SW: TOR: RECKONING OF A LOST SOUL: RED, RED, RED!
Part Six of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
CORUSCANT STREETS AND PLAZAS, 1400 HOURS
Originally, Qyzen Fess and I had thought the mission to which Agent Stavros had assigned us would keep us on our toes every minute. However, we sorely underestimated how boring it would be to listen to a candidate for the Galactic Senate "press palms" as we stood watching silently! There was no time for deep conversation as passers-by flocked to us, forming makeshift crowds. Apparently, "Denon Yepti" was already popular. Thus, along with Master Karos, we were treated to such scintillating sound bites as these:
"A vote for me in the Galactic Senate is a vote for galactic security."
"I'm not soft on defense, and neither is the Senate. Vote for me!"
"Denon Yepti is no fool, and he's sick of the Galactic Senators' games."
"Trossk" and I had heard all of these sorts of things before, when we'd perused holovid news feeds around Senatorial election time. What were we supposed to tell Imperial Agent Stavros when every word out of "Denon's" mouth was part of a political platitude? Nothing sounded suspicious. In fact, each statement he made seemed designed to deflect
suspicion, and even curiosity. I supposed that this was part of the Sith's strategy of not making him seem like their puppet candidate, but still...What was the difference between "Denon" and all of the other aspiring Galactic Senators who were probably pounding pavements even today? As I stood guard over him while he took yet another squirming infant in his arms, I began reflecting:
Why doesn't he recognize me, even after all he's been through?
My only answer was that I had been temporarily stripped of the Force, along with my former appearance, through the Kaminoan metamorphosis procedure. If I couldn't use it, and wasn't sensitive to it at present, that meant that I didn't carry a Force signature. However, wouldn't Master Yun notice that right away? Perhaps he, too, had been severed from his former talents, and they would not return unless (after?) he was elected to the Galactic Senate. I tried to step closer to him, but Master Karos stood in the way. She said not a word, preferring to let "Denon" do the talking. Her face was unreadable, yet ever-alert. Although Qyzen and I were the bodyguards here, it seemed as if Master Karos was even more intent on hovering around her smiling charge.
Is she really that certain that some agitator (or assassin) is going to lodge a long-range projectile into his brain? If not, why the hyper-vigilance?
"Move over, ma'am," I told her darkly. "We can't do our jobs right if you're closer to Mr. Yepti than we are." Begrudgingly, Master Karos stepped back. After the four of us traversed a few more blocks down one of Coruscant's crowded streets, we came to an open plaza with several concession stands. As soon as we arrived, a Rodian who had originally been standing in a line for fried centipedes, skittered over to us. His irritation was palpable, as was the musky odor of his scaly skin. "Politician male!" he cried, extending his hand. "Not glad to meet you. Neesh Hui. Very angry about these elections."
"May I ask why?" asked "Denon Yepti," as unblinking and grinning as usual.
"Senators do nothing. Sit around all day and talk. Call it 'debate', but nothing ever happens. Why do we vote? Who cares if we choose one over another? Politicians are all alike, aren't they? Two sides of same credit chip. Yes?"
"Not me," "Denon" replied. "I'm proposing a Galactic Reformation." For the very first time, a look of unease appeared on Master Karos' face. I saw the right corner of her mouth twitch, as if it were experiencing a muscle spasm. Had the Sith's powerless pawn said something that wasn't part of his bland holovid-image script? I was intensely curious to find out, as was Neesh Hui:
"Every Galactic Senator says that he or she will vote to put measures in place to cut down on crime. That's always been an integral part of their platform from year to year. However, their measures almost always die when they get to planetary subcommittees, who say that they're 'not a good fit for Coruscant,' 'unsuited to the needs of the populace of Tatooine,' "wrong for Bespin', et cetera. What happens is that the measures aren't implemented, and nothing really gets done, all because good ideas are cut off at the neck by 'planetary rights'. What I'm proposing will eliminate crime across the board, galactically."
"How?" asked Neesh Hui. "War?"
"Certainly not. You don't kill thieves and smugglers with proton torpedoes..."
"We're still working on the particulars," interjected Master Karos suddenly, "and I'm afraid Mr. Yepti has already said too much. Come on," she motioned, her tone crisp. "Don't you remember that we have a meeting at 1500 hours?" Her temporary superior blinked, as if his mental database had received an unfamiliar query. It didn't take Force sensitivity to realize that she was most likely lying. Still, "Trossk" and I remained the same silent, lurking threats that we'd been paid to be. Neesh Hui, the Rodian, gave a confused nod and then skulked over to the end of the fried-centipede line. He'd lost his middle place.
"Did I...fail?" asked Master Yun, in the gentle voice I'd always known.
"Your mistake may have cost us suspicion, but not much else. After all, who is that Rodian in the grander scheme of things? My guess is that he's just a mechanic or spaceport dock worker. Freight loader, maybe. No one who really matters, even in an election year." This cynical statement surprised me, but then again, maybe I really was as naive as I had been before, as a Padawan back on Tython! Exhaling slowly through a tiny crack in my lips, I marched on.
When Master Karos and "Denon" weren't looking, I activated the almost unnoticeable comlink that Imperial Agent Stavros had provided me. "Do you see the sunset?" I asked my Trandoshan partner, trying not to sound too loud or uncouth. "It's certainly red, red, red
here tonight on Coruscant..."