(Author's Note: Also known as "Vremya, Part 20" or "Tysyacha Doesn't Win". I swear, if you don't go, "OHHHHH, SHIITAKE MUSHROOM!" by the time this chapter's over, then I haven't done my job right. *Wink* )
After I had asked the medical droid to wash me again, just as it had before, because I had awakened drenched in pungent sweat from my half-lucid nightmare, I dressed myself in my plainest Jedi robe--the one I'd worn when I was a Padawan under Kreia (it still fit!) and wandered into the Main Hold. As I was being refreshed, I surrendered myself to the hot water that the medical droid sprayed on me and the all-encompassing lather from the cleansing cloths. The medbay door was locked, and I was behind a screen panel anyway, so I didn't fear anyone seeing me--only hearing me sigh and sing! I didn't take the necklace off, and it inadvertently got soaped, too. No harm, no foul--it took more than antimicrobial wash to ruin a holocron!
"Wait, Bastila," Jolee Bindo was saying pointedly. "You want to do what?
I mean, I know the speech on Tirda's Blight went well, but the Galactic Senate? What makes you think they'll listen to you, first of all, and second of all, what makes you think they'll all agree to implement your crazy idea? Re-education programs for the entire galaxy, starting with the Core Worlds and working outwards, based on what you've taught the common folk here? I mean, it sounds good, but the things you said aren't exactly what I learned back in the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. They're--sort of right, but mostly wrong. Are you sure you want to do this? The Senate's a very tough bunch."
"You forget," replied Bastila Shan, "that I was once a Jedi, and not only that, but one of the most important Jedi in the Order due to my Battle Meditation. You also forget that for a time, I was Sith, the apprentice of Darth Malak. I held the galaxy by the throat--its life or death was cradled in my hands. The Senate will listen to me, and not only that, they will see the innate worth in what I'm proposing. If education, specifically bad education from those in league with wrongdoers and the Sith, is the root cause of all the ills that this galaxy faces, then re-education along truly virtuous principles is the key to solving all of them. Who doesn't want to relieve their own suffering, I ask?"
Jolee snorted, making a "Phfft!" sound and twisting his lips into a scowl. Canderous folded his arms across his chest and stared straight ahead at the blank holoimager. Rodion, raising a skeptical eyebrow, kept his hand on the hilt of the vibroblade on his left hip. T3-M4, sounding dubious, said Dwoo.
All of them thought Bastila's idea was completely inane, but there was one more member of the crew of the Ebon Hawk.
He stroked his chin.
"Bastila," he said slowly, "if you want to try this and are sincere in your efforts, I will support you. So will all of us, because none of us want to see endless war or endless crime. That's what will end up taking place if our galaxy is not
re-educated, and I prefer that to methods of lethal enforcement, if you know what I mean. Even the Jedi need Shadow Operatives, and I would prefer for it not to be that way. I'd be out of a job, yes, but I'd make a good teacher!" He beamed at his true love. Luckily, no one noticed the barely-audible WHAP
sound that my right hand made as it struck my forehead. Not even four people and one droid could prevail over a psychopath if the psychopath had Revan on her side! I was going to say something--say everything
--but all that came out of my mouth was a mewl that registered a bit below "kath hound whistle."
"Did somebody just step on a gizka?" asked Jolee. I said absolutely nothing!
"Good," said Bastila, genuinely smiling for the first time in what seemed like millennia. "The Senate is holding a special session today, and I've made sure that we'll get in because, after all, we're Jedi and can wield the Force."
Rodion frowned. Not all of us,
he was thinking, meaning himself and Canderous Ordo, but in the scheme of things--Bastila's scheme--they didn't really matter. All that mattered were the "commoners" who were too caught up in their daily lives to know what was really going on behind closed doors, for they could be turned into obedient slaves in a heartbeat, and people like me, especially Force-sensitive people, who could be poster children for the cause because we were following Bastila's grand plan out of our own free will. Since we all knew who was the real
captain of the Ebon Hawk,
we all followed Bastila, with Revan beside, to the Galactic Senate chambers.
"Ahem," said the Chancellor when everyone had settled down and fallen into respectful silence. "I know that we are here to talk about the new Galactic Ethics Bill put forward by Bith senator Khaz Molzi, but--it seems," and here he paused for a good long while, "that we have a very special guest among us. Bastila Shan is here, a Jedi and once a former Sith, to present something related to--ethics." The Chancellor scratched his head, confused, but none of the Senators, including him, knew what was really going on. Only three of us did: Rodion, I, and a certain slumbering presence in a holocron I wore.
Conquering all possible odds, our illustrious "Jedi" friend took the podium once the Chancellor had vacated it, complaining of a slight headache. With a harsh beauty that only comes with age and lots of juma juice, Bastila summarized her journeys and travails: her term as a Jedi, her brief fall as the apprentice of Darth Malak, her search for Revan, and her slide into drunkenness and shame. She ended with the present, with meeting all of us and finding the very man she'd sought for more than a decade. Making a cameo appearance, Revan took the podium and bowed respectfully to the Galactic Senate. The erudite Bastila then launched into her grand proposal: Galactic Re-Education. She spoke of duty and sacrifice, love and honor, peace instead of war, stability and order instead of anarchy and chaos. The Senate sat enthralled!
That was it.
I had to do something. Using the Force, as Bastila said we Jedi did, I commandeered an empty Senate seat and stealthily sent it floating toward us. Climbing aboard with Rodion, I almost knocked my platform into
Bastila's because I was so angry and my concentration was off, but in the end it was stable. Bastila, her face blanched white with fury, gaped.
"You want to know why you shouldn't believe her?" I cried, projecting my voice through the Force. "Bastila Shan is a traitor, not only to the Galactic Senate but to this entire galaxy! She is carrying an artifact within herself, a Rakatan mind-control device. They used such things to subdue and direct their own slaves, and she's now using it upon all of you! How did she get the artifact within herself, you ask? She used the Force to anesthetize herself and perform surgery upon her own chest cavity. It's right next to her heart!" A big, long pause. "I'm telling the truth!" Another big, long, weighty pause.
It was the Senate's turn to gape and stare at me. They all believed, from the looks on their faces, that I was a raving lunatic. No wonder. Feeling as if I would collapse right on my Senate seat platform and fall thousands of feet to my death below, I staggered a bit, but Rodion held me back from plunging over the edge. "Confess," he said softly. "We both will. We must."
"You want to know why you shouldn't believe me?" I asked. "Here's why! Think for yourselves on this issue, because you can!"
Thus it came to pass that Rodion "Rod'ika" Beviin and Tysyacha Dvyx finally admitted to killing two of the most important Jedi spies and operatives since, well, Revan, though Revan had been of a rather different classification. We confessed all of our motives, feelings, guilt and pain, the agony of secret self-excoriation. We did it in front of the whole Galactic Senate, not just Bastila or even Jolee, and unfortunately it was this time that the Senate believed us.
they cried. "Murderers!"
they shouted. "Renegades!"
A soft voice, not a loud one, was the one who silenced them: "This is the Galactic Senate," said the Chancellor, "not a courtroom--a legislative body, not a judicial one--but I have asked the highest judge on Coruscant, a presenter regarding Khaz Molzi's Ethics Bill, as a matter of fact, to proclaim your verdict and sentence. All rise for the honorable Cha Sud'ya." We did.
With infinite sorrow and compassion in her dark eyes, the Mon Calamari took the Chancellor's place at the podium. "I hereby find you both guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not first-degree murder," she said, "and thus I order you to serve a sentence at hard labor, for a term of all of eight years only." Despite her awkward phrasing, Rodion and I nodded, and we kissed tenderly as our right hands were shackled together with one Force restraint cuff. We were led away to the shocked and angry looks of the Galactic Senate, utterly satisfied at Cha Sud'ya's timely verdict. The last words we heard before we were escorted from the Senate Chambers were: "Bastila Shan, we will consider your idea, but we will not embrace it right away. Ethics and re-education go hand in hand, but we must think before we commit to a plan."
Why hadn't the Senate members all been hypnotized? I didn't understand...
My holocron necklace fell off that fateful day and shattered. We were on our way toward a convict carrier vessel, Rodion and I, when the string suddenly came unraveled and caused the holocron to plunge and break. Kreia said:
By the Force, you've set me free--at last! Do not fear anything ahead, Tysyacha Dvyx, for your 'Hollenqualen' will seem like paradise compared to what you've been through in this short timeframe. Remember that time is the master of the galaxy and the slave of the Force, and time is on your side. Serve it well, and serve your sentence knowing I will always love you.
Not only that, but the Force will be with you...always.
Well, what's next?
Will the Galactic Senate implement the 'Re-Education Plan'?
Will Jolee Bindo still be as grumpy and irascible as ever?
Will self-righteous Bastila Shan take over the whole kriffing galaxy?
Don't miss KOTOR III: THE GALACTIC SUNDERING
COMING IN 2009!