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Old 04-24-2006, 01:09 PM   #21
machievelli
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Hunt

Breia stormed into the quarters set aside for the Jedi contingent. She spun to face Master Sookor. “You knew.”

“Until you discovered the information I only assumed.” The master replied.

“You. Knew!”

She seemed to shrivel up before the younger woman’s eyes. Her hand reached out, blindly finding a chair arm, and she sat. “He was my student until he left.”

The shattered sword falling to the ground in a glittering heap. The disdain in his eyes. For a Jedi to break his sword was to cast aside all of their teachings. It was rare. So rare that Breia Sookor knew the angst her namesake had felt.

We helped them do it master. Helped an interplanetary consortium turn my home into a slag heap.

It is not as bad as you think-

No, it’s worse! Open pit mining! water pure when I was a child running foul with the waste from their machinery! The damn Kusberi supplied by the Sulishti will be there a millennia from now, still poisoning the land.

Areas once quiet and dark by night now lit by thousands of light standards! The town I was born in turned into a nest of thieves and whores that do nothing but service their workers!

He had turned on his heel, he’d pack his bags, and left without another word to anyone.


“In my heart, yes. I knew.” Breia Sookor looked up. “I failed. I didn’t know how badly until you discovered this.”

“Then why didn’t you tell them?” Breia demanded.

“Because if he did this, no matter how many helped, the people of Fondor as a whole did not help him. Do you want an entire planet’s population on your conscience? You have seen what the Sulishti do to their enemies.”

The Sulishti were the most xenophobic race known in the Galaxy. Few rare individuals had discovered ways to trade with them. They almost never dealt with other races unless they initiated the contact. Their home world was a hive of trillions living up to five kilometers below the surface to ten above it. They did not travel except for brief visits to a neighboring system, and the only base she had ever heard of was located in orbit of their home world. The only thing they hated more than contact with other species was someone stealing what they considered theirs.

Breia nodded numbly. She had been with this very master as an apprentice when the Sulishti had hit a base on Anision. Located tragically enough in that neighboring system. A Company had set up a mining station on the planet without notifying the Sulishti. They claimed the world, not knowing that it was the source of an edible grub highly prized by the Sulishti and the entire planet named as a preserve.

The Sulishti fleet had come in, hundreds of thousands of the insects dropping out of space with no warning. The Jedi had intervened at the request of the Company to retrieve their people. The Sulishti had merely ignored the entreaties. A team of Jedi led by Breia Sookor had slipped past the newly erected Sulishti blockade, hoping to find them.

What they had found was a series of pits excavated and filled with what had once been a small thriving Company base. The Sulishti had merely bulldozed what remained of the structures into pits, and buried them. Seventeen thousand people, men women and children ripped apart alive had been buried with it as if they were also scrap.

Breia was glad her imagination wasn‘t up to visualizing an entire planet that had been treated that way. “So what are we going to do?”

“First we must investigate Nar Shadaa. Find out if there are any more shipments of this hell gas. Someone must also check Coruscant to try to catch any that has already been shipped. Then...” Breia Sookor looked down at her hands. “We must find Landru. He is the key to the puzzle. He was a talented chemist as well as musician. I believe he must have made it. The use of music, his own music to activate it points directly to him. But he couldn‘t have done it alone.”

Breia Solo nodded. “Where do you wish me to go?”

“Coruscant. Transport Lang with you so he can pick up his own ship Honor Blade. He will go on to Nar Shadaa. You will go to the warehouse and find if any of this gas is there, or where any more might have been sent. Sanji will go to Coruscant and try to pick up the trail of this Balladeer as well.”

“And you?”

“If this is a problem of our making, it is a problem we must deal with. I am going to Fondor.”

Breia Solo felt a chill of warning. “Let me go in your stead.”

“No.” Master Sookor looked at her. “Please do as you are bid.”

“As you will, Master.”

Breia Sookor watched the girl leave. She sat deep in thought until Apprentice Amberdon came to get her.

*****

The small ship looked as if it was already in flight at hyper speed. It was a smooth shining arrowhead with a series of clearsteel ports. “She is a beauty.” Breia whispered. She walked under the needle nose, reaching up to touch it. “What is her name?”

“She doesn’t have one yet.” Lang replied. “She was built by your father’s company as a courier. Twin forward firing chain guns, four proton missiles in the weapons bay two message torpedoes. Carries a crew of three in comfort or four if you’re very friendly.” Lang reached up and stroked the metal. “He had an Echani company design her. When Master Sookor told him you were to become a Padawan teacher, he gave it to us for your use.”

Breia looked at him. “Father has to stop giving away ships. This is what, seven so far?”

“To the Order yes. Try fifteen if you count Corellian and Coruscanti factors that can help with business. All tax deductible.”

“They would be if Mother had any say.” She stroked the metal, then guiltily pulled back her hand. “What did you call her when you were flying her here?”

“The last three numbers of her registry number. 771.”

“Well we needs something better than that. Hawk Flight. My favorite music.”

Lang looked away so she wouldn’t see the worry. He’d heard Hawk Flight when it had been part of a play about an Echani warrior of the early days. He had stood alone against a hundred Lortu during the wars when they attacked his village. His stand had been recorded.

On his tombstone.

There was a clicking, and Breia turned. A4 was standing there. If it had been human, she would have been sure he would have arms crossed, toe tapping, and an irritated expression on it’s face.

“A4, it’s good to see you.”

“You might have considered your companions before you ran off in every direction simultaneously at Hyper speed.” A4 replied. “I might have been able to help you.”

“A4, from what I have been told, if you had been with me in the cargo bay, they would be recycling what was left.”

“Yes. After hearing what you did to the B9s, I must admit I am glad I was not with you. The one that can be repaired is still shocked by your ripping his arm off.”

“You can talk with a B9?”

“Pretty much all droids made by the same company can communicate. Unless there are specific strictures. The B9 is based on the L7 made on Corellia so there is a window for communication.”

“Well get aboard then. We have to go.”

“Remember what I said? Three in comfort, four if you’re very friendly. Five is going to be a pain.”

“Master Lang, I will stay in the cargo hold and try to keep my own discomfort to a minimum.”

Lang looked calmly at the droid. “I wasn’t worried about your comfort.”

“No one is.”
*****

The three ships lifted, moving into formation.

“You have your instructions?” Millennium Falcon transmitted.

“Transit to Corellia, get Lang’s ship. Transit from there to Coruscant.” Hawk Flight replied.

“Transit to Sulisht and try to keep the pins in.” Kreekta replied.

“If you find anything, contact each other immediately. Each of the governments involved except for the Sulishti has promised we can get additional message torpedoes from them.”

“Understood.”

“Master, what of the council?”

“You will communicate what has occurred to them when you arrive on Coruscant, Sanji.”

“Understood.”

“Let us be about it.”

The smallest and fastest ship spun on her wing, then raced from the system. The other ship arced into a different trajectory. There was a flash of light and both were gone.

Breia Sookor Bai Echana bid them goodbye. “Set course for Fondor, Amberdon.”

The Millennium Falcon spun on her axis, and was gone.

*****

Hawk Flight slowed, dropping to the tarmac near the Jedi Monastery. The ramp dropped, and Lang stepped out, followed by Shali. There was a grey ship sitting there. A purely Echani design, Breia could see the resemblance to her own ship. She walked down to stand beside the others as the cargo bay opened, and one of the remaining undamaged B9s rolled out.

“Are you sure you want to leave it with me?” Lang asked.

“Since I have to go to Coruscant, I can arrange to pick up another there.” She replied. “Master Sookor has the other undamaged one. Sanji has the one I... redesigned.“

“It has been interesting.”

“Yes.” When Lang had said close, he hadn’t been joking. There were only three bunks aboard the ship, and the Mess deck table would fit only that number at one time. They had spent the last day and a half in each other’s pockets literally. They had decided on a hot bunk situation. One person would find whatever bed happened to be empty to sleep in. Bad enough for four humans, but both Twi-lek and Ithorian pheromones were different enough to be disturbing if you weren’t used to them. Breia had gotten little sleep. Meals were also staggered, the two Padawan teachers ate with their own apprentices and did their own dishes. But the smell of meat disturbed Yaka especially when served the way Shali preferred it, blood rare. The smell of Pipalli used by Lang bothered Shali. Breia was used to it because her mother had introduced her to Echani cooking. She had gotten a book of Mando recipes, and Breia shuddered when she was told what went into a ‘proper’ Merdai stew. She didn’t mind a vegetarian diet, but she decided she had to teach her new student that vegetables aren’t always served raw.

On top of every other irritant with the droids crammed into the miniscule hold there wasn’t enough room to practice, and meditation with someone snoring (Shali had a high pitched almost musical snore) talking walking, grumbling (Lang had done a lot of that) was difficult.

“That was pretty good how you handled the droids. I saw the footage after watching it live. Tell me, how did you do that to a droid?”

She closed her eyes. “I visualized a lightning bolt, then I directed it through the electronics.”

“No. I understand how you did that one. I just can’t duplicate it. I meant the other.”

“Have you studied under Master Dregar?”

“No. One of his students teaches his class on Corellia.”

“What you do is forget about the mass of your target. Picture it as a feather, or a small cup, say. Each can be lifted easily.”

“But how did you rip it’s arm off?” Lang asked in an exasperated manner.

“By picturing it as an insect.”

He considered. “You know, I don’t think anyone ever came up with that idea before.”

“If I hadn’t been insane, I don‘t think I would have.” She replied. “I’m off to Coruscant.”

“Good luck. May the Force be with you.”

The simple farewell of the Order felt so right. Breia clasped his hand, then Shali’s. “May the Force watch over you both.” She turned, walking back up the ramp.

Lang walked over to Honor Blade, running his hand along the nose. “Did you miss us, old girl?” Then he looked at his Apprentice. “Best speed to Nar Shadaa.”

*****

Breia watched as Yaka took the ship up. He did have a smooth and gentle touch. The ship seemed to purr as he rocketed up, spinning to bring it on the vector to Coruscant. The transition to Hyper was so gentle she almost didn’t notice it. After some pilots, it was refreshing.

“That is it until we arrive on Coruscant in-” his eyes flicked to the nav computer “29.8 hours.”

“Good. First we practice. Then we meditate, then I for one am going to sleep in a bed I don’t have to share.”

“Master, we still have the two droids in the cargo hold. There isn’t a lot of room.”

“As Master Sookor taught me years ago, A warrior can learn to control his weapon and himself. All else is determined by luck. Come on.”

He set the autopilot, and followed. Breia opened the storage cabinet, taking out the dulled practice blades. While dull compared to say a kitchen chopping knife or their own weapons, they were sharp enough to injure. They were not the standard weights of a Monastery, but suited to the blades they carried. Yaka’s was a little heavier than Breia’s and she noted that as she handed it over.

“All right. Now, let’s see your form. Wheel.” Yaka spun the blade in a whirling pattern before him. A defensive pattern that would block most attacks, and would block all with movement of his torso and legs.

“Octagon wheel first stance.” He stopped the blade, holding it upright before him. Called an octagon because the blade could instantly move to any point to protect him.

“Advance.” The sword dropped to a middle guard, his feet shuffled forward smoothly.

“You have the basics.” She slid into the same stance facing him. “But I sense disquiet.”

Yaka lowered the blade a touch. “My people think me mad that I have learned something so destructive. I have doubted the senses that drew me into the order.”

“I know the feeling.” She reached out, taking the weapon from him. “Yaka, we need to talk.” She put them away, leading him into the mess deck. She drew a cup of Ithorian Wide Leaf tea for him, pouring herself a cup of the Echani fire tea her mother had introduced her to years before. She sat, facing her student.

“Yaka, in the forest, you sometimes have trees that are rotted in only one place. Do your people leave them to die of it?”

“Of course not!” His look was shocked. “We cleanse the rot, and seal the wound so the tree will grow strong.”

“And if you have a crop that is blighted-”

“I know where you are going.” Yaka interrupted softly. “It is just not our way to consider any life especially sentient life as something you can prune or clip. There are beings I have met that would kill without compunction. Something my people could never understand. But I do not like ending their lives. I can fight with a weapon. I just... Am not comfortable with it.”

“Do you think any of the order like killing?” She asked gently. “As much as there are evil ones among us, on the whole our species does not kill.”

“You eat meat.”

“Yaka, humans are descended from omnivores. Our race learned to eat anything if necessary to survive. The Twi-lek and the Hutt are descended from Carnivores. The Duros eat moss and fungus. Your own people are herbivores. It is in our natures to eat what we do.”

“But you raise animals for the sole reason that they are food.”

“We do that. So does every race that has meat as part of their diet. But have you considered the alternative? On my home world there was a clan that foreswore all animal products. They ate no meat, they drank no milk, no eggs, nothing that came from an animal. But they caused thousands of them to die anyway.”

“Why?” Yaka’s eyes were horrified.

“Because since they didn‘t use them, didn’t feel selling them was right, they wouldn’t send them somewhere to be eaten. They freed the animals they once ate, but man had engineered them to be placid, and predators killed a lot of them. Others starved because they had to save all of the grain they had once fed them for themselves, so they drove them away no matter how often they returned.

“Plus there are pests that ate their food and they had to kill them. They were no better in their way than those of us that do eat meat. Humans are not like Ithorians. We cannot simply produce pheromones that drive pests away. We did not have the skill to make artificial ones, or engineer our plants to fend for themselves.

“The Ithorians can, and did. I honestly wish every race could have your reverence for life, but until they do, there will be rogues that kill others because they can, or want something, or whatever reason they give for it. That is why we are here. To save some of those light of life and the Force from being ended.”

Yaka looked down. “I understand your words here.” He touched the long trunk like neck. “But not here.” He touched his lower abdomen where his race kept their heart.

“Yaka. I know it will shock you. But I have killed. It’s not something I am proud of. I am more proud that when I had the chance, I destroyed my sword rather than hold it when I was insane. But the times I killed I wasn’t given a choice. I did what had to be done like the Ithorian farmer burning a blighted crop. It is something I have nightmares about sometimes. I wish that in each case I had been given a choice to make. If I had, those people, as evil or misguided as they were, would be alive today.”

She patted him on the hand. “No practice on this trip. But when we reach Coruscant...”

“Yes, Master.”


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 04-24-2006 at 01:13 PM. Reason: typo
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