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Old 04-26-2006, 04:04 PM   #41
machievelli
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Sanji stormed back into the conference room. “The Rodians can also be affected!” He snapped.

“Well until-” Began the newly arrived Head of Procurement.

“We do not have time for all of this palaver!” Sanji shouted. “We must close down the warehouse, find out where that ship has gone and warn every government that needs to be told!”

His statement was greeted by silence. The Admiral in charge of Home fleet coughed. “We don’t have the authority to do that, Padawan-teacher.”

He stared at them angrily. “Unless you want more people to die needlessly, we must move now! If you don’t have the authority-” He reached out with the force, flipping the com link from the Admiral’s belt into his hand, “-Call someone who does!”

“But you said it needs a sonic cue to activate.” The commander of Coruscant defenses said. “Without it there can be no such incident.”

*****

Harrigan was a thief. Not just any thief when it came to computer systems he was a master. There wasn’t a system anywhere he couldn’t slice into and run as his own. He’d proven it on every mission he had ever undertaken and never been caught. He’d even worked for governments!

The job had been intriguing. Get onto Station Alpha 4 in orbit of Coruscant, upload one program. The man that had hired him was a Corellian, he knew that from the accent. The program was simple. It just reset the all stations tone to what it had been before. He didn’t know what the big deal was, and frankly he didn’t care. The new sound that had been used for the last week or so was a raucous klaxon that offended everyone. He’d actually liked the original better.

He inserted as a tourist bound for Taris. He went to the first kiosk he came to, and bought his ticket. The ship left in about ten minutes; tight but doable. He looked around, then inserted his homemade data wand into the slot where a droid would connect. There was a flash on the screen, and he saw that he was in. He inserted the program.

He logged off, sauntering down the main thoroughfare. The station was a huge flat donut with ships on the rims, and control at the center. The passageways were wide with shops along them. He paused at a jewelers, looking at a necklace. His girl would-

The all hands message interrupted him.

*****

“I don’t care if the Chancellor is in bed with an underage page boy!” Sanji roared back. “We have to contact him-” An alarm blared. The Admirals in command of Home fleet and Planetary defense reached for their com links at the same time.

“Alert. This is not a drill. Station Alpha 4 has broken communications, all weapons systems have gone active.” Someone reported flatly. “Weapons have targeted ships in orbit- Correction, weapons discharge. Tarisian liner Bonart has been fired upon. Frigates Caspi and Kolrami under attack by Alpha 4. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.”

“What the hell?” The Procurement officer roared.

“It seem that someone has found away around the sonic signal needed.” Sanji replied mildly.

The table com bleeped. “Admiral Nadien, the Chancellor is on line one asking what the hell is going on. His own words.”

“Well?” Sanji looked at the ashen Commander of Planetary Defense. “I think he might be awake. Now you can tell him as I asked you to report half an hour ago.

*****

Hawk Flight dropped into bedlam. Yaka whipped the ship upward, guided by the force rather than any sensor, and the missile that would have spitted them shot past. It arced to the right, and an inner system cargo lighter opened like a deadly flower.

“All ships in Coruscant orbit, all ships in Coruscant orbit. Station Alpha 4 has gone active and is targeting anything in view. Move immediately behind the planet or moon. If that is not possible, leave the system immediately.” The voice was harsh, demanding. Breia didn’t need to switch channels to know that they would also be confused.

“Where is Alpha 4?” She shouted. Yaka tapped a key, dodging a stream of projectiles. The screen lit up, and she saw the carnage. Four ships in orbit near the station were already drifting, but that didn’t stop the chain guns installed for perimeter defense blasting them anyway. One suddenly gushed air and fire, breaking up.

“Contact-”

“Breia, I am busy right now. Could you connect the call?” Yaka asked? He did a maneuver she had never seen, flipping the ship end for end, running behind a communications satellite which began to come apart.

She giggled, punching the buttons.

“Jedi Monastery, how may I-”

“The council, now!”

“It is very early here. Can you-”

“No I can not call later! Tell them it is Breia Solo. We have information about the gas, and must transmit immediately!”

“Hold.”

The hold seemed to stretch for hours, but less than five seconds later she saw Master Hontu’s face. “Padawan.”

“Has Master Sanji reported?”

“Yes. I assume this thing in orbit is part of this thing?”

“I assume it is, Master, the pattern is the same. If it follows suit, the station will continue firing until it is out of ammunition. This is the first time it has happened over an inhabited planet, however.” She rocked as Yaka made another dodge. “We don’t know what they will do if they run out of targets first.”

“Understood. Master Sanji has reported that home fleet will destroy the station-”

“No!” She almost screamed. “There are thousands of people whose only crime is they’ve been drugged!”

“I agree.” Hontu looked haunted. “But they see no other option.”

“They have marines don’t they? Ground troops, shuttles to transport them?”

“What are you suggesting?”
“Connect me with whoever is in charge of this fiasco and I will tell them at the same time.”

*****

“You are mad!” The Procurement officer screamed. “You want to Board a station under full alert?”

Breia immediately loathed the man. She glared into the screen. “I am saying that once we get aboard I can bring down the defenses then you can board you idiot-”

“Idiot! At least I am not acting like some Knight from a Fantasy story! No one can board that station without horrendous losses.”

“We can.” Sanji broke in. “Trust in the Force.”

“Listen Padawan! When you have served in a military, and know what to do, then you can tell-”

“An overblown windbag who from his decorations has served thirty years behind a desk!” Sanji shouted. “Who has never seen battle! Unless you have an option that doesn’t include the murder of over fifty thousand people I suggest you sit down and shut up!”

“Calm down people. More speed, less haste.” Master Hontu broke in through his link. “Our Padawan can board the station. We will not do so without losses.” He turned, and Breia could tell he was talking to her now. “Continue, Padawan.”

“Once the defenses are down the assault shuttles can board. Everyone to be armed with non-lethal weapons. You will have time for that if you hurry. They can move through the station section by section and disable anyone not already dead.”

“Padawan, I have authorization to destroy the station.” Admiral Nadien replied. “How long will this take?”

“If we stop talking and start doing something, ten minutes.”

“We’ll have the marines standing by. I will give you those ten minutes.”

“Master Hontu-”

“You don’t need to ask. We will launch every available ship.”

“Then I will see you on the station.” Or in hell she thought. “Yaka. We need to ram the station here.” She touched the screen, which strobed blood red.

“We may not survive.” He warned.

“Then tens of thousand will die.”

“There is that.” He took a second to work out a trajectory, then the engines howled at full power. The ship, which had run out far enough to only deal with the occasional missile stooped like a hawk.

Breia almost closed her eyes as the world before her spun and cavorted as if on the roller coaster from hell. The station was a dot, a coin, a ring, a-

She slammed against the restraints as ten tons of ship slammed through barely ten centimeters of hull. She flung her arms up as she tried to stop debris from hitting her.

Yaka leaped from his chair, running aft. She was beside him as he threw her an emergency bottle of air, slipping the modified mask Ithorians needed in place.

“Tie your sword into the sheath.” She ordered. “We will disable, not kill unless there is no alternative.”

He nodded, using a small emergency cargo tie to do as she said. Breia slapped the ramp release. The system groaned, then shuddered, but the ramp did not drop.

Breia cursed, drawing her sword. With four slashed she chopped a hole in the ramp, diving out as the meter square dropped away. She hit and rolled, the flat of her blade slapping away a screaming man. The air was gushing from the control center like blood, yet around her people still fought insanely.

Yaka dropped beside her, his sheathed weapon laying out four men in as many seconds. Breia looked around, spotting the control panel. She charged across, sheathing her sword, then drawing sheath and all to slam down on a man’s head, breaking his neck. She leaped another charging pair, landing in front of the station. The man at it spun, foam flecking his lips, and leaped up, his hands locking around her throat. Summoning the force, she pushed, throwing him into and through the upright situation board ten meters away. She spun, hitting the keys, watching the weapons go down one by one. As soon as they all had, she drew, slicing through the power cables. Then she turned. There should have only been five or ten people in the room. She faced almost thirty instead.

With a scream she charged.

*****

“Systems down!” The assault shuttles lifted. Ahead of them they could see the motley fleet the Jedi had launched. Seven ships, from an old Coruscanti Flitter class cargo vessel to four sleek couriers from as many systems. They charged into the maelstrom, and the Flitter slammed into and through the number one primary docking bay doors. All of the ships poured into that bay.

“Head for Number 2!” The assault commander screamed. “All other shuttles board at the next landing bay to the right of where your leader is going! Ready your weapons!” He slipped on his helmet.

Behind him the fifty men on the shuttle checked their weapons as they were doing on all of the shuttles. There are few weapons used by the military that are meant to disable rather than kill. The assault commander had told his men what to do and every police station in the city had been raided in the frantic minutes before they loaded. Stun rods, concussion and sonic grenade, the ubiquitous bloopers used to launch small grenades including neural paralyzer grenades. Every man was festooned with restraint cuffs and plastic emergency cargo ties. They knew they could find more on the station, but they would have to hope it was before they ran out of what they carried.

The shuttle smashed into the bay doors, smashing them flat. Air exploded outward, along with anyone who was in the bay. The shuttle slammed down, and the doors opened, men pouring out. A Marine found a case of ties, slinging it up on his shoulders, his squad mates running ahead to cover him.

The Assault commander pointed at the airlock. Two men ran to it, keying the sequence. It snapped open, and they went in, slamming the door. It would hold a squad at a time, but no man in his right mind put eight men into a meat grinder when two could do it.

“Clear.” One of the scouts reported. “But not for long. We’ve got screaming clockwise.”

“First squad, go!” He shouted. The man with the case of ties and his fellows stuffed themselves into the airlock and the rest gathered impatiently waiting their turn.

Sergeant Conroy turned, and his blooper fired, a neural paralyzer grenade arced into the people charging at his men. The flash went off, everyone in the area of effect collapsing as their nerves were disabled. Screams of pain were added to screams of fury as the others charged over the flailing injured. He went through a ten round magazine, slamming in a new one. “I really don’t like this!” He screamed.

“You think I do?” The Commander aimed, holding down the trigger on the sonic stunner he was armed with. He knew some of those people would end up permanently deaf, but he was worried about his own command more. “Second squad, link up with the Jedi! First Squad, link up with Charlie Company! Everyone else, even squads follow two, odd squads follow one. bag em and tag em as we go! MOVE!”

There are several military axioms that aren’t quite true. One is that no organized discipline military force is outnumbered by a mob. The second is that firepower can overcome even a massed charge. The third is that two men working as a team are superior in capability to eight men who are not.

If your enemy is insane, every one of them go right out the nearest airlock.

When they reached the first cross corridor all hell seemed to break loose. First squad wasn’t destroyed, it was overwhelmed as a hundred lunatics charged at them. The first fifty or so went down from all of the weapons they had with any standoff capability, but the other fifty rolled right over the squad. The teams following them did what they had been trained to do, what is called ‘scratching their backs’ with longer range fire as other charged forward to relieve the pressure. It was down to stun rods before the last of the maniacs was down.

There were few dead Marines. After all, Coruscant wasn’t a place where you needed to carry a weapon at all times. But no one had ever conceived of such a situation. Five of the seven Marines of First Squad Second Platoon, 7th Marine Assault Force including Sergeant Conroy were dead.

*****

“Ready?” Sergeant Mason of 2nd squad looked around, There wasn’t a cross corridor here, so this thrust had not been attacked.

“Yeah. After we clean up all those stupid Jedi...” The scout that left Docking bay One stopped talking as he surveyed the passageway ahead of him.

One Jedi was leaned against the wall, cradling her arm. She looked up, flashing him a gamine grin from the heap of bodies she sat on. None of them, he noticed were in Jedi garb. She couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old.

“They went that way.” She hooked a thumb down the passageway.

“You all right?”

“Sure. I landed wrong and dislocated my shoulder. The others went on to corridor seven A.”

“I don’t see any blood.”

“Unless they get us mad, you won’t.” She replied. “Sheathed blades and practice staffs only.” She winced. Could one of you set this for me?”

As the rest of the assault team cycled through the lock, the scout helped her, resetting her shoulder. By the time the last was through she was one her feet, swinging the arm.

“Not too bad. As long as I don’t go full out.” She marched down the passageway then looked back at the stunned Marines. “Well come on, do you want to live forever?”

*****

The bloopers fired, the stun grenades blasting half a hundred people off their feet. Men surged forward, keeping up the pressure as behind them others used the cargo ties they had collected on the way. The 1200 men of the Regiment had brought over 12,000 sets of restraints with them. Even scavenging off the wounded and dead, they had run out. Runners were going back to cleared areas, and Company G paused to wait for more.

“That’s the way to the control room.” One man pointed toward the right. “That way is in our hands.” The Lieutenant in command checked his pad. As each section of the station was cleared, he could see it change from red to green. The central done was still a bright red.

“Holy-” A scream was eclipsed as someone ahead of them died.

“Report-”

“They got a laser down there!” Someone shouted back.

“We can’t go that way.” The lieutenant mused. A laser mount would slice his men up like cooked meat.

He paused as a frail old man walked from a passageway. His weapon came up but the man merely paused, looking back.

“Master Hontu of the Jedi Monastery. We’ve cleared this section.” As he touched the pad, the area he touched had turned green.

“Wait, didn’t you land over in I Company’s area?” He looked at the pad display. That was half way around the station from him!

“Yes. But we work fast.” Hontu turned watching the laser flare in the corridor ahead. “I can see the problem. I need two of your men who are fast runners.”

“Sir?”

“You don’t have to understand, all they have to do is follow me.” The old man walked across, standing with his back against the wall. “Boys, move back from the entry. It’s going to get a little hot here in a few moments.”

“Sir-”

“Just have someone follow me at the run.” At that he leaped into the corridor.

The beams suddenly seemed to leap as if trying to cover every inch of the corridor and half the adjacent space simultaneously. Two young Marine leaped up to follow, and over the hissing of the beam the Lieutenant could hear their boots rattling on the deck. Then suddenly the beam stopped.

“Sir, it’s clear.”

Unwilling, the Lieutenant walked over, looking down the corridor. At the other end, the two Marines were binding the gunner and seven or eight more that were scattered around. The old man was no where to be seen.

“Where’s the Jedi.”

“He stayed long enough to do that-” One of the men jerked his thumb toward the weapon mount, “Slapped this guy with a sword, landed on them-“ He jerked his thumb at the pile at his feet. “Then kept on going. Said he had a date.”

The lieutenant looked at the barrel of the laser sliced into five small chunks. “If he wants, he can date my sister.” The other Marine said, finishing. “Can’t see telling the old man no.”

*****

The door to the control room hissed open, and Jedi poured in. Master Soo-chin stopped, looking around. Of the forty or so people in the room according to the scan she had done, there was no sign. In the center of the room the nose of Hawk Flight was rammed into the deck. The emergency sealant system had worked, spot-welding the ship into place. It would require cutting the entire section of the station’s hull open to get it out. But that meant they had air again.

She approached slowly. The ramp had been sliced open, then repaired with an emergency patch. She tapped the metal, and got an answering tap. Then the ramp came down.

Yaka stood there, arms folded. “Would you like some tea, Master Soo-chin?”

“Tea.” She responded.

“Yes. My master is in the cockpit talking with the planet. She suggested tea but all we have is Ithorian Wide Leaf, Echani fire tea, and something called Lord Barret-”

“I think some fire tea would wake me up.” Soo-chin interrupted. “What about all of the casualties?”

“They are all in the cargo hold. We had to stack them, so the dead were laid down first. Twenty-five are still alive though they are vacuum injured, and still quite insane.” He waved toward the overhead. “She asked me to apologize for the damage.”

Soo-chin looked around. At least half a dozen consoles had been sheered off, either a sword or the force tearing it free. “We’ll just take it out of her salary.” Soo-chin replied. “Now where is that tea?”


'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
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:06 PM   #42
Char Ell
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The action has returned full-force in this chapter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by post #41
She marched down the passageway then looked back at the stunned Marines. “Well come on, do you want to live forever?”
That was a good one. Didn't really expect to hear that line from a Jedi but I guess since she was only 15 years old it's a little more understandable.

I suppose the Station 4 job was Harrigan's last. For a slicer he apparently wasn't too aware of what was going on nor inquisitive enough about what his slicing might result in.


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Old 04-27-2006, 05:13 AM   #43
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Great Job Mach. You wrote the action sequences with masterful art. I can't wait to see how this story ends.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:52 PM   #44
machievelli
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Shake up

In the late afternoon, Chancellor Skywalker stormed into Admiralty house. Like a Frigate/flagship, he was surrounded by the escort vessels of his staff. No one attempted to stop him. He went to the office of the CNO, glaring at the secretary there. “I want these officers in this office immediately.” He took a pad from the rail thin young man beside him. The Secretary, a very young and very attractive commander looked at the list.

“Chancellor, except for the head of ONI, they are all in conference room Beta.”

“Oh, good. It saves time.” He turned to one of the staffers. “Martin, do stand here, and watch our young friend. I want my arrival to be a pleasant surprise.”

The Chancellor marched down the hall to the lift, and out onto the floor below. The two security men on conference room beta snapped to attention at his approach. Ignoring the brilliant red lighted DO NOT DISTURB sign, he went in.

The men that had been working now for in some cases 15 hours looked up in surprise at the entry.

“So sorry to interrupt you at your celebration.” The Chancellor said smoothly. “I came for a report on the Station situation.”

“Well in hand, sir” the CNO reported. “We’re shuttling down those affected. Every emergency medical unit in the Capital is full, but the other hospitals around the planet are taking up the slack.”

“Oh that.” The Chancellor waved his hand as if trying to clear smoke. “That is not why I am here, Gentlemen. I am here to find out why a group of Monks with no authority or military training at all had to come up with a plan to save 42,000 people you were quite willing to merely slaughter.” He sat, his face benign. No one who had seen him in action allowed that disguise to fool them. Or at least not more than once.

“We asked our Marine Commanders-” The Chief of Home Fleet began.

“Oh do spare me the cover story you are even now concocting. I asked Commander Palpatine what occurred, and he has found out.”

“That is retired Commander.” The Chief of Procurement snapped. “Who has no training in this at all!”

“Oh that is true. At two O’clock this morning when I asked him to keep track of the incident, he told me he had no experience in Marine boarding procedures.” The Chancellor looked around. “I know a lot of you chuckled a bit when I picked a Colonial from Naboo as my chief assistant when it came to naval affairs. But you see, I asked the best man the loyal opposition had. I spoke with the one military man I knew would never lie to me, even if it saved him from death.

“I asked Retired Admiral Antilles.”

They all looked at each other. The Chancellor smiled gently. “Yes. The man that told me exactly what he though of our first Space Lord. And of each of you as you were chosen. Since I had to form a coalition government two years ago, I wasn’t going to just sit and turn a blind eye to what those other parties might decide to play at.

“Let us start at five minutes after midnight today. This Jedi Monk called down to Admiralty house to notify you,” He pointed at the CNO. “-that he had the latest information from the joint meetings on Delta 4. He came here forty-five minutes later, expecting to have you and your staff here.

“One hour and forty minutes later you arrive. You bring your own staff, but not the Commander of Home fleet or the head of ONI. You didn’t consider what he might have said important enough it seems. Yet an hour into that meeting, you decide that you have to call the Commander of Home fleet-” His thumb jerked at Admiral Nadien, “-Who took another half hour to arrive. Odd that again the head of ONI has not been called.

“The briefing material is again reread-”

“Sir we are not that inefficient! Admiral Nadien was briefed enroute.” The CNO complained.

“That is not what the transcript states.” Palpatine handed him the pad. “You see, I do have people I trust in this building. Some of them even working in your offices. When you were first called, the recorders in the conference room were activated. Are there any more lies you wish to tell me before I go on? No?

“Very well. So we come to almost five in the morning. This Jedi has repeated the same bloody thing over twice, and answered every complaint both of you had come up with more than twice. Then again when the Commander of Planetary defense was called at 4. When he mentions that the chemicals had to be transported and cleared through customs, our dear friend from Procurement was called. Why I ask? He doesn’t have any authority with the Customs department. That is under Justice. Why again, I ask, was ONI not informed?”

“The Chief of ONI was-”

“Asleep in his bed, I know. As was I supposedly. Gentlemen, I hate to burst your bubble, but the Chief of ONI had been informed by message torpedo that this report was coming in, and who was delivering it. He was in his office. So Admiral Lucas is it? Was waiting in his office for a vital communication.

“When it was not delivered, he called the Jedi Monastery first. He has excellent rapport with the Jedi. It seems his son Georg is a member of the order at Ossus. This was at twenty minutes after one this morning. He knew that the courier might have been delayed.

“He was astonished to find out that the courier had been in the building for almost an hour. He tried calling your office, Admiral Tori-” He nodded toward the CNO, “-but you were in an important meeting and could not be disturbed.

“So he did what protocol tells him he must. He contacted the Naval attache of the Chancellor, who waits all of five minutes to awaken me. You see, my staff knows that if it is really important, I must be notified immediately. I don’t yell at them for waking me up. Only for waking me up when it is not necessary. But having a farce as you men have created this morning is in my view important, as I told Palpatine and Admiral Lucas.

“I had Palpatine run through the transcript. He is very good at speed reading you know. Then he reported to me. I was therefore on the same page by the time the Chief of Home fleet arrived. I listened as this Sanji asked you not once, not twice, but four bloody times told you that I should be informed immediately. I also listened to every stupid excuse you came up with as to why I should not be disturbed. Your excuse Admiral Charles-” He glanced at the Chief of Coruscant Defenses, “-Was masterful if passing the Buck was most important.

“Admiral Lucas contacted the Jedi Monastery again, and I spoke with them They informed me of Padawan Gretu’s bona fides, and a brief precis of his career with them to date. I was not looking at him as a, how did you say it? ‘Some Knight from a Fantasy story’.” He looked at the Chief of Procurement. “I had a full report of what this gas could do in a station. Admiral Lucas at my direction called in General Wonsan of the Fleet Marines for a conference. You see, we had considered what none of you had. That we might have another such attack on a station, possibly in an inhabited system.

“You will no doubt be delighted to know that five minutes before the incident occurred on the station here, message torpedoes had gone out to all outlying stations. The security forces there have been moved to sections with their own air supplies, and are patrolling with air tanks on my order.

“Unfortunately as you were busy playing this little game with the Jedi, the station here was also notified, but too late. So we have an entire station full of madmen 25,000 kilometers in orbit above this very city. The General told me what the losses would be. He assumed they could assault with about 30% casualties. Yet what do you do?

“You, Admiral Logan-” He glared at the Chief of Procurement, “-Who have absolutely no experience with marines refuse to even consider an operation. These fools who do have such experience-” He waved at the CNO and Commander Home Fleet, “-Don’t even call the one man that can tell them if it is feasible, our dear General Wonsan. Who by the by had already given orders for the Marines to deploy, and to steal if necessary every non-lethal weapon they could find.

“No. You instead finally talk to me. Not because you wanted to, but because I got sick and tired of this and called you!

“And your response? Blow the station up!”

“While we are still in communication, this young girl, Solo calls the Monastery. When she hears that the only option you are putting forward is mass murder, she contacts you directly.

“You-” He pointed at Nadien, the finger now a weapon, “-Let Logan berate her for at least five minutes, then tell her you had permission to destroy the station, an order I never gave. Yet when she offers to risk her life, you give her the ten minutes she asked for.

“General Wonsan and the commanding officer of 7th MAF tells me that she saved almost a thousand lives among the Marines alone.”

“But it cost us over 200 men!”

“Let me see. You send in 1200 men. In the three hours it took you lose just over 16 percent of that force. The Jedi sent in 40, and lost 5. They lost 20 percent. Of that number, only one was over twenty years old. They also cleared a third of that station by themselves.

“So now you are all here, discussing damage control! Instead of telling me of this meeting instead you called the First Space Lord!” He waved toward the ceiling. “Before you lie again, remember what I said? This room is also fully monitored, and the Judge Advocate General is even now listening. Oh not the one you think. I checked his records, and he has been asked to resign.

“You men are not that lucky.” The door behind him opened, and four men entered, wearing the brassards of Military police. “Gentlemen, you are all under arrest. A court of Inquiry will hear charges of gross negligence leading to the deaths of over 8,000 civilians, complicity in an attempt to cover it up, and failure to heed your charge as officers of our fleet and Conduct unbecoming. Your good friend the First Space Lord will be in another dock. He is charged with the same thing, only the Capitol police are making that arrest.”

He stood. “Where is Lucas?”

“Enroute from his office sir.” Palpatine reported. “I was keeping him apprised.”

“Good. Someone has to take over until this mess is cleared up.”
*****

Breia looked at the controls of her ship pensively. Outside her hull, a team of Navy damage control specialist had torched away the emergency sealing joints, and had pulled the ship from the wreckage of the control section of the station. A tug was attaching towing cables

The damage was severe. The engines had been broken from their mounts, and had smashed forward, shearing off the fuel tanks, which had gone gods alone knew where. The nose had crumpled far enough that it had merely looked like it had thrust through the deck. Both chain guns had been ripped from their mounts as had the missiles. Thankfully they hadn’t been armed.

The only things that had still worked after the ramming had been the main landing gear, the life support systems and the galley. It would take months for her ship to be repaired.

Yaka sat beside her glumly. “I wrecked your ship.” He moaned.

“You did what no other pilot could do!’ She replied. “You saved those marines, you saved every one of those people.” She grinned suddenly, “You faced Master Soo-chin and asked her if she wanted tea! That in itself is a greater victory than most can claim.”

“But I wrecked the ship!”

“She will be repaired if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket. It was worth it, believe me.” The com panel bleeped, and she thumbed the contact. “Hawk Flight. Padawan Solo here.”

“Can you tear yourself away from your ship for a few hours?” The Padawan at the Monastery below asked. “The Masters have been called by the Chancellor. They want you to be there.”

She looked around. The Damage control officer had told her that the ship would have to be towed down to the planet for repairs. “I will contact the team that is recovering the ship about transport.”

“Don’t bother. The Chancellor has ordered a fleet courier to pick you up. They should be standing by off your hull.”

“Understood. Enroute.” She thumbed the contact again. “Come on. You can commiserate with me below. I think several bottles of Corellian red ale each will at least ease our sorrows.”

*****

The courier dropped like a stone, then smoothly transitioned to level flight over the City center. The pilot, a girl that didn’t look old enough for her first date dropped onto the Government pad, shutting down. “Welcome to Coruscant, and thanks.” She looked at the Padawan that sat in the second seat. “My brother is a Marine. Your people saved his life.”

Breia shook her hand, and walked down the ramp. The Masters were there, along with almost two dozen Padawan and students. The entire group marched into the lifts, going down. “What is this all about?” She asked.

Master Hobart shrugged. “We were asked to be here by the Chancellor. Have you heard the news?” She shook her head. “The Judge Advocate General has resigned. The First Space Lord, CNO, Chief of Coruscant Defense, Commander Home Fleet and Chief of Military Procurement have been arrested. There is a major shake up going on right now. Admiral Antilles has been asked to come out of retirement until a new CNO can be appointed.”

She shrugged. She knew it was important, and her mind went through the organization of the Navy, considering who might be appointed to those positions. It kept her occupied as they were ushered through the halls. Her eyes snapped to the door, and the engraved name above it.

The Coruscant Senate Chamber was huge. Over a thousand men and women watched as the Jedi marched down the main aisle. Representatives from the Colony worlds stood, and began clapping. Breia looked around as more and more of them stood. In the seating areas above the floor cameras were rolling, and she could see the logos of every major network on the machinery.

Before her on the dais the Speaker of the House stood. The Jedi came to a halt about fifteen meters from him.

“People of Coruscant, members of the Senate and Parliament, representatives of the colonies, I give you the Chancellor of Coruscant.” He turned, clapping as another door to Breia’s right opened, and the Chancellor marched down the aisle. The applause if anything redoubled.

The Chancellor walked up to the podium, bowing to the speaker, then faced the lectern. He held up his hands, not signaling approval of the ovation, merely for silence, which he eventually got.

“People of Coruscant, members of the Senate and Parliament, representatives of our colonial brothers, honored guests, a great tragedy was averted in orbit yesterday.

“An unknown enemy released a chemical weapon aboard station Alpha 4, which caused the people aboard that station to go mad, and begin killing each other. The activated weapons of that station, one of the linchpins of our planetary defense net fired upon and destroyed the Frigate Kolrami, the Tarisian liner Bonart, damaged the Frigate Caspi and three other vessels.

“The disaster would have been averted by prompt action by our Navy. Sadly this did not occur. Except for one man, the men responsible have been arrested. That last man, is myself.”

There was a roar of anger. Cries of ‘No!’ from the crowd. The Chancellor stood there, hands raised for silence. It took almost fifteen minutes.

“I thank you for your support, but the fact is that it was my choice with the advice of his party, of who would have the portfolio for First Space Lord. That man chose the subordinates that caused this to flare almost out of control. Once my duty here is done, I am calling for a general election. Whoever replaces me can deal with me as he will.” Again there was an outpouring.

“Genius,” Hobart whispered. “He takes responsibility, allows the courts to crucify those that really caused the damage, and take a wild guess who ends up as Chancellor after the election?”

The shouting finally died again. “I regret to inform this body and our people that the death toll is staggering. 8,000 men women and children died during the incident. Both Kolrami and Bonart were lost with all hands. Over 200 Marines who boarded the station are also among the dead.

“But I can also tell you that it was not our fleet, or our Marines who saved most of the 42,000 survivors. Members of an order that is considered a bit odd by most of us risked their lives to save the lives not only of our citizens but our Military men as well. Of the forty members of that order who led our marines to victory, five are also among those honored dead. The oldest was in his early sixties, A master named Hontu. The youngest was a Padawan learner named Sani, a native of our colony world Naboo. She was 14.” He looked at the silent crowd.

“The after action records of our own military and the station internal log shows what occurred. That forty people from seventeen different planets, some we would consider mortal enemies, stood together. They breached the security system of our station, allowing our Marines to land almost unopposed. They risked their lives not with guns and bombs at their disposal, but only the swords they wear as a mark of their order. Even though capable of deadly force exactly seven of the 20,000 people they subdued were killed by their weapons.

“The men of our Marines, from General Wonsan to the lowliest private extols their capabilities and virtues. Master Hontu entered the primary reactor core which someone had set to destruct and stopped that tragedy. His was not the greatest feat of that day, that goes to others who by chance are still among the living.” He looked down at the silent men and women arrayed before where he stood.

“During the events leading up to the boarding, one of those to be tried made a sarcastic comment about those that risked so much for so little gain. Well before you all now, I will say with distinction, what he said in derision.

“Lords and ladies, I give you, the Knights of the Jedi order!”

Again there were cries, but these were glad. Around them, the senators leaped to their feet, applause threatening to collapse the roof.


'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?

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Old 04-28-2006, 12:09 AM   #45
Char Ell
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Oh yee-aah, the Chancellor cleaned house on that one.
If only things worked like that in real life.

I think I have an idea how relations between the Jedi and the Coruscanti goverment progress from here...


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Old 04-28-2006, 12:33 AM   #46
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For everyone who is interested, there are four chapters remaining of this part of the book. Before anyone asks, five more Jedi are going to die in the following chapters. A few of them you might like.

As for evil, you might look at Landru differently by the end too...


'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?

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Old 04-28-2006, 12:53 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
Oh yee-aah, the Chancellor cleaned house on that one.
If only things worked like that in real life.

I think I have an idea how relations between the Jedi and the Coruscanti goverment progress from here...


That is exactly how it happens when a strong politician does it. If you'll notice with the 9-11 attack, Bush was able to roll right from 'how could this happen' to blowing holes in Afghanistan.

Picture Republicans in a coalition government with the Dems supplying the First Space Lord.



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Old 04-28-2006, 01:20 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli
For everyone who is interested, there are four chapters remaining of this part of the book. Before anyone asks, five more Jedi are going to die in the following chapters. A few of them you might like.
Hmm. I guess you didn't want to just spring that on your story's readers, eh? Preparing us for an ending we might not like too much? FWIW, I really liked the ending of The Matrix: Revolutions movie, if that gives you any indication of my particular tastes. Not that you should cater to my tastes but purely for informational purposes only.
Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli
That is exactly how it happens when a strong politician does it. If you'll notice with the 9-11 attack, Bush was able to roll right from 'how could this happen' to blowing holes in Afghanistan.
True, but I don't really see how that compares with what the Chancellor did. The Chancellor fired most of his top military leaders and then put them on trial. The only person I remember taking the fall in Bush's administration was George Tenet and considering how that came about I'm not really sure that counts as "house cleaning."


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Old 04-28-2006, 02:29 AM   #49
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Wow go chancellor Skywalker!!! And commander Palpatine???? I think Old Sidious would role over in his grave "Even though he isn't born yet" to know that one of his ancestors did something good. Machievelli I have to tell you, the story can't end with this book. You have to keep writing more and more. I am so addicted, it is written so well and is so interesting. I want to see how everything progressess with the Jedi even more.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 04-28-2006, 09:35 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
Hmm. I guess you didn't want to just spring that on your story's readers, eh? Preparing us for an ending we might not like too much? FWIW, I really liked the ending of The Matrix: Revolutions movie, if that gives you any indication of my particular tastes. Not that you should cater to my tastes but purely for informational purposes only.
True, but I don't really see how that compares with what the Chancellor did. The Chancellor fired most of his top military leaders and then put them on trial. The only person I remember taking the fall in Bush's administration was George Tenet and considering how that came about I'm not really sure that counts as "house cleaning."
I hate death in Star Wars stories unless it's for a very, very good reason. I always view the series as nearly everyone making it out by the skin of their teeth.

Picky med detail--dislocations don't get reset, but fractures do get set. Dislocations get 'reduced'. Most laypeople say 'the doc popped it back in joint,' or 'doc put it back in its socket.' You might consider having Breia ask the Marine to put it back in its socket instead of resetting it. This might be a good place to have the Marine be a combat medic also, since most of us don't know how to reduce a dislocation correctly. If it's done wrong, it can actually cause more damage by catching some other tissues with it as it goes back in socket.

When the Chancellor sacked nearly the entire top-level brass, I got a little concerned about the Chancellor's motives--the only time I've seen a shake-up to that severe a degree is when a dictator comes to power.

Ugh. You're ending the story way too soon.


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Old 04-28-2006, 11:00 AM   #51
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Quote:
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I hate death in Star Wars stories unless it's for a very, very good reason. I always view the series as nearly everyone making it out by the skin of their teeth.
Not all of them will die well. Two will be rather badly and worse, will fail. One will die off screen and you may never know why. One will die nobly, the other because of a personal choice.

I am more sorry than you are. As the author, I am letting the story have it's head, and when they die it will be when there time has come. Trust me on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Picky med detail--dislocations don't get reset, but fractures do get set. Dislocations get 'reduced'. Most laypeople say 'the doc popped it back in joint,' or 'doc put it back in its socket.' You might consider having Breia ask the Marine to put it back in its socket instead of resetting it. This might be a good place to have the Marine be a combat medic also, since most of us don't know how to reduce a dislocation correctly. If it's done wrong, it can actually cause more damage by catching some other tissues with it as it goes back in socket.

Noted, and corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
When the Chancellor sacked nearly the entire top-level brass, I got a little concerned about the Chancellor's motives--the only time I've seen a shake-up to that severe a degree is when a dictator comes to power.
What happened there was pretty much what happened in Russia after the KAL 007 fiasco. The three senior men in Stranya PVO, the Eartern Air Defense Network were fired by Gorby. Removing four officers and the equivilant of the Secretary of the Navy is only a modest shake up in a disaster of this proportion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Ugh. You're ending the story way too soon.
Hey, you have four more chapters to go before section one is complete. As Yogi said 'it ain't over til it's over'.


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Old 04-28-2006, 11:15 AM   #52
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Denoument

Honor Blade dropped toward Nar Shaddaa. Lang looked at his screen as a Hutt appeared. “Administrator Hoom. I am Padawan Lang of the Jedi Monastery. I come as representative of the combined investigation team on the station attacks.”

“I was informed of your mission, Jedi.” The Hutt replied. “The factory is open for your inspection, as are the records.”

“Are there any other factories that make the same chemical?”

“Yes. They have also been informed and told to await you attention. There is one thing that puzzles us, however.”

“That is?”

“The link to the Sulishti. They do not use our chemical.”

“What?”

“Their reactors are all indigenous, as is their coolant. None of our chemical products are used by them. There is no reason to ship what has been shipped to them. Besides, no one needs seventy million cubic meters of our gas.”

“Seventy million?” Lang pondered. “When was that shipped?”

“One ship, the Feradi left two weeks ago bound for Fondor. The other, Bondrant less than a week ago bound for Sulisht.”

“What class were these ships?”

Balladeer bulk transports. The gas was highly compressed.”

“Goddess!” He said. “Send a torpedo to Coruscant.” He ordered Shani. “Administrator, the factory that manufacture it-”

“Has already been seized.”

“I will meet your investigators there.”

*****

A class of children between five and nine in age surrounded a man in his fifties, working on a guided meditation. The man nodded, acknowledging Sanji’s passage even as his slow steady voice directed them on their personal quests. The training stopped only for sleep, and since a lot of students stayed on their home planet’s circadian cycles, it meant that it could go on around the clock at times.

Past classrooms where history of all the known races was taught. No human would live long enough to know it all, but by using the ways different people viewed the same situations, enough could be passed on in a decade or so to be of use. Others where languages were being taught for the day when these young student would be sent out to smooth the way for others.

Past a courtyard where a dozen students watched a master dueling with seven others, each armed with a practice blade. The master moved with an unhurried almost languid grace, dodging blows, blocking only those that came close enough to be a danger. He disarmed one, chopping another, the ballistic cloth hardening to spread the impact so that the 15 year old girl was just winded, not seriously injured. In the next courtyard, children went through a dizzying array of traps, running as fast as their force augmented muscles let them.

Another run, this armed with turrets firing real bullets halted him for a moment. The boy running the course was using obstacles, the force heightened reflexes and when necessary, his blade to deflect them. He stopped, clutching his arm, and the turrets died.

“No.” A master stepped down, walking up to him. “Do not let yourself become distracted.” He looked up balefully at the master that had caused his brief inattention. “Allow yourself to become one with it, and it will guide you. Is the arm all right?”

“Yes, master. The cloth spread it out as it is meant to.” The boy rolled his arm. “I will go again.”

“Yes.” The master looked at Sanji again, and returned to the control panel.

Sanji walked on. The courtyard where the council met was quiet. Breia looked up at his arrival.

“What have you heard, Master?” She asked.

“It is surprising how efficient a bureaucracy can be when they have both ONI and the Chancellor breathing down their necks.” He replied mildly. “The Balladeer class vessel Feradi is owned by the Brenoril company of Fondor. Odd, because it was never incorporated or formed. The only proof of a company is the one money transfer from an account closed the instant it cleared.

“But if anyone who knew Fondorian had been there, they might have wondered. You see, Brenoril is the Fondorian word for ‘ghost’. The two ships, Feradi and Bondrant have names that mean-”

“Vengeance and Nemesis.”

“Correct.” Sanji looked at the sky. “We were able to trace the purchase of a factory on Nar Shaddaa which manufactured the tainted gas. The factory was purchased using funds from a criminal organization named the Hand. The Government arrested the head men of the organization and they told all to escape the death penalty. They also slipped the tainted gas into the outgoing shipments of Bidraxidine from the regular manufacturers. It all arrived together here. I believe from that point-”

“The warehouse records were tampered with. The Czerka manager is up on mass murder charges even as we speak. The A4 unit I have was able to trace the transfers of gas. A man in custody named Harrigan is responsible for the actual orders for shipping it. He was on the station day before last, planting a program that changed the all hands klaxon back to the old tone. He was found under about a ton of debris from an explosion. Pure luck that he was still alive trapped alone, unable to kill himself or anyone else. He still had the data wand he had used to change the computer on the station, and in return for life without parole instead of a death sentence, he sang like a bird.”

“Then all we need is to trace the gas, find Landru and the affair is over.”

“Yes. But to do that I need permission to leave. I don’t have a ship until mine is repaired. I have already chartered a civilian courier-”

“Which will not be necessary.” Master Soo-chin replied entering the courtyard. “Both of you were asked to be here by the Chancellor.”

“What is it?” Breia moaned. “Another medal?”

“Padawan Solo, do you know how many Medals of Distinction have been given out?” Soo-chin asked. “More importantly how many have gone to people not of Coruscant? It is the highest award a civilian can earn on Coruscant.”

“That is all well and good but I have spent a day longer than I had to because of the blasted medal ceremony and now this.”

“Patience!” Soo-Chin chuckled. “If someone had told me five years ago that I would counsel someone else to be patient, I would have labeled them a fool!” She motioned. “Let us hurry, they should be arriving in a few moments.”

She led them through the back way of the Monastery so they didn’t disturb the students. Master Hobart joined them enroute. Except for the Kreekta, the tarmac was empty. Every ship that had gone on the assault had been either badly damaged or destroyed. Two of the Jedi dead had been in the Flitter class Glowfly when she rammed the bay doors. Soo-chin looked into the sky, then pointed. Eight ships in an echelon formation flew in, dropping to land before them. Behind them came a lumbering ship painted a brilliant white. Compared to the courier class ships that escorted it, this one was huge. A thirty man Naval command ship. The other eight were smaller, and sleeker. They were wide flat oblate wings with what looked like cannon in their leading edges.

The ramps dropped, and Navy personnel poured out. Breia looked as a familiar figure stepped down from the closest flying wing. “Yaka!”

He waved, walking over to stand beside her. “I was asked to pilot one of the new ships.”

“New-” The last man down the ramp of the command was the Chancellor. He strode over, bowing. “Masters. Dame Breia.” Breia groaned. She had forgotten that the medal she had been given was the equivalent of a Corellian Knighthood. She would forever be ‘Dame Briea Solo’ to the people of this planet.

The chancellor made a sweeping motion toward the ships. “All of your vessels were destroyed or so badly damaged that they need to be replaced. As the representative of my people, we ask you to accept this gift.

“The couriers Knight of Coruscant, Knight of Corellia, Knight of Ryloth, Knight of Ossus, Padawan Rees of Coruscant, Padawan Conor of Corellia, Padawan Marilo of Ossus.” He paused, The Command ship [/i]Master Hontu.[/i] “And,” Motioning toward the unnamed vessel, “And for your use until your ship is repaired, Dame Breia, Padawan Sani of Naboo. A gift from the People of Coruscant in recognition of your service to us.”

Soo-chin appeared to be speechless. “The order thanks the Coruscant for such a noble gift.”

“It pains us that we cannot do more.” Skywalker replied. “All we have done is replaced what you have lost, and created memorials for those who died for our people.”

“We will remember them always.” Soo-chin said humbly. “Your gift will make their names known throughout the galaxy. Again, our thanks.”

“We must be off. There is much to do.” The Chancellor bowed again, and led the Naval personnel with him.

“Master.” A Padawan ran up, bowing. “An urgent message for Master Gretu and Padawan Solo from Padawan Lang on Nar Shaddaa.”

They hurried into the communications room. A Padawan flipped a switch, and Lang appeared on the screen.

“This must immediately be transmitted to master Gretu and Padawan Solo. If they are not there, transmit it to whatever system they are in.

“The factory here has been closed. The personnel know nothing beyond the fact that members of an organization named the Hand had hired them two years ago. Positive identification of Zardan Landru as the man responsible for the gasses manufacture. Last known location, Ithor.

“The last load of gas was 70 million cubic meters. Loaded on ships belonging to the Brenoril corporation. The word is Fondorian for ‘ghost’. The two ships are named Feradi and Bondrant, Vengeance and Nemesis in the same language. One is bound for Sulisht. The other, for Fondor. I assume the one for Fondor the Feradi, will have already arrived.

Our computer estimates that 35 million is sufficient to poison an entire planet’s atmosphere.

“Enroute to Coruscant. Arrival 2115 hours tomorrow.” Every eye looked at the chronometer. He would be arriving in just a few hours.

“Message has also gone to Fondor. Master Sookor should be arriving there
any time. Hutt say that the Sulishti do not, I repeat do not use Bidraxidine. There must be a reason Landru used it as the carrier molecule, but we have not yet ascertained why.

“Message ends.”

“We have much to do, and must hurry.” Soo-chin snapped. “Master Sanji-” She was interrupted by a signal.

“Message torpedo from Ithor. From the Ithorian council aboard Cloud-Home.

The screen flashed on. An Ithorian looked out. Behind him was the first of the floating cities created two decades before by the Tokara Company.

“Administrator Lukati of Ithor reporting. We have received a message from Padawan Lang of your order asking for information on a human named Zardan Landru. He took possession of 5,000 breeding pairs of a hybrid song bird of his home planet of Fondor six weeks ago which had been genetically modified at his request. The request for modification had been filed four years, seven months ago. Specifications on modifications are with this message. Message ends.”

“He ordered songbirds? Soo-chin asked incredulous.

“Find the modifications subtext.” The Padawan flipped through the message archive. The male bird was a brilliantly plumed animal that weighed perhaps fifty grams if the scale was right. While everyone else looked on the communicator flipped through the pages of specification.

“Made them less shy than normal, adjusted their nesting habits and diet. They now feed on something called-” He leaned forward. “-A Sulishti plant called Kusberi. They used to nest in trees in the forests, but will now favor buildings and constructs.” His brow wrinkled. “Odd, the vocal index of the birds has also been altered. Their standard song had been altered.” He flipped a switch.

From the speakers echoed a song they all knew too well.

Breia’s com link bleeped. “What!”

“Padawan, I don’t know if it is important-”

“If it isn’t A4 I am going to rip out your brain and replace it with a toaster!” She roared.

“It has come to my attention that the Sulishti do not use Bidraxidine because it makes them ill-”

“We know that!”

“-It also would be assimilated by their native wildlife and plants.”

“What?” She whispered. Every eye was on her.

“One plant which is a staple in their diet called Kusberi would absorb it and reproduce the gas as part of it‘s flowering cycle.”

“Gods.” Someone whispered. Breia agreed silently.

“There are only two planets where Kusberi grows. That is their home world of Sulisht, and the planet Fondor.”

“Oh my gods. What has he done?” Master Hobart asked.

“He’s made sure that the Sulishti will die out.” Yaka said. “And even if some do survive, that they can never live on Fondor or Sulisht, ever.”

“Padawan-”

“Get aboard Padawan Sani of Naboo. Now!”

“Am I going to make toast for the voyage?”

“You might yet.”
*****

The trip was quiet. Usually a person that joked with everyone, Breia was a stolid lump this trip. Amberdon handled the cooking, kept watch when the automated sensors didn’t do it for him, and brooded along with her. The ship hummed softly to itself, the single A1 droid puttering around as it tuned the systems as they flew.

He went forward, checking the instruments. He took the controls. “Master we will arrive any moment.” She didn’t respond. He watched as the stars appeared. In orbit were hundreds of orbital docks. Thanks to the systems position near a great many resources, a dozen or more companies had built their own drydocks in orbit. Something like a third of the ships of the Galaxy were being built right here.

“Contact the Fondorians. I must speak with Landru immediately". Breia walked forward, sitting in the second chair.

A few moments later, the screen cleared. He had aged dramatically in the last years, worn down as if by a fierce desert wind. Landru looked from the screen at them, then bowed his head. “Master Sookor. I have been expecting you.” He looked down, touching a control. “My family station is at these coordinates. Please, join me.” The signal ended.

Amberdon noted the location, and adjusted his course. The station was small, a personal residence rather than a business. The lights on the landing bay flashed, and the ship closed in on that location.

The doors swing open, and Millennium Falcon nestled down onto the deck. Amberdon stared at the wonder before him. The bay was a work of art.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” Breia said, standing “Standby to get us out of here fast.” She turned walking toward ramp. As it came down she winced, grabbing her ears, then collapsing. Up in the cockpit, Amberdon had already been disabled.

The door opened, and a droid rolled in. It wrapped up the unconscious woman, then did the same for the man. Both were picked up and carried out.
*****

Kreekta lifted off, moving into orbit. Behind her came Padawan Sani of Naboo. Three other couriers lifted, Knight of Corellia, Knight of Ossus, and Padawan Rees of Coruscant. They stayed in a tight formation, awaiting-

Honor Blade dropped out less than 400 kilometers away. “Padawan Lang this is Master Soo-chin. Do not, I repeat, do not land on Coruscant. Join up with Jedi Formation. Prepare for instructions.”

As the ship approached, three of the Coruscanti couriers led by Padawan Sani of Naboo spun, heading for their destination. Knight of Corellia, Kreekta, and Honor Blade formed up, then turned onto their departure vector.


'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?

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Old 04-28-2006, 11:18 AM   #53
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Not all of them will die well. Two will be rather badly and worse, will fail. One will die off screen and you may never know why. One will die nobly, the other because of a personal choice.

I am more sorry than you are. As the author, I am letting the story have it's head, and when they die it will be when there time has come. Trust me on that.
Heh, it doesn't _have_ to be written that way, but I know what you mean. Sometimes you just get dragged along in that direction.



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What happened there was pretty much what happened in Russia after the KAL 007 fiasco. The three senior men in Stranya PVO, the Eartern Air Defense Network were fired by Gorby. Removing four officers and the equivilant of the Secretary of the Navy is only a modest shake up in a disaster of this proportion.
Well, Russia wasn't exactly the bastion of democracy, so he could get away with that, I suppose. Here in the US we'd all be freaking out if something like that happened. Well, those of us who follow politics regularly, anyway.

Hmm, I either misunderstood/misread the ranks of the officers when they first appear in the infamous meeting, or I had forgotten their ranks by the time the Chancellor gets to them (you had all this great action in between, you know) and just made the assumption all of them were like Joint Chiefs level officers. I'd have to re-read to figure out which one it was, though I suspect the latter. I like the little political twist at the end with the Chancellor offering himself up for discipline.


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Old 04-28-2006, 11:35 AM   #54
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Heh, it doesn't _have_ to be written that way, but I know what you mean. Sometimes you just get dragged along in that direction.
When I write, especially something that has flowed as smoothly as this one, I get dragged along by the story.


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Well, Russia wasn't exactly the bastion of democracy, so he could get away with that, I suppose. Here in the US we'd all be freaking out if something like that happened. Well, those of us who follow politics regularly, anyway.
It happened here after 911, though we didn't notice it. It also happened at Abu Ghraib. On 911 the commander of NORAD was replaced, along with two other officers. At Abu Ghraib the Commandant of the Prison and her two subordinates were sent into military exile. The Brigadier was demoted to Colonel.

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Hmm, I either misunderstood/misread the ranks of the officers when they first appear in the infamous meeting, or I had forgotten their ranks by the time the Chancellor gets to them (you had all this great action in between, you know) and just made the assumption all of them were like Joint Chiefs level officers. I'd have to re-read to figure out which one it was, though I suspect the latter. I like the little political twist at the end with the Chancellor offering himself up for discipline.
The ranks were as follows, as if they were American officers;

CNO: 5 stars, Commander Home Fleet: 3 stars, Chief of Procurement; 3 stars, Commander Planetary Defenses; 2 stars. Since there are over 300 officers in the US Navy of those ranks, this is not really that major. What would be is the fact that I am willing to bet (After all I wrote it) That all of the officers with the exception of the CNO were appointed by the CNO. That officer was appointed by the First Space Lord.

I am using a modified form of the British Navy where this actually happens all the time.

As for the chancellor, I have to agree with Master Hobart. It makes him look like a man willing to take his punishment as at the same time he blames that opposition party.


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Old 04-28-2006, 11:45 AM   #55
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Now this could be because I was reading this last week while having some rather nasty insomnia worrying about my cat (who is better), and reading the forum at 1 am is not conducive to remembering things clearly.
So please forgive a totally stupid question--what is the role of the First Space Lord and how does he fit into everything?


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Old 04-28-2006, 12:00 PM   #56
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The First Sea Lord in the British Government, or First space Lord in this situation, is as I said, the equivilant of the Secretary of the Navy in the US,

However the Secretary of the Navy cannot do what the First Sea Lord can, which is replace the men at the top with their own handpicked replacements. Every time the government shifts in Britain, the new FSL can remove any of the commanders of such departments as Buships, Buweps, Personnel, procurement, Operations (Their Equivalent to CNO) or Intelligence. When it is done very badly, a lot of problems can occur. If you have not read the Honor Harrington Series by David Weber, I would suggest reading War of Honor where the inner workings of a very badly run Navy can be seen in glaring detail.


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Old 04-28-2006, 03:23 PM   #57
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Did I mention I've never studied British naval history?
OK, I know about Nelson, but only because of a class on Fr. Revolution/Napoleon.


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Old 04-28-2006, 08:43 PM   #58
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Just when I thought I was getting a handle on the plot...

I thoroughly enjoy the plot twists in this story. I'm just not sure I know the background between Landru and the Sulishti. I think I need to go back and read some stuff over again because I seem to remember some mention made of it. Whatever Landru's issue with the Sulishti is has got to be pretty serious, since he has engineered a plan to wipe out their entire race.


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Old 04-29-2006, 01:44 AM   #59
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If you don't get it, don't worry. There's a lot of exposition between Landru and Breia coming right up.


'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?

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Old 04-29-2006, 01:54 AM   #60
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Too late

Again it came down to simple geometry. A ship on a direct course from Nar Shaddaa had to travel a greater distance, but the Jedi ships left an hour and a half too late.

*****
The trio of Jedi ships dropped out of Hyper space less than 400 kilometers from the Bondrant.

“Sulisht control, this is Jedi courier Knight of Corellia, Master Soo-chin commanding. The ship approaching your planet has a lethal chemical aboard. It must be stopped immediately.

Jedi ships. You are not welcome. Depart or die.“

“Sulisht control, destruction of that ship is imperative. We are approaching to destroy it at this time.”

As The couriers charged after it every communications channel was broken by a transmission in Sulishti;

Warning. Attacked by Human vessels

Protect, protect.

The attack was masterfully planned. Bondrant was unmanned. Better that a system fail than someone suddenly in fear of their life abort it. After all, this was only a secondary attack. It it failed, the other would succeed.

Landru had studied his enemy well. Being insects, their primitive forebears had used several different chemical signals, that predated language, and their communications systems aboard their ships still did. These signals as with the human brain reach past the conscious mind, setting off alarms that are reacted to not consciously, but with a biological imperative far beyond reason. A signal of this sort will hurl a mass of stinging death against a bear or insects ten times their size. Launch an attack that ends when the enemy is dead or every defender is. Will cause them to even throw themselves against a fire or flood trying to bury it under their own bodies.

In reaction to that imperative the Sulishti warships in orbit turned, moving outward to protect their executioner.

“Sulishti control this is-” Master Soo-chin began.

“Depart.”

“We have to-”

“Depart or die.”

“All ships. We have to blow it up before it reaches Sulisht.” She ordered.

“What about the Sulishti?” Lang asked.

“Avoid them if possible, but that cargo ship must be destroyed!”

The three Jedi vessels spilt up, charging for their target.

The Sulishti were confused. The signal was in their language, the wording exact and correct, but somehow wrong coming from a ship they had never designed. But the language was imperative, and a score of fighters led the fleet into the attack.

Honor Blade dived right, rolling, her guns ripping into a fighter, then lunged past it. Other fighters barred Lang’s way, and he grimly settled down to merely defending himself. Knight of Corellia, broke to the left, trying the same, but was quickly cut off and Master Soo-chin found herself also unable to do anything but defend herself.

Sanji was in the center. His ship dove in, blasting a pair of fighters to scrap, then was on the tail of the freighter. Her guns blasted, but Bondrant had been modified with all of this in mind. The heavy armor on her stern shrugged off the hammer blows of his guns. Rafe Morale dodged a lunging attack by a trio of Sulishti fighters. “We need to use missiles!” He shouted.

Sanji nodded, turning to the second panel, flicking on the switches arming the three missiles Kreekta carried. The ship suddenly slammed to the right, and air shrieked through a gap in the transparisteel cockpit.

Sanji reacted. He slipped his air mask on, still setting the panel. A red light flashed. The burst had shredded the missile bay.

“Rafe get us out of here!” He spun. Rafe would never smile at him again. A shell had blown his head open. He remembered Yodai back on Coruscant when he had gone to the Admiralty.

Master no sense it makes that I must not go.

Padawan, your time has not yet come. Stay here you will. You will be a Padawan Teacher on the dawn, as you deserve

Place beside you I belong.

Trust in the Force. You are needed here. Where I go you won’t follow yet.


Sanji closed his eyes, then opened them, flipping the switches that transferred control from left seat to right. He turned whipping into a spin, Rafe’s hands following his, still locked on the controls by his death. Sure my young friend. Help me. I couldn’t do this without you.

He raised the nose, running down the side of the massive ship, then turned, boring toward the dead center of mass. If he hit it just right-

An instant before impact a shell from a heavy projector smashed the nose of Kreekta. Sanji was killed instantly. He never knew that he had not only failed, but done so catastrophically.

Kreekta had been blown into a sharp turn, aiming not at the side of the massive freighter or at the bow, which might have helped. Instead she rammed the portside stern of Bondrant, exploding. Engines disabled, the ship continued her plunge, actually pushed into a much better angle by that helpful tap. The ship whipped around the atmosphere at less than 25 kilometers altitude station keeping thrusters holding off her immolation, gas streaming from her holds as the dive shallowed out. Then it lurched, the station keeping thrusters had exhausted their fuel, the ship dipping to finally head for the surface. The gas had been evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere, sliding downward as the heavier molecules were attracted by gravity. As she began this final dive a series of small charges pushed small packets out that deployed ablative shields. Her nose glowed, and the ship fell, coming apart as it punched down through the atmosphere, then impacted into one of the giant nests of the Sulishti.

As if planned, every Sulisht ship stopped firing, every bow turned toward the plant so far away. Soo-chin felt a wave of something through the force, but it wasn’t death,

A shuttle was taking off below, but as it started to leave the atmosphere it suddenly plunged back as if afraid.

“Human ships, human ships. This is Admiral WWelldori. We have reports of widespread madness on the planet. People boarding shuttles are reporting intense fear and pain as they approach their ships. Explain.” As the signal was sent, the Sulishti fighters withdrew toward their fleet.

Soo-chin stared aghast. The com channels from the planet were inundated. More shuttles, even a warship started to lift, then suddenly settle back down on the planet.

“Admiral, a madman attacked several locations, several planets and peoples. He released a gas which drive people mad and they murder anyone around them.”

“We know of this. Our station in orbit was destroyed because of it.”

“The gas affects were discovered to be permanent in your species. We came to stop that weapon from being deployed.”

“Yet there are no reports of such a killing madness. Instead our people return to their nests and cower. The ships that were supposed to lift and repel you have refused to fly. Instead they cower unable to even leave their vessels.”

Soo-chin shook her head. “He has modified it again, somehow. Perhaps this madness is related to the chemical.”

“Perhaps. But if it has caused our people to become as they seem to be becoming, we can never travel in space again.”

“No Admiral.” She snapped. “You and your crews still can. If your race is to survive, you must not go home. If you and your crews value the lives of their race. Wish to protect them still, do not attempt to land of Sulisht.” She considered. “Anision is still available. You can start a new society there.”

“Too far. We must build a new station. One free of this contagion.” There was a long pause. “One that our own people below can never visit for fear of this madness spreading.”

“We will bring your case before the Galactic Trade Authority. Once we have discovered a way to cleanse what must come to you from below, we can begin shipping it in sealed and depressurized lighters.”

“We have no choice.” The Admiral finally answered. “To protect our people, we can never go home. Guide us in this Master Jedi.”
*****

The talks went on for several days.

Soo-chin stared at the planet. From below the com lines were still open, but all were filled with the fear these people now had. Even flights from place to place on the surface had ceased. WWelldori had acted as the mediator between the planet and the Jedi, and while long and convoluted, for once the Sulishti and the Humans above were working to the same point rather than at cross purposes.

Message torpedoes had gone out, and ships began popping out on the last day of the meeting. Coruscanti cargo vessels loaded with formed metals to begin construction, tools for working it, and several manufactories designed just for the Sulishti to operate. It would take the better part of a year, but one of the first ships reported that a Czerka Corporation was sending a full scale repair dock to arrive within the month so that the Sulishti fleet in orbit could be maintained.

“How long do you think this will last?” She asked.

Padawan Losian her student shrugged. “The natives or the contagion?”

“The affects on races other than the Sulishti?”

“Maybe forever. Until we have a measure of how this chemical was manufactured and how it degrades, it’s too soon to tell.”

“Record it. Record it all.” She sighed. “Honor Blade, this is Knight of Corellia. Deploy the warning buoys.” Both ships turned, and they seeded the space with glittering gems. As each fell from the ship, it activated.

Warning, Planet Sulishti has been affected by a chemical weapon lethal several species. Do not land under any circumstances. This agent is deadly, and will remain deadly for an estimated minimum of 20,000 years. All communication with the planet is via Station Omega 1 in orbit. This is your only warning. A few moments later, it repeated, each buoy covering a different band, in every known language.

Finally Knight of Corellia broke the silence “Come on, Lang. There’s nothing we can do.”

The two ships turned, headed away.


'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?

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Last edited by machievelli; 05-03-2006 at 02:37 AM. Reason: rewrite
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Old 04-29-2006, 11:07 AM   #61
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Hey! You had a double-post of Too Late. Did you know that you can delete a post if you want through a "delete message" option in the edit post feature.

I felt the honor of Sanji's death, even though his decision to sacrifice his life to prevent the cargo vessel from reaching the planet was rendered useless. In my view his decision to turn kamikaze was the only choice he had left if he still wanted to save the planet. As so often happens during the course of battle he became a victim of circumstance and his effort rendered useless. That doesn't mean that his sacrifice shouldn't be remembered and honored.

I thought the planet went all crazy rather too quickly. I grant you that you've stated in a previous chapter that the freighter had enough gas to poison an entire planet's atmosphere but would the gas have dissipated throughout Sulisht's atmosphere that quickly? I definitely can see how the hive the freighter crashed into was affected as well as the surrounding 100 kilometers or so but I don't understand how the entire planet would have been affected that fast.


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Old 04-30-2006, 12:02 AM   #62
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Quote:
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Did I mention I've never studied British naval history?
OK, I know about Nelson, but only because of a class on Fr. Revolution/Napoleon.
Not to worry. I studied it for you.

Question, I'm trying to remember the name for a reaction when a chemical such as caffeine in an adult, which causes them to be hyped up, causes a young child to go to sleep or relax instead?


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Old 04-30-2006, 12:40 AM   #63
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Not to worry. I studied it for you.

Question, I'm trying to remember the name for a reaction when a chemical such as caffeine in an adult, which causes them to be hyped up, causes a young child to go to sleep or relax instead?
Paradoxical effect. (you'd think it'd sound more Latin/Greek than that. For once someone called a med term by what it actually does.)
Usually refers to the stimulants used to treat ADD/ADHD.


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Old 04-30-2006, 02:19 AM   #64
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I have edited the last chapter so that I have removed the 'miraculous' destruction. The next chapter follows. Two more to go before Part one of the 2nd book is complete.


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Old 04-30-2006, 09:51 AM   #65
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Speaking of stickies (I know we weren't but I was thinking about it) I may post a thread on 'Resources' and if stingerhs wants to sticky it, then he can. I also thought that since a million of us ask you how to get a review, but don't read the entire critic's corner right off to get the info, you might want a separate 'So you want to get reviewed' thread, which would include info on how to submit and the recommendation to spellcheck/edit/etc. You know, the things you repeat for all of us.

You'd think I'd be more interested in naval history with my dad being a Navy man, but it just doesn't float my boat.


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Old 04-30-2006, 12:16 PM   #66
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Speaking of stickies (I know we weren't but I was thinking about it) I may post a thread on 'Resources' and if stingerhs wants to sticky it, then he can. I also thought that since a million of us ask you how to get a review, but don't read the entire critic's corner right off to get the info, you might want a separate 'So you want to get reviewed' thread, which would include info on how to submit and the recommendation to spellcheck/edit/etc. You know, the things you repeat for all of us.
I'd love it. Now if only I could get paid. To tell you all the truth I haven't had this much fun in ages. Reviewing, editing, critiquing is fun because I can act as a teacher, somthing I would never get hired to do.

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You'd think I'd be more interested in naval history with my dad being a Navy man, but it just doesn't float my boat.

Kid, I fell in love with military history when I watched an old movie called the 300 Spartans. I started studying anything and everything related to it. I can give you reasons for why a war began (Except for the Iraq mess, which makes absolutely no sense at the start) which go beyond the history books, and lay out how weapons changed warfare. I served in the Coast Guard, and my special love was Naval warfare for about fifteen years.


'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?

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Old 04-30-2006, 04:04 PM   #67
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I'd love it. Now if only I could get paid. To tell you all the truth I haven't had this much fun in ages. Reviewing, editing, critiquing is fun because I can act as a teacher, somthing I would never get hired to do.
One of the reasons I didn't finish the history PhD--there's no jobs. That, and while studying history of medicine, I missed actually being in the med field.

Quote:
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Kid, I fell in love with military history when I watched an old movie called the 300 Spartans. I started studying anything and everything related to it. I can give you reasons for why a war began (Except for the Iraq mess, which makes absolutely no sense at the start) which go beyond the history books, and lay out how weapons changed warfare. I served in the Coast Guard, and my special love was Naval warfare for about fifteen years.
You are just too kind with 'kid'....I've celebrated multiple anniversaries of my 29th b-day.
Iraq--I don't think we'll get too far on that til some documents get declassified. Watching Villepin and Powell debate in the UN prior to the war was fascinating.
The scuttlebutt among folks in the military (which I take with as much salt as I do any other gossip) is that they thought they were seeing WMDs moving, worried about Saddam doing something idiotic (esp to Israel, since he'd tossed some Scuds over there in the other war), and thought that Saddam was financing some of the terrorist cells. They also think the WMDs were transported just over the border in Syria and we don't want to go in and stir things up there. My thought is if they had enough nerve gas to take out an entire Kurdish village, they likely had at least chem weapons around somewhere. The fact that Saddam was thumbing his nose at the UN resolutions didn't help.


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Old 04-30-2006, 05:23 PM   #68
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Captive

Breia shook her head. She knew what had hit her. A sonic stunner circuit connected directly to the very internal communications system. It felt like someone had played a rather nasty game of Parpan with her head.

Her eyes opened. She was slung against a wall, tightly wrapped in plastic as if a spider had hung her for a meal. At a small table a few meters away, Landru sat, staring out the clearsteel at the panorama of Fondor. She sensed to her left and right. She was the only one on the wall. What of Amberdon?

“I am sorry. Your Padawan died.” Came a soft voice from the table. Landru sipped the bitter wine he had chosen for this moment. He looked up at his teacher. “There are some more susceptible to a sonic blast. I had not considered it.”

"What does one more death matter?" She asked.

He shrugged. "I had no animosity toward such a noble man. You have always chosen the noble kind of people for Padawan I have seen."

“Had you considered how many hundred of thousands would die when you created that hell weapon?”

“Yes I did.” He stood. “I am building a new world, a world without sin, where no devil with six legs can ever dwell ever again.”

“So a quarter million people had to die so you can live in this new world?”

“So I could create it.” He turned, walking toward the panels. He reach out, touching them as if he could hold the planet in his hand. “I don’t plan on living there, and they would not let me if tried. Don’t you see I know what I have become. I have not only cast aside everything you taught me, I used it to help me. I have become a monster that has only one reason to live, and once that reason is gone, I will leave the stage to those who deserve it without taking a bow. My name will be cursed for centuries, and no one will remember quite why I have done what I have.

“Remember the old legend of the Wanderers? Cast into space for two generations, led by a man that knew where they were bound, but unable to tell them where? If you remember he reached that new world, but died before he could set foot on it. Remembered now only for the voyage.” He pointed. “There, the red spot? That is my home town. Where I was born. Where my family lived until the consortium chose our planet for their vision of a better Galaxy.” She could sense the anguish he felt. “That red is Kusberi. It grows rapidly and is incredibly invasive. The Sulishti scattered spores of it throughout the northern hemisphere. They have been carried by the winds throughout the planet. There are little sprigs of the filth everywhere.

“None of my family survived that. Kusberi has a secondary effect that the Sulishti didn’t bother to mention. It is an allergen of exceptional strength. The pollen causes severe reactions in some people specifically humans.

“No one bothered to discover this until it was too late. Not the Sulishti, not the Companies that belong to the other races, not the governments.

“Oh the Conglomerate developed a medication eventually, when they had problems with their own people. But it isn’t for us. Unless a Fondorian works for the Conglomerate, they aren’t allowed to have it. Instead they offered compensation and relocation.

“Compensation! My family is extremely susceptible. My father died choking on his own vomit because the Conglomerate couldn‘t be bothered! When I heard I tried to go home, but the Conglomerate requires tests now for anyone coming to my home world. I was more susceptible if that is possible. I stood here!“ He pointed at the deck at his feet. “Here while watching my father’s pyre. My sister’s, my mother’s both of my younger brother’s. Unable to even touch that beloved flesh when they died. I can never go home because doing so will kill me as surely as it killed my family. A lot of my people have already died.

“Then I had to consider who is worse? The animals that needed a special diet, or the ones that strip mined mountains into pits for materials? That have let a quarter million people die rather than supply a vaccine because it will cut into their profits? It will take ten millennia or more before the planet can heal what they have caused if they stopped today. Ten thousand years of anguish for my people which can’t even start until the occupation ends.

“The Trade Authority-”

“The Trade Authority has only one rule. Trade must continue. No planet has the right to gainsay them in that holy quest.” Landru turned back. He motioned, and a droid moved forward. “Lower her and bring her, please.”

The droid, a version of the L7 Police units of Corellia slid her down off the wall, carrying her upright to be held before Landru.

“Don’t you think I tried, that We-” he waved back toward the planet, “didn’t try? Every time we found a sympathetic judge, we were forestalled. On Corellia, on Coruscant, on Ryloth, even on Nal Hutta, our injunctions would be filed, and on each planet other judges on higher courts struck them down.

“We tried one last time. I asked the Order for arbitration in the name of our people. What did we get?” He snarled. “Your precious council on Coruscant would only ‘study the problem’. They would ‘advise’ that there be a moratorium to discover if Kusberi could be rendered less dangerous to humans. They would try to convince the Conglomerate to suspend mining.”

“Zardan, the order does not have the authority to force governments to change. To force companies to do things a better way. That is what governments are for.

“And every government I mentioned except the Sulishti are controlled by the companies they would try to rein in. Eventually they would finally do so. What are a few hundreds of thousand of additional lives in that mix?” He motioned. “My people are still sick, they are still dying. If you were born on Fondor, living there is a death sentence issued at birth, thanks to the Sulishti.

“The Sulishti were the worst. To them all other races are either impediments, or background noise. They only speak to us when they want to. I went myself after I left the order. No hive officials would recognize my need, my pleas. I was detritus in the road to them.

“This is an excuse for killing-”

“Half a million of our people died while that went on!” He screamed. “Half a million people that did no harm to anyone. That weren’t important because they weren’t stockholders, didn’t vote on boards, didn’t live on Coruscant or one of the other worlds that decided to use our home as a factory and garbage dump.” He calmed, “I am merely returning that favor.”

He turned back to the screen. “Down there, fifty kilometers from my home, I have decided to put and end to it. When I am through the Galaxy will have to give us that ten thousand years.”

“So now you execute your own people?” She asked softly. “How does that balance the scales?”

“Kill them?” He laughed gently. “No my dear teacher. I am going to save them.”

*****

The Jedi in the second flight were rocked by the deaths of almost an entire race. The worst of it was there was no way to communicate between them. Traveling in hyper space was not unlike digging a hole, getting in it and filling it back in. Nothing went into that abyss that did not go in with you.

Yaka was affected worse than Breia was. She had felt death before, close enough because she had been dealing it. But the gentle Ithorian had never felt violent death beyond what was natural on his world, and that which happened by misadventure in a city. This was a weight that bore him down on his knees weeping. Breia was a little better off, but she held him as he cried not only for a race, but for those who had had done it, led by one of their order.

Aboard Padawan Rees of Coruscant. Newly appointed Padawan teacher Yodai locked himself in his room, weeping silently, rocking as he did. I failed you master he thought. [/i]I was not there to help you, protect you, and if failing die with you. How did you know?[/i]

Board Knight of Coruscant, Master Hobart wept for the Sulishti, for a student he had known for three decades, and in his heart for Breia Sookor. Even now he knew she could feel Sanji’s death. How much more pain could she take?

*****

Breia had decided that she had quite enough of hanging like a trophy on Landru’s wall. She felt around her clothes, and came to an alarming discovery. Landru had removed every bit of metal and plastic from her clothing while she was unconscious. For decades she had used her blindness ruthlessly when dealing with enemies. No one considered a blind woman as a real danger, and a blind old woman was even less so. She had always secreted blades and Cnifta darts through her clothes sowing them like crops she would need in the future, and had never been failed by them. Not this time.

She had never considered that anyone who was an enemy would ever know her this well.

Landru came into the room, looking out of the window again with a hungry look “I just received the message torpedo from the Monastery meant for you. My plan has worked beyond my wildest expectations. I had assumed the Monastery would send ships to stop the ship from crashing on Sulisht. I never imagined I had judged the Sulishti so poorly. They not only stopped the Jedi, allowing my plan to work, but when they discovered that it allowed their own people to be eliminated, they went home” He shook his head in wonder. “They went home and died with them.”

“This pleases you?” She snapped. “You have committed genocide and you’re pleased?”

“No.” His eyes grew sad. “That my people will no longer suffer because of them pleases me. That instead of living more years trying to hunt the last of them down I can end it pleases me. All the pleasure I gained was that my plan had worked. You taught me to enjoy a perfect plan clicking from beginning to flawless fruition. The few remnants of the species will die out, and good riddance.” He looked through the window again. Beyond it, Feradi awaited his signal. He punched in the codes, and the ship drove toward the planet below. “One more piece needs to be in position, and my task is done.” He turned. “I cannot allow you to stop me, but I do not want your death on my conscience, Master. I must wait for the rescue that will come. Only then will it all come together as it must.”

“You must stop. Millions will die.” Breia pleaded. “Think of the children!”

He maneuvered the distant robot vessel with finicky care, placing Feradi in orbit above his home at less than fifty miles altitude. Once it was there, held only by orbital mechanics, he leaned back, turning to face her.

“No. I have made an estimate. 62,500 more will die. None of them Fondorian.” He smiled sadly. “My last legacy. My last slap in the face at those who wish to treat my home as a garbage pit. My death will follow within hours.” He turned. “For my family, for my people. For my beloved dead. It ends here today.”


'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
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:48 PM   #69
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Cordon Sanitaire

Like avenging angels three couriers dropped out of hyperspace. Ahead of them approximately 14000 kilometers away was the bulk of the docks in orbits.

“Master, there is a ship registering as the Feradi in very low orbit of the planet.” Padawan Mooroli reported, the Lekku of his head weaving gently.

“Any sign of Millennium Falcon?”

“Yes sir.” He keyed a button, flashing a holo up. “The Falcon is in the boat bay of this small station in orbit approximately 50 kilometers higher.” He flinched. “Feradi is in motion. Dropping downward. The station is deorbiting. It will hit atmosphere in ten minutes.”

“Stop it I will, Master Hobart.”

“Do that, Yodai.” Hobart considered. There were too few of them. The people in shuttles headed for the planet had to be warned, as did the massive stations in orbit as well. But Breia was also in danger...

“Padawan Solo, go to Master Sookor’s rescue. I will go to the command station and quarantine everyone who has come up from the planet. We don’t have a lot of time.”

“On it.” Padawan Sani of Naboo swept down into a tight turn. “Padawan Reiger, you have to play shepherd. Do not let any more shuttles approach the planet. If they refuse to stop, fire a warning burst. If they still fail, fire to disable.” Without a word Knight of Ossus turned onto it’s new course.

“For all, may the Force be with us.” Knight of Coruscant turned toward the stations ahead, radio waves already reaching out.

*****
“Sir, these shuttles are scheduled up to 48 hours in advance. We cannot just cut the planet off-”

“Almost a half million people are already dead and you’re saying you can’t stop shuttles because it will interfere with your schedule? There are over sixty thousand of your own workers on the planet, along with three and a half million Fondorians and your precious schedule is more important?” Hobart asked coolly.

“Well I-”

Hobart continued ruthlessly. “Since this conversation is being recorded I ask you again; Which is more important, your precious schedule or more lives!”

The man swallowed, and his voice was quavering. He hit a button and an alarm klaxon sounded. “All stations, cease launching and recovering planet bound shuttles. I repeat., all stations, cease launching and recovering planet bound shuttles. All stations go to defensive fire plan Beta. All defensive systems on active.

“All shuttles approaching planet Fondor. Do not enter atmosphere, I repeat, all shuttles approaching planet Fondor. Do not enter atmosphere.

“All shuttles on approach from planet Fondor, go to area grid Zed Alpha Niner, hold until called for. Any and I repeat any attempt to dock before you have been cleared will cause your destruction. Defensive systems on all station are now active.” He switched off. “Satisfied?”

“Not until this menace is taken care of.

*****

Padawan Rees of Coruscant dived howling into the upper atmosphere. Below it, barely traveling mach 7, was Feradi. “All weapons active.” Yodai ordered. He turned to his console. The ship had made three circuits of the planet before he had closed the range, and the gas that was venting stopped. A series of smaller canisters had been spraying outward on this orbit instead of gas, but Yodai wasn‘t taking any chances. The Proton torpedo dropped, slamming forward at almost a tenth of light speed. The launch and the explosion that shredded the ship into flinders happened almost simultaneously.

“What about the canisters?” Padawan Samsun asked.

“Too small to target they are. Hope we must that people not there when they land.”

The canisters spun madly on their descent, steadying to drop almost straight down as they cleared a kilometer’s height. At a quarter kilometer, very small charges peeled them open like ripe fruit, dispensing flocks of bird into the air. On the night side they settled down, going to sleep automatically. But on the day side, the air was filled with deadly song.

*****
“Shuttle Alpha two niner, this is Jedi courier Knight of Ossus. You will immediately come right to two zero niner and proceed to area Zed Alpha Niner as instructed.”

“Knight of Ossus. we are closer to Fondor ground one. Will proceed-”

Padawan Reiger keyed the guns. He had purposely offset by seven degrees, a distance of just 200 meters in front of the plunging shuttle’s bow. The tracers shot past like bolts of livid fire. The shuttle leaped upward like a fly attempting to escape.

“Mayday, mayday! This is shuttle Alpha two niner! We are under attack!

“Shuttle Alpha two niner, that was your only warning shot. I am dialing the weapons to center of vehicle mass.” Reiger, a tall man with long ash blonde hair and cold eyes leaned into his microphone. “You have five second to comply.” He then began counting calmly.

At four the shuttle lifted back toward orbit.

“Shuttle Alpha two niner, I will warn you that if you attempt to head anywhere except Area Zed Alpha Niner, we do carry four missiles. You will get a first hand look at what they can do out to three light seconds distance.”

Sullenly the shuttle did exactly what it had been told to do.

“Master Reiger. I though the range of our missiles was only two point five light seconds.”

“Really? You mean I lied to that man?” His look was so innocent that Padawan Diera Coori laughed.

*****
“Look, Master, they approach as I anticipated.” Landru opened the boat bay, dispassionately watching Millennium Falcon flip end for end as the air blew it away from the station.

“I do hope someone saves the ship.” He commented. “We spent a lot of years aboard that ship.”

“Yes. “ Breia sighed. “Enough to know that you have gone insane my apprentice.”

“Apprentice.” He sighed, looking back at her with love in his eyes. “You may not know it, but you saying that word takes me so far back.”

“Back before murder was an option.”

“After I am dead, and you see what I have done, at least someone will understand.” He turned away, all business again. “Only one ship. A maximum of four Monks. I will deal with them, bundle you onto the ship, and send it off. Goodbye, Master.” He slipped a pair of earplugs into his ears into his ears, and touched the key for the sonic projector.

*****
As Padawan Sani of Naboo settled on the deck, Yaka found himself humming. An atonal wail from all four throats simultaneously. He almost stopped, but it suddenly struck him.

There was a predator on his home world called a Shrieker. It attacked by first stunning it’s prey with a supersonic wail, then stung the victim to death and fed on the body. His people had developed the same atonal wail to protect themselves and when struck by such an attack, the instinctively gave out this humming sound. Beside him Breia Solo gave a shriek of pain, holding her ears in agony. He stood, still wailing, and ran to the cargo bay. He found a set of ear protectors, sliding them on the woman as the tone died.

“What is happening?” A4’s eyes turned toward him.

“Sonic weapon. The Master is unconscious.” He turned. The droid had followed him. Can you pilot this ship?”

“That is very simple. I can-”

“This station will fall out of atmosphere in less than a minute. If I am not back you must get the ship away.”

“But you don’t have time-” The droid was talking to empty space.

*****

Yaka passed the droid carrying the unconscious Master Sookor. He could not have explained to a layman where he was going. Another Jedi would have understood that little tilt of sound or light that guided him.

The room was deep and open. A man stood at the transparisteel windows, watching as they edges of metal began to begin to glow. He looked up, taking in the Ithorian with a calm glance. “If you don’t leave immediately, you will die.”

“I am taking you with me, Landru. The dead demand it.”

“I don’t care what they demand, my young friend. I am going home.”

“If I must force you, you will come.” Yaka drew his sword, then gently lay it on the deck. Then he lumbered forward.

*****

“What is happening?” Breia Sookor snapped awake with yet another headache. There was a rather ugly droid standing over her.

“I was ordered to move this ship away and into space when one minute had elapsed.”

She stood. She was unsteady, but she had been freed. She walked over to the command seat where her young namesake lay still stunned taking her sword. “Then I suggest you obey that order.”

“But Master Sookor-”

“I have to try to save an old friend.” She dived out of the ship, running. A4 watched her go. 29 seconds and counting...

*****

Breia flew down the corridors, running against time. Even as she knew she was too late.

The room was as it had been when she had first awakened there. Only one thing was different, the crumpled body of a young Ithorian lay curiously relaxed on the floor. She turned. Landru stood at the window. “Another life.” She snapped.

He turned, tears running down his cheeks. The gun he had used to kill the young Jedi dropped from his trembling hand “He was the bravest being I have ever met. He cast away his sword to take me with his bare hands. I pointed the gun at him. Fired a warning shot! He struggled with me, it went off...” Landru fell to his knees. “Why can’t you just kill me or let me die?” He screamed. “It is done, over, and I want to go home!”

She padded toward him, standing over him like Nemesis. He looked up, eyes begging.

Breia set the sword down, kneeling to hold him. The frame of the transparisteel was burning away as the station continued it’s final plunge.

“My greatest student, my greatest failure.” She whispered.

“But you don’t understand. I didn‘t fail.”

He spoke to her, telling her all. By the end she was laughing when the transparisteel melted.

*****

Three seconds...Two seconds...One second... A4 keyed the controls. The ramp coming up even as the engines screamed. He spun the ship in place, ramming it through the opening door of the boat bay.

“Wha...” Breia Solo tried to stand, but between a blinding headache and vertigo she ended up sprawled on the deck. Around her she could feel the ship shuddering as it punched up out of the atmosphere.

“Yaka...”

“Padawan Yaka left the ship intending to find Master Sookor and the enemy. He did not return. Master Sookor was brought aboard by the L7 waiting in the cargo bay. I have accessed it’s memory. A full rendition of how the gas was manufactured was in it‘s memory along with a list of everyone connected to it. Those who have not already been incarcerated will be.”

“Breia...”

“She left the ship to save an old friend in her own words. Both of them gave me a countdown to depart if they had not returned.”

“They... Are still on the station?”

“There is no station for them to be on.” The screen lit up. Behind them, the burning hulk of the station was screaming down into the atmosphere. As she watched, it landed in a circle of buildings surrounded by a deep red growth of plants. At mach 20 it was no longer metal and plastic, but an energy state eager for immolation. The equivalent of a ten kiloton warhead erased the town it fell on from the map.

She stared at it in horror. Yaka, Master Breia Sookor. Gone in a flash of light heat and sound. The com panel flashed, and she keyed it absently.

“Padawan Sani of Naboo. This is Padawan Reiger aboard Knight of Coruscant. Did you succeed?”

“No.” She whispered, sliding into the flight seat of the ship. “Padawan Yaka and Master Sookor are both dead. They rode the station down.”

“Gods.” Reiger gasped. “Join up at the command station with Master Hobart. I’ll keep this up.”

“No.” She wiped her eyes. “You need help. I will circle the containment area until all shuttles are accounted for.”

“Understood, Padawan Solo. You ride herd, I‘ll chivvy them along.”

*****

“Curious.” A4 said.

“What are you going on about now?” Breia asked dully.

“The chemical composition of the weapon.”

“What?”

“It is not stable.”

“Of course it is not stable. Creating a weapon susceptible to a sound vibration pretty much guarantees that it will be unstable.” She snapped.

“Yes. But examine these.” above the droid’s head a holo showed the artificial chemical breaking down then recombining in the Kusberi DNA. As she watched, each was highlighted. “The Sulishti specific compound has changed. It is no longer lethal, but...”

“But what?“

“It now causes a violent reaction to air pressure, making them physically sick the higher they go. The effects are similar to withdrawal from some of the nastier pain medications. An altitude of even a few hundred meters will cause physical discomfort bordering on agony.” The photo receptors swiveled. “You do know that on ships all species reduce standard air pressure to save on mass carried. Just being in a ship when they seal the hatch could be painful. It also causes a panic reaction linked directly to this in any that breathe it in the long term. Every time they try it will become worse. But these,” The other three flashed. “Are unstable. they have half lives if you will.”

“Meaning?”

“The first to dissipate into uselessness is the Human specific. It needs these key elements (Sections started to flash) which do not occur in nature. They are manufactured. 48 hours after the Kusberi begins producing it, the compound becomes this.” Another molecule subtly different appeared. “Though it does not degrade into safety for almost 2,000 years.

“the Twi-lek specific begins degrading next, but is still dangerous for 4,000 years. However when the cast off molecules interact with the degraded Human specific compound it creates this.” Another molecule again subtly different appeared. “This will begin to occur within two weeks.

“The Hutt specific will take almost 10,000 years to degrade, but the castoff molecules will combine with the newly formed Human / Twi-lek hybrid to form this within about three months.” The new molecule looked a lot like...

“Bidraxidine?”

“A naturally occurring form that does not need to be manufactured. Actually if my figures for collecting and encasing the gas in carbonite are correct it will be cheaper to merely siphon filter and bottle it there in atmosphere rather than pay for manufacture. Since the primary supplier of Bidraxidine to the Galaxy are the Hutt, they no longer have a corner on the market.

“The large molecules which are still toxic can be filtered readily, so when the plant life creates the Bidraxidine it can be sold. The species in question merely cannot go to the planet for it.

“If any Sulishti are off their home planet, they will be unable to live on a planet or travel through a station where this chemical in use unless they are willing to stay there forever.”

“What about the Ruurians Verpine-”

“Yes, in the artificial form. This agricultural form will not break free if aspirated by those races. Their adrenal analogs will not cause it to form the weapon. It is perfectly harmless.” The droid swiveled it’s eyes toward her. “However, there is one other problem with the raw gas product during that period. The only way to be perfectly safe for either Humans Hutt or Twi-lek or for species other than the Sulishti on their home world require two things. One is they have to be exposed to this gas in every form from original to reconstituted, or have been born where it is present.

“Second, they must have a quantity of Kusberi pollen in their lungs and sinus cavities equal to a minimum of six months constant exposure. Any human not already been resident on Fondor for that period of time, is in deadly danger, and no new people can move there until the initial toxin has been rendered harmless without taking the chance that some of it remains.

“The children!”

“What has not been checked by the medical staff was the affect of this gas on juvenile forms. However like most stimulants used by adults, the paradoxical effect comes into play. Even in a normal environment, a child is unaffected by this chemical. Had you noticed that most of the survivors aboard relatively undamaged stations have been children?”

She hadn‘t. Damn. But it made sense. Everyone goes mad, you are afraid, you run and hid. Somewhere they can’t reach you. A child’s idea of hiding saved you when force of arms could not. “But what of the workers from the orbital facilities?”

“They get only sporadic doses of the pollen when they are in the planet. A continued exposure to the pollen is why the native Fondorians are so badly affected. They get it constantly. But when this strikes they will be the only ones free of the weapon.

“Then there is this which is also odd.” The toxin was displayed, and beside it, a small series of molecules. “On the left is the toxin. On the right, is the primary enzme in Kusberi pollen which affects humans and especially Fondorians. When they combine...” The toxin touched the pollen, and rolled around it, the toxin matching the pollen exactly. “The toxin blocks the chemical in the Kusberi from assimilation. It is a totally natural antidote to the allergic reaction. At the same time this combination renders the toxin inert in humans but no other race.

“Oh gods.” Breia slapped her forehead. He’s created a cordon Sanitaire!’

“What?”

“A term that means ‘clean area’. He has created a place where humans can live eventually, and anyone native can remain, but no one else can.”

She looked toward the planet, shaking her head in wonder. Then turned to her duties.

*****
The final death toll was 61,428. Watching the scenes from the cameras set up in the towns created for the workers was too reminiscent of what she had seen to feel good to Breia. But the scenes from the towns where the Fondorians lived apart from the interlopers was positively pastoral. Behind he she could hear a couple of the Conglomerate board members talking.

“We’ll have to build a massive station just for R&R.” One commented. “It’ll set our growth predictions back by at least a decade.”

“No. We‘ll just raise the price on our ships 10% across the board...”

Master Hobart came up before she turned to rip someone’s head off.

*****

Breia Solo’s Journal: Looking down on the planet, I am sure that both Landru and my namesake Master Sookor are both having a good laugh at what has occurred. Two planet has been neatly excised from the galaxy, and the only people capable of settling on the other one live on the planet below me, which is under quarantine, and will be for ten millennia.

She would probably be upset with the loss of Millennium Falcon but when Knight of Ossus went back to tow her in, the ship had been spinning down into atmosphere. Master Reiger and Padawan Diera Coori swear the ship turned to point her blunt bow at the planet before her final dive. She had served one mistress since I was a baby, and refused to let anyone sail her with that mistress now dust.

There are fifty thousand workers in the, uh ‘soft’ industries still trapped down below. Read bartenders, waitresses, people of negotiable affections, you name it. People that had lived on the planet so they could batten on the workers. The one group that Landru did not work into his calculations. All there long enough for the pollen to save their lives. It will take a long time to work out a way to transport them off. Without their usual source of income, they are not happy to be there, and the Fondorians don’t want them there.

There are also 42,000 children of five different races down there and seventeen human planets as well, orphaned by the weapon. While the conglomerate is trying to find parents and relatives, there is no hurry. The Fondorians are family oriented, and every child even the Rodian and Hutt children can find homes if they wish to stay. i watched a pair of families arguing who would take a poor immature Hutt of only seventy years old. The Sulishti trapped on that world have been relocated to Delta continent. Oddly enough now that they are trapped among us, they are beginning to interact more readily with other races.

The change between the sickly people that had lived tormented by the Kusberi and the people now immune to it is astonishing. If the corporations decide they have to mine on this planet. the citizens won’t forget the mess that has been made any time soon.

They have named the small songbirds ‘Landru’s skimmer. Whether we wish to label him a villain or a hero, the people of that once tortured planet will remember his music with fondness.

Even his last act was a touch of genius. The station he rode to his death landed almost exactly on the village he had been born in, abandoned by the Fondorians for five decades. He went home, and assured no one would live there ever. Only 20,000 odd of those leeches who worked for the Conglomerate lived there.

Master Hobart told me that Breia went to her death in peace. She was still alive when the station fell into the atmosphere and he swears amused greatly just before she died. He also opined that it was the Force itself that helped Landru succeed.

Now I wonder.

The Force is within all of us. Perhaps the power of four million odd people in torment fed his ability, made his plan no matter how insane it seemed work so smoothly. The reports from Nar Shaddaa are a puzzle because no one ordered Hand personnel to lay the elaborate fields of booby traps that were discovered at the stations that had been attacked. There is no signature of who might have done it, or why. Every piece used in their manufacture were common materials and the only way to tell a Corellian ‘Room Broom’ from the Coruscanti ‘Man sweeper is by serial numbers. Everything supposedly was already aboard those stations, and you can believe it if you wish. A lot of the Military do.

Some have suggested that people on the stations that have knowledge of such things placed them during their madness, but it begs the question of the ones set up with equipment they would not have had, such as missile pods. It is the one puzzle remaining.

The Chancellor won the election with a landside, his party so firmly in power I do not expect him to be deposed any time soon. He assured that the courts martial for the officers arrested at his order were scrupulously fair. Admirals Tori Logan Nadien Charles were convicted of all charges. The only one not sent to prison was Charles, who shot himself with his own sidearm before the sentence was read. Minister Riker was stripped of his seat in the senate, and is to be tried before a civilian court. Considering everything a lawyer can do in front of a civilian court that is not allowed before a military one, the trial may begin sometime in the next decade.

We are enroute to Coruscant. I am being assigned a new Padawan learner...


'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; 05-03-2006 at 02:51 AM. Reason: rewrite
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:14 AM   #70
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Sigh, very bittersweet. Enough to make me feel quite emotional about it. And that is no easy task.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 05-02-2006, 01:11 AM   #71
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Well, I have only one question for all of you.

Was Landru really that evil?


'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
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:19 AM   #72
Jae Onasi
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I have a tough time justifying exterminating an entire species for any reason. I'm not a moral relativist.
I can understand how he went down that path, however.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 05-02-2006, 01:26 AM   #73
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If you read my critic column, you will notice that at least three of our young fellows (One in the Galactic Senate) have explored this subject deeply. It isn't a matter of the old miquoted 'we destroyed the village to save it'. Rather it is, as I asked, did the Force itself assist this poor man to save his people? I agree that the destruction of an entire race was a bit of an over reaction. I will probably rewrite it and instead hit the Sulishti with something else.

Tell me, Jae, could I have arranged for the toxin not to kill them all, but to make it so the only place they could live is on their home world? Requiring say a constant supply of the enzymes from the Kusberi, like an addiction complex for Barbiturates?

It would mean that the toxin would also have to alter the Kusberi on Fondor (Maybe something in the soil is fundamentally different) so that they can live on their home world but can't come to Fondor without dying?


'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
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:42 AM   #74
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This is something you can play with. If you want to keep them tied on their planet/system exclusively, you might want to do something that prevents them from being x miles outside the atmosphere/system or something like that, or alter their hive mentality so that they never want to leave (such as changing something in their pheromones and so on), etc. You could make the xenophobia so bad that they never even want to leave their system. You could create a compound that interacts with their chemistry that means they can't leave an atmosphere of their specific chemistry, or make something unique to their planet--make it so that only their planet has the one thing they need to survive--a chemical, a bacterium/good virus/etc., the specific wavelength of their sun or planet magnetic field (though that could be reproduced I guess on a ship) etc.
Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer does it with a symbiot--once you're infected with it, you can't leave the planet for very long if at all.

If you do something to only keep them off Fondor, they can go other places.


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Old 05-02-2006, 09:46 AM   #75
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I see what you mean. I have so many options. I will revise the chapter Too Late. Everyone give me about a week on that.

So, shall I finish book one and go on to book 2? I give the saucy 15 year old minx a name in that one.


'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
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Old 05-02-2006, 02:54 PM   #76
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"Did the Force assist Landru in saving his people" and "Was Landru evil" are two very different questions. The first asks about method, the second ethics. A third question--did Landru use the Force or did the Force use him?
I can't decide on if he used or got used by the Force. Was he evil? Yes.
I don't mind Landru being a sociopath that destroys an entire planet. It's very dark side. You can be a Hannibal Lechter-level sociopath and still manage to create good from thoroughly evil acts, intentionally or unintentionally.

Just my opinion, fwiw--Sanji's method of death bugged me a bit, probably because I always feel Jedi deserve 'noble' deaths if they really have to die in stories. It's like even in death they should be contributing something positive to life.
Sure, 'bad' deaths happen in real life all too often (DUIs, GSWs, etc), but SW isn't real life. My 2 pence.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

Read The Adventures of Jolee Bindo and see the amazing Peep Surgery
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Old 05-02-2006, 03:25 PM   #77
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I am working at rewriting parts of both Too Late and Cordon Sanitaire. I think I might surprise you...


'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; 05-02-2006 at 03:26 PM. Reason: serious typos
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Old 05-03-2006, 02:13 AM   #78
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I give two thumbs up for Republic Dawn for compelling characters, lots of hi-powered action, and a plot that really grabs hold of the reader. Well, at least one reader anyway.


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Old 05-03-2006, 02:40 AM   #79
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Posts 60 (Too Late) and 69 (Cordon Sanitaire) have been rewritten to reflect Jae's comments.

Post 79 is the end of part one.


'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
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Old 05-03-2006, 02:57 AM   #80
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The never ending mission...

Padawan Dame Breia Solo stood before the line of ships. After discovering the gift of the Coruscanti Chancellor had given, Corellia Ryloth and even Nal Hutta had not wanted to be left out. She thought they had given their gift only to assure that they were thought of fondly by the Jedi, but that might be her own cynicism talking.

Of course the Hutt had supplied ships built by the Kuati, but it was the thought after all.

Seven medium cargo vessels were already en route to the other planets where the Order had Monasteries, one for each. The courier class ships given had been divided up so every one of the eight monasteries had four, and just to show equanimity, they had been split up so everyone was represented on the core systems. She sighed. While each of the other cargo ships were as yet unnamed, (Merely being called Jedi transport one to seven) there were more than enough names in the rolls of their dead for each of the couriers to receive names. Master Hontu was the only one with a cargo ship named after him.

She walked down the line. At the end was the computer panel, and she knew by asking it the list would be displayed. Every name of those 32 ships would strike a cord in her heart. She had known or learned of every one of them.

Only four were assigned to Coruscant. Four of the ships gleamed before her on the tarmac beside her own, waiting for their next assignments. Their crews, their missions...

Their deaths.

Padawan Sani of Naboo was remaining assigned to Coruscant along with three others. She could think of nothing that fit what they had lost more this last month than the ships that still sat waiting.

She reached up to touch the nose of each. Master Sookor of Echana, A sleek arrowhead shape like her own Hawk Flight. She would go on to Ossus as soon as a flight crew could be assigned. Master Gretu of Triseki, the sweeping lines of the Ryloth shipyards. And Padawan Yaka of Ithor. He would have probably been confused if he’d seen the ship that represented him. Irony was something he hadn’t mastered.

The Kuati designed ships that were not only fast, but heavily armed. Not two but 3 chain guns, a rotary fast reload launcher with six missiles. It looked like a pirate, named after the most gentle being she had ever known.

Padawan teacher Yodai was bouncing down the lane toward the tarmac, Padawan Learner Samsun though almost three times his height was almost jogging to keep up.

“Bought all the stores you have?” Yodai asked.

“Yes, master.”

“And tea is fully stocked?”

“Of course, Master.”

“Then leave we can?”

“If you let me go to the bathroom first!”

Yodai stopped, looking up at the tall man. “Should have gone before we left.”

Samsun stared at him, then grinned. “That’s a joke, right?”

“Joke I never do.” Yodai turned, an eyelid dropping in a lazy wink at Breia. “Ready you are Padawan Solo?”

Breia shook her head. “I am still waiting for my new Padawan learner.” She sighed. “Perhaps you should allow Samsun to run to the bathroom before we leave?”

“Control very important. Younglings must learn control. Of everything.” He glanced slyly at the young man. “Bladders especially.”

“All right, I know that was a joke!”

The elders chuckled. He dashed aboard Master Gretu of Triseki.

“Assigned you are where?”

“I am off to Mandalore. They want to have a Jedi handle the negotiations between the hiring authority and the Duros. And you?”

“To Lortu I am bound. End the war with Berodilo and Duloc they wish.”

“It’s about time. That war is older than I am.”

A figure in robe was walking toward them. Breia’s heart stopped. Yaka?

The Ithorian stopped, bowing. “Masters.”

They acknowledged her. She turned to Breia. “Master Solo, I am Meeri. I have been assigned as your Padawan Learner.”

“How did you do in sword training?”

“While I do not like the idea of using a weapon, I understand that it might become necessary.”

“It might.” Breia agreed. “Can you cook?”

“This is not something I learned, Master.”

“Call me Breia. The one thing to remember is that most beings do not eat all of their food raw. I can cook, but there will be times when I am too busy with the problem we are dealing with to cook, so you will have to learn some cooking.” She turned, walking toward Hawk Flight. “The first thing you will learn to cook is one of my old apprentice’s favorites. They are called Pancakes. As long as you stay away from the Coruscanti glow spice syrup and the Fire spice syrup. ..


'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; 05-03-2006 at 03:00 AM. Reason: typo
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