Again I found myself looking at a map of the Galaxy and found myself getting frustrated. For a bunch of fanatical nutjobs taking hostages, the RDF weren’t behaving in a very sensible fashion. The value in having hostages was in using them to make demands with the threat of violence if those demands are not met. Typically one would make the demands known quite early on in the process and then do everything possible to hide the hostages from then on. Except, we have yet to hear of any hostage demands whatsoever. About the only thing that made much of any sense was that they were holding the hostages for some critical juncture.
That still didn’t tell me where to start looking though. Given this group, much of the Galaxy was an effective hiding place since the Censor was actively shielding them from detection. For all I knew, there might be several billion of them hiding in a massive Infinite Empire base underneath the surface of Alderaan. I thought that unlikely, but the fact that it was even a remote possibility was illustration of the fact of how little we had to go on. On the plus side of things, we didn’t lack for targets if we were intent on just assaulting the RDF. Indeed, such a war would probably take years even with overwhelming force just given the fact that what little information we had suggested there were bases scattered all over the friggin Galaxy.
Which brought up another point: where the hell is the RDF getting the money to build and maintain all of this? As massive as the Republic’s budget was, this kind of operation would be consuming a significant fraction of the budget. Even with the Censor, that sort of thing would be difficult to overlook during wartime. There had to be outside income independent of the Senate’s funding, but what that might be was difficult to see. Nor did I have any real good ideas of where to start looking.
The lack of leads on most anything involving the RDF was vexing on a lot of levels. For an organization that hid in plain sight relying purely on the Censor to conceal themselves, they left few if any real traces to follow. About the only options I could see was to meet with the relevant Senate Sub-committee and see if they had any clues, start making ourselves a nuisance by knocking over RDF facilities, start making our own Starbreakers while destroying RDF Starbreakers, get caught, go after RDF superiors, track their funding, or go to Alderaan and spring the trap that was surely waiting for me there.
None of those ideas were particularly appealing on any level. I had a sneaking suspicion that most of the Senate was clueless while any that weren’t were liable to be RDF supporters. Making ourselves a nuisance would surely attract the RDF’s attention, but we risked starting a civil war or a Force user purge if we provoked them too much. Getting caught was likely to result in my death and accomplishing little else, since it was all too likely that these guys would be ready for any attempts to fake unconsciousness or death. We had no real leads on where to even look for their funding besides the Senate. Going after RDF officers higher and higher up the chain of command also had problems with escalation of violence too. I really didn’t want to get caught in what was likely to become a serious firefight in my hometown should I go there and simply leaving the Galaxy never to return had dire implications to what would be done with the then useless hostages.
That said nothing of the other objectives we kept accumulating: helping the military against the Yeveetha, talk to the Furipedes about the Yeveetha, reforming the Sith and Faded we had caught, seeking out and recovering what we could from other Infinite Empire bases, taking care of Jacob and Jarik, whatever other plans the others had in mind. I know Ben wanted to experiment with crystals among other esoteric things.
Ben was still wanting to experiment with that Stygium Crystal he’d obtained – but he could do that along the way to most missions. They could try the lightspeed-delay trick to get a better look at the republic naval base, or make some antimatter crystals. There had to be SOME sort of defense against Starbreaker Beams besides trying to “parry” with another one! If that would even work!
Could he bleed the field off through a hyperportal?
The proposal to come up with a ridiculously elaborate and complicated plot to overthrow the Republic, announce it and see who came to thwart it got laughed down.
The others weren’t real sure on how to proceed either. Alys agreed that we had too many places to look and not enough leads to narrow things down any – although she thought that trying to trace the money might be a good bet after meeting with the subcommittees. Finally after debating in circles for a time, we decided to drop the matter in favor of something we could affect: the Yeveetha war. The basic proposal there was to take the Ratsoogomoz and send it into Yeveetha space to a black hole, or take one with it. Once it got into the appropriate position, it would then use the black hole to project an interdiction field across Yeveetha space. That would bring the Yeveetha’s ability to supply their war effort to a crawl and leave their forces not in the interdiction field to be overwhelmed by locally superior Republic military forces. As the Republic pushed the Yeveetha back into their interior, the interdiction field could then be directed to contract enough to bring the edges into the reach of the Republic navy.
Trouble got to be finding a black hole near where we wanted it and knowing what section of the Galaxy to interdict. Unfortunately, our knowledge of that section of the Galaxy was sadly lacking. I was about to propose building automated subspace probes to scout out the area, when Lazlo announced he had a Yeveetha navigational computer. When I asked where he had gotten one of those, he announced that it was during a mission he had been on for the JLA. We were quickly able to confirm that he had a genuine Yeveetha navigational computer. We also found that the computer was heavily tamper resistent against people wanting to pry inside it for information. We debated for a short period of time how to crack it, but finally settled on letting the Republic military handle it since they had much better resources and experience with this sort of thing.
The military (as separate from the JLA) was pleased to learn we had a Yeveetha navigational computer and that we were willing to give it to them. They weren’t quite as happy with the proposal to interdict Yeveetha space using the Ratsoogomoz, but had to acknowledge that there were few pragmatic alternatives to the idea. Our pronouncement that we were going ahead with the plan regardless of their approval was even less well received, although they took our offer to send representatives along with the Ratsoogomoz.
Soon enough the Republic was able to crack the Yeveetha protections on the navigational computer and give us a copy of the data stored in it. That in itself was revealing on a number of levels. I was expecting a spider web of criss-crossing hyperspace routes with settlements strung along the filaments like pearls on a necklace. Instead, the Yeveetha territory was more ovoid in shape with most every visible system inside the volume settled whether there was a practical way to get there or not. It actually looked like the Yeveetha were willing to sacrifice large quantities of resources and manpower to go after those tantalizing star clusters regardless of the losses that might be incurred. Looking at the map and thinking back to the war effort, part of me was really being to wonder if the Yeveetha really were sapient in the classical sense of the word. I mean seriously, rangkors do not routinely drown themselves trying to swim to remote islands they can see on the horizon just because it looks tasty over there. Even that damned Force predator I fought gave up eventually once I proved to be too big of a nuisance to bother with any further.
Droid armies aren’t this stubbornly stupid.
It was also becoming increasingly obvious that the concept of fear just simply did not exist in the Yeveetha mindset. Maybe that was a side effect of the fact that the entire species was largely made of clones. Even Kreedath could be made to stop and consider the potential pain and suffering that excessive violence is likely to bring forth. In many ways it is like the Yeveetha have more in common with fungus than with anything more complicated. Would the threat of extinction even mean anything to them? Probably not since the last attempt to exterminate them seems to have done nothing to alter their outlook on the rest of the Galaxy.
At least it seemed that there was a black hole near the center of Yeveetha space that would suit our purpose nicely. Getting to it was going to be a pain though. Well, the Republic was sending ships and we could probably do the same on our end. The military wasn’t going to be happy about Rakata crews, but we could probably get away with calling them Kreedath for some time.
Soon enough the expedition was assembled and ready to depart into Yeveetha space. I tried to think of something else we could do to improve the odds of success, but without dedicated the bulk of the fleet to the job, there wasn’t a lot we could do. Besides the fleet would of better use outside the interdiction field where it can engage the Yeveetha that will still be loose and tackling the RDF should that issue escalate. With nothing more we could do, I waved goodbye to the task force as it departed into Yeveetha space.
I turned my attention to training Virstris and Darius while the others debated our next move. Darius I trained in the use of the Force and Codex, Virstris I trained in using the Codex, and Virstris returned the favor by teaching me the combat lessons she had taught her sister. Valerie was continuing her lessons with Ilia while I had stopped attending those. It just didn’t seem like I was getting anything more out of that training except pointers on specific techniques, which I can get anytime as opposed to some daily training regimen. Ilia’s lamenting my lack of further development I ignored as one of her snide barbs. At least the time with Darius and Virstris was productive.
One of my training sessions where Virstris was teaching me various grapple counters was interrupted when Valerie arrived. She gestured to Virstris to give us some privacy as she pulled out a datapad.
(Valerie) Kira, we need to talk.
(Valerie) The sorry state of your financials.
(Kira) I don’t recall having issues with having sufficient lunch money.
(Valerie) And that is the problem! About all I can dig up that you’ve been investing in is that Trust Fund for your friends and family.
(Kira) And how did you learn about that?
(Valerie) Your password was easy enough for me to figure out.
(Kira) Wait, you broke into my accounts?!
(Valerie) Don’t even think of trying to make this a privacy issue!
(Kira) You could have asked.
(Valerie) You were on Tatooine at the time. And I am glad I did take a look because your financials are a mess. What money isn’t going into that trust fund is sitting in a bank account doing nothing. Not to mention that ridiculously huge amount of cash you spent buying down that bounty on your head.
(Kira) Hey that was just directing the Mrs Beasley to build some items for sale. I’ve got plenty of queue space left in my authority.
(Valerie) And you may not have the Mrs Beasley forever. You need to maximize that potential for wealth generation to the fullest as long as you can. Use it to build more stuff to sell, upgrade all of your equipment, make non-perishable luxuries, and stash away reserves of supplies everywhere you go. Then take the money you make from that and the cartoon franchise to invest elsewhere.
(Valerie) Yes! Real estate, corporate shares, commodity futures, artwork, training, servants, and a professional team of experts to help manage things for you.
(Kira) I never really had much skill for that sort of thing.
(Valerie) You are a Hybrid with precognition and probability assessment! You can readily outperform most trained professionals in such matters with a little practice!
It dawned on me that she had a point. Then I realized what I had been sitting on top of for months and even years now and never really exploited in any fashion. Jarik had illustrated the dangers of using the Force for personal gain, but then again he was using it to help him run enforced death races. About the only danger I could see in using my talents to help pick stock and real estate investments was the potential for obsessing about it too much and becoming like some of the Corporate Sith types. Then a thought occurred to me.
(Kira) And how are you doing this? A Varen Sith can’t readily invest in markets across a large portion of the Galaxy. The Corporate types have enough issues.
(Valerie) I have an ID holding the vast majority of my non-Varen accounts and properties. I keep that ID very thoroughly protected because of that. And since Smoche granted me production queue time, I’ve been busily working the books among other things.
(Kira) Alright, I take it you already have some ideas in mind?
With that came out the datapad again as we sat down and started going through the list. First off we reviewed all the holdings in my name, which was more considerable than I had realized. Next was her evaluation of the best uses for my production queue time aboard the Mrs Beasley when I wasn’t using it for anything immediate. Then Valerie started listing a number of various investments she recommended I get involved in as she walked me through the techniques relating to evaluating prospects. Finally she loaded a high quality droid business program onto the datapad and walked me through how to use it to help me manage my holdings. By this point the Bond was resonating strongly between us. I started pretending to be dense while she was play mocking my ability. The mutual teasing was starting to escalate further when my commlinked chirped.
(Kira) Go ahead.
(Alys) We’ve reached a decision about our next move. We’re going to Alderaan and need you to spring whatever trap is laying in wait.
On a number of levels I really didn’t think this was wise.
(Kira) Just great. Any idea what we anticipate to be laying in wait?
(Alys) Nope, just that it’s obvious the RDF would have something set up for when you showed up.
If it turned out to be a Starbreaker, I was going to be very cross.
(Kira) Alright, when do we leave?
(Alys) Everyone’s getting equipment and supplies ready. I suspect a few days. We should hear from the Ratsoogomoz by then too.
With that I turned off the commlink. I wasn’t in a mood to continue the teasing anymore and Valerie picked up on that.
(Valerie) You’re worried.
(Kira) I am not keen to be getting into what is likely to be a massive firefight in the middle of my hometown. Once was quite enough.
(Valerie) My intention was not to cause a firefight. That was Gregory letting the bounty hunters getting out of hand. You were supposed to trace your friend back to me and get caught.
(Kira) Have you ever known me to do what others expect of me?
(Valerie) No, and you have an impressive knack for turning the tables on seemingly impossible situations. That’s why I am not worried about you going to Alderaan.
(Kira) You aren’t coming I take it?
(Valerie) No, I have some business I need to take care of. That alter ego of mine needs to make an appearance for a little transaction.
We got confirmation some time later that the Ratsoogomoz and it’s escort fleet had arrived in the target area and had begun the interdiction effort. The Ratsoogomoz and the associated fleet had taken modest damage in the push to reach the black hole. Although given the Ratsoogomoz’s ability to manufacture parts and such, that damage could probably be repaired in time. And it was looking like they would have plenty of time since all indications were that it would be months before the Yeveetha were able to respond effectively. Plus there was the fact that the Ratsoogomoz could use the black hole as a means of defense against attackers.
That pretty much got the Yeveetha threat contained for the time being. It definitely was looking like everyone in the Galaxy that has had any contact with the Yeveetha was now sending ships to assist with the war effort and preventing the Yeveetha from establishing a foothold in the rest of the Galaxy. As a side effect of this though we saw that the camp advocating containment and reformation of the Yeveetha was now getting increased traction in the public forum. Whether this was a good or bad thing was difficult to decide. The Yeveetha were clearly completely hostile towards everything else, and I questioned whether or not the things were even really sapient. But advocating the extermination of an entire species wasn’t something the Galaxy needed to be regularly engaging in.
Still, I didn’t have any easy answers for this and I suspect there probably aren’t any.
Ban Hughes in the meantime returned all my stuff he had been busily cleaning and repairing since my visit to Tatooine. He made grumbling noises about how I took care of my stuff, but then he produced a baton about the size of a lightsaber hilt and handed it to me.
(Ban) That is the item you requested. Collapsible hilt extends out to a little over two meters with reinforced handle able to take impacts you would expect most people to generate. Against some of the forces you are able to generate I am not so confident. Now, the round knob at the end is the subspace field emitter and it is a bit fragile comparitively. I have also embedded a power cell in the hilt, but don’t expect it to hold out as long as that fusion pack.
(Kira) I don’t expect it to. This is more a niche utility item as opposed to a primary weapon.
(Ban) Right, now, I have incorporated the droid program on the datapad that Lady Soung gave you into the PDA computer on your bracer and belt. I’ve also included droid modules for piloting and shield operation onto the bike. How well those programs will operate if you try anything fancy with your powers is an open question.
(Kira) Anything else?
(Ban) Been looking at that reactive shield suit Ben and Vi brought back. Looks promising, especially given our resources, but attempts to integrate the stuff with your equipment is resulting in a number of mutual interference issues. The system isn’t integrating well and I am not sure how long that will take to fix.
(Kira) Fair enough, I had concerns about using that technology while phasing anyway. Keep me posted and thanks.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71c from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 72b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 73b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 66b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 66a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 67a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 64 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 67b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 68b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 68a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)