Star Wars: Unveiled Hope
Episode One: Prophecy
The imaging pad flashed to life, and the image of a male human in flowing brown robes flickered to life, standing with his arms relaxed at his sides. His robes were clean and tidy, and his brown hair was neatly kept, flowing gently to a stop at his shoulders. If it weren’t for the blank look on his face, he would have been handsome. The image began to slowly rotate as the lecturer began.
“The Jedi,” he said ominously. “Possibly the most famous - or infamous - Order in the history of the galaxy. Knights from across the Galaxy would come here, to Coruscant, to be trained in the ways of the Jedi. There were other such training centres all over the galaxy, but the largest was no doubt here, on Coruscant. And even though it’s been three thousand years since the fall of the Order, their influence is still felt across the Galaxy.”
The class was somewhat better attended that it usually was - Ancient Galactic History was a much more popular course this term. Dr. Ralgadorr Tavik stood at the head of the room, beaming up at all the faces arrayed before him in the multi-tiered lecture hall. The new material he had introduced about the Jedi Order and the late Imperialistic Age had done the trick, alright. Once word spread that Professor Maltic had passed the course to someone else, it was sure to pick up some much needed popularity - the course had been in danger of being eliminated from the program. Luckily, Tavik had been able to convince the Board to give him two semesters with it. He turned slightly, the better to see the hologram on the imaging pad.
“The man you see before you is a reasonable representation of the average human Jedi Knight’s appearance: unassuming robes, gloved hands, and neatly kept hairstyle.” He tapped a control on his data-pad, and the image slowly blended into a cross-section diagram of a strange cylindrical device. The class drew it’s collective breath as they looked up at the enlarged image of the ancient weapon. Tavik smiled. “I see you all recognise the Jedi lightsaber. For decades, they were believed to be nothing more than a myth, until a Mon Calamari doctor named Aamek stumbled across one while excavating the Zelhadi ruins on Tola Prime.” He tapped the data-pad again, and the imaging pad shut down as the lights faded in. “Next month,” he said, “We will begin our studies of the ancient Knights - spending a possibly unnecessary amount of time on some of the most famous names to come from the Order - Kenobi, Windu, and the Skywalker line in particular. We will also spend a good part of the semester studying the different branches of the Order, particularly the many denominations calling themselves Sith - and yes, there is a distinct difference between the Jedi and the Sith. But we’ll get to that.”
Tedran Rykive sat near the back of the room, paying close attention to the lecturer, typing notes madly on his data-pad. He already knew a great deal about the Jedi Order and their Sith ‘counterparts’, but was sure that he would learn something from the course. And if not, he would at least get an easy credit.
Doctor Tavik continued. He moved to his desk, sitting on the edge, facing the class. “I’d like to start by getting an idea of what lies and anti-Jedi propaganda your minds have been polluted with over the years. Can anyone tell me, first of all, about the hierarchy of the Order?”
A few members of the class exchanged blank looks at his question. A fairly large Twi’lek male activated the small red light in the top right corner of his desk, but Tedran beat him to it - Tavik noticed Tedran’s light first. He nodded for him to speak.
“There were three councils, all of them convening here on Coruscant at the Jedi Temple - which the Republic Arts Museum is built over top of now. Each council was governed by a single High Council, consisting of twelve Masters, headed by the Order’s Grand Master.”
Tavik nodded, impressed. “Very good, Mr...”
“Rykive, sir,” he responded, somewhat nervously. He didn’t do well in front of crowds. He never had. “Tedran Rykive.”
Tavik nodded. “Mr. Rykive is correct. From what we’ve been able to tell after recent excavations of the old Temple here on Coruscant, we know that four of the five pillars were occupied by a council - though which council convened in which tower, we’re not sure.”
A few heads turned to glance at Tedran - most likely those who didn’t know the difference between the Jedi and Sith Orders. Those who believed that Grand Master Yoda had held the title ‘Darth’. Idiots.
Tavik had continued speaking. “What about the morals of the Jedi? Can anyone tell me about them?”
A human female with short brown hair and - strangely enough, spectacles, responded with a wry smile. “Sort of like a ‘slice first, ask questions later’ system,” she said. “Take no prisoners, don’t go down without a fight, that sort of thing.”
Tedran shook his head, smiling. Tavik’s face remained neutral. “Not entirely correct,” he said. “You’re most likely thinking of the Sith. No, the Jedi had a fairly advanced system of morals, for the barbaric times they lived in. Pacifism was a key aspect of their faith, as was vegetarianism. They refrained from killing their opponents in battle, as well, preferring to take live prisoners.
“And that is the point that I wish to impress upon you now, at the start of the semester, instead of two months from now. There are many... stories... about the Jedi that are simply untrue. Much of the ‘common knowledge’ about the Jedi is either misinformation, confusing the Jedi and Sith Orders, or simply fiction altogether. If you don’t accept that now, then you’ll have a hard time in this course, as the Jedi played a key part in the development of the Galaxy in the ancient times, before they became extinct, along with the Aqualish race, shortly before the eradication of the Plague.”
A deep bell chimed three times, signalling the end of the first Ancient Galactic History period of the semester. Tavik nodded to the class at large, signalling that they were dismissed. There was a crescendo of murmuring as the students began packing up their data-pads and shving them into their overstuffed bags, heading off for their various next classes.
Tedran stood, shutting down his computer terminal and carefully gathering his notes and placing them all in his bag. A few people bumped into him as they passed, not stopping to apologise. He glared at a particularly large Twi’lek male as the oaf nearly knocked him over as he passed on his way to the exit. He finished gathering his belongings, and followed him out of the room.
The corridors were even more crowded than the classroom, despite how wide they were. The Academy hadn’t been designed to accommodate the almost 25 000 students and faculty that currently attended and taught there. But over the past thirty-odd years, the Republic had taken great leaps into piecing together the history of the Galaxy, and the Republic Scientific and Historical Academy was the place to go for the growing number of people who seemed to be interested in the mysteries of the past.
Tedran stepped out the front doors out onto the Academy campus, the polished buttons of his scrupulously tidy school uniform gleaming in the early afternoon sunlight. The courtyard was bustling with activity as students made their way from class to class, laughing and talking with their classmates as they went. Tedran walked at a brisk pace, staring at the ground as he went, avoiding making eye contact with anyone - he wasn’t comfortable with strangers.
He moved away from the history buildings, three skyscrapers poking through the bottom of the hanging campus like fingers breaching the surface of a lake from underwater. There were no skycars allowed through the campus - all traffic was directed beneath the grounds, leaving the Academy in a state of perpetual silence in comparison to the rest of the bustling planet. Tedran headed towards the student housing at the centre of campus, Ancient Galactic History being his final class for the day. His apartment was in the building furthest from the history buildings, but he didn’t care - he rather enjoyed the peace and quiet, the time away from lecturers and notes and classmates. He didn’t have to talk to anybody. He didn’t have to pretend to be friendly and cheerful all the time. People left him alone - not that anyone was ever eager to talk to him anyway, what with his formal dress and quiet demeanor.
He turned left at the Diplomatic and Entrepreneurial Studies buildings, taking the long way back to his dormitory - he was in no rush to return to the cramped apartment, nor to speak to his over-friendly room-mate. He was in absolutely no hurry to find dirty clothes strewn across the floor, accompanied by the scent of sweat and mold that, no matter how many times he reprogrammed the environmental systems, just wouldn’t go away.
A group of Rodian students sat out front of the Interplanetary Negotiations building - the smallest building on campus, at only four lecture-devoted floors. One of them saw Tedran approaching, and began motioning to his fellows for silence. They turned to see why they were being silenced, and noticed Tedran coming closer. They eyed him carefully as he passed, but said nothing as he moved past them towards the dormitory buildings looming ever closer.
He walked up the pathway to his building slowly, trying to delay the inevitable punch in the face from the stench of his room-mate. A pair of girls - one human and one Twi’lek - were hanging over their balcony, clearly not in a right mind at all. They leaned over the railing, yelling down at him. Rolling his eyes, Tedran stepped over the threshold into the building, and was met instantly by the stench of cheap fast food and fresh paint that seemed to have been soaked up years ago by the walls. He moved towards the lift, passing few people on his way - most people had probably already left for their afternoon classes, something that he was blissfully free of this term. As the lift doors opened, the old Duros landlord stepped out of it, nodding to Tedran as he passed. The human took the older man’s place in the lift, keying for the twelfth above-campus floor. The doors closed, and the lift began to ascend to is floor.
As the lift moved above the campus access floor, the back of the life opened up to a large, meticulously clean transparasteel window, looking out over campus. As he passed the eighth floor, he saw the two girls still hanging over their balcony, no doubt yelling down at someone else who happened to be passing within earshot. They didn’t seem to notice the life going up past them, nor the dark look of disgust Tedran threw out at them.
The lift slowed to a halt on the twelfth floor, and the doors parted to allow him to leave. The hallway was uncomfortably warm, and he unbuttoned the triangular flap that buttoned at his collar, allowing the flap to fold over itself as he left the buttons going up his chest done up. He tapped in the lock combination on the door, and moved to enter the room - but the doors didn’t open. He tried the combination again, but to no avail. He instead pressed his finger against the small rectangular pad on the right side of the key-pad. There was a faint buzzing, and the sound of hurried stumbling from inside. There was a muffled crash, and the doors slid open, his roommate standing framed in the door. He was wearing a towel around his waist, and a wide grin on his face. “Sorry about that, Ted,” he said.
Tedran pushed past him into the room. “Don’t call me Ted,” he said, breathing out heavily as he adjusted to the sudden change in humidity. The ever-present stench of sweat was surprisingly mild as he turned to his roommate, who had closed the door and moved past him towards the bathroom again.
“Whatever,” he said dismissively. “Sorry,” he said again, as he entered the bathroom. “I was in the shower. Didn’t hear you trying to get in.”
Tedran rolled his eyes, gently placing his bag in the small closet next to the apartment’s only door. He undid another button on his uniform shirt. “Radik, why is it so hot in here?”
“Oh,” he answered, coming out of the bathroom now fully clothed. “I tried re-setting the environmental controls - it was way too hot in here.”
“This is an improvement?” asked Tedran incredulously.
“Not really... I, uh... I think I must have pressed the wrong control or something... the console started flashing a red light at me, and it froze up. I left it alone after that.”
Tedran turned to the console, and saw the red light Radik was talking about.
“For the love of...” he said, after taking a closer look at the console. “It looks like you’ve managed to program the environmental system to fill the room with cryozene gas.” He looked up to see Radik giving him a blank look. “It’s a poison, Radik,” he said shortly. “You’re lucky the failsafes disabled the system, or you’d have started drowning in your own bile about an hour ago...”
Radik chuckled. “Whatever, man. Just fix it while I’m out, will you?”
Tedran sighed. “Don’t touch the thing from now on, and I won’t have to fix it again,” he muttered. Out loud, he said, “Alright. Where are you headed?”
“I have no classes until tomorrow afternoon,” he said. “Thought I’d go for a ‘walk’.”
Rolling his eyes, Tedran looked down at the console. “Try not to get too yelt-faced,” he said. “I’ll fix the environmental controls, but I’m not going to clean up after your drinking binges.”
Radik ignored him, examining his reflection in the back of the console. “You think I should shave?” he asked, stroking his stubble disdainfully. “Ah, space it,” he said, not waiting for an answer. He clapped Tedran on the shoulder and moved past him. “Talk to you later, Ted.”
“Don’t call me Ted!” he snapped, as the door sealed behind his exiting roommate.