and Kiera were looking definitely smug as they took seats in Alex’s cozy conversation nook. Raza – well, he was a hard read. You could seldom tell what a Barabel was emoting even when they bared their fangs. But he certainly seemed relaxed enough, judging by the way his tail was not beating the floor. Without a word Kiera produced a datachip and handed it to Alex.
“What’s this?” He asked.
“We had a most productive encounter with some locals.” Jag pronounced. “That is all the information we need to safely negotiate the Rishi Maze: safe planets we can trade with or buy goods from, ones to avoid, uninhabited ones we could travel too via jumper. It’s all in there.”
“You got all that in three hours?” Alex asked, incredulous. “What about those creatures?”
“Those are the planets to avoid.” Kiera chimed in. “They’re well known within the Maze, and they have been for a long time. The ‘locals’ have managed to confine them to certain planets where they have a minimal population growth. They seem to sustain just enough human/parasite growth to not go extinct, but they’re unable to expand. The parasites aren’t truly evil; it’s the connection to other beings that causes the damage. There’s kind of a truce between them and non-hosts. “
“Yesss.” Saba confirmed. “But just to be safe, the others use an identification code that allows safe passage through their gates. Without it a traveler will encounter obstacles.”
“Safeguards, like tornadoes.” Jag added with a grin. “Good thing we took a jumper. It would have been an interesting trip otherwise. One thing that’s interesting; they don’t seem to have much use for starships. They all travel by gate.”
“So if they travel by gate, why was Reesh uninhabited?” Alex posited.
“Simple; they couldn’t. They didn’t have the gate address. In fact, they seemed to be unaware of the existence of Reesh altogether.” Raza replied.
“Although they do seem to have some legends that refer to it.” Kiera added. “They asked us if we were the Ancient Ones. They were most impressed with our lightsabers.”
“You did not pose as Ancients.” Alex groaned.
“It was tempting, but no.” Kiera cheekily replied.
Alex shook his head at his unconventional Paladin. It was interesting to see the 180 degree turn Jag had wrought in Kiera. A few short months ago the young woman was, if anything, almost consistently somber. Now she reminded Alex more and more of her cousin Tamaryn. There was a definite eccentric streak running throughout that family.
Alex’s thoughts were running to the origin of that eccentricity when he was slammed with a pain so severe if he hadn’t been sitting, he’d have gone down on his knees. As it was he cried out, momentarily blinded by the pain. He felt Raza reaching out, trying to help him bear the unbearable. Through the rushing void in his ears he heard Kiera sob once and Jag ask her what had happened, what was wrong. She gave voice to that which he could not bring himself to think, let alone voice.
“It’s Jenna. She’s dead. Someone just killed her.”
Tamaryn Farlander - May 13, 2011 06:45 PM (GMT)
As she stepped off her ship Tamaryn saw the grief on the faces of the sad group that greeted her; expressions that morphed into shock as Otto escorted Daven Solo. The sight of his ravaged and trembling body made it apparent why Master Klo'ryn's presence had been requested. The master healer came forward and placed a hand on Daven. She nodded as if to say he'd be in good hands now, and led him away. At the direction of Nial Barris, two older apprentices entered the ship to take possession of Jena Skywalker's body.
"Thank you." Nial said meaningfully. "However you managed this it will bring much comfort to Grandmaster Skywalker. I assume after your debriefing you'll be returning to Coruscant to continue your mission."
Tamaryn and Otto hesitated as they exchanged looks. "No, we're not going back to Coruscant." Otto slowly replied. "We completed our mission there."
Nial Barris studied the two of them for a moment.
"Perhaps we'd better get the debriefing underway immediately."
Tamaryn had not been in the Paladin headquarters more than a couple of times and had barely seen anything outside of Alex Skywalker's office. She was completely unfamiliar with where she was now which was the Paladin Council chambers. But old survival habits die hard and Tamaryn had mentally marked the way from her ship to these chambers. Just because she was among allies was no reason to get sloppy. She also noted that the Paladin Council seemed less formal (or something) than the Loyalists. She appreciated not being left to stand on her feet to report like a schoolchild reciting a lesson. Since a small smile had played about Otto's mouth he seemed to be thinking along the same lines when they'd been gestured into chairs. She'd chanced a quick reach in the Force to him, and received a warm, reassuring response before they'd both settled themselves for a difficult but thankfully reduced session with the Council. Alex Skywalker was absent and Tamaryn was grateful that someone besides she -- someone close to Alex -- would be delivering the thermal detonator she and Otto had just dropped on the Council. Daven Solo had been captured, tortured, addicted to death sticks in an attempt to turn him to the dark side. Daven had killed both Jena Skywalker and Gaven Rothe, but it was Rothe who was the Sith. Daniel Solo was missing and presumed a prisoner of...someone. It was looking more and more as though the Sith had been behind yet another war, and the split in the Jedi Order. Things were a mess.
As the silence that had greeted their report lengthened, Tamaryn felt irritation amounting anger -- until Otto closed his hand over hers. She looked at him and though he didn't speak, he seemed to be saying it was part of the process. The masters were searching the Force for answers and guidance. He seemed to be saying open yourself up to it. She wasn't sure. She wasn't a Jedi; wasn't sure if she even wanted to be one ever -- especially after she'd witness in that torture chamber the wreck that was Daven Solo. Family was everything to Tamaryn. That had been bred in her and drilled from birth. She couldn't imagine having to make Daven's choice. Maybe it was better to cut her losses right now before she was the one who had to do the choosing. End this alliance and go home before she was sucked further into the never-ending battle between Jedi and Sith; a battle that only left tragedy and destruction in its wake.
And then Otto squeezed her hand and she felt his emotion washing over her and she knew the choice had already been made.
When the Council collectively opened their eyes the Force had apparently spoken to them, but it was Luuja Sall who did the talking.
"There is another Sith." She pronounced and the three other masters sagely nodded their heads in agreement. "But who is the question."
Tamaryn rolled her eyes. They needed a deep searching in the Force to come to that conclusion? She'd had that one figured out before she'd left the torture chamber. Rothe obviously hadn't acted alone and there were always at least two. In fact she and Otto had discussed the whole matter on the way to Reesh from Coruscant. There had to be more Sith because, for one, there was just too much dark side clouding. They'd both agreed that with how easily they'd sensed Rothe, he was no Sidious. There had to be more Sith. The Darkness was effecting both Jedi Orders. Besides, there was too much going on for it to be the work of a lone Sith.
And then there was the matter of the missing Daniel Solo. Daven had told Otto and Tamaryn everything, and he was not lying. They'd have both sensed lies especially as Daven was temporarily bereft of his Force connection. He wasn't capable of concealment at this point. So Daniel had been there only minutes before Otto and Tamaryn had arrived. Someone had gotten him out of there -- and covered up his presence. That smacked of not just a mere ally, but another Sith.
It suddenly occurred to Tamaryn that there was a lot of covering up of presences going on; in fact, more than covering up. According to Otto the Paladins had sensed Daven die over Kashyyk. That tingled an alarm for Tamaryn. There was something she'd heard, something similar to that, something someone had told her. Was it Otto? No, it was Kiera.
Now (after everyone else was finished with it) Tamaryn did sink herself into meditation, reaching out to the Force and her memories, recalling bits and pieces of all the things Kiera had told her. Maybe it was the presence of such strong masters. Maybe it was because she was on the outside, examining it with a different eye. Whatever it was, an idea (perhaps a truth) revealed itself. Before she could stop herself, Tamaryn blurted it out.
"Ahdar Grae. Are you sure he's really dead?"
Otto Hetzer - May 24, 2011 07:23 PM (GMT)
Otto couldn't help but laugh. Consequently everyone in the room began staring at him, and he quickly blushed. "Sorry. It just occurred to me how preposterous this whole thing is."
"Would you care to explain, Jedi Hetzer?" Master Drifus leveled his thoughtful gaze at Otto.
Otto looked back at the old master. The man's skin looked like the fleshy equivalent of dewback leather. Years of hard living on Tatooine would do that to a man.
He swiped those thoughts away and returned to the moment. "The last anyone spoke with Grandmaster Grae was the argument he had with Daven Solo. I believe it ended with Daven comparing him to a Sith, and then Grae removed Daven's status as a Jedi. It was big news at the time because there wasn't any precedent for it."
"Interesting." Master Drifus rubbed his chin. "An odd coincidence to be sure."
Tamaryn decided to repeat her question. "But do we know if he's dead?"
Master Drifus turned to Tamaryn. "That is a very good question, Ms. Farlander. The problem is that according to Master Asgard, Grandmaster Grae became one with the Force when he died, and the only evidence we have is her Force vision and the absence in the Force we all felt when he died. There was no body to examine. We..." He gestured at the Jedi Masters in attendance, "...felt that we had to trust in the Force. But as Daven so poignantly pointed out at the time, 'when has the Force ever been conclusive?'"
All the masters murmured at that.
"So everyone took Master Asgard's vision as the truth when it could have been an elaborate Sith Force trick."
"Regrettably this is very possible, Jedi Hetzer." Master Drifus looked over at Master Sall for confirmation. There was no disagreement.
"So hypothetically," Otto continued, "Grae could be a Sith who faked his own death by planting a Force vision thus framing Daven Solo."
"At the time we did not think the Sith existed." Master Sall added. "Now that we know they exist, it changes everything."
"Why would Grae want Daniel?" Tamaryn asked.
"Same reason Rothe wanted Daven. Sith need apprentices." Otto didn't much like the idea but it was just as valid as any other. "But IF Grae is not dead, IF he's the Sith who took Daniel, then the next question is where do we look? The trail on Coruscant is too cold to follow. It's doubtful all the Sith are hiding out there. How can we hope to find them?"
"All of this is necessary, but we must also balance this with the very real war that is going on." Master Drifus commented. "The Sith may be behind all of this but we still have to deal with what's going on. Finding and eliminating the Sith will not magically end this conflict even if we can convince the Senate that it's all true."
"Why is that, Master Drifus?" Luuja asked.
"Because this is no longer a civil war among the Jedi. This is a war between the Core and the Rim. If a Sith masterminded the one conflict, I doubt they foresaw the other. I believe this conflict has grown far beyond even what the Sith dreamed of. At it is certainly out of their control."
Raza Sebatyne - June 10, 2011 06:21 PM (GMT)
"Can I have a word with you for a moment, Master Sebatyne?"
"Certainly, Mazter Skywalker." Raza thumped his tail out of habit as he turned to approach the Paladin Grandmaster.
"Have you heard the news pouring out about Anaxes?"
Raza nodded. "The Mandoz have taken the planet. Thiz one findz it odd that we are now in the same pack."
Alex smirked. "Strange bedfellows, as they say. Well, that's actually why I wanted to talk to you. The ranking members of the Coalition just contacted me. They have fleets on the way as we speak. It's been decided that we will be relieving the Mandalorian forces on the ground...for obvious reasons. I'd like you to lead the initial proceedings. You would be the first person to contact the Mandalore, who is groundside with his troops. You'll be talking with him and making sure the transition goes smoothly for all parties."
"Thiz one is not very good at politicz."
"I doubt the Mandalore is much of a politician either." Alex did not smile.
Raza wondered if the Jedi Master had some secret reservations about the loose alliance with the Mandalorians.
"So, are you okay with this?"
Raza did not hesitate. "Yez, Master Skywalker. Thiz one will do hiz best."
"I know you will. May the Force be with you, Raza. And watch your tail."
The barabel sissed with amusement as he walked away. Thiz one will keep hiz tail very safe.
Alex Skywalker - July 5, 2011 06:07 PM (GMT)
Alex Skywalker looked at his young, gifted Paladin and sighed inwardly. As much as Kiera might want to escape her destiny that wasn't going to happen. Every time she tried, the Force turned her back towards the destiny it had determined for her. How long it would take Kiera to realize that Alex didn't know, but he hoped it was sooner rather than later. Later wouldn't be good for any of them; not the Paladins or Loyalists, not the galaxy as a whole, and especially not for Kiera and Jag. He really wished he could give "young love"ť a break, but that had just about never happened in the history of the Jedi -- it went with the territory -- so with only slight regret Alex set about putting things in motion. He wasn't the grandmaster for nothing.
"I want you two to resume smuggling."ť He told them.
"What?" Both Jag and Kiera responded as dumbfounded as Alex had expected they would be.
"And, Jag, try for scoundrel this time. You're entirely too respectable for a smuggler."
That didn't even elicit a surprised "what" but Kiera's eyes narrowed on Alex. Where Jag was just flummoxed into silence, she was already suspicious.
"Who are we looking for; Daniel or Grae?"ť She asked. She suppressed the sadness that had flickered in her eyes, but Alex caught it nonetheless.
"Find one and you'll find the other. I suspect though that Daniel will be easier to track and sense." Alex instructed.
Jag's expression turned into a glower. Apparently he was catching on. Alex sensed Jag teetering on the brink of refusal, but then something passed between him and Kiera. Jag's refusal subsided, but not his distaste for the mission.
"Why didn't you give us this assignment in council?"
"This assignment is not to be on record. I want the two of you to give every appearance of breaking away from the Paladin Order."
"You think there's a sith mole in the order." Jag stated. There was disillusionment in his voice -- as if nothing was safe.
Well, he was right; nothing was safe from the sith.
"We had a sith leading the Jedi Order."ť Alex replied. "We had a sith masquerading as a highly respected Jedi master among the Loyalists. There's every possibility we could have a sith infiltrator among the Paladins."ť
Jag pondered that and then his face hardened into lines of determination. He might have trouble playing a scoundrel, but Alex knew he could count on Jag's ideals always coming to the fore.
"We'll do it. But it's going to take awhile to set up a believable scenario, one that would fool a sith."
"Yes." Alex agreed. "It does need to be believable. Your disillusionment is a start, Jag. Play on that."ť
"I will. That, and the fact that I'm getting a little tired of every master in the place being able to read me like a holobook." Jag snappishly replied.
That would work. Jag was most certainly getting fed up with being read like a holobook.
Ahdar Grae - July 8, 2011 11:35 PM (GMT)
Jedi Knight Meesha Kalta was walking swiftly through the hallways very unlike her usual, casual self. Typically she blended right in with the other Paladin Jedi. She was always ready for idle chit chat and very prompt with her reports. She worked hard and made earnest progress in her role as an intelligent agent for the Paladins. One of many, yet still a favored agent and one of Master Sall's favorite apprentices. As a spy she was had almost no equal. Perhaps Jedi Master Lu, but she was now a Loyalist.
Regardless, all of that hard earned training and reputation had gone out the viewport as of the moment. She was tense, agitated, and paranoid. The Force vision she had last night was anything but pleasant. The only thing she knew for certain right now was that she needed to escape.
Like most distracted individuals who storm down a hallway without looking ahead, she rammed straight into another Jedi.
"Oh! I'm so sorry!" She blurted, half in fear, half in sincerity.
As her focus bore down on the Jedi in front of her, a blaster bolt of worry shot through her spine and bounced around in her guts before she quickly clamped down on the betrayal.
Jedi Master Drifus was looming down at her with a not unpleasant and concerned smile.
"That's all right, Jedi Kalta. We all get distracted sometimes. I'm sure you have plenty going through your head right now."
Meesha carefully held a tight reign on her thoughts as Master Drifus paused.
Thankfully he continued with no shift in thought. "By the way, I finished reading your initial assessment on Anaxes. I think you're quite right with it's importance and the idea of using a Jedi task force as a feint at Corellia if rather crafty. It could work."
She relaxed and let the tension flow away as she beamed one of her glowing smiles. "Thank you, Master Drifus."
Drifus frowned. It was for just the tiniest fraction of a second. A small quirk in the corners of his mouth.
Meesha was lingered on that moment, lightning thoughts flashing through her head as she pondered the reasons for that brief break in emotion.
Yet Drifus continued on. "Well, I'll let you get where you were going. Plenty to do I imagine." He turned and began strolling off.
In turn, she did likewise, in the opposite direction, fully intent now in following through with her plan. She would take the first ship she could get and fly out of Rishi, hook up with Master Grae, inform him that her cover was blown, and wait for his punishment. It might be severed, but she trusted her Foce vision. Whatever Grae administered would not be as bad as death.
Being a Sith spy on a Jedi ship was no day in the park.
Alex Skywalker - July 9, 2011 12:02 AM (GMT)
"Is something wrong, Master Drifus?" Alex asked the troubled looking Jedi Master.
"No. Yes." He stumbled in thought. "I don't know."
Alex held his gaze then gave in. "Well, which is it? Yes or no?"
Drifus looked up with worried, weathered eyes. "It's definitely something." He took a breath. "I ran into Jedi Knight Kalta, do you know her?"
"Meesha, yes, how is she?"
"Fine." Drifus quickly retorted. "But that's not the issue...well it is."
"I see. Maybe we should go get a cup of caf..."
"No no." Drifus cut in. "Just give me a minute to gather my thoughts on this."
Alex waited as the old Jedi Master focused his mind. He could feel the warm, soothing glow of the Force heighten around him. Finally the old Jedi was satisfied. His very bearing seemed rejuvenated and collected. Focused.
"I think Kalta is a Sith."
Now it was Alex's turn to be confused. "What?!"
"Like I said, I ran into her in the hall, not some ten minutes before. She seemed distracted and worried and she actually ran into me. I wouldn't have thought much of it since I was just as in deep of thought as her, and was just as much my fault that we ran into each other as it was her. I was thinking about the Anaxes situation..."
Alex knew how Drifus liked to get side tracked so he replotted the master's course subtly. "Meesha."
"There was a moment, when we were speaking, that I felt a break in her mental defenses. She was so awash in paranoia that it came off like the stink of a dianoga. Have you ever smelled one?"
"I'm sure they're terrible."
"Pungent." Drifus continued. "Absolutely. Well that slight burst in paranoia set off my danger sense, even though she continued as if nothing was wrong. Then I felt it again, but this time I had the sense to pluge into it and...well, I felt the smallest touch of the dark side. Like it was some second skin she had been hiding. But it was there and gone so quickly...and Meesha has been so useful and diligent in her duties. And on top of that my own distractions..."
"I understand." Alex consoled Drifus. "This conflict has taken it's toll on all of us."
Master Drifus saw the quick flash of pain and felt instant pity and empathy. "I'm so sorry about Jena. She was such a good girl."
"Yes, she was." Alex was in utter control of himself. Now was not the time. "But Meesha, how sure are you."
Drifus paused again. "Now...I'm certain. She is either one of the Sith or she has fallen to the dark side without anyone's notice."
"That's good enough for me." Alex pulled out his comlink. "Hangar, this is Skywalker. I want a lockdown. No one leaves without my permission, is that understood."
"Yes sir." Came a youthful sounding voice with a slight purr. "Jedi Knight Kalta was the last to leave, Master Skywalker."
Fierek. "How long ago?"
"Send out interdictors-"
"-I'm afraid she has already made her first jump into hyperspace, Master Skywalker. But we might be able to track her last jump-"
"-No." Alex cut the voice off. "She's gone. Go ahead and countermand my order."
Somewhere in the back of his mind the voice acknowledge the order but he was already thinking ahead. If Kalta was a Sith spy, how much damage could she do?
How much damage has she already done?
"It's alright, Master Skywalker." Fyn reassured him. "Whatever she knows can be ameliorated. It will not be catastrophic damage. She does not know what we know."
"Of course." Alex replied halfheartedly. "But-"
"No." Fyn interjected. "Take my word for it, Master Skywalker. She was paranoid and worried, but when she left me, she was confident that her charade was still intact. Her role as a spy often takes her on secret missions to distant locals. She was actually scheduled for a very long, deep cover op. It was the perfect cover for her escape. She knows she will not be missed for some time."
Alex relaxed just a little. "I'll have to take your word for it, Fyn." He Glanced away. "Any word yet from Otto and Tamaryn?"
"Not yet, but then I wouldn't be in the know on that. Jedi Kosas is overseeing that operation."
"Very well. Let me know as soon as they report in. I think I'm going to meditate on this." He turned away. "A lot has happened in the last few days, and I think a lot is about to change."
Jagged Antilles - December 29, 2011 07:31 PM (GMT)
After his wife's third sigh in as many minutes, Jag set aside the supply container he was about to load into his ship's hold. To say that Kiera was reluctant about this mission they'd been assigned was an understatement. That was pretty obvious. And a reluctant partner was an ineffective partner. Besides, Jag didn't have a hope of succeeding without Kiera so, although he was in a hurry to get on with it, Jag was just going to have to take the time to hash this out with Kiera. They hadn't been married all that long, but Jag had already learned it saved time to take the time to listen and talk. He plopped himself on the supply container he'd just set down and motioned for Kiera to join him. Slipping his arm around her he asked her what was wrong. It was all the trigger she needed. Kiera's words rushed out in a troubled voice.
"Master Skywalker over-estimates my abilities. Jag, I'm not up to this mission. How does the Grandmaster expect me to succeed in finding Daniel especially with Sith out there clouding everything? Daniel Solo is a cold and distant person. It's not that we've had an antagonistic relationship; it's that we've never had one at all. I'll never sense him."
No matter how strong in the Force someone was, young was young, and Jag was again reminded that Kiera was only 20. She might be able to toss him across the room with a flick of her hand, but she was also prone the same human condition of any other 20-year-old. And it was here that he balanced her.
"I think here is where I remind you that you alone sensed the darkness in the Jedi Order before it fractured itself." Jag gently stated, but not too gently. "Skywalker knows that and he knows he can count on it. Secondly, while you may not be able to sense out Daniel Solo you're very close to someone who can."
Jag felt Kiera's jolt of emotion as she grasped where he was heading. "Jag, you can't be serious. You know what kind of shape he is. Do you want to completely destroy him?"
"Kiera, I know Daven Solo's been subjected to something no one should have to experience, but think for a moment. Daven chose his brother. You think that act didn't create a bond between them?"
"And in making that choice he killed Jenna Skywalker." Kiera argued back. "Can you imagine his state of mind now? He needs to remain here where he can heal. If we take him with us, we risk him going dark."
"I think you're underestimating Daven. If he didn't go dark killing Jenna or Rothe, he won't go dark finding his brother. But he just might find redemption."
Jag watched Kiera open her mouth to argue further, but the words that finally issued forth were not what he expected to hear.
"You're right. We have to at least offer Daven that chance for redemption."
Standing, Jag pulled Kiera to her feet and together they went to confront Daven with maybe what was his last and best hope.