Hedge Magic Heroes Part IV

   To continue the hedge magic spell list, here are the first level spells. Like all hedge magic, these have few direct combat applications – but can be quite useful in the hands of a clever caster.

   Level One Spells:

   Unless Otherwise Noted:

  • Level: One
  • Components: V, S
  • Casting Time: One Standard Action
  • Saving Throw: Will Negates
  • Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)


   Alarm (Standard Spell)

   Deodorize (House)

  • Range: Medium, Area: 30′ radius cloud, Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Deodorize removes, or – at the option of the caster – replaces scents. While scents will gradually return unless their sources are dealt with or removed, this has many applications in cleaning and comfort. While the spell is not powerful enough to be especially useful as an attack – it is not capable of inducing nausea or similar problems as a Stinking Cloud can – it can certainly irritate, distract, and even partially “blind” creatures which depend on scent. Of course, adventurers tend to find applications in evading bloodhounds, neutralizing Stinking Cloud spells (which it will do), removing the scents of skunks, frightening off wolves by making the campsite smell like it’s a den full of tigers, and similar tricks.

   Remove (Lice)

  • Range: Close, Area: 10′ Radius, Duration: Instantaneous, Save: Fortitude, for half, Spell Resistance: Yes.
  • Remove Lice instantly destroys a variety of small pests, parasites, and skin problems, including lice, fleas, fungal infections, green slime, vrock and yellow mold spores, and swarms of insects, normally inflicting 4d4 damage on each creature to be affected. Considering that most such creatures have one hit point at best, this is usually quite sufficient. Adventurers tend to find his marvelously handy when dealing with a few specific types of creature and fairly useless otherwise – unless, of course, they’re in a plague-stricken area, in which case using this spell regularly can be a lifesaver.



  • Range: Close, Area/Targets/Effect: Special, Duration: twenty-four hours.
  • Scarecrow is basically a specialized variant of Unseen Servant; unlike the basic spell, it can be left unattended, and will continue to perform it’s particular task – chasing pests out of a field – for a full day. Like an Unseen Servant, it can only “take 10” on tasks. Related variants perform other specific tasks – harvesting fruit, hauling water to irrigate plants, tending a boiler or a blacksmith’s fire, or cleaning floors. While each such variant is a specific spell, they’re so much alike that anyone who leans one variant can be presumed to have also mastered four others.


  • Range: Close, Area: Special, Duration: Twelve Hours, Save: Reflex Evades, Spell Resistance: Yes.
  • Tarp produces up to four hundred square feet of durable, watertight, canvas – either simply draping it across an area or stretching it over any suitable supporting framework. It can replace a small sail, keep the rain off a pile of equipment or other stockpile, erect a serviceable tent, briefly block a cloud of toxic gas, or help break a fall. It can also be dropped over an opponent or small group thereof, although those who succeed in a reflex save will generally simply duck out from underneath (and those will spell resistance are likely to rip right through). Anyone entangled in a tarp must spend a move action to get free; until then, they will suffer a -2 circumstance penalty on their actions and will be unable to see.

   Unseen Servant (Standard Spell)



  • Range: Special, Target: Self, Duration: 5d6 minutes to obtain results.
  • Dowsing has two basic effects; it provides a +5 bonus on an attempt to find something and allows the search to be conducted without actually going and making it. Thus, when looking for water (survival) instead of carefully inspecting the ground and digging small holes looking for traces of moisture, one can wander around with a stick. When searching for a hidden cave entrance, one can sit at home and swing a pendulum over a map instead of crawling about in the hills. You can use dowsing – whether with a stick or a pedatum – to search for oil, for internal infections and injuries, to look for water, game, fish, gems, tombs, roads, lost children, mystical nexi or ley lines, and many other items. Unfortunately, remote searches provide only general locations at best – and it can be rather difficult to tell when you’re wrong; the GM should roll in secret for remote searches. Thus using a pendulum and a map may help you find the general location of that ancient crypt, but to locate the door precisely, you’ll have to go to that area and do some more searching.


   Animal Influence

  • Range: Medium, Target: One creature with Int 2 or less, Duration: Up to one hour, Save: None if the user has some food appropriate to the creature being targeted and is willing to give it to it (if, perhaps, later), otherwise Will negates.
  • Animal Influence is similar to Suggestion, but only works on non-sapient creatures – and only if the user means no harm to the creature targeted. The user may easily calm a panicky mount, get a bird to carry a small item a few blocks, befriend and pet a creature, or get a rat to drag the key to the cell over within reach. Of course, creatures with such low intelligence are unlikely to manage anything too complicated, and the creatures affected won’t take major risks or go to enormous efforts to assist – but they do make excellent distractions and can run many small errands.


   Sheer (Sheep)

  • Range: Touch, Targets: Special, Duration: Up to twenty minutes per level, Save: None.
  • Sheer cuts hair (and, optionally, styles the remainder) with a casual pass of the user’s hand and without hurting the creature being shorn. For classical sheep-shearing, this can reduce the time required to a minute or two, larger animals (and struggling children) will require more time. If the user wishes to produce fancy haircuts, beard styling, and similar results, he or she will need to make a skill check to do so.
  • OK, I really can’t think of many adventuring uses for this one; I suppose someone might use it to support a disguise or to help with a quick change of identities, but that’s about it.



  • Range: Touch, Target: Item touched, Duration: Permanent.
  • Snapshot attaches the sensations of a few moments to a small item with a shiny surface – a bit of crystal, a bead, or some such. Anyone who touches the item will gain a weak impression of the information imprinted on it, and anyone who focuses their attention on that impression will experience the entire thing – whether that’s the glory of a sunset, the awe of a mighty dragon passing over a town, or the burning sincerity of an oath of vengeance. For the most part, such trinkets are simply keepsakes, although they can also serve to preserve valuable information, or – at the option of the game master – to provide effects equivalent to a first-level morale-affecting spell of choice if they record a moment of great personal significance that is related to the current situation. If someone wants to review the evil overlords dozen terrible offenses against their friends and family before launching their attack, they’ll probably qualify for the equivalent of a Wrath spell.



  • Range: Touch, Target: Creature Touched, Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Dentistry repairs and replaces teeth. While this has few direct game effects, someone who possesses this spell is generally welcome almost anywhere. It’s better than being a bard; few things are more miserable than bad teeth.

   Relieve Illness

  • Range: Touch, Target: One sick creature, Duration: Three saves.
  • Relieve Illness provides its target with a +4 enhancement bonus on its recipients next three saving throws against disease, and reduces the attribute damage resulting from failed saves by two points each. It also usually makes the sufferer feel a great deal better.

   Relieve Poison

  • Range: Touch, Target: One poisoned creature, Duration: Ten minutes.
  • Relieve Illness provides its target with a +4 enhancement bonus on its recipients saves against poison, and reduces the attribute damage resulting from failed saves by two points each. If applied within one round after a poison takes effect, the benefits of the spell are effectively retroactive.



  • Range: Touch, Effect: One cubic foot of material per level, Duration: Instantaneous, Components: V, S, MF (the relevant tools).
  • The various Process spells are each quite specific, and each can perform a particular, tedious bit of resource-processing. For example, Process (Card) pulls stickers, insects, and other contaminants out of wool. Process (Spin) turns raw fiber into thread. Process (Weave) turns fibers into cloth, and so on. Process does not provide materials, and does not bypass the need for the relevant tools or skill; it simply saves time. Fortunately, while each variant of Process is a separate spell, they’re so much alike that anyone who leans one variant can be presumed to have also mastered four others. Alchemists and ritualists often have good uses for Process, since it can greatly reduce the tedium of their activities.


  • Range: Touch, Effect: Up to ten pounds of unliving organic material per caster level, Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Preservation immediately dries, smokes, salts, jellies, spices, or otherwise preserves the affected material; the exact manner is up to the caster.

   Unburn Meal

  • Range: Touch, Effect: Up to twenty pounds of food per level, Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Unburn Meal will fix minor culinary disasters – unburning roasts and stews, causing fallen souffles to rise again, and mending broken cakes.


   Child Ward

  • Range: Touch, Target: One immature creature, Duration: Twenty-four hours, Saving Throw: None, Spell Resistance: Only if the caster is not a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent of the creature targeted.
  • Child Ward imprints a fraction of the caster’s consciousness on the mind of the targeted child (a character with a maximum level of zero) as an advisor and guardian. While this can’t always anticipate accidents, it can steer a child away from many kinds of risky behavior and help him or her deal sensibly with minor emergencies.
    • In Eclipse, a Child Ward temporarily bestows one character point – to be spent on copying some of the caster’s minor skills or abilities – per level of the caster on the child. In standard d20, a caster of twelfth level or higher may effectively grant the child level one in his or her primary class.
    • For adventurer’s Child Ward can make it a great deal easier to look after – or bodyguard – a child and gives their own kids a much better chance of surviving if they get entangled in their adventurer-parents affairs.

   Expel Parasites

  • Range: Touch, Target: One creature, Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Expel Parasites causes the targets body to expel parasites of all sorts – worms, rot grubs, cerebral parasites, things which burrow under the skin, and similar organisms. Like the Remove spell, Expel Parasites is very convenient when the characters are dealing with such perils – and fairly useless otherwise.

Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 11

   Here we have the next segment of the Star Wars game log. It’s mostly from Kira’s viewpoint, since his player wrote his sections, but I’ve edited in quite a lot of notes on what everyone else was doing so that it can also serve as a general log.

   Two thousand years ago, the planet Chyran had been a major Sith world. It had also been the site of yet another Sith experiment; placing the bodies – or at least the brains – of just-deceased Sith into a preservative biomatrix related to Bacta. The stuff had apparently been designed to preserve the memory-structures of the brain and then to act as a “carrier” – somehow making the preserved memories available to force-sensitives across the planet. Something to do with the hyperspace-normal space interface and the residual life force.

   After yet another Sith War, the planet had been blasted back into the stone age and a perpetual (or at least intended to be perpetual) patrol of wardroids had been set up to destroy any attempt to rebuild civilization. It was unclear how much the Republic of the time had known – but they’d apparently opted not to glass the planet and destroy the remaining helpless survivors of the Sith’s local servant-race. Whether or not that was an act of mercy or foolishness was hard to say.

   Arguments continued as we sat in orbit around Chyran. Some members of the party wanted to find the Archive broadcasters and shut them down by going down into the tunnels below the city. Others wanted call in the Republic military – which we’d already voted down once already. There were some flatly impractical ideas floated, and then Ben started brainstorming how to warp asteroids into the same section of space from hyperspace. Most of the ideas were either suicidal or genocidal. Ben assertion that he wasn’t being genocidal because he was only destroying the city didn’t sit well with me, regardless of how logical it was. Besides; it sounded like he’d be triggering super volcanoes, which would be genocide anyway.

   I proposed using a high-powered mining laser in orbit to drill out and destroy the power supplies Shipwreck was detecting. Yes, it would be expensive and time-consuming, but it would accomplish the task without any risk to us or most of the ecosystem. Strangely this proposal was not popular at all. Damned if I understand their thinking; while the objections that the shafts would collapse – and that there were a lot of power sources, and it was almost impossible to be sure which ones to target – made some sense, the depth seemed reasonable enough to warrant a test rather than a flat refusal.

   Another option I thought of was to use kinetic penetrators fired from orbit to hit to targets. I remember hearing of the concept back in school somewhere, but I cannot remember where. Sadly Ben informed me that kinetic penetrators do not work well at the depth we will need to hit. At that point we are back to creating massive craters.

   Just great.

   I really don’t want to go into the middle of those cities and try to go through narrow tunnels deep into the planetary crust with who knows what sort of monstrosities trying to eat us the whole time. Regardless, we don’t have the resources or the knowledge to continue that line of action at the moment.

   Lazlo proceeded to try to figure out more details of the locations of the Archives by probing the Archive itself. Ben started digging around the Archive looking for information on the superweapon that we found and lost, mostly on the theory that if it’s operators had set the system to send them here, they’d probably come from here in the first place. I spent the time trying to find out what I could about the Anti-Force, my darksaber concept, the nature of the Force, and any techniques that might give me an edge against Valerie.

   Being paranoid, or maybe just a bit pragmatic, I asked Alys to keep an eye on all of us. Should any of us show signs of falling to the Dark Side, she was to smack whoever was being stupid.

   I was busily finding out just how disorganized the whole Archive was when I suddenly found myself sliding along the floor at high speed. A brief flicker of precognition gave me enough warning to brace myself for the impact with the wall. While I managed to avoid any damage, I was stunned for several moments from the impact. What in the infinite hells just happened?

   Ah, Lazlo was shooting off purple lightning and smacking him wasn’t helping. So Alys asked Handell to get us away from Chyran as quickly as possible. Handell then proceeded to jump directly to hyperspace from orbit.

   Right, next time I go into a trance like that, I am strapping myself into a chair.

   Lazlo was needing medical attention after we pried him out of the electrical panel, Alys had a few cuts and bruises and I was fine. Jarik was lamenting us getting injured again so quickly after him healing us all. I really wanted to tell Jarik to be quiet, but held my tongue. Compared to my time at Trayus, this is relatively minor.

   Jarik was trying to figure out why force powers increased when the user was near to death. It might just be a survival mechanism – but why would “slow death” be more effective than obvious fast death coming up? Perhaps something to do with the initial stages of death and the release of life energy?

   Probably the Sith knew more about that. Somehow I couldn’t see the Jedi slowly killing latents to help their research along.

   What was Lazlo doing to shoot off electric arcs? Researching Sith pyramid schemes? Oh now that sounded smart. Prime technique for pulling on the Dark Side and blowing yourself up if you ask me. Looks like we have another one intent to blow himself up in dramatic fashion. Not much point in trying to discourage this behavior either. Still, he’d held up longer than any of the others I’ve seen fall to the dark side. Was that because he actually had some active talent? Maybe he was heading towards becoming a Sith… On the other hand, perhaps this would be a lesson to him; it looked like the end of the force-tapping pyramid scheme would have been a few moments of vast power followed by an almost immediate burnout and death. It had just seemed so seductive at the time.

   Strangely Ben was missing. He was nowhere in the room with us, and I could have sworn he was in here with us when we started. He was easy enough to find once we started looking… He’d been positioned where he could “fall down” the engine room access corridor when the acceleration hit. Alys found him there, right about the same time Handell came back and began to yell at us for making him jump to hyperspace so quickly. Handell got there just in time to see us peel Ben off the hyperdrive assembly. That face print on the main panel didn’t look good. How could such a powerful precognitive wind up in so many accidents? Perhaps you had to limit precognition to maintain your sanity? It would be an information overload. Ah. Accidents were rarely probable. You wouldn’t see them unless you had some idea of what to look for.

   Jarik’s analysis of Ben’s injuries indicated that the lights were on but no one was home. My Force senses concurred as much as it seems Ben gave up the Force ghost. Well this is going to be interesting to fix if we even can fix it. I idly thought about smothering Ben in tree glue to help hold his ghost in place should we get it back.

   Ben, meanwhile, had found that – even as a force ghost, with no physical limitations on his memory, being in touch with the entire universe was a bit overwhelming – but if he pulled our of hyperspace, he might never find his home galaxy again, much less his body. He spent quite some time getting zoomed in on the proper galaxy – and more finding the right planet.

   Unfortunately, the Asrai was not there. Ben spent some time waiting for it to re-appear, but then concluded that it wouldn’t be soon. His powers had too limited a range to call too.

   Wait; he could only work in close contact to his target, but he was halfway in hyperspace at the moment, and potentially in contact with the entire cosmos. Perhaps he could call Kira after all.

   He spent some time giving that a try – long enough, in fact, that the Asrai arrived at another world and the others had his body mostly healed and safely on life support in the medical bay.

   Later on, I got a buzz from somewhere. It sounded like Ben calling out to me from just about everywhere and yet nowhere. Well that is new. It took a bit of time to figure out how to talk back to him and try to direct him to our location. Once we got his ghost back it seemed to pop back into place in his body. Apparently being in a sensory trance while plastered on a hyperdrive that’s making an emergency jump into hyperspace in a gravity well leads one to try to become one with the universe or to share in the dimensionless nature of hyperspace or something like that.

   Right, another item on my list of things not to try.

   Handell then began to complain about damage to some component to the engines caused by Ben. Something to do with a distortion of the resonant micro-cavities in the hyperdrive. 10CH would need hours and hours, and possibly parts, to do it since Ben wasn’t available. Great, we just got this thing repaired not too long ago and now we have to do it again? I didn’t look forward to the idea of being stranded on Chyran again so I elected we make repairs here.

   Speaking of which, where is here?

   Tattooine? I never understood how such a pathetic backwater has managed to remain a central point in galactic affairs. At least Alderaan is one of the Core worlds and a major economic and political hub. The only thing this ball of rock has to offer is sand and people who want to get the hell off it.

   Oh, and Jawas and Sandpeople. Who mostly aren’t welcome anywhere else anyway.

   Oh good grief, here we are at Tattooine, needing hyperdrive parts and fleeing the Sith. If we find some cheery slave child with more Force talent than most Academies then I swear I will kill him on the spot. Dark Side be damned.

   Actually, Tattooine simply happens to lie near at the lowest-energy nexus of a major set of hyperspace channels; If you start anywhere near one of those channels, and have a hyperdrive malfunction, or make an emergency jump, or make mistakes in your piloting, there’s a substantial chance that you’ll wind up near Tattooine, regardless of where you’ d been heading in the first place. This isn’t common knowledge simply because it’s still rare and because researching hyperdrive malfunctions isn’t a popular hobby.

   It also means that Tattooine is a magnet for broken-down tramp freighters, smugglers, refugees from across large sections of the galaxy, and everyone who preys on them. Large parts of most of it’s towns and cities are built with chunks from salvaged starships – which at least means that there’s a brisk trade in spare parts. Most sensible people won’t go near the place.

   There are at least a dozen similar locations in other sectors, and probably more – but some have no planets nearby, so somewhere in the unliveable zones of the galaxy, you can expect to find small fleets of derelict starships drifting in deep space – monuments to thousands of years of ongoing tragedy.

   The landing was smooth enough, although Handell was complaining about the primitive navigational system around the planet. Some custom official came out to greet us after we landed. Not wanting a repeat of the mess at Archegyph, I went outside to meet the guy. I announced this was our first time here, and we just needed to purchase some parts before leaving again. The official then went into a litany about how we would need paperwork, landing fees, permits, licenses, and registration before we could leave. All of this would cost a great deal of money and time.

   I supposed that we had better… Wait. The same rebellion that had been my bane in school was kicking in – and some thought (with some prompting from Alys and Lazlo) with it. Customs officials? On Tattooine? In Hutt space?

   When challenged, the “official” fell back on a line about how the official fees were much more reasonable, it was the bribes to other officials that cost so much, and how – since we were obviously not used to such corruption – he was moved to help us out, volunteering to spend his personal time expediting things so that we could get through just by paying the official fees.

   OK, on MOST people from Alderaan – where the Asrai was registered out of – he would have gotten away with it. To Kira and the rest – what with their force powers to catch the undertone – it was clear they were being taken for a ride.

   Two can play at this game. I held out my lightsaber and the paperwork declaring us to be trouble magnets while asking how much was he willing to pay us to leave. Surely even the Hutts would be smart enough to realize it was smarter to let us buy parts and leave quietly than it did to keep us here longer than necessary.

   That brought the price down to the direct bribe (500 credits) and I was quite willing to have that paid just to get this over with when Alys got involved again, and Lazlo made a few threatening remarks, and the “customs official” threatened to “call the police on us”. The police? On a Hutt world no less? I’m from Alderaan, and even I’m pretty sure that the police don’t exist in Hutt territory. Just about everything is done with bounty hunters and thugs. Alright, time to call his bluff.

   Alys began the process of calling the local Hutt and I stood between her and the now panicking customs official. The idiot then pulled a blaster on me and tried to retreat to “leave matters to the police”. He completely didn’t understand my question to him if he actually thought that a blaster would work on me; he was sure that his blaster worked just fine; he had a warranty. I must have been so shocked at the idiocy of him shooting at me with a holdout blaster that I neglected to try to use the lightsaber to block when he fired.

   Maybe I did pick up some tidbits on how to better resist damage or else I was very lucky as the shot hit my hand and did no damage. It hurt like hell, and that took several seconds to feel better. I really need to learn how Valerie does that.

   At the very least that did unnerve the idiot that shot at me into running away. Lazlo chased him down and grabbed him in a choke hold. I was especially surprised when Lazlo then proceeded to use the poor guy as a shield against his backup, who was now firing at us too. When the backup threw a grenade into our midst, I leapt into the air with the Force to dodge while everyone else took cover.

   By the time I hit the ground again the battle was over. Lazlo had beaten one of them into submission and the other had fled for his life. I am not sure this is a better outcome than Archegyph, but the cat is beyond my ability to restrain anyway. Besides, they shot first.

   Alys went to take the poor idiot to the Hutts after looting his pockets. Evidently the scam had paid pretty well so far today; he’d been selectively hitting ships with damaged hyperdrives that were registered on the most law-and-order planets that he could find. No wonder he’d been getting away with it.

   I took the list of parts needed for the hyperdrive given to me by 10CH and went hunting. Luckily there were no toydarians with powerfully talented slave kids wanting races in exchange for parts. The worst to be seen in the kids line was a few young pickpockets, and they seemed to know better than to come near a scruffy guy in robes carrying a lightsaber in the middle of a Sith war. Parts were retrieved with little effort, and I did throw a few hints about the weapons needing repairs to Ben. As anticipated, that got Ben into a flurry of parts hunting and purchasing while we had the opportunity. Is it taking advantage of him by manipulating him into buying the stuff? Maybe, but then again, his life is as dependent on them as ours are.

   Meanwhile, Alys had taken the “official” to the local Hutt lord – or at least a younger Hutt who represented him – and turned him in for a small price (which the Hutt negotiated downwards on general principles) for hijacking Hutt revenue. That got the fellow scheduled for a hideously painful execution, and her invited – whereupon she had a crisis of conscience, turned around, and bought him out again as a slave for somewhat more than she’d been paid in the first place.

   She wound up assuring the Hutt that this was a piece of alien performance art, and he was amused enough to give her something for free. Despite several prophecies, however, this did not signal the end of the galaxy since it was only “advice” – “If you keep paying your audiences, you’re never going to make any money at this”.

   After that, he’d gone away laughing.

   Hutt advice. Even they didn’t charge for that, since there was no market. Everyone knew the kind of advice that Hutt’s gave.

   Back at the ship, I found that someone had put graffiti all over it. This was something downright abstract, in brilliant swirling colors, as opposed to typical turf marking crap I would have expected. Could this be the pinnacle of Hutt art? (It was actually a religious blessing/ward against trouble magnets bringing disaster to the community; oddly enough, it did look a lot like the usual Hedi paint jobs). Oh well, I imagine that it will get blasted off before long. I will admit the thought of painting the ship like some of the Hedi vessels had crossed my mind, but I decided against it. Why would anyone sneak up and do it? A bet perhaps?

   Lazlo had gone shopping, done a lot of tinkering, and had repaired his fighter craft. I also found that Alys had stuffed our idiot customs official into one of the holding cells (for an eventual dumping on Alderaan) after having Jarik check him out (Diagnosis; severe overconfidence). I didn’t bother asking what she was thinking. 10CH repaired the drives and Ben got the weapons back in operation. With everything back in working order, it was time to head back to Chyran. Someone made a comment of it being safer on Chyran than here on Tattooine, but I couldn’t tell if they were joking or serious.

   We landed at the tribe camp again and let Lazlo play some more with the Shaman. Ben went back to researching the superweapon again and I tried to narrow my focus towards information on what makes latents latent until they awaken their power.

   It looked like a good number of latents just never learned to use their powers. Somehow I really doubt that was my case, as I was able to feel a distinct before and after difference. So I dug deeper in search of answers. Eventually I found what I was looking for in the back of the Archives under sections people would never bother with – or at least buried in brains that even the Sith had considered eccentric.

   At least according to some brain-damaged dead Sith (oh dear; how desperate am I getting?), it turns out there is some sort of Anti-Force, and it normally existed in balance with the Force in most living beings. Force ability was when Force potential managed to overwhelm Anti-Force potential. Some force sensitives somehow managed to shut down, presumably by overcoming their force powers with antiforce. None of the Sith really bothered experimenting with this as they wanted to control over their powers, not to shut them off. Well I never claimed to be one to follow convention.

   It looks like that while the Force uses life energies to accomplish various tasks, the Anti-Force consumes life energies to augment the user. Jedi have used this to burn out their own life energies to power something large, and Sith have consumed the lives of (presumably unwilling) sacrifices to fuel their powers (like the Pyramid scheme Lazlo had foolishly initiated on the theory that he could try it and drop it). Loss of control leads to all sorts of horrific accidents and messes either way. Can’t say that is unexpected.

   It also looked like the Anti-Force had it’s own set of powers, much like I speculated. Memory erasure, precognition immunity, vastly boosted physical abilities, and consuming the lives of others to extend your own, Force immunity, bacta immunity and allergies, and the ability to survive massive injuries among other things. I suspect that story of someone being able to survive without a heart is a gross exaggeration, but considering the stuff I have seen lately it might be possible. Of course, the stories about what happened to those who tried to tap into the antiforce were equally horrific – killing everything in the area, negating physical forces, spawning life-devouring monstrosities, turning into an entity that ate entire planets, insane massacres… Oh well. At least there were lots of references to older experiments and to abandoned worlds where additional clues could be sought.

   About then, the news came in on the hypernet that the Republic had intercepted a small shuttle approaching Verfara. It had shown no detectable life signs, had seemed mostly dead, and had had no detectable booby traps aboard – so the patrolboat commander had probed, gotten no response, and had overridden his orders to take it aboard for investigation. He’d probably been hoping for some intelligence coup or something. Anyway, shortly thereafter his ship had ceased reporting, and was currently being posted as a potential plague carrier.

   There was something familiar about Verfara… Why had we flagged that place for attention again? Oh damn, it had been where the dark-side-force-ghost-possessed-bioweapon-construct had headed. Why would no one listen? They’d been warned to blow up the damn shuttle the moment it arrived! Was all the competence in the galaxy being concentrated in rare individuals or something?

   Oh well, nothing to be done about it at this range at the moment.

   Anyway… Force immunity seemed to be only slightly rarer than Force potential – and there had been a few reported cases of Jedi and Sith dying when they tried to use force powers on someone with a high level of force immunity (and massed attempts often killed the force-immune one). Now that was revealing, and it helped confirm a lot of my suspicions about what is going on. Also very telling was the fact that being a trouble magnet had a very high correlation with being Force immune and thereby presumably Anti-Force potential. So someone in this group may have Anti-Force potential. Presumably that would be someone in the group from the beginning so that left Handell, 10CH, Khadim, and me. 10CH probably didn’t have it, being a droid. Khadim has always been a mystery on even the most basic levels; how can an energy field have the structural complexity to be alive? Anyway, that left Handell and I. The odds that I would have Anti-Force potential while also being the one looking for it seemed long at best. Handell then?

   I had been dictating what I had been finding to Telera to copy down while I searched the Archive. It became obvious though that I had gathered a crowd of curious listeners as I went on. Jarik started a betting pool on who had the trouble magnet talent, and Ben was expressing horror at the idea of someone being immune to precognition. Alys and Lazlo didn’t seem to care very much either way.

   This did prompt Jarik to ask about the Force and why some people have powers and others do not. Particularly why the cat suddenly gained the ability to levitate objects and such. I went into a brief discussion on the Anti-Force and the Force balances and briefly mentioned the Force stimulants to him. Jarik took the Force stimulants and the data gathered from the base and quickly synthesized a sample specific to humans. From what little I understand, he just took a task that takes a major research facility years to accomplish and did it in less than 12 hours. Plus to top it all off, he took my suggestion of a counteragent for the stuff seriously and whipped one up in a similar amount of time.

   That was actually easier than Kira thought; most of the basic components of the human variant were available anyway. It called for a subtle pain-killer, a concentration-enhancer, a metabolic booster to try to make up for the energy drain, and a powerful neural stimulant targeting the human cortex. Using the stuff was a terrible strain, and trying to use it for more than a few minutes (which would probably take a few weeks off your likely lifespan) would lead to overstrain, premature aging, and potential neurological or circulatory collapse. It wasn’t usually considered a good idea. Jarik was, however, quite incredibly skilled (total of 76), and managed to find a really good combination. While he was at it, he found that an opposing combination somewhat damped force abilities – although it also interfered with planning and with transferring memories into long-term storage. Would the antiforce make it hard for your enemies to plan?

   What in the galaxy is going on with all of these super experts? Here at my disposal I have a super-engineer, a super-medic, a super-pilot, a super-soldier, an assassin droid far more competent than I like to think of, a something weird in that armor, and a galactic big game hunter who seems to have some sort of supernatural knack with technology. Meanwhile I am just a poorly trained apprentice. I am seriously feeling outclassed by this bunch of nuts.

   I needed no more demonstration that they were nuts when I found Ben doodling superweapon designs every spare chance he got.

   The exclamation that he didn’t want to and was trying to stop only reinforced the idea. Smacking him every time he tried to doodle again was only serving to make my arms sore. Ben blowing up like the others was certain to cause a lot more damage than the nuts so far. Especially now that I saw him playing with a Gravity Amplifier and with a Reality Existence Failure device (attempting to open a hyperportal from the hyperspace end, so that all of existence became one place). More hyperspace interface devices. Is something actively trying to piss me off enough to fall to the Dark Side?

   He did get something on the hypertunnel system. It looked like the problems were that the energy to move stuff out of a gravity well came from the field, so if you were lifting a lot of stuff it tended to collapse. Otherwise, the aim was terrible, it went through such a high level of hyperspace that the alluvial dampers had to handle everything in an instant and generally overloaded, and that – since the particle interaction was a probability-based thing – trying to send a “sweeper” though the tunnel ahead of yourself probably wouldn’t work. Torpedoes designed to pick up particles might arrive as radioactive chunks of hell, but shipping them through a large mass to guarantee it ran into the usual problems of gravitational interactions.

   We managed to stop the flow of speculations on ways to blow up the galaxy eventually.

   Finally between Telera and I, we determined that Ben had dug a little too deeply into the Archives and picked up some bits of personality from a superweapon nutjob. Telera started making vague threats of Ben sharing the same fate as the superweapon designer and I had to agree with the assessment. Ben came to his own defense and suggested I mind control him into not designing superweapons. There seemed to be something subtly wrong and self-defeating about the whole idea, especially considering the fact he was asking me to do it.

   The proposal did catch Telera off guard, and it was nice to see her at a loss for words for once. Too many times she has had some pithy remark or Jedi koan for just about everything. Not everything exists in whatever Jedi manual she was taught.

   This did lead into the interesting idea of why Ben was more vulnerable to Force powers than most people. Was he specifically bred to lack Anti-Force potential? That would be an interesting thing to compare against the rest of the group’s genetics.

   Anyway, back to keeping Ben from destroying all Creation. It was eventually decided that mind controlling him to not destroy everything was probably a good thing compared to the alternatives. I set to work slowly taking my time as I had never really done anything like this before. Sadly while I wasn’t able to negate the compulsion, it looked like I might be able to redirect it. But to what?

   I figured lechery would work well, as I could tie that into those base instincts to help reinforce the link. Alys and Telera refused to allow that one though. I don’t know who suggested Ben work on weaponized memes, but I wanted to kill them. Other suggestions came in for writing advertising jingles, offering free legal advice, and all sorts of other highly annoying habits. I finally mentioned determining the physical nature of the Force sarcastically and was most surprised at how well it took without much prompting from me.

   Well, he is an engineer after all.

   While Alys slipped him a new notebook to write in, I took the old one and had 10CH systematically destroy it as thoroughly as possible given the circumstances. He cheerily complied and was more thorough than I expected – extracting the hydrogen to feed to the engine and then feeding the helium to the ion cannon to be blasted across the cosmos, blending the remaining dust, and then scattering it into hyperspace to reappear as a random scatter of subatomic particles. Nothing wrong with that considering the contents of the damn notebook.

   Ben promptly got to work on something they’d forgotten. Containing the Sith Archive. Since the old city shields had kept each experiment separate, the City Shields had somehow been able to block the broadcast. Shields had hyperspace-gravitic components. Shields counldn’t stop the Force – but could they interfere with whatever the carrier was? It had to be at least partially in normal space, it seemed to obey the square-cube law and didn’t blanket the galaxy.

   That took a lot of careful tinkering, but the proper shield-modulation would stop the broadcast. Given some more equipment, it might be possible to wean the locals away from the Archives after all… Oh hell. I should have consulted the shamans to begin with. They might have Sith tendencies, but they’ve had two thousand years to sort out which sections of the archive are dangerous and which are not. They’d even learned to erase dangerous bits and store practical information – which was a giveaway that the brains involved were dead. Otherwise their force ghosts would tend to restore the correct memories and reject the grafts. Natural selection for breeding Sith with self-control. Had that been a part of the Sith plan to begin with? Still, now all they needed was a pile of properly-tinkered up shield generators with semi=-perpetual power supplies.

   While I had a list of lots of legends and experiments into the Anti-Force, none of it was very detailed or coherent. Perusing the Galactic Net showed the vast majority of the relevant data to be firmly locked by the Jedi. Apparently Jedi pretty high up the chain of command.

   Well blast.

   Lazlo started a busy series of speculations about how – if robes provided force powers, perhaps other fashions provided force monotalents. Still, insane babble was much safer than Sith pyramid schemes. He did come up with an interesting notion along the way, not that anyone gave it much consideration with it mixed in with the theories about robes. Was the force involved with skills? After all, when you really thought about it, why would a basic medical course provide medical talents that worked on every creature in the universe. Wasn’t that just a BIT unlikely?

   No choice then but to go to Coruscant and see if the Jedi are accommodating. Alys needed to return there anyway to take care of family business. At the very least, Valerie isn’t likely to try to attack me there of all places. She’s good, but hordes of Jedi and Republic forces would be there.

   Hmm, the image of walking up to the main entrance of the Jedi Temple and knocking is rather humorous. I wonder how many of them I can annoy without doing anything wrong?


   The number of Anti-Force potentials running around is almost the same as the number of Force potentials. They can develop abilities just like Force sensitives and it does seem that some level of ability can be developed without it becoming lethal. After twenty some odd millenia, they haven’t gotten together and formed an Order of their own? Now that is odd. If it didn’t sound like such a conspiracy theory, I would have said that an Order of people with the ability to erase memories might well exist. Best not to think along those lines until I get more information from the Jedi. Still prudent to remain cautious though, as someone wants to keep this a secret.

   I just want to live a normal emotional life. Why is that so difficult?