Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71a

The Quest for the Sith Issue two of the Tales ...

Blast it! Wrong universe AGAIN!

With everyone in one training program or another, time passed quickly… Interestingly, the republic special-forces military program was actually very, very, good. It focused on building skills, physical strength and stamina on the “training” side – and on loyalty to, and bonds with, the republic, the military, and your comrades (in roughly that order) on the psychosocial side – with the force of twenty thousand years worth of experience and analysis behind their program. Their acceptance parameters actually were pretty finely calculated, and their failure rate was very low; if they were willing to take you, they were pretty sure that they could turn you into what they wanted.

They had accepted Lazlo and Vi.

For them, codex training was for advanced courses, once their new recruits were ready for such studies – and at less risk of dropping out of the course and the cosmos. The military didn’t get all that many suitable recruits.

The RDF – or Breaker – program was almost entirely the opposite. It focused on building up codex skills as quickly as possible, attempting to convert recruits into living weapons. After all, whether or not the Senate wanted to admit it, the galaxy was at war, and had been for millennia. If you couldn’t be a weapon against the out-of-control force users, of what use were you?

It was built on hatred and envy of the Sith – and of the Jedi, who had been unwilling to do what was needed to end the war for twenty thousand years (the fact that the Jedi needed to stay mellow and forgiving or turn into Sith did not seem to register). It focused on indoctrination with blind fanaticism, and on subtly suppressing – if possibly unconsciously – all dissent. It worked too, at least if you lacked the mental defenses needed to keep if from working.

And, of course, virtually all of their recruits did. The ones who were inclined to test things for themselves, and who listened to their sales pitches in the first place, tended to quietly disappear.

It didn’t work so well on Alys, Ben, and Kira. They had formidable defenses and were fairly set in their ways in any case.

And with Kira in particular…

Training was slowly getting better. As things shifted from the most basic techniques to the weapons training, the focus of the other students shifted away from beating me as they started closing the “gap”. I had some practice and training with throwing knives and pistols but I wasn’t nearly as good as many of these people who had been using them constantly for years. I did pick up some pointers regarding the use of rifles though. Virstris was taking the opportunity to shine during this portion of the training as she displayed considerable prowess with a wide variety of weapons.

I spent much of the time cautiously scanning the area with the Force to see what I could find out about the world and its people. Ben was easy to pick out when he wasn’t using Codex powers. I counted a total of 140 students here at this training facility. The number of instructors was harder to estimate, but I figured it was somewhere between three and six. There were a number of monotalents running around the place, of course given a decent sized population, that was practically inevitable. I also detected an intermittent Force presence in orbit. As best as I could tell it was coming from one of the port stations in orbit. Considering how frequently the presence kept dropping out, I suspected it was a Hybrid. I wasn’t going to be probing at that any closer than just passively right now. I knew whoever he was, he wasn’t one of our group so that left the RDF or the JLA. There was no way to tell which it might be though.

Curiously, I also detected another Force presence that was intermittent in the training facility. It felt untrained though, and the strength fluctuated significantly. It took some time to narrow down that it was coming from one of the other classmates. Finally I pinpointed it to a young man of about age 17 named Darius. He was also in the same class Virstris and I were in. I was surprised I had taken me this long to notice. He was taller than me by a good margin and had blonde hair. He didn’t seem to interact much with any of the other students though. Something about that face looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place where. Finally I found him sitting in a quiet corner of the cafeteria during one of the meals. I casually grabbed a tray of food and sat down across from him. He didn’t seem to be especially happy with my presence.

(Darius) What do you want?

(Kira) Looked like you were being awfully quiet over here by yourself so I thought I would be social.

(Darius) Getting bored now that the other classmates aren’t jumping you so often?

(Kira) Hardly, I like the quiet of it all. So where you from?

(Darius) Does it really matter?

(Kira) I like to think so. It’s hard to keep sight of where you are going if you don’t pay attention to where you’ve been.

(Darius) I am from a Mid-Rim world called Maples that was brutally attacked by the Sith a little over five years ago. I lost my entire family and home in that attack. The Jedi did nothing to stop the attack.

There was something about those eyes that reminded me of someone. It took me a moment to recognize where and why.

(Kira) What’s your last name?

(Darius) Kilnes, why?

(Kira) Did you have a family member named Gab? About so tall, thin build, blonde hair, and green eyes?

I saw a flash of surprise and anger on the kid’s face that he quickly suppressed.

(Darius) Yeah, she was my older sister. Her full name was Gabrielle Kilnes, but she preferred to be called Gab. We called her Gabby to annoy her. According to the reports, she was captured and raped by the Sith soldiers before being killed when they were done with her. When did you get a chance to meet her?

(Kira) This may come as a bit of a shock, but I believe it was five months after the Battle for Maples.

(Darius) What?! How is that possible?!

(Kira) My understanding is that she was taken as a slave by the Sith in the aftermath of the battle.

(Darius) Is she alright?!

(Kira) Last I saw her, she was fine. When I met her things were looking grim, but she did me a major favor despite her situation and in return I was able to arrange for more caring owners to take her in.

Indeed, to hear Virstris speak of it, Gab was shaping up into a good personal assistant for Valerie. I knew the number of times Valerie felt frustrated that Gab wasn’t around were quite numerous.

(Darius) So she’s a slave then? Do you know where?

(Kira) Yeah. Stick with me and I will see what I can do to arrange a family reunion. I think Gab would be excited to find out you’re still alive.

I could sense the anger in him as he sunk into his own thoughts.

(Darius) The Sith will pay for what they did to her and my family.

(Kira) Darius, let it go. Nothing good will come of obsessing over your anger like that.

(Darius) Oh you’re one to talk. You spend your time flirting with women and being a nuisance to instructors. What would you know of what I went through? I lost my family, my friends, and my home in this damned Sith war. The Jedi who are supposed to protect us did nothing of the sort. I’ve been living on the streets for years now working odd jobs to get by. Finally I get recruited by a group that might enable me to do something about and you presume to lecture me?

(Kira) My homeworld was attacked by the Sith much like yours was. I was captured by the Sith in that battle as I barely managed to escape the destruction of the ship I was on. I was subsequently taken back to their territory, forced to kill people I considered friends, was beaten within an inch of my life, and had to endure a lot of hardship before I finally managed to escape. Ever since then I have had to deal with the people constantly chasing me and the disappearance of my family. So I can understand where you are coming from.

(Darius) So you must hate the Sith as well then?

(Kira) It’s never that simple. The Galaxy is not nearly as black and white as people would like you to believe it is. The Sith aren’t nearly as universally evil as these people would like you to believe, and the Jedi simply can’t be everywhere. That isn’t to say that there aren’t monsters out there, but they are significantly rarer than the holos would lead you to believe. As I said, obsessing over your anger, suffering, and sadness while trying to make the Galaxy fit your view of how things work is only going to create more anger, suffering, and sadness. I really doubt your sister wants you to follow that course. I think she’d rather see you be happy.

Oh good grief. I was sounding like a Jedi elder. Giving calm, wise, and experienced advice that always sounded like vague philosophical nonsense to the angry, frightened, or hurt youngsters who needed that advice – which you knew perfectly well, and gave it to them anyway because sometimes it helped and because there was nothing else to say.

That seemed to knock him out of his dark mood and got him doing some sort of internal assessment. I left him alone for the time being while I finished my meal. Virstris came over to sit at our table as well once I finished my food. I introduced her as “Maggie Truff”. Her eyes lit up as she heard Darius’s last name and she caught my nod of assent. She kept her recognition quiet though as was contented to wait until I could explain in private. After training for the day finished, she met me in one of the commons areas where the noise of everyone else would make attempts at eavesdropping impossible.

(Virstris) So what’s the relation?

(Kira) Younger brother. He didn’t know she was still alive.

(Virstris) So you told him?

(Kira) Not everything. Not the bits that would be incredibly difficult to explain right now.

(Virstris) Must be a relief to learn that a family member is still alive that you thought dead.

(Kira) Yeah, he has some anger management issues and is dangerously close to extremism himself.

(Virstris) Spending time with others and having fun couldn’t hurt then. I may have to try to include him in some of the activities then.

Virstris had been busily utilizing her talents with leadership and command to try and build comraderie with some of the other classmates who seemed more reasonable than the extremists. She was taking my advice about forging bonds and spending time being close to people quite enthusiastically as she would almost daily be running some sort of a get-together with the other classmen. Much to the consternation of the instructors. Apparently not cooperating to be suicidal and heartless assassins was seen as a obstinate disciplinary issue.

(Kira) Not a bad idea. He needs to spend time outside that dark world in his head.

(Virstris) Might also be a good idea to spend time practicing with him. He is struggling with a number of the lessons. He doesn’t quite have the raw talent some of the other classmates have.

(Kira) Actually, if I had to bet, I would say his problem is an over abundance of talent as opposed to a lack of it.

(Virstris) If you say so.

(Kira) Just keep an eye on him. I’ll explain in more detail when I get a chance.

And so it continued for the next few weeks. Virstris had gone into big sister mode around Darius and was trying to involve him in all the little activities she had set up. Darius grudgingly went along with it at first, but seemed to open up a bit as time went on. I tried to spend time with him too as I worked to subtly teach him the Codifier philosophy and just spent time talking to him. Whether or not we were making much progress against that resentment of his was hard to tell, but at least he was opening up more and talking to us. I took that as a good sign.

Alys, meanwhile, had attempted to go for being a quiet, typical, student – but had more-or-less wound up as the informal class leader-and-president thanks to her ability to quickly and easily organize pretty much anything. Parties, student gatherings, classroom events… It really didn’t matter; if Alys was even remotely involved, it went smoothly. Even the instructors were starting to notice.

Ben, meanwhile, was explaining his position as a (presumptive) non-force-sensitive clone of himself – and wasn’t enjoying it. On giving it some consideration it had become pretty obvious that his clone-siblings would consider him a right bastard.

“Ben Therus? Of COURSE I know Ben Therus! That damned force-using bastard made the Sith put us all though years of testing – sometimes near-fatal testing – for force powers that none of us had, then ran off and escaped using those force powers without taking ANY of us along, and then never came back to help! We were FAMILY, and he abandoned us all to go chasing horrible weird force powers that made him go insane and start designing superweapons. Like THAT was a reputation that any of the rest of use needed! Of COURSE I changed my name when I escaped! Like I needed everyone I met thinking I was Ben Therus the Artificier!”

Ben managed a presentation so good that he convinced himself as well… He really was pretty horrible. He hadn’t bothered with rescuing his siblings – even when he’d been offered the chance. He’d have to go as soon as he possible could! And it was too bad that he couldn’t go right away!

Vi was finding that his ability to pretend to have certain force powers was less useful than he’d hoped; The JLA had a few hybrids available for undercover liaisons with the Jedi, and a few more very skilled hybrids who handled very high-risk missions. For the most part, however, the people of the galaxy took almost an odd ability as a force power – making “pretending to be a Jedi” a relatively simple job. They valued his technical and organizations skills a lot more – and he wound up on the Fleet Command track. Even a bit of probability analysis could keep an awful lot of men alive there…

It seemed that most of the thirty-odd sector commanders were at least monotalents. It was one of the major factors that allowed the Republic to handle force-guided Sith attacks.

Unfortunately, that didn’t include all that much information about smugglers and Hutt contacts. That sort of thing was mostly the domain of field agents – although the rule-of-thumb seemed to be “If the Hutts aren’t involved, there’s probably nothing going on. They usually aren’t criminals locally; they just sell to them”.

Lazlo went with the Field Agent program. Command just hadn’t interested him much, Jedi Liaison (charged with keeping them practical and working) had seemed dull, Intelligence might have been interesting, but it seemed to involve too much staying under cover, and assignment to the Senate – as special-purpose bodyguard and lobbyist – was a very limited-opportunity job (there only seemed to be six people assigned there right now). On the other hand, hunting down Sith and other disasters-in-the-making suited him perfectly.

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One Response

  1. […] Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav: Session Seventy One A […]

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