KOTOR III: TRET'YE SRAZHENIE (THIRD BATTLE)
Chapter II: Enclave Emissaries
Becca Solis ventured back inside the Jedi Enclave, crossing her fingers and holding them inside the pocket of her light-brown Padawan's robe so no one else would see. Jedi were supposed to rely upon the Force and not upon ancient superstitions. Still, the young girl could not resist making that comforting gesture as she sought out her two best friends, also Padawans. What would they make of what Master Visas had said, of the strange and cryptic 'mission' that had been assigned to Becca? The last time that she had checked, none of the younger Jedi she knew had been asked to locate any mysterious 'Force presences', unless, of course, those 'presences' were Master Atton and Master Mira using Stealth Generators in order to have their apprentices practice finding them. Becca knew that her mission involved nothing of this sort, and that made her nervous. What if the presence were Sith? She decided to find Padawan Galon first, needing his infectious humor.
Galon was hard at work in the Training Room, diligently fending off low-power blaster bolts from one of the remote practice droids. Becca grinned slyly.
"That one isn't filled with kath hound urine, is it?" she called out.
Padawan Galon Klivian whirled around, sending three blaster bolts flying into the ceiling and forming three charred stains on it. "Holy Sith, Becca!" he cried. "Don't scare me like that, at least not during training! By the way, that practical joke you pulled on Brun was absolutely hilarious. He smelled like a--well, he smelled like a big patch of grass that a kath hound had just peed on!" He chuckled, making his whole muscular body shake with the force of his laughter. Becca smiled, too, noticing how well-toned Galon had become these days. She remembered how he used to be a scrawny little Youngling, smaller and rowdier than all the rest of their fellow students. Now? Now he was a 'strapping young lad', as the farmers on Dantooine commonly quipped, and Becca found herself wondering if--no. They were
Jedi, after all.
"So, did you come all the way down here for a reason, or did you just want to scare the living daylights out of me for fun?" Galon deactivated his blue practice lightsaber and used a remote-control keypad to silence the droid.
"It turns out," replied Becca, stepping over to her fellow Padawan, "that Master Visas is sending me on a mission. I'd like you to come along, but before I tell you what it's all about, I'd like to find Zakal." Galon nodded, as the other girl was a mutual acquaintance of theirs. They did not quite form a clique in the Jedi Enclave, only what some would call a 'social circle'. This was not expressly forbidden by the Jedi Masters, as friendships were generally seen as positive, but within the Order, all attachments were viewed as suspect. They could distract you and make you weaker in the face of enemies, or they could be used as pawns in a game of emotional blackmail. They could even turn you to the Dark Side if you were not careful. Such were the things that the three Padawans had to be wary of, even as friends.
Padawan Zakal was helping to repair a Jedi courier vessel with her own Master, Bao-Dur, an Iridonian and the best senior technician at the Enclave. Zakal herself was no slouch, having invented several new types of grenades, other melee and ranged weapons, and even upgrades to lightsabers. No one could be sure whether Zakal was more comfortable around machines or around people, but around Bao-Dur she was perfectly at ease. In order not to startle their mechanically-inclined comrade, Becca and Galon stepped over to the Jedi Master first, asking if they could have a moment of Zakal's time.
The girl slid out from beneath the courier vessel, holding a specially-modified omniwrench which she herself had put together. She was lightly splattered with grease. "Hey!" she cried. "Let me stand up and wipe some of this gunk off, and then I can talk." Becca and Galon nodded, and Zakal did so. "Now, then," she said, wiping her hands on the skirt of her robe. "How can I help?"
"Becca's been sent on a mission," Galon announced, "by Master Visas."
Zakal raised a thin, black eyebrow. "Oh? What did the Veiled One tell you?"
She didn't much care for Visas Marr, being more inclined to trust the factual, no-nonsense pronouncements of her own Jedi Master over the muddled and mystical revelations of the Miraluka. However, Zakal gave her wide berth and enough respect to her face (even if she called Visas the 'Veiled One' behind her back). There was not really a problem between the two of them, but she instinctively distrusted any plans Visas had--especially ones involving herself, Galon, or Becca. What was it this time? Another one of her 'visions', perhaps?
"Visas says," replied Becca, "that there is a lethal 'Force presence' in the galaxy that could swallow it all up. Or, rather, it could swallow the galaxy while still leaving it intact." She shrugged. "That's what she said, anyway."
Galon frowned. "Sounds pretty vague to me."
"That's what I thought, too," said Becca, "but the more I listened to Master Visas, the more sad and desperate she sounded. I don't think this is another one of her 'visions', or at least not another one of her training exercises that she's visualized in her mind for us. I think she's serious about this, you two. It could be a Sith, and--oh, that's another thing--she says that when we find this 'Force presence', we could provoke a group called the 'true Sith'."
Zakal was confused. "I don't get it. What's the difference between these so-called 'true Sith' and the Sith that we've heard about before--you know, the psychotic former Jedi with the red lightsabers and the black robes?" Becca shrugged her shoulders, indicating she didn't know, and Galon snickered. A lot of what Master Visas said turned out to be weird, but it also turned out to be correct.
He was enjoying the two girls' reaction to Becca's 'mission'.
"Look," Zakal continued. "I don't want to head off on any 'mission' with you if it's only an assignment that you've gotten from Master Visas. She might have been meditating and talking out loud, for all we know. I suggest that we go have a talk with her and see what's what, and if she's serious, we'll go."
"That sounds reasonable to me," nodded Galon, turning to leave the garage.
"Wait," said a quiet yet commanding male voice, distinctly Iridonian. "I want to go see Master Visas, too. She could be right, you know, and it's best to have the wisdom and view of another Master to collaborate it before you three go gallivanting off into the galaxy. Especially if you're taking one of my ships," he said slyly. "I'm not willing to let one of my babies go that easily."
The four of them set off for the Enclave courtyard, hoping Visas was still there.