I had taken up a patrol around the Hohenheim Research Facility while we waited for our assassin to come in. Xiang and Jacob were doing their own security tasks like I was and Ben was playing scientist with the research team – and hopefully NOT creating another superweapon. Alys was in her own ship somewhere in orbit, waiting to back up the Asrai. Handell and Shipwreck were also in orbit in the Asrai waiting for any signs of attack – and in hopes of being able to dump enough missiles to severely damage anything that came in cloaked (and thus with it’s shields down, or at least drastically weakened). 10CH was also down here, acting as yet another maintenance droid.
The wait was dull and I quickly determined I was not cut out to do security work as a career. The biggest issue was the growing anxiety while waiting. I wasn’t really sure how I would react if it did turn out to be Valerie and she was hostile. I was fairly certain I couldn’t kill her, but what if one of the others did? I know we agreed to capture and not kill, but some of these nuts are rather blood thirsty. No choice but to once again try to manage the damage, despite Ben’s attempts at laying booby traps designed to foul up people moving in hypertime.
Ben did come up with some sort of prophecy from himself in the future. I felt it best not to ask for details on what exactly that meant for the sake of my sanity. It did seem like soon the news would be filled with reports of a Sith attack. Kira the Kat would be implicated in the whole mess – and he had a warning from himself not to activate hyperdrives. Looking at all the hyperdrive experiments lying around the facility, I couldn’t help but sigh at that one. I figured that one of Ben’s experiments was about to backfire badly on us, interact with my Codex powers to make matters even worse, and then the locals would blame it all on me and the Sith.
Several days passed.
In orbit, Shipwreck had been focusing more and more on his inner perceptions, using the ships sensors – even if they were amongst the best sensors that money could buy – as a gazing-focus and the readings as prompts.
It took Handell some time to realize that the man had settled into a deep trance, and that something VERY weird was going on. Still… it wasn’t as if he had any clear idea as to whether disturbing him would be a good idea.
Shipwreck had (via a completely ridiculous roll) managed to achieve near-total awareness of the cosmos. He’d started feeding the piloting computer with information on local traffic – including the blatantly obvious (to him) location of the cloaked Star Destroyer in the asteroid belt – but his consciousness had kept expanding… Unfortunately, that was far, far, more than his mind could contain or process – and there was so much he wanted to keep! All of the elements that made up HIM for a start… where to find the galaxies lost fleets, the enemies plans, how the teleportation device they were up against worked, the hyperspace paths between the universes his friends were in, how the Force and the Antiforce and monotalents – including being a trouble magnet – really worked, how to travel between timelines in a controlled fashion… So much lovely information – and if he hadn’t been interested in information to start with, he never would have specialized in sensor systems…
If he didn’t come out of his trance – and give up all that lovely information – he and Handell were almost certainly going to die… He opted for a path that would – almost certainly – allow him and his friends to gain access to all that information eventually, even if his mind couldn’t contain it at the moment.
Down on the surface, Ban and Thelan Orr (one of the local hyperspace experts) had been working on a well-understood version of the hypertunnel effect. It had long been known that if you tuned two hyperdrive units to each other, and fed them with a sufficiently-synchronized set of inputs, you could get them to resonate with each other. If you fed them enough power, you could get one to hypertunnel to the other one – but the effect was power-hungry and almost impossible to achieve over gaps of more than a few miles. Still, it was obviously related – and a precognitive operator could drastically expand the range over which it could be made to work.
They were setting up the next experiment when Thelan abruptly collapsed. Ben went to probe him to see what was wrong – and found that he’d been dosed with a memory-destroying drug. A dart – already dissolving into a couple of drops of water – to the neck. Enough to scramble his memory of the last – and next – few hours and leave him highly suggestible…
Thanks mostly to 10CH running interference, Ben managed to (just barely) duck the shot meant for him – and get away from the needle-grenade that would have dosed him anyway – and then found himself confronting Valerie, who casually used the force to close the blast doors – and weld them shut – when she saw who it was. She’d apparently come in through the air systems or something.
Oh damn. He’d been so focused on the powers that he’d forgotten that she was a stealth infiltration expert.
Almost exactly the situation he had wanted to avoid at all costs – although having 10CH in the same room (even if he was disinclined to fight unless he had to) was a big plus.
He didn’t manage to divert her for more than a few seconds – or to resist either her questions or her mental probe to see if he was lying. She found out what had happened to Kira, and where he’d “acquired” those strange powers, in short order – and why Kira seemed so distant still. She wasn’t at all happy about that. She’d spent a lot of time probing and planting suggestions in hyperspace experts – and eliminating the occasional ones where something went wrong – to have Kira STILL be out of reach! How could that be? She’d foreseen that setting up the hyperspace experts would lead her to Kira eventually!
Meanwhile, out with the security patrols.
Just as I had been about to give up the ambush as a lost cause, an alarm went out from 10CH over in laboratory three. Running down the corridor, I came to a halt as I found the blast doors to the room had already sealed and welded themselves shut. Lazlo and Jacob were already there and working on trying to cut through the door with Jacob’s lightsabers. I left them to work on that as I phased myself and walked through the door.
On the other side I found Ben on the floor holding an unconscious scientist with 10CH standing in front of him. It took me a moment to notice that 10Ch was facing off against someone as they were heavily camouflaged with some sort of active suit. It was only possible to tell someone was there by seeing the distortion of the wall behind the person. Looked to be human or human-like and possibly female. Hazarding a guess, I would say this was our assassin then. Just then I heard a voice I haven’t heard in some months speak to me.
(Valerie) So let me get this straight, you’re Kira from an alternate dimension?
Well it looks like Ben let the cat out of the bag. I am going to have to speak to him about that later I think. Should we survive anyway.
(Valerie) So I’ve been spending all this time hunting down hyperspace specialists trying to lure you out for nothing?
(Akira) Hunting hyperspace specialists to lure us out? Wait a minute, we were after you because we figured you were killing them to prevent us from….. DAMNED PRECOGNITIVES!
Ben then proceeded to pick this of all times to begin talking about his latest idea on how his alternate managed to destroy Alys’s galaxy. WHAT THE HELL?! WHY NOW?! Then Valerie (I can only presume) read his mind on how that one worked.
(Valerie) Now that one has some potential.
(Akira) God damn it, would you stop designing super weapons while we are battling the Sith?
Meanwhile, out in the corridors, the bounty hunters were making their move. There were now enough of them on “Kira’s” tail that virtually any clue or possibility would be seized on by at least a few – and several of them had been following up on the “hyperspace experts” lead. After all, Kira and company had already hired one, and they were definitely involved with Sith activities – and the assassinations were the biggest wild factor at the moment.
A pair – one multi-armed vaguely insectile creature with LOTS of weapons and one creature in a hulking set of powered battle armor – were answering the alarm. The security guards outside had been easy enough to bypass when the alarms started going off. They were busy trying to get everyone OUT of the building.
They were most pleased to learn from Lazlo and Jacob that the Sith Assassin might be in the lab with Kira and Ben. The rewards on that trio would be enough to buy themselves a private luxury planetoid and pay a squad of servants for the next thousand years if they wanted… They were pleased enough to offer to share a bit with Lazlo – whom there was a small bounty on (small change in relationship to the bounty on any one of their top three) – and Jacob (whom they took for another hunter) if they’d assist with the capture. There’d be plenty of money to spare, and they could use some help against three targets like that who were together.
They had shaped charges suitable for blowing open the walls or doors too. Unfortunately, this soon led to a struggle with the bounty hunters.
That began another argument in the lab as Ben tried to claim he couldn’t help it, I tried to tell him to focus on the assassin, and Valerie expressed her annoyance at my not being her preferred catch. What is it with people in this galaxy hunting other people? Is the overcrowding of the galaxy so ridiculous that this has become legal sport?
In orbit, Shipwreck returned to himself – and reached out to launch a pair of antimatter missiles.
At the research facility. He just KNEW that it was the right thing to do – and Handell couldn’t stop him in time.
Alys had an instant of shock – and then took the Dusk Gryphon after the missiles. She couldn’t allow those warheads to hit an inhabited planet. If she could shoot them down while they were high enough, the effects on the planet wouldn’t be too bad – and there was even a chance that the Dusk Gryphon might survive.
Just then I felt a sense of impending doom from my poorly trained Force ability. At first I figured it was Valerie about to make the kill when I noticed both Valerie and Ben reacted to it as well. Ben must have gotten more information as he suddenly announced that antimatter missiles were on their way here and would arrive in about twenty seconds. Even in hypertime, there was no way I could get to safety in time. Valerie pressed a button on her wrist that I could only presume was the call for a teleport from her ship.
(Valerie) I’ve called my ship for an evac, but they may not make it in time.
Out in the asteroid belt, Valerie’s stealthed Star Destroyer initiated a pre-programmed microjump that would bring them out within range of the planet, reappeared near the planet seconds later, switched massive amounts of power over to the teleport system – and was hit by Shipwreck’s second missile barrage. The Star Destroyer had dropped the cloak in the interests of speed, but the shields weren’t yet up to full power.. The ship took massive damage – and the safety interlocks shut down power to the weapons systems and other major power demands on most of one side.
The resulting power overproduction went into the teleport system – the only active system onboard with an unrestricted link to the engines. Sometimes it NEEDED vast amounts of power – and now it was serving as a dump for it.
Down in the laboratory, the hyperdrive systems resonated with the intense field, and began pouring energy – only a tiny part of the output of a star destroyers engines, but still a vast amount – back into their own systems. The overload would destroy the entire building in a minute or two unless discharged, but that probably wouldn’t matter; by that time the missiles would hit.
Hell, this isn’t good. I couldn’t see any way out of this save dropping out of the universe or forcing the missiles out of the universe. Dropping out of the universe was tantamount to admitting I will never get home again. Forcing the missiles out of existence was going to be impossible as I couldn’t get a lock on them with my powers anyway. That was one of the major limitations of Codex powers: you had to see something to affect it.
I must have been thinking aloud or something as suddenly Valerie grabbed my head with a vice-like grip in one hand.
(Valerie) Open your mind to me!
That was a voice I learned a long time ago not to say no to. Doing what Telera had taught me, I opened my mind to Valerie’s. What came down the link was the image and location of the two incoming missiles heading towards us. It was a simple matter to reach out over the link she provided and push on the missiles with my own power.
Unfortunately, AKira was already dimensionally unstable in the primary universe, and the hyperfield of the teleport system was amplifying Codex powers in the area. The backlash toppled him out of the cosmos… Of course, he was linked with Valerie, who was drawn with him, and Valerie was linked with Kira – who desperately wanted to come home.
Alys, meanwhile, was power diving into the atmosphere firing at the missiles as she came. Neither she nor anyone else would ever be sure if she had hit them first, or what had happened – but the fireballs faded away… harmlessly? Had Shipwreck fired duds or conventional warheads for some reason?
Never mind, she was this close. She’d land and find out what was going on at the facility.
There were several other ships (the bounty hunters), a near-complete evacuation, and security guards who were too rattled to question her ID – or her claims of being officially appointed to keep an eye on Kira, Ben, Lazlo, and the others. Besides… She wasn’t likely to do any more damage than was already going on. On her side, at least it was easy enough to hear the sounds of chaos and head for them. That would certainly be where everyone else was.
Meanwhile, in an alternate galaxy…
As awareness returned, I found myself standing in the villa back home with assassin Valerie still clamped onto my face with her hand. She let go of me as she took in her surroundings. A wave of emotions washed over me: shock, frustration, and despair. I was shocked to suddenly find myself back home after all these months. I was also frustrated at the crazy nutjobs that had blown me back here with their accidents with the assassin. And despair as I realized that while I might be home now, assassin Valerie’s presence here meant my Valerie must now be back in their universe. Will I ever get this mess sorted out and return to the life I had?
Pushing all of that from my mind, I took stock of our surroundings. It definitely looked like the villa my Valerie and I shared. The pictures on the walls and the general decor pretty much proved that. Valerie had taken her hood off and was looking at those same pictures I saw. I could see her shaking with rage, presumably over having fallen into my universe and out of her own. Just when it looked like that rage was about to boil over, she suddenly went very cold as her face went impassive. I had to admit that the hair on the back of my neck stood on end watching that.
(Valerie) Let me guess, this is your home universe, isn’t it?
(Akira) It certainly seems that way.
(Valerie) I really want to kill someone.
She was looking at those pictures again, this time at one of the ones with my Valerie hugging me from behind at the last Festival of Masks on Alderaan.
(Valerie) It looks like you and my alternate are close. Just how close are you?
Oh now this was a question I felt I had no right answer. Lying to a telepath of her power was asking for her to catch me. Telling the truth also had a whole host of issues. Damn it, Kira never left notes on what his relationship was with her. All I was ever able to piece together was that she was chasing him since he left the Sith. I don’t know if they hated each other, liked each other, or had only just met. I decided the best course of action was to test the waters a bit.
(Akira) Before I answer your question, let me ask you another: how fast can you run?
(Valerie) Quite fast, why?
(Akira) Just trying to ascertain my likelihood of surviving this should you not like the answer I give you.
(Valerie) I need you to help me to get back to my own universe, I am not going to kill you over what you and some alternate of myself chose to do.
Fair enough I suppose.
(Akira) She and I are…. well…. engaged.
Her face was impossible to read behind that cold glare she was using to burn holes in the cabinet.
(Valerie) Just how durable are people like you anyway?
(Akira) Well to be honest, I suspect you Force users are more durable with the telekinetics, body control, and all than we are.
As soon as I finished that sentence, her fist collided with my nose far faster than I could possibly react. My vision was blurred badly and blood was streaming down my face onto my clothes and onto the floor. It also hurt like hell. On the other hand, it wasn’t a killing blow of any kind.
(Valerie) Perhaps that wasn’t fair.
(Akira) To who? Me, you, your Kira, or my Valerie?
(Valerie) I DON’T KNOW!
Meanwhile, back in the main galaxy:
Valerie and I had been having an argument over why I had to at least pretend to show interest in the wedding plans. My response about planning to be gone before the six months were over got me one of the hardest to discern looks I’ve ever seen. She was about to unload some comment at me when suddenly everything faded to black.
As awareness returned, I found myself surrounded by exploding equipment, fires, Ben lying on the floor screaming, Lazlo, some guy wearing leaves, and two bounty hunters blowing their way through a blast wall while fighting, and 10CH in the middle of it all. I face palmed and sighed into my hand. There was no need to verify, this had to be my home universe. No where else in the multiverse could possibly be this insane. All we needed was the circus performing in the background followed by a general planetary riot to complete the insanity.
10CH, Lazlo and the leaves guy (now on fire and with very little of his clothing left) were busily fighting the bounty hunters – pounding on the insectile creature (and then going to a lot of trouble to avoid killing the fellow) and trying to take out various functions of the power armor – and I left them to that while I tried to discern what was going on (presuming that it WAS anything coherent). It was then that I realized the Valerie from the alternate universe I had just come from was standing next to me still.
Ben, meanwhile, had realized that – unless he managed to drain the power-overload from dozens of hyperdrive systems in the next few seconds – they were all going to blow up ANYWAY.
He decided to trigger them, and hopefully have them shunt themselves into hyperspace. Even if it dragged them into a short-range transfer unprotected, it would be more survivable than the upcoming blast. His frantic, force-enhanced, attempts to program them to do that worked – to some extent. The drives let go pretty much simultaneously as he hit the activation key.
He’d forgotten about his warning to himself. The teleport system field was still active – and strong enough to be forcing those hyperdrives to resonate with itself.
The bounty hunter in armor had, meanwhile, decided to just gas everyone and THEN sort it all out. Fortunately, 10CH’s shield generator sufficed to hold that back for a bit – to spare the living creatures, not himself of course – and he continued to easily disable systems.
Lazlo was rather startled at that. He’d never really seen an assassin-droid in action, and they were a lot more formidable than he’d thought – even if he presumed that 10CH was well above average. Still, it was flamethrowers versus lightsabers, gas versus inner control, and massive impacts and explosions versus armor and enhanced physical durability in a grand free for all.
Suddenly Ben rushed to the control systems, and started doing something with them and with the force – and seconds later I felt the now familiar transistion to hyperspace via the transporter superweapon. We exited hyperspace almost instantly, but still were standing in the room we had been in. Ben then announced some nonsense about forgetting to listen to himself just now. I chose to ignore all of them for the moment and tried to get a clearer picture of what was going on. Figuring Valerie could take care of herself for a few moments, I headed out the hallway.
I ran into Alys running towards me and asked which Alys she was. Being told she was the one that shot down the antimatter missiles led to me sighing yet again and shoving her out-of-the-way as I made my way to a window. Looking out the window, I saw a great host of Sith soldiers in powered armor surrounding our…. office building.
Alys had already looked out a window, and had been on her way to inform the others – which little errand she continued. They apparently had been snagged by the teleportation center and were now aboard a major Sith vessel. Not a good situation – and one that they’d just escaped from a few months before! Worse, now they had an office building instead of a ship, along with bounty hunters, internal alarms, fires and explosions, probably a Sith Assassin, and likely some of the local staff along for good measure.
Judging from the look of things, we appeared to be on something at least the size of a star destroyer at the very least. I really had no clue what was going on here, but figured the best way out of this was to improvise as best I could. Setting the clothing to black, I proceeded to step outside with a swagger in my step and started barking orders. About the time I finished shouting “minions”, I got several dozen soldiers pointing a serious amount of firepower at me.
I was disarmed and told to be quiet as they stormed the office building with hordes of troops. Hmm, aboard a Sith vessel equipped with a teleportation system and they seemed to be expecting us. Oh hell, the party didn’t try to actually ambush Valerie did they? Of all the stupid things to have tried. Wait, now that I think about it, that neatly explains why the alternate Valerie was standing next to me if we both switched. That means my Valerie is now back in that universe with the other Kira. But if she’s there and this one is here, then that means the one Master Soung is expecting isn’t here.
If I wasn’t popular with the Sith before now, being responsible for the disappearance of daddy’s little girl is going to make my life a serious nightmare. I thought being hunted by Valerie was bad, and SHE was semi-friendly! At least for a Sith!
Outside, Handell had fled to somewhere near the outer limits of the system – but Shipwreck had busily been reloading with every spare missile they had in storage. The local planetary defenses would be engaging the Star Destroyer, and he meant to go back for another run on it to help out.
Handell was willing – but not until he’d had some more booze. When you were evading, shaky hands was an advantage.
Inside the lab, Alys and the others had cooked up a quick plan; Alternate Valerie would pretend to be Valerie-Prime, and maybe they could figure something out.
Minutes later, I saw the alternate Valerie come stomping out barking orders to the soldiers much like I had tried earlier. Except, you know, for the annoying fact that it worked for her. She had the party – and a couple of bounty hunters (now persuaded that they’d have to rescue their targets from the Sith if they expected to be able to sell them back to them) in tow behind her with the commander of the soldiers hanging on her every word. She stopped as she passed by me, gave me a long look that told me how big a favor she was making as she waved the soldiers to let me go. She gestured for us to follow as we went to Valerie’s quarters aboard the Winter Moon.
Oh great. We were in another one of the Varen Sith’s major fleet vessels. With Ben and Lazlo claiming to be apprentice Sith of all things.
Alternate Alys was kind of wondering about that. They WERE. Had they actually been sent to capture Kira? They’d certainly done a bang-up job of it! From an alternate universe no less! Or… had the Sith let them go in the first place because they’d known that something like this was likely? The Sith were good at precognition – but THAT good?
Ben was a bit shocked to note that his precognition had been entirely accurate.
Outside, the Star Destroyer – even damaged – was having little trouble holding off the planetary defense fleet (such as it was), and was on it’s way out. Shipwrecks well-timed secondary strike crippled the primary hyperdrive – but there were still the backups, and the Sith started a series of course-changing smaller jumps to make sure that there would be no chance of Republic forces following them.
Of course, the counterfire during Shipwrecks second strike had left the Asrai badly damaged. There would be no choice but to land for repairs – and pursuit was out of the question.
Once in her quarters, Valerie announced there was no chance of the Sith eavesdropping on us here. I immediately demanded an explanation of what was going on from Ben and was most displeased at what I was hearing. Valerie was upset to be here and that her “insane and evil” alternate was in her universe with a head full of ideas on how to destroy civilization.
(Valerie) This is all your fault!
(Kira) My fault? I didn’t do anything, you were watching me the entire time weren’t you?
(Valerie) Doesn’t matter!
(Kira) No, this is the fault of that fiancée of yours that you are so fond of.
That set her off as we began to argue yet again with each other. Then the guy wearing nothing but lightsabers announced he wanted to join the Sith because they seemed so nice.
(Kira) STOP JOINING THE SITH! AND PUT SOME PANTS ON!
Alternate Alys wanted to go home. A near-empty galaxy was preferable to THIS. She wanted to curl up in a corner.
I could feel those dark energies build up inside as I felt the Dark Side begin to rise within me. Reaching into one of my belt pouches, I pulled out an injecter. I double checked to make sure it was the suppressant and not the stimulant before jabbing it into my leg and letting the chemicals loose in my system. Once I felt the Force leave my grasp, I unloaded my frustrations on the bunch of them as I went on a rant. I don’t know if I was coherent or not. Frankly I didn’t care either way.
About three hours later, my throat was sore and I had a pounding headache. Everyone was emotionally exhausted from the whole affair. For all intents and purposes we were caught by the Sith. The Sith just didn’t know it yet. And I was certain to be a dead man once Master Soung found out this wasn’t his daughter.
At least the Sith had conformed that Lazlo and Ben were Sith apprentices – and they hadn’t had a single question to ask about how they’d gotten off their secret colony world. That was ominous. It pretty well said that the Sith had intentionally let them go. Of course, not every group could manage to capture themselves without even letting the enemy know about it.
About the only plans we had were to either accept it and surrender, or to try to escape while Valerie’s cover held. I wasn’t very fond of the former, and after some more discussion, we voted for the latter. Now to figure out how to get off this ship. The hardest part may end up being getting Valerie off this ship without drawing too much suspicion. I wasn’t about to leave her in the hands of the Sith.
The only way to get Valerie off the ship without raising eyebrows would be if it was expected for her to go. Another assassination run was out of the question with us here. We didn’t know enough about any dignitary functions she might need to attend either. What if she was chasing something though and had to leave the crippled capital ship behind? That might work, but what would she be chasing?
Again this keeps coming back to me. Alright, if we triggered a big enough explosion: say one of the damaged torpedo launchers exploded. 10CH could prep a shuttle for launch while I sneaked out to the shuttle bay in the commotion. Once aboard, 10CH and I escape into hyperspace. The crew then informs Valerie of my escape, and she leads the rest of the party into a shuttle to give chase. After all, they know me well and have all joined the Sith – so it would only be natural for her to bring them along.
It was a reasonable plan and it was predicated on information the Sith likely did not have. For it to work before our cover was blown though, we’d have to move fast. In the meantime, it was time to dredge up my memories of the Academy and Valerie so that I can give this Valerie the best possible chance of keeping the act together. This is going to be awkward and difficult.
Back in the Alternate Galaxy:
The bleeding finally stopped as the bacta treatments were beginning to take hold. In a day or two, my face would be back to normal. Giving the bloody clothes to the droids to wash, I found Valerie had switched into her counterpart’s clothes.
(Akira) Well at least there is a ready supply of clothing that fits you.
(Valerie) The colors are too bright.
(Akira) Into the dark and sinister look huh? Well, we’ll see what we can do about procuring some in the meantime while we figure out how to get you home.
(Valerie) So there is a way?
(Akira) Seems to be. Shipwreck had determined a set of hyperspace coordinates that would lead to here via some magic of his. Ben thought those could be made to work with some alterations to the hyperdrive.
Trick got to be, those coordinates were how to get here, not go the other way. Besides I didn’t know what those modifications were to make them myself. That technical sort of stuff tended to go over my head too much. I suppose we could find a sensory expert similar to Shipwreck, but the odds weren’t good on doing that quickly.
(Akira) The other option would be to sit here and wait. After all my Valerie is there and needs to come here.
It suddenly occurred to me that if my Valerie was there, than she was in the path of those antimatter missiles that were fired at us. She may already be dead. The look on my face must have been obvious.
(Valerie) What is it?
(Akira) They may all be dead already. Those missiles were only seconds from impacting when we dropped out. It may all be for naught anyway.
(Valerie) No, they’re alive. At least Kira is. If he survived that, then the others did to.
(Akira) How can you be so certain of something like that? I mean I felt the missiles fading away, but that could have been us dropping out, not the missiles.
(Valerie) Because he and I are bonded.
(Valerie) Our Force presences are linked together. We can feel each other over the link. It’s even been fueling his rapid growth as his power patterns after mine. I don’t think he is aware of the bond still, but he is alive.
Alright, I knew I heard a bit of resentment in her voice when she said that, but there was also a hint of… something else in there. I couldn’t read into it anymore without digging. It all still sounded of mystical nonsense like what Telera spoke of. At least she seemed convinced they were alive.
(Akira) So how did you learn to do that hyper speed trick I saw in the holos of one of your attacks?
(Valerie) I didn’t, Kira did.
(Akira) Ok, but he was learning to do that when he came to my dimension and I went to yours. When did you get a chance to learn it from him?
(Valerie) I told you I didn’t learn it. I gained the ability to do it when Kira did due to the bond we share.
(Akira) Wait, one of you learns how to do something and the other one picks it up automatically?
(Valerie) Yes, although it takes time to transfer. It also doesn’t transfer the knowledge of what to do with those abilities.
(Akira) That’s dangerous, ignorant use of the Codex can result in falling out of the universe or becoming a Faded. We need to get you trained.
That seemed to bring a smile to her face.
(Valerie) He’s proving to be useful after all.
(Akira) Not the boat anchor you thought he was?
(Valerie) Possibly. Now, what is the Codex? And why does Kira wish to learn it?
(Akira) It might make more sense if we called it what he thinks of it: the Anti-Force.
(Akira) Think of the Force as forging links between things. The Anti-Force or Codex is about severing those same links. As for why Kira is trying to learn as much about it as he can, I suspect it is because he hopes it provides an answer to controlling the Dark Side.
(Akira) According to his notes, the theory is that the two balance each other in normal people leading to… well “normal” behavior. A breakthrough or someone with inherent power is predispositioned to one side or the other.
(Valerie) So he’s trying to turn off his ability?
(Akira) Not necessarily, at the very least, he’s trying to learn how to use the power of one to curb the excesses of the other. Sort of like how monotalents don’t lead to Dark Side explosions or sudden existence failures.
(Valerie) And this Anti-Force exists?
(Akira) As best as anyone can tell, that’s what I’m doing.
(Valerie) And it really could enable true control?
(Akira) I don’t know, but I suspect it can. All evidence suggests it’s possible.
Her eyes had the look of the predator sensing the kill within it’s grasp. I didn’t have to be a telepath to see the wheels turning in her head. Since we were on the topic, this did bring to mind another question that had been bugging me.
(Akira) I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why are you so…. rational?
(Valerie) What do you mean?
(Akira) The doctor, Jarik, I am told fell to the Dark Side and went on a paranoid rampage that nearly killed everyone with horrific plagues and toxins before my eyes. Are they mistaken, or am I misunderstanding the whole concept of Sith and the Dark Side?
(Valerie) He was weak, he found that in the depths of his rage – or perhaps suspicion – he could no longer control himself. Our training focuses on maintaining control even in the depths of hate – or of whatever passion a student falls to.
Ehh, that was disturbing. In other words, they were merely the survivors who didn’t go boom. There can’t be many people capable of being that coldly rational while gripped by those kinds of raw emotions. I didn’t like the odds of me being able to pull off that level of self-discipline. It also meant that the emotional power channels were still being burned into her mind by the whole process too.
(Akira) A thought just occurred to me.
(Valerie) Go ahead.
(Akira) If the Dark Side is burning certain emotional patterns into your mind, then the ability to selectively erase portions of a person’s mind becomes invaluable.
(Valerie) Such a Force technique doesn’t exist. The Force pattern reasserts itself over the erased sections eventually. Memories return given time.
(Akira) You’re right, a Force technique doesn’t exist that does that. However, there does exist a Codex technique that does exactly that.
Startled, she turned to look me in the eye in shock. I see I have her full attention now.