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Officer of the Republic (A SW SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by GSpectre, Jan 4, 2017.

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    GSpectre

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    Officer of the Republic
    Or
    How I learned to live with the Force

    (without being turned into a neurotic wreck)
    A/N: I'm going to try and write this as fairly as i can towards the Jedi Order, but from my own impressions I'm not a fan. I always liked the space battles and non force using characters more then I did the Jedi. That said I am going to try not to let that leach into what I write, as such the position thats being taken for this project is that the Jedi order was a force for good in the galaxy but one that was flawed and those in the Order were well aware of those flaws and acting to correct them in their own manner. As such I've tried to give the Jedi a believable set of internal politics as they wrestle with the need to reform without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So the Order as a whole will have more internal factions and lines of thought then it did in cannon. I'm also writing this while drawing from legends cannon and the old EU. That said I do hope that this is an enjoyable read, and I'm not butchering things excessively.





    Fifteen years was all I could think looking over the Coruscant sky line from a balcony in the Jedi Temple. Fifteen years of learning how to control my temper, how to keep silent, and how to deal with the daily assaults on my mental facilities that the force launched. I had been a fan of star wars back before I was reborn, or whatever the hell happened to me, the stories grandeur and scale had called out to me. So sue me, I had always been a sucker for epic space opera. Then I had gone to sleep one night, fully expecting to get up the next day and get to work at my boring job, only to wake up in the body of a three year old Twi’lek. It had been a disconcerting experience to say the least. That would have been acceptable from my perspective after a minor mental break down or two except I was force sensitive and already in the Jedi Temple. Now most fans would have been ecstatic to discover they had been displaced into the body of a Jedi, or more accurately a youngling with the potential to be a Jedi, at least once they got over the weirdness of it and the inevitable depression that came with the realization that their old life was over. Not me. For all my love of the setting the character which had always called to me had not been Luke, Obi-Wan, or Yoda but rather Han.

    I had never been a big fan of the force, Space magic pushing a special destiny always sat poorly with me given my desire for freedom, and I loathed what I read and watch about the Jedi Order. I had hoped that actually living as a member of the Order would convince me I had been incorrect, unfortunately I wasn’t that far wrong. The truth of the Jedi was horrific to my twenty first century sensibilities, Lucas had been far too soft on them in an effort to portray them as the good guys in his films. Let’s be blunt, the Jedi order were a bunch of brain washed slaves shackled by tradition and funding to a dying Republic and had been that way since the Ruusan reformation. My thirty year old mind didn’t like that, after years of being an adult I had enough trouble just accepting people telling me what to do, being a virtual slave on top of that? It was just not on. That said I quickly discovered that while I had some large measure of emotional control in my last life in this one things were just a little bit different.

    I had thought that I wouldn’t need to relearn mental and emotional control, but within a week of my arrival at the temple I found my emotions going haywire, my anger being the most explosive part of the mixture. Minor irritants, things like the shape of the rooms being subtly wrong in my eyes, provoked massive temper tantrums and vicious attempts to hurt all around me. The emotional control I had learned in my last life had been washed away by the currents of the force. It was not a situation that was conducive to my continued survival or keeping my already fragile sanity intact.

    So I did what the Jedi wanted me too, mostly I spent a lot of time meditating, learning a degree of emotional control that I would have been amazed to find myself possessing in my last life. I learned how to reign in my temper, to hide my feelings behind a blank mask, how to keep my emotions out of the force, and most importantly the force out of my emotions. All the while I prepared for the day I would be able to free myself from the bondage I found myself born into without shooting myself in the foot. Despite my love of the setting I was well aware that life in the Star Wars galaxy was life in a crap sack world.

    There was some awesome high tech around, but for about ninety percent of the population, it was way out of reach. There’s a reason why light freighters were so common, and it wasn’t a pretty one. Most worlds didn’t have the income to buy in bulk, about a hundred tons of off world product was about the limit that an average worlds market could bear. The secondary reason for the prevalence of the light freighter was benign, people in my old world mistook space for an ocean, thinking of space ships in terms of the ocean going ships they knew. The truth was that a light freighter had more in common with a tractor trailer then it did with an ocean going cargo ship. I had planned on making use of those two facts for my escape. I might have been cursed, or gifted depending on who you asked, with the Force but I had every intention of being my stories own Han Solo. Unfortunately despite my extensive preparations things went haywire for me before I could put my plan into action.

    See I had spent most of my time not spent learning the Jedi essentials (Meditation, Meditation, more meditation, and lightsabre combat), learning how to slice, and reading up on history. Slicing was something I fell into while trying to do historical reports for my classes and get a bit of pleasure reading in. The High council was a bit leery of letting the initiates learn about the times before Russan, especially about the New Sith Wars, and in order to find the data I learned how to hack the archives from the inside. Hacking in from outside might have been impossible, but using the force to persuade the non force sensitive network administrator to grant me an administer account and giving myself a higher clearance and more permissions was doable. From that beginning I had gone on to own the Jedi’s administrative computer systems… well not really, but I had been able to find pretty much any information that I wanted given enough time.

    One of the first things I had done was figure out just how likely I was to survive being a Jedi, and how likely I was to be given to a Knight as a Padawan as opposed to being sent to one of the Jedi Service Corps. What I found wasn’t a pretty picture. Being a Twi’lek I only had a twenty percent chance of being taken as a Padawan, a figure made worse by my insistence that I use a reverse grip when using Shien and Djem So. Deviations were not encouraged and despite my best efforts to appear to be conforming, sometimes I just couldn’t do it. Not comforting when you find out that those who fail to conform have a fifty percent higher casualty rate even if they are lucky enough to be accepted as Padawans. Given my species already high rates of attrition in the Jedi ranks… that was not a comforting thing to learn.

    So I had planned out my escape. I had hacked the republics central records, an actual legitimate hack this time one that took me three weeks to execute, and prepped to take a light freighter out of impound then disappear into the galaxy. Of course that plan was shot down in flames as soon as the Naboo crisis reared its head. I remembered the movies well enough to know that I was now on a deadline, I had ten years before the Clone Wars began and then three years of war before order sixty six went into effect and the Empire started to hunt down and kill all the force sensitives it could. I had planned on disappearing, but now? I was caught in a trap. I needed training in order to hide myself from the Empire, when it rolled around because there sure as shit wasn’t a damn thing that one initiate from a species better known for criminals and whores then heroes could do to prevent that from happening, but I was likely to die while getting that training. Worse still the order was expanding and I had been tapped as a Padawan for a very green Knight.

    He had just been knighted a week ago, which did not raise my confidence in his ability to keep me alive. They never mentioned it in the movies but as soon as the Naboo crisis was resolved there were a raft load of promotions in the Order. Along with several other initiatives clearly meant to get the Order as a whole ready for action. It looked to me like the High Council was trying something smart, though I didn’t know if it would work or not, at least in the short term as I was well aware that in the long run it was doomed to failure, and trying to surge the number of Jedi available for missions. Clearing the decks as it were as they discovered that they were wrong about the eradication of the Sith.

    If you looked at the promotions as they occurred and the missions that the newly promoted got it was clear that the Jedi were clearing for action. The Temple rumour mill was rife with whispers about a real live Sith being found, and the High Council was responding without saying anything officially to the lower ranks. That had of course had the opposite effect then what was intended. Many in the order where whispering about a Sith legion being found, and a new war being just over the horizon. While some did up their training regime and try to get ready for combat most spent their time either dismissing the rumours or panicking in a very restrained way as they realized just how un prepared they were for serious combat. The High Council’s policies about the new promotions weren’t helping that rumour die down in the least. The newly promoted were being assigned to the easier missions, clearing away the rather large backlog that had built up, trying to clear the dockets as well as prepare the next generation for war. While the Republic as a whole undoubtedly enjoyed this sudden surge of law and order, along with a boost to the number of potentially sticky situations being resolved diplomatically before they could erupt into violence, the Jedi were not any more prepared to fight then they had been before Naboo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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    GSpectre

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    Skrath Kri looked at the rigid back of his new padawan and repressed a sigh. He had his work cut out for him with this one. Running his scarred working man’s hands over his blocky face Skrath wished that he hadn’t been persuaded to take a padawan as soon as he had been knighted. He was an investigator, infiltrator really, and it showed at times. Looking over his Padawan he had to question his sanity, the boy just didn’t have the right physicality for the job. Instead of being painfully average looking, as Skrath himself was, Ori’Daki had a striking teal skin colour, lithe swimmers build, and was just this side of being a pretty boy. Of course the last was a facet of his race, Twi’leks tended to either be very pretty, especially if they kept themselves in shape, or horrendously ugly, if they let themselves go. A sad reminder of the millennium of slavery the race had endured, and was still enduring.

    If it hadn’t been for the intervention of Master Nu he would never have picked the young Twi’lek, or anyone really. If pressed he might have gone looking for another human like himself, but he doubted he would have. The initiates at the temple were taught the most rigid of dogma and it didn’t work well out in the field. Setting aside his padawans race, and the restrictions that brought, every report from his teachers and his clan master made it clear that the young man was a trouble maker through and through. He was a skilled trouble maker, one who spent more time trying than anyone else in his class, but still a trouble maker. That was a very large part of why he had chosen the initiate as his padawan. Still Master Nu’s words rang through his head yet again:

    “He is the best electronic investigator around, and if no one chooses him we are going to lose him. He has enough access to the temples computers that should he choose to disappear we will never see him again unless he wants us to.” Nu had shaken her head in fond exasperation while relating that little tidbit.

    “And would this really be such a bad thing?” Kri had responded lightly. Still trying to process his very recent promotion from padawan to knight and the directive to pick his own padawan. He didn’t feel ready, but as the situation had been explained to him he understood it. Jedi Investigators were a rare breed and with the Sith being on the move again the Order would need to increase their numbers in an effort to ferret out where the Sith were hiding. Not to mention the amount of work that would need to be done in order to ferret out just what the Sith had put into play while they had been hidden from the Jedi’s eyes. Those were in his mind the more dangerous and worrying aspect of this news, especially since the Sith were bold enough to move openly. To Skrath it meant they had a dagger ready for the Jedis back, and he was well aware that a dagger would be more dangerous then any open move by the Sith.

    “Yes, he was an angry youngling which hurt his perceived worth among the more traditional members of the order, and while he has learned control… Ori’Daki has been made more dangerous for it.” Nu let loose a sad sigh as she spoke. “Ori views himself as being trapped in slavery, and from his point of view he isn’t wrong. I tend to think that his race has played a major part in his worldview and the prejudices about race he is acutely aware of. It makes him very sensitive to even the slightest perception that he is enslaved. If the Order attempts to put him in the Agricorps, as opposed to the educational corps or even the explorer corps, as the more traditional masters are already agitating for, he will disappear for a time and then come back looking to save his fellows because his prejudices will have been confirmed.”

    “So you want a new knight to take on an already half renegade padawan,” Kri pinched the bridge of his nose and tried not to swear aloud. “You do know that this has disaster written all over it, don’t you?”

    “All investigators are half renegade. It’s the nature of the job,” Nu snorted out. “You know that better than anyone in the temple aside from the High Council. This is a case of slotting a round peg into place.”

    “Does he even have the temperament to learn what I would teach him?”

    “Actually yes, he is already an accomplished slicer, not to mention he is skilled with Shien, Djem So, and Niman including the Jar’kai variants of those forms. He also has the patience to learn and understand your skills, as his escape plan shows. He has waited years, letting the council do what they would with him but all that time preparing an escape route, not overlooking details like not having a valid pilot's licenses. I know for a fact he has one alternate identity set up, and he has papers saying he can do everything mundane that he was taught in the Temple. He even went so far as to get himself tested for his basic education requirements in his alternate indentity, which he passed with flying colours. Ori is a smart young man, and he will take to your teachings like a Mon Cal to water. He’s good, almost as good as he thinks he is, even if his preparations weren’t as unnoticed as he believes they were. Give him a chance.”

    Kri had meditated on Master Nu’s words, in the end she made sense. The young man could be a tremendous asset in his investigations and to the Order as a whole in time. The problem would be to convince him that he should support the Order as a whole. That would be a long process and one he thought he had best get started on rather than standing here watching his padawan like a stalker.

    “Ori’Daki?” Skrath asked mildly, fully expecting the young man to flinch or react in some way. He had seemed lost in his thoughts, not a good first impression considering just how long Skrath had stood watching him. The boy would need to improve his situational awareness.

    “And you would be Knight Skrath Kri, investigator at large reporting directly to the High Council,” Ori responded mildly not even turning around. Skrath reached out through the Force and was surprised to find that his padawan was feeling him through the Force. It seemed that the young man wasn’t as hopeless as he had thought. Clearly he had good sensing skills if nothing else. “Do you want the orders we are going to be getting tomorrow, or did you just come by to pick me up?”

    “I did not realize that you knew what our orders would be,” Skrath responded meditatively. It seemed that his padawan was trying to impress him, a good sign. “If I may ask how did you find out?”

    “Master Fisto always uses that same password, he just changes the last two digits of it to match the year when he needs a new one,” Ori shrugged completely missing Skrath’s look of annoyance as he casually listed off a security violation that should have been reported years ago. “Of course I think the mission as it is written is doomed to failure, but what can you do?”

    “Oh?”

    “Crash investigation of the Trade Federation? When they have to know we are coming? Idiocy… although I can see why they would assign you.”

    “No specifics?”

    “In your hands master,” Ori’s last word was edging into sarcasm. Skrath could tell that the padawan had gotten to his own public records.

    “So did you ready my public records or the eyes only Council file I have?” Skrath walked up and leaned on the rail besides his padawan.

    “Public, I couldn’t get into the Council’s files without two Master’s pass codes and Fisto is the only one I have put forth the effort to obtain.” Ori shrugged lightly. “Frankly it’s a bunch of bantha poodo, but the medical records you have tell a different story.”

    “How did you get into the records if you don’t mind me asking?” Skrath scratched behind an ear and focused on the young Twi’lek. He needed to know if he could expect honesty, dishonesty, or evasion from his padawan. It would shape how he thought of the young man in the years to come. It would also be instructive on how to teach the young man and mould him into the Jedi that he had the potential to become.

    “A temple education is worth Sith spit in the real world,” Ori started slowly. “What is taught here is taught very well, but the mundane jobs… well the Council out sources rather than training up a force sensitive who is not going to be a padawan. One mind trick and I had access to the entire system on an administrative level.”

    “That was…” Skrath could feel his head beginning to ache. The lack of care about the implications of his actions was worrying.

    “I’m not the first, nor will I be the last.” Ori shrugged. “I got the idea after I watched a couple of knights do the same damn thing.”

    “And that would have been your defense wouldn’t it?”

    “Along with announcing just what they were up to… After all I just gave myself access, I didn’t try and give myself a new ID and a couple of million credits.”

    “Explain now,” Skrath asked in a very hard voice. The corruption he saw out in the galaxy was bad enough but to hear about it in the Order itself was an infuriating experience.

    “What, you expect that everyone will just accept their slavery and not try to rip off their owners on their way to freedom?” Ori smirked as he said that. “I wouldn’t tell you who they were or where they went if you paid me. I’m not a rat.”

    “I can see that this is going to be a very interesting experience for me….” Skrath spoke slowly containing his anger and making a mental note to make damn sure he wormed the names out of his padawan. The knights involved had probably been investigating someone on the senate budget committee, but better for him to check and be sure then for his faith in the Order to be undermined.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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    GSpectre

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    Skrath Kri looked over the training hall as he spoke with Master Windu. After his padawan had been proven correct about their orders he had begun to look for an infiltration route, as of yet he hadn’t found it but his padawan did have a good suggestion. Going in as criminals would be the easiest and safest way to go. After his first idea of going to the Federation as a customer just wouldn’t fly, the Trade Federation would find them out when they vetted their newest client and then things would get interesting. Even if the Trade Federation did the smart thing he and his padawan would fail and be marked for their entire time on world, making the mission a bust from the start. Much better to come in as a scavenger looking for an advantage out of the Trade Federations recent misfortunes. It was believable and would get them on the ground with minimal suspicion, not to mention that they would only need to dodge the Federation's police as opposed to their security services.

    “So Master Windu, you wished to speak with me?” Skrath asked mildly. Windu was a known quantity and him breaking his pattern was always a bad thing. The other human always called knights to attend him rather then going to them, and yet here he was quite obviously to speak with Skrath. Given what Kri thought the man wanted to talk about he had a feeling this was a conversation he wasn’t going to enjoy.

    “Yes, I was wondering just how you picked your padawan? I know he does have some of the skills you use in your line of work but…” Windu grimaced slightly. “He isn’t as good as he thinks he is and he has a reputation already.”

    “Actually he is almost as good as he thinks he is.” Kri said sourly. “Internal security checks have caught his slicing a few times, but that’s been him testing his newest software and attacks from what Master Nu’s research uncovered. His preparations to leave the Order might have been caught but that was luck more then anything else, or if you prefer the will of the force. Even then I’m still not convinced that he doesn’t have another identity that hasn’t been compromised ready to go. You have to realize that he has the internal systems of the Temple completely compromised, up to the Council’s level. Thank the Force that some information is under double password lockout, or greater security, if it wasn’t I doubt we would have a secret left from him.”

    “Really?” Windu raised an eyebrow. “I thought that Temple security had a better handle on the level of threat that he represented.”

    Both men paused their conversation as Master Koon sent Ori tumbling over the mat with a force enhanced kick. The padawan was attempting to sparr with the master, and in the process demonstrating exactly why Plo Koon was a Master. Admittedly he was doing well for a fresh padawan, but all that meant was that it took Plo Koon about a half a minute to break down the padawan's guard and hit him. It was a bit of a pathetic match, but Ori kept getting back up and trying again.

    “He’s not a physical threat and probably never will be. I would actually rate his threat level lower then Temple security has because he isn’t inclined to rock the boat without a plan. Then again there is the chance he kriffs something up,” Kri acknowledged with a wince as his padawan went flying yet again. “He’s a thinker and a planner. You give him enough time and access and he can be deadly. Did you know that he’s spent the last two years learning tactical blaster fighting from a retired senatorial commando? Mostly because he thinks that there’s a real chance he will need it, and so acted to plan ahead. We only know about it because we’ve been paying for the lessons.”

    “No I wasn’t aware of that. Still it begs the question of why you felt the need to take on this particular headache…”

    “Because the kid is potential incarnate in my line of work,” Skrath said seriously turning to the older human. “Given what I do and what you want people like me to do we need someone of his potential out in the field not sitting on a farm somewhere grubbing dirt. Investigators are always perceived as loose cannons, mostly because of the nature of our work. Master Nu brought him to my attention and I liked what I saw.”

    “And his loyalty?”

    “Can be earned in time. He’s a cynical bugger, I’ll give you that, but the problem with breaking him of that mental habit is he’s an informed cynical bugger. He’s also loyal to individuals, not organizations. If I can earn his loyalty, we’ll have it for life. Just don’t try treating him like you would a normal padawan.”

    “Exceptions make my teeth hurt,” Windu said flatly. “Following our code and traditions has brought us a thousand years of peace. I don’t like that we’re throwing so many away so quickly. I would much rather it be a more gradual process, if things do need to change.”

    “You have doubts?”

    “I think the appearance of a strong Sith for the first time since we wiped out the old order has spooked us and we’re reacting not acting. One only needs to look at the change in our procedures in order to bulk up the Order to know that. You know as well as I do that’s the first step in making a mistake. With this Skywalker business on top of it?”

    “I can see that, but in his case… change is needed. How many investigative branch padawans have we lost in the last ten years?” Skrath shook his head in exasperation and took another tact. “You know I’m one of the few to make it to Knight in the last decade. Perhaps our selection criteria’s flawed. So in a way I’m using him as an experiment, especially if we contrast his career trajectory against that of Knight Barorian's new padawan we will have quantifiable evidence of some sort of failure in pre-training for the investigative branch… so take that as you will.”

    “Sith spit…” Windu said with a frustrated grunt. “Unfortunately you’re right about that. I hadn’t thought about the numbers. I need some time to meditate on all these changes but I just don’t have it.”

    “Make it then, you yourself said we’re reacting not acting. Make the time to really meditate on one problem at a time.”

    “I will,” Windu paused as he prepared to walk off. “And may the force be with you on your mission.”

    “And you on your meditations,” Skrath replied absentmindedly before turning back to the spectacle of his padawan getting thrown around the training mats. For a moment he contemplated stepping in but then decided against it. It was character building and his padawan needed all the help he could get in that department.
     
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    GSpectre

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    “So my Padawan, what do you think of our new ship?” Skrath smirked as he said that. Ori could swear that his master’s sadistic amusement was visible from orbit as he brought Ori to look at their ride to Neimoidia.

    “Ghtroc 440,” Ori tried to keep his voice steady and not explode in fan boyish glee. Some things still, even after all these years here, brought out his inner fan boy and star ships and fighters were one of them. He had dreamed of space and interstellar travel for his entire old life. Reading sci fi and speculating about the ships and stories on the internet had been a major hobby of his. As soon as Ori had been able to he had set about acquiring one of his most prized possessions: a set of personal star pilots licenses. Having that license and the ability to roam the stars at will had been one of the anchors keeping him sane. After all it was a promise of something he had dreamed of his whole last life so it made an excellent mental touchstone, a reminder that dreams could be achieved here.

    “Yes, I took your advice and looked over the impound yards. Apparently her former owners didn’t get the message that transporting slaves onto Coruscant is something the Judicial Force objects to,” Skrath said with a bit of humour in his voice.

    “So she’s a slaver not a smuggler,” Ori tried to hide his disappointment and could tell that he failed. “Damn… we’re going to have to do a lot of work in order to get her up to spec.”

    “We padawan mine?”

    “Master…”

    “No, no this was your idea, so consider it a test. Just how well will you refit this freighter in a month’s time?” That son of a…. silently Ori fumed for a bit before he got a wicked idea. With the aid of droids he could do a lot with the ship in a month’s time. Especially since he would need to do the work in the Jedi Temple’s refit bays, which mean that more experienced people would be on hand to correct any mistakes that he made. He fully intended to make the ship into an awesome tramp freighter like the Millennium Falcon, customized to hell and back. The only question was if he had the resources or not.

    “And the parts I will need?”

    “Oh, you have access to the scrap yard and the impound yard… do try and have fun.”

    “Oh, of course master….” Ori tried to restrain his maniacal laughter and only barely succeeded.


    A month later and Skrath was singing a different tune. He had thought that Ori would work on the ship but he hadn’t expected this. Ori had made some major modifications but not the modifications that he had expected.

    “So what do we have?”

    “The good ship Serenity,” Ori replied with a grin. “She’s not much to look at but she’ll get you where you’re going. Three times the speed of a stock 440 in hyper, half again the speed in real space, armed with two laser turrets, one dorsal and one ventral with paired cannons mounted on the turret assembly, a pair of concussion missiles aft, most of a CR70’s sensor suite, and the computers from a Consular class cruiser to process the data, along with most of a Consular classes communications suite shoe horned in. I couldn’t mount a Hypercom, just didn’t have the room, but I did manage to squeeze in all of the local space stuff. Basically she looks like a tramp, has enough hidden compartments to fake it as a smuggler, but really is an espionage ship.”

    “You seriously mounted a capital sensor suite on a light freighter?” Skrath asked with his eyes wide and a slight shake of his head. He had expected to be presented with an optimized blockade runner, not what he had been given. Very few people would have thought about the communications suite, or the computer upgrade, instead they would have focused on the engines and the weapons. Ori it seemed had actually thought about what they would need for this mission, and despite himself Skrath was impressed. Even the engine upgrade seemed to be more of an excuse to enlarge the power budget, rather than being done for the sake of making the ship faster. It, along with the weapons upgrades, did help their cover but the practical thinking behind it was rather pleasing to see. It seemed that Ori was less of a flight risk then he had thought, and he hadn’t thought that the young man was very likely to run to begin with.

    “Why not, I had the power to work with and the sensors just lying around,” Ori returned with a shrug. “She’s now a courier registered out of Nar Shaddaa… should help with our cover and explain just why she is the way she is.”

    “How in the world did you manage that?”

    “Paid the embassy's commercial attaché ten thousand credits.”

    “Morality, you do remember that we represent the Jedi order don’t you?”

    “Nope, not on this run,” Ori grinned as he said that. “Besides it’s not like we paid for it. I sliced into the senate’s discretionary funds and routed the cash draw back to the Trade Federation’s delegation. As far as the rest of the world is concerned their senator needed ten thousand in cash…”

    “Morals, we are going to need to work on your morals padawan mine.” Skrath shook his head in exasperation. “I presume that she’s ready to fly?”

    “Fully fueled and provisioned. I also managed to find a cargo, about a hundred of the Revenue Services next gen astro mech droids. I imagine that they can be sold pretty easily to accounting firms on Neimoidia. I managed to get a few extras as well… not like the Temple will miss them.”

    “I hesitate to ask but…”

    “Oh, you know those stinger droids that the Temple provides for us to work on our anti blaster sabre work? I got twelve of them. I figured they would give us something to do in the cargo hold at least for the way out. After all Master, you didn’t want me to find another cargo.”

    “You do know that we are Jedi, not free traders right?”

    “Could have fooled me,” Ori just ignored his master and continued on blissfully. “I rather like the idea of being a free trader after all. Besides, she’s a good ship and with the extra computer power I managed to pack in I can probably slice anything….”

    “Like that’s going to do us any good.” Skrath frowned a bit at his padawans arrogance. “You do know that not all the data we need will be on their computers correct?”

    “Oh I am aware, I just thought that we would be doing the first pass electronically.” Ori frowned in concentration worrying his lip lightly as he thought about it. “I figured that would give us something to work with on a follow up investigation. Especially since we’re going to have to contact the underworld to find a cargo off planet in order to have an excuse to return rather than just parking the ship.”

    “That is a good point, now come my padawan. We will retire to the temple for the night and then take off in the morning. In the mean time I have something for you to learn.” Skrath frowned slightly as he only felt mild interest through the force. He knew that his padawan had excellent emotional control but still to see it was something else. It was a good sign considering just what he wanted the young Twi’lek to learn, but at times it was disconcerting. A padawan should be jumping up and down in excitement when told that he was going to learn something, since it was implied to be a Force skill. Everyone in the Order was well aware that padawans always thought that gaining new Force skills were more important than refining there old ones. Though he had to admit he would need to work on not feeling everyone around him through the force at all times, Ori being able to contain his excitement had thrown his mental processes off. After all he had gotten used to knowing just about everything that every being around him was thinking through the force.

    “What oh great and terrible master?” came the sardonic reply as his padawan followed him into the freighter.

    “Force concealment. You are already adept at hiding your intentions and thoughts through the force, but your presence still stands out like a beacon in the night. In order for you to be a successful investigator you will have to learn how to control your presence in the force, rather than just washing it clean as you do now." Then came the excitement, Skrath repressed a chuckle with the ease of long practice. This was a skill that Ori wanted with a naked mental lust that was undeniable. It seemed that while his padawan was reserved he did have the same wants as a normal padawan, he just had higher standards for what excited him. Then again this was not the usual skill taught to a padawan, and Ori likely took it as a mark of trust rather than the necessity it was. Force concealment was a skill that Skrath knew from bitter personal experience took years to develop properly. If his padawan was ever deployed to hunt down a rogue initiate, Dark Jedi, or a dark side user of any power he would need the skill desperately. Better he start learning it now, and have it mastered long before he needed it, then trying to crash learn it while on the way to the last known location of a dark side user. Besides with Ori diverted to learning this skill he would be less likely to try and ask for new techniques every two minutes thereby saving Skrath a headache in the long run.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  5. Older-Than-Time

    Older-Than-Time Descending into The Lewds

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    What I can struggle through seems interesting. It has serious potential.

    But first and foremost, my friend...

    Formatting.

    Add a whole line of space between paragraphs so you won't have the giant walls of text that put off readers.

    This is literally the only problem I can see with your story so far.
     
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  6. Valor

    Valor Well-Known Member

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    Delicious. Older-Than-Time have a very good with the formatting, though. Makes it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and easier to read. *Licks cheek* Appreciate my neckbeard slobber, for this saliva of mine is holy substance meant to invigorate you.

    Are there going to be an attempt to learn Battle Meditation, like the one Bastila wielded all those millenia ago? Start learning now, a decade before the Clone Wars breaks out ought to pay dividends. You've hinted heavily that you'll focus a lot on space-warfare, so I thought this to be a natural direction for your character to take.
     
  7. GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Fixed, I have no idea why this version had its formatting eaten but the others didn't. Still thanks for pointing it out to me.

    I Battle meditation is something that I will be interested in, but not something that i can see myself achieving. There are two problems with it, first is that while space combat will be a thing its not the main focus of Ori's job and he's going to be concentrating on things that keep him alive while sneaking around and investigating. The second is that in order to use Battle Meditation you need to open yourself to the force, and that is something that Ori has real problems doing. It's a flaw thats going to keep appearing and limiting him throughout the story.
     
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  8. Threadmark: 2.1
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Betaing work done by steamrick on SB.

    Skrath watched his padawan sit in the Serenity’s dining nook, surrounded by data pads and print outs which had long since buried the table they ate at, studying as if his life depended on it. That it very well could be the case reinforced in his mind that he had chosen well. Perhaps not perfectly given what Ori had been up to while Skrath completed his own preparations but well. Skrath acknowledged that his padawan was putting in the time and effort needed to prepare for the assignment but the way he had gone about collecting the data that he thought was needed was disquieting. He had been told that his padawan was a political creature, but that had not been in evidence in his preparations.

    Knowing his limits, Skrath had wanted to do his own preparations in private. He had especially not wanted to have a green padawan around while he debriefed the crustier of the Guardians he had needed to talk to. He also felt that Ori would get more out of spending his limited free time in the Temple working on his saber forms and interacting with members of the Order as more than an initiate. For Ori, the alternative to staying in the Temple was being dragged all over the Colony region by his Master and then left to stew on the ship. Especially since the Trade Federation was active in such a wide area, the number of stops would have been rather excessive. He supposed that he could have had his padawan work on a Force skill or two, but that would have exacerbated the typical padawan obsession with learning a greater number of Force skills than their peers. It was an attitude that Skrath had every intention of keeping his own padawan from developing. Skrath was used to working on his own, and hadn’t really thought through the amount of supervision that he should have been giving his padawan. Instead he had assigned a couple of goals to take up his padawans time, in addition to overseeing the refit of the ship, while he did the needed leg work to prepare for their mission.

    The solitary nature of investigations and the way Skrath’s own padawan years had gone meant that he didn’t really think of Ori as a learner. Skrath instead thought of him as a Jedi in need of seasoning, and mentorship, before he was unleashed on the galaxy. His own Master had given him wide latitude, and very little oversight during his padawan years. He had always credited that very freedom of action for why he had survived his padawan years while so many of his fellows had not. Ori was self-directed enough that such a strategy could work, but Skrath would need to keep a closer eye on his methods then he had thought he would. Still Ori had done a good job with the background investigation even if he had received substandard direction on how he should have gone about getting said investigation acomplished. He had also done a very competent job of gathering the needed data, had Skrath not been so upset by the methods used he would have been forced to acknowledge that Ori was displaying a level of competence that most padawans took at least three years to develop.

    Ori had started conventionally enough using the library, and pulling all of the reports he could from the council archives. Most of which were filled with background data, and as such of little use for their mission, but a solid grounding to understand the situation they were walking into. He had even gone so far as to requisition the reports from the Jedi Guardians assigned to Neimoidia’s sector, a step further than Skrath would have gone at his age. It was especially notable to Skrath because Ori had needed to go through channels in order to get access to those reports. Temple security had recently reclassified a lot of documents which now required the password of an Archivist of sufficient standing’s password as well as a Master's password to unlock. It was a system which would not be kept in place long, as those who worked out in the field were overly affected by it, but it should last long enough that Ori’s access to Master Fisto’s passwords was corrected along with the other holes in the Orders data security that Ori had found being filled. It was a bit of long overdue maintence in Skrath's eyes, and one that was reaping rewards from the fire that Master Nu had been spitting the last time he saw her. It seemed that some idiots had been erasing part of the Temple of First Knowledge's records, or reclassifying them, an act which had then entire Council of First Knowledge on the war path. There he had found more relevant data, especially the data about the Trade Federation's practices and corporate structure. All of which were well thought out preparations. Unfortunately for Skrath's peace of mind Ori hadn’t thought that the data he needed was there and so had gone to outside agencies for specific data and more worryingly support.

    Ori had gone to the offices of Senator Beolars Bribbs, and gotten support and data from there. He had even gotten one of the staffers in that office to give him permission to reroute the R3’s that were their cargo. In doing so he had moved himself, and through his association the Jedi Order as a whole, from being an impartial mediator to an active participant in the corporate dominance games that were wrecking the galaxy. Bribbs SoroSuub Corporation and through them the Commerce Guild would be given an advantage over the Trade Federation because of Ori’s actions. They could think that Ori’s actions were an official shift in policy by the Jedi Council, not knowing that it was the actions of a single padawan, not that the good Senator or any of his staff would know his rank probably having assumed that he was a knight given Ori’s lack of a padawan braid, who had vastly overstepped his authority. They could now think of the Jedi as an active participant in business politics, one that needed to be watched and thwarted just like any other agency or mega corp.

    “You’re still worried about the way I got my cargo and the data aren’t you?” Ori commented without looking up. It seemed that Skrath had stood there long enough for Ori to notice him and then scan him with the Force, which was another problem that Skrath would have to deal with. Ori should have been aware of him as soon as he walked into the room and his Force sense should have automatically given him an idea of why Skrath was worried rather than the padawan having to take action in order to ascertain those facts.

    “I am, do you know why?” Skrath asked while seating himself across from his padawan.

    “Probably the conflict of interest,” Ori replied with a shrug. “I admit that it was not the most orthodox of ways to go about gathering the data that I needed but Senator Bribbs was the most convenient and his staff was kind enough to put me in touch with the Internal Revenue Service.”

    “That is part of the reason, I will admit, but there is a second part you have obviously not thought about…” Skrath trailed off and gave his padawan a look, trying to see if the young Twi’lek would understand. Considering Ori’s confusion and his cocked head, indicating that Skrath should go on, he didn’t see the issue. “You not only unilaterally moved the Jedi from a neutral mediator’s stance…”

    “Oh, that? Load of bullocks. No one at that level of politics, hell all the way down to the lowest republican functionary believes that load of bantha dung. The Jedi’s pretence of neutrality is a cloak so threadbare as to be useless. Given the elevation of Senator Palpatine to the chancellorship those in the political class, when they hear about this, will just assume that it was a directive that came out of his office as a response to the Naboo crisis using his own resources.” Ori interrupted Skrath, his voice carrying an edge of distain. “Nothing has changed either materially or in terms of perceptions.”

    “Really? And a padawan did not just rewrite the policies of the Jedi Order without bothering to clear it with his own Master, not to mention the High Council?” Skrath replied, his voice taking a real edge as he prepared to chew out his padawan. “This isn’t some minor Temple spat over dogma where when everything is over you can just ignore the consequences. This is the real world and you just put the High Council into a position they emphatically did not want to be in. While I agree that the Jedi as a whole have been losing their cloak of neutrality for years, a large part of that loss has come from senatorial directives, the majority of which we have successfully ignored. Every time the Council gives in to the will of the Senate and acts as the Senate directs we lose a little more prestige and a little more room to maneuver. The Council has avoided the stupider directives coming out of that chamber and you just made that harder by making it look like the Chancellor's office can issue us instructions as it pleases. That doesn’t even get into the political fight you might have set off when the other Senators start trying to attack the Chancellor's office because of a directive that he never issued.”

    Skrath paused his rant, giving his padawan a baleful eye. What he saw was reassuring, Ori had hunched over a bit and was clearly uncomfortable with the tongue lashing he had just received. In some ways Skrath had to acknowledge that this was a problem he had allowed to develop by not keeping a close enough eye on his padawan. From all of the other Masters he had talked to about teaching a padawan it was a problem that should never have developed this early. He should have had a year or two of the padawan following his lead closely while trying not to screw up before he gained the self-confidence to take truly independent actions. It seemed that his padawan was ahead of the curve on his development in that way, as Skrath had been hoping to encourage. Unfortunately it seemed that his initial evaluation of just where his padawan was had been in error, leading to him attempting to foster an independent streak which was already present and inadvertently allowing his padawan to screw up by the numbers. Of course all of the Masters he had asked for advice from hadn’t had padawans as self-possessed and competent as Ori was. Given the way that Ori had reacted to his prodding in the Temple over his hacking and general disregard for those regulations that he viewed as being in his way Skrath should have expected something like this. He should have taken Ori with him when he went off to do his own background research, or given him clear instructions about how he was to complete his tasks, but hadn’t thought about it at them time.

    “Should I pack my things then?” Ori asked in a small voice.

    “Oh, no, you are not getting off that easily,” Skrath replied with a grin. “You are going to have to do a bit of work in order to get yourself out of Hutt space with me, but I do acknowledge that everything you did was sensible, from a certain point of view, and aimed at completing the mission. It was also, despite being completely idiotic, competently done. You just showed a bit too much initiative in a situation that you didn’t have all the facts for.”

    “So what is going to be my punishment Master?” Ori asked, clearly nervous.

    “I want a twenty page paper from you on every negative outcome that your actions could possibly cause along with plans to mitigate them,” Skrath started while watching Ori closely. He wanted this to be a learning experience as well as a punishment, but given how happy Ori was with just getting that work assigned to him he obviously had gone too far in the learning direction and not far enough in the punishment direction.

    “As well as a hand written personal letter of apology to every Master on the High Council and the Chancellor of the Republic for overstepping your bounds and for implying that you were a knight instead of a padawan,” Skrath finished dishing out his punishment and was pleased to see his padawan flinch, he had obviously hit the nail on the head when he assumed that Ori had let people assume he was of higher rank then he actually was, and the young man’s face go almost white. Perhaps it was a bit sadistic, but if he was going to have to explain this to the High Council then he was damned sure going to make sure his padawan got to experience the High Council's displeasure right alongside him. It would be a learning experience and Ori had been given into his care to learn after all.
     
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    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Ori gritted his teeth and endured his leisurely stroll around this public park on Neimoidia. As much as he enjoyed being out of his ship and breathing clean air normally the fetid smog that passed for air on this planet would have been enough to turn him off the idea normally. Unfortunately for him he had a job to do, and not even the intricately beautiful multi coloured fungus of this park could be allowed to distract him from that. The slight fanboy squeal he had allowed himself for walking on another world was enough to make up for the air quality here. Seriously, of all the worlds he could have visited for his second trip off Coruscant he had to visit the interstellar equivalent of Camden New Jersey, it was even more disappointing than his first off world trip which had been to the interstellar equivalent of Antarctica.

    It might have been better if he wasn’t wearing these damn uncomfortable rented formal clothes, but Ori doubted that. He knew intellectually why he had needed to go out and rent these abominations against comfort and fashion, but emotionally he was certain that this was yet another of his Master’s rather inventive punishments for overstepping his bounds. The only shop that rented off non Neimoidian formal wear on this fetid swamp of a planet was a wedding shop. That shop only had one outfit available and that was the cheapest one so here he was going to complete his first under cover assignment dressed up like a groomsman for the alien equivalent of a white trash wedding.

    “Such a pity that one cannot see the stars from here,” a blandly dressed Neimoidian said with a clear, and annoying, smirk on his face. Despite the bland stylistic choices the being clothing looked better on him, and was clearly of superior quality to Ori’s rented finery. Ori repressed his grimace and nodded towards the alien while falling into lock step with him as he made his way around the park before giving the counter sign when the stopped at a particularly brilliantly coloured bit of fungus.

    “The stars are best viewed from the black I would say, atmosphere always distorts them,” Ori stated giving the counter sign with just a touch of excitement colouring his voice. “Captain Mal at your service, may I know who I have the honour of addressing?”

    “Vice president of purchasing for Interstellar Accounting Dak Haaka,” the Neimoidian replied blandly. Ori was glad to see that the Neimoidian appeared to have better self-control then he did. It would make his life easier if the Neimoidian thought that he could take advantage of a rookie captain. It seemed that Skrath’s direction about which customs official to talk to had been correct. It had been humiliating that the Neimoidian had seen through his droid cargo's paperwork, and something that he would have to work on in the future, but the man had been a watcher for Interstellar Accounting. Given the firm handled all of the Trade Federations outside accounting needs and subcontracted the majority of their in house accounting as well this was the equivalent of drawing pure Sabac. If he handled this meeting right then his droids, and more importantly their built in reporting sub routines, would be inside the Trade Federations firewalls allowing him access.

    “I understand that you have a cargo of some interest to me?” Dak continued oblivious to Ori’s internal celebrations. If this worked out then Ori would be through the firewalls and into the Trade Federations accounting data without needing to spend weeks slicing in.

    “Recently the Republic’s Internal Revenue Service made a slight error, it seems that when the latest law update came out for the R3’s several droids were in transit from the factory and were marked as defective and disposed of as excess to requirements before they were received,” Ori replied, allowing himself to glance around as if he was nervous about the possibility of being overheard despite the deserted state of the park. “I happened to get my hands on a ship load of them, and I can tell you that they have the entirety of next year’s tax code loaded into their memory banks.”

    “A fortunate find for you,” Dak replied, stopping in front of a particularly odorous bit of moss and breathing in the scent deeply. “I presume that the paper work is all in order and above board?”

    “Of course it is,” Ori replied just a bit too quickly. “I brought them openly through customs, would I have been able to do that if it wasn’t?”

    “One wonders…” Dak shot Ori a speculative look before continuing to stroll along the path. “I will admit that getting the tax code would be helpful, but you mentioned that the droids were listed as defective? That will impact the price, Captain.”

    “Most of them are still in their factory crates, and to reassure any buyer who had doubts due to their provenance I had an independent droid repair facility certify them as defect free before I left Coruscant. I have the attestation and certification available should you need to look at it,” Ori reached for the data pad he had stowed on his belt beneath the garish cape he was wearing. While Ori had spent more than a few hours cursing Skrath as a sadistic anal retentive task master he was immensely grateful for the time he had been forced to spend on installing taps in the droids. Not to mention the extra hours replacing the factory packaging and ensuring that the factory seals were still intact.

    “That will not be necessary at this time, although I will expect it to be produced and transferred when the droids are delivered should I decide that they are worth purchasing.” Dak interrupted him before he could get the data pad out and pass it over. “Just how much would you be asking for each unit?”

    “Given that these droids are brand new, and have next generation software along with the data they contain… fifteen thousand per unit,” Ori grinned as he named what he knew was an outrageous figure. He wouldn’t be getting that much, but he would end up with a little more than what the droids cost new, at least if he played his cards right. Repackaging the droids and ensuring that their manufacturing seals were still intact had been an additional pain in the ass, but it would be worth it. Especially from a profit stand point, new droids were much more valuable then used ones.

    “Captain, do you take me for a fool? A new R3 runs at barely eight thousand credits a unit. To pay almost twice the price for an advantage of less than a month would be foolishness of the highest order. I would offer seven thousand per unit.”

    “Considering that Palpatine got all of your allies off the tax committee as part of the Naboo settlement what I’m offering has to be the advantage of at least three months. A lifetime in business terms,” Ori deliberately over played his hand there. He was well aware that the Tax code would be available to the Trade Federation and Interstellar Auditing in less than two months, but he didn’t want his knowledge to show. It wouldn’t do for a humble starship captain to have that much insight into the political process of the Republic.

    “I will admit that the difficulties inherent in the Trade Federation’s abrupt disinvestment from Naboo have disrupted our normal information channels but they have not been that disrupted. Eight thousand… if they can be certified as having no more than a month of active service.”

    “Nine thousand for every unit still in its original packaging, eight thousand for those that are not.” Ori replied, trying to close the deal quickly.

    “That would be acceptable, I will have the contract delivered to your freighter before the day is out,” Dak started to walk away but paused before he had gotten out of earshot. “I presume delivery can follow soon after?”

    “As soon as the contract is signed,” Ori fully confident that he could get the droid delivered tonight. “And payment will be…”

    “After delivery and testing.”

    Ori watched the Neimoidian leave, observing the battle droids which peeled off from the park entrance and fell into guard position around Dak. It seemed that he was a little more senior then Skrath had been aiming for when he took Ori’s original idea of just dumping the droids onto the open market and refined it. Perhaps they would get more data than they had dreamed of.

    That thought brought Ori back to his most pressing problem, exactly how did one write a sincere apology to the Dark Lord of the Sith. Skrath had accepted his apology letters to the High Council, even if the sadist had made Ori handwrite each one out after he had cleared the typed draft, but the one to the Chancellor still eluded him. What exactly was he supposed to say; sorry I inadvertently made your life’s goal of murdering me and every Jedi like me that much easier? Palpatine scared the piss out of Ori, and Skrath had ensured that his name would be known by the mad man. Someone with that amount of talent and malevolence was not someone Ori wanted to be known by.

    Ori paused his ruminations to take stock of a particularly brilliant fungus, idly wondering if he could find one for the Serenity. It would liven up the dinette, or any part of the interior of the ship. Perhaps he would look into it when he returned these clothes. Speculating on interior decorating and horticulture was better than thinking about Palpatine, or what Skrath was up to at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  10. daimahou

    daimahou Gentleman Tentacle(s)

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    The letter obviously has to begin with "Dear DEL (Dark Evil Lord)..."
    Unfortunately
    than
    overstepping
    cargo's
    than
    than
    handwrite
     
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  11. GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Thank you! Edited everything in so it should read better.
     
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