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Nar Shaddaa - Rebel Alliance Headquarters


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The woman let out a small breath and released the string, feeling the thrum of energy through the limbs of the bow as it rushed into its transfer of energy, causing the fletching of the arrow to whistle as it leapt from the string. Emerald eyes sparkled as they watched the arrow split the air, cracking to speed as she passed her own energy into it, blessing it with the song. The shaft glistened with white fire as it dashed into the target a hundred meters away, exploding into brilliant wisps of fractal light.

 

Kyrie felt the air pass about her, whisking with it the sounds and smells of the rusting city. She could feel its life in the air. She could see its spirits. The breeze tousled her tangled braids, obscuring her vision with the black hair, the starshine highlighting its ivory streaks.

 

A moment of peace before the storms of war came again.

 

The moment passed as a commlink buzz beat harshly against her ears, causing the Exorcist to turn on her heel, swinging the wooden bow across her broad shoulders. The bite of the string against her neck caused a swift adjustment as she stooped to retrieve the commlink from amongst her discarded robes.

 

A hunger burned within her for a moment, the darkness that stained her soul, that of the Krayt. She shuddered and keyed the buzzing commlink

 

The voice that crackled to life was that of her fleet commander, Al-Afdal Dyrrhachium, Maréchal of the Order of Captains,

 

“Grandmaster, we are being prepped for Kuat by the Rebel command. Do you wish us to participate? I do not bow to these dikut Rebels, thinking they control our Order!”

 

Kyrie nodded sternly, considering his words. The Revanchists that made up the commanders of her forces rarely played well with others, the natural consequences of the Schismatics. She kept her voice cool and kind, spinning a small braid between her thumb and forefinger. 

 

“Take on their advice as needed, Maréchal, but we are not under their command. Remind the Emp-… Remind… Raven that she lost our fealty when she resigned and are not hers to command.”

 

A small laugh tinkled across her lips, nervous anticipation of the war to come. Kuat had bitter memories. 

 

“Prepare for war, if we need to rid ourselves of these allies we will, but not now. We must unite against the greater enemy, which is, as always, The Dark Side.”

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Leena smiled as she stepped into the room with the Jedi and possible Jedi-in-training. The small mouse-line creature skittered between her legs and she stepped widely so as to be sure to not harm it. 

 

She paused in the doorway as she took in the scene, not wanting to interrupt. The Chiss intrigued her. The man had a couple few years on the Knight, but his grasp of the force was rudimentary at best. Still, he showed promise. Leena wondered for a moment where he had come from.

 

“The force is a great ally and tool, but without refinement and dedication, it becomes little more than a hammer by which to subject those one feels is beneath them. As Jedi, we serve the force, and through it, others. That means we have to know the limits to which we can go. Otherwise we do more harm than good.” Leena paused, turning the words she had just spoken aloud over in her head, maybe she had learned something during all those years of Jedi training. Leena was an oddity amongst the Jedi of the day. She had spent the bulk of her life amongst the Jedi, inly having returned to Mon Cal, her home world, recently, and that had been in what was supposed to be a mission of mercy.

 

A shadow passed over the girl’s face st the thought of the chaos that had taken place on Mon Cal and her part in it. After a second she pushed it away with a blink, turning a warm glance towards the Chiss. “Amongst those readying for war is a dangerous place to be learning the basics of what it means to be a Jedi. Too many raw emotions. Too many temptations to turn a misunderstood power into a weapon without understanding the consequences. In war, there is darkness. It is a lesson learned well by all who partake. I believe that your kind,” she gestured kindly to Katakros, “know that well and as such exercise as much restraint as they do.”

 

Stepping forward, Leena extended her hand in offer to help the Chiss stand up, turning to look at the Jedi who had been instructing him, “If you would pardon my intrusion, and,” she turned to Katakros, “if you are willing, I would be happy to have you accompany me to a place steeped in the peace of the force. There you may dive deeper into the untainted waters that now touch your soul without the temptations of so much darkness whispering in your ear.”

 

Intenrnally, Leena rolled her eyes as she listened to herself, ‘Make a girl a knight and suddenly she sounds like one of those stuffy masters back in the Circle,’

 

  “It is, of course up to you, mister . . . ahhh . . . Chiss?” Leena smiled, realizing she was not sure what to even call the man she addressed. “My name is Leena Kil, Jedi Healer.”

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Sandy sat looking at her hands as the assault shuttle made its way into the dark abyss of space.She could vaguely feel her friend’s presence throughout the fleet as they began to prepare for lightspeed. She could feel Aidan and his dour determination, as well as his current guardian, Kyrie, and Leena. She gave them both a nudge of reassurance with the force then let her focus recenter on the mission at hand, letting those tendrils of the force drop away into the ether. 

 

There was much to do, and much to think on. And before she knew it, the Rebel Fleet had left Nar Shaddaa. 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Orpheon rose to his feet as the Mon Calimari Jedi approached. He quickly reattached the sword to his hip and grasped his holstered blaster in his hand. He listened intently to her words, each seeming to speak to him on a personal level. As he listened, the infant womp-rat bounded over to him, settling near his foot and looking up at him. It seemed he had made a friend. 

 

"I am willing to go with you. This place does seem to be stepped in raw emotion at this time. Perhaps it would be better to learn of the Sight somewhere not as.......combative." His voice was calm and cool as always, but covered an excitement at potentially learning more of the Sight.

 

Leaning down, he allowed the womp-rat to leap into his palm. Its black fur was somewhat rough and course. That would make sense for an animal in the wild. 

 

"I guess we are ready when you are, Master Jedi."

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Leena smiled at the Chiss and happily motioned for him to fall in step with her as she bowed to the knight that had been offering training, turned and began to walk through the facility back out to the winding streets. 
 


“We will be traveling to an icy world. It might help to grab a jacked,” she smiled. “I have to arrange for a few supplies before we depart. If you want to grab your gear and something to keep your new friend warm and meet me at Docking Bay 23, we’ll be off.”

 

”Don’t worry about finding the ship, Defender Mantis will be there. Although, don’t bother trying to sense him in the force. Around here, even I cannot feel his presence if he doesn’t want me to. He is my friend and protector, even if he is not a Jedi.”

 

With a final smile, Leena turned and hurried off, her footsteps gliding her smoothly through the ever growing throngs of people that seemed to fill the streets.

 

______________________________
 

Back at Docking Bay 23, a Corellian shrouded in armor and white robes rolled his eyes beneath his helmet at the  squabbling trio of squibs that had recently returned to begin loading the freighter they had somehow managed to commandeer for their next voyage. The Mantis knew better than to question the short furred sentients about it. Their explanations usually resulted in nothing but a swimming headache. Still, he could not help but smile at their incessant jovial natures. Other beings saved for the galaxy by the work of Leena Kil and company and fulfilling whatever measure of oath or gratitude their kind deemed fit for the return of life or lives.

 

Even as the Jensaarai shrouded himself within the force, extending his presence within it to a microscopic level that mingled and mixed with the plethora of force signatures that scurried about the compound and beyond, The Mantis reached out. He could feel his ward, she was safe. Should danger befall her, he would be by her side in an instant. The Jedi did not hide in the shadows as his kind did and finding the bright spot in the force that was Leena Kil was not difficult. 
 

Standing with his arms crossed at the open hatch of the battered Naboo-made J-type diplomatic barge. It was not his preferred ship, nor was it the squibs, as was made clear by their muttering; although, even they could not help but admire the smooth features and chrome finish, worn as it may be. Unarmed and nonthreatening, seemed to be an insistence of their ward though, and one they would begrudgingly respect when needed.

 

Eventually, an unknown Chiss arrived in the docking bay. He seemed to be paying some attention to their ship. While it was a sight here amongst the rebels, the Defender still opted to approach, “Greetings. Might I be of service,” he paused sensing the raw force potential of the man before him, “Jedi?”

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The trio broke apart like a wave on a strong cliff, spreading out with a single member wiping at a rapidly blackening eye and a dripping nose. He started to speak but the other two swiftly spirited away, dodging into an alley as the one they had been assaulting looked down to see a silver object glittering in his abdomen. A vibroknife. He let out a sharp cray and collapsed against one of the tall buildings. 

 

"Stay with him, I will get the other two.” The Jedi knight said, disappeared at a blistering pace after the two fled assailants. Leaving Cloak along with a wounded and moaning man. But perhaps the force could help him or guide him. Or there was a commlink to call the colonial militia and their medical staff. 

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Siolo turned to Alliera and said, "Guess I'm just going to have to trust you on this library thing. I'm pretty curious about this Kirlocca figure though. Wonder what he's got in store for us." Siolo pondered what kind of Jedi knowledge could be stored in there. He had always spent his life not knowing things, constantly dreaming about the wonders that he could find in other galaxies, if he could only escape his life of crime. To have access to all this information felt almost overwhelming. Nevertheless, he was excited. He set off towards the library, beckoning Alliera to follow.

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Bureaucrats liked to comfort themselves by claiming that amateurs studied tactics and professionals studied logistics. Admiral Slaughter was never one to denigrate the invaluable services of the staff officers that shadowed his every step, nor the beancounters that somehow kept the Rebel Alliance supplied despite its increasingly heterogenous composition. Eventually, however, someone was going to need to trade turbolaser fire from the deck of a star cruiser or place their own body in front of an unfriendly blaster. 

 

For the final few minutes before Fidelity launched into hyperspace, the middle-aged Admiral was alone in his office. His hazel eyes stared into the holographic image of a star system that was next on the Rebel Alliance’s list of targets, fingers idly scratching at a few days of stubble. In astrometric terms, it was an unremarkable system: an unusually high number of asteroid belts, a gas giant and a pair of habitable planets and a terraformed moon. But it was that final planet in the fourth orbital position that concerned the Rebel Alliance and promised to complicate the invasion; it was host to an extensive series of orbital shipyards.

 

He had not been told the true name of the system. That information, apparently, was so closely guarded that not even the commanders of the invasion would be allowed to know. What he had been told, under privacy field in his office, was that the shipyards were capable of constructing the larger models of Star Destroyers. That narrowed down the list of potential systems significantly.

 

A buzz interrupted his train of thought.

 

“Admiral, the Mandalorians have formed up. Everything is ready.”

 

Mandalorians. Bruce had yet to be briefed on the cultural differences between the various cells of Mandalorians, but that was an unexpected addition to the Rebel Alliance. Whether their cooperation was secured through credits or diplomacy was not freely divulged, but if there was anything that he understood about the sons and daughters of Mandalore, it was that they relished a fight. For the moment, at least, their cooperation could be trusted. Whether they followed his orders… it would be intriguing whether they would do so, seeing how he has sent so many of their creed to a cold grave.

 

He couldn’t afford to worry about that, however. The entire battle plan hinged on this coalition--and a coalition of former enemies at that--being able to fight alongside with some degree of coherence.

 

He gave a long sigh. Around this time, Bryce would have jabbed him in the solar plexus to josh him out of his anxieties and teased him about getting old. Instead, the Talon had been deployed… elsewhere, with the Jedi to a station that he wasn’t allowed to know about. Such were the necessities of the service.

 

“Thank you, Yeoman Gnugga. Have Tal’dira our departure. He may jump when ready. And… please make sure that I am not disturbed, life or death circumstances, that sort of thing.”

 

“Aye, Admiral.”

 

His eyes glanced towards a small mat in the middle of his stateroom. The quarters on a star cruiser were far from luxurious, but the square meterage in this tiny room at least allowed him a few small personal items...

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Orpheon nodded to the Mon Cal as she directed him where to go. He cocked his head to the side as she mentioned going somewhere cold. As she walked off he nodded in thanks to the Jedi Knight who had started his training. He once again mag-locked his vibrosword to his waist. As he left the facility he grabbed a brown leather jacket and donned it. BEfore he left the room, he felt a small pull to a rack of small cylinders. He could almost feel his hand move of its own accord as he grabbed one and slipped it into an internal pocket of his new jacket before exiting. 

 

"I was told to meet a Jedi here, named Leena. I am Orpheon."

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The mysterious armored force user nodded thoughtfully. “You are in the right place then. Welcome aboard good sir.”

 

A short time later, Leena returned to the ship accompanying a grav-sled of supplies to include rations, cold weather gear, and deep wilderness survival and communications gear. Additionally, base infrastructure for a 2 bed medical treatment set up was wherled aboard alongside the other supplies.

 

Boarding the ship, Leena offered a warm smile and bow to the armored Defender, several kindly hugs to the ever-excited Squibian cadre, and a warm smile of welcome to Orpheon. “Best settle in my friend, it will be a bit before we arrive at Ilum. Perhaps,” she proffered a well worn leather-bound book, it’s pages worn and tattered, “you could look this over on the trip. At least it will offer some basics on the ways of the Jedi, our code, and ideologies of such things as life, The Force, and compassion.”

 

In short order, the worn Squibian craft lifted off from the safety of the rebel base and departed into the cosmos.

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Alliera followed Siolo to the Jedi Library on Nar Shaddaa, and quickly went to looking for the Hyperspace Coordinates for Ossus. As a Jedi Hopeful, it was fairly easy, the librarian was even able to direct her to the right location once she clarified that a Jedi Knight had directed them to Ossus for training. With two copies of the coordinates in hand, Alliera quickly found Siolo again. "This is one of the copies of the Ossus Hyperdrive Coordinates." Alliera said, handing him a copy of the coordinates "I would offer you a ride, but my ship only has one seat...I'll see you there?" Alliera said her quick goodbye to Siolo, only for the moment hopefully, and quickly made her way towards the Hangar the Jolly Dancer was in. The young hopeful didn't want to waste a moment, she was going to OSSUS! The Grand Library! The Hangar area seemed to be emptying out quickly, with overheads signaling that an assault was taking place...Alliera's first instinct was to ask if she could help, but one look at the Jolly Dancer, which was unlikely to charm anyone with great performance...and she realized that she should just focus on getting to Ossus.  

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“Finished?”

 

“Bit of polishing work left, but everything is functional.”

 

Closing down the lightsaber and attaching it to a clip on her belt, Armiena took a few wobbly steps towards McShipface’s mess. The scent of something processed and peppery was guiding her to the promise of sustenance, and she found her mother closing the clamshell casing around yet another programming spike. Armiena wearily took a place at her mother’s side at the plasteel table and waited for the dehydration-induced shakiness to subside.

 

Her mother wordlessly offered a mug of caf and a bowl of some unidentifiable porridge. Armiena glanced down skeptically--some pitiful green vegetables and chunks of processed meat were floating around in the cream-colored slurry. It looked like something that the worst of the supply-starved mess hauls in the Rebel Alliance would have served--not this new Rebel Alliance, but from the bad old days when the entire operation seemed to be held together by hope and duct tape. Still, the sensation of warmth and the peppery smell were vaguely comforting, and constructing a lightsaber was draining work, so she dug in.

 

“It’s something I learned to make during a stint on Taanab. Quite invigorating after pulling a night watch.” As though prying classified information from her daughter was casual breakfast conversation, she sipped at a mug and continued. “What will you do next?”

 

“Back…” Armiena swallowed back an indecently large spoonful of porridge. “Back into the field. Recruitment, insurgency, sabotage, fieldcraft; just like old times. Wherever Genesis is now, I won’t be able to help him.”

 

“He’s a decent young man. But he’s not you.”

 

“No. He’s not a soldier. Never will be. I need to accept that.” There was an uncomfortable pause as Armiena reflected for a moment on a potential failing in her teaching. “There’s… something that I’ve been getting nervous about. I’ve been feeling a… quickening in The Force. Something is coming, something big. I”m sure you’ve felt it?”

 

“Something has indeed escalated. I’ve been asked to consult on a matter in the Rim.” The Draygo matriarch sipped at her tea with a casual air. “I felt that it would be advisable to visit for a few days before I embark. I have a peculiar feeling about this mission.”

 

Draygo’s set down her spoon and stared. Had her mouth not been stuffed with half-chewed porridge and a massed of minced meat, her mouth would have been agape in horror. The ancient Miraluka was actually smiling at what seemed to be her encroaching mortality. Reading her daughter’s eyes, Misal’s smile faded and her expression grew more serious.

 

“No. I’d prefer not to think about it. I’ll find out when the moment arrives. For now, I’d like to spend a short time with my admirable daughter, and perhaps embarrass my adorable grandson if those creatures don’t whisk him off to another engagement in your war. We so rarely have a chance to enjoy a normal moment.”

 

For a moment, Armiena’s pale-green gaze shifted past the midnight robes to view a collection of data-spikes dangling from a chain, almost like the keys to an expensive landspeeder. She tore her eyes away. Something about the moment--something about every moment, in the last several months felt irrevocable, as though precious moments were slipping away. There were few enough people from her past as well.

 

“This is good, isn’t it?” Asked the black-clad Miraluka.

 

The younger Draygo just looked at her mother for a second. The cloth, as usual, betrayed little expression, but she understood her mother well enough. It was not a peaceful death that she would have preferred. For her, it would be out in the field, her feet in boots, her enemies wasting their final breaths to curse her name. Quietly wasting in a sterile medcenter bubble would have been undignified, and more importantly, contrary to her wishes.

 

“Yes, It is.”

 

_______

 

Armiena had had few private moments alone since elevating to the rank of Jedi Grandmaster. It was an unwelcome aspect to the task with which she was familiar; the time of the Grandmaster was so valuable that it could rarely be spent on family or personal trivialities. In this case, the time had been wholly wasted. Armiena and her mother discussed nothing of significant importance. No great mysteries of The Force were unraveled. No crucial strategies were discussed. It was two women sitting with warm, caffeinated beverages, chatting about worthless gossip and personal relations, occasionally dipping into technical minutiae.

 

It was one of the most rewarding conversations that she had ever had with her mother. But it was soon over and Draygo was faced with her duties as Jedi Grandmaster. There was a revolution to fight.

 

Armiena re-entered the Rebel Headquarters, making her way to the marine proving grounds. This was a noisy, utilitarian sector of the base, constructed almost entirely of spartan steel and plastoid alloys. It needed to be, as this sector housed the base’s firing ranges, Its portable corridors were continually rearranged, based on the needs of the marines using it, to simulate a variety of potential facilities that they might assault; from planetary barracks to light cruisers to the engineering spaces aboard Kyber-class Star Destroyers and larger ships. Draygo watched from an overhead balcony as a platoon of Imperial stormtroopers--or whatever the grey-clad, plastoid-armored shock troopers called themselves now--breached the corridors of a Carrack-class Light Cruiser and assaulted the bridge. To most, the continual whine of blaster fire, grenades, alarm klaxons, glaring lights, and muffled commands was an assault on the senses. Armiena had the trigger-calluses on her fingers and the scars from blaster creases to hint at her experience in these matters, however. To her, the din was just tactical data.

 

The course’s current configuration was of little importance. More important was the noise, activity--and the distraction that they might pose to a novice Jedi Padawan. Tobias Vos was busy preparing for their mission, but to her recollection the Kiffar had two Padawans: that massive Trandoshan she had briefly seen and a Zabrak that had passed her notice. 

One of the Jedi clerics had been shadowing Armiena’s footsteps ever since the veteran Jedi had disembarked from her freighter. Waving the cream-colored Caamasi over, the Jedi Grandmaster asked him to locate Vos’ Padawans, and to guide the two to her location if they were not otherwise preoccupied.
 

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