With the core of the – or at least AN – Old Republic installed as a satellite galaxy to their own, and the group actually being fairly popular there, they had a breathing space. Unfortunately, they weren’t sure whether the Mrs Beasley would start breaking down if it got within the range of the Censor.
Similarly, voyages into the distant galactic past were on hold for the time being. Still, Alys, Jacob, and Kira all had family matters to pursue. Ben was wondering which was better; the Starbreaker or the Star Forge? After all, a superweapon was fun, but a huge pile of raw materials was useful anywhere! Lazlo was kind of interested in visiting his species home planet. The Yeveetha War was in full swing, the remaining fragments of Zandramas were making trouble, the Hutts wanted Alys to join their syndicates, the military wanted dimensional defenses against the final empire, the republic technicians wanted to report, and the presumed republic codifiers were still up to whatever they were up to. .
While it was nice to have somewhere to go that people didn’t hate us, it was time to try and get back onto some of our projects. I was getting really concerned about my family and friends considering the fact that it was now approaching three years since we learned they had been taken. The Jedi had been searching on my behalf this entire time, but considering how much the Censor was working against them gave me doubts as to how effective this might end up being. I really needed to speak with the Jedi Council and learned how far they have gotten.
We’ve already proven that the communications channels were being tapped in some fashion, so that wasn’t much of an option. Trying to get someone to retrieve the information on my behalf wasn’t going to work well either. About the only option I saw working was to sneak onto Coruscant, join one of the tour groups, and quietly slip away from the group into the rest of the temple. Presumably at that point I could find someone with whom I could request a moment to speak with a Councilman.
Alys also wanted to check in with her family. She was getting a bit concerned that something was likely to happen to them similar to what happened to my own. The others all had projects of their own they wanted to pursue, but we all agreed that the Republic Codifiers were such a dangerous unknown that we had to investigate.
(Kira) Besides, it’s about time that Jacob met the in-laws.
(Alys) AAAGH! KIRA YOU BASTARD!
That is going to take a long time to get old.
We were too distinctive as a group to try and sneak into Coruscant together. Ergo, we had to split up and make our own separate ways in. Lazlo was going alone in his fighter, Ben and Alys were going in one of the captured freighters, I would go separately in another freighter, and Jacob we hoped would get lost or killed enroute. I was also going to fake making a transdimensional hyperjump as I left while pretending to return to my “home galaxy”. The fact that my home galaxy was the one we could see out the viewport was not something I was going to volunteer. Hopefully the Republic techs on board would buy the story when they inevitably reported into the Republic military.
I proceeded to my quarters to grab some items and equipment I felt I was likely to need. With my bags packed, I headed to one of the shuttle bays where a refitted freighter was prepared for me. I found Valerie already aboard when I got there. I loaded up into the freighter and we departed the Mrs Beasley on a course to take us into the galaxy.
(Valerie) We’ll stop by the edge of Sith space and report into the Council before continuing on towards Coruscant.
(Kira) Fair enough, although I am surprised you are willing to enter Coruscant.
(Valerie) You’re the one they are looking for, not me.
(Kira) Says the most notorious assassin in the galaxy.
(Valerie) But they don’t know that is the work of a single person. That theory is largely media speculation. Unlike your antics which are plastered all over the news for the galaxy to see.
(Kira) Oh well. The others are staying with the Mrs Beasley I take it?
(Valerie) Yes, to keep an eye on potential troublemakers.
The trip through intergalactic space was slow but uneventful. Neither of us were as good as Handell or Augusta, but we muddled through it. Besides, it was an excellent opportunity to see what we could do about mimicking their monotalents. How successful we were was hard to gauge though. We just simply didn’t have enough experience at this to really know.
Finally we reached the galactic plane and the edge of Sith space. It looked like we had come in near the Korimir faction space. That put us a good ways out from Varen space, but it still gave us a communications link through their network. It was up to the Council to pay the connecting fees anyway. Valerie gave her communication and authentication codes at the appropriate points and soon enough we were connected to the Varen grid. Valerie submitted some reports and we waited for a response. Soon enough we got a reply from Morrowain in the form of an encrypted message. Valerie was able to open it readily enough as a holographic image of Morrowain appeared in the ship.
(Morrowain) Ah, good to see that I won’t have to mount a rescue mission just to appease your grandfather. On the positive side of things, the Republic has been diverted by their war with the Yeveetha, what Yeveetha scouts that have tried to push their way into our territory have been eliminated, and we have finished work on our defense system. So for the first time in our history, I can report that we can defend ourselves against a Republic assault if needed. Training the young man has proven just as worthwhile as your mother predicted it would.
(Morrowain) Your proposed mission has been given the go-ahead by the Council and you already know the potential issues involved if things get out of hand. I needn’t tell you to be cautious considering who you are looking for. Ah yes, the young man may be interested to know that Lecrouss has been seen recently. It is best to watch out for that one.
With that the holographic message finished and blinked out.
(Valerie) Evidently he does know the clone technique.
(Kira) Pretty much a given based on what we knew. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on fighting him again.
We continued on through Sith space and then made the transition to Republic territory. From there it was a simple matter to follow the hyperspace route inwards towards Coruscant. We did pause a few times to catch up on the news broadcasts going out. We did learn that the war with the Yeveetha was not going well. Sith tended to capture planets, but the Yeveetha looked to be prepared to cause as much damage and death as possible. Plus the Yeveetha were willing to use incredibly suicidal tactics as part of their strategies. This resulted in the Republic fleet being spread much more thinly than usually prudent, and most of the planets anywhere near the war front keeping their shields up around the clock.
Even Coruscant had been attacked by these suicidal tactics. I did get rather annoyed at the commentators lamenting how tragic it was that Coruscant was bombed while conveniently forgetting that Alderaan has had to endure far more attacks like this over the history of the Republic than Coruscant ever had to. Mrs Beasley was still spouting nonsense about how I had unleashed the Yeveetha to get her cats. At least the coverage surrounding her was beginning to portray her as increasingly eccentric as opposed to authoritative.
(Valerie) Alright, what ID are you using?
(Kira) I was going to work with the Rico Versailles ID. There does seem to be a need for protection/mercenary services in the Republic right now with the Yeveetha threat.
(Valerie) Then I am going to use the Taryn Casser trader ID. I’ll have hired you as escort through from the Outer Rim as I make a trade run.
(Kira) Is that what all the exotic foods and spices are for?
(Valerie) Well, of course, I have to be prepared to put on a good front. This isn’t my first infiltration mission after all. And do watch the bottle wrapped in stasis, we don’t want any of that coffee smell getting out and addicting us.
(Kira) You actually brought some of that damned stuff?
(Valerie) Hey, I am not one to be so picky as to discard a potentially very useful item like that simply because it is unorthodox.
(Kira) I am not sure if I should admire that attitude or be disgusted that stuff is anywhere near me.
(Valerie) Simple, treat me and the coffee with a good deal of respect.
Meanwhile, Ben was mildly happy. The Mrs Beasley had a reputation as a “what-is-it” rather than a superweapon – although there were suspicions. Jacob on the other hand… they admitted that he hadn’t actually blown up any planets, but he was still widely regarded as a maniac. The biggest suspicion was that it had all been HoloSith performance art – and that Jacob was trying to become king of the HoloSith.
Jacob had taken one of his saberships – and had emerged in the middle of a republic task force flying an enormous weapon powered by a hypermatter reactor suited to a major warship. He then opted to debate rather than cooperating with the order to shut down for inspection immediately – although he’d had little choice in the end after they covered his ship with droid limpet mines and started cutting his control connections.
That had not gone over well.
It got even worse when they identified him. The Jedi might have orders out to send him straight to them – but there came a point when you had to disregard the Jedi. This was real life, not a Sithcom! Jacob was one of the most notorious Sith in the universe, he’d terrorized a hundred planets, and he’d been piloting one of the most dangerous ships in the known universe.
Yes, he’d kept blaming things on Kira, but Kira definitely hadn’t been there. Ben hadn’t gotten aboard until later – and Smooche’ had never appeared. The wishy-washy Jedi would probably just turn him lose.
It didn’t help that he claimed that dumping him into the nearest black hole wouldn’t accomplish anything and seemed to be telling the truth. They doped him, and locked him up, pretty throughly.
Back with Kira and Valerie…
We spent some time rehearsing our story so that we could give similar accounts when questioned as we continued on our way into the Core. We arrived in the Coruscant system days later to find that the hyperspace navigational beacons had been shut down or repositioned to drop us twelve hours out on drive. The fleet presence had also been significantly increased to include a full Republic Task Group in station around the planet. And surprisingly enough, they were inspecting ALL traffic coming to Coruscant. I don’t care how necessary such a tactic might be, it was not going to be sustainable for long.
It also meant the robes and lightsabers we were carrying needed to be stashed away much more securely than we had been expecting. I hurriedly worked on disassembling and stowing the lightsabers into the spare parts crates and stuffing the robes into a suitcase hidden under one of the beds. The blasters and other weapons weren’t going to be nearly as hard to explain though even if the quantity was probably a bit higher than would seem prudent. Pointing to the Yeveetha could go a long ways toward explaining some paranoia about having sufficient weaponry.
We were ordered to shut off our drive, identify ourselves, and prepare to be boarded for inspection. Given the number of ships and fighters buzzing about, we quickly complied and sent over our identification files. A military shuttle departed one of the star destroyers, pulled along side us, and then extended a docking arm for boarding. Soon enough an officer along with a pair of soldiers appeared outside the airlock wanting to board. I let them in and the officer then proceeded to verify our identities while the soldiers went about doing one of the most haphazard and yet thorough searches I have ever seen. It didn’t seem like they were looking for contraband or really concerned with who we were so much as looking for something in particular. Then it occurred to me that they were looking for Yeveetha stowaways holding us hostage or something.
Part of me wondered if leaving lightsabers and black robes out to find would have made any difference in the inspection, part of me wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer to that.
(Officer) Alright, could you please tell me your business here on Coruscant?
(Valerie) I’m a trader from the Outer Rim looking to make a profit on some exotic foodstuffs I recently came across. Coruscant has been known to import a lot of exotic foods so I figured this is where the money was to be made. I wasn’t really comfortable making the trip alone with the war and all so I hired Rico here to be my escort.
(Kira) Yeah, with the Sith war winding down and all, work out on the Rim has dried up. This seemed like a good opportunity to move towards the Core where there is more work due to the Yeveetha war.
(Officer) Well, everything checks out, I will warn you against any price gouging right now, but with demand so high it may well be impossible to verify. You are cleared to land and welcome to Coruscant.
(Valerie) Thank you very much.
After the shuttle finished departing, we were then sent landing directions and codes to give the ground based controllers access to our ship’s controls for landing. Part of me idly wondered how much of this was still holdover’s from Zandaras’s terror campaign. We were brought in for a landing, paid the parking fees, and then disembarked with the cargo and our bags. Valerie had an easy enough time selling the cargo at the first food vendor she found but kept the coffee, much to my annoyance.
It was a fairly simple matter from that point to find a cheap hotel, change clothes while discreetly arming ourselves, and then we would reemerge back into the streets as a young couple seeing the sights. Valerie spent a bit of time trying to get her hair to do something gravity wasn’t helping with and it was annoying her greatly.
(Valerie) Remind me to kill Jacob.
(Kira) What did he do this time?
(Valerie) My hair still hasn’t returned to it’s original length from before we got blasted with radiation. You can’t style it in as many ways when it is this short.
(Kira) Oh, I don’t know, I think I prefer the shorter style.
(Kira) I figured you would do well with jaw length. Besides, it’s not like various hats or head accessories would be out of place here. You saw the woman running around with that ridiculous hat three times as tall as she was. No one even batted an eye at her.
(Valerie) Alright, fine. But only on the condition that you get rid of that ridiculous goatee too. You look like a HoloSith.
(Kira) Aww come on, how else am I supposed to look like a gruff merc if I don’t sport some facial hair?
(Valerie) Grow twelve centimeters, gain fifty kilograms of muscle, and wear a custom set of Mandalorian armor you acquired from your dead enemies?
(Kira) Oooh, would it help if I was an atavist too?
That earned me a bag full of clothes thrown at my face.
Unfortunately, hiding all our weapons and such in our clothing just wasn’t practical given the circumstances. We ended up each carrying a bag to hold some of the more conspicuous items in while we played tourist. After all, tourists aren’t supposed to be carrying lightsabers. We did end up “visiting” a number of sights around the government district. The tour of the Republic Palace was something I had never gotten to see before, but we ended up skipping the Senate building and the Jedi Temple for the moment considering we had both seen the interior of those in a lot more intimate detail than the tour was likely to give.
Ben and Alys had traveled under their real identities, complied with the order to stop for a search without a fuss – and didn’t attempt to deny their identities. Fortunately, Alys was currently a hero of the Republic thanks to her activities on Gruenn and Ben had not been implicated in much of anything since his activities on Gruenn had been exonerated.
They did spend quite a lot of time talking to Ben. They wanted an evaluation of the threats posed by other universes, information on the Star Forges (when they were mentioned), information on the Final Empire, confirmation that the Mrs Beasley used few new technologies (it just used them on a scale that no one could afford), more details on all the valuable technology he’d passed on to them. OK, he’d revealed the (unwelcome) presence of extradimensional threats – but he couldn’t be blamed for that, and he HAD jumped aboard the Mrs Beasley, taken command away from Jacob, stopped his threats – and had been in command during the planet- and star-moving operations, which had saved a republic world and eliminated Zandramas.
Even if he claimed that the star-moving was a bit of an accident, it had worked out just fine.
The notion that the Mrs Beasley might well exist because they’d just wished for it was disturbing – but also could not really be held to be his fault. Besides, it might well classify as a catastrophe, rather than a military threat.
Ben was quite cooperative (hiding only the clone piloting technology, which he thought was just disturbing) – and had to admit that Jacob’s activities, and the gigantic battle he’d caused, had gotten an enormous number of people killed. He also noted that Kira had not been involved in that mess; he’d vanished after fighting Leucross.
Alys was also debriefed, but in her case it was quite a pleasant conversation over a meal, rather than all the requests for military information that Ben had to deal with. She was, however, expected to testify before several senate subcommittees, including the Conference on Theoretical Defense.
Lazlo arrived last, also traveling under his real identity – and protested under an obscure rule that he pulled out of the air. He also hadn’t apparently done much; there was no regulation about being offensive to the Sith…
The numbers he quoted at random in his irritation did actually correspond to a regulation (of course, the galactic republic had enough regulations that almost any set of volume numbers would point to something). The military was somewhat confused to find him attempting to claim rights to his ship on the grounds that he’d stolen if from pirates and used it to escape from them.
On the other hand, unlike Jacob, he wasn’t carrying any massive weapons and wasn’t in much of any trouble. In fact, he had access to a substantial sum of credits thanks to being eligible for a Republic Civil Rights Award and a Whistleblower Reward (that wasn’t much of an addition to his current funds, but every little bit was useful). Since he was piloting an armed fighter he’d have to turn over control to the ground on the final approach – but that was pretty standard (and they did carry a good insurance policy).
We were at a cafe drinking “normal” coffee when Ben and Alys arrived on the planet. We knew this because of the instant media coverage and mob that quickly formed around Alys in particular. Apparently organizing a successful planetary rebellion against Zandaras was considered instant heroine status. The fact that the same battle led to Zandaras’s death only added to the legend now surrounding her. Alys definitely did not look entirely comfortable with all the attention now surrounding her. We sat at the cafe sipping the coffee while watching the news with some amusement.
<Valerie> So much for quietly sneaking onto the planet.
<Kira> Well, this is why I advocated coming in separately from the others. Plans rarely ever go quietly when they are involved. Galaxy knows how badly it’s probably going with Jacob.
<Valerie> I am hoping it involves us never seeing him again.
<Kira> We might get lucky.
We then spent our time continuing to play tourist while scouting around the government district looking for anything unusual that might be a clue into the whereabouts of the Republic Codifiers. What documents and records we could find from the Codifier and Droid galaxies suggested that the Republic Codifiers were part of the Republic Archives and Libraries department before the organization became militarized after Huriel’s fiasco. And it didn’t help that over that last eighteen thousand years that the Republic Archives and Libraries department had become enormous.
Valerie and I briefly played with the idea of sneaking into the main branch office here on Coruscant to see what we could find, but there were too many unknowns for that to be considered the least bit wise. Besides, given how big the main office was here and how difficult Codifiers were to detect, we could spend years looking and never find them. We needed a lead, something to narrow down the search area, someone to follow, or even some documents to trace. We had a list of potential Enclave worlds, a probable agent hidden amongst the Sith, and even had a good idea of which organization might be the front, but that still didn’t narrow things down enough to be useful yet. Hopefully the Jedi have had better luck tracking these guys down from the opposite side of things.
We got a discreet message from Ben asking us to meet him, Alys and Lazlo at some private nightclub Alys had recommended for privacy. After verifying that it looked legit and actually seemed like a decent place for some privacy, Valerie and I dressed up and arrived a couple hours early. It proved simple enough to just handwave ourselves past the bouncer at the front as we slipped in and amongst the clubbers. We ended up sitting at one of the tables in a back corner as we had drinks and appetizers while pretending to review business documents quietly.
<Valerie> I don’t like this, it’s too private and crowded at the same time.
<Kira> Would you rather be meeting them out in public?
<Valerie> At least out in the government square outside the Senate building I can be assured that most of the people there are actually tourists. There is something to be said for hiding out in the open.
<Kira> I hear you, but us talking to Alys, Ben, and Lazlo out in the middle of a public forum is going to raise all sorts of difficult questions. At least here they claim to not pay attention and still get clients coming in. That suggests they may be good to their word.
<Valerie> It still doesn’t mean I have to like it. It’s almost impossible to tell if someone is Codex or Force sensitive with so much “noise” saturating the place.
Lazlo had been dealing with messages, investment “opportunities”, propositions, attempts to sell him things, public relations, offers to semi-clone him until there was a decent-sized population, and more – until he’d gotten a mail sorting droid.
Lazlo showed up first. At first I thought he was complaining about the amount of spam in his inbox after being gone for so long until we realized he was talking about the actual content of the messages. I wondered what weird thing had offended him this time as I took the datapad from him and looked at the message myself. I was expecting some Sith porn or something, but I was surprised to see a Codifier recruiting video plastered on the top of the message followed by instructions on how to get in touch if interested in getting those same powers. At first I thought this had to be clips from Ben’s channel or even something Lazlo had copied from our latest trip to the Final Empire, but then I saw that the reply address looked to be a valid local code even if it was anonymous.
This couldn’t be right. Lazlo said this was being spammed all over the networks and was actively trying to circumvent spam filters. Valerie felt my consternation as she then snatched the datapad out of my hands and watched it in turn. She too became incredibly confused as the implications started to bubble forth. I just found it incredibly hard to believe that the Republic Codifiers were actually recruiting people via mass email spam. Something like that couldn’t conceivably work as everyone would notice….
Valerie and I came to the same conclusion as we stared into each others eyes, then slammed our heads into the table in unison.
(Valerie) So let me get this straight, this organization that has remained hidden for 20,000 years has been spamming email recruitment messages across the galaxy this entire time?
(Kira) It’s the most brilliant and yet the most stupid thing I’ve seen at the same time.
(Valerie) Suddenly I understand why you feel the need to bang your head against the wall from time to time.
Jacob, meanwhile, had managed to wake up long enough to inform the Jedi – by means of another one of his atavist-boosted force broadcasts – that the military had him and, rather than sending him in, were wanting to use him for reaction mass.
Of course, he was one of the greatest terrorists in Republic history, had gotten millions killed by provoking the largest space battle ever recorded, and had led the Yeveetha into Republic space. They Jedi were not pleased with him either – but felt that they needed to enforce their rights with the Military.
He’d gotten a projection; they had to commend his rescues, but still thought that he was a horrible screwup…
The Jedi had sent someone to pick him up, and had managed to pry him out of the militaries grasp – with the result that the military resolved to kill him the next time they caught him rather than risking him getting away again.
Ben and Alys showed up at the appointed time. Alys saw Valerie and suddenly looked wary at the both of us, but Valerie ignored her. Ben didn’t seem the least bit surprised by Valerie’s presence though. Ben did ask what had us looking so frustrated, so we slid him the datapad and let him reach the same conclusion the rest of us had reached. There was some satisfaction in seeing that at least they were as dumbfounded as we were.
This at least suggested a possible means to contacting and/or tracking the Republic Codifiers. I wasn’t really sure about the prudence of responding to a recruitment message given our histories, but it was one of the few direct leads we had at the moment. The fact that there were two seemingly separate groups sending these messages out was concerning though. Perhaps this is an internal division similar to the Codifiers and the Faded? But if so, why still the separate recruitment? And they are after the same pool of recruits so a conflict between them would be probable, yet we have heard nothing about any such shadow war.
Something here isn’t making a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, we needed more information that we simply didn’t have yet. Lazlo and Ben volunteered to respond to the recruitment messages from both groups to see what happened. Lazlo was going to respond as himself and Ben was going to respond under some assumed ID he had stashed away. Hopefully we might be able to glean something from the various responses when they arrive.
In the meantime we decided to head to the Jedi Temple to speak with someone on the Jedi Council about their investigation into the Republic Codifiers. Just walking up to the front desk and asking for an audience was not going to work well given how “popular” some of were at the moment. Ben, Alys, and Lazlo could walk right in, but I was going to have issues. Let alone Valerie….
(Kira) Just can’t take some people anywhere….
(Valerie) I was willing to bring you before the Varen Council, and now you aren’t willing to let me meet the Jedi Council?
(Kira) That is hardly a fair comparison.
(Valerie) Just goes to show you that we Varen are much more tolerant than you Jedi are.
I couldn’t disagree with that sentiment, on the other hand it was easier to deal with the Varen Council on a more even footing. After all, I had seen them all in their underwear whereas the Jedi Council I have only seen fully clothed. Course, the Council weren’t the only ones I saw wearing nothing more than a shift….
Valerie saw that image and looked like she was about to throw the table at me. I just sat there and grinned smugly as she fumed and kept herself restrained. After all, making a serious fuss here in the club was not going to work well given our circumstances.
Alys announced she needed to check in with her family, so she went off to do that. I started looking at Jedi Temple tours and what it would take to slip away quietly from one to enter the restricted areas of the temple. Valerie was going to find somewhere quiet to wait, while Ben and Lazlo were going to just simply walk into the Jedi Temple after I had gone in. We were busily debating schedules, routes, hiding places and such when Jacob suddenly appeared at the table not wearing his armor.
Alys was not entirely pleased… Her little brother – like nearly seventy billion others – had volunteered for military service after the attacks on Coruscant, and the military facilities were more than a bit overstrained (worse than it had been since the reports of a droid or clone army some 12,000 years ago). Apparently he’d believed that – given the current atmosphere – any political aspirations would go nowhere without being able to point at military service.
Her parents were not entirely happy about it. They’d rather that he not get killed. She had a hard time seeing him in the military at all, even in officers training…
Her parents found it almost as annoying as the bounty hunters who had infested the building for some time. Fortunately, most of them had cleared out again when the reward on her was cancelled.
Also, those small fellows were popping up all over, claiming that their records had been destroyed in the attacks. That was unlikely, but hardly a big worry.
In an odd way, the requests for autographs, that she run for office, that she endorse things, take up a role as a mascot for a ship production company, and all the rest of the nonsense that came with fame was harder to deal with. That the mascot role was “Empress of the Spaceways” was a bit… disconcerting as well.
She hired a public-relations staff, put some droids onto things, and got some bodyguards. She was going to need them.
Ben was being pestered too – mostly about hyperdrive variations, ship design conferences, offers of lucrative employment, and by people looking for mystic enlightenment through nothing more complicated or burdensome than pushing a button.
<Valerie> So much for the idea of a combination of the Codex and the Force granting wishes and altering reality to suit my desires. Should we just off him here on the table? I am sure I can make it look like he committed suicide with the salt and pepper shaker.
<Kira> With salt and pepper shakers? That seems a bit far-fetched.
<Valerie> If the idiot can make an inert lump of metal come alive and eat his arm and his shuttle, than I am fairly sure I can make it look like a suicide in public. I might even be able to get people to applaud his valor.
Oh I was sorely tempted. Partially because Jacob has gotten on my bad side and stayed there for quite some time now, but also because I really wanted to see how Valerie thought she could pull that one off. Unfortunately, killing Jacob was as likely to blow our cover as letting Jacob do it himself.
<Kira> Best to let the situation evolve so that the Republic does it for us. I get the sneaking suspicion that it won’t be too much longer before that happens.
<Valerie> Fine then, note that I at least offered to take care of it now.
With Jacob back in our midst, it was probably best to separate again and get to the Jedi Temple before any of the others did. Promising not to do anything stupid, I left Valerie to her own plans as I took one of the buses to the Jedi Temple. Arriving there at the Temple and looking over the tour schedules, I figured the noon tour was the best bet as there was a longer interval between it and the next tour than the others. I purchased a ticket and took my place in line.
Soon enough a cheery tour guide showed up, introduced herself as Sandi, and then started going into the history of the Jedi Temple in exhausting detail as she took us along the tour route. I wasn’t paying much attention to her so much as I was looking for a good opportunity to sneak away without being seen.
(Tourist) Excuse me, but where are all the Jedi?
Now that caught my attention. I had been so busy looking at line of sight issues to notice there wasn’t a Jedi in sight. The last two times I had been here they had been silently swarming the place. Something was obviously up.
(Sandi) Unfortunately the recent attacks by the Yeveetha and resulting… patriotism of the people of Coruscant has been presenting issues for the Jedi telepathic abilities. Feelings of anger and hostility in such volume can give young Jedi problems with their development. The younglings have been sent to a nearby world in the meantime along with their instructors and support staff. But rest assured that the Jedi have affirmed their commitment to the Republic and the people of Coruscant in this war.
Hesitantly I relaxed my hold on the Codex a bit. I had been restraining my Force senses as a matter of course for being on this planet and to hide a little better from any Republic Hybrids and Force users that might be skulking about. Actually letting my senses reach out beyond my immediate vicinity resulting in the animosity of the planet hitting me like a ton of bricks. Thankfully I was able to tune back my senses enough to keep from getting overwhelmed by it. I could see why the bulk of the Jedi had left. Given time I could adjust, but I also had advantages there they didn’t have.
Finally I found the opportunity I was looking for. It came when Sandi started a long holographic presentation of the Jedi Order and it’s temples across the galaxy. With the lights dimmed, it was a simple matter to slink towards the back of the room and phase through the door leading to the administration offices. Verifying that no one had seen me go through the door, I went around the hallway corner to find someplace to slip into more Jedi like clothing so I could move around without being questioned. The moment I got around the corner though I ran into a Jedi.
(Jedi) Ah, Master Keldav. We’ve been expecting you. Right this way please.
I’ve been doing this for five years and that still is hard to get used to. Still, there was no reason not to go along with it. The Jedi led me through the halls and elevators up the structure of the Jedi Temple. I could tell the place was much more vacant than the last two times I had been here.
(Kira) I take it what the tour guide said about the current planetary fervor is what drove the Jedi to retreat for the time being?
(Jedi) Yes, unfortunately. The vast majority of the Order has gone to one of the agricultural worlds in the system.
(Kira) Vast majority? It hardly feels like anyone is in here beyond tourists and some administration staff.
(Jedi) Indeed, there are currently only about sixty of us in the Temple at the moment.
That was a lot of Temple for so few Jedi. I reminded myself to doublecheck the defenses of that agricultural world before leaving the system. An assault on the Jedi Temple of Coruscant was madness, but one of the secondary temples in the system might be fair game for the Yeveetha. Surely the Republic has thought of that fact.
I was escorted to a set of quarters in the upper Temple Complex, shown the location of various facilities, and how I might call for assistance if I needed any.
(Jedi) The Jedi Council will meet with you once your companions arrive and they are able to free themselves from advising the Senate. It is our hope to avoid a massive genocidal campaign against the Yeveetha, but the Senate is getting rather frustrated with the aggressive tendencies they are displaying.
I spent most of my time meditating and focusing on practice balancing the Codex and the Force in me as I waited for the others to arrive. Soon enough the others began to trickle into the Temple and were escorted to the same section of quarters I had been. Most of them came in quietly enough, although it was obvious once Jacob arrived. Even on Coruscant, he had a way of standing out.
The next day the Jedi were ready to meet with us. They immediately handed over the latest results of their investigation, although they did mention that the investigators began running into problems remembering their tasks. To that end, Jedi were found that seemed to be resistant to the effect, and the investigation was continuing with them heading it up.
I found that tidbit interesting because that suggested that the Jedi actually did have potential hybrids in their group. They might be worth running tests on later if we ever get a chance to meet them. I had to wonder just how many there might be in the Jedi Order, and if this knowledge would eventually lead to a preference for Hybrids on the Council as opposed to others. The social consequences of the knowledge we have could be quite significant and dangerous depending on how it’s let out.
I was impressed with the Jedi Council’s use of droids to keep reminding themselves of the Codex and the secret order of Republic Codifiers. On the other hand, for all the pragmatism that implied, it certainly wasn’t going to help the image of the Jedi as anything but senile in the middle of a war with the Yeveetha. Freeing Jacob and sponsoring us wasn’t going to look good either in the public’s eye. Add in the fact that the vast majority of the Jedi had left Coruscant started reminding me of certain positions Alys’s brother was making in an alternate universe. Not much could be done about that while we still were investigating this secretive group though.
At which point the Jedi started asking us if we knew of any way to shield ourselves or others against the effects of the Censor. Unfortunately, the only way I knew how to do that relied on the Codex to make oneself immune. That wasn’t something that could be spread around per se. I supposed it was possible to share the immunity like one could share Hypertime, but that was going to require a bit of experimenting and I would rather not try that on Coruscant for a number of reasons. Besides, that would mean we would have to find a Hybrid powerful enough to do it and leave them here with the Jedi Council. Sharing immunity to the Censor wasn’t going to be easy nor wise, especially since we saw what the Kreedath could do with thatÉ..
Wait, the Kreedath were able to project an aura of immunity to the Censor. That was how they were able to get their superweapons to work in the first place. And we had even found a batch that still had that monotalent not too long ago. Where they may have disappeared to was an open question, but the timing of it all led me to suspect the Republic Codifiers might have been involved. Still, it was something to suggest to the Jedi that they look into.
Then began the commentary on each of our lives and progress since the last time the Jedi Council had seen us. I agreed with the assessment that Jacob needed to grow up faster (and was showing early signs of bacta overuse). They covered the others in turn and had insights into each of them to offer. I was waiting for the lecture to start with me when they spoke.
They also recommended that Lazlo either retreat and meditate to purify himself or take up the Hedi methods. They observed that Ben had improved a great deal; his urge to destroy the universe was much less prominent – and they noted that, while Alys was hard to see in the force, it appeared to be boiling around her.
(Aviros Sarton) And judging by your progress, you must be doing something right. Your progress with the Force is coming along well and you are showing no signs of the Dark Side.
That was a bit of a shock. Actually being told that I was doing something right was unexpected and unusual. Maybe the Jedi weren’t as stuck up and condescending as I had been figuring from the last few encounters.
(Aviros) We also are informed that you may be seeing results in treating the Dark Side? A companion of yours has apparently been making progress.
Alys and the others turned to glance at me with that remark. Ben seemed like he suspected it all along, but Jacob and Alys looked a bit shocked. Aviros could only be talking about Valerie. I suspected one of Telera’s reports had mentioned the slow loss of the Dark Side Valerie was experiencing.
(Kira) Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that comes from that beyond basic proof of the idea that Hybrids like myself are able to resist and even heal the damage given time. Besides, there are “unique” circumstances helping her along.
Alys didn’t like the sound of “unique conditions from what I was able to sense. How much of it was the Bond and how much was it being due to Valerie being a Hybrid was hard to tell at the moment. And whether any of this had any application towards treating normal Sith was unknown too sadly. We just didn’t know enough despite how close we were to an answer.
Wait, Valerie had said that the Varen were able to pick up on her Bond to me because they could sense the power flow in her. If they could pick up something like that, then it stood to reason that the Jedi could as well. Had the Jedi known this entire time I was Bonded and they didn’t inform me about this fact. As that thought entered my head, Councilwoman Hesta Nemsus spoke to me telepathically.
<Hesta> The more sensitive amongst us did note you had a Bond, but people recognize those when they’re ready. It is good that you have become ready. If you care to let us know, who is it with? We can tell that your Bondmate is female, probably near-human, and powerful, but anything more than that is concealed in your own aura.
Sadly, I knew she was right. Learning about it myself was just about the best way for me to have learned that. I shudder to think of what might have happened back when I wasn’t really prepared for that fact. Thinking back to Lecrouss, the end result of that wouldn’t have been pretty. Any anger I could have felt over being kept out of the loop failed to materialize with the realization that it was a lesson I had to learn for myself. Still the complications involved were cut and dried.
<Kira> Unfortunately, there are complications involved in that. We still have some issues to work out together and I would like a little more time.
<Hesta> Fair enough young one. These things take time.
Ben had a thought! All they needed to take care of the droid rebellion galaxy was some OLD Sith codes! Maybe they could do it!
Well, if there was even the remotest chance of ever getting back there. With almost nothing living to lock on to, steering there on purpose would be murderously difficult.
Wait, what HAD happened to Huriel in their history?
Ah, he’d simply been eliminate early. Fair enough.
My first visit here and I found the Jedi to be wishy-washy idealists. Now I am beginning to figure out that there may be some methods to their madness and I’m actually beginning to find myself respecting them. Is this a sign of me growing out of the rebellious punk stage or just that I am finally beginning to think like them on some level? Still, it is nice that someone thinks I am doing something right besides the Varen. Nothing against Valerie, but having a lot of powerful Sith tell me I am doing well tends to unnerve me.
Shortly thereafter the Jedi informed us that they had to return to advising the Republic Senate. We thanked them for their time as they departed and began to debate our own next move. As the others discussed talking to the Republic Codifiers via email, I sat and found myself counting the number of Jedi present in the entire Temple out of boredom. There were a grand total of ten.
Ten? For the entire Temple on the Capitol of the Republic? That was practically asking for trouble on a number of levels. I wouldn’t rule out the Sith hidden on the planet trying to take advantage of the situation. Or bounty hunters trying to follow Alys and Ben in hopes of finding me. The Jedi were not even considering the possibility because someone would have to be insane to try that under normal conditions. And yet here we had once again managed to arrange really unlikely conditions almost purely by accident. And soon there is going to be an attack on the Jedi Temple and Kira is going to be spotted there.
Valerie felt that one.
<Valerie> What’s wrong?
<Kira> Uh, Valerie, I think I am about to get involved in repelling a major assault on the Jedi Temple.
<Valerie> And just how do you keep getting into the middle of this kind of thing? Even for a trouble magnet, that’s quite spectacular!
All I could do was mentally shrug and sigh. Once again, she was right.
- 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 53 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Special Investigator Nimh Tahl’s Field Report – Session 62a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 64 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)