Focusing on Jacob while making a semi-random interdimensional jump did indeed bring Ben to a Jedi Temple.
One overrun by refugees.
He’d been focusing on Jacob! Therefore this was definitely Jacob’s fault! Just like the last dimension.
As it turned out, it was….
Gruenn had been a disaster. Apparently they hadn’t gotten the information on how Zandramas was pulling off his infiltrations out and hadn’t hooked up with Smooche.
When Jacob had jumped out, he had indeed wound up in an abandoned ship – but it wasn’t the Mrs Beasley and it wasn’t ANY version of the Lifestar. It was indeed a very large and powerful ship – but it had fit in with Jacob’s personal obsessions rather than his and Smooche’s.
It had been a bioship, probably genetically engineered from the spacegoing treefolk, powered by a fairly conventional hypermatter reactor and the tree creatures usual biological subspace heat sinks. As such, it was slow, clumsy, and could make only short, stepping-stone, hyperspace hops since otherwise its metabolism would overheat. It had decent shields, but few if any weapons of any kind. On the other hand, it had a gargantuan, focused, force-potential. Linked with a proper pilot who could channel that potential, it could accomplish an immense variety of tasks – including re-engineering or taming biospheres, which was what it had been designed to do.
It was SLOW though, and didn’t have Smooche along to tune it’s hyperdrive – which, it being biological, he might not have been able to do anyway.
By the time the Biostar had re-entered republic space, Zandramas had reached and captured Coruscant. Much of the galaxy was still fighting, but – at least for the moment – there was a new Sith Empire in the galaxy.
It wasn’t unprecedented. It wouldn’t last. They never did. The Republic always bounced right back. Conventional weaponry simply wasn’t enough to maintain a Sith reign of terror, and such states always started off with a dozen rebellions in progress and a distinct lack of military forces to use against them – having lost most of them in the process of seizing the Republic. They never really lasted long enough to rebuild.
Then Jacob arrived to attack Zandramas and what little was left of Zandramas’s fleet with giant, force-generated, lightsaber beams.
The Biostar had never been built for battle however – and using the force to generate his weapons drove Jacob into a dark side explosion. Zandramas and the remnants of his fleet had been destroyed. The Biostar had lost atmosphere and power, and had spiraled in to crash on Coruscant – where the occupying troops had gathered up what little was left of it and Jacob.
And then the Yeveetha had arrived in pursuit of the Biostar.
The few remaining Sith – the junior aides that Zandramas had sent to occupy the temple and rummage through it for anything useful – had activated the old defenses of the temple. Survival took precedence over the destruction that would cause around it.
Of course, by then, the Temple was flooded with refugees, who’d turned to the last symbol of protective power in the face of the Yeveetha hordes. The Yeveetha had been unwilling to destroy half of Coruscant’s structures and resources to break the shields protecting a hundred square miles of the place – even if the activation of those defenses had wrecked another few hundred square miles of the world-city already.
They settled on a siege. They would win in the end.
In the temple, a few refugees set up a broadcast – documenting some of their personal tales and the destruction of Coruscant as a sort of combination of distress call, memorial, and warning – and settled down to survival.
The Sith, however, plotted. They needed to destroy the Yeveetha on Coruscant and either reclaim the place or at least deny its resources to future Yeveetha while they escaped. They had plenty of organics – the Jedi “Temple” was a fortress that had been designed to endure the sun going nova and to support its population almost eternally – but little industrial capacity or raw materials to spare. Even a (generally ineffectual) Droid army was out of the question.
If they could only produce a clone army dangerous enough to defeat the Yeveetha however…
They still had living tissue from Jacob’s body, and from the Biostar.
It hadn’t taken too much tweaking to turn Jacob-clones into monotalented vampiric force-predators. All they’d have to do would be to prepare them, open a momentary gap in the lower shields beneath the surface, and turn them loose. The Jacobs would exterminate the Yeveetha – and most of the other life on Coruscant. Sowing seeds from the Biostars would soon lead to Coruscant being forested with force-boosting ships – and with the Jacobsaries being able to leave in them to scour the galaxy clean of the Yeveetha. They could hide in the force-shielded depths of the temple, so that the Jacob’s wouldn’t sense them – and eventually emerge to re-establish a Stih Empire that this time – with the threat of once again unleashing the Jacobsaries to back their power – would last almost forever! Just like the Infinite Empire of old!
Ben, in fact, did not get all of that, and wouldn’t until much later – but he went to tell the local Sith about transdimensional Hypertunnels and the Final Empire. He REALLY hated to say it, but it might well be their – and the survivors – best shot. The Final Empire could handle the Yeveetha.
It took a good deal of explaining and drawing of circuits and such.
Meanwhile, back in the arbitrarily-designated Universe-0…
All speculation along those lines was cut short as alarms started going off. At first I thought that Alys or Lazlo had triggered some sort of failsafe in the droids, but I found them being told to seek shelter by the droids instead of under attack.
(Kira) What is going on?
(Alys) Looks like an intruder alert has been triggered nearby. Something about either a person or a missile bouncing around the corridors. We’re being asked to seek shelter until the intruder can be dealt with.
Oh now here was a complicated decision. Seeking shelter might put us in the middle of whatever group it was that was running this place, at which point we would have to explain our presence. Not seeking shelter meant we might run into whoever was dealing with the intruders ourselves and having an even more position of explaining why we hadn’t sought shelter as directed. Damn it, with the Force shielding around this place and the possibilities of who we might be dealing with, I couldn’t recklessly use precognition in here.
(Kira) Alright, where is the shelter then?
(Alys) Apparently in one of the vaults where they are storing the Aberrant Holcrons.
Well, I doubt that is anyplace most people would go to seek shelter. And it was also likely to be one of the better shielded rooms against outside probing too.
(Kira) Right, let’s go. Lead the way.
We were led to a heavily armored doorway that led to a room with only the one entrance. The walls looked to be thick and well shielded from outside probing. That also meant that phasing through the walls was going to be dangerous to say the least. We entered the room and the droids promptly sealed the place behind us. That left us more or less locked in the room by ourselves and with a number of holocrons around us.
In short order I began to hear the faint whispers of the holocrons with their temptations and promises of power. They had no hold over me though as I quickly tuned them out of my senses. Alys wasn’t able to hear them naturally enough, but both of us got horrified looks as we saw Lazlo’s face go blank as he became unaware of us. Alys and I both pulled weapons in case Lazlo suddenly went on a crazed rampage. I hesitantly engaged my Force senses again as I waited for a Dark Side explosion to occur. I could feel the Dark Side energies in the Holocrons around us flicker and twist, but none of it seemed to be particularly affecting Lazlo at the moment.
Lazlo in fact had noticed that the Holocrons – shielded from the wider universe of the Force – seemed to be little more than simple recordings with personality-simulators – and he’d already noted that quite a few techniques were (regardless of what the Jedi and Sith tried to insist) quite gray. It all depended on what you did with them.
Given that, there was no reason not to learn a few techniques – like the biomanipulation speciality – while he had the chance!
Meanwhile, Jacob was once more on the run. His opponents had caught up with him, and he wasn’t up to fighting multiple hybrids at once. Fortunately, his reckless rocketing through the corridors (and gradually working on bashing himself to death) was VERY hard to keep up with, even with the judicious use of hypertime – and the troops didn’t stand a chance.
The sealed blast doors were a problem though!
Wait! He could attune to machines! He’d link up with the computer controlling the door, flood it with the force, and have it open for him!
That worked to some extent – but the computer knew it’s job, and now that it was wide awake, it closed the door on one of his legs – carefully pinning him down while taking care not to sever it.
Fortunately, Jacob’s legs were cybrenetic. He simply jettisoned one, and continued with his flight. OK, that made him more off-balance than ever, but when you were already bouncing off the walls, who cared?
He exited the temple in full “decoy” mode – trailing force-lightning to make the showiest possible exit before plunging into the city sublevels. He even had a great idea! Everyone “knew” that holosith had only one master and apprentice at a time! He even continued to broadcast the “announcement” he’d started in the temple:
(Jacob, on general broadcast) “As Kira’s apprentice I am here to herald his coming! His domination of this galaxy, as well as the new sister galaxy, is well underway. Submit to us and we shall show you leniency! Your pathetic heroine Alys cannot stop the coming of the New Empire!”
He headed off to start trying to make contact with the various Sith factions on Coruscant – and to keep up the occasional broadcasts to keep people going… Constant reminders that he and Kira were out there, and that surrender was much better than being forced into submission, that the galaxy was not large enough to serve as an empire for the mighty Kira, and therefore another had been imported, and that the combined forces of the Jedi and the Republic would never be a match for Jacob and Kira!
Hopefully he could explain to the Jedi what was up before they got too mad!
Suddenly I became aware of the Atavist’s presence again as he entered the Force shielded section. He was obviously running from something in a hurry, and I could hear containment breach alarms going off in his wake. I shut down my Force powers hard at that point and began looking for an escape route as I felt Jacob heading our way fast. Damn it, I didn’t want to get caught up in whatever hornet’s nest he’s stirred up before even learning what the hell was down here. I was getting really close to telling Valerie to handle Jacob the next chance she got.
Sadly, there weren’t any hiding places to use in here since there was only the one door in here. Trying to phase through the wall was foolish, and cutting through was going to be pretty damned blatant. I really didn’t want to have to use the Bond to escape this soon either. Looking around the room a second time, I saw that the walls went an additional three meters above the top of the door itself. Well, it was certainly a chance worth trying.
I threw Lazlo over my shoulder and motioned for Alys to grab ahold of my shoulders as I fired one of the variable stars at the ceiling above the door. Once up there, I shifted the weight a bit and fired the other variable star to help relieve the weight a bit. Then it became a simple matter to use the anchor points provided by my arms to plant my feet against the wall so that we were all hanging flat just below the ceiling. Alys was working hard to keep her grip on me and to hold Lazlo in place as he remained in his trance.
My heart was racing as… Jacob went by at high speed in the main corridor without even noticing another armored door like all the others along the main hall, bouncing around like a repulsor ball in his armor at high speed as he collided with the walls. On the monitors, I saw a glowing white figure chase in after him for a moment as Jacob then bounced off the opposite wall and down another corridor. The figure in hypertime turned around again to give chase. The fact that whoever it is was in hypertime made it impossible to see his face directly, but I was no normal person in this regard either. It took a careful altering of my timerate and a bit of frequency shifting, but I was able to peel back the layers of blazing light to get a better look at the chaser. I quickly saw the lightsaber blade take shape as I adjusted better and then worked on getting a better look at the face without incinerating Lazlo and Alys as part of this.
Come on, show me that toothy smile of yours, you Republic Hybrid.
Chief of Security for the Jedi Temple Michael Costov.
My heart was still racing with what I can only presume was the excitement of the mission that Valerie spoke of about these infiltration operations. We finally had direct confirmation of what I have been expecting for a long time now: not just Republic Codifiers, but also Republic Hybrids. Alys, Telera, Ben, and the others thought I was being paranoid with the idea of these guys really existing, but now we knew for certain. Not just emails, not just subtle deductions involving kidnappers, but a real Hybrid that is not one of us running around underneath the Jedi Temple itself.
Either the Jedi Order itself was sponsoring these guys, or they were being extensively infiltrated by the Republic Codifiers themselves. The fact that the Jedi Chief of Security was one of them more or less proved it. Was the Jedi Council in on this? That seemed hard to believe, but Lazlo had to have gotten that code module from someone on the Council considering he had picked it up in the Council Chamber itself.
Wait. From a display in the Council Chamber itself. And the council was using reminder-droids to remind themselves of the existence of the Codex. Was it that easy? That was as bad as the Emails! At some point the Hybrids could have erased themselves from the memories of the Jedi Council by simply… turning off a few reminder-droids.
Hell, they could do it repeatedly every time the Jedi caught on. Were the two factions just the ones who operated WITH the Jedi because it was so obvious that they needed steering and the ones who were doing something else?
The fact that the investigation into my family’s kidnapping began running into issues suggests that these guys starting actively interfering with it. And if they started interfering with it, then that means that they are the ones that did the kidnapping. They have access to the appropriate security codes and can readily mimic Jedi. Hell, they can actually have Jedi do the work for them given this level of infiltration into the Order.
Why haven’t they tried to recruit me though? I should be a prime target given a number of factors. Hybrids can’t be so common as to just pass up the opportunity when it is inconvenient for them. Could the kidnapping just be an incredibly round-about recruitment plot, or maybe that Sith Commander around Gruenn Alys spoke of? You would think one of their agents would have just shown up at numerous points in the process and just forced an audience. Hell, if the Jedi knew we were going to open a hypertunnel to Gruenn, so did these guys. At which point they could have planted a spy with the technicians to make contact.
Perhaps they really don’t intend to make contact after all. At which point there isn’t any intent to return my family to me or to try and work with me. If that is the case then I am going to need allies in this above and beyond the individuals I’ve been with. The Varen are a natural starting point, as is the alternate Republic and Codifier Republic. We would have to do a complete and thorough search of all our people for infiltrators and spies.
I watch the Chief of Security run back through the door to continue his chase of Jacob. Yes, we are going to have to be very careful going forward based on what I’ve just seen here. But first, I need to see what else I can learn about these guys. Who knows, maybe they will prove cooperative and just have a beef with Jacob.
I know I do these days.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 66a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 53 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 60c (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 56 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 64 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)