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Old 08-28-2006, 06:22 PM   #4
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Chapter 3: Dreams
Ashira didn’t say much as she walked with a steady step to the debriefing room on her ship, the Ebon Hawk, where Andros would meet her and Obi-wan after they saw Anakin onto a ship headed for Coruscant. Anakin had tried to say something to her but she indicated that she didn’t want to talk, not at least until they reached the docking area. Before boarding, Anakin leaned close and admitted, “I heard you speak to the other masters, Master. I apologize, it was not my place.”

Normally a comment like that would have caught her off guard. Giving no clear response in her face, she said, “Anakin, you are not my Padawan. I do not punish curiosity but I caution it.”

“Why didn’t you say anything in your defense Master?”

“A Shi-Cho Handmaiden accepts responsibility for every action taken. I had a choice and I made it. That should be enough for you. You better get on board.”

Seeing that he wasn’t going to get anything further, Anakin said, “May the Force be with you,” and turned to leave.

Ashira watched him board and was thinking of why she responded with a mantra of Bushida. It was rudely interrupted by Obi-wan who replied, “At least you don’t encourage him with your example.”

It was a hurtful comment. Not showing any emotion, she gazed with a steely look into his eyes and turned to walk to debriefing. She sensed hostility that had been carefully guarded, and it was directed at her. She simply decided to ignore it and when it was necessary she would speak. She left Obi-wan a few paces behind her and he felt rotten about what he just said and stayed the distance she set. He thought he recognized one of her methods for dealing with anger towards a person but didn’t see that she was hiding the hurt. He knew he couldn’t justify his behavior toward her and wanted to wait for the opportunity to apologize. He knew that she tried to keep younglings and padawans alike from disobeying the counsel but he was just angry that she hadn’t been there and began to blame her for Siri’s death.

Andros didn’t have to look twice when he saw Ashira and Obi-wan walk in. She was good but not that good when she had been hurt emotionally. He said nothing as he took his place by the strategic map and readied himself for briefing. Ashira slipped right away into her role, “Where is blue group situated?”

Andros, knowing that she was serious replied, “They have readjusted their position to keep in accordance with the target.”

“Target, what target?” Obi-wan asked.

“Target refers to whom we are watching, that is all we are to do,” Ashira replied while looking at the map and entering notes into her datapad, “The teams that are stationed out here do nothing but watch. That is how the council is able to get updates on planetary situations.”

Obi-wan was slightly baffled and perturbed by her abrupt manner. He also felt his temper rising, something that she was good at. He tried to calm himself and responded, “What do these teams consist of?”


“Jedi? That’s nearly impossible, there aren’t that many of the order.”

Avalonian Jedi. Due to relative isolation, they have grown in number so that is why. Also many are tribesmen and Bushi warriors, all skilled in reconnaissance. Now Andros this is what the council has given us…”

Obi-wan became irritated that she just abruptly cut off like that and almost didn’t hear what she was saying, “…Miklos says he can keep them off their backs for some time. I don’t know how much longer they can hold out if my suspicions are correct.”

“What Master Ashira?” asked Andros.

“That one of our own is betraying the Republic and joined the Separatists.”

Not much was said except to give instructions and explain the positioning which was really vast. It consumed so much time that it was dark when the session ended. Ashira had barely enough time to send a reply to Miklos telling him to evade discovery. She went to her quarters not saying anything to anyone but left behind Andros and Obi-wan. Not accustomed to this coming from her, Obi-wan watched her leave and asked Andros, “Why is she so blunt? It’s not in her nature at all.”

Andros decided to indulge and replied, “War does that to a person, especially if they have the responsibility of commanding thousands of troops.”

“Well, well she was almost spiteful when speaking to me and you, like she was angry.”

“Probably something happened today that changed her mood. Earlier she was quiet, withdrawn; like she is when sharing something. Come I need help in locking this up,” and Andros said no more.

Obi-wan had no choice but to accept that. He knew he had hurt her feelings but didn’t know how bad. He was also frustrated with the speaking in circles Avalonians tended to speak in. He resolved to be more civil and examine the source of his own feelings as he locked the security computer.

Miklos received his reply and heaved a sigh. He didn’t like where this was going but he trusted that Ashira was not doing this willingly. She would have had them pull out with an excuse for leave or something and then have them return. He sensed that she was doing the Council’s bidding in order to make up for what happened at Azure. Looking at his information, he then destroyed his orders in the manner that Secura used on the data stream codes she sent. Presently his thoughts returned to Secura and what he did in his quarters the other night. She was to come again tonight to receive the General’s orders and relay them to the rest of the team. He went to his quarters to await her arrival.

Secura has similar feelings of apprehension mingled in with hope when she entered Miklos’ quarters. He greeted her in the usual manner and explained the orders that came from Ashira. She was not disappointed but worried. She had sensed Miklos agitation and was concerned about what was to happen. He didn’t show what she had sensed and instead began to adopt the calm that he had learned as a Jedi. She asked, “The usual method in relaying the orders to the rest of the team?”

“No. I’ll deliver it myself. What I need you to do is to encode the order in datapads and secure it with a fractal encryption code. With the security increased I need to give some time for the internal communications to get less suspicious.”

“What of communicating through the Force? I know some can only send subtleties but there is really no information left behind.”

“No good. I have, and the General, suspect that the ‘visitor’ is one of our own and could be one trained in the Jedi arts. I may be wrong but usually the General’s suspicions prove to be right. So will you do that?”

“Will it be safe for me to just hand you a bunch of datapads on orders or something?”

“Since you are chief of security and this is related to the espionage problem, it should work. It’ll look like I’m giving warning for inspection. It will be done at random so that it shouldn’t attract attention,” then Miklos drifted off and looked in the direction of space.

“What is it?” Secura asked.

“A disturbance, frustration, coming from my brother but its not his own. It’s probably nothing and there is nothing I can do about it while I’m here,” he then looked at Secura and asked, “Why did you decide to come to war?”

The question took Secura by surprise and she wasn’t sure how to answer or answer at all. Looking at Miklos she could see that he had become fatigued, mostly with the war. They had been on missions for the last two years, since the war began with barely a moment for rest. She also thought that the General had the most difficult job of answering both to the Council and the Lord Governor. She did not voice this however but instead chose to answer his question, “It is our duty as Avalonians to help the Republic and we are supposed to watch out for the Jedi. Why do you ask this?”

“It’s just that this war is tearing the Republic apart. It will kill the Republic more so than the Mandalorian wars over four millennia ago. I went to war because of my loyalty not to our home but to the General. She saved my brother and I from a life that would have killed us and for that, we owe her our lives.”

Secura thought about it for a moment before replying, “As any would have been proud to do. Still I ask why are you speaking of this now?”

Looking at her, he realized that now was not the time. He indicated that he was done discussing it by replying, “I have spoken enough. What matters now is that we prepare to dig in and expect the worst if it comes to be.”

Secura took the cue and bid Miklos a goodnight and left his quarters. Miklos stood there silently cursing himself on his weakness not to admit his feelings. She was curious but also worried that this change in his manner might make him careless. She went to her quarters to bed for the night and gave herself to uneasy dreams of the impending visit. Miklos in the meantime had completed a special message for the general, one that he knew she would get considering the link she access to. Miklos then went to sleep.

Ashira-Li was in her quarters gazing at the sky from the window. She felt sad that she had been abrupt but the main concern was her troops. She did not like what the Council had in mind with her recon team. She gazed at the sky almost as if something would fall out of the sky. Miklos had sent a message and she confirmed her receipt. She also picked up uneasy feelings at this meeting and feelings that hinted at something felt towards another team member. She was to well aware of that feeling and she was not concerned with it. She lay on the pallet and continued to gaze at the sky, almost as if she sensed something was coming.

The battle was going on the ground. The dead, the wounded, and the dying were everywhere. A deep dark shadow came backed by a huge army on the top of a snowy mountain. Below lay the city, waiting to be taken…

Miklos woke up. He rubbed his eyes and thought that it was just a dream. He was not completely sure and decided to relay it to the general when it was safe. He went back to sleep, or at least tried to, unaware that Ashira dreamt the same thing as did every Avalonian Jedi.

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