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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

    GSpectre Lurker

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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
    RGFJ, SerbobIV, Winged One and 12 others like this.
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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
  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 Versed in the lewd.

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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.
     
  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.
     
  9. Threadmark: 2.2
    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
  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
     
  11. GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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

    Abnormalus Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Very much watched, This has the potential to be highly entertaining to see how it starts to play out as His master gets to play cleanup on his 'Accidents'
     
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  13. Threadmark: 2.3
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    AN: For some reason this particular part fought me for way longer than it should have. Especially given that it’s not particularly long… That said, hopeful it is acceptable. The next part is written and I’m working on editing it atm, it should be out by the weekend.



    Skrath enjoyed his caf and smirked at the Neimoidian sitting across from him. While the Jedi order did not normally operate this way there were times when it made sense to be invited into the front door rather then attempting to steal through the back door. He was an expert at this type of infiltration having spent years building up his legends, it allowed him to be invited into the building without anyone questioning him. The Neimoidian’s would not be inclined to throw away valuable assets like turbolasers, they would be crating them up and selling them. By posing as a buyer Skrath would be able to find out just how many ships were being disarmed, and what condition the weapons produced and used by the Trade Federation were in. Not to mention that he would be keeping heavy weapons off the open market, as he seriously doubted that the Trade Federation which should be desperate for money would be all that picky about who they sold their weapons to.

    “I find your offer enticing,” Braath Igrem replied folding his hands over his substantial belly. “Unfortunately I am not in any position to accommodate you. KDY would be a valuable customer from us.”

    “Is it a problem of compensation? Our offer is more than fair, and given your cash liquidity issues I would think that it would be a Force sent blessing,” Skrath asked with a raised eyebrow. Inside he was cursing, it seemed that someone had beaten him to the punch, which meant he would need to find another way to find out where those dismounted turbolasers were being sent.

    “No, what you offer is more than fair,” Braath sighed deeply. “Unfortunately those turbolasers are already spoken for. Within a month or two I can fill your order, but not at the moment. I am sorry Vice President Koorlo… much as I would be honoured to assist you, and KDY, it is not possible at the moment.”

    “Are you certain that you could fill my order in that time frame? The only reason I am out here is that we found ourselves with an unfortunate shortfall in our production, something that will be rectified shortly,” Skrath leaned forward a bit and gave Braath a piercing look. “I can justify the expense at the moment, perhaps with a consideration for yourself? But not in the future.”

    “It is good to see you understand the business culture of this world. So many from the multi stellar’s simply assume,” Braath replied with a deep belly laugh. “Unfortunately this sale was made at a higher level than mine…”

    “Ah, I understand, and thank you for your time and consideration,” Skrath rose, and offered Braath his hand. The Neimoidan took it and ushered him out of the office with all due ceremony.

    It was a short stroll towards the entrance of the office building, just enough time to decide on a course of action. He had been shown the attached shipyard, as part of the tour he had been given by Braath in an effort to impress him with the capacity and modernity of the shipyard, seeing with his own eyes one of the Trade Federation battleships demilitarization. Personally he had some doubts about the number of battleships being disarmed and returned to their roots as bulk frieghters. Politically disarming some of the ships was a smart move, but practically he doubted that the number of ships being disarmed matched the number that were being reported.

    That did not worry him, or the High Council, as it was predictable. What was happening to the weapons taken from those ships was another question. It had been expected that they would be sold off on the open market, but that was not happening which was throwing off everyone’s predictions. Especially with the Trade Federation already acting out of character in accepting the sanctions levied by the senate with only minimal protests. Skrath had never imagined that his offer to buy the dismounted weapons would be refused and that worried him. The loss of profit that they were willing to accept indicated that the Neimoidian’s had another agenda, one that was not known to the Republic or the Jedi Order.

    Rather than allowing the worry he was feeling to gnaw at his mind Skrath let the force guide him in seeking out answers. Given that the facility was mostly automated it was remarkably easy pretending to leave and then duck unseen around to the back of the office building and into the attached storage facility. All it took was Skrath swiping his visitors ID on the security pad that opened the door to exit the building then ducking under the camera’s field of vision and force jumping from camera blind spot to camera blind spot in order to get where he wanted to go.

    He had seen the shipyard already as part of the tour he had been given as a representative of KDY. That more than anything had convinced him that there was nothing nefarious happening in the yards. It was simply too easy to infiltrate as a mid-level official the way he had, so any competent counter intel operation would have forbidden any tours of the yard had there been anything happening there. So instead of re-treading ground he was well aware held no answers Skrath bounced over to the storage warehouse.

    It was a bit of a risk to try and break into the storage warehouse, and had Skrath not been a Force user he would never have contemplated it. After all the entire workforce of the warehouse was controlled by one droid brain. That meant if he was seen by anything, even a lowly cleaning bot, then the entire complex would know he was there and actively try to kill him while alerting the authorities. It was a test of his sensing and acrobatic skills to get into and through the warehouse without being seen. He knew that he didn’t have a lot of time so he confined himself to taking pictures of the packing labels present on a random sampling of the crates that were large enough to contain a capital turbolaser. He knew that most of the crates would not contain what he was looking for, but one or two of them might. Better to take a random sample and then sic Ori on the computer systems then trying to do the entire thing himself and getting caught.

    Skrath wanted to try and get a random sampling from the entire complex, but it was honestly too big to really attempt that. Instead he concentrated his efforts on the large cargo loading docks and the transfer point for parts exiting the shipyard. He felt that gave him the best opportunity to figure out where those weapons were going. Not to mention that those areas just felt right, and given his long experience Skrath knew better than to try and second guess the force. Even with the acrobatics it took him less than two hours to finish his self-appointed mission and vault the wall to safety. From there it was a quick, if not very pleasant, twenty minute trip back to the ship.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  14. Threadmark: 2.4
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    I said i would have this up this weekend and i did!



    “So what do you think of your first investigation?” Skrath asked his padawan quietly. Letting the noise of the mid-range eatery he had brought his padawan to get the boys head out of the ships computer, and the Trade Federations networks. “Was it what you thought it would be like?”

    “Mostly like I thought it would be,” Ori replied quickly, keeping his voice low enough that it wouldn’t carry. “I still don’t get why you felt the need to talk to all those people though, we got better information from my hacking, and in less time, then you got from talking. Not to mention the amount of credits you spent on bribes.”

    “Let this be a lesson padawan, no computer tells you the whole story…”

    “I’m well aware of that. I just thought that you would wait until I had processed my take, giving you a thread to follow. As it worked out you ended up just shooting in the dark, rather than focusing your efforts.”

    “I wasn’t shooting in the dark. Most of those extraneous conversations actually added something to my understanding of the situation here on planet. Despite what it looked like they were all conversations that I needed to hear. Ori, you need to learn to trust the Force, otherwise you will miss the forest for the trees.” Skrath shook his head in exasperation. For a Jedi in training his padawan was remarkably resistant to using the Force. He seemed more inclined to develop leads the normal way then work on them with the Force. “Have you gone over the sensing exercises that I gave you?”

    “Yes I have, although I can see their utility… I don’t like reaching for the Force as a first step rather than trying out traditional methods and then reaching for the Force if they don’t work out. Those conversations may have been relevant, but as of now they are extraneous to our goal. Kriffing hell, the entire investigation has been turned on its head by one little fact I pulled out of their computers, so excuse me if I want to use a more measured initial investigation to determine where I need to focus on rather than this scatter gun approach that the Force leads to.”

    “What am I going to do with you? Ori, the Force is our traditional method. We are Jedi, and as such we should be using the Force because we get sent when the ‘traditional’ methods as you call them fail.”

    “Except we’re on a mission from the Council and not the Republic. The traditional methods haven’t been tried yet, so I don’t see the point of reaching for the big guns when regular tools haven’t had a chance to work. Besides the methods I use were the ones that found you your most interesting lead where they not?”

    “Yes, and you thought that transfer came from the banking clans.” Skrath had to admit that in this instance Ori did have a point. Had he relied on the Force alone for his investigation he would have focused on the Turbolasers and completely missed the money, which would have been a disaster. That the Trade Federation was receiving money from the Republics highest elements was a better reason to hit the panic button then a couple hundred Turbolasers disappearing onto the black market. One was corruption as usual and the other was high politics, and Skrath was very aware which of the two was deadlier.

    “Hey, I’m fifteen, cut me some slack here. It’s not like I know everything there is to know. I got what it was right didn’t I?”

    “And a disturbing catch it was,” Skrath agreed darkly. He had not been pleased to discover that the Trade Federations entire fine had already been paid. Worse still was the fact that it had been paid before the details of what the republic was slapping the Trade Federation with had cleared the senatorial committee determining indemnities.

    “Someone in the senate was bribed, what’s the big deal?” Ori asked with a slight cock to his head. “Corruption in the Republic is a fact of life, what’s got your robes in a twist about that? It was a multibillion credit fine, is it any surprise that someone with that kind of money would be able to find out about it first?”

    “No its not, but where it came from is worrisome. How much do you know about the Corporate Sector?”

    “Not a lot, it’s an independent sector that’s run by an oligarchy. The ruling board is made up of shareholders in the largest corporations who have bought in to the sectors pay as you go government.”

    “Right, what you don’t know is just how connected those corps are to the Republic itself. Republican defense contractors have spin offs in that sector as a standard part of doing business, all of them, and it’s where they test new advances without the burden of Republican oversight and laws. This pay off came from the heart of the Republics largest R and D lab.” Skrath sighed lightly and continued to explain. “Whomever paid the fine off isn’t just connected to the Senate but also to the Army, Navy, and Judicial Branch. Considering what I’ve been hearing from the federation personnel on planet…”

    “So any enemies have at least one direct line into our R and D establishment, if not higher on the food chain.” Ori paused for a second and took a sip of water. “I can see how that would be bad but it’s not an advantage that they don’t already have.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You know why I was able to tap into their Hypercom system so easily? How the Trade Federation calls were all in the clear? That’s because the Federation is tight with the Techno Union and uses their encryption. The Union was the last organization to do a software upgrade on the hyper net, and their programmers have a bad habit of leaving back doors in everything they work on. They own it and you know that all orders are sent to Republic units through…”

    “The hyper net. Sith spit.”

    “It might not be so bad, the last upgrade was twenty years ago and the patching is starting to show.” Ori said with a slight grin. “The tender for the next upgrade is already being offered so we’ll have to see who gets the contract. We certainly can fix all of the known problems without letting it out that we are doing so, probably could catch quite a few hackers that way if you wanted to use the upgrade to set a trap. That or wrong foot more than a few of the mega corps. Of course all of this is contingent on the Jedi having pull with the Galactic Communications Regulation Commission.”

    “No we don’t, but we do have pull with the Judicial Branch and can get tenders black listed in the security review.” Skrath rubbed his chin as he considered the suggestion that Ori had made. “I will probably pass along your suggestion to the Judicial Branch, they are always on the look out for a cheap publicity victory and from what you are saying there is one in the offing here if they play their cards right.”

    “That always cracks me up, the largest slave organization in the galaxy is part of the Republics Judicial Branch… and in charge of enforcing the anti-slavery laws.”

    “I still don’t understand just why you think we’re slaves. After all what slave organization would let us get the freighter we have, or refit it on their dime with their droids.”

    “Oh you and me, we’re high status slaves… not like those poor pukes in the service corps… but I have to ask you a question, before you say you’re not a slave, have you ever been paid?”

    “No, but that’s the price of being a Jedi. Our needs are met through the Temple, and because our needs are met by the temple in their entirety we don’t get personal credits. Besides possessions are a form of attachment and we as light side Force users should be wary of those.”

    “How about no. The reason we don’t get personal credits is so that we’re trapped into being Jedi. Have you ever heard of someone successfully leaving the order?”

    “Dooku.”

    “Who is an old line aristocrat. The man’s family had enough resources that he didn’t need the Temple. Hell I bet if you look over interviews with fallen Jedi who left the order most of them fell as they tried to establish themselves.”

    “You may have a point but that just warns us of the dangers of material possessions.”

    “Or it’s a self-reinforcing loop. Jedi who leave the order to try and make something of themselves end up using the Force to make money. Which is a supremely bad idea, directly using the Force for personal gain has a documented history of increasing ones proclivity with the dark side. That causes them to fall because of their attempts to support themselves. The Council seeing this clamps down on the possessions rule again, and the Jedi who leave have less options therefor turn to using the Force. If they would just pay us a salary, and ensure our qualifications are recognized beyond the walls of the temple, I bet the numbers for fallen Jedi who left the order would at least be cut in half… if not down to a third.”

    “Are you sure?”

    “No, I don’t have the data to come to a reasonable conclusion so it’s just a theory I have. Because someone felt the need to report my penetration of the Temples intra net my access has been severely curtailed. I can’t get access to the sources I would need to construct a solid argument for or against my hypothesis.”

    “You are far too negative. You think the worst of everything and everyone and so you see all their actions in the worst possible light.” Skrath spoke in a lightly scolding tone. “You need to learn to see the good in people, and organizations. You’re defensive attitude is why you have so much trouble with the higher ups in the temple, you keep taking precautions against perfectly innocuous acts and that gives others the impression that you’re half way out the door even when you’re trying to learn. I’ll admit you have some impressive skills, but they’re half as good as they should be given your potential.”

    “What skills? I know the basics but that’s just about it… Force Concealment is the first advanced skill I’ve been taught and let me tell you that Master Nu was ferocious about not letting me spend any time with the great holocron.”

    “That’s because your self-control sucks and she knew you would dive for any technique you wanted without regard to what was needed or healthy for you. When you’re in research mode you don’t care about anything but your research. She was worried about you getting sucked in and never leaving. The fact that I can tell that about you after knowing you for as short a time as I have should tell you something. It’s not like you would trust anyone to pull you out would you?”

    “Point to you. Still I want to hear about these skills I supposedly have...”

    “Ego check? Why not. You have taken the basic Telekinesis to a level not usually found until a Jedi reaches the rank of knight. Your Force leaps are seamless, and can be executed with no warning. In terms of push pull, you have taken it to the level that you can pick locks with it. You regularly imbue yourself in the Force, and can refresh yourself that way instead of sleeping not to mention what you do with that in a spar.” Skrath decided to cut his padawan down a bit, rather than keep going on about his strengths. “Your danger sense and Force sight do need some work, as they are not automatic as they should be for any initiate who graduates to padawan… because of that you will never be a grand master of the blade despite all the time you put into working on it.”

    “I use my velocities as meditation aids. I would rather be moving then just sitting there. It works better for me.” Ori replied simply. “I rather thought that I was one of the better padawans with a blade though…”

    “You are, but that’s a result of the time you spend on it. If you spent less time working with the blade you wouldn’t be as good as you are. Given you are an investigator, and how much time you are going to need to spend on your computer and out in the world, you aren’t going to be practising as much in the future. On top of that someone like Secura will always be better then you because she opens herself to the Force better, and she’s a natural with the blade which you aren’t.”

    “Good to know… I have been working on opening myself to the Force Master,” Ori sounded slightly abashed as he admitted that. “I just don’t like what it does to me. I lose grounding for hours after I bring myself out of alignment with the Force and there’s this nagging feeling that it’s putting ideas into my head. My thoughts are always muddled after a session of immersing myself in the Force and I hate that feeling.”

    “And you being as paranoid as you are don’t like anything messing with your head.”

    “I wouldn’t mind if they were clearly from the Force and not from me, it’s the uncertainty that gets to me. I don’t like not knowing if an idea is mine or the Forces.”

    “How is it that you have so much trouble with the most basic of Jedi skills but you can use the Force as well as you can?”

    “When I’m directing the Force it itches less… so I spent a lot of the time I was supposed to be meditating and opening myself up to the Force working on my telekinesis or reinforcing my body with the Force.”

    “And you didn’t mention this to your teachers?” Skrath felt like tearing his hair out. It sounded like Ori had been a shoe in as a sensory type Jedi when he was younger but his natural paranoia and inadequate instruction at the Temple had stunted his development. He still was rather skilled in using the Force to sense, but he didn’t seem to do it automatically as other Jedi with the skill did.

    “Nope, they were already looking to relegate me to the Agricorp…”

    “This is about you accusing your first instructor of being a Sith isn’t it?”

    “Hey, what did you expect I heard a master telling his padawan that only the Sith deal in absolutes and not ten minutes later there’s this instructor telling me there is no, there is… the entire code is one big absolute.”

    “No it’s not, the code is meant as a guideline. Not the be all and end all of our understanding of the Force.”

    “Well then they should teach it as a guideline, not as an absolute. Besides I still think that adopting that code was a mistake.”

    “A thousand years with the fewest instances of Dark side activity and he calls the revised code a mistake. Why oh living Force, must you inflict me with a padawan who thinks he knows everything?”

    “Hey, I don’t think I know everything. I just think that it was a mistake to adopt a code from a Jedi who wrote that he had… difficulties teaching emotional control to his students because they weren’t telepathic or empathic.”

    “Let me guess you spent months researching the code and its additions and interpretations as soon as you could.”

    “Of course, ignorance is not commendable, about the only reason I have any respect for Odan-Urr… actually no I should amend that, I respect him but I think the people who decided that his reinterpretations of the code was the only one acceptable were criminally negligent.”

    “Criminally negligent? That’s an interesting thing to say about a decision by the High Council.”

    “Odan-Urr clearly wrote that his revisions on the code should not be the be all and end all of the code in the third volume of the Teachings of Master Odan-Urr. He was quite clear that the code he had written was meant as an introduction, a gateway if you will, to Jedi thought. In his own words while initial understanding was easier to reach through his revision; mastery could only be reached by studying and understanding the old code. He also wrote that his revision was meant to be useful to the widest possible audience.”

    “You actually slogged through the Teachings of Master Odan-Urr? I was rather under the impression that Master Restelly Quist’s writings were what’s taught to initiates. Actually, unless you are studying the great hyperspace war Odan-Urr isn’t mentioned except as a supporting source. Not to mention that his writings are restricted to those who have passed their trials as knights, rather than everyone at the temple.” Skrath frowned in disapproval of yet another example of his Padawan using his infiltration of the temples computer system to get into areas of thought that were best left until one had achieved a proper mind set. Ori’s quest for knowledge would be commendable if he would just think about what he was learning rather than rushing off after discovering something to find the next factoid. If only he would stop to think about the implications of what he had found just a little bit it would make Skrath’s job so much easier. It was a weakness that his padawan would have to address before he was in any way ready for even a nomination to knighthood.

    Skrath thought that his Padawan would have been much better served in his own development by following the teachings of the temple. After all most of his problems seemed to stem from him mistaking knowledge for wisdom. Although given his personality it wasn’t that surprising Ori seemed incapable of not looking for knowledge, even if he didn’t have the wisdom to handle it. That was a major issue that he would have to deal with as he went on to train his Padawan. After all it was a dangerous habit for any Force user to get into. Half understood concepts could easily lead a master down the wrong path and to the dark side, let alone a padawan.

    “That’s because he was a nerd.”

    “You call one of the greatest Jedi masters in history a nerd?”

    “Yep, it’s what he was and he was well aware of that fact. It’s part of what makes reading anything he wrote that wasn’t edited for brevity a pain. He gets side tracked and you have twelve chapter digressions.” Ori shook his head and grinned. “The man was incredibly well learned but he needed an editor for his writing, and these days you need a stack of reference books to understand what he was saying. The modern restrictions on knowledge open his works to major misinterpretation because most who read it don’t have the correct references.”

    “Why were you not snapped up by the Council of First Knowledge as a researcher?”

    “Because they were worried about what I would get up to with access to Sith writing... and my writing is shit. I have enough trouble accepting orthodoxy as it is, how much worse would I be when I inevitably found something of value in the Sith writings stored in the archive?”

    “Value from the Sith?”

    “Master Plo Koon found a way to use a purely dark side technique while still being on the light side, I cannot think that reading through Sith thought would not open up new avenues of understanding the Force. Mind you most of those avenues would be a waste of time because they required the dark side, but some of the skills described in the writings can be translated for our use.”

    “That’s an interesting position to take, do you think you could do it?” Skrath could feel his muscles tensing. He had known his padawan was intellectually adventurous but he hadn’t quite realized just how close to the edge he was willing to skate. That was something that he would need to keep a very close eye on.

    “Only at a step or two removed, if that. Most likely as the initiator of the idea I should be nowhere near its execution since most of those who have done something similar have fallen. Just about the only person I can think of who did that successfully on a long term basis was Odan-Urr, and I’m not on his level.” Ori’s lekku twitched as he admitted that, and his face took on a slightly sour expression. “I probably could contribute once a master had gone through the writing and reduced the knowledge down to intent and effect, but not before then. Besides I would probably spend all of my time looking at their philosophical precepts and comparing them to the Jedi's.”

    “Something you don’t know, how interesting. You really should have looked more deeply into the other sections of the Jedi before deciding that you didn’t want to be there,” Skrath’s tone was reproving. “We already do adapt and use Sith knowledge. Force alchemy is used by the Agricorp, especially biological alchemy, how else would the crops be as successful as they are?”

    “Really? I was under the impression that anything Sith was bad, end of discussion.”

    “That is the ignorance of youth speaking. Sith knowledge must be approached cautiously, members of the council of first knowledge have specifically trained Jedi to look over any recovered Sith artefacts. Actually allow me to revise my statement, any knowledge is dangerous when it is first uncovered, and Jedi who are trained to access the risks that such knowledge brings, and gain understanding of the knowledge, are used by the order as canaries. Once the knowledge is understood, and the risks associated with it assessed, only then is it passed on to the Master Jedi. They then decided if it is worth it to pass the knowledge to the knights or to put it away in the archives as it does not add to our understanding of the Force. It is from the knights that knowledge is disseminated and passes into common knowledge. We have a system in place, and it is a good system, one that as an initiate you did not have access to. You still don’t but now you know it exists.” Skrath grinned at the gob smacked expression on his padawans face. Some things were to be treasured, and destroying his padawans sense of superiority by telling him that the unique idea he had for doing everything better than the Temple and its thousand years of history was already in practice was one of them. “For instance the Code is still used as a gateway, its just these days the responsibility for unpacking and expanding on the code falls to a padawans master instead of being taught at the Temple. Enough of the digression, back to the mission and what you are supposed to be learning…”
     
  15. Abnormalus

    Abnormalus Getting some practice in, huh?

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    is critical thinking heretical or just bordering it? I very much liked your comment about how only sith deal in absolutes.... then having an instructor quote the Jedi code and being called as sith
     
  16. Threadmark: 2.5
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Ori looked around the open marketplace on Nal Shaddaa and tried to open himself to the Force. Considering where he was it was rather difficult. He had wanted to head directly for the Corporate sector, but Skrath had a ‘few people to talk too’ first. Given that Skrath was the Master, and Ori was the Padawan, they went with Skrath’s plan and not Ori’s desires. After a rather long… discussion… with Skrath Kri, his Jedi master, he was undertaking a rather risky exercise. In his own mind at least. The simple fact was that Master Kri wasn’t happy with the way that Ori limited himself in the Force, so he had assigned his padawan to go out and do the will of the Force. A rather open ended assignment, and one that Ori had put off for as long as possible. The Force was too powerful for him to think of as safe, and he really disliked the way it seemed to twist his mind.

    If he hadn’t lived another life before this one he might not have thought deeply about it, but he had. As he had lived another life, his thoughts and mind were one of his most valuable possessions. Especially since parts of the life he was living had been a fictional universe in his last life, and he had confirmed that what he remembered was real. If something affected his mind then how much of himself would he lose? He had already lost his Original body and he had no intention of losing the last part of his original self, his mind. Even if he was slowly forgetting bits and pieces of his old life, much like he had forgotten parts of his childhood when he had become and adult. He had tried to hang onto his memories by writing everything down but it was a losing battle. Despite his virulent dislike of the concept this was an exercise he needed to complete.

    The reason he was in the marketplace had more to do with his desire for comfortable clothing then the will of the Force. He had spent the entire morning replacing his Temple issued wardrobe with more comfortable tailored clothing. Mostly t shirts and cargo pants, in styles he remembered from his past life, simple comfortable every day wear. Two pairs of leather pants, and some nicer shirts had also been called for. In the end his most expensive purchases had been his boots, because in Ori’s mind there was no good reason to have anything but the best for your footwear a less that had been hard learned in his last life, and a wonderful black leather duster. The duster had been his only really extravagant purchase, but it had called to him in a way he couldn’t resist. He had wanted one in his last life and never gotten around to buying one now had the means and time to procure one so he wasn’t about to let that chance slip past him again.

    Thinking about his purchases would not allow him to avoid what he had been putting off for long. Especially since Master Kri would know if he didn’t complete the exercise. The Force clung to you, even after you were under Force stealth, when you opened yourself to it. His master was certainly a good enough Jedi to detect if he had that remnant clinging to him or not, and should he not have it Ori was certain that Kri would just push him out of the ship with instructions to do it all over again. Or just not let him board. With a resigned sigh Ori checked his two hold out blasters again, hiked his sea bag further up on his shoulder with the bags from his purchases sticking out of the top, closed his eyes, and opened himself to the Force.

    It was a real struggle for him to do. Ori wasn’t a fan of doing so in the first place because the Force was just what the name implied a force, and letting it control him was against everything that his mind told him. Letting some giant, incomprehensible, alien entity control your actions was something that his last life had marked as a bad idea with giant neon signs. Unfortunately this life seemed to be based around the Force and as such he could either learn how to deal with it, or commit suicide. Not being suicidal he had tried to apply his own brand of rationalism to Force use, unfortunately for him his teachers felt that wasn’t the correct way to go about it, and so he was stuck with this exercise.

    Much as Ori complained about opening himself to the Force, the side effects of the Force flowing through you was a feeling that could not be described. It was intoxicating, the way your senses went through the roof. The sensation was another reason why he was leery of the Force, it seemed almost addicting to use. He had struggled enough in his last life to keep his addictions under control, he did not need to allow himself a new addiction in this life. Slowly Ori opened his eyes and allowed his feet to carry him as he drifted through the market. Mentally he cocked an eyebrow as he noted where he was going, the Force was pushing him towards the weapons dealers section of the market. That was a section of the market place he had not frequented before despite his desire to. After all a Jedi wasn’t supposed to use a blaster, even his holdout blasters would have been considered questionable at the temple.

    It didn’t take that long to reach his destination, one of the higher end weapons shops. Much to Ori’s surprise the Force directed him to drift to the back of the shop. A pair of lightsabres were on display back there, not that he could afford them, the asking price was around the cost of a small freighter. Silently he contemplated the weapons and wondered if he was supposed to buy them. His interest in the higher end weapons apparently garnered the attention of one of the beings manning the shop. An older Togruta came over and put his hand on Ori’s shoulder.

    “They look pretty Kid, but they aren’t worth the hassle or the cost. Unless you’re one of those Jedi types. Looking at you I can tell you’re not so don’t bother with the show pieces. Still, I can help you out for a bit if you’re looking for a higher end kit then the usual.”

    “Is it that obvious?” Ori asked mildly, surprised at the words tumbling out of his mouth.

    “Yeah it is, this is what your first stop after signing on?”

    “Second, it’s the first I’ve been paid at though…”

    “Take some advice, don’t bother saving those credits up. You made a good start with the cloths, especially getting the good stuff from Arron’s tailoring, but if you want to be taken seriously in your business then you have to look the part and a higher end piece of hardware would complete the image. What do you have in the arms locker on your ship?”

    “BC7’s.”

    “Not bad, not bad at all. A lot of people swear by them, then again I can get you something better. MerrWeapons makes some good gear for the money but BlasTec is about to blow them out of the water. I have a bit of pre-release kit… if you have the credits that is.” The salesbeing’s greed was beating down on Ori, but he felt that this was important for some reason. So instead of walking off like he would have normally he held up his roll of credits. The salesman took one look at it and smiled predatorily.

    “You made the right decision coming in here. Now this is going to be a bit expensive, all I have in stock are the promotional kits that BlasTec just released. That means you get a lot of weapons, more then you need really, and the total price is damned high but the price per piece is good.”

    “You keep talking about it, let’s see it.” Ori replied, letting himself slip slightly deeper into the Force.

    “Follow me,” The salesman lead him to the back of the shop, up a flight of stairs, and then out into a small secondary apartment attached to the building. He grabbed a case, a rather large one to Ori’s way of thinking, and then led Ori onto the range.

    “Is that it?”

    “Yup, DC-15 series pre-release promotional package.” The salesman answered as he undid the lock on the case and opened it. “Four DC-15s pistols, two DC-15S carbines, two DC-15A rifles, and a DC-15x Snipers rifle.”

    “That’s a lot of hardware… can’t I just buy one?”

    “Sorry kid, manufactures prerogative. They bundled all this stuff together and we can’t sell it piece by piece.” Ori could tell that the salesbeing was lying out of his ass but he decided to let it go. This seemed to be important to both his conscious and unconscious mind, and the Force seemed to be pushing him towards this. “You either buy the whole lot, or look at something else. Now I know that sounds bad, but you have to remember that this is unreleased stuff here, the Republics next generation of firearm. Give it three years and this is going to be the gold standard for the entire galaxy.”

    “Really, now that’s interesting,” Ori ran his hands over the pistols and pulled one from its packing. “Do you have a clip I can shoot off? It’s not that I don’t trust you but I want to test what I buy. Especially since you said this was pre-release, you know how manufacturers are about their new projects, there are always bugs.”

    “Kid you aren’t half dumb, give me a minute.” With that the salesbeing disappeared into the back of the range and came back with a couple of blaster packs. Clearly they were meant for all of the weapons. Before handing the power packs over he locked Ori into the blaster proof range, and then slid them through using a secure exchange. Ori nodded his head and began to load the pistol while the salesman got the range set up.

    Actually shooting the DC series was a blast. They worked much better than anything he had ever gotten a chance to shoot before. Especially the rifles, compared to what he had learned on this was an almost religious experience. These guns were meant to be fired and it showed in the way they were engineered. Of course they weren’t perfect, especially the stock design for the rifle, but they were good enough and felt natural in his hands. Ori found himself wanting the guns and not caring just how badly he was about to be skinned. If the Force had led him here, then it couldn’t be all bad. Besides he now had justification for carrying weapons other than his sabres, after all hadn’t the Force led him to these guns?

    “I’ll take them,” Ori said with enthusiasm. He had to unload the pistols and slide the power packs back through the secure exchange before he was allowed out, but that was a minor inconvenience. He kept talking even as he unconsciously demonstrated a clear level of competence with the guns. “Do you have quick draw holsters for the pistols? If possible I would like to wear them out of the shop.”

    “Sure Kid,” The salesbeing shook his head and lead Ori back into the shop proper, making sure to drop the case off at the register along with two thirds of Ori’s credits. “Say, you handled those guns a lot better than I thought you would. Why weren’t you strapped when you came in here?”

    “Who says I wasn’t?” Ori grinned and popped one of his hold outs from his sleeve before making it disappear again. “The visible pistols I normally use belong to the ship though, all I had as personal weapons are my hold outs and wearing one of them as a waist gun would be a stupid thing to do. Unfortunately I’m on the captains shit list at the moment and he wasn’t about to let me use one from the armoury. He knew I would get back to the ship fine, but he wasn’t going to make my life easier.”

    “Hungh,” Ori could tell that by now the salesbeing was convinced that he was a Hutt backed pirate, not that he would go out of his way to convince the Togruta otherwise. It was always best to let people think you were more used to violence then you really were, it cut down on the number of times you actually needed to use it.

    By the time Ori left the weapons shop, two of his new blasters strapped to his thighs, and carrying the case with the rest. They had allowed him to load once he had paid and his money had vanished into the secure deposit slot. He was more than satisfied with the way his day had gone. Even if master Kri objected to his gun purchases he could still get them written off as necessary expenses. After all the Serenity’s arms locker was relatively anaemic. Still something was bothering him about the guns. Then he remembered, it was from his last life, apparently the clone troopers had used DC model blasters. Since the clone wars weren’t supposed to start for another ten years it seemed to him that someone along the way had made a mistake and the clones were closer to being discovered then they had ever been in the movies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  17. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Experienced.

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    Are the Togratu any relation to the Togruta?
     
  18. GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Bugger... *Starts cursing and repeats loudly.

    You would think that after having checked this over as many times as i have i would catch simple errors like this. Thanks for the catch, fixing it now.
     
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  19. Nangal

    Nangal Getting out there.

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    Somehow something tells me that those light sabers will be important.
     
  20. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Experienced.

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    I'm fairly sure his master will think so, when he hears how this 'follow the will of the Force' exercise went.
     
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  21. Threadmark: 2.6
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Skrath Kri entered the small eating area in the Serenity and frowned slightly at what he saw. He believed that his Padawan had been led to the guns he had bought yesterday by the will of the Force, it was impossible not to when he felt his padawan returning positively dripping with Force residue from his exercise, and yet he still didn’t like that Ori had bought blasters. Blasters were effective, and useful, but they were tools to use and discard at will. They were not like Lightsabres, a symbol and tool all wrapped into one convenient package, which would stay with a Jedi for life. At least in theory, in reality very few Jedi managed to hold on to their Lightsabres for more than a decade. Only one recent schism of the order had considered blasters a worthy option, and here his padawan came back with them.

    In many ways the problems that his Padawan had with the Order were represented by those blasters. While clearly talented with the Force Ori had issues, both of his own making and from the Force itself. Most of his issues though could be traced back to Jedi politics, a high impact sport if there was one. In some ways Skrath regretted pushing his padawan to open himself to the Force, it was clear now that Ori's intransigents and unhappiness with the Order wasn’t just his own contrary personality. The Force seemed to be pushing his Padawan on a path to either reform the Order or to leave it. That was a worrying observation but one that could be put off for future consideration. His Padawans worrying fear of the Force was something that would need to be dealt with immediately. Fear was a clear path to the darkside, and one could not be a Force user without interacting with the Force, so Ori needed to be forced to accept the force or at least reach a comfortable accommodation with it before his fear led him to ruin.

    Skrath didn’t think that his padawan was anywhere near ready to take such a step on his own. His own discussions on the Force with the young man had made it clear that while Ori was very knowledgeable he was not very wise. He knew a lot of factual information but his interpretation of it were often coloured by the Twi’lek’s youth and inexperience. Still perhaps once he had matured some the young man would be more than just an investigator. Though Skrath doubted that would happen, given the distrust that his padawan had built up in the older generation through his intemperate words and actions. It would take a long time before he was taken as anything more than a wild eyed radical. A view which would not be helped by Ori’s fear of the Force, unless that was broken by the time they returned to the Temple. Skrath quietly resolved to extend the mission they were on if he could, it wouldn’t do to cut Ori’s career off just when he had begun it, especially since he was showing so much potential.

    Pouring himself a cup of Caf Skrath eased himself into a chair across from his padawan and began to plan out his day. Ruefully he kept an eye on Ori as he took apart and put back together each of the blasters, clearly familiarizing himself with the weapons. It was something he had done as well, any competent gunman would do the same, but it was symptomatic of the way that Ori went about doing things. Ori’s movements were firmly controlled, and they had the look of long practice to them, making the republic commando, who had trained him in gun handling, influence clearly visible. Most Jedi who were forced to use a blaster would only begin to familiarize themselves with the weapon they would use immediately before the operation that required one, if they didn’t trust the Force to guide them without bothering to properly prepare. They would not take the time to get used to the weapon until they were sure they would need it rather then being used to the blaster in case they did need it.

    “Have you figured out just why the Force led you to those?” Skrath asked casually after taking a sip of caf.

    “No… but I think the name is a clue,” Ori said not bothering to look up from what he was doing. “The DC-15 series of blasters is a rather famous designation in military circles, the last time they were in production was during the Sith wars and the cold war. Someone reached deep into history to pull the name out.”

    “Interesting, have you made any progress figuring out why the dealer thought that they would be the standard weapon for the republics army when we don’t have an army?”

    “I think…No, he wasn’t just trying to fleece a green horn. He was but not about that.” Ori looked up for the first time with a grimace. “I think we’re going to find that there is a lot of new military hardware being designed and put into limited production in the next couple of years. This is a warning, all is not well and we are not the only ones preparing for the coming storm.”

    “You could very well be right,” Skrath rubbed his temple as he admitted that. “I talked with the Council last night and had the Temple run down the account you found had paid off the Trade federation’s fines. It was a republic contingency account, for use in case of war.”

    “Why is someone using that account to bail out the Trade Federation though?” Ori asked, clearly confused.

    “I have an idea but until we find out more I’m unsure if it is correct or not.” Skrath said evenly. “Personally I think that the Naboo crisis has woken up elements in the Republic to just how weak a position we are in. The Judicial Forces have a lot of ships but the Stark Hyperspace war and then the Naboo crisis has pointed out that those ships are both outdated and severely underpowered compared to the ships in the hands of private corporations and regional conglomerations.”

    “In other words the Ruusan reforms are beginning to show their age and we need to start thinking about a new round of reforms.” Ori’s eyes narrowed. “After all a Trade Federation battleship isn’t something that the Judicial Forces could stop on their own without calling in regional forces and you know how limited their hyper drives are.”

    “Well we won’t have to worry about the Federation in a few years, after all they are being forcibly disarmed.”

    “Yeah right… Master, you have to remember what the Lukrehulk frame started out as, it’s a freighter frame. I’ll bet you anything that every one of those disarmed Lukrehulks can be rearmed in less then a month. It’s a cosmetic thing to say that the Trade Federation is disarming, especially since the politicians are letting them do it in stages. Gives them more time to carefully dismount the guns and store them away for future use.”

    “And buys the Republic time to develop a counter,” Skrath said evenly. “Buying time while we try and find the resources to match the threats that weren’t obvious before this series of crisis.”

    “That would be a smart plan…” Ori spoke in a distracted voice. It was quite clear that he was thinking hard about what his master had said, trying to pick apart the idea and find flaws in the reasoning. “I know you aren’t speculating baselessly, you have to have seen something I didn’t, so where to next master?”

    “The Corporate Sector,” Skrath took a gulp of his caf before continuing. “We have a cargo but we are going as actual Jedi so be prepared to use your robes rather then your under cover cloths.”

    “What’s wrong with my cloths? They’re comfortable after all,” Ori looked up his face a mass of confusion.

    “Yes, but they are not appropriate to represent he Jedi order in, especially as we are going to be official auditors on this one.” Skrath replied with a roll of his eyes. “While I do recognize that for every day wear what you bought is both practical and comfortable, especially as we seem to be spending a fair amount of time as free traders, there are times when you are going to need to wear your robes… you did bring them right?”

    “Ummmmm… about that… see you told me we were going under cover and I figured that…” Ori trailed off looking sheepish and muttering for a bit before he almost whispered out the last bit. “So I spaced them after lighting them on fire.”

    “Padawan… what am I going to do with you.” Skrath shook his head in exasperation. “Don’t worry I brought extras.”

    “Sithspit.” Ori responded with a dejected slump of his shoulders. “If we have to wear the damn things couldn’t they at least not itch.”

    “The scratching or itching is there to remind us to be humble, and contrary to popular rumour has nothing to do with the fact that we buy them in job lots from the lowest bidder.” Skrath said pompously, using a joke to break the tension that had built up. “Onwards, as you completed my assignment I have another one for you. As I believe I have begun to teach you the order is not homogeneous. Each branch is its own self contained order with a different focus, and different methods.”

    “Yes, you have mention that one or two…hundred times,” Ori’s voice was filled with humour.

    “Right, most padawans don’t need that thought bashed through their heads. We are members of the sentinel branch of the Jedi, as such we use the tools of all the other branches freely and without prejudice alongside our more mundane skills. As I have noted you are strong on combat related skills but you are weaker in those skills prized by the consular branch.” Skrath said evenly, watching his padawan closely. He wasn’t surprised to see Ori nod his head in agreement. Say what you would about the young man he was self aware enough to know of his flaws even if he did flounder a bit in his attempts to correct them.

    “Very well, what I want you to do is a consular refinement on opening yourself to the Force. You are going to handle customs on your own and you need to do it without giving a bribe, using your authority as a Jedi, or being delayed…”

    “How in the name of the Force am I supposed to do that?” Ori asked wide eyed. “Unless you want me to go for a mind trick that is.”

    “Nope, this needs to be done covertly.” Skrath grinned as he said that. He was going to enjoy watching his padawan struggle with this gem of an exercise. :”You are going to open yourself to the Force and feel the correct words to use in order to get through customs. It’s the same thing that an ambassador or diplomat would do in a tight situation.”

    “Really? I rather thought that those two professions spent a large amount of time preparing for their assignments rather then using the Force to skate their way through…”

    “It is not always effective, especially in diplomatic relations where the driving force is not individuals but governing bodies. Still it is a technique all Sentinels learn by heart, we need it in order to get the truth out of our targets and to get information. We do not have a galaxy spanning network of informants, instead we study the situation and then use this ability in its more refined form to get the right people to talk to us.” Skrath spoke evenly letting a bit of humour leach into his voice. “Not everyone can do it but from what you told me about your conversation with the salesman last night I think that you have the potential to be one of the better users of this ability. You not get him talking about the blasters and thereby alerting the Order to the fact that he thought that elements in the republic were thinking about rearming?”

    “I did…” Ori shook his head and began to put the blasters away, minus the two he holstered on his person. “I think that I am going to need to spend a lot of time meditating on this in order to even have a chance at succeeding.”

    “That you will my padawan… which is why I will be flying this next leg of our journey not you.” Skrath’s smirk at his padawans look of disappointment was a sight to behold. “And I do expect you to meditate in the correct way, not while running through your velocities or while working on your telekinesis.”
     
  22. Abnormalus

    Abnormalus Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Thank you for the update, I am very excited to see where this story is going.
     
  23. Nangal

    Nangal Getting out there.

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    Same here.

    Hnnnn. A Jedi that doe not want to be... I wonder what would happen should he meet Skywalker?
     
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  24. RichardWhereat

    RichardWhereat Pray for Teekl.

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    I'm loving this story.
     
  25. GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    Running away screaming like a little girl is the first thing that comes to mind, if hes older that is. Skywalker would, even while being a whiny teen, wipe the floor with Ori unless Ori could cheat massively... and even then it would be a close run thing. That said, Ori would not get along with the child Skywalker, and would definitely not get along with the teen Skywalker. Skywalker is too much of an emo/action guy for Ori to really relate to him, and he reminds me of more then a few unpleasant people who i went to high school with.
     
  26. Threadmark: 3.1
    GSpectre

    GSpectre Lurker

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    “I still say that taking a holo of my discussion with Agent Zephire was excessive master,” Ori grumped adjusting his robes yet again in a vain hope that they would become comfortable if he could just find the right way to wear them. He wished, once again, to return to his every day clothes. They were at least comfortable. “It wasn’t that funny!”

    “Oh yes it was padawan mine,” Skrath let slip a slight giggle as he said that. “You have to take a step back and think of the image, gigantic human in full ESPO uniform looming over a slip of a Twi’lek dressed like a pirate, shouting at each other at the top of their lungs about the proper way to bake Lum bread. It’s an image that sticks in the mind, if only for the incongruity.”

    “Humph, it got the job done didn’t it? We didn’t have a single problem with customs.” Ori snarled. “Unlike the issues you had getting an appointment with the account manager.”

    “Keep saying things like that and I will be sure to post that holo on the net, or perhaps it should just go on the Temples intranet?”

    “Anything but that master!” Ori paled at the threat, his teal skin making it look impressive.

    “Oh, I will relent… for now,” Skrath said as the two Jedi entered the bank. “I am not surprised by the difficulties inherent in getting an appointment. After all this account is held by the Bothan commercial bank and the Bothan’s are well known for their… caution… when it comes to dealing with the Jedi. It’s a species thing.”

    “I rather thought that idea was a stereotype, not a truth.” Ori frowned as he spoke. “Like the way that all Twi’leks are criminals and other bantha shit in that vein.”

    “It is a stereotype, but there are grains of truth in every stereotype. Unfortunately the way the galaxy works most beings are pigeonholed by stereotypes and they end up playing to the type.” Skrath shrugged at that. “You see it everywhere even in the Order.”

    “Really? I was under the impression that the Order was remarkably free from overt bias.” Ori answered surprising his master with his leniency towards the Order. It seemed that one on one teaching was doing the padawan well. He hadn’t lost his wariness about the Order, but seemed more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt rather than leaping to the worst possible conclusion.

    “We do not operate in a vacuum and the biases of the galaxy do inform some of our choices,” Skrath said sourly. He wasn’t too pleased with some of the compromises that living in an imperfect world had forced on the High Council. “Jedi need to be seen as trustworthy, especially the Consular Jedi. Sentinels and Guardians have a bit more freedom, but I have to admit at least in the Diplomatic and Ambassadorial roles race does play a part in who is selected.”

    “Is that the reason for the excessive Twi’lek casualties?” Ori asked casually.

    “Unfortunately yes. Twi’lek Padawans and Knights have gone into the investigative, peacekeeper, combat, and other exposed roles almost exclusively. Especially in the investigative role under cover assignments have taken a steep toll on those assigned to them. I know of one slavery case where we lost over twenty Jedi, almost all of them either Togruta or Twi’lek.” Skrath fought down his anger as he remembered that case. It had started out as a simple investigation into a minor slaving ring in the mid rim and then exploded up into a major case that had ended with the arrest of twenty seven senators. He had only been called in at the end of the investigation but he had been friends with more than a few of the fallen Jedi. He had taken great pleasure in being in on the arrests.

    “So species does play a part in the selection of Padawans.”

    “A bit, still you have a few who break the mould. Personally I think that we, the Order as an organization, are making a mistake in bowing to public perceptions as we have in our assignments. The counter argument which holds some truth is this policy has helped build up the reputation of the Order as a whole and that reputation saves lives.”

    “So we trade the lives of Jedi for others, not surprising given the Orders focus on duty.”

    “You think we are making a mistake?”

    “I am… conflicted.” Ori looked monumentally uncomfortable as he admitted that. “I understand the logic but I think that our inaction may have perpetuated the situation. By pandering to public perception instead of using our image to effect change we continue to take casualties where there is no need. Then again I am not a sociologist and I cannot see a clear answer to the question. Speaking of questions is that master Dza’Lya?”

    “Ah Master Dza’lya, I am Knight Kri, here on request of the council and the senate,” Skrath shifted into his most complimentary tones as he spoke to the account manager.

    “Is that so Jedi,” Dza’lya growled out, his ruff rippling in irritation. “I was under the impression that the Republic no longer trusted the banking practises of the Bothan’s to protect their credits. Especially given the amount of time Count Dooku needed with the Banking Guilds to clear up everything before he returned to being a private citizen.”

    “Ah, that would be a miss communication on his end I’m afraid,” Skrath let an apologetic tone seep into his words. Out of the corner of his eye he noted that Ori had adopted and maintained an attentive, if slightly confused expression. “The issue we have was not with the bank itself rather with the end user. As for the good Count, his public and private personas necessitated that he not use the same banking system in both his roles. If he had the accusations of corruption would have been thrown around quite liberally. I’m sure you are well aware of the issues with information security and general corruption in the senate?”

    “Ah,” Dza’lya’s ruff smoothed out as if by magic. Ori took a deep breath and immersed himself in the Force, trying to sense exactly what his master was doing. The turn around on Dza’lya’s part was a bit to dramatic, or was it? Had the Bothan been faking his irritation? While his master bantered with the bothan and the bothan led them into a conference room he examined the two older men through the Force and silently berated himself at what he felt.

    Ori knew that his habit of minimizing his Force use was odd, but he had never before found a reason to not do so. This meeting was an eye opening experience for him, what was being said and felt were often diametrically opposite one another. If one took Master Dza’lya’s words at face value, which Ori would have done without using the Force to feel out the correct path, this meeting would have been a disaster. The only way that Master Kri was succeeding in both calming the Bothan and getting what he wanted was by walking a very fine verbal line, and being guided by the Force. Something which had been made infinitely harder by Count Dooku’s inadvertent offending of the Bothan banker. Ori actually thought that Dooku had been deliberate in his offense, but that was a suspicion nursed by the memories of his past life, not one he could justify based on the information he had in this life.

    “…Chancellor Palpatine is working on the corruption issue from his end but there is a deep culture of corruption in the senate and it has been growing for a long time.” Skrath paused for breath as Ori came back to himself and focused on back on what was being said. “There have been a long string of ineffective or outright corrupt chancellors and it shows. We Jedi have been fighting the corruption but you know how difficult it is for us to gain permissible evidence.”

    “I am well aware of your Orders tendency to not think about the consequences of their actions. It is good to hear that you are working with professionals this time, rather than yet again going at it on your own,” Dza’lya didn’t bother to hide the contempt in his tone as he said that. Bothans were not the most accepting species of the Jedi, their culture clashed horribly with the values espoused by the Jedi.

    “It hasn’t always been our fault, the judicial branch does answer to the chancellor and we are supposed to be an independent check on them. Unfortunately those Jedi with a real talent for investigation are few and far between.” Skrath shrugged ignoring the dig about Jedi’s being cowboys. “Most Jedi are much more suited to talking things out as diplomats or kicking down doors. Still the chancellor knew that this data could be transported by us safely after I do an initial evaluation of the account activity, I am one of the better Jedi investigators.”

    “Oh, I have not heard your name before,” Dza’lya voiced his scepticism.

    “Weren’t you just talking about how badly most Jedi are at investigation? Of course you haven’t heard my name, I do the investigation and hand it over to the judicial branch as I am supposed to.” Skrath frowned ferociously as he continued. “I am not a grandstander like that thundering bantha Dooku. His version of investigation was a disaster for those of us who are real professionals.”

    “I heard about that,” Dza’lya laughed heartily. “Nearly starting a war between the Hutt’s and the Republic? Idiocy. I was surprised that he was elevated to the Council, but not surprised when he left in a huff like a youngling.”

    “The man didn’t have the patients for effecting the type of systemic changes he wanted. He was always in a rush, impatient, I don’t think that anyone who knew him beyond his reputation was surprised by his resignation. I am surprised that the news of his resignation had made it all the way out here though.” Skrath cocked his head to the side as he said that.

    “He may have resigned from the Order but while he was still a member of the High Council he set up several financial transactions for the Order as a whole. He came by a couple of weeks ago to ensure that they could be carried out on automatic should no one in the Council pick up his projects, after he had lost his signing authority.” Skrath nodded at that and smiled, which became strained as the bothan continued as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “Of course the work he was doing with the Banking Guild was also in the multi trillion credit range, and say what you will about his personality he would not be so foolish to leave that without guidance. Do you knew who is handling that account now?”

    “That is something you should bring up with the auditor when they get here. I am limited in the scope of my brief to what I was read in on, so I have no knowledge of his projects with the Banking Guilds. That said, everything here looks good. You have the appropriate authorizations, I would like a copy of the invoices so we can check on the projects at the source as well as following up to make sure that no one on Coruscant is milking these accounts for their own gain.”

    “You do not want a balance of the accounts, or an audit?” Dza’lya’s eyebrows rose at that.

    “No point, at least until the chancellor gets a firmer handle on the finances of the Republic. Besides I only have authorization to investigate projects that are being currently funded rather then past projects.” Skrath shrugged as he spoke. “As I said you will see an auditor soon, if only to check over the historical data from the accounts, but the chancellor is more concerned with getting current corruption under control at the moment. That is not to say he isn’t interested in historical corruption but he has communicated to us that he wants to get his house in order before he attempts to prosecute past corruption.”

    “Sensible for a politician. I rather liked some of his speeches but I was worried that he would dive headfirst into investigations of the past instead of concentrating on the now.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  27. Stormbringer117

    Stormbringer117 Souless

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    Kamino, you and your secrets are safe for now!
     
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  28. Abnormalus

    Abnormalus Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Unless the 'force' guides Ori to the correct piece of data to investigate it early in his assisting of Skrath