Sith Sorcery and the Multiverse – Eclipse d20 and d6

Since the characters in the Anomaly game currently have enough sources of information to get a good idea of how “Sith Sorcery” works, and one of their opponents is using it, here’s a summary of the current state of their research. I’m not guaranteeing that it is 100% correct, but they do have enough information to be sure that it’s pretty close even if a few details have been left out. Technically this only applies to the Anomaly campaign and our d6 Star Wars games, but parts of it may be useful elsewhere. 

Some universes have no variants at all. Some have a few. A very few have a great many – but that number is always very, VERY, small compared to the number of possible variants. Some people call that “probability summation”, but the actual exclusionary principle is much more general than that.

Everything organized above a certain level – dependent on perceptual feedback from the local sophonts – is at least a little different in two different universes. Personalities. Appearance. Composition. Cultures. Natural Laws. Whatever. There are no two universes where everything is the same except for some tiny difference. There are no two universes where ANYTHING is quite the same, although it can be pretty close. Did you “split the timeline”? Your original universe continues, and the “new one” will prove to be simply a shift into another locally-similar existing universe.

Perhaps Timeline One Earth will soon be confronting the dread million-year-old Bladoon Empire and their psychic dinosaur steeds, while Timeline Two Earth will be dealing with an influx of Space Gypsies because the Bladoon never existed to wipe them out. You may be able to find some “Nazi Worlds” – but there will be differences in their histories all the way back to the beginning, the people will always be notably different, and if you liberate one of them… it actually means something. There may be a number of other Nazi Worlds out there, but the number is finite and relatively small on the cosmic scale. That’s probably a good thing. Most people don’t LIKE Nazi Worlds.

Honestly, the “Quantum Fan” model turns into a mathematical disaster as soon as dimensional travel comes into play.

Lets say you transfer a rock from one Tier 2 Universe to Another. The universe that lost the rock now has fewer particles. Its rate of branching drops by many orders of magnitude, and its branch of the quantum fan and all subsequent branches become less important to overall reality by many orders of magnitude every second. The universe that receives the rock experiences the opposite effect; it’s now branching many orders of magnitude faster than the rest of the fan. It’s reality is rapidly heading towards dominance.

Don’t even THINK about time travel. It makes that sort of problem retroactive.

If you want dimensional and/or time travel, you really need to discard the Tier-2 Multiverse Quantum Fan model – and for games, that’s a good thing. It means that the characters actions can actually make a difference in the wider universe and that they can actually be somewhat individual. They may still be able to meet an alternate versions of themselves, but they won’t be just a part of a nigh-infinite set of indistinguishable duplicates with every successful intervention just splitting off a world where they didn’t succeed.

As it happens, the Star Wars Universe Cluster is one of those with a great many variants. That’s due to a local definition of “hyperspace” that adds several additional degrees of divergent freedom to the cluster. These universes are non-relativistic, maintain an absolute “now” even in the face of locally varying time rates, do not permit true time travel, and offer a localized system of “Force” and “Anti-force” powers that interact with those extra hyperspace axes. That has its advantages – the Force and Anti force have as many effects and uses as (say) electromagnetism does – but there are disadvantages too.

In particular, it cripples most forms of True Magic.

While there are many local technologies that offer weird powers in particular universes and clusters thereof, True Magic relies on the same perceptual feedback effect that helps define universes through the exclusionary principle – allowing its practitioners to interact with other universes and the substrate that separates and defines them (whether that substrate is known as “subspace”, “the informational level”, or whatever). In crude terms… a practitioner of “true magic” draws on a world where what they want to happen makes sense and manifests a bit of that universes structure on their local universe. Or perhaps they perceive, and then manifest, a tiny pocket reality that’s more accommodating. Or they just distort the laws of nature locally. All or none of those options may be correct, depending on how you look at it.

There are an awful lot of techniques to make that (whatever “that” is) happen. You can draw on the substrate directly or you can take various shortcuts – such as attunement to specific worlds, asking powerful entities to help out in exchange for spreading their influence and promoting their goals, drawing energy slowly and binding it into prepared effects, drawing on natural “subspace channels” that provide links to particular universes, and so on – to make it easier). Sadly, as a rule… you get what you pay for. Each technique has its advantages and limitations, more general techniques are more work to master, and the range of effects that any one technique can produce tends to be limited. In universes where there are complicating factors, access to True Magic may be very limited indeed.

Basic Sorcery is very limited in the Star Wars universe cluster because the substrate is supporting a large number of timelines separated by local rules – and thus in very close proximity from the viewpoint of the substrate. When power is drawn from or through the substrate the vast, vast, majority of it gets uselessly lost into “nearby” timelines. Unless you find a way to compensate… learning or using True Magic in the Star Wars Universes is extremely difficult, time-consuming, and grossly overshadowed by Force and Anti-Force powers. You can do it – but gathering up enough power to fuel any notable effect will take a great deal of time even if you know how to collect and store it. Those few small oddities that do occur are generally simply taken as minor force, anti-force, or force/anti-force “monotalent” effects. It’s not like the difference is readily discernible to anyone except the user (and possibly not even to them unless they’re exceptionally well-informed about the local physics).

About the only upside is that the Galactic Censor – the self-protective part of the Star Wars Galactic Mind that inhibits cheap super weapons and other major threats to life – doesn’t pay much attention to people dabbling in True Magic. It’s not very threatening on a planetary scale and it doesn’t really interact with the Force anyway.

  • D20: There isn’t enough power available for spontaneous casting. Prepared casting is possible, but it takes a full day to prepare a set of one-use Cantrips, a week to prepare your spells of levels 1-3, a month to prepare your spells of level four to six, a year for levels seven to nine, decades for levels 10-12, and so on – and trying to shortcut that time with things like Rite of C’hi simply does not work. Similarly, items that store magic will work until they run out of magic – but constant-use and rechargeable items will soon deplete their reserves and then take a very long time to charge up again before they can be reactivated.
  • D6: Whatever you name your magical field, you can build up to seven (arbitrary, but a traditional magic number) prepared effects, How powerful they are depends strictly on how long you spend building them – although, for comparison purposes, their “level” cannot exceed the number of dice you have in your magical skill.

There is one natural way to compensate: just as their are natural hyperspace routes, which tend to speed travel and funnel traffic through themselves, there are natural subspace routes or nexi (Since most of the “route” is outside the local universe) – areas which are better connected to some other universe. Those lose less energy to alternate timelines that aren’t a part of the nexus and make it easier to draw on more power to compensate for what is lost. Thus, if a world happens to be linked with a nexus, minor tricks drawing on whatever effects are most natural to the linked universe are actually practical – often giving such worlds a reputation for being haunted, or odd occurrences, or for being home to species with exotic powers.

  • D6/D20. L0 (minor nexi) or L0 and L1 (major nexi) effects can be produced spontaneously. Minor nexi reduce the time required to prepare greater effects by one level (A week becomes a day). Major nexi reduce the time required to prepare greater effects by two levels (a day becomes an hour). In both cases, however, only effects suitable to the energies provided by the nexus are affected.

A skillful user of True Magic can tap into such nexi to produce reasonably impressive effects with little delay, and can even store some of them for later use elsewhere – but will still be limited to the effects that a particular nexus makes available. It doesn’t matter if you know how to produce a thousand different effects if the local power sources will only support ten of them. Of course, location-specific skills that are immensely difficult to develop aren’t well-supported in the Star Wars Galactic Mind – making it extremely difficult for any resident of the Star Wars galaxy to develop them. After all, who wants to waste time on “(Planet) Magic” that only works in one place when they can learn “piloting” and use any starship in the galaxy? Thus native skill-based True Magic Users are virtually unheard of in the Star Wars Universe.

Monotalent Sorcery uses the Force and Codex to cause many of the local timelines to overlap, so that energy can be drawn across the substrate without impossible losses – while simultaneously anchoring the user so that he or she can pull harder without yanking himself or herself out of the Star Wars universe. A monotalent can pull off any minor tricks they know how to use anywhere. If they happen to be at a nexus, however, they can pull off or store reasonably impressive stunts appropriate to the nexus considerably more quickly than normal.

  • D6/D20: L0-L1 effects can be employed spontaneously anywhere. Minor nexi allow the spontaneous use of effects of up to L2, major nexi allow the spontaneous use of effects of up to L3. Preparation time for effects beyond that are reduced by an additional level, albeit to a minimum or one hour. In D6 this is a normal monotalent. In d20 this is usually purchased as a specialized form of Mystic Artist / The Path Of Whispers / through Worldgate

While many sorcery monotalents never really put their ability to use, and those who do often never bother to learn anything beyond a few basic tricks, those few who do make a determined effort to try to exploit their power often wind up being labeled as Sith or working with the Sith. After all, how many Jedi are really focused on enacting strange rituals on distant, haunted, worlds in hopes of acquiring bizarre and unnatural powers that violate the very laws of nature?

Hybrid Sorcery: A hybrid Force-Anti-force user can theoretically learn to duplicate the relevant Monotalent – but a full hybrid has many more power options than they can explore in a lifetime open to them, many of them far more obviously rewarding than trying to force a localized timeline convergence. Even worse, force-based precognition has a very hard time showing things being imported from other universes where the Force doesn’t reach – so anyone trying to let the force guide them will see this particular avenue of development as a complete waste of time. Similarly, using the anti-force to peep into other timelines in search of guidance will generally reveal nothing. After all, getting anything useful out of the project will, at least initially, rely on nexi that don’t extend into all that many timelines – and so this method will also tend to show “no results”.

A sufficiently skilled wielder of True Magic can learn to set up remote links into nexi or even into other universes, becoming a master of unnatural, alien, powers and a likely figure of myth and legend – but without advanced training from a genuine master of True Magic, the chances of anyone getting THAT far are so close to zero that it probably only happens once or twice in the history of a hundred galaxies.

  • D6: This is another specialized skill for each nexus. Fortunately, you only two dice to tap a minor nexus and three to tap a major one.
  • D20: You want Mystic Link with Power Link. Sadly, the monotalent “generating an overlay” effect really doesn’t work with remote links unless you can project it over them to the nexus you want to affect.

The most common form of Sith Sorcery on the Anomaly in Eclipse d20 is Rune Magic, drawing on a particular Nexus – most commonly Specialized for Increased Effect (Double effective rating of the user’s Mastery and Casting skills) and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Spells can be prepared in advance and held. although the total number of spell levels that can be so prepared is equal to the user’s effective Casting skill level). This is usually coupled with the ability to draw Mana only at power nexi. This allows a Sith Sorcerer to have a limited selection of fairly powerful preset effects ready – but he or she must return to an appropriate nexus and spend a good deal of time there to renew them, making Sith Sorcery a very limited resource.

Unfortunately, given that we’re using point-buy systems for both d20 and d6, every Sith Sorcerer is going to be somewhat different – but hopefully that’s enough detail on the general theory to allow for some sensible builds and guesses about the current Sith Sorcerer running about.

Star Wars Campaign Index

English: Flag of the Galactic Republic (Star W...

And Now For Something Completely Different…

I eventually ran short of time to keep the various indexes and logs updated – including the Star Wars campaign – but Spellweaver81 very kindly did so. After a hundred and four sessions (counting the prequel campaign) the various characters finally achieved various goals – although material is gradually accumulating for the next campaign. With Spellweaver81’s kind permission, here we have his Compiled Campaign Index:

Campaign Background:


Campaign Logs:

Backgrounds and Character Missives:

Kira The Kat Show:

Ships, Droids, Weapons, and Cloaking Devices

Non-Jedi Force Users

False ID’s:

  • Leah Burgess: Up and coming industrialist and a false ID for Valerie Soung
  • Lin Vardul: Smuggler/Trader ID for Alys Nere
  • Verun Navaro: Apprentice Sith to Valerie Soung and false ID for Kira Keldav

Star Wars – Twilight Seekers Campaign Index

Spellweaver 81 – Kira Keldav’s player – has been compiling an index of the material for the Twilight Seekers Star Wars Game. Given that time problems have left my indexing well behind, he’s kindly allowed me to repost that index here…

Campaign Background:

  • Scale of the Galaxy: Or why anyone can find anything despite it being a Galactic Civilization
  • Technical Explanations I: Monopolium, Power Sources, Dark Energy Manipulation – including Repulsorlifts, Sublight Drives, Lightsabers, Hypermatter Reactors, Artificial Gravity, Tractor Beams, Gravity Well Projectors, Thermal Detonators, Shields, Blasters, and Creating Lightsaber Crystals
  • Technical Explanations II: Mental Manipulations, Interrogations, The Force and Biochemical Adaption, Species Interbreeding, Alien Powers, Transplant Surgery, Unexplained Deaths, Technological Limitations and Enhancements, and Bacta
  • Technical Explanations III: The Galactic Republic, Major Projects, Currency, the Interstellar Trionist Conspiracy, and Extragalactic Exploration
  • Force Power Packages: How to build Force Users and Force Sensitives
  • Secrets of the Sith: Biowarfare and a description of an ancient Sith Bioweapons Lab
  • Basics of the Codex: The AntiForce and how it works
  • Twilight Seekers Setting Conversion: Notes on how to convert various popular science-fiction settings over to the Twilight Seekers campaign by altering what the Force Censor allows and forbids
  • Characters:

    Campaign Logs:

    • Prequel Campaign
  • Main Campaign: Discovering the Codex Arc
  • Main Campaign: Alternate Rescues and War with Zandaras Arc
  • Main Campaign: Rescue the Codifiers Arc
  • Main Campaign: Discovery of the JLA and RDF Arc
  • Main Campaign: Rise of SHIELD and Fall of the RDF Arc
  • Prequel Series: Valerie Soung and the Trayus Academy
  • Side Campaign: The Destroyed Galaxy
  • Backgrounds and Character Missives:

    Kira The Kat Show:

    Ships, Droids, Weapons, and Cloaking Devices

    Non-Jedi Force Users

    False ID’s:

    • Leah Burgess: Up and coming industrialist and a false ID for Valerie Soung
    • Lin Vardul: Smuggler/Trader ID for Alys Nere
    • Verun Navaro: Apprentice Sith to Valerie Soung and false ID for Kira Keldav

    More Indexing – Spellweaver81

    USPS Mailbox for Star Wars Stamp Promotion

    They're Heeerrreeee...

    Here we have some more catching up on the cross-indexing; Spellweaver plays in the Star Wars game – usually as Kira Keldav. He turns out the Kira-focused versions of the logs, which I then go through to insert what all the other characters were up to.

    Unfortunately, for the last couple of months I haven’t had time to do much of any of that – so here are some direct links to his material.

    Pseudoscience Demolitions: Spellweaver has somewhat more patience left with this than I do, and doesn’t expect people to make most of the deductions for themselves – which means his articles on the topic tend to go into more detail than my general observations.

    • Remote Viewing: The US Governments Clairvoyance Project. I tend to just note that this promised marvelous results at very low costs – and yet it was dropped, declassified, and not picked up by the rest of the world. Ergo, it was a false promise and failed to work. The End. Spellweaver covers it a lot more throughly…
    • Masaru Emotos Water Crystals: The claim that water picks up “emotional energies” from people’s thoughts. Basically yet another claim that the “power” of “positive thinking” has non-psychological benefits. So why don’t the powerful and wealthy get panels of positive thinkers to provide them with all these benefits? Could it be that one of the qualifications for wealth and power is the ability to recognize when something does not work?
    • Masuru Emotos “Experiments” – taking a detailed look at Masuru Emotos own reports on the subject.

    Star Wars Material:

    Indexing Updates; Player Blog Links

    Flag of the Isle of Wight The registered Isle ...

    Faster! Watch out for leaping jellyfish!

    Here we have a selection of crosslinks to articles by one of the player/game masters who is currently involved in the Federation-Apocalypse (Eclipse d20), Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice (Exalted), and d6 Star Wars campaigns. As they say, better late than never – and this is definitely somewhat overdue.

    Exalted – The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice:

    d20 – The Federation-Apocalypse Multiverse Campaign

    Star Wars d6:

    • The Dusk Gryphon – Alys Nere’s personal vessel.
    • Jarim Edar – a Codifier Observer from the Codifier Galaxy, and a man who grew up as a colonist aboard a decrepit Star Destroyer.
    • The Kira the Kat show is a (sadly, in-game only) cartoon based on the activities of the player-characters Most recently we have the Episode Summaries for Season II and Season III.
    • Dispatches from the Hyperdriveless Galaxy part III. This one’s kind of late to crosslink – I linked to parts I and II long ago – but what’s a tale without an ending?
    • An updated character sheet for Alys Nere.

    Sith Hierarchy – The Artificers

    This is an unofficial, fan made map which repr...

    I'm not complaining, but I'm fairly sure that you shouldn't need THIS kind of map to navigate your speeder bike!

    Force sensitives can go over the edge in many, MANY, ways. When a mind taps into the raw power of the force, it reinforces the mental patterns associated with that use – burning them into the mind and making it easier and easier to draw on the force in pursuit of those patterns.

    With caution, and a code, moderation in it’s use, and constant self-discipline, you can use the force and maintain your sanity. Sadly, few force-sensitives can manage that without training.

    Without training you can fall to ambition and the will to power. You can fall to anger and the desire to destroy. You can fall to jealousy and envy. You can fall to greed or to the desire to manipulate. Such patterns are easy, unsubtle, and already inclined to the extreme – and such are the adepts of the Dark Side.

    You can also fall to lust, to gluttony, or to pride. You can fall to seeking after fame. You can even fall to creativity, to love and compassion, or to the desire to discover new things…

    Thus have Artificers fallen.

    At its core, the madness of an Artificer is simply good old garden-variety obsession; the force feedback loop has simply carried their focus on their research to heights of insanity that no normal mind can reach. They’re the stereotypical mad scientists of the Galaxy.

    How much of that is true madness and how much is just being absent minded and hyperfocused on the task at hand largely depends on the individual and on the extent to which the force has control of their behavior.

    To understand an Artificer, one must understand his or her Project.

    Thanks to their precognitive abilities, an Artificer’s project is always something POSSIBLE. That’s not the same as practical, affordable, or even sensible – but it’s vaguely possible, even if the odds are a few trillion to one.

    Projects can range from the utterly mundane (catalog all possible uses for duct tape!) on through a complete analysis of hyperspace, fully automated manufacturing facilities, finding ways to transfer minds into immortal mechanical bodies, creating new weapons, building dyson spheres, or engineering the ultimate plague.

    Some projects are quite innocent, or even helpful and useful.

    Others not so much.

    Still, regardless of how harmless a Project may appear to be at a glance, it is the singleminded obsession that makes Artificers dangerous. It doesn’t matter if some experiment is not a good idea – or if it might wreck a city, or unleash a galactic war, or blow up a city. All that matters is that it advance the research and leave the Artificer around to consider the results.

    They’re impatient too, and inclined to throw things together with the force rather than tediously setting up a proper experiment. Trying out a new hyperdrive configuration is all well and good, but trying it in the middle of a crowded city may not be the best option.

    Still, as far as Sith go, the Artificers are often tolerated, and sometimes even supported. Such dedicated researchers are not easy to find – and most of them just need someone to watch over them and make sure to remind them of the potential consequences of their actions before they try something. Indeed, with proper use of suggestions and steering a train of thought, an Artificer can often be persuaded to assist with any problem related to their Project.

    Artificers tend to travel in groups. Not out of any sense of belonging, but because it means they can borrow spare parts and tools from each other. It is actually rare to see more than one cooperating on a single project though – unless the potential reward would apply to each of their personal Projects in turn. One can expect Artificers to be able to pull off weird stunts no one in their right mind would attempt and to have a gadget for every occassion (regardless of how relevant).

    • Thanks to their focus on mechanisms and devices, Artificers suffer a -3d penalty on their use of force Manipulation and Control unless their target is a machine or device of some type. They suffer a similar penalty on all normal “social” skill checks.
    • They may, however, distribute their Manipulation dice (and any relevant dark side dice or speciality dice) amongst the characteristics of any machine(s) they happen to be carrying, using, or operating up to a maximum of one-half that dice pool invested in any one function. Thus, if one happens to be piloting a Starship and had 8d to distribute, he or she might add +2d to the main weapon, +3d to the shields, and +3d to the speed.
    • Like most Sith, Artificers are always crazed obsessives, and will need to make will checks to pull themselves away from their studies to address other situations – or to resist appeals to their particular manias.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 78b

    Soon enough reports came back in that the authorities had picked up Ben and were in the process of bringing him and his ship back. By this point the chaos was dying down as the authorities took command of the situation and permanently re-established power to the city. All the RDF we could find had been rounded up and put into stasis. In all this was looking like a wildly successful rout of the ambush back on itself.

    Ben was a bit cross… After Lazlo had done some quick probing for him he concluded that he had one kid, who’d overdosed on holos and who had basically fallen to the dark side dreaming of using his powers to become grand ruler of the galaxy, three more friends of his that he’d somehow managed to persuade that he might manage it (and make them grand galactic rulers in the process), some mercenaries who’d work for anybody who could pay, and some droids that it looked like the kid had gotten them from a junk dealer! His four “villains” were all still three to four years underage! The one needed treatment, but the other three needed spankings!

    Fortunately the military was being fairly cooperative at the moment; there might have been some debate at the very top end of the command structure, but everyone lower down was apparently quite pleased with the interdiction of the Yeveetha.

    Even if part of the attitude seemed to be based on “After thousands of years of Sith nonsense, there’s finally a competent superweapon designer – and he’s on OUR SIDE!”.

    Oh well. He could put him into the experimental treatment program and see – with great caution – what could be done for him. He wasn’t too far gone, and he was young enough to be pretty malleable, so he was an excellent prospect for a cure!

    With them in hand, and the rest of our business on Alderaan wrapped up, it was time to take our prisoners back to the Mrs Beasley for “questioning”. I bid farewell to the Bernellis, Olaths, and Glithes and even offered to bring them along to the Mrs Beasley for protective custody, but they all turned it down. Martha Glithe said it with the least tact as she refused to get aboard the “largest target in the Galaxy”. I did receive a number of care packages though from various people I knew and a few anonymous donations too. I stuffed those in the crates to be sent to the Mrs Beasley along with my weapons and other equipment. The Republic was kind enough to provide a transport to haul all the prisoners in and I rode with them as an “escort” of sorts. Thankfully that trip was uneventful and there were no prison breaks during the journey.

    Not on board the transport anyway… Jacob, meanwhile, had gone looking for Sith – and had managed to locate a creature deep in the underworld who could lead him to some.

    In exchange for stealing an enslaved planet from the Hutts and freeing his species – who shared a limited sort of hive-mind – of course, but nothing was free.

    With a guide, and some friends to help, and his own powers, he managed to steal a ship and depart, once more claiming the freedom of the galaxy…

    About a week later we finally arrived at the Mrs Beasley. I could tell that Valerie must have returned from her own mission to wherever since she was back aboard as well. The others had also beaten me back since they were all returning aboard personal ships as opposed to a Republic transport. Alys immediately started the process of unloading and prepping the prisoners for interrogation by Kven’thann. Nimh was already talking with Kven’thann regarding what questions she wanted to ask and in what particular order she wanted the prisoners scanned. I handed Nimh a list of questions I had thought of asking on the trip here to add to her list. She looked at the list, rolled her eyes and condescendingly told me to leave this to the professionals.

    It was at that time that I felt Valerie doing something weird with the Force and Codex in one of the larger combat training facilities onboard. Boarding an elevator, I directed it to take me to the closest point to Valerie it could manage. Arriving at the training room a few minutes later, I found the door to be unlocked as it automatically opened when I approached. I have to admit I was not prepared for the sight in front of my eyes as the door opened.

    I saw Valerie in a tight form-fitting body suit that sparkled immensely as she moved around. I could see bright pink glowing highlights shift along the surface of the suit as she went through a number of exercises. About all she needed to complete the ridiculous image was….


    I immediately did every trick I knew to derail that thought as best I could. It wasn’t easy, as that image was really wanting to present itself to my conscious mind, but finally I was able to shove that thought aside as I thought back to how annoying the twi’lek was at times. Valerie had sensed those mental gymnastics though and had stopped what she was doing to look at me. It was at that time I saw Qwuam, Ilia, Virstris, Ban, and Gab were all in the room as well and now staring at me too.

    (Ilia) Are you alright? It almost looked like you were suddenly suffering from a serious headache there.

    (Kira) I’m fine. Just found it very hard to keep a comment to myself is all.

    (Virstris) So you are learning!

    (Valerie) You better keep your mouth shut about this.

    (Kira) Alright, if you don’t mind me asking, what is that ridiculous thing for?

    (Qwuam) Can’t you tell? It’s a high quality reproduction of what those crudely made Rakata suits. I must say I am rather proud of myself.

    (Kira) I suppose someone must be.

    That got me a number of glares.

    (Qwuam) Regardless, the lady here was testing out her ability to activate various sections of the suit on demand.

    (Kira) Ok, but I thought the thing was supposed to be a sensor cloak or something. Seems awfully pointless to hide from sensors when you sparkle like that.

    (Qwuam) The system also doubles as a reactive shield system, but we’ve been able to add a number of other functions as well to it. Care to demonstrate?

    With that I felt Valerie use a combination of Shunting, Crystal Repair, and Sensing as suddenly a section of her arm lit up bright pink. It looked to me like suddenly her arm had become wrapped in a lightsaber blade. With a wave of her arm, she was able to effortlessly cleave the target dummy in half as the field tore it apart. Then she presented the back of her hand to me like if she had been holding shield. With another flash of pink along her arm, an energy shield shaped like a more mundane one materialized just a few centimeters from her hand.

    (Kira) Ah, I see, you are feeding the crystals energy directly via shunting and then using the Force to repair the crystals on the fly like one does a lightsaber.

    (Valerie) Yes, it was Vi and Ben who initially came up with the idea. I just added a few modifications to the concept and have asked this talented tailor to assist me with the prototyping process.

    (Qwuam) I must say the lady has been a delight to work with. And I do love the challenge of designing something like this.

    (Kira) Let me guess, if you go all out you can turn yourself into a full-body lightsaber?

    As confirmation she suddenly started glowing bright pink as the crystals all over her were shunted with energy from the multiverse. Valerie was feeling awfully pleased with herself and I couldn’t resist responding with a comment.

    (Kira) Impressive. Now you’ve managed turn your entire clothing into a giant lightsaber. I’m sure Jacob would find it incredibly attractive.

    For a split second I thought Valerie was going to kill me right there as she killed the effect and gave me a glare that made me instantly regret saying that. Thankfully Valerie got distracted as the door to the training room opened and Darius entered the room.

    (Darius) Ehh, what the hell is that monstrosity? Show some more skin, increase your bust, and wear a giant pink bow and you’ll have the look down pat. Do you think you used enough sparkle-glitter? You might have missed a spot on your ass.

    I just stood there dumbfounded at the sheer idiocy I had just heard uttered.

    (Virstris) Like master, like apprentice.

    (Gab) My brother, born an idiot, died an idiot.

    (Darius) What? It’s her fault for wearing it.

    I was not prepared for the blast as the wall seemingly exploded. By the time I could react, I saw Valerie grasping Darius by the neck and holding him up in the air. She was holding a glowing sphere of pink energy in the other hand menacingly in front of his face. The look on her face was one I remember well from when I had mocked her lightsaber years ago. It was not a pleasant experience to see that again. I was trying to come up with something to say that would prevent anyone from getting killed when Ilia spoke.

    (Ilia) Put him down dear, killing him will only prove that you can be manipulated by the mere words of a punk.

    I could feel the conflicting emotions boiling within Valerie as she struggled to maintain control. Finally she came to a decision and flung Darius over to the side. She drapped herself in a cloak she grabbed telekinetically and wordlessly walked through the hole in the wall. Darius was having trouble regaining his composure as he picked himself off the floor. Gab was already berating him for being a galactic-class idiot. I was about to join in the process when Ilia interposed herself.

    (Ilia) Let his sister handle the process of trying to knock sense into the boy.

    (Kira) He is my apprentice and if anyone should be knocking some sense into him, the responsibility falls to me.

    (Ilia) No dear, your responsibility lies elsewhere.

    (Kira) Huh?

    (Virstris) She’s telling you to go after her.

    Tracking Valerie down was a simple matter. Trying to sort through that boiling cauldron of emotions I felt over the Bond was not nearly as simple though. That had me worried. While Valerie could be very difficult to read at times, usually her emotional state was a simple thing to assess. Especially since that was usually set to “cranky annoyance” most of the time. I found her in another training facility but the door was locked. It took only a moment to deduce the pin number given the fact that it was still fresh in her mind and I entered the room. I saw that Valerie was already massacaring a large number of droids as she fired blaster bolts from the palm of her hand. I gave her a few minutes to work out some of that frustration against the droids before opening my mouth.

    (Kira) I will say I am impressed at what that suit is capable of in your hands. I would never have thought of trying that sort of thing.

    (Valerie) I hate this.

    (Kira) Then don’t wear it. No one is forcing you. There isn’t a law that states you have to use every bit of useful technology you come across.

    (Valerie) That is not what I meant.

    (Kira) Well, forgive me, but despite our little secret and my being a telepath, I still am not sure what you are talking about.

    (Valerie) I hate feeling all of these emotions. It’s becoming harder and harder to suppress them all. That “perpetual cranky annoyance” as you call it has been my barrier against losing control.

    (Kira) I imagine it’s a sign that the Unfalling process is reaching a new stage. You’re having to relearn how to behave normally as opposed to simply faking it.

    (Valerie) I hate it.

    (Kira) Well I will admit that I don’t always like the emotions I feel sometimes. But don’t convince yourself the Dark Side is some panecea when it’s clearly not.

    (Valerie) Ilia said the Codifiers called it the Madness. A disease of the mind that drove people to obsessions beyond all reason. Apparently it was one of the duties of the Codifiers to find and restrain the Mad. She then told me how disappointed she was that I had fallen victim to the Madness too.

    (Kira) I think you are a victim of the circumstances you grew up in and that you’ve done remarkably well considering the handicap.

    (Valerie) I DON’T WANT YOUR PITY!

    (Kira) It’s not pity. Back when I first arrived at the Academy, I was the kid from pacifistic Alderaan stuck in the middle of a Sith Academy. It doesn’t get much worse than that. I figured I had a few days at best to live before your father picked me to be his apprentice. Even then I knew it wasn’t going to last since I could never be what your father wanted. Let’s just say he wasn’t exactly role model material in my eyes.

    It wasn’t pleasant drudging up the memories from the Academy, but I felt Valerie needed to hear this right now. Something told me it was important to say this as I felt the internally directed anger subside within her.

    (Kira) Then I saw what you had, how everyone knew your name, and how even the instructors couldn’t push you around. To a kid like me, that looked really good in comparison to what I saw ahead of my short life. Deep down a part of me wanted to be like you. I was stupid and headstrong enough that it took me a long time to even admit that to myself. I guess that is why it took me so long to realize we are Bonded.

    (Valerie) And yet you ran away.

    (Kira) Well, I didn’t want to think of myself as a person willing to kill my older sister just because she said something insulting about me. I saw what that position you had gained cost you and I didn’t want to have to pay that price. It did help matters that you inadvertently gave me enough of a boost to momentarily overwhelm your father. I did come back didn’t I?

    (Valerie) With a bang of displaced air and a confused look on your face that I will forever remember.

    (Kira) Gotta make an impression somehow.

    At that point my commlink chirped. I really didn’t want to interrupt this discussion, but it was Nimh calling and she usually had something beyond idle chatter to say.

    (Kira) Go ahead.

    <Nimh> We’re getting a lot of useful information regarding how the RDF is organized, confirmed locations of various facilities, number and distribution of Starbreakers, and how they acquire their funding. I suspect we may have a rogue Rakata computer on our hands.

    (Kira) That’s nice. Could you write it all up in a report for me to look over in detail then?

    <Nimh> Already documenting everything and writing summaries. Why I called you has to do with something else though.

    (Kira) And that is?

    <Nimh> We’ve deduced what they are trying to do. It looks like the objective was to isolate you to the city and then trap you with a bunch of Force predators and heavy weaponry. They were trying to damp any strong local links you might have and force you to make an uncontrolled jump across the universe.

    (Kira) Well, yes, that much is obvious. What exactly forcing me to drop out of the universe would accomplish is hard to fathom though. I’ve returned from alternate universes in the past despite some of those being random jumps.

    <Nimh> Not an uncontrolled jump across the multiverse, they were aiming for you to make an uncontrolled jump across THIS universe.

    (Kira) Still not sure what that accomplishes, I’ve shown in the past that it is survivable too.

    <Nimh> Yes, but it seems the RDF isn’t aware of a certain special consideration in the room there with you.

    Then it dawned on me what Nimh was saying and why we hadn’t heard of any hostage demands.

    <Nimh> Given your silence, I imagine you realize the implications. It appears that your family is currently being held in front of a Starbreaker awaiting your sudden arrival. Using them as an anchor point on a completely random jump, you’d appear just in time to be blown to subatomic vapor as the RDF shot you with the Starbreaker. I imagine they must be getting pretty frustrated that this nearly foolproof plan isn’t working as expected.

    (Kira) Any indications that they have found out what is going on?

    <Nimh> No, but I don’t expect them to take much longer to deduce that something is wrong with their plan. The more you jump around and not end up there, the faster it will be.

    By this point I wasn’t paying much attention to the twi’lek as I was busily counting the months and back tracking the local calendar. I could see Valerie was doing the same thing as she mentally marked off dates on the calendar. We both arrived at the conclusion at the same time: this plan was operational during the Battle of Gruenn. Had it not been for Valerie, that random jump with Lecrouss would have resulted in me appearing next to my family and friends in front of a Starbreaker finishing the firing sequence. That would have killed me quite readily. I was suddenly reminded of Lessa Soung’s warning to me that I likely faced damnation if I failed to rescue Valerie from Codifier Galaxy.

    <Nimh> While you are considering that, Alys would like you to think about how to knock over the Republic Banking System.

    (Kira) Wait, what?!

    <Nimh> She apparently made a deal with the Hutts to help us track the RDF funding in exchange for us helping the Hutts gain access to a number of accounts that have been frozen over the millennia. Looks like a giant money laundering scheme.

    (Kira) Since when does Alys advocate robbing banks?!

    <Nimh> You’d best take that up with her, although I think she is rather annoyed with people using Rakata weaponry in the middle of major cities.

    With that Nimh cut off the communications. I was still pondering the absurdities of trying to rob one of the most heavily fortified institutions in the Galaxy just so the Hutts could launder some ill-gotten funds when a thought occurred to me.

    (Kira) Valerie, I guess that is another one I owe you for. I would have just been a cloud of particles if it weren’t for you. It seems I am continually finding myself in your debt.

    I could tell that Valerie was going through some sort of an internal debate with big emotional issues at the center of it. I was about to ask her what was wrong when she spoke very quietly.

    (Valerie) When you tricked me into killing Jurin for you, I wasn’t mad and you couldn’t fathom why.

    (Kira) That was the beating I was expecting but never came. It never made much sense to me.

    (Valerie) I didn’t because it was then that I realized that you are what the Varen call a Nalton in the old language. It frequently gets translated as strategist or tactician, but a more proper translation would be “seer-of-the-hidden”. It means you see the options no one else would consider trying. You couldn’t beat Jurin on your own no matter what, but you saw that I could. Instead of lamenting your lack of power, you turned it around and used my underestimation of you to your advantage.

    (Kira) I still don’t see…..

    (Valerie) It’s an incredibly rare trait, possibly much rarer than being Force sensitive. It’s also incredibly valuable, it would have made you a major prize to the Varen, my family, and possibly even as a mate. But you were so vulnerable given your lack of experience and training. It was going to be years if not decades before you could be considered able to protect yourself against other Sith. I wanted to use my power to shield and protect you. To be the example which you would emulate. Your cunning and my power would have enabled us to go quite far. Possibly making the Varen one of the major Sith factions in the Galaxy and myself Grand Mistress of the Council.

    (Kira) And so we both got what we wanted, well kinda.

    (Valerie) And then you ran away.

    (Kira) And I came back, with a bang of displaced air and a confused look on my face.

    (Valerie) Can’t escape me that easily.

    At that point we embraced for several minutes before she put a halt to it. I had to admit that mass of crystals covering that suit of hers was an excellent way to cut up my hands. I could only imagine that was one of the “bugs” still needing to be worked out.

    (Valerie) You do realize that according to Varen custom, you would take my name instead of me taking yours?

    (Kira) Well Kira Keldav is a name that seems to have run off on it’s own. A little name change wouldn’t be too bad I think. After all, I have a little brother to carry on the Keldav name. Now would that be as Verun or as Kira?

    (Valerie) Kira of course, against the rules to have relationships with your apprentice. Since technically you are Father’s apprentice, there isn’t any issue.

    We found that Virstris and Gab had beaten Darius senseless in the meantime. Everyone was getting a lot of use out of those faux-lightsabers Ben had created, much to Darius’s displeasure. Valerie went back to working with Qwuam regarding tuning her suit properly while Ilia gave more pointers regarding the use of Shunting. I couldn’t help but stand over Darius and give him a smug grin as he struggled to his feet.

    (Darius) Come to smack me around too?

    (Kira) Nope, although consider yourself incredibly lucky. I insulted Valerie far less shortly after I first met her and I ended up in medical for a week because of it. You get off for saying something far worse with only a damaged pride.

    (Darius) I think I have some bruises and minor burns too.

    (Kira) Oh cry me a river. If you became my apprentice not realizing you would get smacked around a little, you are stupid.

    (Darius) How in the hell can she move so fast? It was a friggin instant at most.

    (Kira) She’s every bit as skilled, probably a lot more talented, and is far more ruthless than I am.

    I was more than a bit annoyed when Qwuam realized I was wearing the robes he designed and started lamenting the cruelty of how I was treating them. With that he took my measurements with a glance and then demanded I hand over the robes I was wearing for “proper” repairs. Annoyed, I stripped down to my base clothes and handed the robes over. Qwuam then quickly shooed me out of the room as all of us standing there was interferring with his concentration he claimed. I took it as an excuse to lounge around a bit.

    Soon more information starting pouring in from Nimh’s investigation and Kven’thann’s interrogation. Apparently the reason why I was so popular these days was because the RDF thought I was an incredibly powerful Sith Lord out to form a Sith Empire spanning the multiverse as I brought an invincible Sith army from outside the universe. Once I had this Galaxy in my control, supposedly I would then go off to repeat the process elsewhere. Part of me idly wondered if the RDF was seeing the formation of the Commonwealth concept I had planned out. That showed how biased their viewpoint was if they thought that was what I was trying to accomplish. Of course, I suppose it was possible that they were seeing me inadvertently trigger a Final Empire Invasion, but by definition I wasn’t planning that.

    It was also one of the pitfalls of trying to use the Codex to predict the future; you could scan a sheaf of “very similar but more advanced” universe – but injecting even a modest bias into your selection of universes, or starting with false assumptions about which universes were “very similar” and you could radically skew your results.

    The opinion of the RDF was that Zandaras was an escaped minion/experiment of mine that I then later hunted down and killed outright for having the audacity to disobey me. Apparently the fact that I had warned the Republic to kill Zandaras and then was asked by the Jedi Council to do something about it had little to do with their version of reality. I wasn’t even on that side of the Galaxy when Zandaras was finally killed. Nevermind the fact that as powerful as I’ve become, Zandaras could still readily kill me in a straight fight. These people are about as detached from reality as Mrs Beasley is, and at least she has the excuse of being senile.

    We also learned more about the attack on Crevasse City and some of the contingency plans that were in place in case of a failure. Apparently the most fanatical members of the command staff had been given space-field grenades like I had used against Jarik as an option of last resort in the event of a capture or total defeat. Luckily it seems that Lazlo and Vi had managed to disarm the only one that was triggered during the battle, but it still illustrated how badly out of control the RDF was. We also found out the RDF was able to smuggle so much weaponry past Alderaan customs by using hypertime to put customs officials into stasis and then haul crates of weapons and other contraband past customs before letting the person in stasis go again.

    That certainly lacked a sense of artistry, regardless of how practical it might be.

    Nimh was also able to derive that it looked like the RDF command structure was heavily centered around the various Starbreakers in their possession. While they had planets under their control via intimidation, it looked like their over reliance on the vampiric space moss to keep things hidden and protected meant that the RDF was having massive infrastructure issues as their people were blocked out of the universal skillsets the Force granted. That meant an over reliance on automated factories and droids to keep what little they had still functioning. That in turned revealed that there was a lot of computer coordination going on in the background just to keep the RDF moving at least somewhat coherently.

    That was where Nimh picked up on the fact that the RDF had massive computer coordination running things, a distinct hatred of the Jedi, almost identical tactics to how the Rakata in the Infinite Empire ran things, and no clear sense of what other units were doing. To her this suggested two possibilities: either the RDF were using poorly purged Rakata computer systems, or were secretly being run by Rakata themselves. Thanks to additional information provided by our two captured Rakata (who became cooperative after a call to the Elder Council on Tatooine), we learned it was the RDF who was providing funding to clone the Rakata. Rakata secretly running things wouldn’t need to clone more Rakata under normal circumstances, so that suggested the RDF was using Rakata computer systems that weren’t properly purged in her opinion.

    But that didn’t make a lot of sense in my opinion since that would require that the RDF have failed to operate by the most simplistic rule when it comes to using acquired computer equipment: purge it first. I found it extraordinarily difficult to believe that after twenty some-odd millennia no one in the RDF has realized they have a rogue computer system on their hands? I’ve seen people be stupid before (Jacob comes to mind), but for everyone in an organization of this size to not realize something is up after twenty thousand years bordered on the absurd.

    Nimh’s response to this was the idea that if the RDF was being over-reliant on the vampiric space moss to hide things, then that would significantly impair their ability to do even the most routine tasks like preventative computer maintenance. I thought about it for a moment, realized the corner the RDF have likely painted themselves into, grabbed a faux lightsaber, and went to the RDF prisoners to unload my frustrations for a while. Too bad they were all in stasis and couldn’t be properly humiliated for their immense collective stupidity, although Kven’thann did watch me vent for a while before shrugging and continuing his business.

    Alys still wasn’t real big on volunteering more information about this bank hack she had agreed to with the Hutts. How exactly the Hutts expected we might pull this one off was never explained either. This wasn’t going to be easy, but then again we probably had far more resources at our disposal than the typical bank robber. Of course, once you had these kinds of resources, you didn’t really NEED to rob a bank….

    Lazlo, meanwhile, was running a statistical analysis; they’d intruded into several other universes, and had quite an impact. Was it likely that alternate versions of themselves from other universes had been meddling in THEIR universe? It would explain a lot about how their reputations were building out of control!

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 78a

    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope color image of C...

    Move over and let me drive! Look where the planet is now!

    Up in orbit, Ben’s plan had not gone as hoped; the police had indeed responded to his request that they board his ship and arrest the Sith who’d hijacked it (and him!) – but his young Sith had left some minions to keep an eye out, and sneaking up on an orbiting ship was not easy.

    They’d tried a tractor beam, but Ben’s ship had massive power reserves and very powerful drives; It was currently heading for the asteroid belt at nearly 80% of the speed of light with the police cruiser straining to keep up – despite the tractor beam. About the only good point was that the ship couldn’t jump to hyperspace while the tractor beam was on it…

    They’d swiftly passed the maximum range of Ben’s reploid setup though; he didn’t have the massive hyperfields of the final empire to piggyback on.

    That left him and his young Sith charge awakening to… a near-overloaded power plant, heated drives, straining shields, a ship under fire from the police cruiser’s ion cannons, a crew of droids, mercenaries, and a few other youngsters, and an asteroid belt less than two minutes away and them moving too fast to get a clean miss. Jumping to hyperspace would avoid the asteroids – but they couldn’t do that with that damned tractor beam on them!

    Drat it! He should have known the local cops would hang on like grim death! To them, “Sith” + “Ben Therus” + “Near Alderaan” equaled “Potential Superweapon Attack!”.

    Worse, the kid had gotten out a minute or two before he had – and was preparing to use his precognition to try and pick a path that would take them safely through the asteroid belt at near lightspeed. After all, he knew that “Other Sith” could do that (at least on the holos) and “therefore” he should be able to do it too! Besides, he couldn’t foresee any disastrous consequences from making the attempt!

    Bens quick estimate of the odds of success on such a maneuver – given what he’d seen of the kids shaky grasp of his powers extent and limitations – suggested that the only reason why the kid didn’t foresee a resulting fiery explosive death was because HE was likely to do something!

    He couldn’t get to hyperspace, fiery death was waiting in normalspace…

    In the chaos, Ben hastily sidled towards the subspace drive – grabbing his personal thawing system and his clothes – with their powered thermal liner – off the rack along the way. If he crosswired the thawing signal to his own personal system, he could jump the ship to (probable) safety and still leave all these maniacs frozen!

    It took some frantic rewiring – but with the “crew” manning the shields, lamenting the lack of guns, and trying to “assist” the kid with his “piloting trance”, some hasty excuses covered the few queries about what he was doing fooling with some obscure bit of apparatus.

    He jumped with seconds to spare…

    That left him… well outside the elliptic, about four light-hours from the local sun, aboard a ship that was barely above absolute zero, with a frozen toe (he’d been standing a bit wrong in the rush), and… still in something of a mess. Most of the ships systems wouldn’t work at such low temperatures, he was rapidly freezing to death as his body heat drained into the smog of supercooled (and slowly crystalizing) gases that had been the ship’s atmosphere – and if he reheated the ship so that things would work again, he’d once again have a Sith crew – and he’d flashboil himself unless he got outside the ship first!

    Wait a moment… Getting outside the ship wasn’t a bad idea at all!

    Ben hastily grapped a hypercom unit, warmed it to operating temperatures with his lightsaber hat, and got outside into the welcome insulation of space where he could call for help before he froze to death.

    The military were by to collect him and his ship shortly thereafter

    Meanwhile, back on Alderaan, Alys had been relaying the situation – including the use of Rakata weaponry – to Vi, and Vi had been explaining what kind of weaponry they were up against to the military… Fortunately, the military knew the JLA as a specialist command group that dealt with the Sith – even if a good many of their methods were pretty mysterious. Since there was a “Sith” problem in the city, the advice of a JLA command officer was well worth listening to.

    The local commander had ordered the fighters out for an immediate stun-strafing of the city streets. There might be a few really big weapons down there – but it sounded like their operators were relatively unprotected. It was a rough way to restore order – but better a massive stun-headache than blown to bits by some maniac with a ridiculously powerful hand weapon.

    Back on the surface, Alys picked up that order – and ducked under cover. The theater was handy since she’d been headed back there anyways – and, like every sizeable public building on Alderaan, it had it’s own internal riot-control and safety fields. Hm… With the power back on, she could probably control some of those…

    And back with Kira…

    I had just finished asking Alys to send a pickup for these Rakata I had incapacitated when suddenly I got the impression of incoming fire. Turning around to look behind me, I unfortunately got confirmation of that feeling in the form of two fighters coming in to do a strafing run on me and everything else in the area. Ben’s reploid along with that teenage Sith’s had both gone limp and fallen to the ground around that same time. Well, no point in saving soulless and brainless clones, but I really didn’t want the Republic fighters to accidently eliminate the Rakata in stasis or frozen. That meant dodging and taking the Rakata with me.

    Damn it all.

    Picking up a Rakata in each hand, I ran the ten meters to the edge of the city and leapt over the side. With the local explosions, the fall arresting shields were inoperable which neatly allowed me to dive straight into the river thirty meters below me. While it wasn’t the most graceful dive in history, it still got me out of the line of fire of those fighters doing their strafing run above me. As I put on my breath mask, I took stock of the situation. The river itself was still roiling from the holes blown in it earlier in the battle, and it took some effort to avoid the suction trying to pull me into the sinking mud, silt, and debris. I didn’t bother attempting to counter for the current slowly moving downstream for the time being though. Perhaps I would worry about it once I got to the point I was likely to drift pass the entire city, but not now.

    It was with some annoyance that I impacted another shield system twenty meters downstream.

    That system promptly scooped me and the two Rakata out of the water and then began making noises about calling medical droids to come check on me. Attempts to brush off the system resulted in the computer notifying me of a five credit fine for disobeying the “no swimming” signs and diving into the river. It then notified me that this was my first recorded offense as an adult and that I needed to think hard about the path my life if I was so willing to casually disregard the rules of society.

    I really wanted to ram my fist into the computer for having the audacity to lecture me about a five credit fine.

    At that point a team of medical droids arrived and started fussing over the two Rakata. Announcing that the one was “cryogenically” frozen while the other was in a metabolic stasis only increased the fuss as the droids then tried to shove both me and the Rakata into an ambulance to the hospital. Presuming that the fighting was already largely over except for the Republic military doing cleanup, I decided that it was less of a hassle to go along with the droids than to stand here arguing until the police and military arrived. This resulted in me being deposited at the hospital only minutes later with more droids and doctors fussing over me and the Rakata. I was busily trying to explain what was going on with the Rakata when another droid suddenly blocked my path.

    (Droid) Sir, I am afraid I must insist that you disarm yourself immediately. This is a place of healing and we cannot have you taking those weapons into the hospital with you.

    (Kira) Oh, for the love of…, I have a waiver from the military and the Jedi Council itself!

    (Droid) I don’t care if the Supreme Chancellor himself gave you permission. You may not enter until you disarm.

    (Kira) Ok fine.

    At which point I began laying out my weapons on the table the droid had indicated. First there were the two Rakata weapons I had removed the power cells from, my own rifle, pistol, lightsabers, flamethrower, variable stars, subspace lance, glass packets, smoke pellets, explosive gel, glue spray, and bracer shields. The droid looked at the pile and somehow managed to give a look of incredible annoyance on that plastic face it had.

    (Droid) Is that all?! Are you sure you don’t have plastic knives or something?

    (Kira) Whoops, forgot those.

    (Droid) Oh please don’t tell me you have monofilament wire in your hair, explosive fillings, razors hidden in your fingernails, or any other highly impractical weapons hidden about yourself?!

    (Kira) Oh, I forgot the monofilament line in the bracer, let me take that off.

    I could practically see the smoke come out of the side of it’s head.

    (Droid) Anything else?!

    (Kira) Well, I am fairly sure that I could use my boot as a lethal weapon just by hitting someone hard enough with it.

    (Droid) This is nearly eighty kilograms worth of weaponry you are carrying! Don’t you think that is a little paranoid to say the least?! I don’t think the Jedi Council had this in mind when they gave you a waiver!

    (Kira) Eighty kilograms, you’re exaggerating! I hardly felt that weight!

    (Droid) You can see the scale readout here. It was calibrated this morning. See, if I add this ten kilogram weight, the scale output goes up an additional ten kilograms.

    I found myself staring at the weight readout and the pile of weapons for a moment. I never really noticed just how much weight I had been carrying this whole time. I had just been adding the occasional item from time to time as I ran across something new. A number of those items had largely become obsolete given how my powers had developed too. Maybe it was time to reconsider consolidating things a bit. I know Valerie had been on my case about how much I was carrying these days.

    The droid did another search of my person again for any other weapons but finally decided I was disarmed. I made sure it knew to keep my stuff safe in the meantime as I continued into the hospital to try and keep the doctors from reviving two Rakata without having any clue what they were getting into. I was busily trying to explain stasis belts to the doctors and droids when my commlink chirped.

    It was about at that time that Alys realized that the RDF commanders had located Kira again – and were getting an assault using “top-level” weaponry organized.

    While he was in a HOSPITAL? And disarmed?1? She passed THAT on to the military right away – and the local commander ordered Kira pulled out NOW.

    (Kira) Yes?

    (Alys) Kira, Republic soldiers are on their way to pick you up and evacuate you.

    (Kira) What? I’m fine, I don’t need to be evacuated.


    At which point the wall beside me was blown out and soldiers started pouring through. The doctors’ attempts to protest were quickly silenced as the soldiers brandished their weapons in an effort to show they meant business. I got the impression that these guys were in an immense hurry.

    (Soldier) Target acquired, beginning evacuation.

    (Kira) I’m fine. No need to worry yourself with me.

    (Soldier) Sorry sir, but I have orders. It looks like the enemy is bringing serious weaponry to get you and we can’t have a firefight in a hospital.

    (Kira) Alright, but can I at least get my weapons first?

    (Soldier) No time, but I will have another team retrieve them for you while we get you out.

    At which point they practically pushed me out of the hospital and into an assault shuttle. We took off immediately – although they’d never actually touched down – and I found a corner to sit in while trying to look mildly annoyed. I could hear the soldiers arguing about who the enemy was and why they were targeting me, but the Censor made trying to explain anything but the simplest overview difficult at best. Finally I just resigned myself to sitting back and letting things take care of themselves. If they wanted to get panicky over a few RDF soldiers still running loose, more power to them. Besides, it looked like the RDF command staff had gone into hiding for the time being.

    At which point I got the sudden precognitive warning that something very bad was about to happen to the shuttle and everyone in it. There wasn’t going to be time to do any careful thinking about whatever this threat was, but I could only think of one thing that might threaten a military shuttle of this class that quickly. Reaching out with the Force and the Codex, I grabbed a hold of the shuttle and everyone in it as I accelerated our timerate. Between the cries of shock from the soldiers and the fact that I could feel the deviation in our timerate and the planet’s, I could tell that the technique had been successful. I yelled at the pilot to take us aboard the command ship as we were about to be fired at with some serious weaponry. The pilot complied without questioning and took us into the open shuttle bay of the command ship hovering above the city.

    From Alys’s point of view, the shuttle suddenly burst into a ball of fire, there was an explosive boom and a streak of flame across the sky – and the shuttle vanished utterly.

    Blast it! Kira had better have teleported or shifted or something! If he’d gotten himself killed, she’d never forgive him!

    The pilot started complaining once the shuttle started melting through the floor of the shuttle bay once we landed, but I ended the technique at that point and ignored the matter for the moment. At least a major capital ship’s shields should be able to handle Rakata rifles for quite some time, the RDF would be fools to engage a warship in an artillery duel anyway.


    With the sound of a major impact on the shields, the ship lurged significantly. I nearly fell off my feet as I couldn’t see the lurch coming through precognition. The soldiers were visibly upset as they tried to get back to their feet.

    (Soldier) Why couldn’t you be bait somewhere no one cares about, like Tatooine?!

    (Kira) No one is looking for me on Tatooine! It’s hard to act as bait when no one knows where you are!

    (Soldier) We could put out rumors and have paparazzi dedicated to just following you around!

    (Kira) Do you realize just how many bounty hunters are on Tatooine?!

    (Soldier) At least then you wouldn’t be my problem!

    With that the ship lurged again and I heard the incredibly disconcerting sound of the shield failure klaxon. The ship started rocking hard almost nonstop at that point. Had another ship entered the fray or something? Wait, they wouldn’t dare use the Hyperstrike technique in conjunction with Rakata weaponry would they? Of all the incredibly suicidal things…..

    With that a hull breach klaxon pretty much overrode all sound aboard the ship. At the rate this was going, we weren’t going to last much longer. Only thing I could think of to help was to try and nullify the advantage the Hyperstrike technique gave them by pulling the ship into Hypertime too. No longer trying to brace myself, I reached out with the Force and Codex again as I attempted to repeat what I had accomplished in the shuttle. Grabbing a hold of what I could, I then pushed to accelerate the timerate experienced. Hopefully I could get all of the ship with this, and thereby get the ship’s shields on an even footing with the Rakata weapons.

    Almost immediately I could tell that something had gone wrong as I felt the area of accelerated time expand beyond the boundaries I had try to set up. My attempts to reel it back in resulted in just straining myself dangerously. At least the rocking of the ship slowed dramatically given whatever had happened. I struggled back to my feet as the soldiers started panicking over something. Looking over at them, I saw that they were staring out the open bay to outside and were exclaiming that someone had done something to the sun. Walking over to get a better look, I saw that the sun was now incredibly dim and red with the city seemingly in the darkness of night. I watched as the sphere of accelerated time washed over the entire city and stopped some ways past the city limits. This scene seemed abruptly familiar, almost like what happened to the Shar Research Group….

    Oh hell, I just caused a Codex accident like they had, except I had dragged the entire city into one. This was the sort of thing which had destroyed all those asteroid colonies… Ilia is not going to let me live this one down. Looking at the city below, I could tell that the presumed Codex users were standing there looking dumbfounded as they stared at the sky and their weapons. They seemed particularly annoyed with their weapons for whatever reason. Why they weren’t using Hyperstrike to keep attacking was odd too. Then I realized that the Codex accident was preventing me from entering Hypertime relative to the city. Oh now this is interesting, the accident effect overrides the use of Hypertime by bringing the entire city into lockstep.

    While the presumed RDF commanders below kept shooting at us relatively ineffectually, I could see that Alys was apparently getting the soldiers and city defenses coordinated to overwhelm the RDF. As that quickly resolved itself, my commlink chirped again.

    Now that the RDF commanders were no longer flashing around in hypertime – and the city safety fields were available at full power again – it was easy for Alys to locate the remaining RDF troops and their eight commanders and turn the riot-control systems against them. That left them wrapped in multiple layers of safety fields. Firing Rakata weaponry inside THAT would break them free of course – but the backblast would almost certainly kill them in the process.

    Still, they might have other resources… Lazlo, now free of the need to keep fiddling with the RDF troops now that the riot systems had them pretty well under control vaulted across a narrower section of the chasm to kick one of the RDF commanders; they were fanatical enough that they might do something even more suicidally stupid than the stuff they’d already pulled if they were left conscious.

    The first one had been slowly reaching for some sort of grenade-like device. Fortunately, a fist to the face to follow up on the kick put an end to THAT.

    With Alys playing spotter and opening the restraining fields when he needed to hit people, smacking down most of the RDF commanders was fairly easy. With hypertime locked down, and phasing mostly incapable of getting them through a shield / restraining field, that left them with shifting – and they just weren’t good enough with that to stop him.

    Unfortunately, one of them had been in the process of activating his “grenade” when Lazlo took it away from him – and Lazlo had no clear idea of how to disarm the thing. What little he could get with precognition suggested that it would be a REALLY good idea to find a way to do it though!

    Wait! Vi had studied all the RDF weapons too! And had a better memory for that kind of thing!

    Lazlo called Vi…

    Vi, at that moment, was busy. He’d been peacefully advising the ships captain on what to do to contain the RDF – when a flarestorm of firepower had impacted the shields. A partial burn-through had blown out the big hyperspace observation window on the bridge and flung half the bridge crew out of the ship as it had tumbled to the side…

    That included the pilot – which left Vi trying to hang onto the control consoles to avoid falling out, pulling people back inside, piloting the ship via remote manipulators, and trying to operate the commlink remotely so he could shout directions to Lazlo on how to disarm a spacefield grenade, all at the same time.

    This was not easy – but with the force and plenty of pure luck he managed, even as Kira dragged the entire area into hypertime – and the ship shields started to come back up.

    Lazlo managed to disarm the grenade with Vi’s help – and promptly found himself cornered by a group of kids who wanted to know how he’d been able to do some of the things they’d just seen. They’d seen every episode, and didn’t know he could do those things – and they weren’t in his stats in the Kira the Kat trading card game! And did what Lazlo said count as official errata for the Lazlo card?

    Lazlo was a bit flabbergasted for a moment – but eventually went along with it. When had he become an object of merchandising?


    (Alys) Kira, what is going on? It’s like the Shar Research Group accident right now.

    (Kira) I botched my attempt to take the ship into Hypertime to deal with those blasted weapons. Apparently I dragged the entire city with me by accident.

    (Alys) I am detecting a nearly 260,000:1 timerate increase in this field! And the shield-aura from the military ships is creating a vacuum zone outside the city due to the augmented repulsion! At least that’s keeping the interface temperature from melting down the area outside I think.

    (Kira) Well at least we know how to fix it. Priority should be on keeping everyone from panicking or trying to leave the field. The Shar bunch proved that the outside atmosphere is like a solid wall given the timerate difference.

    Again she started cursing up a storm given the seemingly impossible demands we kept asking of her but I ignored her for the time being. Let her work with the police and the military to keep things quiet and I can see if I can arrange a fix. Ben was nowhere to be found. Well, we found two of his bodies, but neither of them seemed to be the real one. I found Vi and Lazlo arguing about what to do next some time later. I proposed that we could use one of the big ship’s hyperdrive to try and take the city into hyperspace and back again. That would likely melt the ship’s hyperdrive in the process, but that was minor compared to the city’s plight right now. Vi lamented the need to destroy a hyperdrive when he suddenly announced that a really powerful Force user might be able to power through the time differential and lock us back onto normal time.

    That was a nice idea, but I wasn’t sure I knew of anyone with that kind of power that wasn’t an insane nutjob themselves. I suppose maybe the Jedi Council could do it, but they would take weeks of normal time to get here and that would translate to….. nearly ten thousand years of our time. Screw it, I could personally haul people through the interface zone faster than that. At which point Lazlo piped up that he had made friends with the local planetary energy being who happened to be a Force user.


    (Kira) You met what now?

    (Vi) I think it is this planet’s version of Khadim’s main body.

    (Kira) Wait, you mean that is the planetary energy being or whatever they are?

    (Vi) Yep, and apparently this one is Force sensitive.

    (Kira) What does it want?

    (Lazlo) It wants to turn me into a galactic mind so that it has someone to talk to.

    That wasn’t quite right – it wanted to accelerate the evolution of the existing galactic mind to bring it up past the instinctive-reflex level – but it was close enough.

    (Kira) Tell it that it can make friends the same way the rest of us do, by going out and meeting them. Wait, scratch that.

    At which point Vi started talking excitedly about immortal Force using energy beings, Force ghosts, infinite energy content and a whole lot of things that weren’t making a lot of sense to me. That then led to him, Lazlo, and Alys discussing the whole silly “Galaxia” concept and making the Censor intelligent. To me this sounded a lot like more of that weird mystical nonsense the Jedi kept pushing around. Eventually Vi and Lazlo determined that the energy being had been working for tens of thousands of years to get the “small minds” to be peaceful, cooperative, and organized into a harmonious society. It took me a few minutes to realize the full implications of that statement.

    (Kira) So you’re to blame!

    Sadly venting my frustrations of my difficulties trying to fit into Alderaan society on the planet’s energy being was about as effective as arguing with a planet would be expected to be. Vi’s assertion that this energy being must be what the Sith have been trying to destroy or blackmail subconsciously for millennia did little to help my mood. Life was so much simpler not so many years ago.

    (Kira) Regardless, do you think you can get in touch with it and get it to help?

    (Lazlo) I can try.

    (Kira) Right, Vi, I want you to try to get a hyperdrive ready as a fallback plan. If Lazlo’s friend doesn’t come through, we are going to have to depend on ourselves to get ourselves out of this.

    (Vi) Can do.

    (Kira) Officer Larson, I have a pile of weapons and such that I ended up having to leave behind at the hospital in a bit of a rush. Would it be possible to get that stuff crated up and sent to my ship while we wait for a resolution to this fiasco I created?

    (Larson) I suppose so, but aren’t you going to pick them up yourself?

    (Kira) Right now I want to go someplace quiet for the moment. Feel free to escort me if you want, but I suspect the excitement is over for now.

    Letting the experts work on fixing this, I left and made my way across the city on foot. A few people were out in the streets after the police announced the fighting had ended but it seems like the festivities were over for the time being since it looked like the sun had died or something. This was probably another thing I was going to get blamed for too. Oh well, since I am on a roll for getting blamed for crap right now, I might as well be present for this next round personally. I arrived outside the restaurant sometime later and found the “Closed for Private Party” sign hanging like it does this time every year. While the door was obviously locked, the keypad still took the old passcode for members of the private party. As the lock quietly snapped open I entered the restaurant to see who was here.

    (Martha Glithe) It’s obvious who is at the center of this fiasco. Yet another festival ruined because of that degenerate.

    (Cyrn Bernelli) Now, now, even if Kira is involved like the news says he is, that doesn’t mean he’s caused it.

    (Martha Glithe) Quit apologizing for him!

    (Cyrn Bernelli) He has the approval of the Jedi Council itself! How much more of an endorsement do you need?

    (James Olath) The Jedi aren’t the most…. pragmatic bunch. Still, I don’t think we can hold it against Kira if he has made some enemies in his travels. After all, you don’t kill major Sith Lords without pissing someone off.

    (Martha Glithe) He could at least be a target elsewhere! Our children have gone missing because of that freak and you bunch keep apologizing for the one responsible!

    (Evelyn Olath) How about we let the young man defend himself then? You can quit eavesdropping.

    (Kira) Knew I was listening in huh?

    (Evelyn Olath) I know that door and your habits a lot better than you think.

    At which point I was nearly bowled over as Priscella Bernelli rushed me and grabbed me in a giant hug. Before I really had any chance to react, I found that I had been plopped into a seat at the table and a plate of food in front of me. It really was like I was ten years old again in some ways. Actually in more ways than one. The Bernelli’s were seemingly oblivious to my actions, the Olath’s were cautiously sitting the fence, and the Glithes were looking at me with more than a little scorn. On the other hand, I wasn’t a small child easily intimidated by adults anymore.

    (Kira) Alright, given what I just heard and the fact I have an incredibly annoying Twi’lek investigator continually pestering me with questions, I assume all of you know something has gone wrong?

    (Martha Glithe) Considering how much we are paying for such a highly respected investigator, she sure is taking her time and not being very detailed in her reports.

    (James Olath) We are aware that the ones who claimed to be Jedi are not who they said they were. That much was obvious when the Jedi investigators showed up and began asking questions. We also know that the military is involved somehow.

    (Kira) Then I shall explain the sequence of events as best as Nimh and I have been able to reconstruct. Please forgive me if I gloss over some details, but there are issues with the very nature of the information I am going to relate.

    And I began to explain things. I gave very basic explanations of the Codex and the Censor as general background. After finding a way to explain that in a form that would at least get the concepts across without giving enough details to invoke the Censor, I then went on to describe the JLA and the RDF and how they related to the incident. It at least helped matters that the issues involved were personally important to them and that helped them focus a bit on the topic at hand. I detailed my actions up until now and how I felt it might have triggered the RDF to take such a dim view of me. Finally I explained why I came back to Alderaan despite knowing it was a trap. About the only thing I really didn’t try to explain was Valerie and how I escaped some of those incidents with her help.

    (Peter Glithe) So you came here, knowing it was a trap and got lots of people involved in a firefight using star destroyer scale weapons?!

    (Kira) I had lost track that it was festival time again. It was not my idea, but the plan was to go to the house, get ambushed by a small squad of Codex users, and then capture as many as I could. I did not anticipate the ambush involving over four thousand soldiers and Rakata.

    (Martha Glithe) Some Force user you are. I thought you people were supposed to be able to see these things.

    (Kira) Not when a Codex user is involved. That makes it incredibly difficult.

    (Cyrn Bernelli) Besides, he did manage to save everyone that got caught up in it all.

    (Martha Glithe) Have you even looked outside?! We could all still be killed by this so-called accident he caused!

    (James Olath) He says he knows how to fix it and that the military is helping.

    (Martha Glithe) You have way too much faith in the military and Jedi!

    (James Olath) And what would you have us do?! Punish him?! You do realize that right now he is powerful enough to kill everyone here and there isn’t a damned thing any of us could do to stop him! The military, the Jedi, and Kira are the best bet I have of seeing my son again!

    (Martha Glithe) He hangs out with that damned Sith girl all the time and you want me to trust him?!

    Leave it to Nimh to spill the beans without any heed to the social considerations of certain pieces of information.

    (Evelyn Olath) Yes, I’ve noticed you’ve curiously omitted her from your explanation. Valerie Soung of the Varen Sith I believe she is. How does she figure into this? Nimh seemed to think she knew why but was keeping it secret.

    (Kira) It’s complicated.

    At which point I could just see the look of disgust wash over Martha’s face.

    (Martha Glithe) Found yourself a little Sith tart to play with?

    Alright, this needed to stop now. I know the Glithes didn’t like me, but I think it is about time they understood that I wasn’t that stupid college kid they remember anymore. Reaching out with the Force, it was a simple matter to simply telekinetically move the table out of the way. Setting it to the side, I pulled Marthas’s chair close to me so that she was almost face to face with me. The others had backed away looking alarmed by the sudden move, but I focused my attention on Martha as I looked into her eyes and put my hands on her armrests. She was trying very hard to look as defiant as a moment ago and not having a lot of success.

    (Kira) Alright, I know you don’t like me. After twenty years that has become one of the facts of life. If you feel the need to lecture me like a child, that’s fine and a privilege of having to deal with me when I was a bratty kid. I am not, nor will I ever be asking for your approval. I have endured terrors at the Academy that still gives me nightmares. I have fought Force predators that can rip through solid rock like it was made of wet paper because I had no where to run. I have been chased by thousands of bounty hunters while trapped on a lonely planet far from the Republic. I have fought a Dark Lord of the Sith that thought nothing of casually killing children just to provide a technical demonstration. A nigh immortal Sith Lord that threatened to destroy the Republic is now dead due to my actions in no small part. I have saved quadrillions of people in two alternate galaxies and have managed to significantly tilt the tables in the Yeveetha war heavily in favor of the Republic.

    (Kira) I accept that I am not well appreciated by a number of people across the Galaxy. No matter what I do, there is always someone out there able to twist the story into further proof that I am a Dark Lord of the Sith out to conquer the Galaxy. Frankly, I don’t care beyond the sheer inconvenience it has caused. What I do care about is when you belittle that “Sith tart” as you called her. She has worked very hard to reform herself since I met her and has done far more for me than most anyone else over the last five years. To be honest, I don’t really appreciate it when you talk about Valerie like that. Do I make myself clear?

    (Martha Glithe) Y-yes.

    (Kira) Good, now I will find your daughter, Barcos, Nathan, and my family because they are all important to me. Not because of your attempts to guilt-trip me into doing it. I am sorry the festival got ruined in the process of me attempting to learn where your daughter is hidden. Deal with it.

    (Evelyn Olath) Bravo kid, way to stand up for yourself.

    I silently moved the table and chairs back into place. Evelyn tried to start the small talk going again by asking me to describe meeting the Jedi Council and what my impressions of them were. That got the discussion going in the direction of how the Force affected the minds of those sensitive to it and how this resulted in the various types of Sith. That fascinated Peter immensely as he started asking a number of psychological questions relating to the various Sith I’ve met and my impressions of them. That took the discussion fairly late into the night and finally everyone started going home.

    I thought briefly of visiting the house myself, but decided the amount of traps that were likely to be waiting for me wasn’t appealing right now. Not to mention how disturbing sleeping in an empty house was likely to be given all that was happening. It was bad enough considering how silent things felt through the Force right now and adding to the isolation I was feeling was the fact that the link with Valerie was now feeling incredibly weak through the interface zone. To that end I found myself a hotel room to stay in for the night.

    The next few days was spent trying to keep on top of what Lazlo and Vi were doing, making sure the RDF command staff and soldiers remained secure, watching how repairs to the power plant were going, and keeping an eye on the interface zone for any untoward changes. I still found myself amazed at how many of the people here obeyed the curfew without question the entire time. It was towards the end of the third day when I was beginning to contemplate issues with food and water supplies that I felt time suddenly snap back into place. At that same time the sky went from an incredibly dull red glow to a noonday sun in a single blinding instant.

    As part of this blinding sensation was a feeling of an immense ocean of Force power that seemed to engulf the entire region. To say this felt overwhelming was an understatement of epic proportions. I thought Lecrouss, Huriel, and Zandramas were powerful practitioners of the Force, but they didn’t hold a candle to this ancient behemoth. I ended up shifting to the Codex side in order to keep the feeling of being overwhelmed at bay. I could only presume this was Lazlo’s new friend. At least this seemed to fix the problem my accident caused. Looking at the clock, it looked like three days passed inside the interface zone while only a second passed outside the interface zone.

    Police, government officials, and military officers all began to converge on Crevasse City at that point. Alys took on the task of explaining to the government and police while Vi handled the military. We did learn that Ben’s ship was missing, but apparently the military were giving chase right now to a ship racing towards the asteroid belt at a significant fraction of lightspeed. Not much I could help with there though besides just offer suggestions from time to time since the Republic military had such a head start on chasing the ship down.

    That more or less resulted in another couple days of cleanup efforts, explanations, and trying to stay out of the way as the festival restarted. News of Kira Death Clones showing up, defeating thousands of soldiers, disrupting the festival, and getting my first criminal offense as an adult (damned swimming violation) was filling the local broadcasts. The calls for banning the Kira Death Clones from next years festivals were annoying on a number of levels. How exactly they proposed to tell the difference between me and any so-called Death Clone was not immediately clear and the whole ruse stunk of a round-about means of banning me from future festivals. The arguments then proceeded to debate the point of whether or not you could ban something that did not exist and if it didn’t exist, was there any “harm” in banning it?

    It was as I was lamenting the fact that the locals were even having the debate to begin with that my PDA informed of the arrival of a number of messages. First batch was from various members of my extended family wanting to get in touch with me. Many of them were people I barely remembered beyond a few reunions and visitations over the years. Some wanted updates regarding what was happening to me, my siblings, and my parents, and I went ahead a wrote a response for those. Then I saw that apparently some of them had realized I had come into some money recently and were (although not always subtly) asking for financial assistance. Part of me was torn between the realization that many of them wouldn’t care the slightest about my well-being if it weren’t for the money, and the fact that refusing to help family was a bit of a egotistical Sith trait. I am going to have to think about this for a bit. I was rather amused to see the letter from my cousin Al Masters (I think he is a paramedic these days) wanting to get together for drinks at some point. Last time we had gotten together resulted in me getting a court order to join the military. I might take him up on that at some point.

    The second batch was a bit more surprising on a number of levels. At first the PDA asked me what to do with the assorted messages it had presorted into the spam category for the interim. I asked it to provide a typical sample for me to review so I could give better guidance. That resulted in me being presented with the image of a blonde female offering to do a number of things that weren’t exactly considered polite to say on Alderaan. I mean, I’ve seen more than my fair share of associated mass-market spam promising all sorts of things, but this was the first time I’ve seen something like that addressed to me personally by more or less ordinary people. A quick review of a few more items in the list showed that this blonde was hardly an isolated incident on any level as there was a considerable number making similar offers. I even recognized one of them as a girl that never gave me the time of day back in college. The contrast between those messages and the people wishing all sorts of unpleasant things to befall me was stark.

    Dashing rogue indeed….

    And yet it felt so hollow. I had no delusions what they were after any more than I did regarding many of those family members wanting to get friendly with me all of the sudden. Perhaps there was a time where that sort of thing wouldn’t have mattered to me but these days I want something more substantial than that. Of course, it is hard to get anything more substantial than being Bonded to someone. Perhaps that is why I feel nothing more than idle curiosity with these messages. And I think that is probably a good thing. Letting Valerie see these messages, however, was not a good thing.

    So those messages got sorted into the spam bin for prompt deletion.

    Of course that brought up the thought as to why exactly was I Bonded with Valerie. Oddly enough that never came up in any of our discussions of the Bond between us. Maybe I should talk with her about it the next time I see her.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 77

    Jabba the Hutt as seen in the film Star Wars E...

    Hutt it's a very good deal!

    With Alys on the way back from her (involuntary) meeting with the Hutts, Ben and a young Sith headed for the depths of the city in search of clues to superweapons, Lazlo and Vi just back (from a brawl which would be reported as the largest riot on Alderaan since the last time Kira had been home), and Shipwreck and Handell missing (and presumed dead drunk), Kira was sensing lots of blank spots in the force popping up…

    I looked out to the sky towards the voids I knew were coming this way. Already some of them were landing across the city and deploying who knows what. Personally, I felt there were three different possibilities: soldiers, Force predators, and powerful explosives or possibly nukes. Given the general indifference of the RDF to collateral damage and casualties, it was only a matter of time before the body count started climbing. We needed to do something to limit the damage and fast. But my ability to do much of anything on this large a scale was limited at best.

    Wait a minute….

    I asked Lazlo if it was possible for him to use the pyramid technique to share another technique across a large group of people. He wanted clarification as to what I had in mind and I then suggested that he use the pyramid technique to pull on the Force potential of much of the planet, and then use that power to increase the durability of everyone in the city against damage. After all, Leucross had been able to do something like that… That took him aback for a moment, and Lazlo announced that he would have to meditate on that idea for a few moments.

    Ben’s reploid announced at this point that another one of his reploids was descending down the side of the canyon wall with a young Sith while pretending to be hunting superweapons. Ben wanted us to use him and the Sith as decoys to distract the RDF for the purposes of determining what they were bringing to the battle and possibly for manuevering them into a situation beneficial to us. He did announce that the RDF was heavily armed but conspicuously lacking in terms of grenades. Apparently these guys had done their homework on my tactical habits. Then Ben said he was getting shot at and stopped talking to us.

    His young holosith charge had swallowed the notion that they needed the computer systems to locate his superweapon, and had taken the power and communications systems going out as an attempt to stop him.

    That made it pretty easy to persuade him to bypass all security by leaping into the crevasse and using the force to control their fall. After all, if anything went wrong the emergency safety systems would stop them…

    While jumping into the chasm and using the force to descend safely had first attracted only annoyed disapproval (for depleting emergency power reserves which might really be needed later on) from the locals, down below – interestingly, at the cable-based communications-and-power hub built into foundations of the city – there were rather a lot of people already.

    Really heavily armed people. With some sort of hunting beasts along. And with personal body armor. And a distinct shortage of grenades…

    Oh dear. They were jumping straight into an RDF task force. Wearing Kira masks. It was a good time to stop a level early…

    The kid tried to mind control the entire mob. He wasn’t bad for an untrained kid – but he’d have had to be a near-god to control a couple of hundred men and a dozen force predators…

    On the other hand, he’d certainly gotten their attention – and did manage to parry an entire fullisade of blaster bolts. Either he was better than even he had known, or very lucky there…

    Well, these force predators didn’t seem to be gargantuanly powerful – but they were tough, strong, and fast enough to make it up the slanting walls of the city… NOT what he needed at the moment! He had to keep these bodies alive until the police had time to rescue his real body and arrest the Sith aboard his ship!

    He rather desperately phased the wall – and let it snap back as the predators fell into it.

    That was rather messy – and the internal pressure-wave shattered a good chunk of the wall. Even stresscrete had it’s limitations.

    At least it helped him persuade his young charge to fall back. The RDF thought he was Kira anyway…

    The RDF gave pursuit.

    Alys had ducked for cover when the assault started… OK… There were a LOT more RDF troops on Alderaan than they’d given them credit for. How on earth had they gotten all those weapons and creatures in?

    Oh, never mind that. Given stasis and the Codex, she could think of a dozen ways.

    Ah, there it was! A steady stream of encrypted traffic from all over the city. That would be the RDF… A good thing Kira had gotten that military-quality encryption droid brain installed on her datapad… With that to help and her own talents, it didn’t take long to crack the encryption.

    So the RDF was definitely tracking Kira – and the masks were giving them problems, although the force predators they had along made it easy to sort out the ones who were total pretenders…

    Force predators? Oh dear. At least these seemed to be fairly minor creatures. Still, the whole operation seemed more to… chase Kira into a corner surrounded by predators than it was to kill him. Did they WANT him just jumping around the universe? Why? Kira always turned up with Valerie, and THAT wouldn’t help them… Wait; if an unbonded Hybrid jumped at random, where would… OH! So THAT was what they were up to! That made the plan of taking out the transport, power, and communications, and trying to “trap” Kira actually make some sense!

    And to start… they’d overloaded the central power plant into shutdown, crashed a ship on the rim link to take it out, blown up the river link, and blasted the secondary power supplies. Still, even then a city on Alderaan had plenty of local backup power on the emergency systems. Almost nobody else in the galaxy – including quite a few places with hostile environments – provided protective backups like Alderaan…

    Alys then came on the commlink and announced that she had broken the encryption algorithm on the RDF comm channel. How she managed to pull that off so quickly was an interesting question, but more relevant to the current moment was the fact that she was able to give us a good breakdown on the attackers and their plans. It looked like the basic plan the RDF was going for was to shutdown power, block off all transportation out of the city, and then trap me. Oddly the goal wasn’t to then unload massive amounts of firepower at that point, but to surround me with a number of Force predators and force me to drop out of the universe. Now why would they be trying that?

    Wait, what if they think that I am teleporting around the same way a Codifier does? In which case such a plan would more than suffice to cause me to lose all connection to this Galaxy and drop out entirely even if I was using the Force to cheat a bit on the targeting. At which point I might well appear in the middle of space in some weird alternate timeline or something at least from their experience. Part of me still wasn’t sure that the idea of appearing in space as opposed to a planetary surface might be more mythical than real. At least it seemed to work that way in my experience. Still, that wasn’t how I was teleporting and the fact that the RDF hasn’t caught on to that fact was encouraging.

    Still, why not go for the kill instead?

    It looked like there were 3,224 attackers in the city now according to Alys. Most of them were divided up into teams either sweeping the city or going after critical pieces of infrastructure. The Force predators were apparently not on the same scale of the ones from Kharanoth I had fought, which was also a good thing. These were more on the scale of trained attack dogs with good speed, strength, and the ability to track Force sensitives. The attackers felt that any stray Force users killed accidently was too bad, any Jedi that got caught should have been trying to stop me, and good riddance to any Sith that got killed. That should at least keep the casualties the predators caused amongst the general populace down to a minimum, but meant we were going to have to hunt down and protect all the Force sensitives in the city. Oh crap, and that means that if Lazlo uses the pyramid technique to enhance everyone in the city, then we’ll only succeed at putting everybody on the menu.

    At which point Lazlo came out of his meditation and announced that he thought is was more than possible, although he thought it much more benevolent to protect our attackers since they were the ones most likely to receive injury in the coming battle. As I caught his meaning, I couldn’t help but grin and nod my approval. Lazlo went back into his meditative trance and began to glow brightly as I could feel threads from across the planet converge on him before spreading out across the entire city. Then I felt several thousand Force potentials suddenly spring up wherever those threads attached to. Quickly the entire sky seemingly lit up with fireworks as chaos unfolded across the city and soldiers unloaded heavy weaponry wildly into the air.

    Alys quickly confirmed that the Force predators the attackers had brought were rapidly turning on their handlers across the city. The fact that the handlers were all now far more durable than they had any right to be was only adding to the confusion and chaos breaking loose. We could hear from Alys’s relaying of the RDF communications traffic that there were many demands for explanations and requests for help among the soldiers. I couldn’t help but feel a bit mischievous again.

    (Kira) Hey Alys?

    (Alys) Yes?

    (Kira) Can you insert a message stating that Kira has infiltrated the RDF strike teams? You can even include something about you can tell which one is him based on how invulnerable he is to injury.

    (Alys) Oh I like it.

    (Larson) Now that is just downright mean. I like it too.

    Quickly enough the shooting and fireworks display intensified as the soldiers started using their own heavy weapons against the Force predators and each other. I was busily chuckling to myself over my own cleverness when the ground abruptly shook and I nearly fell to my knees. A quick look around quickly confirmed that whatever caused that had shaken most of the city. That was not good at all. Alys quickly located the epicenter of the blast to a warehouse near the power plant. Details were scarce to say the least, but all indications were that the warehouse had been thoroughly vaporized in that explosion. Was that a partial containment leak of the power plant vaporizing a nearby building? That wasn’t good to say the least. A reactor containment loss of that scale could put a significant hole in the city. And if the reactor has been damaged badly enough to begin losing containment….

    Vi then announced he was going to the reactor to see what was going on. I told him it was too far to get to quickly even with Hypertime, but he waved it off and said he was going to teleport there instead. He can’t be serious, even with my skill with both the Force and the Codex, I don’t dare try to teleport using the Codifier technique. I tried to warn him of the dangers when Vi abruptly vanished in a puff of displaced air. Well, he either made it or not. I suppose we will find out soon enough.

    Vi in fact was trying a variant on Ben’s “Ultimate Dodge” – essentially attempting to use the Force and Codex to control a microjump though hyperspace. He almost managed it too – winding up only a few hundred feet short.

    That wasn’t as good as appearing out of nowhere to surprise everyone, but it did let him get a look at what was up.

    There were a bunch of real techs under a couple of RDF guards off to one side – it looked like the RDF had arrived in a batch of heavily armored vans disguised as service techs, shut down the plant, and then captured the real tech’s who’d promptly been dispatched to fix it.

    With hypertime and his various other abilities to draw on, defeating two normal guards was no real problem – and the techs could give him a rough count… It sounded like a couple of higher-ups, two heavily-armed Kreedath, and a few techs and soldiers.

    He went in through the service corridors. That was easy enough. The repair techs had a bunch of droids with all the passcodes for the plant along.

    Ah. There they were. Two command-types giving orders over the comms, the fellow faking the “temporary disruption, no reason for alarm” reports, and two… Kreedath?

    No. Not Kreedath. Two fully-armed and equipped Infinite Empire Rakata Troopers. That explained where that massive blast had come from – and it was BAD. That pair outgunned every security officer put together in the city all by themselves.

    He got into position and tried to take one out with a hyper-accelerated drug dart. That way it would punch through his body armor. It did – but the military automatic medical pack countered his drug. Fortunately, they hadn’t spotted his position – and his use of hypertime was letting him fire and shift before any normal human could react. Eventually the creatures would have to go down! He had more sedatives than a medical pack could possibly counter!

    Unfortunately, he popped up to find that someone – possibly the Commander or Lieutenant, who were using hypertime themselves – had managed to get the direction of his next attack right. He managed to dodge most of the shot – but not even hypertime would let him fully avoid the corona-effects of a Rakata Blaster.

    It blew a gasping hole in the wall and flung him hundreds of feet into the air above the river. He could use hypertime to generate enough thrust to direct and cushion the fall – but realized mere moments later that it would also make him a glowing, fabulously conspicuous, and unprotected target for every RDF fighter in the city.

    He teleported again just ahead of the incoming shots – jumping aboard the incoming (thanks to Alys) Republic Command Ship.

    Fortunately he had the JLA credentials to start giving some directions, even if they were mostly to contain the situation with a double-sided shield-englobement, to attempt stun-strafing of the “rioters”, and to beware of some REALLY high-powered weaponry that was in use.

    Lazlo, meanwhile, was switching out the powers he was bestowing every time the RDF forces started to get used enough to them to use them effectively. Incredible toughness gave way to enhanced dodging, and then to jumping… It was very entertaining in a keystone cops kind of way!

    Alys was busy getting into the communications channels – and countering the line that “no help was needed” that the RDF communications specialist was putting out. Fortunately, she was far more persuasive than the RDF comm officer.

    In the meantime I figured someone had to be directing all of these soldiers. And that meant there was someone in charge somewhere and they probably were Codex users. If we could decapitate this operation and get the power back on, then we might be able to rout this ambush completely. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of Force noise and chaos around us was making it incredibly difficult to tell much of anything going on right now.

    (Kira) Alys, someone has to be directing this operation. Any idea where they are?

    (Alys) Been working on compiling a list. Looks like eight command staff and two special advisors.

    (Kira) Special advisors?

    (Alys) Difficult to determine who they are. They aren’t RDF though and they are making the general soldiers nervous. Despite being allies, the general sentiment seems to be that the advisors blew up several of the soldiers when they couldn’t get their pet under control in a timely fashion. That apparently was the warehouse.

    (Kira) You can’t be serious.

    (Alys) Afraid so. Looks we have one officer providing technical assistance for the operation. Two directing the Force predator teams. Another two responsible for the secondary power links to the rest of Alderaan. Then we have an Overall Commanding Officer down at the power plant along with a second lieutenant of some sort. Both of the special advisors are down by the power plant too.

    At that point another explosion rocked the city as a blast struck the opposing canyon wall. That easily looked like a capital ship level blast that came from within the city itself. So unless someone was hiding a Star Destroyer in the city, someone was using Rakata weaponry inside the city. That was not good.

    (Kira) Alys….

    (Alys) That came from the power plant.

    (Kira) I’m enroute now. Get the military down here NOW!

    (Alys) Understood.

    (Larson) What are you doing?

    (Kira) I’m going to stop the idiots from using those weapons inside the city.

    Alys, from her booth two levels up, broke into the republic military communications as well (which they found annoying), and was busily relaying information and calculating… Full-power Rakata rifles fired blasts on the level of star destroyer primaries! They’d presumably fired at low power, but they were still incredibly lucky that all that had blown up was a warehouse…

    Wait. Maybe it wasn’t just luck. Safety Fields… A safety field was simply a low-powered shield generator. She’d assumed that the way everything was over-engineered on Alderaan was just their usual “absolute safety” idea in action – but the power supplies were over-engineered as well, and every system had a built-in power reserve, and the multitude of projectors which made it possible to shape and control the fields on the fly could be stacked instead of being used for finely-controlled shaped fields…

    And the cities hypermatter reactor was absurdly over-engineered as well.

    If Crevasse City had an instants warning, and some presets on the system controls… It might be able to survive the planet blowing up. “Blending into the environment” and “unobtrusive” could just as easily be read as “camouflaged” and “buried in the planetary crust”. No wonder the damage was so… contained.

    Their planetary shields were among the best in the galaxy too. Any weapon which could threaten Alderaan would make short work of almost any other planet in the galaxy. Massive defenses hidden in plain sight…

    Ben, meanwhile, had been steering his charge towards the power plant (on the premise that restoring power would allow the research to begin) while body-jumping to pass on requests to the planetary security forces that they board and recapture his ship.

    Unfortunately, he’d recognized a blast from a Rakata weapon easily – and he definitely didn’t need that going off in any city he was in! Even remotely!

    Still, if he could restore power, the security systems should swing the edge back to the local cops… He couldn’t bring in a ship though, and – as amusing as the idea was – he couldn’t run an extension cord to the Mrs Beasley even with a hypertunnel.

    Wait a moment. What about with a codex gate or overlay? Not to the Mrs Beasley – but to another Alderaan… Crevasse City had many times the power it actually needed available; all he had to do was reach a major power-cable nexus and set up a gate to borrow some of it from an alternate version!

    Besides, it was something to do besides frantically dodge badly-distracted RDF troopers and their frothing little force-predator pets… That had to be Lazlo. Only he would find a way to empower thousands of people, use it to grant marvelous bonuses to his enemies, and then sit back and drink tea and innocently watch as all those benefits and enhancements somehow added up to total catastrophe.

    A major power nexus wasn’t hard. . They’d been fairly near the power plant anyway.

    Ben focused on creating a gateway-overlay to another, very similar, Alderaan – thus linking their two power systems together – as “Darth Kiddeous” looked on and speculated about ways to turn the gate-effect into a superweapon.

    With that I ignored his protests as I ran off down the street towards the power plant. There was no way I was going to be able to make it to the power plant in a timely fashion and in condition to fight even using Hypertime to speed things up. Running simply wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to move faster than that and the bike was still back at the spaceport. No choice then, I’ve always wondered why Jedi and Sith never tried this despite what seemed to me like a natural enough thing to try. So I leapt into the air, grasped myself telekinetically and pushed forward. That worked to some extent, although gravity reasserted itself quickly enough. A few more leaps and pushes quickly worked out that I needed to push upwards at an angle to keep my flight level. With that worked out, I quickly mastered steering and speed as I flew along the streets at higher and higher speeds.

    Judicious use of wraithing enabled me to fly downwards at an angle to take me to the power plant, and soon I was on the right level but still several kilometers away horizontal. Then another bright flash from another weapons blast blinded me for a moment. Not wanting to delay my progress any, I kept going at full speed above the street. Besides, the streets were clear of vehicles because of the festival, and the people had largely retreated indoors. It wasn’t like there were going to be any….


    I struck something hard, then went rolling through the street. By the time I finally stopped, I was face first in the pavement with my legs dangling over my head and my ears were ringing.

    Son of a bitch.

    Luckily it looks like my durability enhancement kicked in just in time to prevent serious injury. I was busily righting myself when I heard a female voice.

    (Voice) Are you alright? Did you get thrown from a crash or something?

    (Kira) I’m fine, just a little dazed for the moment. That bright flash of light caught me off guard.

    (Voice) It almost looked like you went through that tree there! I don’t see any other cars though! You shouldn’t be driving during the festival anyway! And don’t you know you should be indoors right now?! You should go see a doctor! By the way, that is a really expensive looking Kira costume you have there!

    Something about this chatterbox sounded familiar. Finally getting into a sitting position, I looked up at who was speaking to me.

    (Kira) Ashley Tremsel?

    (Ashley) KIRA?!

    In what was probably a historic moment for Alderaan, Ashley actually was at a loss for something to say. As proud as I might have been under other circumstances, I had other priorities that actually mattered right now. Getting up and brushing myself off, I waved as I floated up into the air and continued my flight towards the power plant.

    I was able to close that last distance quickly. It looked like whatever was going on in the canyon was doing nicely at distracting everyone from the flying blur zooming over the streets. Getting a view of the power plant, I saw Ben and what looked to be some kid dressed as a HoloSith standing over a power conduit. From what I could see, Ben seemed to be struggling with some sort of portal. Landing next to him, I was quickly able to gather that he was trying to open one instead of close one and so I thrust my hand at the gateway as I threw my power into assisting Ben with the effort. That caused the rippling gateway to smooth and stabilize. Oddly enough there didn’t seem to be any difference looking through the portal as opposed to around it. I was about to ask Ben what he was trying to do when the kid shoved a lightsaber into the portal.

    A lightsaber was a spacefield effect, drawing most of it’s power from dark energy – and leaking a portion of that energy across the interface that defined the “volume” of the blade. Shoved into a transdimensional portal, a nearly two dimensional cross section of the blade existed in each universe transversed – and the rate of radiant energy leakage was inversely proportional to the distance over which the potential dropped off.

    Nearly two-dimensional “slices” of the blade meant that that distance approached zero – and the rate of energy loss approached infinity, multiplied by countless trillions of universes.

    With virtually no dark energy left in the volume of the blade, the expansive force of the cosmological constant became an implosive force – and the flood of radiant energy from nowhere that was causing power blowouts across countless Alderaans cut off as the lighsaber, and the hand holding it, were crushed into neutronium and beyond. The “implosion” shockwave in the structure of space was detectable light-hours away.

    That caused some sort of weird IMPLOSION that yanked me off my feet but left me unharmed. Getting back to my feet AGAIN, I saw that there was now a crater in the ground under the portal. The kid was standing there looking dumbfounded at the severed stump of his arm. Ben and the kid started arguing about the prudence of shoving fields inside each other when I noticed the power start coming back on around the city. Ben seemed insufferably pleased with himself at that, but I was more concerned with whoever was using Rakata weapons nearby and how that explosion was likely to bring attention to this location.

    True to my predictions, I saw what looked like two Rakata or Kreedath stumbling through a hole in the reactor building. I figured that they were going to start shooting at us, but I was amazed when the two of them began to run for the river. I gave chase, but the first one pulled out a Rakata rifle, pointed it at the river and fired. That threw large amounts of steam, rubble, and water into the air and forced me to stop and block the blast wave.

    The first Rakata then leapt into the maelstorm that was formerly the river as the second one hobbled along to follow. Moving in Hypertime to get behind him, he reacted to my presence as he whirled around to point the rifle at me. I easily grabbed the rifle and tore it out of his hands. As he reared back to punch me, I pulled out the subspace lance and jammed it into his ribs. That immediately froze him in place and he began to topple over backwards. Using telekinesis to cushion his fall, I then went to the edge of the river to see what happened to the other one.

    At first I had thought he had blown a hole in the bottom of the river to reach some hidden underground facility or something, but then I had seen that instead he had just leapt into the hole and was laying still as the water and rubble filled in the void he had blasted into the river bottom. Probing harder with the Force, I could tell that what limited signature I could sense from a Rakata had vanished entirely. What was going on? Something just seemed off about the scenario somehow. I found it hard to believe that the Rakata could actually use the reploid technology that Ben had been using.

    Not wanting to approach the Rakata for fear of a trap, I pulled out a knife and threw it at him. It sunk into his shoulder and stuck as the Rakata failed to take any notice of the injury. Almost like he had died or something.

    Wait a minute

    I slapped my forehead for being so stupid. The Rakata were relying on stasis fields and probably some sort of a short range transmitter system to hide and await rescue from the rest of their people. Well, I wasn’t going to give him the chance to be rescued. Reaching out the Force, I started telekinetically pulling rubble and such out of the way as I then extracted the Rakata out of the river. Setting him down on the ground next to me, I then put one of our stasis belts on him, and removed his own for the time being. Retrieving the two Rakata weapons, I removed the power cells and made sure the damned things were thoroughly discharged.

    The two RDF Codex users that were supposedly were in the area were conspicuously absent though. Two Codex users powerful enough to be in command and two Rakata armed with Infinite Empire weaponry could readily threaten to do enough damage to kill me even with Ben and Vi’s support. The worst they could do from their perspective is force me to drop out of the universe to dodge the attacks. Wait, was that what the Force predators were for? To sever enough of my links to this Galaxy so that I would be unable to find my way back? That would certainly work for most anyone to prevent them from ever returning. That also had ominous implications for my friends, family, and Valerie. At least as long as the RDF is unaware of the Bond, Valerie should be relatively safe as only a tangential concern in the RDF’s mind. Still, this just reinforced the fact that I had to track my friends and family down now and not get too distracted with side issues.

    This still left the damned issue of not knowing where to look. For all of our spectacular success at turning this ambush into a rout on our attackers, we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Recognizing that my frustrations were getting the better of me, I shifted to the Codex side and ran some of the meditations. After that I called Alys.

    (Kira) Alys, I am going to need pickup on two captured Rakata down here. One in stasis, another frozen via subspace. Any word on where the RDF commanders have run off to?

    (Alys) Looks like they’ve gone to ground. We’ve been busily rounding up the soldiers and Force predators. Since the power came back on the shields and other protection systems throughout the city have been deploying and restraining the soldiers so that the police can pick them up with ease. It’s an impressive system.

    That system was also one I have found deeply disturbing on a number of levels for years now. The fact that the system has only been used for benign purposes thus far did little to quell the fact that the authorities could readily stamp out dissent at a moments notice. Given how ubiquitous the system was, there was little that could be done about it without heavy firepower, unusual abilities, or leaving the planet. The first was banned on the planet, the second was rare, and the third option was more or less what was left to those uncomfortable with the system. Increasingly these days I was beginning to think that this planet wasn’t what I wanted to consider home.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 76b

    Infinity of Forces: The Beanstalk

    Yes it's "On Fire"! It's a STAR you idiot!

    With the Yeveetha assault crippled for the moment, the military working on it’s own Ratsoogomoz, most of the Sith factions either in retreat or acting as allies of convenience against the Yeveetha, the group was free to make a side trip…

    With all my gear packed away, I sent out a message for a courier to pick me up on the Mrs Beasley for a trip to Alderaan. I wasn’t about to go out into what was likely the biggest trap in the Galaxy aboard the same ship as everyone else. I made it clear that I was willing to pay hazard pay to the courier for the transport and that I didn’t want her broadcasting my route to the Galaxy either. She seemed a little insulted by that, but she had to admit that I was the first person she had transported worth ten’s of billions. With the bike and other equipment loaded up, I then boarded the courier’s ship and we departed.

    The others took various ships of their own – especially Ben, who’d built his own laboratory-ship (with a wide variety of drives) and a final empire telepresence setup.

    We did end up pausing once we were back on the grid so that I could send an encrypted message to the JLA and the military informing them of my decision to return to Alderaan with the intent to spring the RDF trap. I knew they were not likely to be happy with the pronouncement, but I figured it was better than simply showing up unannounced. Besides, it gave the military and JLA time to try and get resources in place for the inevitable confrontation. With any luck, we might be able to spring the trap on the trapper.

    We arrived in the Alderaan system a few days later. It was easy to see that the local Republic fleet had been drawn down significantly in size compared to the last time I was here. Almost as soon as we were detected though, the fleet hailed us and demanded that I come aboard the ship for questioning and the usual Yeveetha-search… The courier looked to me for guidance and I simply directed her to comply with the order. Docking with the largest ship in the fleet, I was met by a number of officers who did not look particularly happy to see me.

    They wanted confirmation of the “plan” for me to provoke a RDF capture/kill attempt on myself. This was apparently not what they wanted to hear, and I really couldn’t disagree with them. When one of the officers became a bit snotty and made the suggestion that I leave and make their lives easier, I bit back the comment that I wouldn’t even be having to go through this mess if the JLA had kept custody of my family – not that the military rank-and-file really knew a lot about the JLA anyway. Finally I had to ask if they were going to prevent me from heading to the surface or not. With that the one in charge announced that since I had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Republic and Alderaan legal system, I was free to go to Alderaan – although he made it very clear that he would rather see me leave and not come back. Since I wasn’t planning on leaving, the military advised me that a police escort was being provided.

    With landing clearance given, I boarded the courier ship again and directed her to follow the instructions to land on the surface. That brought the ship to the surface in the port city of Aldera not that far away from Crevasse City. Landing at the directed docking pad, I saw the police escort already ready and waiting for me. I began unloading my bags and bike from the ship when I recognized a familiar face at the head of the police team.

    (Larson) I thought I was past the point where I had to respond to calls involving you.

    (Kira) Man, what did you do to get stuck with this job?

    (Larson) Apparently having “Kira Experience” was a major prerequisite for getting this assignment.

    (Kira) Oh now it gets a separate line on a resume these days?

    (Larson) Oh yes, I am the only person in the Galaxy that can prove that I caught Kira Keldav not just once, but dozens of times in my career.

    (Kira) I do suppose you have a point.

    (Larson) Now, care to explain why you are here causing me more paperwork?

    (Kira) Visiting my hometown isn’t an excuse?

    (Larson) I know you better than that. If you aren’t lazing under a tree somewhere, you’re stirring up trouble.

    (Kira) Alright fine. I am here as bait for a trap. There is a collection of nuts almost assuredly laying in wait for me and I want to capture and interrogate them.

    For the first time in my life I thought I was about to hear Officer Larson swear. There was a time in my life where making Officer Larson swear out loud had been a goal of mine, but now I was feeling sympathetic. This plan was ill-conceived on a number of levels and my luck wasn’t going to hold out indefinitely. The idea that this was going to be a simple bait and switch routine was missing the fact that this was a heavily populated world full of people I knew.

    (Larson) Alright, any idea who these people out to get you are? A little bit of information on what to expect would help us immensely.

    (Kira) Ok, but don’t expect to remember any of this once I am done explaining.

    (Larson) Don’t try any of that Jedi Mind Trick stuff on me.

    (Kira) I’m not going to. But the nature of the information is such that one tends to forget it very quickly.

    (Larson) Oh geez, it involves THEM doesn’t it? What have you gotten yourself mixed up in?

    (Kira) Them? Wait a minute, you mean you can remember….

    (Larson) Yep, encountered them during my time with the Navy doing border patrol. At first they thought it was because I was like them, but then they determined it was because I wasn’t willing to let things go. That’s another reason I suspect they requested me to be here.

    (Kira) Alright, this is a long story, but I shall try to explain.

    I explained what I knew of the RDF and JLA conflict and how this had gotten my family and friends caught up in the middle of it. I then went on to explain some of the details of the investigation thus far and the deadends I kept running into. Quickly enough I could tell I had lost the rest of the police assigned to escort me, but Officer Larson kept staring at me with that vaguely disapproving look I had gotten all too used to. More than once I felt like I was back to trying to explain how I had gotten possession of alcohol despite not being of age to drink. This was not a pleasant experience.

    (Larson) Ok, I don’t like this plan at all, but I still have a job to do. By the way, the lawyers want to see you.

    (Kira) Lawyers? Why would lawyers want to see me?

    At which point a rather weasely looking man dressed up in business attire appeared before me. I don’t know what it was, but something made me instantly dislike the man.

    (Lawyer) Excuse me, but are you Kira Keldav.

    (Kira) I am.

    (Lawyer) Ah good, in your absence I have been appointed your attorney by the court. I will need your account information for handling the royalty payments.

    (Kira) Royalty? Wait a moment, why am I being charged royalty fees?

    (Lawyer) Goodness no, the courts have decided that you are entitled to royalties from the sales.

    (Kira) Sales? What the hell are people selling that I am entitled to royalty fees?

    (Larson) Oh, this is going to be good.

    (Lawyer) Your likeness has been quite popular this year with the upcoming Festival of Masks. So everyone who makes a mask of you for sale has to pay a royalty fee.

    My jaw just about hit the tarmac with that. I just could not fathom the idea of my face being popular enough for use in the Festival of Masks to warrant royalty payments. Then I saw just how much was transferred to my accounts. It wasn’t an immense amount of money, but I had a good idea how much the typical mask sold for and how much of that went to royalties. Doing the math came up with a number significantly higher than I would ever have imagined. My astonishment became even worse as we arrived in Crevasse City and I saw the preparations for the festival that night starting. A significant fraction of the costumes and such were of me and my companions.

    This was disturbing on a number of levels. Last time I was anywhere near this world, I was being reviled as a Sith Lord come to conquer then destroy the planet. Why in the Galaxy my face was the popular one to wear this year was hard to fathom. I found myself staring at a pair play dueling with a faux lightsabers in disbelief. Officer Larson must have seen the look on my face. He and the others in the police escort had switched into costumes to better fit into the crowds while still wearing the police armbands signifying their real status.

    (Larson) I take it something about this is eating at you?

    (Kira) Last time around, my name was enough to send people running in a panic and started a massive shootout. Why am I this popular?

    (Larson) Well, not everyone thinks this is proper. Beasley’s fans all think this is incredibly distasteful and have been protesting the whole event. Those that believe everything the Jedi say all think Beasley is a loon. A lot of rest simply go with what they are seeing in the news all the time.

    (Kira) What I see in the news all the time is Death Asteroids, Sith Assassins, destroying planets, and commanding armies of Yeveetha.

    (Larson) And none of that has ever been verified except for the wild rantings of a crazy old lady. What has been seen on the news here has been the immense bounty on your head and the remarkable lack of bodies you’ve left in your wake. The recordings of you protecting children from that monster Leucross and how you helped overthrow a major Sith Lord have also had a hand in making the more rebellious youth see Kira Keldav as a role model and a hero.

    (Kira) A role model?

    (Larson) I find you to be a pain in the neck at times, as I imagine most of the authorities in the Galaxy do. But I have to admit you’ve done some good things.

    Alys, Ben, and the others thought it was quite amusing – especially the “Jacob” masks and the wooden lightsabers for those who wanted to be risque. Ben, Alys, and Lazlo got some masks of themselves, while Vi went for a Kira mask – and Handell got a beer keg mask.

    With that, we began to wander around the quickly starting festivities. My initial plan had been to visit the house to see what traps were waiting there. While that would likely result in the destruction of the house, the thought that Mrs Beasley’s house would get caught in the ensuing destruction was a tempting one. Visiting the parents of my friends might also trigger traps, but then that would be including them in the line of fire. And it wasn’t like I could pose dramatically, make a tongue-in-cheek monologue and expect everyone to flee. All that would do is draw attention and a crowd. There really was no good way to find the trappers without springing the trap it seemed. If there were any trappers here. I could sense the other party members arriving in the city, and I could feel the various other people in the city too. But I didn’t sense any blank spots like Codex users save for the party members.

    Speaking of which, had I not become “used” to seeing clones of most of them, this would have been a really weird day. My ability with the Force made it easy to tell who was wearing costumes and who was not so there was no awkward moments there. What was weird was seeing myself as a costume for others to wear. A part of me had been wondering when the pretenders would start showing up, I just hadn’t expected it to occur all at once like this. Some of those costumes were pretty elaborate and ostentatious too.

    Soon enough Ben and Alys met up with me. Vi and Lazlo went off to play the various games, while Shipwreck and Handell had apparently disappeared to go get drunk or something. I still wasn’t picking up anything with my senses other than a vague sense of unease that was hard to place. Ben and Alys I think were having too much fun impersonating themselves to really put much thought into what to do next as I ended up getting dragged to a play. That was a piece in what I figured the locals would consider incredibly bad taste as the play told the story of how the Sith were the ones to rise up against the Infinite Empire and liberate the Galaxy. The Sith mostly died heroically vanquishing the threat and the Jedi then stepped in to seal away the remnants of the Infinite Empire so that it would never trouble the galaxy again take credit and bring peace.

    To me this seemed like ancient Sith propaganda, but I also suspected that it had a kernel of truth to it as well. After all, the Jedi weren’t much for rising up, seizing military command, and striking down their enemies… Personally, I doubt there was nearly as much of a distinction between the Jedi and the Sith at the fall of the Infinite Empire as there was now. Indeed, I figure it was probable that many of those that fought the Rakata would be classified as Sith today. Hell, depending on a person’s definition, I was a Sith. I never have learned about the origin of the split between the Jedi and the Sith except that it seemed to follow some time after the fall of the Infinite Empire. Part of me wondered if it was simply that the Rakata blew up Sith with those massive weapons of theirs.

    Apparently the audience thought the play wasn’t so good, even as a work of fiction, as they quickly dispersed after the play and didn’t mill around to discuss it much. As I got up to leave, I noticed that Ben seemed to have gone catatonic. A quick snap of the fingers in front of his eyes and poking him in the shoulder provoked no response. Reaching out with the Force, I could tell he was alive, but something was….. off about him. Ah, now I recognized the problem, Ben was using that damned reploid technology of his to run around Alderaan. Given the lack of a consciousness, I would say that something had cut off the link to the real Ben somehow.

    Could someone be jamming him? I suppose that was a possibility, but I found it hard to imagine that anyone even knew to look for this sort of technology. And if someone was jamming unidentified signals on general principle, then they were either incredibly stupid or paranoid. So someone probably wasn’t jamming him then. Probably unintentional interference or a technical malfunction then. Officer Larson, Alys, and the other police officers noticed Ben’s condition and started their own diagnostics while I sat back and considered the options. Trying to scan for any interference was going to be awkward without Shipwreck since we didn’t quite know what to look for. I wasn’t quite sure what ship Ben had arrived in to begin looking for him either. Besides, that was going to be very difficult to explain to the police that I was wanting to find Ben’s ship so that I could find where his mind went.

    Ben, meanwhile, had seen everything go dark and quiet… It took him a moment to realize that it wasn’t the lights and such in the theater; it was that sensory input from his replica had been cut off.

    That turned out to be because his ship had been boarded by a Holosith who was trying MUCH too hard to be impressive – and was wearing a powered exoskeleton to mount his armor on – and some minions. They were now in hyperspace heading for wherever-it-was that the Holosith considered his base.. The Holosith wanted him to build a hand-held superweapon capable of destroying Alderaan.

    Ben went to quite a lot of trouble to persuade the youngster that there were superweapons already on Alderaan, and that he could look for them safely by trying out the Reploid technology. They could return to Alderaan and descend and start using the databanks to begin the search!

    The reploid-clone turned out to be… a teenage boy. So much for the big impressive armor. And so much for notions of just disposing of the inconvenience; he’d just have to get the kid into their experimental treatment program.

    Besides… He wasn’t sure that a hand-held planet destroyer was even possible, much less something that he could whip up on the spur of the moment even if he WANTED to come up with something like that! (Was the Sith kid just deluded, or did his reputation really imply that he could?)

    Meanwhile, back on Alderaan…

    At that point I became aware of a number of ushers beginning to circle our position around Ben. It looked like their clothing was a lot bulkier than it had any right to be and there were a lot more of them than would be needed to clean this theater. Perhaps it was a deliberate jamming after all?

    (Kira) Can I help you?

    (Usher) Is there perhaps a problem?

    (Kira) It looks like one of my friends has had a seizure after that light display.

    (Usher) Unfortunate, would you like us to call for medical assistance?

    (Kira) Shouldn’t be necessary, although thank you.

    (Usher) In the meantime, we have an urgent call for the young lady. If you would follow us please, we can take you to a private booth to receive the call.

    That was a blatant attempt to lure Alys away from the rest of us if I ever saw one. The police were still busy poking at Ben’s reploid, but Alys had caught on to what was happening with the ushers. I was about to call out the ushers on their weak excuse for a lure when Alys suddenly announced that she would gladly go along with them. Catching her eye, I realized she intended to get caught and reveal the identity of whoever it was that was directing these people. Perhaps that would give us the lead we were looking for. But why were they going after Alys? Were they trying to remove all of my allies before engaging me directly? In ways that helped me more than it would help the attackers since I could then fully cut loose with the less discreet techniques.

    A few minutes later it looked like Alys had reappeared around the corner chatting excitedly on a commlink, except that her personal Force presence (as weak as it is) was clearly moving away from here at significant speed. I proceeded to head out of the theatre as Officer Larson followed protesting.

    Alys had been handed an old-style sensory immersion helmet to take her message on. That was so obvious that it was hard to take seriously! It looked like it had… knockout gas in the scent-generating mechanism.

    She faked semiconsciousness, and her kidnappers cheerily carried her off – to a very palatial ship indeed. With quite a few guards, and big ramps…

    Oh dear. A Hutt. This wasn’t an attack, it was a very insistent offer of employment!

    The Hutts wanted her too… hack into the republics central financial network on Coruscant and help them with a few projects – some immense money-laundering schemes, transferring some funds, and other financial shenanigans. They were willing to offer her rather a lot to help them – and she wasn’t in a good position to escape either.

    Wait a moment… The RDF finances – or at least a portion of them – came from the Senate. With the Hutts information to help her, maybe she COULD crack the network and trace it!

    The knew something about the RDF already? How could…

    Hutts were highly resistant to force-based mind control. They couldn’t protect gear or others from the Censor, but they could remember… And had trouble with skills, which was why they needed so many servants and translator-droids – and relied so much on crime and bribery rather than the usual droid-based economy.

    That had made them the Infinite Empires secondary administrative species – and, when the Infinite Empire had come apart, they’d just… taken over in their own right.

    Hm. The Hutts were also willing to search for Kira’s family and help out her brother’s military career. She think discreet protection would be better – and she should be able to get out of this just fine without any assistance or violence, albeit with some loss of moral decency…

    She came to an agreement, parted amicably, and talked with a few other festival-goers (including a kid who liked her Alys mask; he’d collected his masks every year!) Before she told the police that she’d been kidnaped, but that the kidnapers had run off when they thought that Kira was hot on their trail – and headed back towards the others.

    Back at the theater…

    (Larson) Hey, your friend is back there is a coma or something and you’re leaving?

    (Kira) First off, that is just a remotely operated body he is using to pretend to be here. Second, someone has grabbed Alys and looks to be making their way to the spaceport.

    (Larson) Alys? She’s over there talking on the commlink.

    (Kira) That’s a droid made to look like her.

    (Larson) What? Oh for the love of the Force.

    He promptly went off to get the other police chasing down Alys while getting Ben medical assistance. In the meantime, I suddenly received a message from Alys indicating she was alright and in the presence of a Hutt wanting to bargain with her. That wasn’t what I was expecting, but since she was indicating that she was alright for the time being, I wasn’t going to make an issue of it yet.

    Vi and Lazlo had gone to see some competitions – and had started an argument with the Mrs Beasley supporters. This had become a brawl (which they were both enjoying very much) but it went more than a bit overboard as Vi went into hypertime, Lazlo spread the word that Vi was one of “Kira’s Death Clones!”, and the fire-extinguisher systems went off…

    There was a mighty brawl – from which Vi managed to escape unharmed (thanks to armor and defenses) unidentified thanks to the fire-extinguishing foam and Lazlo claimed self-defense on…

    The Flash Lynch Mob had been a surprise though – as had been the attempt to crash a vehicle into Lazlo, the illegal cyro-needler, and the news-scenes of “Kira” disarming the valiant people of Alderaan one after another.

    The news media, of course, reported what they’d seen – “Kira” defeating dozens, being near-invulnerable, and then (apparently) teleporting away. After all, Kira HAD recently captured a bunch of cloner-specialists. The “Death Clones” weren’t TOTALLY implausible.

    It was about that time that I started hearing screams that Kira Keldav was attacking in the plaza. That quickly brought Officer Larson back out of the theatre ready to yell at me but he caught himself when he saw me standing there as dumbfounded as he was. Then one of the big screens on one of the nearby buildings lit up with news footage of a “battle” being fought by Lazlo and someone in Hypertime against what looked to be Mrs Beasley enthusiasts. It didn’t look like anyone was getting injured yet and the area was quickly getting saturated with fire suppression foam. Reaching out with the Force, I could feel the presence of a hole that I was beginning to recognize was Vi. Comparing my Force sense against the video display confirmed that it indeed looked like the “Kira” was indeed Vi in disguise. Vi then dove into one of the piles of foam and slipped away without the mask.

    That started prompting cries that Kira Keldav was now teleporting to escape the area. Lazlo responding to news and police questioning with some nonsense of “Death Clones”. That then provoked more hysteria that I now had teleporting death clones out to do my dirty work for me now that I had recently knocked over a major cloning facility not too long ago.

    Oh for the love of…..

    It seems like no matter what I do, someone finds a way to make it look bad for me. Vi I could tell was insufferably pleased with himself about this. Officer Larson was watching the screens next to me and looked like he was torn between laughing and sighing in exasperation.

    (Larson) Is it always like this around you?

    (Kira) My reputation these days has very little to do with anything I’ve actually done. It’s been incredibly frustrating to be accused of all sorts of nonsense I had no part of and yet have it all stick to me.

    (Larson) I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a person’s reputation often has little to do with what they actually do.

    (Kira) Forgive me if I don’t find that reassuring.

    (Larson) Well consider it karma for all the headaches you put me through.

    Alys then got me on the private comm channel and announced that she had made a deal with the Hutts. The Hutts would help us track down the RDF’s funding in exchange for assistance in releasing some of their funds that had been frozen by Republic authorities for some time now. She didn’t go into much more detail than the fact that the Hutts apparently were immune to the influences of the Censor and could help track the RDF.

    Vi and Lazlo showed up not too much later. Vi particularly had an insufferable grin on his face. I was about to punch him on the nose in retaliation when the lights all across the city flickered, came back on, flickered again, came on, went out a third time and didn’t come back. I held off on giving Vi my gratitude as I looked at Officer Larson. He was on his commlink trying to get a report on the situation. Soon he reported that it looked like there had been a malfunction of the main power generator, the secondary feed that was fed under the river exploded, and the tertiary feed at the top of the cliff also suffered from a malfunction of some sort. Now everything in the city was on backup power or batteries.

    I don’t think anyone there thought this was a coincidence.

    The police suddenly found their hands full trying to get a handle on the situation as a call went out across the city for everyone to return home and await restoration of power. Alys started using that datapad of hers to try and get a handle on the situation while the police were complaining that Ben’s comatose body was declaring to have been kidnapped by the Sith and was now plunging down the cliff wall with him in tow.

    Unfortunately that sense of unease was growing in my mind. Reaching out with the Force, I tried to feel out for incoming dangers and trouble. Focusing hard, I suddenly was able to discern a number of blank spots in my perception moving this direction. Whatever those were, they felt vaguely hungry and were completely blank to my senses otherwise. That felt like the vampiric space moss shielding at a guess. Why that stuff would be in the air moving towards the city had ominous implications though. Officer Larson must have seen my unease.

    (Larson) Repair crews and service vehicles are already on their way. Is something wrong?

    (Kira) There are a number of blank spots in my perception moving this way quickly. At a guess, I would say it’s vehicles equipped with Force shielding.

    (Larson) Force shielding? Then how can you see it?

    (Kira) It’s like seeing still water in a swiftly moving stream. It stands out if you know what to look for. I can’t tell anything about what is inside, but I can guess who they are after.

    (Larson) So we’ve got stories of Kira Death Clones attacking party-goers, Ben Therus running around with a Sith trying to blow up Alderaan, massive power outages across the city, and an attack group of Force hunters and who knows what else coming to kill you?

    (Kira) That sounds about right.

    (Larson) Yet I’ve watched you the entire time and you sat quietly in a theater being perfectly well behaved.

    (Kira) I know right? Who would have thought that a juvenile delinquint like me would be this undeserving of such hostility?

    (Larson) It’s like responding to those old calls from Mrs Beasley all over again. Except she wasn’t carrying heavy weaponry and taking matters into her own hands.

    I looked back at the horizon towards the incoming ships laden with Force shielding and had to agree. And again I had to think to myself that this whole plan was a bad idea from the get-go. Pulling this off without heavy casualties was not going to be easy.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 76

    Galactic Senate's coat of arms.

    Now Who?

    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.

    (Kira) About?

    (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.

    (Kira) Invest?

    (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.

    (Kira) Understood.

    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 75 Appendum

    A Tusken Raider, a native inhabitant of Tatooine.

    More dangerous than you think

    With that we were led back to the surface. I slung the stasised trader over the back of one of the pack animals and tied him down. Telepathically directing the animal to follow along, we loaded up and started back for Mos Losa. The journey wasn’t the fastest, but we weren’t harassed by Sand People and the one Jawa group promptly turned around and left the moment they saw us. Six days later we were back in Mos Losa. Once we arrived, I took the trader to one of the hospitals. There I dropped him off, announced that his payment for the medical bills would come out of the sale of the various goods we brought back, I muttered something about idiot Jedi, and left. The various doctors and nurses all looked rather stunned by it all as they didn’t say a word except to nod as I left.

    I made sure to wander around the city a bit visiting one or two of the bars after that just to display the little ornamental trinkets I was now wearing. That certainly raised some eyebrows. After eating a decent meal and having enough to quench my thirst, I loaded into the waiting freighter Augusta and Nimh were aboard as we took off into the depths of space and hyperspace. I updated Nimh on what we found and handed over the information we had been given by the Rakata for her to analyze. While she studied that, I did my best to get all the sand off of my clothing and equipment before giving up on it as a lost cause. The best I could do was to get myself clean and stuff all the sand riddled equipment into a bag for Ban and the techs to clean for me.

    Once we got back aboard the Mrs Beasley, Vi cornered me asking excitedly about my robes and where he could get a set like my own. Why exactly he felt the need for this was beyond me, but I informed him that unfortunately while I had spare sets, I wasn’t about to part with them. And it wasn’t like the droids and technicians we had were up to the task of making something that specific and high quality. And sadly, the tailor he did make them for me was sadly out of reach given my notoriety.

    (Vi) I could go! I am not wanted like you are so there should be no problem with me recruiting him!

    Well, I had to admit Vi had a point. And I’ve been wanting to secure Qwuam’s services for quite a long time now and haven’t had the opportunity. I could think of several things I could use his help on. At which point Vi showed me some sort of jumpsuit he apparently acquired from the Rakata. As best as I understood the what he was describing to me, that system would take incoming energy and generate a weak shield effect in response to the attack. That and some sort of subspace cooling apparatus had gotten Vi really excited about additional modifications to my robe design for his personal use. I had to sit back and wonder how intelligent it was to use that sort of a system while phasing, and I had concerns about hauling around a subspace refrigeration system while using my powers.

    Well, there shouldn’t be any harm in letting him go try to recruit Qwuam. At least I hope there isn’t. Hmm, it might not be a bad idea to get Qwuam to make some nice things for Valerie. Hopefully that might help make up for some things. Oh dear, she wanted to go someplace nice, and now we might be bringing aboard a tailor able to make some really fine clothing. Why do I get the suspicion that something dreadfully formal is about to come up

    My thoughts on that line were diverted when I saw Alys. I walked up to her and handed her a datapad.

    (Alys) What’s this?

    (Kira) Some new recruits I made arrangements with from Tatooine. The details of locations and numbers are on there. Oh, and while it doesn’t say to on the datapad, send shipments of pickles and other vegetables on those transports.

    (Alys) Pickles?!?!?!

    (Kira) I’m feeling generous.

    (Alys) Where did you find recruits to help us on Tatooine? You recruiting Sand People or something?

    (Kira) Why, yes, I am. How did you guess?

    (Alys) Of all the $*(&*#$^

    She went into a storm of cursing and saying not particular pleasant things about my ancestry, Hybrids, troublemagnets, and myself specifically. I ignored her while grinning with the knowledge that the swearing is likely to be heard across the Galaxy when Alys finds out that Sand People are Rakata variants. That was half the fun of it. I left Alys to scream at the wall as I considered the next move.

    Obviously scouting out the Rakata facilities not under RDF control for salvage was a priority, but various teams of technicians and Rakata can handle that well enough. Scouting for RDF facilities to capture was another priority, but care would need to be taken to keep from running into a Starbreaker. I am probably going to have to have a talk with the Furipedes about Starbreaker conversion kits for the ships we have. Given some ships converted and perhaps a few Starbreakers found and salvaged, we might even be able to take the fight to the RDF directly.

    That still left the mystery of the location of my family and friends. The Galaxy is a big place and even our talents at precognition and probability analysis wasn’t going to get us anywhere. Trying to take our information from the captured RDF Breakers and trying to work our way up the chain of command to capture someone knowledgible is going to take awhile too.

    Hmm, it may be prudent to try from the other direction. It has been said that the RDF has at least tacit support from some members of the Senate, and there are Senate Subcommittees that have been demanding audiences with Alys, Ben, and I. I wonder how much those two facts line up? That may be the next thing to look at then, in addition to finding out where the RDF’s funding is coming from.

    I will dismantle the RDF.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 75

    Back towards the galactic core, the JLA had a consultation of their own underway… It would take at least an additional month for the republic fleet to complete their own version of the Ratsoogomoz, and every day meant more Yeveetha attacks. Just as importantly, Lazlo had checked in, and had apparently escaped from Yeveetha space and back to the Mrs Beasley with a Yeveetha computer core full of navigational data.

    If the Yeveetha could be cut off from their home worlds, and pinned down before they could usurp a local industrial base, it would turn a long war of attrition into a relatively short war of extermination. Much as they hated to rely on wild cards and trouble magnets, taking Kira, Alys, and Ben up on their offer to deploy the Ratsoogomoz – as guided by the navigational data that had somehow wound up in their hands – was the only tenable solution.

    Given that the Mrs Beasley was off the grid, they sent Vi via a high-speed courier to act as liaison.

    Unfortunately, he hadn’t yet arrived when the conference started.

    Planning turned to our next objective. Again it was obvious that our means of directly assisting in the Yeveetha war was less than ideal. Plus, while it looked like the destruction was going to be pretty significant, things looked like the Republic was winning the war. Short-circuiting the last Sith War had saved a lot of equipment – and left everything already mobilized. Still no word from the Republic on our proposal to set up a regional interdictor field in the area using the Ratsoogomoz. So that issue was put on the back burner for the time being. Still, the upgrades to the Zomogoostar were running along nicely, if a bit slowly. Hopefully we could be ready to intervene in multiple regions this way soon. On the plus side of things too was the fact that the bounty on my head had dropped significantly. It had been well over thirty billion, but was now in the range of twenty billion. What information we could get on that suggested that a single group had put up at least ten to fifteen billion of it. About the only group we could think of that had that kind of money and the motive to use it against me was the RDF.

    At this point everyone could agree that the RDF was completely out of control, a danger to galactic civilization, and in need of a serious attitude adjustment. Unfortunately, the RDF had the weaponry at their disposal to actually present a significant threat to the Mrs Beasley, as Jacob and the Rakata had proven not all that long ago. So going off and directly assaulting the major bases of the RDF was going to prove exceedingly costly at best. So we needed to avoid any of the facilities where there might be Starbreakers until such a time when we had the resources to simply overwhelm the Starbreakers before they could fire in return.

    Plus there was the big unknown as to where my family and friends were being held. Unfortunately, I suspected the RDF were hiding my family on a Starbreaker or in a system with at least one StarBreaker locally. Given what information we and the JLA could put together, the sheer number of bases and facilities under RDF control was going to make any sort of a search incredibly time-consuming if not a complete waste of time. We needed to narrow the list of possible targets while also salvaging what we could of the remainder. Getting our hands on some Starbreakers of our own wouldn’t be bad either. But how to narrow down where to look?

    Ben suggested that we find an alternate dimension where Valerie and I were married and already had a child. He then wanted to get recordings of the wedding and baby pictures to broadcast in our galaxy. The theory in his mind was that since the RDF was so keen on getting ahold of my family and friends, that they would be especially fixated on getting ahold of my own child. Both Valerie and I were taken aback by this proposal. I was hostile to using alternate children of mine as bait on general principle. Valerie had similar concerns and in addition was not happy with the idea of trying to explain that one to her family. I had to admit, the idea of trying to explain it to my parents, let alone her parents was really discouraging the idea. Plus, I didn’t want to meet a version of myself willing to use his kid as bait either – even if it was in an alternate dimension.

    With that idea shot down, speculation turned to other possibilities. Rumors of Ben building superweapons were possible, if not for the fact that much of the Galaxy already believes he is doing just that even when he’s building kitchen appliances (although, sometimes, with Ben it could be hard to tell the difference). Lazlo’s facetious suggestion of an offer to freely distribute Ben’s got him a look from Alys that could have frozen a supernova, and probably wouldn’t work anyway. Using the families of other party members as bait had issues too. Besides myself, Alys was the only one with anything like a normal family life to hold hostage and yet the RDF had no particular interest in her as best as we could tell. That led to the idea of my appearing on the Mrs Beasley Show to try and stir up the rabble. That one I just rejected outright given how much trouble had been caused by me inadvertently stirring up the rabble.

    Which led to us circling right back around to us assaulting the RDF and making ourselves enough of a pain to force the RDF to trot out their hostages. That meant knocking over RDF facilities, and the only facilities we had the resources to assault were the minor ones without Starbreakers. So that brought us back to staring at the large list of RDF and Infinite Empire facilities again. First off, we sorted that list into two groups: RDF and not RDF. That led to a number of them being marked “tentative” one way or another, but our information was limited on some of these worlds. With those lists filled out as best as we were confident, our next task was splitting the RDF list into those worlds likely to have Starbreakers, and those unlikely to have Starbreakers. Unfortunately, that split was even more tenative than the first given the sparse information we had.

    By the time they had all that research done, Vi had caught up with them – the Mrs Beasley was hardly the fastest ship around – and preparations for dispatching the Ratsoogomoz were well underway. With the military cryptology droids Vi had brought along and both force and codex users to advise them, the data-translation would be complete in only a few days.

    Another side-trip wouldn’t make any difference in the launch time, so why not?

    One thing did catch our eye though. From what information we were able to collect and pool together, six major Infinite Empire bases – facilities capable of independently building Starbreakers from scratch – likely were still somewhat intact after the Final War: Coruscant, Alderaan, Tatooine, Corellia, and two others in disputed territories. Ben started getting really excited about the one on Coruscant until I finally announced confirmation that it was fairly thoroughly destroyed. That led to some looks at me from Targus, but I didn’t volunteer any further information. Alderaan’s facility though was also looking like it had been destroyed or ruined according to the records. Digging into that showed that the supposed location of the facility was where the hypertunnel attack all those millennia ago had been focused. Oddly, we found where much of that material had gone and we had seen no evidence of an artificial structure there except for the hypertunnel superweapon. Valerie confirmed that her team had found much of the same before they had been forced to leave.

    So that left a few possibilities: the Sith had missed, the base had been hypertunneled out and then scattered across space, or that it was intact somewhere. The idea that the Sith had retrieved it and taken it back to their section of space was hard to believe simply because I would have expected an attempt to use it afterwards. I suppose it was possible the whole thing was a charade on the RDF’s part to steal the base for themselves, but something about that scenario seemed unlikely. Still it might be prudent to go looking at some point to see if the fate of the base could be uncovered. Unfortunately for that idea, my sheer notoriety made any attempt to go to Alderaan to conduct an investigation fraught with difficulty. Same basic premise held for Corellia give a number of factors.

    That did leave Tatooine though. It was likely to be intact given that the planet had survived (if barely). I suspect though that the Hutts would have realized the presence of a secret Republic military base on the planet if the RDF was there. The Censor could work some headbangingly stupid miracles, but that one I had to write off as even beyond it’s means. That meant we had the location of a probable major Infinite Empire facility that no one was in possession of. The Hutts might contest that idea if something were discovered, but that could be dealt with later. It also had the benefit of the fact that no one was looking for Kira Keldav there. Even if it was a haven for bounty hunters, the odds of a major disaster unfolding there were significantly less than someplace like Alderaan.

    Plus it was likely that if we did find something there, it might give us indications on the locations of other Infinite Empire facilities that we didn’t know about. After more discussion and debate regarding various details of the plan, it was eventually decided that Nimh, Ben, Vi, and I would go to the planet separately, meet, and then try to investigate the whereabouts of the facility if it still existed. I elected to head to the planet using the Verun Navaro ID again. Looking into the future, about all I could see was a potential for conflict with unknown assailants and something about potential allies. Consulting with the Optimize technique however led to more interesting and yet nonsensical results: a jar of pickled vegetables, a molecular analyzer, skimmer power cables, a flaregun, and oxygills.

    Most of those seemed like the sort of thing that would pop up as a spur of the moment need difficult to predict in advance. But the oxygills were something else. There shouldn’t be enough water on Tatooine to require the need for anything like that. Unless I was going to need to hide in a Hutt swimming pool for hours on end, something strange was going on. Oh well, I called up the list of items to be prepared for my departure as I packed up my tools, weapons, and supplies.

    Valerie directed Augusta to be my pilot and to use one of the freighters we had stashed away. Augusta didn’t seem to be happy with courier duty, but went along with it. Nimh insisted on being on the same ship I took though, much to my annoyance. At least she said she wasn’t likely to leave the ship unless it was an emergency. With all our stuff loaded aboard, we departed for Tatooine. The journey itself was largely uneventful with only some more annoying questions from the Twi’lek regarding my time with the RDF. I answered them to the best of my ability, although I did get annoyed at her tendency to rephrase questions just to see if I answered differently. When I wasn’t busily answering questions, I spent my time trying to get the Verun disguise set up.

    Soon enough we ended up in the Tatooine system, and the place was as suspiciously busy as always. Now we had a good understanding of why though – a major hyperspace nexus and rich crystal resources, even if the biosphere was pretty throughly burned off. Still, it just reinforced the image in my mind of just how badly damaged our Galaxy was. Part of me wondered if terraforming would suffice to repair the damage or if we were going to have to find a source of new planets and stars somewhere. The Final Empire solution was ethically unacceptable though, and building a system able to just generate suffficient mass/energy to make more was asking for someone to hijack it as a weapon. Hmm, Ilia suggested that careless use of Hexcrafting led to the generation of empty timelines. I wonder how much gets generated during such a split….

    A quick look at the planet showed much of the place to be a barren wasteland, which was no surprise. Trying to deduce where in all of this place one might hide an Infinite Empire base was a difficult manner though. Nimh was busily trying to do various statistical analyses of the seismographic data and wasn’t having much luck. On a hunch I asked her what locations were presumably underwater before the cataclysm. With that she overlaid some blue highlighted sections on the display. I then asked her to show the locations of all the major current settlements. That resulted in a number of yellow dots appearing, but few in locations highlighted blue. It made sense why the Rakata might put such a facility underwater, but why no one had moved in since the oceans dried up was a mystery to me. It was Nimh that figured out that the blue region was largely unsettled since it was Sand People territory.

    That was interesting. Could the Sand People be the remnants of a slave species that had been responsible for maintenance or something? Looking up what data was available on Sand People turned up a surprisingly sparse amount of data. No corpses were ever found in the desert, and attempts to forcibly capture one had always resulted in the capture team being hunted down and exterminated. Some of those capture teams had a considerable amount of hardware at their disposal and still were lost. The Sand People were fiercely isolationist and no one was even sure what they looked like. My thoughts then immediately turned back to the oxygills Optimization had told me to bring and I began to harbor suspicions of what was really going on.

    Regardless, we were quickly enough hailed by the local port authority. Augusta gave our identification codes and requested permission to land. Without any major hiccups, we were given permission to land at Mos Losa. I directed Augusta to watch the ship and Nimh said she wasn’t leaving the ship either, but both would respond to commlink requests if needed. With that sorted out, I left the ship to meet with the clerk that had arrived outside with a clipboard. I walked up to him while trying to project an air of malice about myself.

    (Clerk) Your name please?

    (Verun) Verun Navaro.

    (Clerk) I see you appear to be a Sith then. Please note that any trouble you may cause will result in the Hutts unleashing their new Force Bounty Hunters upon you. I can assure you that the odds of your survival in that circumstance is quite low.

    (Verun) That sounds like a bluff.

    (Clerk) A recent addition my employers have acquired, they have already proven quite effective. I assure you that they were quite expensive and have been worth every credit.

    (Verun) Yes, I am quite sure whatever animal you have acquired is quite good at killing the riff-raff. Now do you have anything else to say to me besides this senseless bragging?

    (Clerk) Indeed, I would ask your business here on Tatooine.

    (Verun) I have received a vision that I am to meet with the Sand People and commune with them.

    That certainly seemed to surprise him. He gave me warnings regarding the dangers of interacting with the Sand People, but I gave him with an annoyed glare. After he filled out a few more forms, I was free to depart the ship and visit the planet. With that over with, I went back aboard the ship, grabbed my bags, and moved to get on my bike when Nimh stopped me.

    (Nimh) You should be aware that all this sand is going to tear up that caterpillar system in short order. Then it will have to be cleaned and refurbished yet again.

    Damn it all, I finally get myself a nice bike to ride, find a place with wide open spaces that I could really open up on, and now I am told I can’t ride it for fear of sandblasting the internals of the bike. I wonder if Smoche would be open to the suggestion of building a track aboard the Mrs Beasley for racing on. With a sigh of annoyance, I slung the bag over my shoulder and walked out into the streets of Mos Losa.

    It was hot, dry, and dusty. The streets were also filled with all sorts of thieves, smugglers, slavers, bounty hunters, thugs, and other low-lifes. A number of beggars and street vendors tried to sell me various slaves, lightsaber crystals, fragmentary or (almost certainly) fake holocrons (although they mostly seemed to think they were real; the knowing fakers probably didn’t want to try to fool a Sith), supposed locations of holocrons, and other trinkets of marginal value. Part of me idly thought that it might be prudent for me to pick up a “slave” at some point just to better facilitate the impression that Verun Navaro is a Varen Sith expecting a noble’s pandering, but now was not the time. Especially since I had just given Valerie such a hard time over Gab. Oh well, I will make it up to her at some point.

    Ben was quite pleased! One of the vendors had a pistol-sheathe fitted up with a cloaking crystal that could render it – and a pistol inside – invisible for a few hours. It was minuscule, but it was a genuine cloaking crystal! He’d been looking for one of those to analyze for months!

    What news there was on the street – at least about me – was about how the bounty on Kira Keldav was continuing to drop. Not as fast as it was a couple weeks ago, but still on the decline. It looked like it was on track to level off at about fifteen billion credits. It was also interesting to hear the bounty hunters all look at that bounty and announce it to be a fool’s game. Apparently my continued evasion of the most determined of snares was finally beginning to pay off. Now if I could just get rid of that last fifteen billion and find my family, life would be good.

    I was a bit startled to hear a Hutt announce in the streets that he alone could defeat the legendary Kira Keldav. Realizing that he was not directly referring to my presence there, I wandered in closer to catch what was going on. I saw a Hutt sitting at a table in front of a restaurant. It looked like he had quite the crowd gathered there as he continued his spiel.

    (Hutt) It’s quite simple! Kira Keldav never turns down a challenge!

    (Verun) Is that so? News to me. I was under the impression that all he did was run away. So what sort of challenge do you think the “legendary” Kira Keldav would not turn down?

    (Hutt) I propose an eating contest! Kira Keldav versus myself! We shall eat so much that he will fall into a coma from the exertion! At which point I shall be victorious!

    Well, I had to grant him that the plan would undoubtedly work. Except only if Kira Keldav really never backed away from a challenge. Where exactly he got the impression that Kira Keldav never backed down was an open question, but if he felt it would drum up more business for his restaurant, then more power to him. I certainly wasn’t going to begrudge him the rather benign use of my name.

    Just for amusement value, I did decide to dine at the restaurant and have something to eat while I studied a map of the planet. Nimh had loaded my datapad with all the data she thought relevant to my needs and I was looking at the various overlays while reaching out with the Force. It was obvious that the locations heavily settled by the Sand People were also the same areas that were heavily resistant to any probing with the Force. Biggest blank spot was at the bottom of the ancient sea bed where it was also said the largest Sand People population center was located. It was definitely looking like the connection between the Sand People and the Infinite Empire facility was growing stronger.

    Part of me wondered if it might still be a RDF base now and the precognition shielding might be more of the vampiric space moss stuff. But I was having a hard time reconciling what I knew of the RDF with what few details we had regarding the Sand People. The RDF was not indirect and didn’t try to hide in the shadows because they trusted in the Censor to protect them. The Sand People were evidently trying to hide something though. About the only scenario that made sense to me was Rakata or one of their slave species. Which of the two it was is an open question and would require actually meeting a Sand Person.

    With that decided I finished the rest of my meal and continued to thumb through the notes of the planet’s history when someone sat down at the table I was sitting at. Looking up, I saw that it was Vi dressed as a Jedi and Ben was dressed like some ridiculous fantasy wizard or something. The feelings of indignation and disgust must have been evident in my eyes as many of the other patrons in the restaurant promptly vacated or readied weapons of their own.

    (Verun) What do you want? I have no quarrel with either of you yet.

    (Ben) We were going to meet with the Sand People and thought you might want to come along with us.

    (Vi) Yeah, the more the merrier!

    You know, I seriously entertained the idea of killing one of them right then and there followed by claiming it was an accident. I wouldn’t even need to come up with an excuse considering everyone at the restaurant was expecting me to do that anyway. In fact, not doing that was going to raise more eyebrows than massacring everyone here on general principle.

    (Verun) As much as I would like to gut you for the impertinence of seating yourself at the same table as myself, I fear the Hutt’s new pets might make that costly for me. With that said, you haven’t given me what I think would be a good reason to venture with you out into the desert alone.

    (Vi) We found a guide that trades with the Sand People on a regular basis!

    (Ben) And we have indications from the Force that you wish to speak with the Sand People as well.

    A Jedi, a Sith, and Wizard walk alone in the desert…..

    (Verun) Fine, although I cannot be held responsible for any “accidents” that might take place out in the desert.

    There wasn’t much of any acting required to make it clear that Verun was not entirely happy with this plan or to be travelling with two other Force users like this. People made an effort to avoid being in my path as we made our way towards the trader contact Vi had spoken of. The reaction on the trader’s face when he saw the weird collection of people come to see him was enough to sour my mood even further. Was it stuff like this that drove Valerie to the Dark Side? Or is my acting of the role becoming too good?

    Once the trader got over his shock, he began to recite a long list of warnings and cautions with regards to travelling in the desert and meeting with the Sand People. None of the cultural taboos were especially odd save for the sheer isolationism shown. Ben and Vi then went to go hunting for trade goods to sell while I sat back under an awning and away from the sun. Thankfully my robes were keeping me cool for the most part, but the sand was quickly getting everywhere. While I waited for the others to get their stuff ready, I practiced various combinations of Inner Control, Telekinesis, and Personal Environment to better handle the heat, dry air, and sand. Quickly enough I managed to work up a solution to the problem and so I started experimenting with shunting in food and water using my bag to hide the process. Water was easy enough, but food wasn’t quite as cooperative. Ah well, stocking up on rations to put in the bag was another easy task.

    Ben found that rather interesting… The sandpeople traded for food flavorings (understandable given the limited variety around HERE), fabrics (also scarce), explosive ammunition – which would require a major chemicals industry – and several types of plastic stock. Insulation and sealing? They certainly had enough crystals of various types…

    Were they using that to build old-style Rakata weapons? Hard to say; plastics were just too versatile…

    Vi had arranged for them to be followed by by a high-altitude and rather well-camouflaged ship with a droid crew. Might as well get everything recorded and have some fire-support and an escape route on hand!

    Finally they returned, spent a lot of time loading equipment and supplies onto a bunch of animals I had never wanted to be this close to, were given very brief lessons on how to ride the smelly things and then we rode off into the desert. Ben and Vi spent much of the time discussing the sands and crystalline deposits interfering with sensors. Debate on their part turned to whether or not it was natural or artificial. Eventually Nimh got involved remotely as she asked for me to take molecular readings of the sand.

    (Nimh) Hmm, reading a high content of quartz and other crystalline materials.

    (Verun) Well of course, it’s sand.

    (Nimh) There are usually other silicates and carbonates in sand as well. This stuff is showing high content in the proper crystals you would need to effectively interfere with scanners. If this is a natural occurrence, then it’s awfully conveniently distributed – unless the Sand People seek out such areas for some reason. It’s still unlikely; veins of the proper materials shouldn’t be nearly so extensively and evenly distributed.

    (Verun) So it’s artificial.

    (Nimh) Also hard to believe since the required level of organization is beyond what we believe the Sand People to possess.

    (Verun) Correction, beyond what YOU believe the Sand People to possess.

    (Nimh) I suppose it’s vaguely possible that the Sand People are descendants of one of the Rakata slave species, but the problem there is they would not be able to make the ancient weaponry work. And the Rakata are amphibians.

    (Verun) And you’ll note that no one knows what a Sand Person looks like.

    (Nimh) You know something I don’t.

    (Verun) We’re being watched. I can sense vague presences flitting around us. It’s hard to feel them directly given how fuzzy they are, but they are certainly there. I’ve sensed this kind of thing before with the Rakata clones we captured.

    (Nimh) That raises about as many questions as it answers.

    (Verun) It also raises the issue that these guys probably have the weaponry at their disposal to readily kill me.

    (Nimh) Have you told the others yet?

    (Verun) No, I was hoping to avoid them doing something stupid trying to make contact and spooking our shadows.

    At first it was one or two I sensed out there. But over the next several days the numbers slowly increased. I made a point of wandering a short distance from the camp every so often to make weird markings in the sand and to scan the horizon, but saw no sign of footprints or other traces for those tailing us. Plus I wasn’t about to go after them directly given how much firepower I suspected surrounded us. No wonder people could wander off into the desert and never be seen again. Getting blown to atoms while the hole in the ground filled in with more sand did a lot to hide any traces.

    On the sixth day of the journey we arrived at some rocky outcropping the trader said was our spot to wait while the Sand People arrived from another much larger outcropping. He then went into a great amount of detail about his theories about how they lived in hollowed out rocky hovels hiding from the sun as they clung to some water spring. Truth be told, he was probably right, except for the fact that I imagined those hovels to be a facade and the real homes to be a massive underground facility underneath our feet. I also suspected there was a lot more water underneath us than a mere spring. The fact that I imagined the Sand People to have a great deal more manufacturing capacity at their disposal than the Hutts was another issue entirely.

    Probably best to let some people remain ignorant while believing themselves wise.

    Ben was bothered… There were plenty of crystal outcroppings all over Tattooine – but he’d swear that a lot of these had been shaped. And there was something familiar about those forms. Still, it would take massive power sources to do anything that way.

    Could the sandpeople actually have that much power available?

    Soon enough a delegation of Sand People left the large rock outcropping and came our way. Ben, Vi, and the trader all began to enter discussions of trade and barter with whatever goods they had brought with them as I sat on the sand and laid out the contents of my pack for them to see. I expected more of a reaction to the oxygills given my suspicions, but the pickled vegetables did catch their attention surprisingly. I proceeded to pretend to haggle with them regarding a crystal in exchange for the pickles as I focused my attention on the Sand Person I was speaking with.

    “He” was smaller than the Rakata clones we had, and was definitely smaller than the Kreedath. That was no surprise given what I suspected the adaptions might have been going on to compensate for the desert climate. The fact that they were so interested in the pickled vegetables was also interesting. The Rakata clones and the Kreedath were preferentially carnivores by nature although they could eat plants when needed. Perhaps one of the adaptions to the desert climate and limited access to organics was a switch to herbivore or at least omnivore? That would certainly let them stretch whatever food supplies they had much further. I wonder if that mask and armor they wore housed a stillsuit to help conserve water?

    Interestingly, the molecular analyzer showed… crystals, dry fabric, and almost no moisture or animal-style organics coming off them. That pretty much said either fully silicon-based life – quite unheard of – or a sealed environment. Just like Ben would show in that armor of his.

    Vi had been wondering himself – and had had his ship start a full-powered sensor scan of one of the sandpeople. Unfortunately, that had triggered some sort of reactive shield system in addition to some sort of screening in the robes – and THAT had provoked a massively powerful set of shots from the “sandpeople town”.

    Those shots went through his ship like a plasma cannon went through a sheet of ice.


    The explosion behind us caught me completely by surprise as the sky briefly lit up with the light of a third sun. I still was trying to ascertain what was going on when the Sand Person in front of me pulled out what looked like a crude version of a Rakata rifle, pointed it at me, and fired.

    That shot struck me squarely in the chest, and I barely had time to reflexively pull on the force enough to endure the blast. That flung me back several meters into a sand dune as my chest felt like I had just been punched by a Rangkor. Sand began to spill on top of me as the dune I had collided with collapsed. I struggled to regain my bearings as I started shouting in Rakata.

    Ben, meanwhile, had phased out of his robes into the ground – and discovered that the ground was full of heavily-shielded tunnels, with a LOT of energy running around. He didn’t dare try to enter any of those…

    Later he would realize just how wise that caution had been.

    Vi managed to survive by pulling on the force – and by sheer luck of only being hit by glancing shots.

    (Verun) Cease fire! I apologize, but my companions are idiots!

    That stopped the shooting for the moment. I stood up and made no effort to pull a weapon or otherwise defend myself. One of the Sand People stood in front of the others with weapon still drawn as he spoke to me in a thickly accented Rakata.

    (Sand Person) Who are you and why do you approach the People?

    Referring to themselves as “The People” was the final piece of confirmation I needed. Now to see if “The People” are reasonable enough to be negotiated with.

    (Verun) My name is Verun Navaro and I seek knowledge of the People’s weapons. An enemy of mine has been collecting them and has even begun to use them.

    (Sand Person) Someone is using the People’s weapons? That is grave news indeed. Very well, we shall consult with the elders and perhaps they will speak with you concerning this matter.

    With the Sand People sending a messenger to the elders, I took the time to assess the situation. I was injured and my robes had been damaged from that hit, but I would recover probably in a few hours. Vi was in similar shape while Ben was nowhere to be found except for a set of robes laying on the ground. I didn’t believe for a moment that he was dead though. The trader was definitely dying though. Making sure that the Sand People understood my intentions, I went to him and put a stasis belt on him. In the meantime, Ben suddenly reappeared in his robes somewhat to the consternation of the Sand People. I ignored him.

    Then we waited.

    Eventually, word came back that the elders had agreed to meet with us. We were led into the rocky outcropping only to see that a large stone probably weighing tens of thousands of kilograms lift up to reveal an entrance underground. The Sand People made a point of declaring that entering their territory would show good faith, but I paid them no heed as I grabbed the trader still in stasis and leapt down into the tunnel. The others soon followed as the door closed behind us. Vi started mumbling something about collapsium nets woven into the walls (OK, that would provide impressive screening as well as making it impossible to phase through the walls without injuring or killing yourself; maybe there was more to this “show of faith” thing than I’d thought). I took note of the increased humidity and cooler temperature. The Sand People with us took off the masks to reveal faces similar to the Rakata’s as they escorted us into the depths of their home. Soon enough we were brought before a group of elderly Rakata seated in a chamber. The one at the center of the group spoke first.

    (Ikaron) I am Ikaron. We are informed that you claim others are using the weapons of the People. Who are you and who could claim to be able to use our weapons?

    With that, I took off the mask I had been wearing as Verun.

    (Kira) I am Kira Keldav. I apologize for introducing myself to your guards with another name, but I must take care in who I let know who I am. I am sure you understand.

    (Ikaron) Indeed, we know of you, Kira Keldav, and your track record is most impressive for one who is not of the People.

    (Kira) As for who would claim to be able to use your weapons. There is a group of people known as the Republic Defense Force or RDF that has amassed quite a collection of Star Breakers.

    (Ikaron) To collect them is one thing, to be able to use them is another.

    (Kira) Indeed, and this group is made up almost entirely of people immune to the Force.

    With that I began to explain everything I knew of the RDF, the Jedi, the Sith, and the Codex. I detailed how my family had been kidnapped by the RDF and how the RDF even used a Starbreaker against a Republic Naval Base to cover their tracks. I did the best I could to explain our understanding of the Censor, how the RDF was able to hide in plain sight, and what sort of damage I suspected the Codex was doing to their minds. All the while the Rakata listened and interrupted occasionally to ask a question or for clarification on some matter. Their assertion that the Jedi and the Republic were well on their way to unleashing a disaster the Rakata would never have allowed I could not disagree with.

    The statement by one of the young Rakata in attendance that there couldn’t be that many Force Immune in the Galaxy was amusing to say the least. He was quieted by an elder with the reminder that the Galaxy was a much bigger place than Tatooine. This then led to the monologue about how only their race was fit to rule the Galaxy since they were immune to the detrimental effects of the Censor and all it’s associated problems. While I didn’t necessarily agree with them on that point, I had to admit that the Censor was making itself a real pain in the rear with this mess.

    The Rakata were actually quite familiar with the Codex, although their limited force-sensitivity generally meant that THEIR drop-outs never returned. They were loosely familiar with the force – although they didn’t think much of the Jedi, who had done their best to destroy their civilization – if not their species – and thought that the Sith were a proper punishment for their overthrow of their betters. They had been waiting for the Republic to finish collapsing before the Sith, for the Sith to fall apart on their own – as they always seemed to do – and for the way to clear for them to rule the galaxy once more. It looked to them as if it was only a matter of time…

    They only needed to avoid having the Jedi find them before that time came. There were few colonies of the People left, even if they still possessed some of their ancient bases and weapons.

    Only the people were fit to rule the galaxy because everyone else was CRAZY!

    I was then asked what exactly I had come to them for. I responded with a request for assistance in dealing with the RDF since the People were immune to the Censor, could use the same weapons, and knew the locations of the various bases their race had built. I then explained the nature of the Final Empire and the potential need for the Galaxy to arm itself with Starbreakers again as a defensive option. The Rakata were rather impressed with the achievements of the Final Empire, but felt that it had to be ruled by the People in order to have achieved such stability and that the Empress was obviously a front.

    Personally, I think the Empress was by this point so utterly full of herself to the point she probably believed herself the only Person. I wouldn’t put it past her to be using some combination of Holocrons and memory erasure to have maintained immortality this long. All this talk of a new Empress every dozen millennia or so may well be just her snapping as another holocron takes control of the mess for awhile.

    Still, the Rakata acknowledged the threat posed by the Final Empire and the RDF to their people. To that end, they were willing to lend assistance in the form of information on the locations of the rest of their bases and manpower to help run ships and help scout out the lost bases. I pledged my support to help them reintegrate into galactic society again and offered that I had come across a number of clones of their people in need of a home. That resulted in an explanation of our discovery of the Rakata military survivors, the cloning project, and our intervention. Thankfully they took no offense when I informed them that now was probably not the best time to be trying to launch a war of conquest against the Galaxy. In fact, amazingly enough they agreed with me.

    Perhaps there is hope yet for integrating these people into society as protectors as opposed to oppressors.

    That led to discussion about the arrival of the Furipedes and the creation of the Yeveetha. While they were able to more or less confirm the sequence of events I had been presuming for some time now, they weren’t able to confirm my questions regarding whether the Furipedes and their allies created the Yeveetha or if they were the creation of some third party. I think I am going to have to have a long talk with the Furipedes when I get back to the Mrs Beasley then. I had been avoiding it due to the language issue, but this was becoming a critical issue. I wasn’t out to blame anyone these days, I just wanted to know where I might find clues on how to stop the Yeveetha.

    The Rakata had thought that the Furripedes were extinct; they, and a few apparently related races had arrived – and had the ability to work superweapons, even if they did have a hard time with maintaining them. They were partially immune to the madness. They had refused to accept the authority of the People, and two rival civilizations in the galaxy – both with Starbreaker technology – was unstable and intolerable. A war had been launched to bring them into the Infinite Empire, whether they liked it or not. The Furridpedes had seemed almost unkillable en mass – so they had been isolated.

    We were also able to get confirmation that whatever Codex accident had put it on the Censor’s list, it predates their records which went back over a million years. Oh well, that would be nice to know, but wasn’t critical to anything we were doing. It also pointed the way towards a possible galactic civilization predating the Infinite Empire. Again, interesting, but not a priority right now.

    With agreements of mutual support made, we set up arrangements for Alys to use to begin collecting the Rakata being sent to support us. Before we left back to Mos Losa, I did have one final request of the Rakata.

    (Kira) I would ask that you not share the fact that Kira Keldav and Verun Navaro are the same person. I have no intention of revealing the fact that the People and the Sand People are one and the same.

    (Ikaron) Understandable, and truth be told, we have great difficulty in telling you humans apart. I also have a poor memory for the names of humans anyway.

    (Kira) And if it wouldn’t be too much to ask, would you happen to have some sort of baubbles or trinkets you might be willing to part with? The story I gave the locals is that Verun came out into the desert to commune with the mystics of the Sand People, so some minor trinkets would go a long way towards verifying that story in the eyes of others.

    (Ikaron) Ah, you want trinkets like we sometimes give the traders and scientists to make them go away. Easy enough, I am sure some of the children can make something suitable for you.

    (Kira) I thank you.

    Ben and Vi, meanwhile, were messing around with that reactive shielding system… It could be pretty handy! Especially fitted up with that miniaturized subspace heat pump – which powered the rest of the basic electronics at the same time as it cooled the wearer! Very neat!

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 74

    Exploding Planet with The Gimp 2.4.6

    All right, now back down the power just a bit...

    When Ben made it back to the Mrs Beasley, he wanted help planning the rescue of his clones in the face of what we’ve learned about the planetary defenses.

    Well, in light of the fact that they were cloning Bens, and Lazlo’s, and Rakata, and would probably soon be cloning Bioweapon Jacob’s, the place had moved up the priority list quite a ways.

    The orbital defenses looked to be pretty tight from what we were able to determine, and the shields were strong enough to be a bother. The obvious solution was to hypertunnel the planet to a location of our choosing where we might be able to set up a favorable situation ahead of time. That would play to our strengths and give us the element of surprise when it came to trying to crack the defenses.

    Trouble was with finding a suitable location to move the planet to. Two hundred light years was a bit further than we wanted to move a planet with significant life-support infrastructure, so Republic space was out of the question. That left choosing between different Sith factions nearby in the hopes of finding one that wasn’t outright hostile to us and yet not friendly to the faction we were stealing a planet from.

    That limited the choices significantly. Looking at the Galactic map and overlaying a sphere with a radius equal to the distance Ben and Smoche thought we could transport a planet narrowed the options even further. Glaive space was one option as it was sure to not have any significant organized defenses to interfere, but it was also certain that at least one or two Glaives would inevitably try to make a near suicidal assault on the Mrs Beasley for the sheer rush they would get. Even with as much power and equipment as we had, I still wasn’t keen on taking on Glaives if I didn’t have to.

    That largely left the corporate sector as the only option. They would likely stay out of the fight except to participate on the side of the highest bidder, but I suspect that we would be able to prove ourselves able to outbid an otherwise stranded planet in the middle of not very friendly territory. At which point we could pay the corporate bunch to assist us with bringing down the planetary shields and collecting the inhabitants. That left how to arrange our forces.

    On our side we had a significant fleet these days. All the salvaged ships we had accumulated from the Droid Galaxy and elsewhere were more or less fully repaired and operational. Most of the ships weren’t quite on the same scale as the typical star destroyer, but then again we had the Mrs Beasley on our side. Trouble was looking like it was going to be the crews needed. At the moment we were getting by with large numbers of droids to fill in for a massive manpower issue on our part. I’ve been in enough battles with droid armies and droid crews to realize this was a less than ideal situation to say the least.

    So letting the Mrs Beasley hypertunnel the planet on top of our fleet was a less than ideal ambush to say the least. We were likely to lose a lot of ships or even risk the Sith escaping under that scenario. We really needed to have the Mrs Beasley supporting the fleet for it to have any chance or to get real crews for the ships instead. Crews of the size we needed that we could trust were not going to be readily available on such sort notice. That meant the Mrs Beasley had to be with the fleet itself then. I suppose we could take the fleet with the Mrs Beasley to the system and just forget about the hypertunnel process, but that had it’s own issues with ensuring the fleet made it through all the hyperspace jumps without disappearing. I suppose the Mrs Beasley could just tow them all.

    Hmm, could we do the reverse? Instead of hypertunnelling an asteroid field in to replace a planet, replace an asteroid field with a planet? Smoche and Ben both immediately began running calculations and scenarios regarding the proposal with much heated discussion going between the two of them. It was determined that the best odds of figuring odds of success was to set up the system for an attempt and then letting Ben run his Early Edition technique against the idea. They immediately began to set things up to run such a test when I decided I wanted independent verification of the odds.

    Sitting down, I assumed a meditative position and went into a trance. Reaching out with the Force, I began to probe the future for visions of our attempt to move the planet. With that information in hand, I would then feed the information to my Probability Analysis to give better context for the visions I was seeing. Using that context, I could then probe the future again with more detail on what exactly I was wanting clarification on. Looping the two techniques was exhausting, and it helped not to loop too many times or else I would find myself in a tangle of logic and causality that was difficult to unwind. It wasn’t omniscience by any means, but it certainly gave me more detail and accuracy than either a Codifier or a Jedi could achieve alone.

    One thing stood out as immediately obvious: we weren’t going to get all the cities this way. Why we were going to lose some of the cities wasn’t exactly clear though. I immediately brought this up with Ben and Smoche and they again started chattering excitedly about subspace, Force shielding, and all sorts of weird ways to interfere with hypertunnelling effects. Something told me they were barking up the wrong tree though. We’ve seen something like this before, where trying to establish a remote hypertunnel connection ends up going haywire with unintended results. That was the office building incident now that I think about it.

    That ended up going awry because the office building was full of hyperdrive coils for various lab testing purposes. It ended up burning out the main hyperdrive on that star destroyer from the huge energy sink involved. Could something like that be happening here? But it would take very large hyperdrive coils to interfere significantly with the Mrs Beasley’s hyperdrive and power system. A few ships in port wasn’t going to be enough. It would need a hyperdrive on the scale of a star destroyer or super star destroyer’s to make a dent. But why would those cities have hyperdrive coils like that laying around?

    The only option that immediately came to mind was the idea that this may have been another secret Rakata base and I was indirectly deducing the presence of a number of star breakers hidden underneath the cities. That would certainly explain why the Rakata paid for a cloning operation here, but it seemed difficult to believe that the Sith would be involved in crewing Star Breakers hidden on their own planet, unknowingly or not. But I was having issues coming up with any other possibility that made much sense. So I presented the idea to Smoche and Ben again.

    Ben immediately piped up with the observation that the cities were giant arcologies spread across an otherwise inhospitable planet in an arrangement that neatly created an interlocking planetary shield. I thought this a natural response to the fact it was a hostile planet ideally suited to preventing escapees from building a significant movement and technological base. Ben then argued I was missing the point as he pulled up a holo of one of the arcologies on the display. He then pointed out how little their locations had to do with natural resources, how identical they all were, how there was no reason to sit on a planet at all instead of building a space installation if you were going to build in an unlivable environment – and, again, how well sealed the arcology was against the environment,

    Again, I thought this self-evident given how hostile the planet’s environment was, but then I realized what he was getting at. There weren’t hidden Infinite Empire bases underneath the cities, the cities were actually ships themselves. The contours didn’t look like anything I had seen regarding Star Breakers or any other Infinite Empire weapons, so they were probably dated from more recent times with a more “benign” intent. If those arcologies really were ships, then they could readily relocate their operations to another world almost at the drop of the hat. Ben then started digging through the Republic records and found that this particular world was settled about 450 years ago. On a hunch, I asked if there were any records of a group of cloners getting into serious trouble in the years immediately prior to then and we got the answer back of yes.

    Interesting. So they’d just wanted a planet to park on, and it being unlivable just meant that it had no people or creatures to argue with.

    It was also vexing on a number of levels. The planet wasn’t what we were after, it was Ben’s clones and all those Rakata they were making that were the priority and those seemed to be located in the arcology ships. So we needed to capture the ships. And that meant assaulting the planet directly and interdicting all their attempts to leave. Ben’s notion of landing a team on the planet and sabotaging twenty hyperdrives before the locals caught on was ludicrous at best. We would be lucky to get one or two at best, let alone twenty. No, we needed to be smarter about this attack than just charging in guns blazing.

    It was Ben’s proposal that we place large stasis fields on top of the shields with enough range to be able to stasis the ship underneath as well. Meanwhile the Mrs Beasley could provide cover using the massive ion cannon to blast any and all opposition into submission. Offhand I didn’t see any issues with this proposal beyond the vagaries of battle against other precognitives, so I gave my assent. Ben immediately had the droids and technicians begin fabricating the stasis fields for us while Handell plotted a course to take the Mrs Beasley into the Galaxy. We determined it was probably best to come in from the edge of the Galaxy and move inwards, keeping our route through inhabited space as short as possible to avoid stirring up too much panic.

    So off we went to rescue a bunch of… engineers, from their imprisonment in… comfortable offices, working for bosses who didn’t appreciate them and thought of them as interchangeable resources.

    If THAT was all it took to qualify for a rescue, we’d be rescuing half the galaxy. If it wasn’t for the Rakata – and the prospect of Bioweapon Jacobs – this wouldn’t be a very high priority, no matter WHAT Ben wanted.

    I spent the travel time working with Darius on the initial steps of his training. First we focused on the deficiencies in his Codex training by filling in more of the basics of the Codifier training and explaining the importance of bonds. Once we got that problem fixed, we began work on the basic philosophy of the Force. I started that with an explanation of the various positions of the Jedi, the Sith, the Hedi, and Arethi. I explained the pitfalls of using the Force for attack or for personal gain as illustrated by the example of Jarik. I then reiterated the dangers of obsession and letting your emotions get out of control as evidenced by the Sith and Artificers. In my mind, the Force was best suited to defense of the self and others. In fact, it seemed the Force actively encouraged this role given the ease with which the temporary boosts of power came to me these days.

    With the basic philosophy out of the way, we began simple exercises in using the rudimentary techniques. His progress was slow, about on par with my own progress with the Force before I got my own lightsaber. It was in watching him go through one of the training exercises involving predicting sequences of lights that Telera had suggested that I found myself thinking back to my time at the Academy. It was obvious that there had been a fundamental shift in how rapidly my training in the Force progressed around the timeframe I got my lightsaber. I had dismissed it as the lightsaber serving as some sort of catalyst, but in hindsight it was probably around then that I Bonded with Valerie. Why then, I don’t really understand.

    For good or for ill though, Darius didn’t have a bondmate to accelerate his progress. That would probably give him more time to let the training sink in before his power became too much for him to handle without it. I was torn between letting him tag along with me though. I suspect it would accelerate his progress significantly but it would also put him in greater danger as well. I certainly wasn’t going to be able to protect him all the time either. It would probably be prudent then to work on teaching him to defend himself adequately and then giving him the choice. To that end I presented him with the shield I had the droids fabricate similar to my own.

    (Darius) A shield? I thought Jedi and Sith used lightsabers while JLA and RDF used blasters.

    (Kira) True, and if you will turn it on and hold it out in front of you, I will demonstrate why it is a useful thing to have.

    He did as instructed hesitantly, although I had to correct his bracing of the shield to ensure he had a better grip on it. Once he was in position, I stepped backwards in hypertime, fired a single shot at the shield, and then charged in with a lightsaber swipe against the shield itself. As expected, the blaster bolt bounced off and hit the ceiling harmlessly, while the shield neatly stopped my swing as he instinctively braced against the impact. I hadn’t put any real power behind my swing, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to illustrate that the shield could help him defend against both sets of attacks.

    (Darius) You didn’t tell me you were going to attack me!

    (Kira) Darius, if I had meant to attack you, you’d be dead. I was purposefully attacking the shield to demonstrate a point. And that point is that the shield is incredibly useful in countering attacks from most types of weapons you are going to face. It also doesn’t require nearly as much skill as a lightsaber to use effectively.

    (Darius) Again you push the idea of defense. How do you defeat the enemy by turtling all the time?

    (Kira) Because sometimes not losing is a form of winning. How do you think I’ve managed to avoid being caught by tens of thousands of bounty hunters all this time? It’s not by leaving tens of thousands of corpses in my wake. And I also have enabled my companions to achieve victory countless times because the enemy was focused solely on me. My power isn’t some ability to slay thousands with my mind or some such nonsense, it’s to be the shield others need in times of crisis.

    (Darius) Yet there is a war going on and you sit here in this immense ship living the comfortable life.

    (Kira) I can’t be everywhere saving everyone. My ability to make a difference in the war with the Yeveetha is marginal in my estimations. All I would accomplish is to draw more Yeveetha to whatever world it is I happen to be on until they finally overwhelmed me. What would that achieve?

    (Darius) Yet you’re going after cloners because they are mistreating their clones.

    (Kira) Ben is. I am willing to help him because I think we can do it and I have my own reasons for it.

    (Darius) Such as?

    (Kira) They are cloning Rakata.

    (Darius) I thought they were an archaic form of Kreedath?

    (Kira) Indeed, and it was the Rakata that ruled the Infinite Empire long ago. They were able to maintain their hold on the Galaxy because they can make superweapons such as the Star Breakers work.

    (Darius) What? They have some secret technology or something no one else does that is ingrained in their DNA or something? That’s ridiculous.

    (Kira) No, they have a monotalent that makes them and an area around themselves immune to the Censor.

    (Darius) I think I remember Virstris mentioning the Censor before. She said it was why Gab can’t remember I am a Codex user.

    (Kira) The Censor is an effect of the Galactic Force. It finds certain concepts and technologies to be particularly disruptive and so it prevents people from thinking of those ideas. It also actively disrupts technologies that could pose a serious threat, like self replicating droid armies, planet sterilizers, or the Codex. Codex users like yourself are immune to the effects of the Censor by nature of the Codex’s opposition to the Force. Rakata are also immune to the censor – and can shield weapons against the Censor too. To put it simply, the Rakata can prevent superweapons from malfunctioning in the first place by their very presence.

    (Darius) That’s bad.

    (Kira) Indeed, and that is why I am keen on helping Ben rescue his clones. Because I want to stop the cloners from making more Rakata.

    Finally satisfied with that explanation, we continued the training some more. Virstris helped out a bit with the defensive training and Telera continued to provide suggestions regarding basic Force exercises beyond the ones taught to me by the Varen. Valerie would just silently watch during the training sessions from time to time before going about her own business. About all I could feel from her was a sense of curiosity.

    Soon enough we were about to arrive in the target system. There wasn’t a whole lot I could do for this except to stand around the bridge and be available in case of something needing me. Darius came to the bridge to watch the coming battle as did most of the rest of the group. We then dropped out of hyperspace in the system and engaged the interdiction field as planned. Attempts by the Cloners to hail us were ignored by Ben as the Mrs Beasley lumbered towards the planet. There were ineffectual attempts by the orbital defenses and some fighters to assault the Mrs Beasley, but the shields proved more than capable of handling the attack.

    Once we were positioned over the first shield generator, the Mrs Beasley began firing it’s ion cannon at all available targets while the first stasis generator deployed. As it got into position and activated, we quickly deployed the second stasis generator through the hole in the shields where the first shield generator had been running. That quickly netted us a second cityship as suddenly the other eighteen took off from the planet in an attempt to escape us. Unfortunately for them, our interdiction field was still going strong as they attempted to escape via slow drive. Given that the size of our interdiction field was measured in lightyears, that was going to be a very slow escape indeed.

    On the other hand… the things had substantially more acceleration than the Mrs Beasley as far as normal space went. That was bad.

    Surprisingly, there was an attempt made to assault the Mrs Beasley by a small force of military ships followed by three of the cityships. It was amusing to imagine the surprise on their faces as the Mrs Beasley displayed an ability to rotate about it’s center far more rapidly than most people would have expected as it rotated into position to fire it’s ion cannon at the attackers. Amazingly they still managed to get some damage through the shields to hit the top layers of the hull, for all the good that did them. That got us another three cityships in our possession and a small fleet of military vessels added to our collection. That still left us with fifteen city ships still attempting to run away.

    Wait, had the attackers been sacrificed just to buy the rest time to get out of range?

    (Virstris) No wonder the Republic military is cranky with you guys having this ship.

    Watching the decidedly one-sided battle unfold, I had to agree. At least the military could recognize that we were being rather benign with it as opposed to what a HoloSith would be trying to do with the Mrs Beasley. The fifteen remaining ships had split up into two groups: nine were moving to get behind a gas giant world, and six were heading out of the system as fast as their engines would move them. I figured the ones moving behind the gas giant were trying to hide their course by using the planet as a screen, while the ones heading out of the system I figured were hoping to outrun us. I was expecting us to give chase when Ben had Handell take us over to the local asteroid belt.

    At first I thought he meant to swap asteroids with the fleeing ships in order to drag them back to us, but Smoche informed me that the Mrs Beasley couldn’t hypertunnel through it’s own interdiction field. Ben then had the remaining stasis generators attached to asteroids and had the Mrs Beasley begin throwing the asteroids at the remaining ships using tractor beams. While this was going on, the Cloners hailed us and asked for our demands.

    Again Ben led the proceedings as he demanded the hyperdrives, the Ben clones, the Kreedath, and the Sith. There was much back and forth going on with threats, bluffs, posturing, negotiating, and statements that our demands were unreasonable. While negotiations were going on though, Ben continued to have the Mrs Beasley work on capturing more of the cityships – without that much success. Once the asteroids being thrown were away from the Mrs Beasley and on inertial courses, it was no great trick for any kind of precog to work out how to dodge.

    We could destroy or capture several ships – but they were holding a lot of hostages, and knew it.

    Eventually they came back with a counter offer to give us the Bens, the Kreedath, the ships we had already captured and some of their crews, while those ships not captured would be allowed to leave with a prohibition against cloning the Kreedath for one hundred years. By this point we had captured another two cityships and my own talents were telling me that this deal was likely to be honored – and that a battle would risk losing what we wanted to get.

    (Kira and company) Deal.

    While it was disappointing to not get a total capture, this was still a reasonable victory considering the goals we had started out with. There was a lengthy exchange of prisoners and crews with the pretty much mandatory tense moments. With that done, we collected our spoils of battle and took off towards the rim of the Galaxy again. We made sure to keep all the Rakata in stasis while letting the Bens free inside the ship. The Bens were not pleased to find out that they were now in the possession of Kira Keldav and Ben Therus aboard the Mrs Beasley. Apparently we were major Dark Sith Lords in their minds out to do some sort of horrific experiment on them. Ben’s attempts to explain simply resulted in more of them lamenting now being on the biggest target in the Galaxy. Oh well, I’ll leave that one to Ben to figure out.

    The Rakata were proving to be a more difficult matter. Those released from stasis under carefully controlled circumstances were adamant about their need to escape so that they might find their true owners. This led to the revelation that they were aware that the ones who placed the order for them was the originals. We also determined that while we had several hundred thousand Rakata in our possession, they came from only 152 distinct progenitors. That neatly lined up with the number of Rakata we think were retrieved from the Furipede world. Part of me had to wonder where the Rakata had come up with the funding for this in such a sort time and if there might be more cloning facilities out there making more.

    Sadly, as tempting as locking them in stasis for the rest of eternity would be, their talents would be incredibly useful in helping to repel a Final Empire invasion. It might also be that only the Rakata can readily maintain the Star Breakers that would make up a significant part of that defense. And for that we would need their cooperation. At least this batch didn’t have the insufferable superiority complex of the originals; they knew they were clones and were used to lectures from other species. Perhaps we can negotiate from the standpoint of the fact that the Galaxy needs defended from extra-dimensional invaders and the Final Empire in particular is intent on exterminating their species. Oh well, something to ponder until I have a good angle of attack on the problem.

    Ben was a bit worried… The local year was only about four months on that planet – although thirty normal length years was still a good break – but they’d just taken aboard the largest known collection of superweapon designers and operators in the galaxy. Just how much fear and chaos was THAT going to cause?

    Oh well! He still had some experiments to try… He’d determined quickly enough that stasis fields were not additive – but he wanted to try making a second-stage stasis bubble around an asteroid in normal time with some plants and lights and things.

    That got messy… He set it up, checked the possible results with Early Edition – and found that there were a wide variety of apparently random outcomes. Dropping the fields to find nothing at all there, finding a temporal catastrophe, finding the asteroid just as it had been, getting a huge explosion or some random junk – and possibly even creating his own subspecies of possibly-dangerous vampire plants.

    Wait, would the plants just run on personal time until energy starvation, then… fall out of the universe, tap into the local stars directly, or get more time?

    Blast! There was something he was missing!

    I was verifying the stasis systems in place around the Rakata a second time when I got a call on the intercom.

    (Targus) Kira Keldav, we are receiving a transmission from the JLA, I expect that it is in relation to the matter we had discussed. Meet me in the conference room indicated on your PDA.

    (Kira) On my way.

    I sensed that Valerie seemed to respond to the sudden shift in my mood as she immediately started heading towards me as well from whatever it was she was doing. She beat me there as I saw Nimh and Targus had also arrived. Nimh took a seat up near the front of the conference room much to Targus’s consternation while Valerie quietly slinked back into one of the corners of the room. Finally Targus gave up on trying to get Nimh to leave as he opened the communications channel. Immediately a holographic representation of a Republic Fleet Admiral appeared in the room.

    (Admiral) Greetings, I am Fleet Admiral Dirk Haggins. I presume you are Kira Keldav?

    (Kira) Indeed I am.

    (Admiral) Then I will get right to the point. Yes, as you were able to deduce, our group were the ones that took your family and friends into custody. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.

    (Kira) Now why did I have the feeling that this was going to be your answer?

    (Admiral) Yes well, we had taken them into custody once it became apparent that you were in fact a Hybrid. We’ve found that the odds of a family member or a close friend being a Hybrid increase substantially when one of them is.

    (Kira) Makes sense since all evidence points to Codex and Force potential running in families. So who took them? The Sith or the RDF?

    (Admiral) All indications are that they were taken by the RDF. We had determined that at least two of them were showing signs of monotalents and a third probably had some Codex potential. With that knowledge in mind, we had relocated them to a military facility far from the war front for safe keeping and basic training in how to use their talents and protect themselves against the more dangerous side effects.

    (Kira) And then….

    (Admiral) We lost contact with the asteroid facility some four months later, or about five months ago now. Our investigations found that the entire asteroid complex had been vaporized with signs of a significant battle amongst most of the remaining debris. All evidence is that the RDF deployed a Star Breaker against the facility to hide all traces.

    I about fell out of my chair in shock. Valerie wasn’t doing much better in hiding it on her side either. I hadn’t even thought it possible that the RDF would use a Star Breaker right now, much less against a Republic Military facility. What in the Galaxy did those nuts actually think I was capable of if they felt the need to assault a Republic Naval base with a superweapon just to get my family? It felt like my entire mind and body had gone numb.

    (Nimh) They used a superweapon against a Republic Naval facility?

    (Admiral) Indeed.

    (Kira) Is the Senate aware of this?

    (Admiral) Not generally no, a few of the relevant subcommittees have been informed, but we are trying to keep this under wraps. I will inform you that all indications from our own Hybrids and what we’ve been able to learn from the Jedi investigation indicates that your family and friends are alive. Intelligence analysis suggests that the RDF intends to use them as hostages against you.

    (Kira) Just great, so now my family is in the hands of a group of nutjobs that not only are in possession of superweapons, but have actually used them against people supposedly their allies?

    (Admiral) Unfortunately that is the case. It is because of this incident that we have stepped up our efforts to find and destroy those weapons where we can. We cannot risk a civil war breaking out at this time, let alone one with weapons of such destructive power. I hope you understand, we were rather reluctant to inform you of this matter.

    (Kira) Let me guess, because I am in possession of superweapons of my own, know how to build more, am Sith trained, in possession of what is likely one of the most versatile and powerful combination of talents possible in this Galaxy, and known for having significant issues with authority?

    (Admiral) Well yes, that would be correct on all counts.

    (Kira) Tell me, the RDF spoke of a Hybrid from 3,000 years ago that really seems to have them spooked. Can you tell me why and what it has to do with me?

    (Admiral) I shall consult the records… (After a few minutes pause) Most likely one Levi Trapolian, an independent Hybrid such as yourself that had begun to travel the multiverse. Apparently he began experimenting with a technique to cooperate with himself across dimensions on certain tasks.

    (Kira) Let me guess, spreading the damage of an attack across multiple versions of himself so that each one only had to tank a portion of the attack?

    (Admiral) Yes and other related techniques designed to multiply his power. We won’t teach you the technique though if that is what you are after, it tends to have it’s own issues as a matter of course.

    (Kira) Offhand I would imagine multiple personality disorder, disorientation, hallucination, and really weird obsessions.

    (Admiral) Yes, that would pretty much sum it up.

    (Kira) Part of me wonders if that would cause a merging of timelines.

    (Admiral) That may well be impossible to verify.

    (Kira) Regardless, I have no intention of learning that skill. And you would probably be pleased to note that my powers are plateauing. Some practice with individual techniques might help me, but my general powers seem to have reached their limit in strength.

    (Admiral) That is good, no offense, but we really don’t think it wise for any one person to have nigh limitless power. It tends to lead to bad scenarios for all involved.

    (Kira) I think I must agree.

    With that the Admiral gave his regards and then ended the transmission. Nimh and Targus immediately got up and left the conference room leaving me to trace lines in the wood of the table with my finger as I thought about what I had just learned. After an indeterminate amount of silence, Valerie sat next me and I could hear her speak over the Bond.

    <Valerie> You taking this more maturely than I had anticipated.

    <Kira> Throwing a fit won’t accomplish anything. Nor will blaming the JLA. Who would have thought the RDF would use a Star Breaker on a Republic Naval base?

    <Valerie> This just reinforces Virstris’s assessment of things, they’re out of control.

    <Kira> What the hell do they think me capable of to justify this?

    <Valerie> Considering that you could sterilize the Galaxy if you so choose, are you really asking that question?

    <Kira> Do you really think I would do that?

    <Valerie> Now? No, I think you’re no longer at risk of that. Even if the worst should happen, I think now you would lament the loss and go on.

    <Kira> I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    <Valerie> Kira, don’t repress these emotions and make yourself numb to it all. I’m here for you, and so is Virstris. And you know you can trust me.

    <Kira> I know and thanks.

    <Valerie> Any thoughts on how to proceed?

    <Kira> They’ve gone too far now. They’ve crossed a line. Attacking and kidnapping my family is one thing since that is between me and them, but to attack a Republic facility with a superweapon says the rats have run of the ship.

    <Valerie> So what do we do?

    <Kira> This has gone beyond my need to rescue my family and friends. I’ve got to dismantle the RDF before they do something really stupid. The Republic can’t do it for fear of triggering a civil war, so it has to be someone outside the Republic.

    <Valerie> To what end? You can’t just make that kind of knowledge and organization vanish without exterminating almost all of them.

    <Kira> We’re going to have to repurpose them. Purge the elements that prove completely uncooperative and then reform the rest into a saner organization. Just like I plan to do with the Rakata.

    <Valerie> What exactly are you planning?

    <Kira> This Galaxy and others are going to need an organization dedicated to the defense against threats like the Final Empire if it hopes to remain independent. To that end we are going to need a lot of Force users, Codex users, what Hybrids we can get, and the Rakata. Every Star Breaker we can salvage or build would help too.

    <Valerie> You know for someone who despises superweapons so much, you are amassing quite the collection of them.

    <Kira> Would you have it any other way?

    <Valerie> I think not, it is the contradictions that are so alluring.

    <Kira> Alluring?

    <Valerie> Of course, my Bondmate has to be alluring by definition.

    With that she began to lean in to kiss me. Our faces were only centimeters apart when we were both hit with ridiculous images of what felt like the forests of Kashyyyk from the perspective of algae. The visions of the ridiculous trees and a telepathic broadcast of longing to return to the great forest were a major mood killer for us both. I put my money on Jacob having returned to the Mrs Beasley somehow and was about to make sure he didn’t live to regret that action when Valerie motioned for me not to get up.

    (Kira) Alright, I’ll deal with him.

    (Valerie) No, I’ve been wanting to kill the bastard for some time now. Are you denying me that pleasure?

    (Kira) Who am I to deny you what you want?

    (Valerie) Good boy, now we will finish this later.

    With that she left the conference room with a mission. I briefly thought about following her in case she needed assistance, but she mentally replied with a forceful “No” as soon as she felt my intention. Oh well, best to let her do what she does best I suppose. Trusting Valerie to handle that job, I made my way to the Sith Canton to relax a bit. All this training with Darius and insanity with the RDF was stressful on a lot of levels. So I found a place next to the artificial lake under a tree and sat down. I saw a number of the technicians and crew had similar ideas as they were in various spots around the lake. I was idly watching them when Virstris walked up beside me.

    (Virstris) Taken to watching people now instead of just napping?

    (Kira) Just noting all the couples appearing these days.

    (Virstris) Yep, I imagine it won’t be long and there will be children appearing onboard.

    (Kira) Somehow that just seems odd to me.

    (Virstris) So where is my sister?

    (Kira) Off to kill Jacob or whoever it is broadcasting images of giant forests telepathically.

    (Virstris) That’s odd, cause Ben not long ago stormed off the bridge in a bout of anger and frustration after his shirt vanished.

    (Kira) What?

    (Virstris) Yep, ran off saying he was going to teach someone a lesson or something.

    The image of Ben going Iron Sith was an incredibly hard one to visualize. If Ben has truly fallen in such an odd fashion then life was definitely going to get amusing fast. Virstris and I began discussing what progress Darius was making with regards to his Codifier training when I felt Valerie’s frustration kick up a notch. Apparently whatever issue she was faced with was defying a simple and violent solution. About all I could get over the link was something about Lazlo and multiple Bens arguing something nonsensical. I thought about heading over to get involved but got rebuffed with that “No” from Valerie again. Virstris must have seen my consternation.

    Meanwhile, the Banishment of Lazlo had indeed sent him home – carrying Wizard-Jacob along with him.

    Wizard Jacob wasn’t a strong force-user – but he was quite strong enough to cause force-feedback between himself and the original. Worse, he was utterly horrified by the conventional galaxy… the place was almost totally dead, and sterile, and without magic, and the force was weak – and it seemed to be slowly dying the rest of the way! Even the stars were dying, and stars were immortal! What level of hell was this?

    It was… empty and dying! Like being trapped in the long-decayed corpse of a proper universe!

    AND it had nonsensical poorly-dressed images of him making pointless announcements! Even the DRINKS contained toxic chemicals that would wait in your blood and cause you pain!

    It took Lazlo a moment to realize that he was talking about hangovers.

    Ben, of course, had gone to see what was causing his headache – and had lost his shirt along the way to some alternate Ben who was using a variant on his pants-stealing technique!

    Lazlo was trying to explain “Star Forges” versus “Magical Forges that Made Small Stars” (“You’re murdering your own stars to MAKE STUFF?!?!) And the Big Bang, and Entropy – and wasn’t doing a very good job.

    The confrontation of Ben’s – and Lazlo’s attempts to reason with both of them – did not go well. It got worse when Ben reached out and grabbed another shirt – and wound up with three, one of them a bomb with only minutes to go on its timer.

    Valerie phased him out of it and had him carry it into stasis with him, since he was the only one who’d used that technique before.

    A demolitions-droid from Shipwreck could defuse the bomb – but found the idea of explosive tailoring quite interesting.

    Lazlo tried to get Ben to promise to use the “alternate dimensions” technology only with his prior approval in exchange for explaining it – but Ben preferred to figure it out on his own.

    Back with Kira…

    (Virstris) What is it?

    (Kira) Apparently Lazlo and two Bens have stirred up some argument about trees, life, death, and something about stealing pants. Your sister is in the middle of it and getting rather cranky.

    (Virstris) She’s doing a lot better these days. Much more approachable than before. Although Augusta says that my sister got really cranky and irritable while we were infiltrating the RDF training facility.

    (Kira) Really?

    (Virstris) Yep, Vincent thinks it is because my sister was getting lonely without you around.

    It wasn’t long after that Valerie showed up in the Sith Canton carrying the remains of a droid’s head in her hand. She tossed the head to Virstris.

    (Valerie) I want that thing thoroughly destroyed so nothing can be recovered from it.

    (Virstris) Of course.

    Virstris took the droid head and left to dispose of it.

    (Kira) Dare I ask what offense it committed?

    (Valerie) Ben fed it the idea of explosive shirts and it then began speculating about other explosive garments. I decided it needed to be destroyed when it started talking about explosive lingerie.

    (Kira) Now there is an interesting twist.

    (Valerie) What is?

    (Kira) The dashing hero must hurridly disarm the bomb threatening the fair maiden. Purely as an unfortunate circumstance, this involves undressing fair maiden….

    (Valerie) Not going to happen!

    (Kira) Ok fine then. I take it you are disappointed there was no Jacob to kill?

    (Valerie) We’ve got plenty of Bens and Lazlos, and they’re even importing sillier versions of themselves from other dimensions. Surely one or two of them going missing would go unnoticed?

    I ended up giving her a slightly disapproving look in response to that. With that Valerie gave up the argument and sat down next to me under the tree. We ended up sitting there letting the Bond between us resonate and flow. We both were finding it calming and relaxing being like this as the troubles around us for seemingly disappeared for a while.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 73b

    I was sitting in the park when suddenly Jorge ...

    And what have we here? More trees? What a surprise!

    Meanwhile, off in another universe, Lazlo was filling in the local Jedi on the likely history of the Republic after it was established – and warning them of a few things to watch out for. Who knew? It might help.

    He also tried leaving a message for himself. Ben was sure that it wasn’t time travel, but he still had some doubts – and it was an easy way to test them.

    Other than that… he needed a brilliant inventor who could help him out!

    Wait. If he went looking for someone who’d apparently discovered how to make large amounts of very expensive equipment disappear forever with no other results, he’d have someone who was probably on the right track!

    There was someone like that. Currently based in an abandoned orbital station around Tattooine (it had been cheap) which was… a lush, green, world. It even had a distant third in it’s star system, although the third star was three-quarters of a light year out and pretty small.

    Oh dear! He hoped that he and this inventor wouldn’t be responsible for wrecking it!

    The inventor turned out to be… Ben. Whaaaa? How could that be?

    OK, it really must be an alternate dimension.

    This one was tinkering with subspace tunnels. He was… “replacing one subspace coordinate system with another? He didn’t like hyperspce things, because things disappeared there so often? But his stuff disappeared ALL the time!

    “At least it was reliable”?!?

    OK, DEFINITELY another crazy Ben… Why were all the Ben’s out there so crazy?

    Still, Lazlo was pretty desperate – and thought he knew what was going on with Ben’s droids not coming back; the droids would have circuit-problems after the trip! He should be able to get back safely enough – and he could hardly get more lost anyway.

    That took him too… A dyson sphere made of trees, with apples the size of the death start. His ship wouldn’t work either – and he was falling slowly into the trees under microgravity. The force was VERY powerful here though, which made it easy to break his fall.

    Fortunately, the natives weren’t too hard to find. Insectile, but friendly, folk who used some very odd powers indeed. They decided that he was seeking the Mad Wizard – but helpfully gave him some directions and supplies. They seemed to be used to this sort of thing.

    The “quest” took him past giant wooden bees, past some weird thing that wanted him to use his “necromancy” to merge the souls of thousands into new “Nephwracks” and let them start to turn the universe into a horror show (fortunately, at his current power level, he managed to deal with it fairly readily), past some dragon of darkness which gave him a magic blade to throw Wizard-Ben out of the universe, and finally arrived at Ben’s Star Forge – where he was making new small-but-eternal stars to light up the dark levels of the universe (which was what the dragon objected to). Sadly, a small army of giant tree-golems wanted to keep anyone from interfering – already leaves had begun to grow, here in the darkness where leaves had never been – and they were too shortsighted and stupid to see that the Star Forge would unbalance their entire universe if it kept running…

    Getting past THEM took a lot of dodging and acrobatics. Getting past their cloud of choking pollen meant using it as a fuel-air bomb – but at least that gave him enough of a boost to reach the Forge.

    Sadly, yet ANOTHER crazy Ben was so invested in his pet project that he refused to believe that it might be dangerous!

    Equally sadly, the “enchanted sword” that the dragon-thing had inflicted on him started to activate – and to try to push Ben out of his universe – when Lazlo got close enough. Wizard-Ben, recognizing what was going on, attempted to banish LAZLO back to wherever-it-was he came from – and they wound up dropping out of the universe together.

    Meanwhile, back with Kira…

    My suggestion was to due a scouting mission under various identities to find out what we could of the defenses and defenders of the place. With that information in hand we could better plan a takeover mission. That left what ID’s we should use for the scouting mission. With this many “talented” people in our group, it was going to need to be a very good reason for why we would all be showing up there. The obvious answer on that front was that we could be Sith, but why would Sith be showing up to such a world in the first place?

    The answer occurred to me as I watched Smoche do some more arcane calculations on one of the big holographic displays regarding some esoteric idea of his. We could easily pose as Varen that have managed to capture a good deal of data from Kira Keldav and Ben Therus and are now looking for consultation regarding a number of the hyperspace technologies. Things like how to block trans-dimensional travel and what exactly those weird route coordinates meant would be valid questions for the Varen to have if they were still trying to chase me down. And since Ben Therus is supposedly at the root of those technological breakthroughs, it stood to reason that clones of Ben might have interesting insights into his research notes.

    The proposal was agreed to by all, although Ben was disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to go as Darth Therus to claim his clones for whatever supposed dark purpose he had dreamed up. Nimh added her own notes and questions needing answered from her studies into the Final Empire problem. If Ben’s clones were able to find answers to the problems, all the better, if not then we didn’t really lose anything in the process.

    Obviously I would best go as Verun Navaro for this mission. Valerie and Virstris would go as themselves. Alys decided she would go as one of Valerie’s attendants. Ben elected to go as a merchant of some sort (uning a final-empire style remote body) separate from us. With that all decided, we began to pack up for th mission. I retreated to my quarters and loaded a bag with the various items that were part of the Verun Navaro ID. On a whim, I elected to grab a blaster rifle as part of the weapons package I would be carrying with me.

    While retrieving that I noticed the subspace lance still leaning up against the wall. The thing was too unwieldy under most combat situations, but it still had it’s uses. Still, perhaps improvements could be made. With that in mind I called Ban Hughes to my quarters. When he arrived I gave him the lance and outlined the ideas I had: collapsible length, better strength for use as a staff weapon, and a power supply built into the hilt if possible. Ban sighed, told me he would work on it and then departed with the lance. If he made it work, so much the better, but I wasn’t going to be upset if it didn’t. After all, it was a niche weapon under most any circumstance I could think of. Maybe he’d have something to report when I get back.

    With all of my stuff packed, I then went to the docking bay Valerie’s ship was docked in. There I found that the others were already ready and waiting for me. Apologizing for the delay, I boarded after the others. Once everyone was onboard, Alys took the ship out of the bay and into hyperspace. Valerie, Virstris and I spent most of the trip practicing the Verun Navaro ID and making sure that my appearance looked right. Valerie did get annoyed by the sheer pile of weaponry I had on me though.

    We arrived in the target system some days later. We were about 200 light years from Republic space and still well within Sith space here, despite how much the lines had shifted with the defeat of Zandaras. The world itself looked to not be very hospitable to life and what life there was appeared to be confined to a variety of fortress like cities spread across the globe. Above them were a number of orbital installations with heavy defenses. Part of me wondered if those installations served a dual purpose of protecting the planet while keeping the inhabitants from escaping. On the plus side of things, it looked like taking out the orbital facilities would cripple the defenses significantly. That would still leave the planetary shields, but we knew how to bypass those these days.

    The number of Sith in the system was harder to determine. The resonance of all the clones was making things difficult, but I figured there were probably between six and twelve in the whole system. At least four of them appeared to be concentrated on one of the larger stations in orbit around the planet. It was about that time that we were hailed by the local defenses and asked to identify ourselves. Valerie stepped in at that point and explained that we were Varen here to seek counsel on a number of technical questions we figured they might be able to give insight into. We were then given clearance to land at the larger station.

    The landing went smooth enough and as we disembarked the ship, we found a bureaucrat with a datapad waiting for us. To say that this looked familiar was an understatement. At least we didn’t have a crazy Republic soldier waving weapons around in a threatening manner this time. I made sure to follow behind Valerie in the position of her apprentice as she walked up the bureaucrat. Again we were asked to explain our business and Valerie went described that we had recently acquired a lot of data regarding the hyperspace technologies and findings of Kira Keldav’s team and were hoping to get their clones of Ben to analyze the data for us. This led to a sales pitch as the bureaucrat tried to sell us clones of Ben and even Lazlo.


    I had enough issues as it was without having to babysit clones of the party members. Although I must admit I was rather surprised regarding the clones of Lazlo, but it was explained that a recent Artificer arrival had brought samples while fleeing a number of legal troubles in Republic space. I vaguely recalled Lazlo and the Republic mentioning something along those lines, but I was still surprised to find out more members of the party were being cloned en masse. We now had clones of Jacob, Ben, and Lazlo running around in this galaxy. All we needed was clones of Shipwreck, Alys, Telera, Valerie and myself to really complete the set. There was probably someone out there crazy enough to try sadly.

    A bit of conversational steering – and a bit of subtle force-pressure from Valerie – then led to the bureaucrat volunteering that they had recently received a large order for Kreedath clones. Why anyone would want to clone Kreedath was beyond me considering how readily they procreated in large numbers. And it wasn’t like they made especially great soldiers in disciplined armies either. So what was the purpose of…. wait a minute. Asking if the genetic samples for the Kreedath had any genetic anomalies got confirmation on a number of archaic and unusual sequences in the genome, including a general lack of force-sensitivity that avoided many of the resonance problems which commonly occurred in clones. Inquiries into who had placed the order where rebuffed on client privacy grounds.

    Well great, I guess we now know where the Rakata had gone off to. And given the Rakata’s ability to operate superweapons and incredibly powerful hand weapons, this was yet another disaster in the making I am suddenly thrust into. And yet again this looks like yet another one instigated in some fashion by me. There are times like this when I wonder if it would have been smarter to have died aboard the Naichron and avoided unleashing this string of disasters upon the Galaxy. So far I may have doomed my friends and family to who knows what fate and I have been barely keeping ahead of the disasters I have inadvertently been causing.

    Valerie then assured the bureaucrat that we only wanted to purchase consultation time and not actual ownership rights. That led to him to offer a list of prices for a holoconference run from orbit. When we insisted on actually having a face to face conference, we were refused. The best they were willing to offer was to let us to the surface in one of the sealed off sections of the city so that we might conference through transparent walls. When asked why this was the case, we were informed that it was protocol to prevent “genetic contamination” of the local population.

    I decided now was the time to make a show of annoyance.

    (Verun) Are you actually daring to insinuate that my mistress and I would debase ourselves with your creatures?

    (Bureaucrat) Not at all, but these are the procedures we have in place and they apply to everyone.

    (Verun) I have no time for such inane pleasantries you call procedures. I highly recommend that you reconsid….

    (Valerie) Verun, enough.

    Now for a calculated glance of annoyance back at Valerie.

    (Verun) Yes, my mistress, as you command.

    (Valerie) Kateryn, I want you to look over these so-called procedures and verify this man’s claims.

    At which point Alys took the datapad from the bureaucrat and started pouring over it in detail looking for some sort of a loophole or technicality. I really wanted to see the surface just to get a better idea of surface based defenses and overall population density. What information Ben had and what we were able to pick up from orbit wasn’t as much as I would have liked to have had.

    (Kateryn) My lady, it appears that this is the procedure as claimed.

    (Valerie) Very well then, let us go to the surface for a conference through a window then. I prefer to speak to the people I am dealing with in person anyway. Holoprojections are so impersonal.

    (Bureaucrat) Very well then.

    With that we made a payment for several hours of consultations with their hyperspace specialists. Then we were loaded into a planetary shuttle and brought to the surface. From there we were escorted to a number of guest quarters and a conference room. We handed over the data we had brought with us and were told that a conference was scheduled later that day. Ben in his disguise showed up later that day in the same guest section we were in. Whether this was a coincidence or not I wasn’t about to ask.

    Soon enough a chime sounded that it was time for our conference to begin. We gathered together at the designated table as a number of Ben clones and other people from similar stock seated on the other side of the transparent wall from us. Then began a long question and answer session between us and them regarding the information we had given them.

    First off, it didn’t look like there was a way to outright prevent trans-dimensional travel per se. I didn’t really expect there to be, but that question served it’s purpose in misleading the locals as to what we were really after. Next up came the question of preventing something from coming in as opposed to leaving. That yielded better results with some sort of randomized hyperspace-noise inducing system or some such that would make it incredibly difficult to target a given universe without being shunted into a nearby neighboring one instead. This apparently would spread an invading fleet across multiple prepared dimensions whereby each ship could then be overwhelmed locally. However this would roughly double the incidence of hyperspace accidents, interfere with communications, and be significant drain on galactic resources. This was likely a temporary measure until a more permanent solution could be found.

    Second proposal was to encrypt the navigational and communications grid traffic. This would apparently significantly impair the operations of both systems though and decrease galactic productivity accordingly. Again, this was a temporary measure until a more permanent solution was developed. Next up from them was a list of risk factors that might be mitigated to prevent an invasion in the first place. Simply not mapping the Galaxy or making it easy to loot would go a long ways towards that end. Major galactic engineering projects would likely be seen as a threat worth stamping out to prevent the rise of a rival civilization. Not annoying the Empress would help matters too, although apparently Kira Keldav’s group was really good at annoying her.

    It was then that I realized that Shipwreck and Ben had likely stolen and then hidden the Empress’s grand prize trophy worldship. At least Ben had taken all the known precautions to make it incredibly difficult to trace the “thieves” back to here. It may still be prudent to take all that gold Shipwreck brought back and shunt it out into the multiverse. If he complains, tough.

    To me it seemed prudent to have the Ratsoogomoz work on interdicting Yeveetha space while the Mrs Beasley upgrades the Zomogoostar’s hyperdrive to match the Ratsoogomoz’s design. With that done, we could then have the Zomogoostar work on interdicting extradimensional threats until a more workable long term solution could be found. And the existence of a better solution I was certain of. I just couldn’t reach far enough out there with my abilities to discern what shape it might take.

    That led to the final set of questions regarding stabilization of hypertunnels. That led to a whole lot of theory about sending beams through and then back again between the ends of the tunnel and using some sort of randomized output closed loop control to make adjustments to the tuning settings. This would then enable the system to correct for alignment issues on the fly without any need for external support supposedly. All of this talk of randomized controls reminded me of those weird subspace drives Ben had found and apparently Alys had the same thought as she asked about subspace tunnels.

    That led to exclamations that it would never work, that it was certainly possible, and other viewpoints as each of the consultants each voiced a completely different opinion on the matter. Then the argument sprang up with all of them competing against each other to see who could come up with the most impressive math on the subject to back up their claims. I was completely lost as they flung enormous piles of equations at each other like monkeys flinging something else. Eventually they settled down and announced together that it would conceivably work, although all the math broke down when trying to describe what the other end would be like. Apparently this meant that our laws of physics would not apply to the far end of the gate.

    Whatever that means.

    At about this point our purchased consultation time ran out. A quick and private debate broke out regarding whether there was anything else we wanted to talk with them about, but we finally agreed that we had most of the information we had come for. Any other questions we might have would end up revealing too much regarding what we know and why. Plus there were limits to the information we were willing to reveal in front of other Sith regarding advanced physics and engineering. It was annoying that we weren’t able to get a better picture of the ground defenses, but that was largely unavoidable considering the circumstances right now.

    Valerie thanked them for their time as we boarded the shuttle back to the station. Once back at the station we boarded our own ship and plotted a course back to the Mrs Beasley. While we traveled through hyperspace, Valerie, Virstris and I sat in one of the quarters onboard and discussed what we had each seen. It was obvious that stopping the Rakata cloning project was now a higher priority than the rescue of Ben’s people. Ben was just going to have to live with that fact.

    While I was sure that the Rakata could be invaluable in the war against the Yeveetha, I was concerned about what would happen after the war and what stockpiles of Infinite Empire weaponry they might know about that we and the Republic did not. The assertion that the Rakata would not have much empathy with anyone due to their relatively weak connection with the Force wasn’t reassuring either. While I was now certain that we would be able to steal the planet and eventually overwhelm the defenders, this had just reaffirmed the idea that we needed to find the Rakata we had set loose before they caused real damage. Hopefully they could be negotiated with since I wasn’t real keen on genocide. Perhaps send them to one of the timelines where the Infinite Empire was still in ascendence?

    Amazingly Valerie thought that was a good proposal as opposed to genocide. She must be making more progress than I think I realized.

    That still left the issue of how to steal the planet. Simply bringing the Mrs Beasley in and taking the planet with it would be dramatic, but it would also give plenty of warning as the news of the Mrs Beasley’s approach would arrive before it got there itself. No, best if we could somehow bring the planet to the Mrs Beasley and not the other way around. Hmm, I wonder if we could send an asteroid belt to it and use that to bring the planet to us? We would have to consult Ben on that one, but I suspect targeting a planet would be harder than targeting an asteroid belt. And I wasn’t keen on trying to use the link between Valerie and I for this operation either.

    Hmm, perhaps this would be the time for Ben to make an appearance as a Dark Lord come to claim his clones? Except that he would also have a resonating circuit system similar to what Valerie used for her assassinations. Then we could use that to lock onto Ben and the planet with the hypertunnel. It was a thought worth proposing to Ben at least. The only other option I could think of would be to try and use the resonance between Ben and all his clones to make a connection.

    Finally we arrived at the Mrs Beasley. Preparations for beginning the relocation of all the refugees to the Codifier Galaxy were almost ready. We were about to find Smoche to talk with him regarding upgrading the Zomogoostar and the relocation of Ben’s planet when Virstris elbowed me. I shoved my thoughts to the side and saw that Gab and Darius stood in our path. I sensed Valerie grab at her power as she prepared to act at a moments notice.

    (Kira) Yes? What can we do for you?

    (Gab) I wish to stay and work as Lady Soung’s assistant. We don’t have anywhere else to go now anyway.

    (Darius) And I want you to train me. Whether or not I decide to trust everything you tell me is an open matter.

    (Kira) Not a bad attitude with all things considered. Very well, I accept your request, Darius.

    (Valerie) And I accept yours, Gabrielle Kilnes.

    (Kira) Now, Darius, let’s see about getting you a shield.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 73a

    With Ben finishing up his attempts to single-handedly jumpstart Chyran civilization in the face of thousands of years of taboo – a task that access to the Mrs Beasley made almost practical – events on Chyran were winding down for him. They were winding down for Kira as well now that they had a Sith shaman to replace Lazlo and the old Sith vaults were shielded.

    We wrapped up our business on Chyran quickly enough. Alys organized a monstrous feast for everyone that was ridiculously and meticulously planned to the tiniest detail. You know, this excessive amount of organization that seems to spring up around her is getting on my nerves at times. Part of me wonders if this is Alys’s means of compensating for her status as a trouble-magnet or something. I prefer a more laid back and relaxed approach, although I know that annoys Valerie. Oh well, that’s half the fun of it.

    I did hand out a number of handheld shields for the youngsters to use though. It seemed like a practice worth encouraging and so I even threw in a few lessons on how to use the things properly. Whether or not it catches on is another matter and one I wasn’t likely to see. Ah well, with that done, we headed back to the Mrs Beasley where more urgent business was in need of being dealt with.

    First off we worked to open a hypertunnel to the Codifier Galaxy. That was simple enough considering the resources at our disposal. Once we had the tunnel open, we were able to connect to the local hyperspace grid and contact our counterparts again. A-Valerie wasn’t especially pleased to be hearing us requesting yet another favor of them, but she had to acknowledge that we were owed quite a bit considering we had at least temporarily ended the war there and rescued a good portion of their galaxy from stasis. They agreed to ask the Codifiers and the local Republic for assistance in sheltering a number of refugees for us. She did request for some time to prepare on their end though and we agreed.

    Second off, Valerie, Virstris, and I confronted Gab. Somehow I ended up the one doing most of the explanations. Gab was both thrilled and frightened to learn she was being freed. At first she thought she was being sent away for doing something wrong but I was able to clear that matter up. I did inform her that Valerie would like for her to stay, but it would be as a professional assistant as opposed to a slave. She could also return to Republic space if she wanted and we could arrange transport in that case. The choice in the matter was hers. Then she asked why this was happening now.

    (Kira) Now this might come as a shock, but Virstris and I have found Darius.

    (Gab) Darius? You mean my little brother Darius? He’s alive?!

    (Kira) Yes, onboard this very ship even. We found him on a hidden Republic world training Sith hunters.

    (Gab) Sith hunters?

    (Virstris) Being trained in many ways similar to how I am. Trained to hunt down and kill Sith using a variety of tricks and techniques. Except this bunch has a few more abilities at their disposal and aren’t too big on the differences between various types of Sith.

    (Kira) Or the difference between Jedi and Sith for that matter.

    (Gab) So he was being trained to kill Jedi too?

    (Kira) Not a lot of difference in the techniques involved, it’s more a matter of distinguishing targets and this group really doesn’t care to make that distinction.

    (Gab) Why would he get involved in such a group then?

    (Virstris) The attack on Maples and what happened to you hasn’t endeared him to the Jedi and the Sith.

    (Gab) But the Jedi weren’t even involved in the battle.

    (Kira) That’s the problem in his eye. Right now Darius knows who I am and isn’t happy about it. I’ve promised him I would secure your freedom and I have. But I don’t think it prudent to let him know that it was Valerie that owned you right now.

    (Gab) You think he will hurt Lady Soung?

    (Valerie) That I doubt he can do.

    (Kira) He is liable to make a mess and get himself hurt or even killed. There is something else you should know that we found out: Darius is a Force Sensitive.

    (Gab) Like you are?

    (Kira) Indeed, and I am not sure how Darius is going to react to that revelation either considering his disgust with Force users. So he is going to need your support in this.

    (Gab) Are going to make him join the Sith?

    (Kira) No, he would never go for it. However, by most definitions I am neither Jedi nor Sith. Perhaps that will be enough of a gray area for him to consider receiving training. Otherwise the course he is on now will only destroy him.

    That darkened her mood significantly from her earlier happiness with being set free. I wasn’t sure how to help the situation given the circumstances, but I felt that she had a right to know what Darius faced ahead of him. Darius did too, for that matter, and so Virstris, Gab and I next went to his quarters. I motioned for Gab to remain outside for the moment while Virstris and I went in. Darius was idly playing with some piece of disassembled hardware on the desk. What it was I couldn’t really identify.

    (Darius) So is it time to go and rescue my sister yet?

    (Kira) And here I thought I was impatient.

    (Darius) Are you making light of the situation my sister is in?

    (Kira) Stay sullen and serious like that all the time and it will stick. Trust me on that.

    (Darius) My sister is out there enslaved and you want me to not take it seriously?

    Sigh, how I ended up volunteering to be in this position is beyond me.

    (Kira) I ask that you put a little more faith in my promises Darius.

    (Darius) And why should I trust you when you didn’t even tell me your real name for weeks?

    I wanted to smack him on the back of the head right then and there, but held myself. Instead I telekinetically waved the door open.

    (Kira) Alright, would you come on in please?

    With that, Gab stepped through the door. I was satisfied to see Darius dumbstruck for once as Gab nearly bowled him over in her rush to embrace him. Questions as to how I freed her so quickly I deflected for the time being as unimportant at the moment. Gab eventually mentioned to Darius that I had something else important to say in all of this and he turned to me expectantly.

    (Kira) Darius, as you are probably already aware, I am something we’ve been calling a Hybrid. I can use the Force like the Jedi and Sith do. I can also use what the RDF Breakers called Providence, although I was taught to call it the Codex by a group known as the Codifiers. Codex potential is about as rare as Force potential although the losses are higher for a number of reasons. Hybrids like myself though are incredibly rare as it appears that someone has to be “lucky” enough to be both a Force sensitive and a Codex sensitive.

    (Virstris) It’s like winning the lottery grand prize twice in a row.

    (Kira) In some ways yes. It has certainly let me pull off stunts users of either one could never dream of. And in some ways it’s been a bit of a curse.

    (Darius) Ok, that is interesting, but why are you telling me this?

    (Kira) Because thus far in my travels, I have met only a handful of other Hybrids despite meeting many Force users and Codex users. Ben, Virstris’s sister, and I are all Hybrids. I know of at least three the JLA have, and I am aware of a few alternate versions of some of us that are also Hybrids. What is most relevant to you is that you also are a Hybrid, although untrained.

    (Darius) What?

    (Kira) You have already received some level of Codex training. You are also a Force sensitive. You probably haven’t noticed yet because your status as a Hybrid protects you to some extent from the worst aspects of both.

    (Darius) You mean falling to the Dark Side?

    (Kira) The Dark Side is a lot more complicated than the holos make it out to be. Let me introduce you to some people on board that have fallen to the supposedly Dark Side.

    And with that we began the grand tour of the ship’s Sith crew. We started off with Smooche’, Menethil, and Ichara to show him that falling can lead to relatively “harmless” obsessions with weird projects. That really seemed to shake up his notions of the concept of “Sith”. Next came the Arethi Welhem and his obsession with love, compassion, and healing. Then I introduced him to the Shaman Kven’thann with his totems, charms, and rituals. Finally I included recordings of Xiang and Chan since we didn’t have either of them aboard thankfully.

    Introducing him to Telera was an interesting moment indeed. Darius just could not wrap his head around the idea that there could be Jedi and Sith aboard the same vessel without violence breaking out. Telling him that the vast majority of the discipline issues on board tended to result from the various normal technicians picking fights with each other led to him refusing to believe it. Finally we took him down to the brig to see the various crew members the security team had put into “time out” due to anti-social behavior.

    With that out of the way, I then proceeded to show recordings of our encounters with some of the less friendly factions out there. The tragedy that was Lecrouss was a particularly eye-opening experience for Darius.

    (Kira) The Force does a lot to the minds of those sensitive to it. The Jedi and the Sith are in many ways victims of this fact. The Jedi are detached, calm, and aloof because they have to be. Otherwise they end up Sith. Some Sith fare better than others, but it is probably better to think of many of them as mentally ill than to think of them as monsters.

    (Darius) So is this to be my fate, to be like one of them?

    (Kira) I think not. I believe that with the Codex and the Force, one can be used to balance out the excesses of the other. We’ve have only done very limited experiments with using the Codex to heal Sith, and haven’t even begun looking into using the Force to heal Codex users.

    (Darius) So all you have to offer is vague hopes?

    (Kira) No, I have proof that the Codex can heal a Sith. It’s just that the Sith in question was also a Hybrid.

    (Darius) Let me guess, Virstris’s sister?

    Geez this kid could be sharp at times.

    (Kira) Yes, that is correct. Now, if you are willing, I will apprentice you in the ways of the Force and the Codex. I can’t promise to have all the answers, but I probably have more than most anyone else in this Galaxy as to what exactly is going on. I don’t want an answer immediately, but I want you to think about it and give me your answer once you’ve decided. Your sister also has some decisions of her own to consider as well.

    And with that, I left them to catch up some more and think about their future. I had a feeling that Ben was considering another mission anyway and I wanted to know what exactly he was planning and why. Perhaps we can limit the chaos a bit if we do a bit more planning from the outset this time around. Virstris and I found Alys, Ben, and Valerie arguing on the bridge while looking at a display of a planet hanging in the air. I didn’t recognize the world at all.

    Entering the argument and getting the story thus far, I learned that this was Ben’s homeworld. Apparently something about our trip to the RDF training facility had made Ben want to rescue his people from the Sith occupation/quarantine. I mean I can understand the reason, but why this has become an issue now was not really clear to me. Ben had never spoken of wanting to save them before.

    Ben’s initial plan was for him to simply show up and demand that his clone-siblings be handed over to him with the rest of us nearby to assist if things go badly. Immediately I thought this was a bad idea considering how little we knew of the defenses and number of Sith on the world itself. The sheer number of blank and vaguely defined locations on the planet itself was hardly encouraging for charging straight into battle. We had more information regarding Gruenn before we landed there.

    Ben was a little clearer than THAT. After all, the Sith HAD offered him his clone-siblings once if he’d come and share his new discoveries with them… And he was sure that there weren’t too many; a few Holosith and some Artificers seemed most likely.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 72b

    Time travel hypothesis ; using wormholes.

    No, this is NOT how it works!

    Just breather masks damn it! Oh well, at least he had the subspace systems up and running to dump some of the excess energy these people were flinging around! That would keep them from roasting all the unprotected refugees and the people (including himself and Alys!) in the port buildings.

    Then he set out, phasing through walls with his new subspace lance to make examples out of the idiots on the guns…

    Sadly, it was hard to keep them from shattering once frozen – so he couldn’t do too many – but it was kind of fun! Almost as much fun as the stasis gun, without the annoying need to keep holding it on them!

    Poking the parts of the jellyfish that were coming in through the shields was strangely therapeutic as they froze – and the shields instantly shattered the frozen remains into monoatomic powder.

    Meanwhile, of course, Kira was still all too busy.

    As hard as I found it to believe, that only heightened the panic around me. Leaving the shuttle via phasing, I immediately set to work on the others. I was partway through disabling the third shuttle when my commlink chirped again.

    (Ben) I’ve got a second subspace lance ready for you to use. It should be able to discharge all the power supplies and weapon system.

    (Kira) That’s nice and all, but where in this maelstrom did you put it?

    (Ben) Warehouse on the Northwest corner of the base. You should find it leaning against the South wall. It will be the yellow staff about two meters long.

    (Kira) Got it, on my way now.

    It took some dodging and weaving through the slow motion explosions going off as the rain of defensive fire continued unabated. Eventually though I was able to find the warehouse Ben had spoken of as I phased through the door in Hypertime. I could see the occupants trying to collect various forms of munitions, presumably to use against me. I ignored them as they turned to look at me in horror. Running along what I thought was the South wall found me a yellow staff like implement taller than I was laying on the floor.

    I figured this had to be it. Of course, leave it to Ben to not leave any instructions on how to use the damned thing. It didn’t have any sort of a trigger that I could see and the handle wasn’t very indicative as to which direction the thing needed to be pointed. Oh well, I figure the odds are 50/50 and worst case I will look silly as I turn it around. By this point the occupants of the warehouse had worked up their courage and were coming to assault me with heavy weapons.

    In a warehouse full of heavy weaponry….

    Right, I charged them in Hypertime before they had a chance to unleash more devastation we didn’t need right now. First one got the wind knocked out of him as I shoved the apparently wrong end of the lance into his sternum. I then did a simple twirl of the lance into the other guy’s face before poking the correct end of the lance into the one I had attacked first. He immediately went still and began to tip over. I got the vision of him shattering into a thousand pieces from the intense cold via the Force, but thankfully I was able to catch him telekinetically in time. I laid him gently down on top of a crate and then departed the building. With any luck I’ll remember I left him here with his unconscious pal.

    Outside the shuttles were still shooting at the immense cloud of dust they were creating in a vain hope to hit me via sheer odds. I then proceeded to repeat my earlier tactic for knocking out shuttles except this time I simply used the lance to disrupt power supplies and weapons. Pilots and gunners I simply bludgeoned unconscious with the lance or my hands. Just when I thought I was about to have this won though, more shuttles fell out of the sky and began raining destruction across the field. I managed to avoid a direct hit in that barrage, but the sheer bombardment resulted in me getting hit with a number of pieces of shrapnel and a lot of heat.

    Luckily my reflexive reaction to harden myself against attacks served me well as I took all the shrapnel and thermal blasts without any lasting injury. It still knocked the wind out of me though. Abruptly the bombardment stopped and the dust began to clear from the port.

    The place was a mess of craters, burning buildings, and crashed shuttles. My clothes were about as tattered as some of the main characters in an action holo as I stood there perched on top of an i-beam jutting out of the ground with the lance slung over my shoulder. I had to admit that even I was impressed by the sheer amount of carnage I had unleashed without firing a single shoot at my opponents. I was beginning to wonder if they had run out of weapons to fire when an intercom broke out over the port.

    (Intercom) This is Commander Targus, cease the attack on Kira Keldav immediately! You’re causing more damage to yourselves than you are to him!

    Looking up I saw that the voice was coming from a frigate that had descended upon the port. The Hybrid I had sensed earlier was aboard and appeared to be on the bridge. I could feel a note of amusement in his thoughts as the ship came down for a landing. Slowly things began to settle down and get organized. The fires were put out and the refugees were allowed into the port itself. Once everyone was inside, the shields were brought back up and the defenses focused on keeping the jellyfish at bay. Our proposal for refitting the hyperdrive of the frigate to handle trans-temporal travel was ardently opposed on numerous grounds, but as the jellyfish attacks became more frequent and intense, dissent quieted.

    Two hundred thousand light years, and several universes, away, Lazlo was cheerily taking his new truckload of explosives up the ramp into the Yeveetha ship – and then sneaking off to have a look at the bridge. Droid security was easy enough to bypass – and there were only three Yeveetha (and a restrained local that they were trying to decide how best to cook to cover up the flavor) on the bridge.

    It took a little climbing, and wedging himself into the angle of the ceiling – but after that, luring the first two out to be jumped was pretty easy.

    It helped that they were all busy speculating on how they could advance their own clone-line over all the others rather than actually doing their jobs. Of course, there probably hadn’t been any real trouble out of THIS planet in the last fifty years.

    Unfortunately, the only Yeveetha who were entrusted with the navigation routes were the astrogators – and they weren’t currently on the bridge… He stole the navigation computers memory core, rigged the controls to lock the doors and crash the ship into the moon, before heading out with the captive – detonating his bomb as he left to keep them distracted until their ship hit the moon.

    Well, he MIGHT have enough information to start mapping the Yeveetha empire… and he kind of was missing his friends.

    Time to get back!

    His lurching ship made it offworld, if not easily, but the hyperdrive went on the blink. He tried to rig it with what he remembered from Ben’s instructions – and recalled rather too late that the three-coil configuration was one of the transdimensional ones…

    He wound up… in the clean-up of the Infinite Empire, with the Jedi – as military commanders – and the nascent republic fleet in pursuit of the final Rakasta Starbreakers.

    They picked him up on passing, even if even THEY thought that his ship was on obsolete joke.

    Oddly, these Jedi seemed… a lot more aware? Had they tried to use the Censor as a weapon against the Rakata? There’d surely be unexpected consequences from that!

    He left a test for true time travel by leaving a message for himself – but to see if there were any results from that, he’d have to get home!

    Back home, Jarik almost had his weapons restocked after emerging from the cloning tank.

    Shipwreck was mourning his lost planet of gold, with Handel helping him drink.

    Xiang was off with Chan Naldor.

    We loaded everyone into the frigate while Ben made modifications to the hyperdrive. I found a relatively quiet corner of the ship and was struggling to stay awake. My personal clock indicated I was about eighteen hours ahead of the local time and it was well into my third day awake straight. I wasn’t about to fall asleep with this many people out for my head on board this very same ship right now. My attempts to stare vacantly off into space were interrupted by a tall shadow looming over me.


    (Kira) Well, what did it look like?

    (Darius) You just fought all those monsters by yourself and then fought the port facility to a stand still unarmed! The people are beginning to whisper some nonsense that you’re that freak Kira Keldav or something!

    (Kira) They are? Well, I guess that isn’t surprising considering that’s my name.

    (Darius) WHAT?!?!

    (Kira) Sorry I hadn’t been more truthful, but a planet full of people looking for an excuse to kill all Force users isn’t a place I like throwing my name around. It tends to result in a little bit of excitement.

    (Darius) EXCITEMENT?! The entire damned planet moved to who knows where and you are calling this a little excitement?!

    (Kira) Calm down, you’re going to exhaust yourself for no reason.

    (Darius) No reason?! You lied to me! Someone I considered a friend turns out to be a damned Sith!

    (Kira) That depends on your definition. If you define a Sith as a Force user that has fallen to the Light or Dark Side, then no I am not a Sith. If you define a Sith as any Force user who is not a Jedi, then yes I am a Sith.

    (Darius) Now you are arguing semantics?!

    I stood up at that point. While I was not nearly as tall as Darius was, I must have had a presence as he stepped back. The others in the room also took note of my stance.

    (Kira) Darius, if I was truly a Sith like you think they are, I could have killed a large number of people today and left the rest to die a horrific death while I calmly retreating to safety using the techniques at my disposal. Instead I fought the monsters, provided medical treatment to the injured, saved those poisoned by the jellyfish, organized the evacuation, and then distracted the people willing to kill the refugees in the hopes of getting me. And you’ll note it was those same people so willing to sacrifice others that recruited you to be a disposable assassin! Yes, I gave this planet the nudge it needed to fall out of the universe and I even botched my attempt to steer the planet to the timeline I wanted, but I wouldn’t have been able to even try it in the first place had the RDF not been working so hard to isolate this world in the first place. Now I would recommend you take a sedative and get some sleep.

    (Darius) You actually pushed the planet out of the universe?!

    (Kira) As I said, it was only due to the activities of the RDF that this was possible. Normally that sort of thing is impossible for even a large group of people to accomplish. I was trying to steer the planet to a Galaxy full of nice people I consider allies, but forty thousand people make for a lot of extra noise.

    (Darius) And why are you pushing planets out of the universe? Was it in your way or something?

    (Kira) The instructors figured out who I was and I was out of options for hiding my identity. You saw the immense panic my name alone causes and the sheer amount of weaponry these guys have. Are you sure they wouldn’t have used one of those Starbreakers to get me? They certainly proved they were willing to kill thousands just for the sheer chance of success.

    (Darius) So what are you planning to do with them?

    (Kira) Take them somewhere where I have enough allies and resources to ensure I get the information I want without them escaping to spread panic across the Galaxy with tales that I can now steal planets. Those not directly involved with RDF activities will be sent to a Galaxy where they can live quiet and happy lives without fanatics oppressing them.

    (Darius) I am not sure I can believe you.

    (Kira) Then I imagine you should just sit back and watch.

    Ben came by two hours later and informed us the hyperdrive was ready. Everyone was by now loaded on the ship and the jellyfish attacks were becoming more frequent and intense. Luckily the shields were holding for the moment, but staying any longer than we needed wasn’t prudent. There was a major fuss with coming onto the bridge, but Commander Targus hammered the protests down eventually. I quietly mentioned to Ben to ask Commander Targus to lock the escape pods and weapons to prevent any “accidents”. With that out of the way, we started up the hyperdrive and I did my best to steer us home using the thread connecting me to Valerie as a guide.

    That was another several hour trip and I was approaching the limits of my endurance even with the Force assisting me. Thankfully I saw the familiar profile of the Mrs Beasley and felt Valerie’s presence once again. Ben immediately fired off some coded messages to the Mrs Beasley as part of the docking request and I could tell that we were about to enter stasis based on how my precognition was going blank.

    Next thing I was aware of was being carried over someone’s shoulder. I was promptly set down on my feet by a female figure clad in a form fitting jumpsuit that covered her from head to toe. I didn’t need to see her face to tell who it was, but it still was a welcome sight as Valerie took off the hood.

    (Valerie) By the Force you reek! You smell like something that had crawled out of the ocean, died, and has been baking in the sun for a couple days.

    (Kira) That’s not that far from the truth.

    At which point her face contorted into one of concern.

    (Valerie) You’re exhausted.

    (Kira) Yeah, currently I think I am on hour 58 without sleep.

    (Valerie) I am not sure I want to know what made you think that was a good idea, but I am sure I will find out anyway.

    With that she touched her commlink as we made our way to an elevator.

    (Valerie) Gab, I need a bath and fresh clothing prepared for Kira in his quarters. Have Vincent ready to do a diagnostic. We’ll be arriving shortly.

    <Gab> Yes, my lady.

    (Kira) You brought her here?

    (Valerie) Well yes, this is quickly becoming my new residence since I no longer live at the Academy, so it made sense to arrange her transfer here.

    (Kira) It may be prudent to have her lie low for a bit.

    (Valerie) And why would I do that?

    (Kira) I found her little brother and he isn’t going to react well to her enslavement.

    (Valerie) Then he can get over it.

    (Kira) He’s also a potential Hybrid.

    I could feel the consternation and annoyance cross her mind with that revelation. At least she didn’t seem to object to the request for the time being, but I could tell there was an argument brewing for later.

    We arrived in the Sith Canton minutes later. Gab lit up when she saw me but then her face turned to shock when she saw my current state. Vincent gave me that perpetually condescending look of his and made a production out of sniffing the air. His comment about my smell wasn’t helpful in the least. Vincent ran his scans, took blood samples, and asked a lot of annoying questions. Finally he seemed to run out of tests and questions as he gestured for me to go ahead and get cleaned up. The bath felt nice as I let all the stuff on me wash off while letting the hot water soothe the aching joints. It was tempting to fall asleep right there, but I forced myself out and dressed. Valerie was waiting for me as she sat on the bed.

    (Valerie) There’s a pill on the table Vincent wants you to take. He says it will help with the fatigue and remove some of the remaining toxins in your blood. Get some sleep. Gab has been informed not to let anyone bother you and get you anything you need. We’ll take care of sorting through the passengers of the frigate.

    I didn’t respond to her except to take the pill and crawl into bed.

    I awoke about sixteen hours later. After stretching a bit, I got dressed in one of my robes and donned my equipment. It felt weird wearing it again, but the exquisite fit kept it from being uncomfortable. I stopped by the mess hall to grab some food and then made my way to the docked frigate to see how things were going. I found Virstris and Valerie watching over things while Alys directed droids to shuffle back and forth carrying people in stasis belts. Apparently they had Khadim carry first stage stasis generators aboard the ship at regular intervals and then disengaged the second stage stasis. This way the droids could enter and exit without issue while the organics remained locked in time.

    We were missing some of the instructors, but it did look like they had never boarded the frigate. So that left them someplace they weren’t likely to interfere with us though. We were having problems sorting through the people we did have though. Reading the minds of the dead (or those in stasis) was one of the specialties Lazlo had picked up. But Lazlo hadn’t returned from his infiltration mission so he couldn’t do the job. Valerie lamented the fact none of the rest of us had learned the technique, but I had a plan. I knew where to find the one that taught Lazlo that technique.

    Ben more or less arrived at the same conclusion I had and made his own preparations for delivering gifts in exchange for the services we were requesting. Apparently he was having the Mrs Beasley fabricate the shields generators we had asked the Jedi for and building an “instant civilization starting kit”, whatever that was. It took a few days for all of that to be loaded into one of the larger freighters, but that gave us time to continue unloading the frigate and make sure no one was hiding someplace before we took the ship out of stasis. That also gave me time to give Valerie full details on what happened in this whole fiasco. That led to the next argument.

    Valerie wasn’t willing to give up Gab as a slave without some sort of concession from me. At first she offered that Gab could be freed if Darius joined the Varen, but there wasn’t a chance in hell of that happening. Attempts to just ask for a price resulted in her giving me an absurd amount. Finally I got fed up with this and came straight out and asked her what it was she was wanting in exchange for Gab.

    (Valerie) I want you to treat me to a series of nice evenings somewhere.

    That was not what I was expecting.

    (Kira) And where would the princess like to be taken to?

    (Valerie) Well, you can certainly afford most any place I can think of. How about you surprise me? I am sure an opportunity will come up in the near future for you to treat me.

    Ah, now I get it. She was wanting to trade one form of pampering for another form. It was also a good sign that Valerie’s emotional spectrum was increasing significantly from the perpetual cranky annoyance she had when I met her.

    (Valerie) Perpetual cranky annoyance?

    Well crap, she heard that thought.

    (Kira) Sorry, just comparing the apparently progress you’ve made compared to when I met you.

    (Valerie) Noted, and you are becoming more comfortable with the status your powers entail. Especially if you are willing to take an apprentice of your own.

    (Kira) Well, I really doubt Darius has many other options right now besides us. The military won’t take him given the near fanaticism, and the Sith are the enemy to him. Leaving him with the RDF is a death sentence.

    (Valerie) Just don’t get too attached to him. Failures are common and nasty when they do occur. I’ve seen enough of Father’s to know.

    (Kira) Oh who knows? Maybe he will be the one to bring our efforts to full fruition and I would only be remembered as the guy that trained the great Darius Kilnes. I would be merely a footnote in history.

    (Valerie) I am not sure if that is ambitious or lazy.

    With that out of the way it was time to talk with the JLA Hybrid we found. Targus immediately struck me as the typical military man except a little more pragmatic and not so paranoid. He still gave that vaguely disapproving look at most everything he saw though. He especially did not like all the Sith running around on board, but at least he wasn’t pitching a fit. My response that I found having insane yet predictable people around me more trustworthy than the sheer number of sane but greedy people out in the Galaxy also was not well received. Apparently this fact was still supposedly my fault somehow. That led to the question as to whether or not all Hybrids had these kinds of issues, with him replying firmly no.

    Oh well, we did sit down and compare notes on being a Hybrid, what technologies our group knew of, countermeasures, techniques, and things like the Censor and Rakata immunities. When asked how we derived the existence of the JLA and RDF, we told the story of our investigation and accidental discovery of the multiverse and Codifiers. To which I asked him about my location of my family and friends since it seemed likely that the JLA had been involved in the disappearance based on all the evidence we had available. Predictably he didn’t know where they were, but he promised to make inquiries into the matter since we had assisted with the elimination of two Star Breakers.

    Sigh, that is about all I can expect these days without firm leads.

    With that squared away and instructions left for Virstris to keep Gab and Darius from finding each other for the moment, it was off to Chyran. With the place being an isolated backwater, there wasn’t much of any issue getting there. We could still see the remnants of the Republic War Droids still circling the planet, but this time we had the firepower and resources to readily handle those things. Ben started working on cleaning those out so he could begin to place his shield generators, and I descended to the surface near that village we had visited what seems like a lifetime ago.

    The villagers recognized me at least. We told them that we had come to fulfill our promise to stop the attacks by the “demons” and to put the dead “gods” to rest in their final slumber. The announcement that more would be arriving to help them rebuild their civilization was met with mixed responses. Apparently millennia of bombardment had made them incredibly shy about anything more advanced than wooden and stone implements. I was rather amused to see an increased number of shields in use amongst the youngsters and even some of the adults. I guess we did make an impression after all.

    I expressed our wish that one of us be trained to read the minds of the “dead gods” or have someone come with us that can. At which point the elders told us we needed to reaffirm ourselves as adults and members of the tribe again before any such training or assistance be given. Apparently departing the planet for a few years causes tribal membership to expire. It was the same basic formula as last time, but now we had a much better idea of what to expect, we weren’t silted, and we had a great deal more power and weaponry at our disposal this time. The youngsters with us got to more or less watch as we found one of the lizard creatures, killed it, and then drug it back to the camp as proof of our adulthood.

    With that out of the way, the tribal shaman then offered to train one of us and even come along if that was what we needed. Ben volunteered for the training and after some more exchanges and promises of further aid, we loaded into the ship and returned to the Mrs Beasley with our new Sith Shaman in tow. I figured Targus wasn’t going to be happy to see me bringing yet another Sith aboard the Mrs Beasley, but he was going to have to get used to it I think. I did find it amusing that he and Ilia were seen discussing their respective organization histories in the mess hall. That ought to be an eye opening experience for them both.

    Alright, we are waiting on a report back from the JLA on the whereabouts of my family. The Shaman and Ben were busily trying to sort through the captured RDF Breakers for clues and valuable information. Ben was muttering something about needing an infiltration mission somewhere, but I ignored it until he provided more details on where and why.

    Meanwhile I had Darius to worry about.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 72a

    Fun with an Argon-ion and a He-Ne laser. Most ...

    Isn't it nice when people color-code their weaponry?

    The wookie immediately charged at me with a scream and a leap. The blaster rifle shots I fired into his torso didn’t seem to have much of any effect though as he continued that arc to collide with me. Too late I realized there wasn’t enough time to dodge the attack as I attempted to block with the rifle. The wookie’s overhanded blow snapped the rifle in half in my hands as I barely managed to knock that blow aside. The impact of that blow still resounded through my arms, my chest, and even my legs as the pavement cracked under my feet.

    Ungh, even with the Force reinforcing me, that was going to leave me sore.

    I didn’t have time to be playing around with this wookie given the chaos unfolding around me. I needed to finish this now so that I could help the others. The rifle was now broken in half, but I still had other means of fighting. Using Hypertime to boost my speed, adjusting the interface for inertial boosts, and then using the Force to enhance my strength, I unloaded rapid series of punches and kicks onto the wookie. The final kick to the side of the head caused him to fall to the ground unconscious a number of meters from my feet. Whether he was dying or not was hard to ascertain at the moment, but unfortunately for him there were bigger priorities.

    It looked like my earlier telepathic broadcast had distracted all those berserkers not immediately trying to kill someone. That still left thirty or so still running around attempting to kill everyone. I looked down at the broken remains of the rifle and considered my options. Tackling them all in personal combat was going to result in me getting overwhelmed soon enough. Individually they weren’t a problem and even as a group, my speed and agility made me near impossible for them to catch. The real issue was keeping them from attacking and eating everyone else. Any weapon I could think of large enough to get them all would also get the rest of the population too. Plus there was the issue of all the jellyfish floating about eating people and turning the rest into these berserkers.

    The best way to handle the jellyfish was find somewhere defensive until we could build a hypertunnel and escape this world. Getting all the people somewhere safe was the real trick though since all the berserkers were making life difficult. Outsmarting an enemy that simply charged the first thing it saw was both incredibly easy and pointless at the same time. I mean ideally I would just announce myself a target and let them all chase me all day. I could probably get a few of them to chase me that way, but all of them was not just feasible. As amusing as the thought might be, I really doubted that smothering myself in sauce would really work to get them all to focus on me.

    Wait a moment.

    I could get them to focus on me using another telepathic broadcast associating myself with food. I could certainly keep them all on a merry chase for some time once I got them all on me. With that plan in mind, I pulled as hard as I could using the Force as I sent out a telepathic command making me food in the eyes of the berserkers. It was only when they all stopped to look at me that I began to question the wisdom of the move. Too late now I think.

    The mob came quickly and more arrived every moment. I used a brief bit of Hypertime to get outside the encirclement and then used the Force to enhance my speed from that point onwards. With the main mob running behind me, I reached out with my senses to find any stragglers that I missed so that I could add them to the pack. Grabbing them, I saw that those people not affected by the berserker toxin were staring at amazement as I ran by followed by the horde of feral nuts. Stupid idiots, this wasn’t the time to be standing and gawking. They need to take the opportunity to find shelter somewhere defensible.

    Hmm, where was there somewhere defensible? The feral berserkers were going to be easy enough to defend against given weaponry and time to prepare. The real problem was going to be the jellyfish when they inevitably swarmed the place en masse. The typical building or vehicle wasn’t going to cut it in this case. Somewhere deep underground would be nice, but I wasn’t aware of anywhere nearby that could hold nearly forty thousand people. About the only place nearby that I knew of that could conceivably hold that many people and have any sort of defenses was the space port I arrived in weeks ago. It was a military port and so had all the appropriate equipment and supplies needed. Hell, it probably was one of the few locations on this planet with a large power supply we could use to run a trans-temporal hypertunnel.

    Well, best to be pointing this out to people then. I imagine it must have looked ridiculous to everyone to see me run past yelling for people to evacuate to the space port while being chased by an angry mob of blood thirsty people. At least this was buying everyone time.

    Meanwhile, Alys and Ben were getting things organized. The students needed better weapons, organization, and some strategy. Pulling out a section of the floor with phasing and merging it with the walls where the door had been had cut off the influx of human zombies (a good thing they weren’t all Kreedath! The half of the one that was sticking out of the floor was STILL trying to reach out and kill someone) – but the situation wasn’t good; their opponents were just dumb zombies, so there was no need to panic (even if they were incredibly strong and durable) – and Kira was leading a lot of them on a wild Kira chase (a galactic idiom that was rapidly becoming synonymous with “snark hunt”), but capturing the “zombies” without killing them was difficult – and they might still be treatable. Neither Ben nor Alys wanted innocent blood on their hands.

    Ben was wondering (while doing a distracted and not-too-effectual pep talk… How did Alys make that stuff look so easy? At least they were ONLY zombies!)… how could the blasted things possibly be FLYING? And through space yet! They HAD to be generating a repulsorfield somehow… which meant that they had to be partially crystalline… could he use a laser to trigger a lightsaber-like discharge inside them?

    Oh well! It was for this sort of thing that he had armor! AAARRRGGGHHH! His armor was on his ship in orbit! Surrounded by Jellyfish!


    OK, never mind, he could deal with this… To the spaceport! There couldn’t be TOO many jellyfish around yet, and he could use the equipment there! Lasers would save them!

    Alys was wondering if Ben had gone crazy (on top of her other problems), but quickly got a local exodus to the spaceport organized to clear the way for the mass evacuation.

    Unfortunately, the port defenses were active, both against the jellyfish and against the zombies. Worse, a zombie had smashed up the communications equipment (oh of COURSE). Even WORSE, a Jellyfish was coming in to attack them while Ben was fixing the communicator!

    Ben added “Zombies” to the list of things he HATED HAVING TO DEAL WITH!

    Alys had the students try to hold off the Jellyfish with lasers – and the thing… absorbed the energy and fired it back?!?!

    (Alys) “Ben? What the hell is going on?!?!”

    Ben swore, nursing his new laser-burn… The DAMNED JELLYFISH HAD SHOT HIM! That was SO WRONG! How the HELL could a DAMNED JELLYFISH SHOOT HIM? The damned things were… made of Zandramas Goo! Able to absorb and discharge energy… That explained the normal-space travel capabilities – but it also meant that they could generate basic energy-weapon effects and that they could – given time – blast their way into structures and penetrate shields! Shit! And those ships out there were… armed with turbolasers! And likely to use them! That would make things SO MUCH WORSE!

    He needed to get in there! He needed to make some liquid nitrogen weapons for short range and to warn all the idiots in the spaceport NOT to use energy weapons against the jellyfish!

    Unfortunately, the first idiot to respond to the comlink was panicked, and was afraid that they were zombies.


    Alys sighed. It was true enough that Zombies would NOT be calling in to request a way in, but screaming incoherently at some frightened crewman was NOT going to help either. She got on the link and started providing some information on the limits and capabilities of the jellyfish while carefully NOT suggesting that all they needed to do was to take off and get out of local space.

    Alys got someone less panicked on the line soon enough and got them inside the defenses at least – although not aboard a ship as yet. Still, that let Ben get his mind off of being eaten by Jellyfish (again!) and back onto weapons and hypertunnels. All he needed to do was to wait until the Jellyfish were exterminated in the local area and a secure zone was set up and he could work freely! It wasn’t like the damned things had any kind of…

    Zandramas Goo could run droid programs! And communicate! Even if their normal-space drive was relatively slow, it was no WONDER that they’d shown up so fast, and that more were appearing all the time!

    They HAD TO GET OUT OF HERE! In hours to days there’d be enough firepower here to overwhelm any defense the port could put up!

    Across the galaxy, Lazlo had completed his “investigation” – such as it was. It hadn’t taken all that many interviews or even approaches to discover that the locals were all terrorized farmers, who were permitted to live to produce other crops for the Yeveetha simply because they tasted really bad to the Yeveetha.

    The Yeveetha still ate any who acted up – or one out of any group that failed to meet their quotas – out of “principle” though.

    Some “principles” they had there.

    The Yeveetha seemed to regard this planet as under complete control – which said that this might have been going on for generations, and that the locals had no weapons, no resources, and no way of standing up to their overlords; he wasn’t going to be sparking any revolutions here.

    Fortunately, that also meant that they took few precautions save for operating in pairs; they simply took skimmer-trucks out, let the droids handle the routing, and spent a few “pleasant” days intimidating farmers and occasionally killing people before letting the droids haul back the produce and unload it into the hold.

    Well, at least there was an opportunity there to get them to focus on him instead of on the poor locals.

    Unfortunately, his own temper – and a bit of distraction – got the better of him there. Instead of zipping up behind their lumbering produce-transport and leaping aboard dramatically, he wound up smacking into the back of it and hurling himself into forty tons of two-foot-across balls of green leafy vegetables.

    Not too surprisingly, they noticed and investigated – and Lazlo arose from the cabbages with some quip about condiments and an announcement of his mission as a spy.

    The Yeveetha really were big on this “when in doubt, attack!” routine weren’t they?

    Lazlo shoved enough vegetables into the first one to rupture his throat and stomach, but the second one managed to stun him with a lucky blaster shot – and then unloaded five or six less fortunate (and thus totally ineffectual) shots into him to “make sure”. Luckily, the creature was then Imperceptive enough to be sure that Lazlo was dead, and turned his attention to laughing at (and then dispatching) his mortally-wounded companion and preparing to gut and roast the “corpses” for transport back to the ship.

    Bludgeoning him into unconsciousness worked well enough – and eventually yielded the information that there were at least two hundred Yeveetha in the main ships crew, since that was how many the Yeveetha said would kill and eat him.

    The droid-autopilot was more helpful; it knew all the routes – which revealed that most of that crew would be out driving trucks.

    Hm. That gave him an idea. He had a truck, and there were LOTS of fertilizers around, and they WOULD be expecting the truck to come back…

    Meanwhile, back with Kira…

    I was about to make a turn down another street when another berserker of some purple species I didn’t recognize leapt out from behind a store stall in front of me with his arms wide open in a grapple. My momentum was too great to allow me to simply sidestep him and there wasn’t time to stop and pick another direction. So I jumped up, planted a foot firmly in his face, and used him as a springboard to propel myself further down the road. I missed the turn I wanted to make, but figured I could circle back around the block in a few moment anyway.

    The second ambush (not that I thought these guys were actually thinking enough to set up a trap) caught me in the middle of pedestrian walkway with berserkers ahead of me and of course behind me. Judging by the relative speeds involved, I figured the two groups were going to collide with me in the middle near that light pole. I could probably jump to the roofs of the nearby buildings, but that would put me out of the reach of the nuts following me and my hold on them was tenuous at best. To make this work I had to stay just out of reach. Time was growing short, and I could think of only a single option.

    Adjusting my direction slightly I ran haflway up the light pole and then pushed off it to go airborne. That flung me backwards over the heads of the group that had been following me. A number of them tried to jump up and grab me. One or two came a lot closer than I really liked as their hands tore rents in my clothing (blast it! Why did so many species have to come with effective natural weapons? I got along with fingernails, why couldn’t they?). Still I managed to land on the far side of the mob and on my feet as I took off running again in the direction I had just come. That only left a few pockets of these berzerkers on the outskirts of town near the farms.

    I thanked Valerie for all the endurance lessons as I could tell my legs were getting the point they should have stopped responding to commands to run. So far I had only managed to work up a light sweat with all this running and leaping around town. I was covered in blood and dirt but the blood wasn’t mine and the dirt was from the explosions still going off around me occasionally. This wasn’t bad considering I had no weapons or armor to speak of I figured.

    The third ambush occurred when I found that the end of the alley I was rushing down was filled with the remains of jellyfish goo. Skidding to a halt, I realized there wasn’t a lot of options to get out of this one. The buildings were simply too tall to just jump straight on top of given my skill and I wasn’t keen on trying to use levitation under these circumstances. Looking at the walls and then the mob quickly catching up, I figured it was time to try something I have only seen done in the holos.

    Leaping up towards one wall, I planted a foot against it and timed my kick to propel me upwards and backwards. Spinning around I was able to orient myself in time to land my other leg against the opposite wall and do the same thing again. Thus I jumped from wall to wall in an upwards climb until I finally reached the top, flipped over, and landed on my feet. Below I saw the first sections of the mob stop to stare at me as the center and rear sections collided with them. The whole mess then proceeded to get pushed into the jellyfish goo. Fresh flows of the stuff and made the air reek as more membranes tore open.

    Ungh, I thought they smelled terrible before.

    I stood there watching the slippery mess unfold when I saw that a number of children were part of the mob. And unfortunately that was when I started to see these as people and not just more monsters and nutjobs out to kill me. There was no way we could get adequate medical treatment to all of these people in time before the effects of the chemicals killed them. Well, I guess since they are going to die anyway, the only chance they had for survival was for me to try something stupid.

    Reaching out with the Force I tried to feel what enzyme it was that was causing the berserker rampage. My initial scan was showing nothing but the symptoms being created, what the stress was doing to their hearts, and the agony they were feeling. Finally I had to stop, wipe the dust out of my eyes, and steady my breath for a moment. With that, I tuned out the rest of the world around me as I sunk deep into a trance scanning the disruptions of their metabolisms deeper and deeper until I was aware of individual bits of barely living nothingness floating around and interacting with each other. One in particular stood out as foreign though as I felt it interact with the others in what I could only say I felt was a disruptive manner. I reached out to that bit, felt it with my powers and got a good idea of what it “looked” like.

    With that image in hand, I spread my awareness as far as I could to the point it was almost painful. Quickly I became aware of a “cloud” of the stuff surrounding the area, with some large concentrations and a lot of little bits moving about. I grabbed a hold of all of it that I could, disrupted the connections holding it to this universe, and meanwhile did what shifting I could to ensure that reality reassembled itself in a positive manner. Balancing all of those techniques at once and trying to use them over such a large area was quickly becoming exhausting as I made one last shove.

    At that point I became aware of my own existence in this universe was beginning to fade badly. The light around me went dim, sound became muffled, gravity felt inconsistent, and the presence of the lives around me became hard to detect. Well crap, I’ve pushed too far and now I was about to drop out again. That took even more straining of my abilities as I sought to grab a hold of what few connections remained and tried to anchor myself to the local reality. While I didn’t doubt that I would survive dropping out of the universe, I really had my doubts that this whole fiasco would end well if I wasn’t around to intervene.

    I wasn’t quite sure how much time had passed there when full sensation returned. I was sore from the tremendous effort I had made, but I reflexively pulled on the Force to compensate against the aches fatigue. Looking over the edge of the roof towards the alley below, I saw that all the feral people had collapsed to the ground. Reaching out with the Force, I could tell that they looked to be alive and stable though. With that verified, I dropped to the street below with a gentle telekinetic landing. A few of the people that had been hiding in houses were now cautiously peeking out windows and doors to see if the danger had passed. I used the Force to amplify my voice a bit.

    (Kira) I have neutralized the toxin. They shouldn’t be in any danger of losing their lives, but they are too exhausted to move on their own. Get a transport, load them up, and make for the spaceport. A defensive position should be forming there.

    Whether it was fear, mistrust, or sheer shock, none of them made to move. I was too tired to really be frustrated though as I sent out another telepathic wave reinforcing their courage.

    (Kira) DO IT!

    That got them moving. They were rather cautious about retrieving the ones stuck in the mass of jellyfish goo at first until I made a show of wading in, grabbing someone and dragging them back out to no ill effects. Once they saw that, the people started collecting the exhausted and injured and loading them into transports. With that started, I reached out again with the Force and took a survey of the area around the city. I was burning power fast as did two intensive scans of the area looking for injured and trapped people. That list of locations I then fed to my precognition and probability analysis to find an optimized route to hit them all in as little time as possible with priority given to those in most need of medical care.

    The zig-zagging pattern I got from that was more than a bit dismaying to say the least. There was no way around this except to burn a lot of Hypertime to move as quickly as possible. At least I had some “credit” on my lifespan stored up from all that time in stasis in the Droid Galaxy. I “stole” the keys to one of the nearby parked bikes from one of the bystanders with a show of telekinesis. He started to protest at first, but then realized that the keys had leapt to my hands telekinetically and lost his resolve to dispute the matter. I turned the ignition over and drove the bike to the first point on my route.

    First location found a wall partially collapsed on a man and his two children. Flinging the debris away telekinetically, I stayed long enough to verify that they could get to the spaceport and went on. Second location had a woman holding the remains of her left arm trying to stop the bleeding of the partial amputation. That was resolved with a tourniquet and putting her on the seat behind me. I dropped her off at the first group of people I came across and continued on. Next it was a man with a pinned leg, then three children trapped in a basement, and on and on it went for what seemed like hours.

    Finally it seemed like I had gotten everyone that it was possible to save as I turned the bike to follow the mass of refugees fleeing the city to the spaceport. By this point my appearance was drawing recognition as people would point and gesture in my direction while muttering something among themselves. As we got within sight of the port though, my sense of foreboding kick in again. Whatever the source was, it was either well shielded or going to cover a wide area. I didn’t sense any jellyfish in the immediate vicinity though. Then my comlink chirped.

    Back at the spaceport, the conclusion-jumping was in full swing. The RDF commanders had decided that they knew what was going on; the infamous Kira Keldav had called in his ship-eating jellyfish creatures to zombify the population – making them easy to turn into a deadly army that he could use to overrun all remaining resistance on the ground while his jellyfish prevented any escape to space! Probably assisted by Ben Therus, who’d been building planet-moving superweapons for a “resistance group” on Gruenn.

    Ben was too busy throwing speciality weapons – most notably a subspace lance based on Smooche’s original design – to pay much attention to the building wave of irrationality (bombard Kira? Why would anyone think that something like that would work? All it would do is kill a lot of people in the course of failing!), but Alys was finding that – in the face of so much panic – there were times when people simply didn’t even hear you any longer, and then it no longer mattered how reasonable and persuasive you were.

    She called Kira to warn him.

    (Alys) Kira, they are planning to fire on the refugees as a desperate bid to kill you!

    (Kira) Who they?

    (Alys) The RDF Port Authorities!

    Damn it. This was not what we needed right now. While I was fairly certain I could survive simply by dropping out of the universe, that wasn’t necessarily going to stop the Port Officials from firing just to make sure I wasn’t invisible or some nonsense. Staying in the midst of this exodus was not going to work, and fleeing into the woods would just result in them focusing enough firepower to force me to drop out. That would in turn likely strand these people here. The city wasn’t any better an option in that regard. It wasn’t like there was any place deep underground I could hide in either. Sigh, that left one choice.

    I stepped into hypertime and phased myself as I ran forward through the crowd towards the port shields and walls ahead of me. I could see weapon turrets turning to try and target me but they weren’t going to be able to swivel in time given my speed. I saw a section of the shield that contacted a small hill and aimed for that. As I reached the hill, I took a deep breath and dove into the hillside. There I used levitation to direct me through the hill to the inside of the shield. A second later I reentered daylight on the inside of the shields and inside the port proper.

    At which point it seemed like the entire place freaked. Shuttles immediately powered on shields, took off, and started pointing weapons at me. The port defenses also turned inwards at me. Those people out in the open started screaming, pulled out large amounts of heavy weapons and aimed them in my direction. Precognition more or less shut down after informing me that Hypertime was going to be the only way of surviving this.

    These guys can’t be serious….

    They were serious unfortunately as the weapons fire began. Pushing myself hard into Hypertime, I immediately started dodging incoming shots. All too soon I realized this was a fool’s game likely to end up with someone getting a lucky shot while destroying the port and with it all chances of escape for these people. Attempting to reason with these morons was probably out of the question given their shoot first and ask questions later policy. I needed to start disabling shuttles and defenses now. Luckily the port shields were keeping the shuttles from getting too far off the ground. All of them were close enough to the ground that their shields were actually contacting the surface.

    Time to rehash a recent tactic again.

    I phased through the ground again and used the Force to guide me as I levitated beneath the ground to underneath one of the shuttles. Surfacing, I then leapt on top of the shuttle in front of the cockpit window. The people inside the shuttle panicked even further upon seeing me there. As dramatic as smashing my fist through the window would have been, that would simply have broken every bone in my fist regardless of any Force enhancement. Nonetheless, I simply phased through the window into the cockpit itself. The pilots immediately tried to resist the intrusion, but simple blasters weren’t enough to threaten me with harm these days. I slammed one face first into the dashboard and the other went unconscious after a fist to the temple. That took care of the crew, and initiating an emergency shutdown of the main power core took the shuttle itself out of service.

    On their part, Alys was busily keeping the panic from escalating to the point where they deployed suicidal amounts of firepower, calming those she could, and letting the refugees get inside the outer shields, since those controls had been more or less abandoned in the rush to get Kira when he’d bypassed the outer defenses.

    Ben was shutting down the power to as much of the major weaponry as he could, while finishing up a few more weapons… Still, he needed SOME form of life support! This place was a spaceport, surely it would have some suits?

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71c

    The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy M51, NGC 5...

    And just when did you get here?

    Meanwhile, towards the enter of the galaxy, Lazlo and Vi were graduating from their special-forces boot camp – having had to use hypertime to pack better than six months of training into less than two months.

    There was some choice of assignments – but they were assignments. The latest Sith War might have fallen apart with the destruction of Zandramas, but the Yeveetha war was now in full swing.

    For once, the military was in full (nearly)agreement with the Kreedath: the goal was to wipe them out. Their assaults had done more actual damage than a dozen or more Sith Wars; the Yeveetha didn’t want to rule worlds, they wanted to exterminate their inhabitants. The military (ulike the Kreedath) didn’t care too much if the scientists got a few prisoners to examine and see if the species could be restored to it’s (presumed) original state, but the goal was to win.

    The Senate was still dithering – they wanted the Yeveetha confined until they could consider the problem – and the Jedi, of course, were pushing for research on undoing the apparent bio-weapon modifications and turning them back into a peaceful, productive, species.

    Vi, as “Ben’s Apprentice”, was wondering if it would be possible to confine them for a time by simply interdicting the area? All they’d need to do would be to get a black hole of the right size into the area and deploy the Zomoogostar – and the military was apparently already building one.

    Still, for that to work, they’d need to know the exact limits of Yeveetha-controlled space – and the fact that they didn’t trade with ANYONE – and didn’t allow other species in their domain -was making it hard to get information by any of the usual routes. Direct probes were slow work, and sending in agents tended to simply get them killed.

    Fortunately, Lazlo was available – and didn’t mind the notion of having to fight a few hundred Yeveetha every time he turned around.

    The military offered him one of their usual field agent setups; a heavy “civilian” trading ship, it’s heavily armored hull disguised as heavy reinforcement for trading with gas giants and deep-water worlds, an advanced medical bay with a full bacta tank for emergencies, concealed fighter bay, concealed mounting points for various weapons, surprisingly powerful engines, top-of-the-line shields, instruments, stocks of personal weapons, disguises, tailoring gear, trade goods, and more.

    One of the techs made it a point to let him know that running off with the ship and gear would lead to trouble – but most of them seemed to have confidence in him. That was.. unexpected.

    The ship wasn’t what he wanted though. He wanted something a bit less… expensive.

    He opted for one of the smallest, most battered, and cheapest junkers the military could find. ship with a leaky hull, mismatched hyprdrive coils, little cargo space, and as many problems as it could have while still being capable of getting into space.

    Well, the Techs generally didn’t question Jedi or the militaries special forces. He got what he wanted – a small ship that had been an asteroid miner for a race that didn’t yet have a hyperdrive. It’s crude fission drive had been replaced by an over-sized fusion system that could be vented to provide a reaction drive (and which overcharged and triggered an emergency release every few moments, giving him a horrible fuel efficiency along with the only startship in the galaxy that went “Putt-Putt-Putt), a leaky hull patched with duct tape, some panels held together with actual nails and lumber, and a warranty date which had given out better than three thousand years before.

    He christened it “The Rusty Fowl” and took off – just barely making it into space what with the series of minor EMP’s from the reactor venting fouling his instrumentation. (A video of the takeoff would later make appearances on several “Galaxies worst” collections, as well as in a war parody where it wound up being labeled as a “Sith Transport”).

    He did make it into hyperspace though – headed slowly in the general direction of presumed Yeveetha space.

    Vi, however, decided to take one of the direct-surveillance jaunts. Sometimes seeing the battle directly provided new insights – although most people didn’t take small probe ships straight into the center of the combat zone.

    Fortunately, he wasn’t a major target. On the other hand, he wasn’t a Yeveetha, which meant that they were willing to take a few moments out for minor targets at any time.

    It got messy – and it also let him see that the Yeveetha were willing to stay aboard a dying ship in hopes of at least crashing it into an enemy. It made him appreciate a military command that regarded “casualties” as undesirable quite a bit more.

    There were enough close calls that he fell back to the command ships eventually. The Yeveetha were… more insane and hostile than most Holosith!

    This was a war that he could actually feel comfortable fighting – on both the strategic and personal levels.

    He was soon deeply immersed in the planning sessions.

    Lazlo, meanwhile, was making a landing – just barely – on a planet of green-and-brown slightly Leonid centauroids. His new ship had handling characteristics that were a good deal worse than most bricks; it had various projections that threw off what little aerodynamics it had to start with.

    It was a Yeveetha world though – or at least in their space. It still had an indigenous population (of enslaved farmers) for one simple reason – the Yeveetha found that the local life forms tasted really REALLY bad.

    They were still willing to eat them if they acted up or failed to fill their crop production quotas though. The local farmers apparently always had the most elderly amongst them report to their masters just in case.

    Well that was just SICK. He’d have to do something about that!

    Still, they seemed awfully… accepting and passive. How long had this been going on?

    Drat it! ALYS could probably organize a successful rebellion! If only she was here!

    Of course, in another universe altogether, Alys was busy organizing yet ANOTHER planetary evacuation.

    Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71b

    Anvil, powder horn, Bowie knife, Hawken rifle,...

    No this has nothing to do with Star Wars. I just liked it.

    Lazlo did find a few interesting things in training… Most interestingly, the JLA seemed to blame most of the codex-related disasters on the RDF. They believed that their recruiting come-ons led a lot of people to experimenting with the Codex without any idea of what they were messing around with. With that, disasters were inevitable.

    Well, at least it helped keep ignorant meddlers from breaking up the galaxy. If you intentionally took out the worst cases before they got to do anything too bad, they wouldn’t be running around warping space and time out of shape!

    Vi, meanwhile, was focusing on building a personal contact base and intelligence. After all, if he was going to be in the command structure, he might as well be good at it.

    Back with the breakers…

    Alys was working on her tactical and command skills – obvious choices, given her existing talents. Besides… playing to her strengths made it easy to keep up her cover and to find the spare time she needed to keep watching for information. There really hadn’t been much so far save for confirmation of a lot of things they’d only believed were true, but that was worth quite a bit in itself.

    Wouldn’t her brother be surprised to see her in “boot camp” as well. Both she and Ben were in the pre-command program… Well, pre-everything-that-was-noncombat. She was further refining her bureaucratic skills and tactical training, while giving the impression of a quiet student.

    Ben too was going with his strengths; engineering. More vehicles than superweapons, but vehicles were the only way to make war across interstellar space, so the breakers needed that kind of specialist too. In fact, they seemed to need them desperately. Were they having trouble maintaining their ancient, stolen, technology? Alys was pretty sure that they were; at least in her estimation – usually more accurate than most peoples detailed surveys – they couldn’t possibly have the industrial base to fully maintain the things. Of course, that fit in with what they were asking him about… A depressing couple of months of working on their superweapons.

    “By the sith, let them know I am in any way related to ben and suddenly its make superweapons all the time. I need to lead my people out of sith rule and get a reputation as a leader.”

    Vristris – with an ID as a highly skilled mercenary – hardly needed to hide anything at all.

    Kira was having bigger problems. Being so much better than the other students while having to conceal it was difficult enough – but with so many other students being basically scum, it was trying to put up with their behavior that turned out to be impossible.

    One evening we were returning to the dorm from one of the card games Virstris had set up among the class. I had lost badly on purpose while Virstris had made out like a bandit. Darius was laughing up with Virstris about my lack of skill when I felt something coming from behind one of the training buildings. It was difficult to pinpoint what exactly, but some sort of disturbance was in progress. While evening classes were still going on for the upper classmen, that particular building wasn’t in use at the moment. Virstris saw my attention straying.

    (Virstris) What is it?

    (Kira) Not sure. I’m going to check it out. You and Darius return to the dorms and I will catch up once I’ve satisfied my curiosity.

    (Darius) We’ll all go.

    (Kira) We’ve already been chastised enough about tardiness from the instructors. They at least expect it of me. There is no need for you too to be receiving any of that when there is no point.

    Darius continued to protest but Virstris more or less towed him away behind her. Once they were safely out of sight, I quietly skulked through the evening shadows while hiding my Force presence. It wasn’t quite as effective without my color changing robes, but then we’d already proven countless times that the instructors weren’t the most observant bunch around.

    It was as approached the back corner that I heard the scream. Rushing forward with no heed to stealth, I turned around the corner to find three men and a woman. I recognized the three men as some of the more degenerate students that even the instructors were having issues with. They were armed with knives and I saw two rifles leaning against the tree nearby. Two of them were busily restraining the woman while the third was cutting at her shirt. Much of her clothing was torn or cut from what I saw and her eyes spoke of the terror she was experiencing. I wasn’t naive enough to have any illusions about what was going on here. She saw me immediately, and the others turned to look at what had caught her attention.

    (Man #1) Oh, for a moment I thought it was a teacher. Get lost you stupid punk if you know what’s good for you.

    (Kira) I am only going to say this once. Let her go.

    (Man #1) Or else what? There is only one of you.

    Seeing the blood on the knife and watching the woman sob uncontrollably was making my blood boil. I had seen enough of this kind of stuff at the Academy – and what it did to people – to know I didn’t want to see it happen to anyone else. Recognizing my rising anger, I shifted over to the Codex side of things.

    (Man #2) I recognize him. He’s that idiot that was smacking around the other students back at the beginning of training.

    (Man #3) All that fist fighting must have made him over confident if he thinks he can take all three of us on at once.

    (Man #1) Looks like that is going to be your last mistake. You should have gone running for the teachers when you had the chance.

    I strode up to the first one holding the knife and looked him in the eyes. He didn’t back down as he grinned at me while waving that knife around.

    (Kira) And what makes you think I need the help of the teachers?

    He rammed that knife towards my chest with the full aim to stab it into my heart. It was a simple matter in Hypertime to step aside, grab his wrist, and then flip him over. Holding onto the wrist as he fell resulted in the sound of snapping bone and tearing muscle. A split second later the second one had one of the rifles pointed at my head as he stepped into Hypertime as well. Too bad for him that his speed in hypertime was inconsequential compared to my own. I merely leaned to the side as the shot hit nothing.

    Grabbing the rifle, I rammed it back at his chest. He let go of the rifle and doubled off gasping for breath. I adjusted inertia and swung the butt of the rifle in an underhanded swing into his face. That sent him flying upwards and backwards in a slow motion arc. Flipping the rifle around so that my hand was on the trigger, I fired a trio of shots into his chest as he continued his slow arc.

    At the last second I caught a blur of motion out of the corner of my eye. Whirling around the blaster rifle, I fired another rapid trio of shots at the figure rushing me in Hypertime. Those unfortunately phased through him to hit the wall behind him. He took the opportunity while I was watching the stray shots to then ram the rifle barrel he had into my face and held the trigger down. I had to use a combination of phasing to avoid the first few shots as well as Hypertime to fall backwards rapidly.

    Hitting the ground, I quickly spun in place to knock his feet out from under him. That sent him into a slow motion fall. Quickly standing up, I grabbed him by the foot while he was still airborne. Spinning him around me with the aid of more inertial control, I then slammed him down on top of the first one that was slowing trying to get back up. They collided with each other and the ground with the sound of more breaking bones and screams of pain. I quickly verified that all three were not getting back up and then threw the rifle in my hands to the side.

    At that point I realized I had an audience.

    A large crowd of students had appeared as well as a pair of instructors. Judging from the looks on their faces, they had seen my little performance. And I had just beaten three armed classmates without any weapons of my own and without the slightest hint of injury to myself. The odds me being able to talk myself out of this one were not good.

    (Instructor) Alright, it looks like we may have to consider you for the advanced classes after all given that little performance. The rest of you students should get back to your lessons. I am going to go get the other instructors to discuss this. If you wouldn’t mind waiting here for a moment Aaron.

    With that he ran off in Hypertime to get the other instructors. I had no illusions about the reason why he was fetching them, and it had nothing to do with advanced training. While he ran off, I stepped into Hypertime myself to think rapidly for options. I couldn’t just run off or drop out of the universe since that would still draw suspicion on Alys, Ben, and Virstris. Killing all the instructors before they had a chance to get a warning out was going to be impossible too. Attempting to claim to be part of the JLA was likely to result in them trying to kill me anyway, and possibly trigger reprisals against the JLA. Claiming to be a Sith was only going to fuel panic of a Sith Hybrid and possibly start a war of genocide. The only ID’s I had that could be considered powerful Codex users were as myself and Verun Navaro.

    Verun Navaro still had that whole Sith Hybrid issue, and would raise an awful lot of difficult questions for Alys, Ben, and Virstris. At least Kira was considered a Republic sanctioned trouble magnet and ergo a possible allied agent. Still, given how paranoid and Force-phobic these guys are, claiming to be a Force user was going to be dangerous. Add to that fact the two Star Breakers in the system and I wouldn’t entirely rule out them using the things just to try and kill me as an option of last resort.

    If I stay I can’t win, and if I leave the others would be instantly marked. Taking all of them with me would just alert the RDF that someone matching my description was seen snooping around one of their bases. That may well trigger a major incident anyway. Turning myself over to their custody and I have little doubt about what could happen in that case. I can’t win this situation.

    And if I can’t win the game, then it’s time to change the playing field. I was reminded of a situation Ben was in not so long ago. With that thought in mind I reached out telepathically to Ben and Alys. Virstris I could not reach since all of her training had closed off her mind to outside influences.

    <Kira> Alright guys, it looks like I’ve blown my cover.

    <Ben> Well it was simply a matter of time.

    <Alys> I am surprised it took this long for you to blow it.

    If I could have glared via telepathy, I would have then.

    <Kira> Regardless, it is only a matter of time before they figure out who I am and thereby who the rest of you are. If we are going to stop word from getting out, then we need to move fast.

    <Alys> And what do you propose?

    <Kira> Trigger a Codex cascade event that takes most of the population with us.

    <Ben> Ah, you mean like I did accidently…. I mean on purpose?

    <Kira> Yep, take all witnesses with us to say the Codifier Galaxy and sort them out there. Back in this Galaxy it will look like a Codex accident that wiped out the population. You’d expect that sort of thing in this situation.

    <Alys> Alright, I am in.

    <Ben> Me too.

    <Kira> Alright, get yourselves ready for the transition effort. I need to check on something first.

    Dropping the link to them, I then did a full scan of the planet with my Force Senses to verify that my initial assessments of the number of Force and Codex users on the planet was accurate. I made no effort to hide my scan as it crossed the Hybrid in orbit I had sensed earlier. At first he tried to conceal himself, but as I gave the area of thorough scan and he knew I was aware of his presence, he reached back out to me. I could tell he was trying to get a reading of my personality and I did nothing to hide it. Eventually he was apparently satisfied with whatever he found as I felt his presence telepathically.

    <Hybrid> I wasn’t aware of another agent in this system.

    <Kira> Well, not quite a member of the JLA or whatever you guys call yourselves. I am a trouble-magnet agent though.

    <Hybrid> Interesting that you are here then.

    <Kira> Well, it seems I’ve blown my cover in infiltrating this group. And in an effort to keep this from spiraling completely out of control, I was going to try to tip the local balancing point.

    <Hybrid> Well, my mission is to see what I can do about destroying those damned weapons they have here. I was trying to sneak my way aboard, but I am open to suggestions on what you might have instead.

    <Kira> The local reality is a bit unstable anyway given the Force shielding, the superweapons, and all the Codex users running around. It shouldn’t take much to tip things enough to drop the people out of the local reality and into another.

    <Hybrid> That’s a bit of a one way trip with a lot of similarities to a suicide mission.

    <Kira> I’ve had some practice steering between dimensions. You just need to be able to sever some links while selectively leaving the links you need to return where you want to go.

    <Hybrids> Sounds like an excellent way of overestimating the strength of the links.

    He had a point. Trying to use Valerie as a link to drag the planet along to was more likely to bring her here instead of the planet to her. As amusing as the idea of bringing the planet to her as a surprise might be, the potential silting issues made that idea foolish at best. Best to drop out with everyone I could get, and then aim the mess for the Codifier Galaxy. Then we could use hypertunnels and such to do the heavy lifting of moving us back to this Galaxy in a controlled fashion.

    <Kira> Which is why I am going to try to tip the planet out and then steer it to a nearby dimension instead of dragging it across our Galaxy. Once there we can attempt take our time coming back.

    <Hybrid> Sounds like you have a lot of experience doing this sort of thing then.

    <Kira> Well, my name is Kira Keldav and I have some experience with this sort of thing.

    There was a silence over the link that could have been him swearing, gawking, or just sighing. There was no way to tell what. There were a few awkward moments of silence before he finally responded.

    <Hybrid> All right; I will assist in this.

    With that I brought Ben and Alys back into the link. Together we tried to reach out to as many people as we could and then phased in concert. I could feel space around us warping in response to the combined effort. Just push a little further and it should all just tip out of place.

    Suddenly it all just snapped back into place again with significantly more force than any other time I’ve been involved with this sort of thing. At first I thought something had intervened and stopped the process since the area around me was unchanged. Then I realized it was about mid-morning and the sun was a bright yellow instead of dull red. I saw a watery world above me hanging in the sky where a moon would normally be. This looked like the same little planet we had been on moments ago, but now the rest of the system looked different. I could sense the Hybrid still in orbit, along with Ben and Alys down here on the surface. Had we actually succeeded in bringing the entire planet along with us?

    Aww damn it, and Jacob was mouthing off nonsense recently that I had the power to teleport planets.

    At that point I was suddenly confronted by three of the instructors.

    (Instructor) Alright, who are you and what did you just do?!

    (Kira) What makes you think I had anything to do with this?

    Alright, I will admit that was about as flimsy a retort as they come, but it was vaguely possible that in their eyes that I had nothing to do with this and that it all was a big coincidence. But I highly doubted that they were going to buy it. I got my response as two of the instructors pulled out blasters and entered Hypertime while pointing their weapons at me.

    (Instructor) It’s obvious you had something to do with it. Now tell us what you did and who you are or we’ll open fire!

    (Kira) It seems I accidently dragged the planet out of the universe and into another one. As for who I am, I really doubt you are going to like the answer I have to give on that.

    At which point the two pointing blasters at me opened fire. I stepped into Hypertime myself that same instant and dodged the first blast. I then reached to my sides to pull out my lightsabers to block the rest when I abruptly remembered I had left purposefully those on the Mrs Beasley to avoid suspicion. That also meant my armor was missing too. Thankfully years of sparring with Valerie had gotten me used to reflexively reinforcing myself against attacks as I was hit three times. The first shot hit my shoulder, the second hit me in the thigh, and the third caught me squarely in the chest. Amazingly I took all three shots without any damage save for smoking burn marks on my clothing.

    That left all three of them gawking at my still standing form. Taking the opportunity to appear dramatic and to make an impression, I telekinetically reached out to one of the blaster rifles laying on the ground and pulled it to my hand. I rested the barrel of the rifle over my shoulder as I spoke again.

    (Kira) Gentlemen, I am Kira Keldav. Pleased to meet you.

    The one that had been talking suddenly ran away at full speed in Hypertime. The two in Hypertime dropped back into normal time and just stepped back with a look of absolute terror on their faces. Like some sort of terrible monster out of legend had just arrived to eat them or something. I had to admit that was more than a bit surprising. Either these guys had a downright religious fear of Force users and Hybrids, or they had some really warped ideas about who I was and what I was capable of. At least the fellow who ran off likely had no way of warning the rest of his organization about my presence now.

    Then I heard the sound of blaster fire coming from the far side of the training center. Waving to the two instructors standing there stupidly, I stepped into Hypertime and ran to the source of the commotion. When I ran into a building in my direct path with a crowd of people milling about in front, I simply did a Force enhanced leap over the crowd to the top of the building, ran along it, and then stopped at the edge of the building. From here I had a good view of the commotion.

    Oddly enough it looked like the streets on that side of the training facility were now covered in some sort of gooey mess. The fighting itself was being fought between some of the students running around clawing and biting at the rest of the students who were shooting back. Focusing my senses on that suggested that the ones biting and clawing were being influenced by some chemical concoction. What the hell is going on?

    Meanwhile Ben and Alys were having their own “bit of fun”. They’d been quietly working in a class when their instructor got a call and went dashing off somewhere. Then they’d participated in a bit of planet moving – which, surprisingly enough, had worked.

    The giant flying jellyfish had NOT been a pleasant surprise. Ben had taken several minutes to recover from the flashbacks – by which time Alys had seen someone shoot one of the blasted things with a missile launcher. They’d blown off a large piece of it, gotten splattered with the resulting goo – and had promptly gone utterly berserk.

    Locking the doors and preparing to hold the line had gotten messy when a Kreedath (was that fair? The things were tough and strong enough even when they WEREN’T berserk!) Had smashed straight through the door….

    A full-power, amplified, tight-focus shot to the head barely stunned it. This DEFINITELY wasn’t fair. Still, at least it gave them a chance to phase it into the floor, which at least stopped it from coming at them.

    A similar trick with using phasing to take a chunk out of the floor let them replace the hole in the wall with a solid barrier. Fortunately, organizing the students was easy.

    Looking at the effects… The blasted jellyfish spread panic and terror to places they couldn’t reach by secreting massive overdoses of high-powered combat drugs? Anyone they stung turned into a berserker zombie out for blood? That really was pretty evil! Especially since the likely first victims would be the ones who were tough and courageous enough to defend everyone else!

    This was bad. At least the other students had been easy enough to take command of.

    <Kira> Alys, Ben, any idea what is going on?

    <Ben> Looks like we brought the planet and the orbital stations with us.

    <Kira> I can see that. I am talking about this commotion where some of the other students are acting like zombies or something and trying to eat the other students.

    <Alys> It’s the jellyfish. Their remains contain a concoction of chemicals designed to shut down higher brain functions while instilling a berserker rage. They’re acting purely on reptilian instinct.

    <Kira> Wait, what jellyfish?

    <Alys> Giant jellyfish that could swallow a star destroyer.

    <Kira> Wait a minute….

    Turning to look at that “moon” again, I suddenly recognized the profile. This was Archegyph and these were the giant jellyfish bioweapons from there. How they had managed to get to this planet – much less to a landlocked town – and why they were secreting berserker goo was an open question for another time.

    <Ben> I think the Sith in this timeline made a variation that can travel in a vacuum and release zombification chemicals instead of paralytic venom.

    Just perfect.

    <Kira> Right, it looks like we missed in aiming for the Codifier Galaxy, so new plan. Ben I need you to make a trans-temporal hypertunnel as fast as you can. I don’t care how you do, just make it happen. Alys, I want you to try and organize everyone into some kind of defensive perimeter. We need to evacuate the nearby town as well. I get the sneaking suspicion we are going to be in the midst of a major disaster here and we’re going to be the only way out for all these people.

    <Ben> Now you want a Hypertunnel….

    <Alys> I’ll see what I can do.

    <Kira> In the meantime, I am going to do what I can to rescue survivors and hold off the enemy.

    With that I shifted the link to focus back on the Hybrid in orbit.

    <Kira> You alright up there?

    <Hybrid> I had heard stories about you using giant jellyfish to eat starships, but I thought that was purely rumor.

    <Kira> It was, at least in our timeline. Apparently the jellyfish in this timeline actually do eat starships.

    <Hybrid> Apparently?

    <Kira> Alright, so I missed the timeline I was aiming for. The collective noise of thirty or forty thousand people was a bit harder to overcome than I expected.

    <Hybrid> Hmm, yes. I can see that.

    <Kira> Do I need to work in a rescue mission up there as part of this, or are you doing alright?

    <Hybrid> The shields will hold for a few hours, so we’re fine for the moment. Tell me, is there a plan beyond survival at the moment?

    <Kira> Current plan is to collect the survivors, build a hypertunnel to do the grunt work of tearing a hole between the dimensions, and then that way I can focus my techniques on steering the tunnel. Lot more reliable that way. Besides, I’ve learned to be very good at improvising plans on the fly.

    <Hybrid> Sigh, right, I am going to try to organize this rabble up here to take the frigate to the surface then. I’ll meet you shortly.

    <Kira> Understood.

    With that I shut off the link.

    Turning my attention back to the growing battle below, it looked like the people were catching on to the idea that touching the jellyfish goo was a bad idea. That still left us with the berserkers running around trying to eat people. At least it looked like there was only the one jellyfish at the moment and it had been shot down. I then caught a glimpse of a young woman below me carrying a small child as she ran from a wookie chasing after her. He was roaring like some primitive animal as he followed her.


    Stepping off the ledge of the building, I fell to the ground. I landed with a resounding crack as the pavement broke and cratered from the impact. The wookie and the woman both stopped to look in my direction. I didn’t stop for a moment though as I stepped into Hypertime and charged the wookie. I slammed into him hard as I focused my on enhancing my strength, speed, durability, and inertia. That flung the wookie into a large stone outcropping that then proceeded to explode in a hail of stone shrapnel. I dropped out of Hypertime and turned to the woman that was now staring at the remains.

    (Kira) Quickly, get to the building at the center of the training facility, there are others trying to set up a defensive perimeter there.

    She just stood there paralyzed with fear. A light touch of telepathic manipulation though snapped her out of it and got her moving in the direction I had pointed. Thankfully it was easy to manipulate people in a state like her’s was at the moment. Loss of rational control made such things simpler.

    Loss of rational control….

    Wait, if these berserkers were being driven past the point of reason, then it stood to reason that they would then be easy to manipulate so long as I kept things simple like appealing to a base instinct. Let’s see, fear of injury wasn’t going to work, neither was the urge to sleep, that left sex and food as the remaining options. I wasn’t going to consider the first one, so that left food.

    The surrounding farms were filled with many things that would qualify as food, and were obviously sparse on people compared to the training facility and the town. To that end, I pulled on the Force hard and sent out a telepathic pulse associating the farms with food in the minds of all the berserkers running around. I doubt that was completely effective, but I think it eased the immediately pressure and bought us time.

    That was when I started sensing people trapped in the nearby building with jellyfish goo blocking the way out. Again I reached out with the Force pushed on the jellyfish goo telekinetically as I lifted it up into the air and flung it out into the countryside I wasn’t able to completely scour the streets free of the stuff, but I was able to get the bulk of it out of the way. That combined with judicious use of makeshift causeways using whatever debris I could find helped clear a path for those that were trapped inside the buildings in the immediate area.

    I was about to head to the next block when I heard the movement of stones behind me. Turning to look, I saw the wookie from earlier crawling out from under the pile of rubble I had left him in. He was covered in blood, but not nearly as much as I would have expected from that kind of a hit. It was then that I realized that most of that blood wasn’t the wookie’s. The sheer amount of dried blood confirmed what I feared was happening across the town. I proceeded to unsling the rifle and pointed it at the wookie as he turned to focus on me.

    (Kira) Taken to eating people? Now that is on my ass-kicking list.

    With that the wookie bellowed a roar and charged at me.