Here we have the latest Star Wars log. As usual, it’s from Kira’s player and viewpoint, with additional material edited in so it can serve as a general log as well.
The next day saw the party scatter once again to the four winds before the meeting with the Jedi Council. Jarik and Alys went gambling since Alys’s mother and younger brother weren’t back in yet. Lazlo was playing with Sith techniques in the middle of the Jedi Temple. Shipwreck was receiving medical attention yet again and Ben was busy speculating on new information from the archives. He went out and rented a huge pile of sensor systems (in a world with 6.2 trillion official residents, you could rent almost anything) to help him run some sort of arcane experiment.
Meanwhile I was looking through the archives a bit looking for interesting lightsaber variants to try. Most specifically, I was looking into what I’ve been calling the darksaber concept, using an attractive field as a weapon as opposed to a repulsive one like a lightsaber. Sadly I found that the way I anticipated the device to work did not match up with the reality of things. Instead of forming a blade of condensed plasma like I thought, it would form areas of compressed air or whatever else it managed to grab. It would get hot, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Well, another idea to chuck into the pile of “interesting, but did not work out.” With that one being a dead end, I continued browsing the entries on different lightsaber variants. Sadly, it looks like the reason the galaxy is so homogenized is that the technology can only really be applied in a few ways and still be considered effective or practical. I did find something interesting listed under “Variable Star” though.
That one looked like it took an attractor system and put it on the end of a length of cable to use like an primitive flail or whip. The entry went into the various combat uses of the system, but I was more interested in it’s possibilities as part of a grapnel system. A bracer mounted grapnel equipped with one of these would be able to adhere to most anything I can think of firing it at. At least in anything other than vacuum for reasons not entirely clear to me. Something about gravitational and inertial masses not being the same.
Meanwhile, Alys and Jarik were fooling around at the “Rishalin Frontier Caravan” – a mid-scale jungle-expedition themed casino. More of the lemur-like things serving drinks… It looked like they were made with intoxicating designer fruits and were designed to get the customers a bit tipsy. Well, it was a casino. Still, the creatures were extremely well co-ordinated. Perhaps some sort of hive mind?
They got diverted from that to deal with some pickpockets, and the security people (who were dressed as jungle predators), and wound up with a new biometric wallet for Jarik before heading for a higher-class casino.
Ben, meanwhile, had concluded that a Force-user enhancing and suppressing his or her Force presence didn’t seem to modulate his or her gravitational signature appreciably. Not a good sign for his latest theory. Still, the “Variable Star” weapon looked like it had a lot of interesting possibilities, so he spent some time looking into that – and then decided to compare Khadim – as the only energy-being he had access to – with a force user. He was a bit startled to discover that Khadim consisted of pure electrical and magnetic fields with no apparent source particles – as if he was made up of photons moving at molecular-thermal speeds or was a pocket of space-time distortion or something. Now THAT needed investigation…
An archive search showed that energy beings were mostly mythical – listed as planetary nature spirits – but the few examples all showed a hyperspace link. Could living energy be related to the Sith archive carrier signal? But Khadim showed up on sensors, whereas force ghosts didn’t show up at all.
Off in the higher-class casino, Jarik was barely breaking even – blasted house odds! – and Alys was having a hard time fending off an old schoolmate – Merkar, a young man from one of the richest families on Coruscant who was apparently entertaining notions of heroically rescuing her from being included with her scruffy, trouble-prone, companions. Given that he was an arrogant womanizing jackass, with some nasty rumors (even if they did seem to really be rumors for the most part – especially the one that said he was funding the entire Sith war) circulating about him, the approach – and the photographers that came with it – was not welcome. Alys and Jarik slipped away, heading back to the Jedi Temple.
Finally it was time to meet with the Jedi Council. From what I could see, they looked to be quite elderly and unwell. I would wager its being on this planet continuously that was doing that. I don’t have nearly their level of skill or power and I was getting a headache from all the mental noise this world radiates. Seriously, these people either need to relocate a moon into orbit or find another world in this system to build their temple on if the Republic is so insistent on keeping an eye on them.
The Jedi known as Aviros Sarton ran the introductions on their side and we sounded off in turn. Aviros then went into this longwinded speech about meeting with us because we were trouble magnets (well, OK, because it was very rare to have so many force sensitive trouble magnets in one place and we were creating “powerful echoes”, whatever that meant). I don’t know if he liked to hear himself talk, or if he wanted us to know what he thought about us as he went into debating whether trouble magents were fulcrums of fate, or just plain crazy (and using the force to attract trouble) or just victims of coincidence.
Personally, I think he was trying to be slightly insulting.
Aviros then asked why we were here before the Council. Did these guys not even receive a briefing? I think I have told just about every Jedi underling from the front desk to here what I wanted and why. Sigh, alright, time to repeat the speech again. I couldn’t help getting snotty at times when the Council felt the urge to lecture me on not following Dark Side teachings and misusing the Force. Did they really not know anything about the whole “captured, beaten and trained by the Sith only to escape” bit?
Alys sighed. The council was just being polite and letting them state their own case in their own words – although they probably also wanted to weigh the impressions they got when they stated their own case. She could understand Kira’s impatience though; it was pretty obvious that simply being on Coruscant could drive a sensitive half mad.
Well since they were insulting first, I felt it fair to point out that I felt becoming like them or the Hedi was on par with suicide for all practical purposes. They didn’t like my Anti-Force idea, which really didn’t surprise me in the least. This started a small “debate” as to what was the greater threat to the galaxy: me experimenting or the hordes of Sith running around. I wanted to point out that the bulk of all the Sith thus far have come from the ranks of the Jedi, but held back that one as a retort in reserve.
Ben had to admit that the Jedi position – that there was no such thing as an “antiforce”, it was simply that the user’s mind shaped the Force, and someone who believed in an “antiforce” would shape the force into strange, negative powers – wasn’t entirely unreasonable. Their flat statement that what someone with twisted Sith training AND a twisted theory would come up with was totally unknown was also hard to argue with. So was their cautionary statement that all such research had proven extremely dangerous in the past, and that they doubted that combining twisted Sith training with a twisted theory would miraculously yield a sensible result. Still, was that position more than a semantic difference? It admitted that there were “antiforce powers” after all. Kira didn’t want to hear that though; he was holding to the idea of the antiforce like a drowning man.
Interestingly, the Council had nothing against “Trouble Magnets” either; while individuals such as Handell did get entangled in many odd situations, it seemed to be in no way their fault. They did prefer that any antiforce experiments take place well away from Republic space.
The promise that I expected to experiment either in Sith territory or in neutral space finally seemed to satisfy them as possibly acceptable. Apparently whatever is in the records on failed experiments has got the Council pretty spooked. Aviros announced that the Council would deliberate for some time on the matter and wanted to know if we had any other business with them in the meantime.
Ben wanted to ask them to petition the Republic to install shield generators to block out the Sith Archive system back on Chyran. His presentation was a bit lacking on being convincing, but then again, I just told off the Council myself. Amazingly, the Council agreed to bring the matter up with the Republic – although they noted that it would probably be a low priority. Oh well, it had been two millennia, what was “maybe in a year or two” compared to that?
Jarik wanted to test his enhancer drug against what the Jedi had in stock – and they agreed to that too. Apparently the Jedi had such compounds in their records, but never used them, regarding them as artificial crutches – and a symptom of going Hedi.
Ben was cautiously pleased. It looked like the Council actually accepted the Republic position on “trouble magnets” – that, statistically, their activities almost always rebounded to the benefit of their sponsors and that they often did or found useful things. Therefore they would provide limited help and refrain from directly interfering overmuch – even if they were full of boring advice about things not to do.
We broke while the Council deliberated for a while. Jarik immediately started hunting for the most seedy casino he could find. The twinge in the back of my mind informed me that it was probably prudent to go along and keep him out of trouble. Especially given that he was our doctor and couldn’t tell a blaster from a hair dryer – even if he did seem to be really good at finding the local underworld.
The elevator ride down into the planetary crust took forever it felt like. Five kilometers down, the compressive heat of the rock above us was steaming up the place considerably. Most of the light fixtures didn’t work and what thoughts I was able to make out from the crowd around us weren’t exactly pleasant. I could tell I would have a hard time functioning down here for long. Well, worst case, I have some of Jarik’s suppression drug in my pocket.
The casino Jarik found was a dump. The smell and the atmosphere (or lack of it) certainly added to the sensation of being in barely civilized territory. Hard to imagine that we are only five kilometers from the upper echelons of galactic society. One thing going for me though was the fact that I am such a small fry that no one here would be hunting me for bounty.
The sheer number of alien species was amazing to behold. Humans were still clearly the majority, but not by much.
It looked like the only things they banned were explosive weapons… A bouncer did approach me and felt the urge to warn me that Jedi and Sith wannabes running around here quickly ended up dead when they stuck their necks out too far. I tried to think of some way to prove myself a wanna-not-be instead, but eventually decided it was more practical to smile, nod and ignore him. Besides, if the people down here were going to underestimate me in a fight, so much the better.
Wait; how many self-proclaimed Sith did they get?
Jarik was drawn to the podraces. I must admit a certain fascination with the sport. Just the fact that there exist people with the reflexes and skill to do that sort of racing sent shivers up my spine. That was also one of the more popular holo games when I was growing up back home. We would all try to see how long we could last at full speed. Repeated abysmal failures on my part while playing convinced me that people like Anakin Skywalker had to be myths.
While my reflexes and speed have increased substantially with the acquisition of my Force powers, I still felt it was impossible to move at the speeds necessary. Oh well, this would be a chance to see how people did in real life. At least someone here had to be professional. Jarik was placing his bets on the coming race and I looked at the odds tables and tried to divine what I could.
It looked like the race was across a stretch of Coruscant, including some tunnels, and the most popular bets were on who got killed. There were no rules on weapons and a minimum speed was enforceable by the pod blowing up? Ah; the racers were forced to pilot. Well, so much for seeing how the professionals did it. No wonder most or all of them were expected to die.
I got a few tidbits of information when a big hand smacked me on the back of the head. How did I not see that coming? I spun around to find myself face to face with one of the biggest men I have seen. Well, more like face to navel. Apparently this guy was a bouncer able to tell when someone was using precognition. When he told me to stop killing large amounts of people, I thought he was referring to the incidents back on that other city world. I eventually figured out he was seeing something that disappeared when someone else used precognition near him.
Now that took some effort to tune in on. Eventually though I could see at least vague outlines of what he was seeing. This looked to be some sort of hazmat team doing cleanup work in a ruined version of the casino. This certainly didn’t seem like the future or past. Plus it couldn’t be the present as I was already right there and it looked nothing like the vision. Could these be the echoes the Jedi spoke of earlier? Glimpses of alternate timelines of what might have been?
If so, then I am not sure I like this. It definitely seems like whatever alternate this vision is from is certainly one with few people still around and that means a lot in Coruscant. The bouncer went on to describe other visions he has had and how the Jedi “kill off” these people by using their precognition. Is it possible that precognition is actually truncating possible futures without anyone realizing it? That was a disturbing thought. Maybe it just interfered with his senses? That was more palatable…
Continued discussions with the bouncer while I placed my bets slowly reaffirmed the idea that he wasn’t entirely stable. I imagine seeing post apocalyptic versions of your home everywhere you go – and seeing chunks of reality vanishing – would do that to me as well. I should probably speak to the Jedi about this and see what they can tell me. Still, it seemed that he was mostly tuned into near-empty versions of Coruscant. Was that a defense mechanism of some sort?
At which point the bouncer and I got into a major argument over whether the Sith were real or not (and the casino patrons started betting on the outcome). At first I was just teasing him, but the adversial portion of my personality took over. Soon it became shouting and then he surprised me again by throwing me out of the Casino before I could react. Was this guy somehow blocking my precognition?
I landed on my feet with all the grace of a cat, at least that portion of my power was still working.
Strangely I found a small lemur like person brushing me off and asking if I wanted a drink. Wait, lemur like? Could this be of the same species Alys, Jarik and Ben were getting so wound up about? Well, I am not one to just sit there thinking about things, I like to act. If Alys, Jarik and Ben won’t ask them directly, I will.
Meanwhile, Alys was off to see her mother and younger brother – and Alys had a very hard time explaining why she was sticking with them, rather than applying for re-evaluation of her “trouble magnet” status.
There was curiosity, excitement, research, loyalty to the Republic, a glimmer of hope at shutting down the Sith wars forever – and there needing to be someone sane keeping an eye on the rest of the group to be sure they didn’t manage to blow up the universe or something. It was her duty to the galaxy!
Her mother and sibling actually couldn’t argue with that – although it was clear that her younger brother at least had never really considered the possibility of a few individuals being potentially troublesome on that scale. Had he really been serious about asking why she didn’t just push them off a building before they blew up the galaxy?
Was he even wrong? She had pretty much claimed that she was taking on a nasty, but necessary, obligation.
I wouldn’t call it interrogating when I just ask some questions and get fairly innocent answers, but somehow I couldn’t get the images from Trayus out of my mind. I did at least learn what is going on though. Looks like the criminal underworld managed to get their hands on some members of this species, found they made excellent servants, and then either went to town on it’s biology to make them perfect servants or just settled for rumors and intimidation to keep them under wraps as virtual – or literal – slaves. Since then, a major “illegal” population of these things has been running around in the sublevels. Legitimate members of the species arrived six months ago or so – and word got out that you could take legal jobs and not be killed, and that was where the population discrepancy was coming from; some of them were migrating up from the sublevels.
See, no major Sith plot or some such nonsense going on. Well, it is a bit cruel and illegal, but compared to how I’ve seen servants treated they seem to be doing well enough.
Right about the time the conversation with the lemur kid ended I noticed a major brawl had broken out in the casino. Somehow I knew Jarik was in the middle of this. Shoving people aside as I pushed my way in, several people shot at me out of the blue. A few quick swings of my lightsaber knocked those aside in short order. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife as everyone near me stopped to stare. The cries that I could actually use the weapon got everyone stampeding towards the betting counters to place bets on me actually being a Jedi or Sith or any of a lot of other variations.
More knocking people aside and leaping over particularly vexing obstacles finally brought me face to face with Jarik. Unfortunately for him, it looked like someone had gutted him from crutch to sternum, and he was laying there dying on the floor. It’s the fool’s fault for getting into this mess, but I needed him to ensure my own survival. Grabbing him by the collar, I dragged him to one of the medics offering expensive medical care for treatment. It took pretty much all the cash I had left to pay for Jarik’s bill.
He is so going to owe me for this once he wakes up. Hmm, Jarik was placing bets right up until he got stabbed, so it stands to reason some of them might have paid out. A quick stop at the counter confirmed as much, and they were even willing to give me his money as I was his “bodyguard”. Sadly, the bets on me being a “failed Sith” would not be paid out in full as I could not be counted as an impartial witness to my current status. Oh good god. Had he tried to use his inside knowledge as my “employer” to clean up on those bets? No wonder someone had been pissed off! Oh well, pocketing about half the winnings seemed fair enough in exchange for saving his ass from this mess.
Once Jarik was stabilized, I flung him over my shoulder and went to the elevator to the surface. No one was willing to bother the guy carrying a lit lightsaber in one hand and an unconscious person on the other shoulder. Finally, a little fear and respect around here!
Heh, Valerie would tell me I am doing it wrong! Still, Coruscant had to have an endless supply of crazies about claiming to be Sith or Jedi. No wonder no one took it seriously until you actually did something effective.
Dropping Jarik off at the Jedi Medical bay was a straightforward matter once back on the surface. Apparently the Jedi had been needing a volunteer to teach the students healing techniques just as I brought one in. I sat and watched the lesson to see what pointers I could get out of it. The basic technique – transferringa bit of life force – was straightforward enough, but I wasn’t likely to be able to get the spare life energy (unlike a class of forty) necessary to do more but the most basic of first aid on my own. Oh well, was worth a try.
After the healing lesson, I talked with Aviros again about the bouncer I met down in the casino. Apparently this sort of sight wasn’t all that uncommon once you reached a certain level of sensitivity. Well, I am not sure I like the implications of that. I needed to find some way to turn off my abilities if I hope to remain sane through all this. Plus being here on Coruscant was beginning to make me feel a little ill. I needed to get off world soon. I also took the opportunity to inform Aviros about the slave species kept in the bowels of Coruscant.
Not that it was like he could do anything about it except bring it to the attention of the appropriate authorities, but it should at least convince them that I am not like the Sith.
The party gathered again soon enough. Jarik was even kind enough to agree to his rescue fee without any persuasion. Well that refilled my coffers for a while at least. Alys looked about ready to go as well. All that remained was waiting for the Jedi Council’s decision.
That came shortly enough once the we had all gathered back together again. The Council once again felt the need to lecture me on how foolish this whole adventure would be, but considering that I was going to pursue this without their help if necessary, they would give me access to the records upon request. Once requested, the materials would be retrieved, filtered and then sent on to me.
Well, this wasn’t exactly ideal, but I guess it will have to do. I proposed setting up a secure communications channel so that we may leave soon and receive the requested materials after we left. The Jedi were eager to agree to that, wanting to get us off world. That plus the fact I wanted off world as soon as possible too led to quick agreement.
The Jedi also mentioned that Echoes were related to precognitive functions, and that the two tended to interfere – which made some sense of bouncers rantings; he really might see chunks of his universe vanish when people used precognition near him. Well, it was information of sorts.
Ben was pleased to have it noted that Trouble Magnets were not directly at fault – but less pleased to hear that they tended to attract each other, and too many in one spot tended to self-destruct – one reason why the Council wanted them off Coruscant. It already had entirely too many trouble magnets for comfort.
We began to gather the last few items we wanted or needed before we left. We needed to decide where we wanted to head next. I for one believe it is time to see about getting ourselves some ID’s that will allow into Sith space. Nal Hutta perhaps?
At least Jarik had decided that he had had enough gambling for a bit.