Monday, May 22, 2006

Orin Zorda

•In Transit with Two Ships and Hundreds of Refugees•

Packed in like droids in a transport, we were on our way to meet up with the Redemption. The Captain, who had been hurt in the battle was finally healed, the hole in his hand completely mended. I was also out of the bacta tank, which always makes me happy. So all we needed was a plan, what to do with hundreds of Nikto refugees. That question occupied quite a bit of space and time in our lives. But, being that we were located on a Hutt transport, with no good way of getting back on the Redemption, it’s not like we had much else to do.

While pondering our situation, the ship came across and beacon signal. It was on a distress call frequency, but the transmission was not a call for help. Jay called us up to the bridge to see and hear for ourselves. At first, the signal said “may the force be with you.” But after some time, perhaps 10 minutes, the message changed to “Zorda Enterprises.” To the Jedi, this all seemed to make sense, to me, none whatsoever. It was a distress call, of sorts, so it was decided to go investigate. Our meandering course was changed to one with a destination and purpose in mind, to intercept the source of the signal. B’nar was contacted on the Redemption and brought up to speed on the plan. He wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of the Captain undertaking a new mission while still not quite done with the last mission. I wasn’t in bacta, so I wasn’t going to complain, all we were doing was checking out a strange signal.

Upon reaching the signal source, it was discovered that it wasn’t produced by a satellite, but by a small escape-like vessel. Tassik and the Captain felt that something/someone within the force on the vessel, so the order was given to tow the vessel into the recently emptied 2nd cargo hold of the Hutt ship.

The small dark copper color vessel sat silently as we approached it in the cargo bay. The doors had been locked behind us to ensure safety, both of us and any potentially over curious Nikto. We were all armed, but hadn’t drawn our weapons yet. At first, nothing happened. Curious, I went over and tried to peer through the small transperisteel window. I saw nothing, so I knocked. Still nothing from the ship, but Grif and Tassik’s faces were certainly worth seeing. Grif told me to get away from the ship, and Tassik scolded me that my actions weren’t all that smart. I figured if there was any danger to be had from the vessel occupants, the Captain wouldn’t have brought it on our ship. Grif used the force to announce our presence, which worked much better than my knocking on the hull.

The hatch slid open slowly, revealing a tall human man. Cloaked in Jedi robes, it was hard to see what his face looked like, obscured as it was by Jedi robes and shadows. Both Grif and Tassik stood tensed, but their weapons hung at their sides. After an awkward silence, the Captain introduced himself and the ship. Then the Jedi introduced himself. And then we were drawn into the mission of Orin Zorda.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Kintan cont.

The next day, the non-combatants, mainly women, children and the infirm, were loaded onto the Redemption and sent ahead. About 6-12 hours later, the sensors at the small space port picked up the signal of an incoming ship, one that matched a typical Hutt transport vessel. The contact had been very willing to help, and was arriving promptly. The ship was fairly large, I’d never seen one in person before, only in pictures or holoprojections. It landed at the space port with ease. Tassik was standing near me. He’d been uneasy all day. The Nikto force user had chosen to stay, despite the approaching danger. Grif and Tassik had begged the man to come, but he was firm in his resolve to remain. I could tell standing next to him that Tassik was having second thoughts about letting the man stay. I understand Tassik’s desire to bring the force user with us, his desire to have a willing teacher. But I have no desire to take the man with us against his will. After all, weren’t we here to help ensure the liberty of each and ever individual Nikto on this island?

Nikto watched the outside of the ship with anticipation, their fingers dancing around the triggers of their weapons. The gang way opened with no great speed, not surprising on a ship as well used as that one. What was surprising was the head of Jay’s contact rolling down the gangplank. Even more surprising was the contingent of clone troopers and the cloaked man at the entrance of the ship. The man headed towards the mountain base. And if this weren’t enough excitement, Tassik went running off towards the secret entrance of the mountain base. I followed.

Threading through the mass of large tall Nikto bodies, I barely managed to keep Tassik in sight, and once out of the crowd the little brat broke into a force run, making it impossible for me to keep up. I love Tassik like a brother, but at times I wish he’d be a little less of a headstrong little brother. I radioed back to the Captain that I was following Tassik back into the mountain. I believe Grif swore a bit, and then okayed my pursuit. I think.

As I entered into the facility leading to the corridor to the mountain base, the sounds of a battle erupted. Pressing forward, my ARBE droid provided feed back on what lay ahead. While on the elevator that moved from the space port to the mountain complex, I tried to asses what threats lay ahead. I was pretty sure that the hooded man was some type force user, and was intent on harming the old Nikto, who wouldn’t be able to defend himself from a lightsaber. And he was still very weak from healing Tassik.

I rounded a corner to find Tassik; he was looking around, trying to locate something. It was dark, like dusk in a forest, little rays of warm orange light darted through the area, but not enough to provide light to see well. I assumed he’d already encountered the evil force user. When he saw me, he ignited his lightsaber and approached, demanding I put down my weapon. His eyes were narrowed, angry and determined. I slowly put down my gun and my deck, placing them on the floor in front of me. He continued to approach, prepared to fight. I had started to worry when he demanded I put down my weapon, leaving me defenseless if the dark force user returned. I started to panic when he continued to advance in an aggressive manner after the gun was down. I called out his name, not Tassik, but his real name, asking him to stop, telling him who I was. For the only time in my experiences with Tassik, I lost my trust in him. The fear that he’d be no different than the clones flashed through my head. When he was about 2 meters away he stopped, and looked at me as if he were seeing me for the first time. His lightsaber flickered off. Then as if called by an inaudible cry, he dashed off away from me down the hallway. I retrieved my gun and followed, ARBE behind me, protesting the wisdom of my actions.

The old Nikto lay on the ground, alive, but in poor health. The dark force user and Tassik were engaged in a battle, using lightsabers as well as force powers. I did the only thing I could, I shot at the dark force user, not the wisest thing, but the hope was it’d provide a distraction and end the battle sooner. At one point the dark force user got angry with me, and I was hit by force lightning, though my deck took the bulk of it. Force lightning feels as if thousands of small, needle like are stabbed into your body, and then horrible molten heat energy is sent through them. The experience lasted maybe 5 seconds, perhaps less, maybe 3 seconds, but enough for a lifetime of wanting to avoid it in the future. I honestly don’t remember how the dark force user met his end, but I believe Tassik finished off the dark force user with his lightsaber.

The old Nikto smiled up at Tassik as he bent over the old man, trying to help him. The spoke, and eventually Tassik stepped back, gently releasing the old man from his touch. Tassik bade a sad farewell to the man who had help improve his life, both physically and spiritually. And then we ran, trying to get out of the mountain as fast as we could, following the old Nikto’s last instruction to us.

When we were out of the mountain passage, the mines lining the way in were detonated, preventing anyone else from entering, forcing us forward into the combat ahead. The Captain had led the Nikto well, the fighting was almost done when we arrived. The casualty rate was high, 50 of the 450 Nikto had died in the battle. Once on board the ship, we had to employ some creative computing and flying. I hooked into the ships computer and sat in the hall of the Hutt ship trying to restore all the programs needed. I would have gone up to the bridge, but I didn’t really feel like moving any more than I needed to at that moment. As we lifted off, Tassik would tell me later, a burst of the light side energy came from the mountain, like the beam of a lighthouse in the darkest night.

Right after the ship left the immediate vicinity of the island, the force users began to have problems, some great evil in the force was close by, causing them pain and fear. Then a large weapon was fired from space, obliterating the mountain. Some fancy flying and a great deal of luck lead us on a path that provided an escape. There were also incoming ships, not imperial, but a variety of different ships. The Captain believed them to be the bounty hunters, arriving a day early.

The only other trouble we ran into was caused by an astromech droid that had gotten into an auxiliary command area and fouled up one of our drives. The droid was quickly taken care of, but the drive problem required some work. Being in a mood to avoid all force using types, I volunteered to go fix the problem. I was about ½ ways through when the Captain decided to call and check up on things. Tassik informed him mid-way through the conversation that I’d been hurt, which yes, I had been, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The Captain disagreed and it was into the bacta tank with me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Does anyone actually read these posts? Or are they too long and/or not very interesting. Just being curious.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Time on Kintan

During the argument, Tassik looked overwhelmed by the emotions flying freely in the exchange. Neither Grif nor Malessa were minding their thoughts, and were certainly being betrayed by them. Now that saying that General Kenobi kept telling Skywalker makes some sense, damn, I owe my demolitions captain 10 credits now. The tension was palpable, such was its intensity. But in addition to the anger and frustration that flowed between them, there was also quite a bit of positive emotion present. While I suspect Tassik would have given quite a bit to be able to disappear through the floor, Jay seemed to be enjoying the show. Personally, it just added another perspective, with some vivid color and detail, to my understanding of the Captain. Noble and proud, with a soft side and a strong libido would be the very abridged version.

The force user I had encountered before was something of a leader for the Nikto. I don’t much of the story regarding the man’s history, but while he was strong with the force, and was aware of his powers, he had not received traditional force training at any academy. I’m under the impression he had a teacher at some point in his life, but had discovered the force through self teaching. He was a kind patient being, and very determined to help Tassik, which made it hard for me to think ill of him, even if had ordered his Wookie friend to kidnap me earlier in the day. Malessa had provided some care of the body, but there was little she could do for Tassik’s force damage. I was cautiously optimistic that the Nikto could pick up the care where she had ended.

After one day on the island, there wasn’t much evacuation movement happening, so I asked Grif his plan for getting all the Nikto off the planet, I was sure he had one, he is the captain. And he did have a plan, it just didn’t have a time budget. His face did one of those interesting emotional transitions I rarely saw in the military when he was told of his three day time limit. The time constraint sparked an idea in someone, I don’t remember who, though it wasn’t Jay, she was avoiding the Captain. The plan was modified; Jay would get in touch with her contact and persuade him to lend us a ship, promises of slaves were to be dangled in front of him. Convincing the Nikto to leave was Grif’s job, Tassik and I aren’t really sales people material. And after some time, to his credit, the captain managed to convince these people to leave their planet.

The plan was to get the slave ship boarded and then taken over. The Redemption can only hold about ½ of the population present. It was pretty simple and quite doable. The crew seemed to support it with enthusiasm. All the non-combatants were to be placed on our ship, which would depart ahead of the slave ship’s approach. The remaining Nikto would conceal their weapons on their person until the signal was given to attack. Sounded pretty simple.

While we were running around and organizing, Tassik had been getting help from force using Nikto. The Nikto had healed him somehow, restored him. Tassik looked like the same young man I had met not too long ago on a Republic starship. It must have taken a lot out of the Nikto, he looked exhausted.

That night (once again, my memory of exact time is a bit hazy) Grif and Tassik decided to have a sparing match with lightsabers. Tassik still had his Master’s lightsaber, and let Grif borrow it for the practice session. The Captain went to great pains to ensure that no one would observe them, but on a ship the size of the Redemption, there really are no secrets or private places, especially no private cargo bays. I was on duty to watch over the ships sensors and readings, and B’nar came in, telling me to pull up the camera on cargo bay 3. It had been deactivated, but was easily turned back on and signal re-established. We let the crew who were still awake know what was going on, sending the image to a few of their work posts.

The fight was interesting to watch; they were very quick and employed a fair amount of movement, using the majority of the cargo bay’s open floor area. It only lasted a few minutes, and most of the crew that had watched headed down to the cargo bay doors to greet them as the combatants came out. While I’m bratty enough to let everyone watch on a monitor, I’m neither mean nor dumb enough to let them through the locked door until the fight was done and the lightsabers put away. After the fight, I went down as well, to check in on them, to see if the captain was unhappy with my actions. He and Tassik were talking. I saw Tassik offer his Master’s lightsaber to Grif, and I saw Grif refuse it. There was a mixture of pain, disappointment and sadness on Tassik’s face as the gift was denied, but only for a short moment, then his face resumed its normal look. I was so angry at the Captain for refusing the gift because that refusal caused Tassik disappointment. The Jedi way, Grif’s sense of being and honor, it’s all foreign to me, and I understand that they will have reasons for their actions I will never fully understand or appreciate. It took me several days to completely resolve my resentment towards the Captain.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

In Search of a Doctor

It turns out that Grif’s doctor friend was in a bit of trouble, so we now had two reasons to find the doctor. Tassik has been getting his strength back, physically, at least. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking and how he’s doing. It is obvious that he misses his Master terribly, and he seems to be resigned to his fate as a prematurely aged soul. I want to help him, I just don’t know how. The Captain is very supportive of him, which I appreciate.

The crew seems mostly comprised of Alderanians, and, as far as I’ve seen, completely human. Considering the mission and the short amount of time to put the mission together, this isn’t a surprise. There are four Marines who act as the security and muscle on the crew. The ship’s mechanic is a man named B’nar, he was the one who helped me into the ship. I’d already met the pharmacy tech, Liliog, she seems very caring and very competent. The Captain has given us each our own quarters. I like being here, it feels safe, and I’m very happy to be heading towards help for Tassik.

The plan, I’ve been told, is to go to Kintan, which I believe is within the domain of the Hutts, but I’m not positive. The doctor we are to meet is/was pretty good friends with the Captain. He gets a look on his face when he talks about her, but I don’t feel I know him well enough to pry. Tassik is convinced that Grif is or was a Jedi. I trust Tassik’s opinions and assessment, though if Grif is a Jedi, he’s taken the whole ‘change your identity’ thing very close to heart. He dresses more like a spacer, no Jedi robes or garb, and unless I’m very mistaken, he carried no lightsaber. But that would explain his presence and bearing.

While I like our new captain, I’m not very excited about his first mate. I will admit, I know very little about her, but my gut senses trouble whenever she’s around, old handmaiden instinct, I suppose. She is not particularly distinct in any way, human, about 5’6”, 5’7”, average frame, short spiky blonde hair. She carries herself with an attitude, and I suspect she knows her way around the seedier parts of the galaxy. Her eyes just never seem to be completely sincere, which is quite a contrast to the Captain, whose eyes are the most sincere earnest part of his being, as far as I can tell. Why Jay is the first mate, I may never know.

I broke protocol some while on our trip. I didn’t activate ARBE, though I did remove any and all tracking components from him and from my deck. And I accessed some imperial files, and then snooped through them. I needed to learn the status of Tassik and myself. His name was on a list of missing Jedi. The list was painfully short, especially compared to the list of Jedi killed. I checked the lists for Grif’s name, but he wasn’t on it. Continuing on, I checked the duty roster, I was MIA, but not presumed dead. The idea of changing my status did occur to me, but I wouldn’t have been able to change Tassik’s, someone would have noticed, that list was so short. My name wouldn’t have been noticed, being a cast of thousands, but it felt cowardly to change mine and not his. So I left it as it was, downloaded the missing Jedi list, and hoped that we might be able to help some of them.

I shared what I had found with Tassik, and then the Captain. It needed to be done, but I wished I didn’t have to be the one to show them the list. I can only imagine the pain it caused them. With the exception of Master Kenobi, all of the Jedi that I would have called friend were dead. Master Windu’s death took the longest to sink in, to become real. My estimation of the man had always led me to believe it would have to be a great force to take him from this life before age did, to take such a warrior to his grave. I’m not sure how long we’ll have to help those who are missing.

We landed on Kintan fairly uneventfully. Jay’s value to the crew became apparent. She’s a smuggler, or at least someone very familiar with that world. She and I went into to town to make a deal with a contact she had on the planet to pick up a cargo. In theory, our ship is supposed to be self supporting. Our contact met us in a sketchy bar in an even sketchier part of town. I tried to stay out of Jay’s business as much as possible. After some chatting, an interested party was found to do business with. It wasn’t the type of business I’m comfortable with, possibly slave trade. On this planet of Nikto, not all Nikto are created equal, or at least there is no solidarity amongst members of the same species. The red Nikto were capturing and selling the white Nikto as slaves. This was probably as much an act of greed as it was an act of self preservation, I would guess. The Hutt’s wanted slaves, and they didn’t and still don’t care about color, red, white, green, or blue, a slave is a slave, and a slave meant money. Unfortunately, at least in his own mind, our contact was having problems with a group of white Nikto forming a resistance on a small island, and even worse, they were encouraging others to do the same. Our job would be to remove the group of Nikto off the planet.

There was something else, something our contact wasn’t telling us. Either Jay didn’t notice, or didn’t want to notice. I pushed him for more information, wanting to see if we could discover what it was. Didn’t take much, turns out the holdout’s little rebellion had angered the Hutts. In 3-4 days, a large number of bounty hunters and mercenaries were to be sent to the island to resolve the planet. So we had a time limit, nothing we couldn’t handle.

We returned to the ship. Jay updated the captain on the plan and location. He hadn’t located the doctor yet, but when told of the resistance, he assumed that would be where we would find her. I wasn’t privy to what Jay told the Captain, but assumed that she would be completely truthful and relate the experience in its totality. I was excited by the possibility of getting Tassik helped. Maybe I could fix my droid some while we were there, the idea of hanging out on the beach was a nice thought.

When the ship landed, the place was deserted. The location was an island, and the space port was in shape, there was just no one there to run things. We were a bit perplexed, so the Captain and Jay put their heads together to figure things out. The island was beautiful. The space port was right up near the beach. Once you walked out of the facility, white sand cascaded down to deep blue water that leisurely lapped at the shore. The sun was shining, and a slight breeze moved the air enough to prevent any of the traditional sea creature smells from accumulating, but allowed smell of salt to remain. I took my deck and ARBE out from the ship, 20 meters away. I sat down and prepared to have a nice time fiddling with my droid. Then it all went black.

I woke to the smell of hairy something and that I was being carried under the arm of something rather large. And then I was being asked my name and the intent of my crew, but not out loud, it was all in my head. And I had to answer truthfully, I had no control over it. Moments like this make me think that perhaps I should investigate going back on to some of the medications I was on with the Republic, it was very surreal. I was set down and my blindfold removed. I was standing in a small clearing, surrounded by jungle-like growth. A large Wookie stood next to an older Nikto man, watching me. I tried to get away, but thought better of it, once I realized that it involved one very pissed off Wookie. I was taken off to their compound in the mountain. A little later, the rest of my immediate crew joined us, though they got to walk, no manhandling by a big hairy creature. My answering the old Nikto man’s questions apparently put their minds at ease about us. Always happy to help.

From what I could gather, the doctor had been told to round up as many of the people as was possible so we could talk to them. Our immediate crew had gathered around her, along with many of the Nikto. Curious as to how the Malessa and Grif had met, Tassik asked her about her and Grif’s history. She was happy to oblige. We were all a bit surprised (ok, really surprised) when she told us that she was the Captain’s wife, or had been. Poor Tassik was a bit confused and at a loss for words. Jay, however, was not, “I thought the Captain was a Jedi,” she said. I don’t care what conclusions Jay had come up with on her own time, in her own mind, but I would prefer that she keep them to herself. That type of statement was hardly appropriate at the time, it still is. To say it in front of strangers was highly inappropriate. So when Malessa replied in the positive, I was stunned, her completely honest reply would have had my jaw on the floor if I hadn’t had years of training to suppress just such reactions. “Oh yes, Grif was a Jedi, but he left the Order to marry me.”

Grif, with remarkable timing, came striding through the crowd at about that moment. As he approached, his demeanor went from rainbows and happiness to some ugly storm clouds. It seems that he didn’t approve of his wife’s liberal sharing of his past. I don’t blame him; there are some secrets we should keep, for our own safety as well as the safety of others. I’d never thought of the Captain as a physically intimidating man until that point. The doctor is a good 10cm taller than I am, and when he stood himself in front of her, he dwarfed her. And he meant to, he was obviously angry and wanted to scare her with his physical presence. She looked right back up at him with no trace of fear, and quite a bit of defiance. Then the yelling began. From the way it all happened, I think this may be routine for them. I don’t remember the details of the argument, but it did cover the propriety of the information she’d just shared, their sex life, clashing personalities, and ended with her in tears. Yes, it certainly seems that the Captain has a gentle touch when it comes to the fairer sex.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Ship

I have a little time now, so I’ll go back to our landing on the Redemption. Once we were on board, there was some interesting maneuvering on the part of the pilot. I am 90% sure spent most of that initial time in or near the sickbay. As the ship dropped, then lurched and shifted, my droid hovered beside me, oblivious to most of it. Watching it, I realized that I should probably turn it off and deactivate its tracking signal, once it was safe to let go of my seat, of course.

Once safely in hyperspace, the Captain came to speak with us. He felt the need to dispose of my droid all together, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed, mine. I kept my deck out of sight as much as possible. The pharmacy tech and Captain were very worried about Tassik, with reason. They spoke openly about what to do for the old Jedi, apparently not noticing the braid. “He’s not old, he’s only a padawan,” I told them I thought he was around 18 years old. That worried them even more, and exceeded what they could do for him on the ship. And I think at that point they actually fully realized I was there. Not that I wanted attention. I suspect one of them might be a force type, or at least very Jedi oriented.

I wasn’t sure of what to think of the Captain. At that particular moment though, I wasn’t really inclined to trust anyone. I’d also met his visual type before, and we rarely got along. But Tassik didn’t seem to be too worried about him, so until Tassik is worried, I’d work with this guy. Anyways, my first and only priority was to get Tassik somewhere safe, not make friends and impress people. The pharmacy tech, Leliog, patched up my arm. I must have gotten shot, I don’t remember it. My fingers still hurt terribly from our original mission, several of them broken. She helped with that as well. I waited in sickbay until Tassik had enough strength to walk round.

When he did, we actually went and had a sit down talk with the Captain, whose name is Griflan Hanna. Now that I’ve actually some down time, and gotten to think things over, I’m a little less hostile towards him. Grif is a tall man, a bit unkempt, longish scruffy hair. His walk is interesting; it’s got some swagger to, some authority, but also a sense of hesitance. Very interesting, I think it suggests a complicated life story, but I’m not sure, it could just be an inner ear problem. He seems to be honest enough and very intent on helping. And Tassik has voiced no concern about the man.

We found him in the mess hall. It’s a fairly warm cozy place. Obviously someone had taken the time to make the place look inviting; it almost has the feel of a Naboo country kitchen. It was a nice contrast to the usual metal and transparisteel. We walked over to the table, both of us waited to be asked to sit. This seemed to puzzle the Captain for a moment, but then he jumped up and said ‘please, sit, be comfortable’. We sat down across from him. I watched him plop back down in his chair with little grace but complete confidence in where he would land. Overall, his movement seemed to lack any grace, but also contained a certainty of his motions and movements that had yet to be betrayed or disappointed, it was a curious balance. The best way I can put it is that he wouldn’t fall off walking the tightrope, but he wouldn’t look very good doing it, great ability without finesse or precision. His body and face indicate he’s known hard work, I would suppose him to be in his late 30’s. His facial demeanor seems to indicate fairly high self worth. I would guess him to be a kind person. There is also something behind his eyes when he looks at Tassik. I’m not sure if it’s sadness or something else along that line, but I can’t place it at this time.

We had already made our introductions, so most of the formality was past. Tassik was the one who wanted to do most of the talking, or at least had the most questions. We did go over a point we had discussed earlier, Tassik and I needed to change our names. Tassik had already given it some thought, more than me; he already had a new name chosen. It would take me a little longer to put a new name to a new and evolving identity. Then the captain filled us in on what had been happening in the galaxy. He told us that all Jedi were considered enemies of the state, that most had been killed, that the clones were not insane or affected, that the Republic was no more.

Internally, a large part of my inner sense of self collapsed in a massive cluttered pile. No neat way to box it up to deal with it in pieces. It was hard, but I’d like to think I maintained some semblance of composure, no idea if I did. But despite it all, the deepest part of my being, my core, remained unchanged, undamaged. Despite 12 years of military time, I was an officer second. First, and foremost, I was a woman of Naboo, an agent of her security forces, dedicated to the safety and well being of all who resided upon her. But it did take some time for the dust to clear, to see past the wreckage.

Now knowing what I did, I had to ask him what his intentions regarding us were. It was a question designed not only to find out the stated, but also to gauge his reaction. Surprising and blunt questions can throw a person off guard and sometimes shed some light on their true intent. I think I insulted him with the question, he seemed to have taken the question as whether he’s turn us over to the new Empire. He apparently intends to let us stay as long as necessary, which I appreciate greatly. Actually, when I think back on it, I think his ego was quite miffed. In an attempt to show his honesty and sincerity, he told Tassik to use the force, scan him and his intents. I suspect that Tassik might have already done so, but with Force matters, I prefer to stay silent. The exchange was strange to my eyes. They seemed to stare intently into each others eyes for some time. Apparently one can’t be modest or shy when wanting to scan another being, or polite. Though perhaps it’s just on Naboo where staring intently at another is a bit rude and improper.

One truly positive thing came out of our kitchen meeting; it seems that the Captain knows a relief doctor with some experience in force injuries. All we have to do is find her, which, seeing how he said it, makes me think Tassik and I will have some down time as we travel.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Change

I suppose I should have started this some time back, but it seems like so much of what we’ve encountered isn’t worth remembering, it would be too painful, but it should be remembered, if only a reminder of what’s shaped us. I’ve finally found my light, my goal, and that has made it much easier to recall and record the events of the recent past.

I am known to my shipmates as Indira Choteau, but when I landed on the Redemption, I was Cpt. Jardena R. Oneida, combat computer operative, Republic Naval Forces. I graduated in the top 5 of my Academy class, and I had my choice of assignments when I began. Of course, when I began, the Republic wasn’t at war. When I landed on the Redemption, I wasn’t alone. I was with a Jedi, a fugitive, a small serious young lannik, whom I’m quite sure padded our landing on to the ship enough that I’m still here to write about it. He and I were, to the best of my knowledge, the only survivors of a mission on a mostly barren rocky planet. I can’t recall its name, and don’t really care to.

Our initial journey to the surface of the planet was a mission to recover a batch of non-programmed clone primes that had been en-route to the Republic when the ship carrying them was attacked and downed on the planet surface. I still don’t feel comfortable discuss sensitive Republic information, even though the Republic no longer exists. I will say that we were successful in recovering most of the primes. We lost some due to programming problems; others were trying to apply their own applications to the primes. The conflict of the two programs caused some of the men to go insane, we had to kill them, there was no other way to help them. I can’t count how many times my life has been saved by a clone solider, and how many have died to protect me. It has always, and most likely always will, tugged hard at my conscious that they were considered a disposable item of war, the latest and greatest toy of the current conflict. That you can program a living creature with a computer seems almost perverse.

Upon returning to our transport, we were notified that our Padawan friend’s Master had been lost somewhere on the surface while covering our entry onto the planet. Should this journal be found, I will simply refer to him as I know him now, Tassik. We changed course and returned to the planet to see if we could locate and recover his Master. We went with our contingent of clone soldiers to aid us. Ours was an ordered mission of the Republic Naval Forces.
We encountered a Sith on the planet while trying to navigate a cave system where we believed Tassik’s Master was located. We killed her, but not before she managed to injure several and killed one clone solider. We did eventually locate Tassik Master, but she was badly injured. Then there was the issue of a persistent green algae-like life form that had become aggressive since the crash (and radiation leak) from the ship transporting the clones. Tassik could feel it strongly in the force. Apparently it had a deep hunger, and of course it fancied biological matter. And there was the separatist force still present on the planet that we had to contend with. They came in all sizes, simple battle droids, super battle droids and a two footed walker that had an impressive set of laser blasters. We did achieve the upper hand in the battle, for awhile, even using the walker and some of the droids to our advantage.

As we were trying to find our way back to where we’d left Tassik’s Master, a transmission started coming through, but sue to our location deep underground, it wasn’t reaching all of the clones, so being the dutiful republic officer, I relayed the message onto the closest clone to me, W1L. Order 66 meant nothing to me, except that I’d never heard a numerical order with no elaboration. I will never be able to adequately express the grief, rage, anger and bitterness that I harbor towards myself for repeating something as a command that I did not understand, for simply parroting that command. I don’t know for certain, but I fear that solider spread the order to the rest of the soldiers, who, up until that very moment, were our allies, our trusted compatriots, and at times, our friends. And then in an instant, they were none of that.

I had to run after W1L, I didn’t understand what was happening, the clones had all begun to attack the Padawan. I thought they were all going insane, perhaps there was some flaw in them that manifested in this particular environment. I had just help kill 7 who had gone insane, it seemed like a distinct possibility to me. The Jedi were my commanding officers in this war. So, without a moment’s hesitation, I programmed the walker to attack and kill a solider who had personally saved my life that very same day.

The battle nearly killed Tassik. Sadly, it did claim his Master’s life when a clone transport blew up the ship we had placed her in to shield her from harm. Already damaged, the ship stood no chance against the other ship’s guns. I didn’t know she had died until after the battle. We didn’t find out until much later that very few Jedi had survived Order 66.

We had to find a way out of the caves. We had no support, no vehicles, and a huge hungry mass of green algae looking for more tasty things to consume, and me without my bleach. I always forget to bring something. We went in search of a working ship, and decided to find the ship the Sith came in on, she had to have had some type of transport onto the planet. And amazingly, we found it. It was parked on a ledge, obscured by a screen, preventing casual observance. It had some type of force field around it, and even when we managed to get around that, there was a floating ball of mercury-like liquid guarding the ship. I wasn’t good enough to disable the security, and only made it out alive because Tassik pulled me out. The ship exploded, as did the ball of goo, splattering my droid. It was all a bit discouraging. We returned to the original ship, a damaged transport, which worked in its own fashion, for awhile. We were still avoiding clones, and what was now a tidal wave of algae, which Tassik told me had fear. I assured him it couldn’t compare to my fear of death by green algae. As I piloted the ship down the corridors of the cave, the algae was eating away at the ship, making flying hard. We almost made it all of the way, but crashed 300 m away from the tunnel opening. We ran, and when Tassik told me to jump, I followed him with all the faith I had at the time out into the nothingness beyond the cave mouth.

We landed on the most unexpected thing, a large gray space ship, quite solid, quite real, most certainly not the ground, I checked, that was still a ways off. Apparently Tassik’s seemingly blissful jump into nothingness was aided by force knowledge that a ship would be there, not 100’s of meters of falling. I found out later that the ship meant to be there for the express purpose of being our landing spot. How very nice and considerate. As we were being pulled inside, I was pretty sure that it was an Alderanian transport ship; I’d seen its kind before. We were pulled in and the effort to leave the planet began. Fighters quickly located the ship and followed our attempt to leave. I don’t really know about the details, Tassik and I had been taken to the sickbay. His injuries obviously extended well beyond the physical, though let there be no question, his physical injuries were profound. The teenage lannik looked like a farm hardened old man. I didn’t think there was much to done for that on this ship. That turned out to only be partially correct.

A Short Introduction

The character of Cpt. Jardena R. Oneida was created for a Star Wars role playing game. Initially, she was simply a combat hacker, an officer who went in with the clones to infiltrate the enemy, to reprogram or destroy them. After two sessions, we all realized that she and another character would be around for a while, so I went about creating a back story for her. She is from Naboo, and was one of Queen Amidala's original handmaidens. There was enough mystery about the exact number of handmaidens that I felt comfortable making her one. I also gave her a history with Captain Typho. So as a disclaimer, this blog has nothing to do with the story line that the Captain Typho Blog is doing, very different.

The character left Naboo to join the Naval Academy at the request of the Queen and Captain Panaka, who felt that having well trained people on the inside of the military would benefit Naboo. Two other handmaidens eventually joined an Academy. While happy to serve her planet and Queen, Oneida is a farm girl at heart, and really wants out of the military after about 8 years. Her military liaison with Naboo is Captain Typho, who tries to help her get discharged from the Navy, but then the Clone Wars break out, preventing her from leaving the Navy.

This story starts about 24 or so hours before Order 66, and continues on from there. It is done in a diary format. There will also be segments that review the characters earlier life, and perhaps the story told from the point of view of Oneida's new captain