Deep inside the second-stage stasis field masquerading as a black hole, Ben and Jacob were bringing the Sabership into position near the galactic senate building. Inside, trapped in an instant, Huriel was in the midst of using the pyramid technique to channel the massed strength of Coruscant – and perhaps it’s entire solar system – to link the ships of the republic fleet to the galactic black hole. Around him, in both normal space and hyperspace, filaments of darkness were lashing out – slashing through people, buildings, the planetary crust and shields, and the structure of space and time as they did so. Through them, the black hole drank the time and life of the galaxy.
Now that Jacob knew what they were, he could feel them easily – and, to some extent, resist. It was Huriel’s fault; he’d bound the energies of the force, and thus of life and time, to timelessness and destruction. He should be able to shield himself against an accidental touch – at least for a few seconds, long enough to pull away.
He carefully adjusted the beam to minimize the destructive side effects and began to cut…
Meanwhile, back with Kira aboard the Mrs Beasley…
I awoke to hear my commlink chirping. I was still groggy from the drugged sleep and I wasn’t entirely sure what time it was. I finally found my commlink on the table and activated it.
(Kira) Yeah, what is it?
(Alys) Kira, we have a problem. Jacob and Ben went into the black hole last night and we stopped getting a signal from them an hour ago. Something very strange is going on with time outside the black hole too.
(Kira) Alright, on my way.
Sadly, the effects of the drug hadn’t worn off yet, and I was still too sleepy to effectively use my Force or Codex powers right now. I showered, got dressed in one of the spare sets of clothing I had from Gruenn, checked my powercells and was prepared to leave when I thought of something. Despite the grogginess of sleep, I was able to tell Valerie was still asleep in her quarters. I pulled out my commlink and left her a message for when she woke up alerting her to what I knew of the situation at the moment.
Virstris was waiting outside the door to my quarters. That friggin smile of hers was way too cheery for this soon after I woke up. She didn’t say a word, but fell in behind me as I made my way to the bridge. On the bridge, the scene of one of chaos. Smoche was busily running all sorts of tests I didn’t understand, Telera was busily trying to contact Ben and Jacob, while Alys was busily tearing her hair out as the galaxy was seemingly collapsing in on itself from her point of view.
After finally calming her down, I got a summary of the events thus far. Apparently Ben and Jacob got the giant lightsaber finished last night and in their enthusiasm immediately went off to try it. With that test completed, they then went directly into the black hole and started cutting the Senate building free of the planet. They quickly ran into the obvious stumbling block that the materials they were trying to cut were no longer experiencing time. Jacob then leapt to the plan of extending time to what he was cutting so that the cut would happen. I immediately saw the flaw with this plan as I doubted the filaments only went upwards from Huriel. True enough, Jacob apparently intersected one of the filaments and had frozen himself in time.
Jacob had been allowing the force to guide his cuts, carefully minimizing injuries – and, incidentally, minimizing his temporal contacts with the filaments as he carefully extended a bit of time along his lightsaber blade to allow it to make the necessary cuts. There had come a choice though – making the final cuts, despite the presence of a network of filaments, or abandoning the project – and leaving many thousands or stars, their attendant worlds and the hundreds of trillions of people on those worlds, trapped in stasis for eons to come.
He’d made them – and paid the price, as the black hole bled off all the power he could channel.
That was all fine and recoverable from, except that Jacob was an atavist and tied to the local universe’s timerate. From what little they could tell, Jacob was now funneling time into the black hole and accelerating it’s timerate while the rest of the galaxy slowed down a bit. From what we could get from their subspace beckon, it was still incredibly slow compared to what our timerate was. But the fabric of reality was so incredibly fragile here and now Jacob was adding to the stresses….
Valerie showed up moments later. She was disleveled but alert, apparently the Dark Side allowed her to power through the sedative more readily than I could. She immediately demanded a report on the situation and as Alys explained, Valerie put her hand on my shoulder as she countered the sedative in me. That helped matters immensely and I could tell from my Codex abilities that time was being dragged by an immense anchor. It’s affect on the timerate was subtle, but the ominous feelings I was getting were not reassuring to say the least. We either needed to fix this now, or begin an evacuation of the galaxy. Problem was that once we began removing planets, there wasn’t going to be much time before a complete collapse occurred.
There was only one way to fix this, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
(Kira) Alys, is the subspace ship ready yet?
(Alys) Yes, it is.
(Kira) Handell, I need a pilot.
(Lazlo) You aren’t taking Master Handell in there!
(Kira) Fine, you can fly me in then.
(Lazlo) I am not leaving Master Handell!
(Augusta) No way am I going to pilot a ship in there! So far, two out of three trips have had serious mishaps!
(Valerie) Yes, and you’ll note neither of those had Kira along.
(Augusta) One data point does not make a pattern!
(Alys) I’ll do it.
(Kira) Alright, get the ship prepped for launch, I need to collect some things and then I will meet you there.
Alys went off to prepare the ship. I grabbed a datapad and started requesting various items for delivery to the ship. I was going to need rope, a deepspace distress beacon, plenty of extra power cells, layouts of the Senate building on actual paper, a camera, and extra life support supplies. What some of those were actually for was a good question, but my Optimize technique indicated they might come in handy. Besides, it wasn’t like precognition was going to be of any use to me right now. The system acknowledged the request and promptly began fabrication and delivery to the subspace ship. Valerie was following quickly in tow behind me.
(Valerie) So is there any plan to this, or are you just winging it again?
(Kira) The plan is to kill, deep freeze, or fade Huriel. I’m flexible.
(Valerie) And what if you get stuck in there too? You’re the last one we have able to go in there readily.
(Kira) Well, you can tell your grandfather that I am then safely locked away in temporal stasis for the rest of eternity. I am sure that will please him to no end.
(Valerie) Leaving you in an unstable temporal anomaly isn’t exactly smart.
(Kira) And what exactly do you propose I do? Jacob has probably just made things a lot worse now and this galaxy is slowly falling apart anyway. We don’t have the resources to evacuate everyone from this galaxy in time once the collapse begins in earnest. At least Huriel is a major lynchpin of this whole debacle. If we can get him, then the stasis effect stops.
(Valerie) We could leave, take what we can, and cut our losses.
By that point we had arrived in the shuttle bay. The stuff I had requested was already being loaded into the ship by the droids. Alys was beginning her final checkout sequence as the ship hummed to life.
(Kira) Look, worst case, I should be able to resist any temporal interference long enough to fade out of the universe. Then our little countermeasure should be able to kick in again.
(Valerie) You are beginning to rely on that way too much.
(Kira) Then start considering where you can find another atavist in a hurry.
(Valerie) Those aren’t exactly common!
(Kira) Not my problem.
I got into the ship and closed the hatch behind me. Valerie was fuming, but she didn’t try to stop me either. That was probably a good sign then. Alys flew the ship out the shuttle bay and out into space. After a few quick checks of the anti-stasis layer, I started supplying time to the ship as Alys dove us into the black nothingness. We both breathed a sigh of relief as we found ourselves on the inside of the stasis field and aware of the passage of time. She laid in a course to Coruscant and engaged the hyperdrive.
The trip to Coruscant was thankfully uneventful. When we did finally drop out of hyperspace though was when things got interesting. We immediately started picking up subspace transmissions from the Mrs Beasley indicating a significant amount of blaster fire and explosions taking place. Attempts to hail someone on the comm channel resulted in no response. Alys was concerned and wanted to know if we needed to turn back.
Unfortunately, being inside the event horizon prevented me from doing anything more than passive reading on Valerie’s current status. She was annoyed about something, but not particularly concerned about whatever her situation was. Whatever the situation was, she evidently felt that it could be handled. All I could do was trust her, like she was trusting me right now.
So to that end, I directed Alys to keep going with the plan and to trust in the others at the moment. We then dropped orbit and made to the government district of the planet. As we approached the Senate building, we could see Jacob’s ship stuck in midair. There was also a spherical region of distortion surrounding the ship and senate and growing larger by the minute. I had no clue what it was, but it was Alys that pointed at that things inside the sphere were actually experiencing time. Incredibly slow time from our perspective, but it was still possible to see things move at almost glacial speed. Alys began wondering how exactly we were able to see what we were seeing, but I ignored the question as beyond me.
Alys then took us in closer to Jacob’s ship so that we could get a closer look at their condition. Unfortunately, the filaments were making it difficult to position the ship where we could see into the cockpit of Jacob’s ship. After Alys struggled with it for several minutes without success, I told her to bring the ship above the other one and park it there as best she could. I went to grab the rope I had brought with us and tied one end to a support bulkhead near the center of the ship. The other end I attached to my harness.
(Kira) Alys, I am going to shutoff time for a few minutes. Sorry, but I am going to need all the concentration I can spare to handle this.
I switched on my antistasis suit as I stopped supplying time to the rest of the ship. I went for the door to exit out of the ship, but then found the rope was not being responsive to my moments. It took a few minutes to figure out how to carry the rope so that it would unwind behind me while also not get in the way of my feet. Then came the annoyance of opening the door out. Thankfully, Ben had designed this one to be easier to open in stasis, but it still made life difficult for several minutes as I forced it open with Force Strength. That got me a chance to look outside now, but Jacob’s ship was below and behind me from this perspective.
I took a few good minutes to look at the various filaments waving around slowly to judge their speed and direction of travel. None seemed to be on an immediate collision course with us at the moment. That was good because this next maneuver was going to take some time. A firm grip on the rope and liberal use of telekinesis anchored me to the ship as I swung around to hang below it. It then became a tricky matter of orienting myself so that my feet were on the bottom of the ship and by looking up I would see Jacob’s ship below me.
The cockpit seat where Jacob was sitting had several filaments moving towards it – and was already behind too many to reach. What exactly that meant for Jacob’s chances of survival was beyond me to answer; who knew what would happen if one of the things touched him directly? Galactic stasis?. Ben was in the seat behind him staring at a control panel intently. I couldn’t see any filaments intersecting him at the moment, so that was good. On the other hand, that meant I had to make a reasonable effort to save his ass too. It took a great deal of careful thought while keeping an eye on those filaments in order to figure out how I could get down there with the least amount of fuss. Finally I just ended up tying the robe to one of my variable stars and let it unwind me down to the top of the ship.
My aim was a bit off though as I ended up several feet behind the cockpit instead of on top of it like I had planned. That still left me with good access to the cockpit hatch seals though. It took several minutes to open the locks, but finally I was able to swing the hatch free. My initial attempt to pull Ben free went nowhere until I realized he was still fastened into the seat. It took several more minutes of sawing at the straps with a knife in order to cut them free. It also didn’t help matters that my paranoia kept me glancing at those filaments every few seconds to make sure none were sneaking up on me. Finally, Ben was free and I got him out of the seat. Wrapping more rope around him and then to my waist, I started climbing back up to the ship with Alys. Thankfully, telekinesis helped in the effort of carrying so much dead weight as I focused on the strength technique in climbing. I will quietly admit that Ben’s head hit the hull of the ship a few times while I was climbing, but thankfully him being stuck in temporal stasis limited the damage to mild embarrassment for myself.
Finally I got him into the ship and the door closed. With that done, I was able to drop the antistasis layer of my clothes and let the ship’s layer take over the containment part of things. That instantly resumed time for the ship, Alys, and Ben.
(Kira) Alys, get us to a safe distance from those filaments!
(Ben) I take it something went wrong?
I showed him pictures of Jacob still stuck in his ship.
(Ben) Oh, he’s screwed.
The debate turned to whether we went after Huriel, or if we should go back to the Mrs Beasley for the time being while we reformulated the plan. I wanted to go back and think for a bit. Alys and Ben wanted to continue on. Ben then volunteered to run his Early Edition technique against our situation.
Ben didn’t know what would happen if those tendrils actually touched Jacob either – but he was reasonably sure that it wouldn’t be good at all, and the worst-case consequences might destroy the galaxy. There wasn’t time to go back to the Mrs Beasley!
(Ben) I can say with confidence that I cannot see any version of myself that successfully leaves the black hole!
(Kira) Is this supposed to be an endorsement of your plan? Because it is not making me feel any better.
He then reminded me of the fact that none of us could probe beyond a black hole with Force senses. That made sense, but it still didn’t make me very happy about the current situation. More arguing ensued, until finally Alys pointed out that there wasn’t much else we could do to resolve the issue with Huriel that we couldn’t do with the resources we already had. Thankfully, it seems like Jacob had actually managed to complete his cut around the Senate building, so that was no longer an obstacle. I had to reluctantly agree on that point then.
Alys wove the ship through the filaments to land us on the roof of the Senate building. Ben did something with the landing gear to fuse them to the surface of the building. We gathered around the button for the subspace drive system and I held my breath as Ben pushed the button to activate the drive.
Special Investigator Nimh Tahl’s Field Report – Session 61b
I watched the shuttle with Keldav and Nere fly into the event horizon and then disappear. An indicator light on the subspace scanner showed their beacon signal was working fine and telemetry was coming in steadily. Soung insisted on watching the telemetry data several minutes before becoming seeming satisfied. She hides the concern well. For all the talk and bluster the woman puts out regarding being a coldly rational person, something possibly happening to Keldav bothers her.
Why is unclear though. As valuable as Keldav’s skills are, she has shown the capacity to mimic them herself to a lesser degree. Indeed, the skill sets of those two are so similar despite the years of separation. I suppose it is possible that Keldav is in fact a double agent working for the Varen against the Republic, and that he has been quietly feeding information back to the Varen on his activities this whole time. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense given Keldav’s basic personality profile.
There have been other oddities too. Like the fact that a Faded pushing Keldav out of the universe results in him appearing at Soung’s side moments later. Neither of them were especially surprised by that fact. They spend an inordinate amount of time together despite how much they argue and bicker with each other. They both seem to know where the other one is despite the fact that the other Force users onboard have difficulties tracking them. Then the converse fact that those two still need to consult the computer systems for specific locations on the others. So whatever it is, it is specific to the two of them.
Plus there is the fact that Keldav seems to trust Soung far more than seems reasonable given the circumstances. He doesn’t trust Telera that much even. Sadly, getting further information on the two of them is going to prove difficult now that both have moved into that Sith Canton. Virstris Soung has been systematically removing all the remote audio-visual feeds from the Canton, probably rerouting them to another command hub internal to the Canton.
I don’t like not understanding the galaxy and the people around me. I have had enough basic assumptions about how things work challenged recently to drive almost anyone mad. At the very least I should be able to understand these two oddball Sith and what makes them act the way they do. It has to be something very simple I am overlooking….
MY chain of thought was interrupted by the sound of blaster fire, lightsabers, and explosions. Looking up, I saw Valerie Soung, Virstris Soung, Dame Lisella, and the rest of the people on the bridge in the middle of a spontaneous firefight with the security droids. Within moments the battle ended as everyone quickly overpowered the droids.
(Virstris) What just happened?
(Xiang) The droids attacked us.
(Virstris) I know that, but why?
At that moment a droid’s voice came over the intercom system.
(Intercom) You will surrender. After surrender you will be confined to quarters as the Corellian Protectorate takes command of this vessel.
(Virstris) Wait, did we miss a Faded or something?
(Valerie) We were thorough in our checks. They were all accounted for.
(Nimh) I presume the one Lazlo encountered that was reprogramming droids managed to get a program commanding the droids to rebel uploaded before he died.
(Valerie) A droid rebellion? How incredibly tacky to resort to such tricks.
(Virstris) Alright, why is it that none of us even thought to consider the possibility?
The implications of that thought were chilling. On the other hand, if the Censor was actively preventing out of control droid uprisings, then it would explain an awful lot about why droid systems inevitably failed. But if the local Censor was impaired badly enough to not prevent such scenarios, then the amount of manufacturing capacity onboard this ship did not bode well for our long term survival.
The only option that presented any real chance of success was to get Smoche to the droid command center so he could reprogram the system. But attempting to force our way across the ship to the droid command center was sure to result in the droids literally clogging the path between us and there. Still, there had to be a way to get him there.
Smoche could reprogram droids in line of sight of himself and use them as a shield from the other droids. But the best chance of that working required something to draw away the vast majority of the droids for as long as possible to give him a chance to get to the droid command center. The only real way of accomplishing that would be to give the droids a point of heavy resistance to focus on….
A number of the others arrived at the same conclusion moments later. Smoche took off for the droid command center immediately. The idea of droids stealing his ship from him was apparently enough motivation to getting him moving in a hurry. I highly suspected that Smoche would either succeed or die trying. That man loves those hyperdrive coils.
Meanwhile the rest of us were scrambling for weapons, armor, and whatever supplies we could get our hands on and carry. Korda announced that she had found a good defensive position in one of the nearby habitats. Looking over the place myself via a datapad confirmed her assessment. It looked like a habitat modeled on Tantooine with a town at the top of a plateau and narrow approaches along the cliff faces all the way to the top. The place was even configured to mimic sandstorms when desired. Those would interfere with droid scanners nicely.
Orders went out for everyone available to make their way to the habitat to set up defensive positions. With that done, we all loaded into the elevators and made our way to the habitat. We were unloaded at the edge of the habitat and began making our way up the winding trail. The more combat talented among us took up the rear position while people like me who aren’t used to this much climbing made our way up the trail ahead of them. The sounds of battle quickly started behind us as the droids found our location and tried to overwhelm us. The defenders at the back of the line were able to hold them off long enough for us to reach the top though.
With Shipwreck jamming the droids sensors, Lazlo, Xiang, Khadim, Liassa, and a selection of others at first focused on tossing security droids off he cliffs. That was pretty successful for a bit – but the droids soon learned to space themselves out and to maintain constant covering fire. There were some slip-ups – such as when Xiang tried to leap down and knock a dozen over at the same time and nearly went over herself – but Lazlo managed to set off quite a chain reaction, knocking over better than a hundred once.
On another front, Khadim was using his missile-launcher to create avalanches, while the Sith sent telekinetically-guided grenades, force lightning, and remote-operated weapons (and sabotage) against groups that were getting too close.
They also discussed the possibility of turning this into a holo-epic, but eventually things got too busy for that discussion.
Elsewhere in the ship, the techs and crew were being hunted down (and carefully stunned and locked up), while the Jedi were holding out for the moment. Fortunately, the droids had been set to try and capture the ship and crew intact – so knock out and imprison was the order of the day.
Unfortunately, there were a LOT of droids.
At the top, I immediately took over one of the buildings and began preparations for treating the wounded. As I swapped droid modules and began unpacking the medical kit. Luckily, the droids were not built for heavy combat against talented opponents and our casualties were light. The situation only got better as we got a chance to get everyone organized and fortify our position better against assault. It certainly didn’t help the droids that they seemed to have absolutely no tactical programming whatsoever. Soung seemed as annoyed as always despite the current good luck.
(Valerie) As convenient as this is at the moment, remind me, if and when Ben gets back, to slap him as the original builder by proxy.
A number of hours passed as the droids ineffectually tried to climb the plateau. Repeatedly the assaults were turned back do to better coordination and tactics on our part. Eventually the droids did finally stumble on the obvious tactic given their position as they proceeded to cut a hole in the roof to drop in through, while simultaneously swarming all possible approaches. Despite Shipwrecks useless attempt to will a rapid fire anti-aircraft system into existence it was going to be only a matter of time before we were overwhelmed by that assault – and I calculated that Smoche was going to need a couple more hours to attempt to take over the droid command center. We needed to buy more time.
The only tactic I saw that might buy much more time was to give up the defensive position provided by the plateau and use the cover of the sandstorm to remain mobile. With Shipwreck making sure that the droids’ sensors were jammed, we should be able to move around ahead of the pursuit for some time before the droids finally just swarmed the entire area and trapped us through sheer numbers. The others quickly agreed to the plan and we made our escape.
What followed was a mess of sand, blaster fire, shouting, and not being able to see more than ten meters ahead of me. Sand seemed get everywhere in my clothing as the sandstorm continued blowing and that fool of an energy being kept insisting on using anti-capital ship torpedoes as a handweapon. These people are all insane to varying degrees. Plus I was getting tired of all this running too. Whether for good or ill though, the need to run heightened for a bit and then began to lessen as the droid encirclement began to close in around us. Soon enough we were trapped around a large rock formation as the stun blasts blanketed the place. The more belligerent among the defenders fell quickly, and the more cautious were beginning to lose consciousness as well. It was only a matter of minutes before we were completely overwhelmed.
(Intercom) Attention: emergency droid program update required. Please report for maintenance immediately.
And with that, the droids dispersed silently. I did my best to tend to the wounds of those injured. None of the injuries were fatal, but the number of burns, cuts, and other minor injuries were going to overwhelm our medkits we had with us quickly. I did what I could to patch up the worst injured and sent the rest to medical for treatment. I joined the others in returning to the bridge.
Luckily it didn’t look like the Faded had tried to take advantage of the droid rebellion to land boarding parties or anything else untoward. There wasn’t any word from Keldav’s shuttle though. We were getting the subspace beacon signal which was a good sign. Shipwreck was busily scanning the telemetry from the shuttle for clues as to what was going on when suddenly the black hole in front of us disappeared and was replaced with a familiar looking star field. Handell immediately threw himself into the pilot’s seat and began to lay in a course for Coruscant. Within far fewer moments than I would have thought possible, we made the jump to hyperspace.
On Coruscant, Jacob had found himself back in time – along with everyone else. Sadly, the place was still incredibly damaged; his ship had been slashed through by several filaments (and he could barely keep it from exploding while shutting things down), he was injured, one of his prosthetic legs was almost severed and the other was damaged (although that was easily “healable”), the bedrock had a brand new selection of faults, the buildings were collapsing, and the Sith were still occupying the planet. He barely managed to set down without adding to the destruction…
Worse, some Sith troops wanted to interrogate him, and didn’t believe a thing he said. Fortunately, he managed to escape in the confusion (Vibrobaldes? Such ancient technology!) and went into hiding, since there were too many injured people around to risk pressing all the buttons.. Throwing the Sith off of Coruscant by himself would take some doing!
Well, at the very least, this suggested that Keldav’s mission was a success. He managed to kill or subspace freeze Huriel while in there and amazingly that was all it took to bring the stasis field down. This was another datapoint for later consideration then. Glancing over at Soung was also revealing: she was hiding it quite well but something was seriously bothering her. She was watching over Shipwreck’s shoulder as he peered intently into the sensor console trying to glean information from the static mess he was getting while we were in hyperspace to little effect.
Around Coruscant, the remnants of the Republic Fleet were arriving. Huriel actually had managed to destroy quite a few ships with his assault, and far more had remained outside the event horizon and had been lost to time – but the remnant republic fleet was still by far the greatest armada in the Codifier Galaxy.
Unfortunately, the Sith still had enough orbiting weaponry to do massive damage to Coruscant before the fleet could destroy them.
We arrived around Coruscant minutes later, only to find the Republic and Sith fleets in a classic game of chicken. The Sith were holding the planet hostage to use against the Republic fleet, while the Republic fleet vastly outclassed the remains of the Sith fleet. Both sides were shouting at the other to stand down and surrender and neither felt the need to comply. The most likely outcome of this mess was going to be large sections of Coruscant ending up craters.
And then we arrived in a massive superweapon. That did not help the stability of the situation at all.
Further throwing fuel on the fire, Lazlo decided now of all times was the best opportunity to tell the Sith that he didn’t care whether they lived or died, only if they surrendered to him. The Sith did not take well at all to this demand as they predictably started escalating their threats to the planet. Amazing Lazlo actually seemed to believe they were bluffing. Either he was incredibly naive or incredibly stupid. I wasn’t sure which, on the other hand, it didn’t matter which case it was as billions or even trillions were going to die because of this nonsense. We had to remove the planet from the equation if we were going to resolve this hostage situation. But how do you remove a planet?
Several of us all arrived at the same conclusion simultaneously as someone yelled at Smoche to move Coruscant out of the way of the Sith fleet. Smoche enthusiastically endorsed the idea and set to work instantly upon the process. Meanwhile I tried to shove Lazlo away from the communications console to prevent him from causing more damage to the situation only to be thrown to the floor as he knocked me aside. He looked really agitated by the move and I swore he was about to attack me when all the sudden he got this really tranquil, glazed look on his face and wandered off. It was at that point that I became aware of just how many Jedi had shown up on the bridge with us. Instantly I was very grateful that Keldav and the others insisted on rescuing the Jedi first.
There was a bright flash of light on the view screen as Smoche moved the planet. The Republic and Sith fleets immediately jumped to the conclusion that Lazlo must have ordered the planet’s destruction. The Republic fleet responded by shooting at us, while the Sith fleet tried to take advantage of the situation by fleeing in the chaos. Somewhere at the back of the bridge I heard Lazlo muttering some nonsense about everyone but him being incompetent.
We couldn’t let the Sith fleet escape, nor could we just let the Republic fleet continue to fire at us believing we had destroyed the capitol of the Republic. We really needed to put everyone on timeout for several minutes while people calmed down. It took a few moments to find the controls to the massive ion cannon. I had no real practice with the thing, but with a blast that size, there wasn’t much need to.
Fortunately, Smoche had only traded Coruscant with the nearest asteroid belt – two orbits out. The messages about that started coming in in minutes, well before everyone had recovered from the ion blasts. Equally fortunately, that was nowhere near enough for Silting to become a notable problem.
With the various ships incapacitated for the moment, the crew started using the tractor beams on the Sith ships to bring them against the hull of the Mrs Beasley. Virstris went off to coordinate getting stasis fields in place to trap the Sith ships while I busily tried to explain things to the Republic fleet as their communications came back online. I may not be the most eloquent person in the galaxy, but at least I was making more sense than the last guy we had speaking for us. Providing technical readouts, sensor scans, telemetry, Jedi testimony and actually moving Coruscant back into place finally seemed to get the Republic fleet to acknowledge we weren’t stereotypical Sith per se.
The Jedi took over the discussions with the Republic and Telera took on the role of intermediary for our group. With my role in the process over, I went off to find something else to occupy my time. I was quickly drawn to Soung and Shipwreck huddled around the sensor console trying to find something. The only answer I got regarding what they were searching for was that the beacon on Keldav’s shuttle wasn’t being picked up by sensors. That was cause for concern, but that was a matter for Shipwreck to study for the moment.
Why was Soung so concerned about the well-being of the shuttle? The only answer that made sense was Keldav. But that only reworded the same question: why was Soung so concerned about Keldav’s well-being? What about him could be so important to warrant this otherwise emotionless Sith to worry so much about him? The answer hit me like a star destroyer given how obvious it was in retrospect.
Those two were Bonded.
I had thought such things were legends or the fodder of holo dramas. That is why Keldav is willing to trust the Varen so much recently, and why he trusts Soung so especially. They know that if something happens to him, she is impacted as well. And on the converse, if good things happen to him, like learning new techniques or powers, she is likely to experience it too. That is why their skill sets are so similar and why they always seem to know what the other is doing and where. Hell, depending on how that Bond works it might well explain how Keldav managed to cross the galaxy from Gruenn to Varen space without a ship and reappear on the bridge of the Mrs Beasley after being faded. So it isn’t that the Varen are holding Keldav’s family hostage or have some sort of black mail against him. Keldav and Soung actually do seem to care about each other.
Things have just gotten very interesting indeed. This is valuable information to have, and valuable information is to be kept close to the chest for when it is of greatest value.
That’s one mystery solved at least.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 61a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 60c (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 60a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 57 from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 59 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)