Archive for the ‘Fanfic’ Category

Inheritance of the Old Republic (Chapter 3)

May 22, 2023

Alana had acquired a landspeeder for them.  It had a surprisingly large power pack and it was fully charged, which suggested that they had a lot of traveling ahead of them.  Corran had discovered that while checking the landspeeder out in intense detail, as he didn’t trust any landspeeder dealer on Tatooine and didn’t trust Alana either.  Of course, his detailed inspection ended up frustrating Alana, but that was actually good, in his opinion.  If she was a bit frustrated and a bit rattled, then she might let something slip, and he wanted to make sure he had many advantages as he could wrangle in this situation.

Plus, it wasn’t like she was going to leave without him.

Once out in the open desert, they started a long and boring trip to their first waypoint.  The desert was pretty much just an expanse of sand and dunes, with only some small homesteads and some small rocky outcroppings dotting the horizon.  It was at one of these small outcroppings near one of those small homesteads that they finally came to a stop.

“From what I could gather, ” Alana explained, “Revan left a holocron at these co-ordinates describing how to get to the Star Map in case anyone else really needed to get to it, but he kept it a secret because he didn’t want anyone to find the Star Forge.”

“Then how did you find it?” Corran asked.

“It wasn’t easy!  The co-ordinates were buried in a collection of love poems from Ryloth, with the first verse of the first one in the collection being the key to decode the others, and part of the co-ordinates occurring in the next stanzas of the remaining ten.”

“Seems strange that he’d hide it there, ” Corran remarked.

Alana shrugged.  “Rumour has it that Bastila liked Rylothian love poetry.  The collection was probably her favourite.”

Corran nodded.  “She would pass that collection on, and no one else would expect that there was anything else to keeping that collection other than sentiment.”

Alana was bending down and running her hands over the rocky outcropping.  Corran took the opportunity to scan the small settlement in the distance, and something seemed familiar.  “Are we where I think we are?” he asked.

Alana smiled while continuing to study the outcropping.  “Yep.  We’re at the old Lars homestead, where Luke Skywalker himself used to live.  There’s no way that Revan could have planned that, of course, but it seems to bode well for our enterprise.”

“Given how difficult his life has been, ” Corran said, “I wouldn’t be so quick to consider it a good omen.”

She looked like she was going to reply, but then there came the sound of a click and a section of the rock pulled away.  “Got it!” she exclaimed, drawing out a very small holocron.  “It’s small, ” she noted, “But I think he wanted to make it as small as possible because he wasn’t going to store much on it.”

She then activated it, and instead of Revan’s image the image of an ancient assassin droid appear.  “Statement:  Greetings, meatbags, or meatbag-associated droids.  My name is HK-47 and I am recording this message at the command of my master, Revan.

Statement:  If you are here, you likely already know if the existence of the Star Map on Tatooine and are seeking the co-ordinates to find it.  My master has encoded a map inside a holocron so that it can survive the many, many years that it may take for someone to seek it.  Using a holocron in this manner was a rather ingenious idea for a meatbag like my master, and should ensure that it will survive without signi … – ation.”

Corran smiled.  It was ironic that the most significant degradation in the holocron so far came precisely when this somewhat arrogant droid was proclaiming how there wouldn’t be significant degradation.

HK-47 continued, “Ominous Warning:  I must make it clear that the journey to the Star Map is fraught with peril, and the Star Map itself has its own defenses.

“Disclaimer:  Neither myself nor my master will be held responsible for any maiming, mutilation or even death that may occur as a result of meatbags seeking out the Star Map.”

Then the hologram faded.  Alana pushed a few buttons, and a holographic map appeared.  She had had a look of reverent expectation on her face, but her face fell as she looked at it.  “The map …” she began.

“I see it, ” Corran said.  “The map is degraded, too.”

Alana looked disappointed.  “We’ve come so far … ” she said.

“Let me take a look at it, ” Corran said.

He studied the map.  It was partial, but it looked like it was mostly complete from about the half way point.  If they could figure out where that was, then they could follow it to the Star Map.  “Look, we still have the part of the map we really need, which is the last part that would guide us there, ” he said.  “If we only knew where this enclave was, we’d be able to get to the Star Map.”

Alana perked up.  “Let me see!” she said.

She studied it for a while, and then exclaimed, “Of course!  When Revan came to Tatooine the first time, he had to seek out some Sand People to get directions to the Deep Desert to find the Star Map!  That’s where he acquired HK-47, to translate!  Since he would have had directions from there, he just built that into the map!”

“And you know where this is?” Corran asked.

“Of course!” she commented.  “It was pretty famous at the time and so was mentioned in the archives!”

“Are we likely to have to fight any Sand People there?” Corran asked.

“No, that enclave was wiped out a long time ago, ” Alana assured him.

Corran paused for a moment.  “Well, no point in standing around here sweating out all our water, ” he commented.  “Let’s get going.”

A long trip later, they arrived at the ruins of the enclave.  Since it had been destroyed so long ago, there was no way to tell how it had been destroyed, but from the skeletons that still remained it seemed clear that there had been violence here.  “Did the archives have any information on what happened here?”  Corran asked.

Alana shrugged.  “It wasn’t clear.  Since these Sand People were irritating the local corp, some said that they wiped them out.  But some said that Revan himself did it, maybe because HK-47 translated something incorrectly, or else Revan committed a faux pas while asking them about their history, or else he just slaughtered them because he could.”

While she was talking, she took a sighting and aligned the map with the terrain.  “That way, ” she said, pointing to a small trail off into the desert.

Corran nodded.  “Looks like it, ” he said.  He had been checking her work as she did it.  She was better at this sort of thing than he’d expected for someone so young.

“Let’s go!” she said, jumping into the landspeeder and preparing to head off.

A shorter trip later, they arrived at the area where the cave that contained the Star Map was.  All they saw was the cave, the desert, and a bantha herd that might well have been here from Revan’s time and scattered when they heard the engine of the landspeeder.  As they exited the speeder, however, they suddenly spun and drew their lightsabers to deflect a sudden burst of blaster fire from nearby.  They kept up that defense until they managed to get to a nearby rocky outcropping, which gave them the chance to assess the situation and, most importantly, figure out who was attacking them.

“Sand People, ” Corran commented in disgust.

An eager light came into Alana’s eyes.  “We can wipe out that small a group!” she said, starting forward.

Corran put a hand on her arm.  “Wait!  We’re not just going to slaughter them if we can help it!”  he said.

“But they’re only animals!” she protested.

Corran raised an eyebrow.  “Animals that Revan needed a translator droid to talk to?  Animals with a detailed history that Revan could have asked for?  Animals that Revan could deal with?  That kind of animals?”

She pouted slightly.  “It’s not like they’re going to give us much choice.  Sand People don’t negotiate once they start shooting, you know.”

Corran nodded.  “Yeah, but I think we can get past them, and once we do, then we won’t be here long enough to them to regroup.  Can you use telekinesis to stir up a sandstorm or scare away their mounts?”

Alana looked embarrassed.  “I, uh, can’t really use telekinesis, ” she replied.

Corran thought for an instant.  “Well, I could probably teach you some things … ” he began.

She looked even more embarrassed.  “No, I know how to use it, but I just … can’t use it.”

“Well, don’t feel bad, ” Corran said.  “I have the same issue.”

“I know, ” she replied.  “That’s one of the reasons I wanted your help, as one of the few Jedi who had the same … limitation.”

“It might have been more practical to go for someone who didn’t have the same limitation, ” Corran commented.  “But that’s neither here nor there.  We need to figure something out before they decide to surround us and we have no choice but to wipe them out.”

He paused in thought for an instant, and then remembered a story that Luke had told me long ago, about the time he had met Obi-Wan Kenobi.  He thought he remembered how to pull off the trick Kenobi had used and Luke had taught them, so he stood slowly, summoned the force, and let out a cry.  The Sand People looked around nervously, and as he repeated the cry they suddenly took off towards their mounts and rode away as quickly as they could.

“What was that?!?” Alana asked.

“The call of a Krayt Dragon.  They’re pretty rare, but they’re extremely deadly, and so the Sand People don’t stick around if they hear one coming.  Obi-Wan Kenobi used that against them to scare them off when he first met Luke, and Luke told us the story once when we were all sitting around at the Academy, and we all had fun learning how to make the cry.”

“Hey, legend says that Revan had to kill one of those to get to the Star Map!” Alana exclamed.

Corran made a sour face.  “Let’s hope that we don’t have to do that, ” he commented.

But they faced another sort of obstacle entirely when they arrived at the cave.  They could just make out the shimmering of a force field covering the entrance, and then beyond it they could see that there had been some kind of cave-in that had blocked off the last half of the cave.  Since they didn’t see anything that looked like a Star Map in the first part of the cave, it had to be behind the cave in.  “This is where bringing someone along who had telekinetic abilities might have worked out, ” Corran commented wryly.

Alana shrugged.  “From the archives, I had suspected that after Revan went to the Star Forge that the defenses of the Star Maps changed in various ways, and another reason to start here was because I knew what this one had changed into.  See, I share another of your abilities, which is to absorb energy and use it to power telekinesis.  So I figured that if we needed telekinesis here, we’d have lots of power to drain to power it after we shut down the force field.”

Corran raised an eyebrow.  “You have … a very convenient set of Force abilities, ” he said suspiciously.

Alana shrugged again.  “They run in my family like they ran in yours, ” she replied.

“Does your sister share those limitations?” Corran asked.

“No, ” Alana replied.  “She inherited … other abilities.”

Corran was about to ask about that when Alana cut him off.  “We had better get in there before the Sand People come back, ” she said.

Corran decided to let it go, as she obviously didn’t want to talk about it, but at some point in the future he was going to get her to tell him what it was about her sister that she didn’t want to say.

They approached the force field, and as one reached their hands towards it to sense its strength.  It was strong enough to keep most things out, but not really kill them.  Any determined seeker could wear it down, but as Alana had said they needed the energy as much as they needed to get through it, so they both touched it and felt the tingle as the energy flowed into them, powering up their Force abilities.  In a surprisingly short amount of time, the field flickered out, but they had absorbed enough energy at that point and channeled it into their telekinesis to toss the blockage aside.  Letting the rest of the pent up energy bleed out into the ground, they approached the Star Map at the back of the cave, and activated it to show another holographic map, this time of the galaxy.

“It’s incomplete, ” Corran commented.

“Well, we knew that, ” Alana explained.  “Revan had to seek out all four of them to get a complete map to the Star Forge.  But with this piece, we’re on the path to finally finding the Star Forge!”

Corran paused, looking at the map for a while.  He was beginning to suspect that there might be more to this Star Forge than Alana was letting on, something more dark and more dangerous.  Of course, that only meant that he now had more reason to seek it out, not less.  If she was on the up-and-up, they needed it to stop the plans of her sister.  And if she wasn’t, he wasn’t going to risk her getting her hands on it on her own.

“Well, ” he said.  “Let’s go back and figure out our next move.”

Halcyon Diary: Eenie, Meedee, Miney, Mo

May 22, 2023

So we headed off to another space station to find another of our team, Leeha.  She’d helped us out before and was a whiz with mechanical things, having built a bunch of droids to help her.  And, of course, when we got there she was under the Emperor’s control, but she had a surprise for us:  she was holding another Jedi “hostage”.  And the Jedi she was holding “hostage”?  The guy who had the vision saying that I shouldn’t go or else I’d fall to the Dark Side … which I guess was true from a certain point of view, but my being there was the only reason we have any chance of stopping the Emperor.  Oh, and how did she take him “hostage”?  He came there himself.  Why did he do that?  Because he was in love with her.  So he was less a hostage and more someone who showed up on his own and was pretty disappointed by what he found.

And. see, this is one of the issues with the whole “Jedi don’t love” thing.  Love is a natural emotion that we can’t suppress.  So when people get together and work together, attachments like love — and especially love — are going to happen.  But the Jedi treat it as forbidden and a huge flaw, and this causes Jedi who do so to not only try to suppress it — which never works — but also to hide it.  So they can’t get advice on how to deal with it, although the advice the Jedi would give probably wouldn’t that helpful.  And in cases like this, they won’t bring it up when it might help, such as him saying “Hey, I think I can find her and get inside.  Bring me some help” which would have made this go a lot easier.

As it was, I showed up to find her, not him, and so the only thing she could have done that would have made him useful as a hostage would be to threaten to kill him if we didn’t surrender, but she pretty much wanted to fight and kill us anyway, so that was no use.  So the “hostage” showed up himself, wasn’t useful as bait to bring me here, and wasn’t going to be used against me.  Add in that I think I regretted damaging her droids more than I would have regretted him getting hurt, and he couldn’t do anything that a hostage was supposed to do.

Oh, and of course beating her in a fight broke the control the Emperor had over her.  I really wish we could figure out an easier way to do that.  At least one that’s easier on them, since no matter how careful I am they end up much more hurt than I do.

Anyway, she told us about a Sith Lord who’s has been sent to fulfill one of the Emperor’s plans on a planet called Voss.  A planet that has a Force tradition that’s not Jedi approved.  It’s probably a good thing that I’m the one going there, since saying that the Jedi can be a little closed-minded about this is like saying that Tatooine can be a little dry.

Halcyon Diary: Going to Prison

May 15, 2023

So, at this point, does it surprise anyone that the Republic has built an entire, planet wide prison where it can “disappear” anyone that it finds inconvenient?  That this prison is so secret that they won’t even let the children of the inmates leave or be anything other than inmates?  And that it’s built on the ruins of an ancient planet wide prison storing horrors that a much more powerful civilization thought too dangerous to let free?  Oh, and that the Imperials found out about it anyway and are stirring up riots all over the planet, including in those highest security areas where those horrors are incarcerated?

I’d ask why things can never go smoothly except at this point it really looks like this is smoothly.

So in order to complete my own mission I had to clean some of the other stuff up as well, so that the riots would die down enough that I could get where I was going without getting shot at every two minutes.  Sure, it ended up being the case that I got shot at every five minutes, but, hey, every little bit helps.

It’s amazing how sometimes smaller events are more challenging morally than bigger ones.  I guess that makes sense, since when you have big, galaxy-spanning threats what you need to do morally is clear, but when you get down to dealing with small groups of people it’s harder to balance their competing interests.  When the interest is “I win and everyone dies!” it’s clear what you need to do, but when you have to balance whether, say, new owners who bought the property legitimately get to kick out the old ones that were unjustly deprived of their land you really, really want there to be a good compromise that avoids that moral dilemma.

I’ve already hinted at that small issue.  The prison is supposed to be a secret and so they wouldn’t let anyone leave.  Yeah, even the children of the inmates here.  They started rioting to try to get at least some consideration and ended up attacking and killing a number of the guards, including one young woman who had helped me get things back online, and was someone the acting Warden had affection for and was hoping would go far.  This caused a huge confrontation at the end, with the Warden wanting them all to be killed and the rioters arguing that they simply wanted their freedom.

Now, look, I wasn’t thrilled with their use of violence, and I was fond of the kid, too.  But their situation was unjust.  I didn’t want to encourage this sort of thing, but they weren’t asking to leave, just to have part of the planet set aside so that they could have a little colony and some freedom.  That didn’t seem like too much to ask, and given the situation I didn’t want to judge them too harshly for actions that they took out of what they felt was desperation.  So I decided that they should get their colony and managed to talk the Warden into allowing it.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up by getting involved in the local rioting.

The bigger threat was some kind of World Devastator or something that had been locked away here, and so of course a group of people were trying to wake it up.  Surprisingly, I ran into a Sith who was trying to stop it from getting free as well, so I ended up fighting alongside a Sith for most of it after I rescued him from them early on.  At that point, I had the option to activate the failsafe to keep it locked up again.  It talked to me directly and offered me some power to let it free, claiming that it would only get free after I was long dead.  You’d think that given the state of the galaxy I might be tempted to accept to get more power to defeat my enemies, but what I’ve seen so far is that power isn’t what’s needed, but focus and strength of will, and damning the galaxy for more power doesn’t really foster either.

And that was, of course, the flaw in the plan of the Emperor here.  He sent a guy, Krannus, to kill a lot of people to siphon some power from them or something.  And he couldn’t help taunting me about how I couldn’t possibly stop him.  So, of course, I managed to stop him and kill him with the help of some Republic troops who, obviously, didn’t want to die and didn’t want other people to die.  It’s amazing how much help you can get from people when you can appeal to altruism (lots of people are going to die) and self-interest (and one of those lots of people will be you).  Like with the Sith above.

So now I have a message saying that another of the Jedi team has been found.  Looks like another tough mission ahead.

Halcyon Diary: Council Problems

May 8, 2023

Well, when I got back to Tython, they didn’t shoot us out of the sky.  That was a good start.  And then while they obviously weren’t all that thrilled with me committing some very high profile evil deeds after someone had a vision saying that I’d fall to the Dark Side, I was able to convince them — with Kira’s help — that all of that was done under the control of the Emperor and that I hadn’t fallen to the Dark Side.  Of course, showing up with a prominent Sith didn’t help matters, but to be honest my doing that and then showing up there with my story of the Emperor’s control would be a pretty stupid move and since I didn’t, you know, start killing them all or anything it didn’t seem like there’d be much profit in it for anyone, and so they were inclined to believe me, and then inclined to believe Scourge.

Scourge outlined that the Emperor was looking to perform a ritual that would ultimately result in his wiping out all life in the galaxy in order to gain more power, which was pretty much what everyone believed he would do, so they took it seriously.  Of course, Scourge wanted to come along, but the Council demurred and some of them even wanted to keep him locked up all the time.  And, sure, it’s not like I really completely trusted him either.  Ultimately, though, it was my neck on the line and I wanted the guy who actually knew what was going on with me, not sitting in a cell trying to figure a way out so that he could make sure that I managed to get the job done.  So I insisted and they eventually agreed.

But this is something that ticked me off about the Council.  I had just come back from a disastrous mission where the goal was to capture and try to convert the Emperor.  We had no idea if that could even work.  He’d expressed no desire to turn to the Light Side.  We pretty much had to expect that he’d try to kill us horribly as soon as we encountered him.  And he actually did worse.  And yet the Council pretty much signed off on that with a smug, self-satisfied smile and went ahead.  And yet when Scourge comes having helped me escape the Emperor, and giving a perfectly good reason for wanting to side against the Emperor — not wanting all life in the galaxy wiped out — and having information that it would be good for me to have stopping the Emperor, and being a powerful Force user who knows the Emperor and the Sith and so pretty much being an incredibly useful ally to have … they decide to openly distrust him, discuss locking him up, and essentially risk ticking him off because of their “principles”.  It really seems to me like the Jedi are getting too caught up in their own rules and ideas and aren’t looking enough at how the world actually works.  I hope I never end up like that.

Anyway, the next stop is a prison that’s an entire planet.  Because of course it is.

Halcyon Diary: Did I Mention That I Have A Bad Feeling About This?

May 1, 2023

So, we’re off to face the Emperor.  Or, rather, we were except one of the other Jedi came to the Council before we headed out from Tython claiming he had a vision that if I went to face the Emperor I’d fall to the Dark Side.  Personally, I figure that if that’s the worst outcome from this adventure, everyone should consider themselves lucky, and with all the other signs and portents around this mission that got my linked to this no one was too receptive to leaving me at home.  Which turned out to be good thing … for the galaxy, if not so much for me.

Walking into the Emperor’s Fortress pretty much confirmed that this was a trap, because it was way too easy, especially for me.  Yeah, I’d taken Kira along, but it’s not like they were showing her much deference or anything, or running away when we faced them to avoid hurting her.  The others had things a little harder, but for the most part things went well.  But obviously that’s not a good thing in these sorts of situations, because that can make you believe that you caught them by surprise when it could just as easily be that they saw you coming and are waiting for you,  because they want you to get there.  In essence, it could be a trap.

It was a trap.

Yeah, when I go to the throne room the Emperor was there along with that Sith — in both senses of the term — that I met earlier.  I had to fight him while the Emperor simply looked on, and I was able to take him out pretty handily.  And then the rest of the Jedi on the team showed up, and there was a brief moment of hope that we could take the Emperor down.  It didn’t last long, as the Emperor pretty much overwhelmed us and captured us all.

I don’t remember much about what happened next, and from what I do remember I don’t think I want to.  I vaguely remember being under the control of the Emperor and doing some terrible things, and being trained and being subservient to some Sith Overseer.  This went on for a while, a span of time that felt timeless to me, but then Master Orgus came to me as a Force Ghost and broke me out of the Emperor’s control.  I then went in search of Kira, who hadn’t fallen under the Emperor’s control again and was being tortured in the hopes of turning her to the Dark Side.  I played dumb for a while when asked to take over the torture, and managed to get the Overseer out of the way and free Kira.  Sometimes, Sith can be incredibly stupid.

Before heading off, we ran into Lord Scourge again, and he said that he had to come with us because the plans of the Emperor would destroy the galaxy and he wanted to stop it.  Generally, my response would have been to tell him where to go, but Orgus had mentioned a dark ally that I’d make here and that would pretty much describe him.  He said that he had had a vision centuries ago of me stopping the Emperor and wants to make sure I do it, which is why he’s offering to help.  Yeah, I know how that sounds, but when it comes to the Force strange, strange things really happen pretty frequently.  The Force is not normal.

Anyway, we got away in my ship and there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that Kira’s experience suggests that once you break the Emperor’s control you’re free forever, which is why they had to interrogate her the old fashioned away.  So then I should be clear and won’t be forced to do such terrible things by him ever again.  The bad news is that after publicly doing those things, I have to go back to Tython bring a prominent Sith Lord — the Emperor’s Wrath, no less — and have to convince the Jedi to trust him … and me.

Why can’t things ever go smooth?

Inheritance of the Old Republic (Chapter 2)

April 30, 2023

Kyp Durron sat in the upscale and trendy tapcafe in an upscale and trendy area of Coruscant.  Even though many of his fellow Jedi would have felt out of place in such an establishment and even though given his history he probably should have felt out of place, Ganner tended to like such places and so from going to them with him he’d started to feel more comfortable among them.  And while expensive, the drinks, food and ambience all were much more pleasing than what you’d find in some dilapidated cantina on a planet like Tatooine.

Still, it was a strange place for the meeting that he was about to have.  He’d received a message from someone asking him to meet here, promising information about a lost and powerful Force technique, and one that they’d have to find and learn in order to defeat some kind of major threat to the galaxy.  It was all vague, of course, because the person wasn’t going to be willing to talk about it in a communication that could be intercepted, but it provided the carrot and the stick that such “invitations” pretty much always contained:  there’s a big threat out there that you need to stop, and there’s some power in it for you if you do.

He snorted.  That sort of vague offer would be a great indication of a trap, except that in his time among the Jedi he’d seen and heard stories about stranger things.  He’d wondered if it could have been a setup by Corran Horn’s faction to keep him busy on a wild goose chase to limit his influence over the Jedi themselves, but he’d dismissed it.  Horn wasn’t that subtle and wouldn’t stoop to something like that.  His wife might, but she intelligently avoided getting involved in Jedi matters and left all of that up to Horn, mostly.  And pretty much everyone else on his side wouldn’t have been smart enough to arrange something like this.

Still, he wondered why the message came for him instead of for someone else.  While he was fairly well-known as a Jedi, his reputation wasn’t all that good.  Those who thought the best of him at a minimum considered him someone who was into taking action, not into esoteric Force studies.  If you wanted someone to track down obscure Force techniques, you were probably looking for Jacen Solo or Tionne as the Jedi historian.  And on the other side of the spectrum, he was considered to be a criminal.  So if the person behind this anonymous message thought he was the best person to handle this, it was either because they considered him to be someone who would take direct action or because they considered him to be utterly and destructively ruthless.  Either option wasn’t exactly promising.

A tickle in the Force broke into his reverie, and he looked up, scanning the room quickly for the person he’d sensed searching for him.  When his eyes hit on her, he was amused.  She was a young woman, but she clearly wasn’t someone who would normally be part of the upscale clientele that you’d find here, although she seemed comfortable enough here.  No, the reason was that the people here tended to be the rich and the beautiful, fashion plates up on all the latest techniques to highlight just how attractive they were … and she wasn’t.  While he had a bit of dashing charm and so didn’t stand out on that account, she was plain and even a bit mousy, with somewhat stringy brown hair over a fit body in plain, unassuming clothes.  Those closest to her noticed her and then gave her the biggest insult they could give her in a place like this:  they ignored her, dismissing her as not worth their time to look at or hit on.

She finally spotted him and headed over to his table.  “Master Durron, ” she said.  “I see you received my message, and I’m honoured that you agreed to meet with me.”

Kyp gestured towards the surroundings.  “A strange place to meet with a Jedi, ” he commented.

She smiled, and her smile lit up her face and green eyes.  “Which is exactly why it’s the perfect place to meet with one.  No one would expect it.”

“I’ll give you that, ” he replied.  “But I don’t like dealing with people when I don’t know their name.”

“Oh, sorry, ” she said.  “It’s Shanna Strachan.”

“Not exactly a famous Jedi bloodline, ” Kyp replied.

“My grandfather was an obscure archivist in the Jedi Temple when the purges happened, ” she said.  “So he was an obscure Jedi with access to lots and lots of information, which served him pretty well.  That, by the way, is why I’m sure you sense some Force ability in me.”

Kyp had indeed been sensing the Force in her, which is why he’d fired off the comment about her family, in an attempt to shake something out of her.  But as she flipped her lustrous hair over her shoulder and he started into her compelling green eyes, he didn’t sense any deception in her, or even any sense that she was made at all uncomfortable with the question.  “So that’s where you found the information about this Force technique?” he asked.

She nodded.  “My grandfather had kept a bunch of records from the archives before he went into exile.  Among them was the story of another Exile and her association with a Jedi called Kreia, who had developed a Force technique to bring the Force into complete and total unity, which would have greatly aided the Jedi.  Kreia was stopped from completing it, and the technique itself was lost except for the role it played in the Exile’s story.  I’ve studied that story and I know how to find the elements of it again, but
I need help to find it and use it.”

“And you want me to help you find it?” Kyp asked.

“Yes.  A mission with just the two of us should be able to find it relatively easily.”

“While the prospect of the two of us going on a long trip alone together is appealing, ” Kyp commented, “It seems like this technique has been lost for some time now.  Why go after it now?  If it’s so powerful, why not bring it before the entire Order so we can have more resources to find it?”

An intent look formed on her face, and she replied, “Because of my sister.  See, she had access to the archives, too, but she didn’t have my interest in Force techniques.  She was always more interested in technology, and she found records of a Sith superweapon that allowed them to almost conquer the entire galaxy.  If she gets her hands on that, we’re going to need this technique to stop her.”

She paused for an instant.  “But, see, she knows that I know what her plan is, and so if she finds out that I’m after the technique she’ll try to stop us.  So it has to be just the two of us.”

Kyp paused to consider her words for an instant.  Certainly, spending a long period of time in her company had its … appeals.  He could almost sense that all the males around them were surreptitiously glancing over that their table, envying his good fortune at being in her presence.  But despite her obvious charms, he wasn’t quite besotted enough to simply go with her just because of that.  However, if there really was some galaxy-spanning threat out there, then a Force technique like she talked about would be really useful.  Yes, it wasn’t necessarily clear what unifying the Force could do against a Sith superweapon, but he was sure that she had the information to be able to use it as such.  And there wasn’t really any other Jedi strong enough to keep her safe from her sister while she searched for the Force technique.  What she proposed, then, was the most reasonable course of action.

“All right, ” he said.  “I’ll go with you.”

She gave him another overwhelming smile.  “Great!  Can we leave immediately?”

Kyp was taken aback at first, but then considered that of course they’d need to leave as soon as possible to get the jump on her sister.  “Sure.  Where to first?”

“The first clue we need is on Dantooine, ” she said.

Halcyon Diary: You’re as Cold as Ice

April 24, 2023

Yep, another winner.

So we moved from a toxic swamp where the Empire and Republic were fighting over the means to produce adrenals to a frozen wasteland where the Empire and Republic were fighting over a bunch of crashed starships because two huge battlefleets had happened to stumble into each other here and, as usual, each side kept a large number of secret projects and super weapons on their main battlefleets, probably because there’s no point in making those things if you can’t risk them being destroyed in a complete unrelated incident.  How foolish of me to think otherwise!

Anyway, the mission here was to get readouts of the Emperor’s Fortress which, you guessed it, is in one of the crashed ships.  But before I could get to that ship, I had to make sure that the Republic forces here were secure, which was harder than you’d think.  The reason is that Hoth is just so cold that the easiest way to win a fight here was just to find a way to turn the heat off and let the enemy freeze to death.  So I had to restore the communications so the patrols could report in, and then once that happened had to foil the Empire’s plan to blow up the base by igniting the gas in a mine, and then had to prevent the Empire from taking over a huge power station so that they could have a completely secure source of power which would allow them to drive the Republic out of the area.  It was run by Ortolans, and the Republic didn’t think they could hold it and so told me to destroy it.  But the Ortolans had put a lot of effort into building it, and once I fought off the Imperials attacking it they were inspired by my example and insisted that they’d defend it from the Empire.  Yeah, they were tiny little things, but they were very good with technology and that would count for a lot.  This way, the Republic would be able to use the power plant and I wouldn’t have to take away their dream.

From there, it turns out that there was some strange cultist group attacking both sides, and so the Imperials joined up with us to take down this Hailstrom Brotherhood.  We fought our way to their leader, but the people on our side were afraid that the Imperials would ambush us, and wanted us to ambush them first.  But it didn’t seem right to break an agreement just because they might break an agreement, and while it might seem a bit arrogant I figured that even if they did ambush us I’d be able to handle it and so didn’t really need to strike first.  So when the time came I allowed whatever was going to happen to happen … and nothing happened.  Boy, was the head of the Republic strike force embarrassed.

Oh, and I had to fight the leader of the cultist group.  He challenged me to a fight alone in some kind of cold cave, but I didn’t take him up on it.  It’s not really honour to fight someone where you set everything up so that you have all the advantages, and without them … well, I’ve fought full-on Sith Lords.  He wasn’t a problem.

Finally, I had to track down some kind of null cannon that could wipe out all electronics over a wide area, and had fallen into the hands of pirates, because of course there are pirates trying to gather up all the things that got dropped into this graveyard of starships, especially since both the Empire and Republic had established such a huge presence on this backwater and so made it perfectly clear that there were lots of valuable things here.  Well, I found it, but it turns out that the pirates were smarter than the average pirate and had copied them … so I used the null cannon prototype to wipe them all out, shorting out the prototype itself.  The general wasn’t happy with that, but risking the pirates coming away with even one of these things wasn’t one I was willing to take.  And besides, the Republic hadn’t really shown that they could use these kinds of super weapons responsibly, so maybe them not getting this one was a feature, not a bug.

With all of that out of the way, the way was clear to find the plans.  I teamed up with a Republic team under the command of Sergeant Rusk.  The plans were caught between Imperial forces and some pirate forces, so we split up to find them.  We managed to win through and get the plans.  Afterwards, Rusk was assigned to my team and so will be coming along with us.  He was good in a fight, so he should be a big help.  Although I’ll kinda miss being mostly alone with Kira on the ship, with only a very discrete droid for company.

So, that’s it.  We have everything we need.  Now we head out to beard the Emperor in his den and try to capture him.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Halcyon Diary: Quesh Quest

April 17, 2023

The worlds that we get sent to are only getting better.  We moved from a relatively nice planet that’s pretty much openly at war to a toxic sludge hole ruined by the mines and factories that are used to make adrenals.  My mission here was to seek out Sajar, a former member of the Sith Dark Council who was here defending something important to the mission to capture the Emperor — I can’t even think about that without thinking that it’s a terrible idea — but then went silent.  So I had to go to where he was and find out what the issue was.  It turns out that in defending the base he surrendered to his anger and killed Imperial prisoners, and now wants to die because he thinks he’s irrevocably fallen to the Dark Side again.  Now, I don’t like slaughtering prisoners, but he was under a lot of pressure and given the things that have been happening in this war pretty much anyone could crack, and I don’t think that anyone is irredeemable.  After convincing him not to give up, I took over defending the base myself, and then met the Emperor’s Wrath called Lord Scourge.  I prepared for a massive showdown, but he took one look at me, seemed to sense or feel something, and turned away noting that we would meet again at another point.  That’s … somewhat disturbing, but at least the base and what we needed from it were safe.

On Quesh, the Republic was trying to defend its mines and factories from the Empire, and had solicited the aid of at least some of the Hutts on planet to do it.  I don’t like dealing with Hutts, but the Empire was poisoning the land — er, more than it already was — and was letting the workers get poisoned, so I got sucked into doing that to help people and as usual when you try to help I kept getting drawn in deeper and deeper and ended up helping to assault a Hutt’s palace and capture a Moff … but it turned out that a Sith Lord was running things and had turned one of the important members of the Republic to his side, so I had to track him down.  He injected his dupe with some kind of super venom so that he’d attack us, and I had to defeat him, and then took the Sith Lord down himself.

You know, I’m spending too much time fighting people on my side and not fighting people on the other side.  I’m done here. The next planet can’t be any worse than this one.

Inheritance of the Old Republic (Chapter 1)

April 9, 2023

Corran Horn sat in the old, dilapidated and somewhat sleezy cantina on the old, dilapidated, and mostly sleezy planet of Tatooine, a mostly untouched mug of the local brew sitting on the table in front of him.  A smile came to his face as he remembered the last time he was here, with his now-wife Mirax as they waited for a meeting just like he was now.  At that time, he’d commented that before taking on a place like this back in his time with Cor Sec he’d start with an air strike.  As an experienced Jedi Master, he now had much more confidence in his own abilities, and so he wouldn’t feel the need to rely on such techniques.  Instead, he’d use telekinesis to bring the building down first.

His small smile widened slightly.  It was a good thing, he mused, that he was weak at telekinetics, because looking at the people around him he’d be sorely tempted.

Still, he had to admit that his feelings weren’t entirely driven by the shadiness and sleaziness of the cantina.  He’d definitely seen and been in worse.  No, his unease was driven by things far beyond the decor.  First of all was the nature of the meeting itself.  He’d received a cryptic message talking about some kind of ancient device and was asked to meet on Tatooine to talk about it.  It was supposed to have a link to an ancient Jedi called “Revan”, and the message said that it was going to be important that the Jedi found it before anyone else did.  He did some checking around, and this Revan was an interesting historical figure, who in the days of the Old Republic had been a great war hero and general, then turned around and led a Sith invasion, and then turned again and fought off a Sith invasion after losing his memory and returning to the Jedi.  The information about what had allowed the Sith to build up such a massive army were missing from the archives, but there was something involved in that and something that Revan and his soon-to-be wife Bastila Shan set out on a quest to find.  And it was that thing that the message promised to help them find.

The issue with all of this, of course, was that this was all very cryptic.  He didn’t even really know who he was supposed to meet or anything about what exactly they were after.  That, of course, could easily mean that it was a trap.  The message demanding that he come alone and not tell anyone about it didn’t make him feel any more secure.  But, again, he was an experienced Jedi Master and figured that if things weren’t on the up-and-up he’d be able to handle it, at least long enough to get away and then figure out who or what was behind it.  And so if it was a trap, springing it was the best way to figure out why the trap was being set in the first place, and if it wasn’t a trap the promise the message made was definitely worth checking out.

The other reason that he was uncomfortable was that he didn’t think it was a good time for him to be away from Coruscant.  There was a bit of a schism in the Jedi Order right now, and like it or not he and Kyp Durron were the figureheads for each faction, with Corran following Luke’s lead and looking for a more traditional Jedi Order while Kyp favoured a more aggressive approach.  So far, Luke had managed to keep things from coming to a head by bringing all of the Jedi together to decide on matters of importance, but Luke absolutely did not want to be the one guy in charge of the Order, and yet for the most part the only time the Jedi came together united on a topic was when he did so.  Corran was worried that with him away Kyp would push Luke and convince him to change things for the worse.

Corran snorted.  He was getting a bit too arrogant, he mused, if he thought that the only thing that was keeping Luke from adopting Kyp’s approach was his own presence on Coruscant.  Luke was his own man, and a great head of the Jedi Order who did have a pretty good sense of what he wanted the Order to become.  He didn’t need Corran there to maintain his vision of the Order.  And, truth be told, his being away might make things easier for Luke, as it would mean that he and Kyp wouldn’t be fighting over ever little decision that had to be made.  He tried to maintain his calm, but he and Kyp were like oil and water, and their own personal histories added to that and lit the oil and water on fire, and that sort of thing was a clear disaster.  Better to keep them apart for now and let things settle a bit.

Suddenly, his musings were interrupted by a sense in the Force of someone seeking him, and he looked towards the entrance to see a young woman enter.  She was clearly not very experienced with places like this, as the way she entered and looked around made her incredibly conspicuous, when the only reason to choose to meet in a place like this was to avoid attention.  He sighed and remained sitting calmly until she noticed him and headed directly towards him, sitting down in front of him.

He raised an eyebrow. “I thought that you wanted to avoid attention, ” he said.

She looked surprised and a little hurt.  “I’m trying to be inconspicuous, ” she replied.

“You’re failing, ” he replied.

He felt her hurt and mild anger even through the Force, and took a moment to consider her.  She was young, maybe in her early twenties.  She had long brown hair and blue eyes, eyes that seemed completely free of guile despite her words.  She had a lean and athletic body, though, and walked in a way that suggested that she had at least some martial training, and she carried her blaster in a way that suggested that she was familiar with it and hadn’t just strapped it on to intimidate the low-lifes in the cantina.  She wasn’t really what he expected would be bringing him this information, but all that did was make him curious about how she might have come across the information she claimed to have.

“So, ” he said after a dilapidated wait droid brought her a drink.  “You have some information on Revan that you wanted to share with me?”

“I did, ” she replied.  “How much do you know about Revan?”

“Not much, ” he admitted.  “He was a Jedi and Republic General who saved the Republic from the Mandalorians, went off with his apprentice Malak out beyond the Rim, came back with a huge Sith fleet, was almost killed in a battle, and then saved the Republic during the Sith War, and then finally disappeared again.”

“Well, the part that’s most interesting here is the quest that he and his soon-to-be wife Bastila Shan went on to save the Republic.  See, what they had to find was what was building that huge fleet for the Sith.  And it turned out that it was all due to an ancient station called a Star Forge, that used the power of a star to build weapons for an ancient alien empire called the Rakata.  They followed a set of maps called Star Maps that were placed on four planets, and they used them to find the Star Forge and disable it, defeating the Sith fleet and stopping them from creating new weapons.  I know where those maps are, and we can use them to find the Star Forge again.”

Corran paused for a second.  “First, this information was classified by the Jedi Council and then lost in the purges.  How did you get it?”

“My grandfather was an archivist on Coruscant before the purge.  He was one of the Jedi who escaped the purge and kept a backup of at least some of the Jedi archives with him.  I managed to get access to this information and recognized its importance.”

Corran nodded.  “Second, given what you’ve said, don’t you think it’d be better for us to leave this buried?  Given its nature, it doesn’t seem like the galaxy wants or needs this right now.”

“Normally, I’d agree with you, but my sister also had access to the archives and is setting out on a quest of her own.”

“So you want to beat her to the Star Forge before she uses it for nefarious purposes, ” Corran cut in skeptically.

“No, ” she replied.  “My sister is interested in … something else.  I don’t know where she’s going or what she expects to find at the end of her quest, but I know that she intends to use it to dominate the galaxy.  If we could gain the power of the Star Forge, then even if she manages to complete her quest we might be able to stop her from taking over the galaxy.”

Corran raised an eyebrow.  “And our normal fleets and small hordes of Jedi won’t be able to?”

She shrugged.  “I don’t know what it is, but I know that she wants it precisely so that she can deal with the Jedi Order if she needs to.”

“How do I know that any such thing exists?” Corran asked.

“One of the places that contained a Star Map is right here on Tatooine.  That’s why I asked to meet here.  We can go out and find the Star Map.  If it’s not what we think it is, then you can go back to Coruscant and wait to see what my sister does.  But if it is, then we’d be one step closer to finding the Star Forge and hopefully ending her threat.”

Corran paused in thought for an instant.  Again, he figured that he could handle himself, for the most part, and her story about having a Jedi grandfather explained the sense of the Force that he felt in her, although he couldn’t quite tell how powerful she was.  So this was probably worth checking out.

“Okay, ” he said.  “I have to stop by my ship first, but we’ll check it out.”

“Please don’t tell anyone about this, ” she pleaded.  “If my sister finds out that we’re looking for it, she’ll move to stop us, and she has her own sources of information.”

“Don’t worry, ” Corran replied with a reassuring smile.  “She won’t learn about it from me.”

As they stood up to leave, Corran said, “One more thing.  What’s your name?”

“Alana Strachan, ” she replied.  “Pleased to meet you.”

Halcyon Diary: So, You Say You Want a Revolution?

April 3, 2023

These missions the Jedi Council send me on take me to the most wonderful places.  The first mission in our attempt to take down the Emperor is to find an Imperial cloaking device so that we can sneak up on his fortress.  That’s a good plan, actually.  Of course, the Empire for some strange reason is building it on Balmorra, where the populace is rising up in revolution against their control, and where we have taken a small bridgehead in an attempt to help them kick the Empire out.  Well, I guess it’s better than they aren’t being intelligent about it and putting it somewhere completely secure because then we’d get no help finding it, but it’s a bit odd.  At least if it was a weapon that killed people they could be using the people here to test it, but a cloaking device?

Oh, and the Republic base here is in danger of being overrun by strange, insect-like creatures called Colicoids. So we’ll probably want to do something about that.

And, of course, I eventually found out that the officer in charge here, Commander Madine, was trying to get ahold of another superweapon called “The Barrager”, and that the Empire was trying to take it over.  This is a group that’s completely separate from the group that I’ve been working with to clean up the mess from their superweapons.  Is there some kind of “Superweapons Anonymous” group that we can send these Republic officers to to overcome their addiction to these things?  We should probably send most of the Imperial Military there, too.

Anyway, my own mission required me to talk to the local medic called “Doc” to get an in with the Balmorran resistance and so get a line on where that device is.  Doc, of course, is not one of the normal, staid doctors, but is instead one of the adventurous types who likes, well, adventure and all the perks that go along with that, like wine, women and song … and he can’t sing.  He’s, well, pretty annoying, actually, but he at least does his job.  We saved his facility and then rescued some other prisoners from a base, and found out that the cloaking device is in the Balmorran Arms Factory, which is one of the main reasons the Empire and the Republic want the planet, for its incredible capacity for building weapons.  And reasonably, the Barrager weapon is ultimately controlled from there, too.  So I had to take down some things in the nearby city of Sobrik before getting into there and getting both things, which was successful.  I wiped out the Barrager despite the fact that Madine wanted to keep it, because using up all the energy on an entire planet to wipe out one Imperial fleet is an incredibly efficient use of resources.

When I left, Doc invited himself along.  I still don’t care much for the guy, but when you get shot at as much as we do having a really good doctor along is a good thing.

Next, we’re off to save an apprentice who was looking into something we need.  So, basically, it’s Tuesday.