STAR WARS: RETROSPECTION- Learner
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Jedi Temple, Coruscant
Night has come to Coruscant, but that does not necessarily mean sleep.
Rianna, you are restless. You did not think it possible that the last mission could have been more boring than the mission before it, but alas, you were mistaken. The world of Alpilia is of little importance to the Galaxy and of no importance at all to you. While you found the Alpilian Monks to be slightly out of the ordinary at first, they proved to be just as dull, if not duller, than the mineral miners. At the least the miners were threatening to put up a fight. But no, Myraline had to talk the angered workers down and establish peace talks.
As a result of your mentor's success, you have a great deal of energy that you would greatly seek to unleash. And what better way than duelling practice against the other Padawans? It not only allows you to get some of your frustrations out, but it also lets you show off just how much better you are than the other Padawans...
You have wandered into the courtyard that the Padawans use daily as a duelling arena. Several Padawans are milling about, challenging each other to matches, boasting about prior victories or excusing past defeats. Many of the Padawans are older than you are, but this does not deter you. A few Jedi Masters are supervising to ensure that none of the duels take a wrong turn.
Rianna will use Dreams, as it's the only predictive power she has...
She will approach the nearest Padawan, not caring who she fights but just wanting to do something.
"Care for a quick duel?"
The Padawan turns to see who has challenged him, but upon seeing you, grimaces.
"Oh, Rianna... um... sorry, but you roughed me up pretty bad last week. I was hoping to practice against someone more in my range... sorry again."
Many of the Padawans, now realizing that you are in their midst, shuffle away from you. Except one.
"I hear you're looking for a challenge?" he asks. This one is Foghren, a young man of about twenty-one and a skilled Padawan learner. You remember him having a very lanky frame when you first met him, but he has filled out through much hard practice. "I can give you one."
"You can try, you mean..." Rianna replies.
Foghren is actually quite formidable. Master Rand has trained him well.
Once it is established that a match has been placed, all the Padawans clear out to the edges of the courtyard, giving the two of you space to begin. The courtyard has numerous wooden benches and planters holding a tall breed of willow tree.
Foghren reaches for his lightsaber, stepping back. "Are you ready, then, little one?"
"I'm rarely ever not ready." Rianna responds, drawing her lightsaber.
So it begins! To the duel thread!
Rianna finishes the practice duel victorious! Your only complaint is that it did not last long enough, Rianna. Foghren is impressive and certainly a worthy adversary, but today he has proved to be less notable than you would have thought. Triumph is yours.
"Well done," he says, smiling despite having your lightsaber at his throat.
There is not a great deal of applause. The other Padawans were rooting for Foghren.
"Thank you." Rianna replies, stepping back and putting away her lightsaber. She is annoyed with the other Padawans but also pleased with her victory, even though it seems no one else is.
"Practice a bit harder, and maybe we can have a rematch someday." she calls out, smirking, as she heads towards the exit.
There is one other person who seems pleased with your victory, stepping from the sidelines with a slow clap. His sharpened teeth produce a wicked grin, dampening the friendly appearance the smile is meant to provide. The green-skinned Nautolan has his tendrils tied back by three black bands, and he wears a dark set of Jedi robes.
"Master Rand, it appears I have lost," Foghren says to his Master. The proud Padawan does not bow his head, but his congratulatory smile has faded.
Master Rand halts his applause, though the smile remains.
"It is of no consequence, my pupil," Rand says to Foghren, placing a hand upon his shoulder. "Rianna Xi is a prodigy. Few can begin the path to mastering this noble weapon at such a young age." Rand calls Foghren's weapon to him from the ground and hands it to the Padawan, admiring the fact that it slightly resembles his own lightsaber.
Rand eyes Rianna as she steps out of the arena.
"It was the most challenge I've had in a while. Much better than most of the other duels I've had lately..." Rianna says, pausing and glancing over at the rest of the Padawans.
"Hello, Master Rand."
"Hello, Rianna," Rand replies, allowing his grin to fade slightly into a smile that does not bare his naturally sharpened teeth. "That was quite impressive for someone so young. Soon enough you will be challenging fully-fledged Knights to practice with you."
"Thank you." Rianna replies, not saying anything about his comment on her being skilled enough to challenge Knights to practice with - if Myraline would let her, if she had her way, she would be doing so already.... "I do like to practice with my lightsaber."
"So I have noticed," Rand says. "I have my doubts, though. You are apprenticed to Myraline Kiros, yes? She is no swordsman. How did you come about such training?"
"So far I still mostly train with Master Myraline. She does her best." Rianna replies, implying that she doesn't think Myraline's best quite cuts it but not wanting to criticize her Master in front of another.
"Her best is not enough, if you seek to become a master of the lightsaber," Rand says. "That stays between us, of course." Rand squeezes Foghren's shoulder in a fatherly way, still smiling. "I wouldn't want Myraline to believe I think less of her simply because she prefers to be diplomatic and academic. This is a time of relative peace, and such knowledgeable Jedi are needed. But there will always be a place for the Jedi warrior in the Galaxy. Violence is eternal."
"Myraline wishes that I would try and study diplomacy and the Force more, but I don't believe she would hinder me where my skills lie. I'm sure we will be able to make some sort of arrangements when it's needed."
"Foghren and myself will always be willing to a lend a hand when the time comes," Rand says. "Isn't that right, Foghren?"
"Yes, Master Rand," Foghren replies.
While Rand may be older and wiser than your Master, Rianna, he is certainly physically weaker than Myraline. Though he is a superior swordsman by far, he too has been going on diplomatic missions more often than not. Lack of physical requirements on missions has made him lax.
"Rianna!" someone calls out behind you.
"Thank you." Rianna replies, before turning to see who is calling her.
(I wonder who it could be...)
"Rianna, how many times have I told you not to engage in practice duels without my supervision?" Myraline demands, striding into the courtyards as another set of Padawans engage in a duel. "You know how I dislike it!"
She gives a curt nod of acknowledgement when she notices Master Rand and Foghren.
"I couldn't sleep at all, what would you have rather me done? And it's not exactly like we're unsupervised here..." Rianna says, annoyed but trying to hide it.
"There is much you could have done, my very young apprentice," Myraline says. "Being a member of the Jedi Order is not just about flashy swordplay, and you know that from your time with me! Isn't that so, Master Rand?"
"Certainly, Myraline," Rand says, forcing his unnerving smile to return after it had flickered out at the arrival of Rianna's mentor. "Indeed, a Jedi must possess more than the ability to manipulate the Force and the skill to wield a lightsaber. Embodying the concept of the galactic renaissance man is something to strive for. I find that attempting public speaking with pirates and collecting strange stories to pass on to your students are also very important, don't you think?"
"Quite," Myraline says, curtly. Her sharp gaze flicks back to Rianna. "Come, Rianna. I will escort you to your quarters and discuss this further. Adieu, Master Rand, may the Force be with you."
"I'm no good with that other stuff. And if I'm awake unable to sleep, the last thing I want to do is get myself even more frustrated!" Rianna replies, leaving with Myraline. "Because that's all that happens, you know it."
"Pleasant dreams, Myraline," Rand says. "And good night, Rianna. I wish you well in your training."
The Jedi Master beckons for Foghren to return to his practices with the other students, watching as Myraline and Rianna stride out of the courtyard and from his line of sight.
She will be a magnificent swordsman one day... Rand thinks to himself. He closes his eyes and begins to meditate against a wall at the courtyard, trying to pry something from the Force about the future.
Myraline walks down the corridor at a fast past, her boots clicking on the polished floors of the Jedi Temple.
"I am not mad, Rianna," she says. "Do not mistake my expressions for anger. But I am frustrated. I am trying to provide the very best education that a Jedi can receive, but I can only do so much. There are two halves to an apprenticeship."
She casts a glance back towards the courtyard, catching Rand for a moment before he goes into his meditative state. "And I have warned you about Master Rand. Please stay away from him."
"I try. But what good does it do me? I don't have a strong connection with the Force, I don't have the patience for diplomacy, and hours of reading things out of books simply bores me." Rianna replies, trying to hide her own frustration. "At least I have one thing I'm good at!"
"And there wasn't much I could do, Foghren was the only one willing to duel with me. None of the other Padawans like me, and I am more skilled than them."
"I understand how you feel about your lightsaber training, but you cannot dedicate to yourself to it. Such aggression being the sole focus of your training can lead to the Dark Side, Rianna!"
"I don't really think you do... and there are others who manage it without falling to the Dark Side. Why can't I do the same? It doesn't have to lead there!"
"But the risk is great. Many Jedi warriors have sought perfection of their combatative skills and lost to their emotions. Even Master Windu has walked this path with great risk. It is risk that I don't want to take, and a Jedi is more useful with a wider range of skills."
"Isn't holding back on something due to fear of a possible outcome just as bad, though?" Rianna replies. "I can't deny where my skills lie. And if this is just going to be another lecture, can it at least wait until I've slept some?"
Myraline sighs. You have reached your quarters.
"I shall save it for tomorrow," Myraline says. "I just worry about you, Rianna. I care for you deeply as only a mentor can for their apprentice. I don't want your training to go wrong because I didn't try hard enough."
"Don't worry so much, it's not as though I'm going to go and try and pass the Trials tomorrow..." Rianna says, opening the door to her quarters and suppressing the desire to roll her eyes.
"Good night, Master."
"Good night, my Padawan Learner."
As ever, the night is long. You are prone to practicing stances while in the Jedi Temple, as there is little room for you to execute full lightsaber swings without driving your lightsaber into your neighbor's room. But other than that, there is little else to be done. Eventually, you go to sleep.
The next morning begins as it always does. You are awoken by Master Myraline banging upon your door.
"I'm awake! Sort of..."
Rianna goes to open the door.
Myraline is standing, ready to begin training exercises for the day. She is dressed, as ever, in her cream-colored Jedi robes.
"Good morning, Rianna," she greets. "I hope you slept well."
"As well as I ever do..." Rianna grumbles.
"Mind tricks," Myraline states. "I have brought in a civilian for you to hone your abilities on. Gather your things and we'll meet him."
"Oh, great...what abilities?" Rianna mutters, going back into her room.
Once she's dressed and everything she will go back out to meet Myraline.
"Precisely. Manipulation of the Force requires practice. You have shown promise with kinetic abilities, what with learning to throw your lightsaber accurately. Practice is all you need, and I'm certain that you will find this more useful than anything you will learn in texts."
Myraline leads you to the front of the Temple, where the great steps are walked by Jedi and civilian allies alike, going about their business as usual. She closes her eyes briefly, then opens them and begins walking down the steps.
"Follow me," she says.
"Where are we going?" Rianna asks, following Myraline out of the Temple.
"Not far..." Myraline says. Suddenly, she raises a hand and there is a distinct cracking noise somewhere to your right. A man wearing a leather jacket and black pants jerks his head to see what the noise was, and Myraline sneaks up on his left side and taps his shoulder. He jumps.
"Myraline!" he yelps. "I TOLD you not to do that to me..."
"I'm sorry, I couldn't resist," Myraline says. "And it has shown my Padawan the usefulness of Mind Tricks. Rianna, I would like you to meet Quinn, an impressive pilot and long-time friend of the Jedi Order. Quinn, this is my apprentice, Rianna Xi."
"Pleased to meet ya," Quinn says, fixing his combed-back sandy brown hair. He has the stump of a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. "So, Myraline, did you need me for anything else or can I go?"
"Of course I do!" Myraline says. Quinn smiles.
"I know, just messin'. So, champ, how old are ya?" he asks you.
"I already know that mind tricks can be useful, though that was funny..." Rianna says to Myraline, before replying to Quinn. "And I'm sixteen."
"Really? I'd've thought you were at least eighteen, but that's just me. Ever have an interest in flying starfighters?"
"No, I'm just tall...and I don't think I've ever really given it much thought. Though I'm sure Myraline would point out that unless it involves a lightsaber I've not given it much thought."
Quinn shakes his head.
"A lost cause, Myraline," Quinn says. "You should give up now. She'll never be a pilot."
Myraline slaps him on the shoulder. "Not funny, Quinn."
Rianna just looks at the two of them.
"Quinn thinks that the ability to pilot should be a requirement for all Jedi Knights," Myraline says. "But it is not something that everyone can do. Unlike your studies, piloting just requires a certain... knack. It is hard to explain, but it comes naturally to Quinn just as fencing does to you."
"And proud of it," Quinn says.
"So I'd likely not be any good at it...which is fine." Rianna replies.
"Suit yourself," Quinn says. "Just remember me when you're surrounded by pirates..."
"Anyways, Quinn, remember why I asked you here," Myraline says, gesturing back toward the Temple. "Rianna required a civilian subject to test her abilities upon..."
"Figures," Quinn says. "Is it going to hurt?"
"I should hope not."
"I'm not very good at that sort of thing...at least nothing will happen if I inevitably mess up." Rianna says, not very happy with this.
"Positive about that?" Quinn asks, unconvinced.
As you ascend the stairs, you notice that you are being watched. A figure stands tall and proud near one of the mighty pillars that guard the Temple's entrance, swathed in Jedi robes. The ebony-skinned man has a hand resting on his lightsaber, the other against the pillar. It is Mace Windu, possibly the best Jedi swordsman in the Order.
"Good day, Myraline Kiros," Mace Windu greets, in his usual serious manner. His stern eyes pass from the mentor to the apprentice. "And to you, young Padawan. Rianna, isn't it?"
Myraline bows deeply in respect for the renowned Jedi Master.
"Yes, Master Windu." Rianna replies, wondering how long she'd need to practice to be as good as him...
A very, very, very long time. Master Windu is at least in his mid-forties and has dedicated his life to perfecting lightsaber combat, and has also become a rather remarkable martial artist.
"I have news for you, Myraline," Master Windu says as your mentor rises from her deep bow.
"You have been requested for an assignment by the Chancellor himself."
"Really? For what does Valorum require my assistance?"
"As I'm sure you've heard, diplomatic issues have arisen between Beseedra and Naboo."
"Of course I have. I take it that Valorum feels I am suited to work on such a mission?"
Rianna will simply watch and listen while they talk, though she's not terribly pleased by the sound of yet another diplomatic mission...
In a short discussion, Master Windu notifies that he is going to take a shuttle to the Chancellor's office shortly, advising that Myraline and yourself should just come with. Quinn, too, is invited at Myraline's request, as the mission will need a pilot.
Shiny. I'm betting Rianna hasn't met the Chancellor before...
Chancellor Valorum seeks the opinion of the Jedi Order in many matters, but it is not often that he invites Jedi Knights into his political meetings. Myraline has met him many times, but as her Padawan, you have not.
After a short shuttle ride and a stroll through the Senatorial building, you arrive at the Chancellor's office. Unlike the crimson red that will later dominate every aspect of these rooms, Valorum's quarters are brandeis blue with miniature statues of past chancellors and other galactic heroes standing on small pedastals. The Chancellor himself sits behind his desk, a wisened old man, his back to the panoramic window that looks out over the Coruscant horizon.
"Welcome, Master Jedi," Valorum greets, speaking a professional tone. "Master Windu, Master Kiros..." He falters when he realizes he does not know your name.
"My Padawan, Rianna," Myraline briefly introduces.
"Rianna," Valorum says, with a friendly smile. "You're just in time. Please, be seated. Senator Palpatine will be here at any moment."
Rianna will take a seat, basically deciding that she will happily leave all of the talking to Myraline, and not really thinking it likely that she will be asked anything anyway.
After a brief wait, another politician joins you. This time, he is a kindly looking middle-aged man with red-brown hair that is going gray. He dons elegant Senatorial robes from his homeworld, robes in shades of emerald green, made of a silk-like material that is woven with beautiful symbols and patterns. He smiles generously and gives an awkward bow toward all present.
"Greetings, everyone!" Palpatine says. "I am so glad you could make it. I asked Valorum to personally invite a Jedi with great talent for politic matters. I assure you that this requires the utmost concentration and unbiased deliberation that I cannot possibly give alone. Oh, Master Windu! It has been too long."
"Senator Palpatine," Windu says, with a brief nod.
"Please be seated, Senator," Chancellor Valorum says. "We were just about to begin things."
The Senator seats himself next to you, Rianna.
Rianna glances over at Senator Palpatine before looking back ahead, already feeling that this mission is going to be incredibly boring for her.
Palpatine smiles warmly when you glance at him, but says nothing.
"Let us begin," Valorum says. "I am sure you all know of Beseedra. It is a technologically sophisticated world, notable for its advances in the fields of communications and robotics. Yearly they produce millions of droid models with an endless range of uses. But recently the Ministrate of Beseedra has increased government spending toward military projects. Senator Palpatine feels that it is possible that they are preparing for war."
"Why does this concern the Senator of Naboo?" Myraline asks.
"Naboo is of close proximity to Beseedra, Master Jedi," Palpatine says. "If the Beseedrans are preparing for conflict, I feel it is within my rights to determine whether or not my world will be threatened."
This may not be as dull as you thought, Rianna. Still dull, of course.
Hmmm, yes...Rianna's mostly curious about why Beseedra would even be preparing for war at all, but she's not sure if she wants to ask right now; she can always ask Myraline later.
Master Windu seems to share your interest.
"Why would Beseedra prepare for war?" Mace asks. "They are economically and financially stable, they should have no reason for expansion."
"Unless perhaps they are being threatened," Myraline conjectures.
"I hadn't thought of that," Palpatine says. "But who would be threatening Beseedra? There are no worlds in that sector that could bring arms against them. Not with this stockpile that they are developing."
"In addition to aiding Senator Palpatine in negotiating restrictions upon their military developments, I have sought the help of the Jedi Order for other reasons as well," Valorum states. "Myraline, I understand that you are also a sharp investigator."
"I can be," Myraline replies.
"You will be tasked with discovering just what exactly is going on at Beseedra. Their reasons for building battle droids and new weapons should be uncovered, so that the Republic might stop them or aid them, depending on their motive or their plight."
"Furthermore, should it be proven that Beseedra has become a hostile environment, the Sentor will need protection. Rianna, I have heard that you are a remarkable swordsman despite your young age. Is this true?"
All eyes are on you.
"I do spend a lot of time practicing my swordplay, yes..." Rianna replies, not entirely sure if she likes being the center of attention.
"She is an avid swordsman and martial artist, Chancellor," Myraline adds.
"Then she will be tasked with the protection of the Senator, with your assistance, Master Kiros."
Myraline looks slightly worried at the prospect of a young girl being charged with protecting the life of an important Senator, but she nods in acknowledgement.
"I will do my best." Rianna says, nodding.
This just got much more interesting... she thinks to herself.
The Chancellor and his audience spend the rest of the meeting hammering out the details of the mission. Senator Palpatine refuses the security of Senatorial guards, expressing that they may present a hostile or even cowardly appearance to what should be an amiable mission of concern.
"I am confident that my Jedi companions will provide all the protection I require," Palpatine states, smiling at Myraline and yourself.
"Then it is settled," Chancellor Valorum states. "The Beseedran envoy will proceed tomorrow."
Rianna will remain seated until Myraline gets up to leave, then. She's sure that she's going to get lectured on how important this is and everything once Myraline gets a chance, too...
Palpatine actually wishes to speak with you, as Myraline is talking in private with Master Windu and Chancellor Valorum.
Ahh. Rianna will go and speak with Palpatine, then.
"So, you have been tasked as my protector, young Jedi. I trust that you will do well in this capacity and that you are as talented as your Master has said. Do you feel up to it?"
"It is certainly a larger task than I've ever had before..." Rianna says. "But I think I will be able to do well, Senator."
"Most excellent news! Then I have no need to fear for my life, and I will share your confidence. But tell me, what other interests do you have? Presuming that my life will not be threatened, I do so enjoy talking with my protectors..."
"Unfortunately my training takes most of my time right now, so I don't really have any time for any other interests...and I'm not the best conversationalist anyway." Rianna replies. "My Master is forever trying to get me more interested in politics, though..."
"A valuable interest to have, I assure you," Palpatine says. "Perhaps we can help each other, then. Save my life once or twice and I will share my knowledge with you of anything you like. Hopefully we will keep this interesting for each other, yes?"
"I think that sounds fair, Senator, and thank you."
"My pleasure, Rianna. I will see you tomorrow, then. Be prepared, will you? Might want to do some research on Beseedran battle droids."
He winks, then bows to the Chancellor and leaves the office.
"A charming man, Palpatine," Chancellor Valorum says. "I have a feeling that he will win many people over with a demeanor such as that..."
"Quite," Myraline says, agreeing.
"Handy...though it could be easy to abuse, I'd think..." Rianna comments, mostly to herself.
"If there is one thing I've learned, politicians will act a certain way to get people on their side," Myraline says. "No offense, Chancellor."
"None taken, Miss Kiros," Valorum says. He turns to include Master Windu in his address. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to. The Trade Federation is complaining about the rights to certain space lanes..."
"Yes, Chancellor," Myraline says, giving a slight bow. "May the Force be with you."
"And with you."
Myraline and Mace Windu guide you back to the air shuttle and secure themselves as it returns to the Jedi Temple.
"What did Senator Palpatine wish to speak to you about?" Myraline asks you.
"He wanted to know if I thought I would be up to my task."
"And what did you tell him?"
"The truth. That it's a larger task than I've had before on a mission but that I feel I will be able to handle it."
Myraline does one of her half-smiles, the one that hints at her being glad that you are confident in your abilities but simultaneously seeking more in your performance as her Padawan. It makes you uncomfortable.
"Additionally security will be sent if required," Master Windu says. "Not because Rianna is not sufficient in that capacity, but because any threat can be underestimated."
"Of course, Master Windu. I do not think there will be a need, but I have long since learned to keep an open mind on such matters..."
If there is one thing you really adore about Myraline, it is her capacity to plan ahead. There have been very few missions in your time with Myraline that have gone from diplomacy to aggressive negotiations, but even when those occur, Myraline is normally well-prepared for dealing with any situation. She attributes it to whispers of the future that she attains from the Force, something that has never happened for you, thus far into your training.
When you return to the Temple, Myraline asks that you access the Jedi Archives on her permission (she has Ties to the Library).
"Study Beseedra, my Padawan," Myraline requests. "I already know much of the world, but you should too."
Heh, I will assume that that's where Rianna got her obsession with actually have a decent plan for things...
"I will." Rianna replies once they arrive. She will head off to the Archives and do what research she can.
Beseedra is a world located just outside of the Chommell Sector and a few parsecs off the Enarc Run (on the Galactic Map, square O16). It has great oceans that have more or less been frozen solid into pale blue ice, surrounding dark landmasses that are rich in valuable ore. The landmasses themselves are flat but horrendously rocky from volcanic activity. Where the cities are located, the jagged surface has been smoothed by machine. Native wildlife is incredibly rare and mostly extinct. It was colonized around the same time as Naboo by humans from Grizmallt, an ecumenopolis notable for funding colonization expeditions (Naboo, for example). Those that colonized Beseedra maintained the industrialized mentality that Naboo completely rejected. Once the colony was well-established, they began the production of droids and technology.
Beseedra is fairly notorious for its competition with the Trade Federation. Beseedran business previously used the Enarc Run to transport their goods inwards toward the Inner Rim and then hop onto the Corellian Run, which took Beseedran freighters directly to Corellia and Coruscant. But then the Trade Federation gained influence on Enarc and took control of it. The Beseedrans were forced to hop on the Corellian Run sooner... but then the Trade Federation gained influence on Druckenwell, cutting them off on that route before they got anywhere near Corellia. At that point they began hiring smugglers to run Federation blockades, something that the Federation complained about and got the Senate involved in around a hundred years ago.
More recently, the Beseedrans have been using the Hydian Way that connects with Malastare and Denon (an ecumenopolis second only to Coruscant), where they have made good business despite competition with the Trade Federation. But to reach the Core Worlds, the Hydian Way loops just out of reach and connects with the Perlemian Trade Route... it's all very complicated.
Relations have been fairly uninteresting with Naboo as far as political confrontations. The Naboo and the Beseedrans are ancestors of Grizmallt colonizing efforts, but Naboo certainly has an issue with their blatant disregard for Beseedra's environment and the environments of other worlds where they test their droids and build more factories.
Oh, and they specialize in technology for waging warfare. Most of their droid designs are created with battle in mind. The Naboo are not pacifists, but they are far from military might.
Hmmm. While that's very interesting and all, Rianna's not sure how much of it is really important at the moment.
What was the resolution of the Senate involvement, and, as they appear to be getting ready for war and have a history of competition with the Trade Federation, has there been any hostilities between them and Beseedra in recent years? Or any actions from the Trade Federation that could cause Beseedra to feel more threatened than usual?
The only time the Trade Federation and the Beseedrans have openly exchanged shots was during the Druckenwell incident. After the Senate became involved over the smuggling issue, the Beseedrans sent two cruisers disguised as freighters to bombard the Federation foundry on Druckenwell. The fighters were intercepted by four-engined droid starfighters (a new concept at the time) and torn apart. The Senate ruled in favor of the Federation, giving them superiority over those trade lanes and threatening to fine Beseedra for such openly violent competition against the Neimoidians.
The Trade Federation is rather perturbed about threats against them by the Nebula Front, an organization of terrorists fighting against corporate interests. Neimoidia openly accused Beseedra of funding the terrorists, but without proof. Beseedra is likely annoyed, but preparing for war is hardly the response to take.
So no real reason for Beseedra to be preparing for war, then, it seems...unless they could have political/business dealings with someone/something else that might not have gone well?
How about looking more into the droids they produce?
All sorts of models. They do not specialize.
Well, not really anything else that Rianna can think to look up...
Then that will conclude Rianna's brief visit to the Jedi Archives.
The diplomatic envoy to Beseedra will be leaving tomorrow. Is there anything else that Rianna wishes to do to prepare?
Nothing is really coming to mind!
Then we move on.
Night falls. At first you are not sure if sleep is possible. It rarely is for you. But slowly you drift into a deep, dark sleep... and receive a Dream.
The village is empty, abandoned to the jungle around it. You feel alone, so alone. You have no one but yourself.
Wait, there is someone with you. A young girl. She is crying over a man in robes. He is dead. He smolders. She cries. She cannot understand. She is too young.
Something approaches! But nothing approaches. It is just you and this little girl.
She cries. But you cannot help. You do not know what threatens her.
A city in the clouds. Lightsabers hum and crash. The little girl is here, still crying. You stand over her. You hate her. You hate them all. You shift the lightsabers in your hands and swing downwards...
You wake up in a cold sweat, breathing heavily. It is nearly morning.
Rianna lies still for a few moments after she wakes up, getting her breathing back under control and thinking over the dream that she had had. She had never had a dream like that before and while she didn't really want to, she thought that she should probably tell Myraline about it later. She might have a better chance at understanding what it meant.
Deciding there was no point in trying to sleep anymore, Rianna gets up and dresses.
Morning comes shortly, and you are wanted at the Temple hangars. You will be taking an airspeeder over to the Senatorial landing platforms, and from there you will be flying in style to Beseedra.
Well, then, Rianna will gather up her things and head off to the hangars.
Myraline will meet you there.
"Are you ready for the journey ahead, my Padawan?" Myraline asks.
"I am." Rianna replies, deciding that she will ask Myraline about her dream later, once they have left Coruscant and on he way to Beseedra.
"Good," Myraline says.
She pilots the small airspeeder away from the grand structure of the Jedi Temple, speeding toward the Senatorial district. This takes no time at all as they are basically adjacent to one another. She sets the airspeeder down at the Senatorial landing area, beside a junky space freighter that looks like a small, block-shaped house.
Quinn meets you on the landing pad.
"Good morning, Quinn," Myraline responds, looking up at the freighter. "The Last Chance does not seem to have improved at all in appearance..."
"Is that the ship we're going to be taking?" Rianna asks, looking it over.
"Yes m'am," Quinn answers, walking over and patting the rust-brown hull. "She's served me well these many years, no point in changing that."
"I thought you preferred starfighters, Quinn?" Myraline asks.
"Nah... well... that one time..." He sort of scratches his head awkwardly then goes back to fiddling with something on the ship.
Palpatine arrives shortly after, flanked by Senatorial guards in lavish blue uniforms. Today Palpatine is wearing a regal outfit of red, complete with poofy sleeves to fit the Renaissance style of Naboo clothing.
"Ah! My Jedi friends," he greets you as the guards peel off and return to their stations. "I hope this morning finds you well!"
"I am fine, thank you..." Rianna replies, glancing over at Myraline.
Myraline nods. "Are we ready, Senator?"
"Quite! Though I was under the impression we would be taking my Senatorial vessel..."
Quinn sighs. "No offense, Senator, but we're flying into a potential war zone, yeah?"
"Well, I suppose..."
"And your ship has no weapons?"
"That is true..."
"Then I suggest taking this hunk of junk," Quinn says, thumping his hand against the hull again. "Been through a lot, probably would get through this just fine."
Palpatine resigns and moves towards the boarding ramp.
"We all set, ladies?" Quinn asks, closing a hatch on the side and moving toward the ramp himself.
Rianna simply nods in response.
"Master..." she says quietly, as she and Myraline head towards the ramp, "Can I ask you about something, once we are on our way?"
"Of course, Rianna," Myraline says.
The Last Chance is a small trader, an Efficient-class starfreighter, which in essence looks like a small building. It has a rusty brown exterior and the interior is not much better, though the 'living room' just underneath the bridge is relatively comfortable. Quinn does not have living quarters available except his own room, which he gives to Senator Palpatine.
You can see it here.
Once everyone is aboard, the Last Chance rumbles and takes off from the Senatorial platforms and zooms off into the skies of Coruscant and beyond.
Rianna will wait until she and Myraline are alone, as she's still fairly unnerved because of that dream.
With Quinn piloting and Palpatine deciding to keep to himself in Quinn's quarters, you and Myraline largely have the common room to yourself for the duration of the journey.
Myraline will ask what it is you wanted to talk to her about.
"Last night when I was sleeping, I had a dream...I don't think it was a normal one, but instead one from the Force." Rianna starts to say. She'll then describe it to Myraline.
"It worries me. What could it mean?"
Myraline looks incredibly concerned, for reasons that she will not explain.
"I cannot say, Rianna. Beseedra is a world covered in snow and rock... unlikely to find any jungles there. And... I honestly haven't a clue. I am worried, Rianna. I was unable to divine anything from the Force during my meditations... my view was clouded. But that you have received this disturbing image of the future... well, we shall have to avoid that, shan't we?"
She tries to smile, but it is rather crooked.
"I didn't expect to see anything like that...I never have before." Rianna says, noticing that she's caught Myraline off-guard. "I just...I don't like it. I had hoped you would have had an idea."
"The future is a difficult thing to understand," Myraline says, "especially when your perception of it comes at random. You have not focussed on that area of your training, and so the Force speaks to you in dreams, rather than through meditation."
"I suppose..." Rianna replies unhappily.
"How long will it take us to get to Beseedra?"
Quinn will have to circle around the Deep Core by taking the Corellian Run and drop off onto Hydian Way as you pass into the Inner Rim, take that into the Expansion Region where the Harrin Trade Corridor will carry you into the Kira System, from which you can put yourself on the Enarc Run which will take you to the edge of the Chommel System where Naboo is and finally at your destination of Beseedra.
That is Myraline's answer as she is trying to expand your galactic knowledge and expects that you should figure it out pretty quickly... but the short answer is a few days.
Well, Rianna being typically herself, she'll pay attention to that long enough to figure out how long it should take and then not pay anymore attention to the information.
The journey to Beseedra is uneventful and uninteresting, so we shall skip straight to the part where the Last Chance drops out of hyperspace over a small gray-white globe of a world known as Beseedra.
"There she is," Quinn says "The giant, dirty snowball."
Quinn takes the ship down towards the surface. The majority of the surface is uninhabited by sentient life. The tundras stretch on and on, only interrupted by dark jutting rocks. But soon the freighter zooms into sight of the capital city and primary settlement of Beseedra, fittingly named Beseedad. It is a squat city with low, gunmetal-gray, circular buildings, like a mess of dials and knobs dotting the artificially smoothed surface, interconnected by wires of covered streets and enclosed bridges.
Traffic control hails Quinn and resquests that he land on the outskirts of the city in the public docks, near the single, slightly polluted ocean on Beseedra's surface.
"What will we be doing once we land?" Rianna asks Myraline.
"I expect we will be greeted," Myraline says, pulling a thicker cloak around her shoulders for the cold. "The Senate notified the Beseedran Ruling Council of our impending arrival. It would be negative to not greet foreign emissaries."
Indeed, when Quinn lowers the ramp and Palpatine steps out with the two of you behind him, you see that you are being welcomed by a thin man, dressed appropriately for snowy weather.
"Welcome to Beseedra, Senator Palpatine," the man says. "I am a representative of the Council. I have been asked to escort you to their chambers."
"Splendid," Palpatine says, pleasantly. "Good to see that we are welcome."
"Of course, Senator." The representative eyes you, Rianna. "I see you have brought, erm... guests, Senator?"
Rianna will simply stare back at him while pulling the hood of her cloak up against the cold. She'll leave the speaking to Myraline as much as possible.
"I am Myraline Kiros, Jedi Knight," Myraline says. "Is our presence unexpected?"
"Not unexpected, Master Jedi, unwanted," Palpatine says. "I suspect the Council is displeased with the Jedi taking interest in their affairs."
The representative grimaces. "W-we should go into the city. For the sake of our health."
"Of course!" Palpatine says. "Lead the way, my boy." He smiles as the nervous representative quickly guides you into one of the nearby covered streets.
The streets are sparsely used for traffic, but many people walk along them. Thermal vents lining the streets allow heat to escape from below, but the synthetic materials stretched over the road like a massive tent seem to catch the heat and make it comfortable to walk along without wearing thick clothing. Many still do, of course...
...especially as you notice a gaping hole in the tent above you, Rianna.
"Why is there such a large hole in the coverings? Wouldn't that warrant quick repairs, on such a cold planet like this?" Rianna asks, looking up before glancing around the rest of her surroundings.
The representative shakes his head, sadly.
"The Council will want to discuss that with you..."
Eventually you arrive at what appears to be an elevator that lowers down into the street, just before a small, disc-like building labeled 'Council Chambers.'
"We aren't going into the Chambers?" Myraline asks, as the rep gestures to the elevator.
"That building is empty," the rep explains. "It is more a marker than anything!"
"The actual Chambers are underground?" Rianna asks.
"Much of the city is underground," the representative explains. "Geothermal energy beneath the surface has been harnessed to give us warmth and power. That is what these vents are giving out. Volcanic heat!"
Rianna will simply shrug and head towards the elevator, then.
Does she sense anything that seems strange or off, btw?
No, not particularly. The representative seems nervous, but it seems to be his character more than something bothering him.
Onwards to the Chambers, then, I suppose? Unless Myraline or Palpatine have any sort of objections or anything, of course...
The four of you pile into the lift (Quinn having stayed with the ship) and it descends rapidly into the crust of Beseedra...
...which is quite disappointing. You were expecting something cool like cut-away sections of rock to detail the different layers of Beseedra's ice-laced, black-stone crust! Instead you get a metal tube with holographic displays requiring the representative to enter his passcodes and register his guests. Yawn.
When the lift finally arrives- after a brief pause when the rep accidentally entered the wrong code- it deposits you within the gates of the House of the Beseedran Councillors. Beyond the gates you can see a twinkling metropolis within an immense cavern. Think of Zion, but make the caverns completely smooth from advanced drilling procedures and update the technology to Star Wars level (and make it all curvy and smooth in design).
"This way, please," the representative says, gesturing to the Council building.
As boring as the ride down on the elevator was, Rianna is certainly impressed by the underground city.
She will follow the others to the Council building, while looking around her - it's a safe bet she's never seen anything like this before.
Indeed, you have not. The majority of Myraline's diplomatic missions have been in the deeper Galaxy, whereas Beseedra is out on the fringes of Republic space.
The reception area for the House is simplistic, a smooth tile floor composed of black stone, a reception desk beside an enormous circular metal door, and doors to the side of the tall room that must lead off to other offices.
"Guests to see to the Council," the representative tells the droid behind the reception desk.
The droid- humanoid in shape, decidely female, with a 50's hairstyle made of tin- looks you three over. "Weapons, please."
"What?" Rianna asks, looking over at Myraline. She very much does not want to give over her lightsaber.
"Weapons, please," the robot repeats.
Palpatine fishes a silvery blaster out of his robes and hands it to the representative, who hands it to the droid. The droid opens her chest cavity and stores the blaster in it.
Myraline hands over her lightsaber and does the same. "Rianna, your lightsaber," Myraline says, firmly.
Rianna silently unclips her lightsaber and hands it over, clearly displeased about having to do so. She greatly dislikes not having it with her...
Satisfied, the droid locks its chest cavity and presses a button on the desk. The thick door rolls to the side, revealing the Council Chambers beyond.
"Proceed," the droid says. "Thank you."
Rianna will enter the Chambers along with the others, still staying silent. She feels that making Jedi hand over their lightsabers along with other weapons is almost an insult.
The Council Chambers are in a circular room, with the members of the leadership behind tall podiums. You are getting the vibe that gunmetal gray is a popular color on Beseedra, as the walls and podiums are all primarily that one shade.
Behind each podium, looking down at their audience, is a Beseedran Councillor. Each Councillor holds a different office position; Councillor of Law, Councillor of Foreign Trade, etcetera. Many of them work closely on issues.
Members of the advisory staff seem to be milling around the walls of the round room, sending messages up to the Councillors or communicating discretely for them.
The grandest podium, also gunmetal gray but covered in intricate curving designs (something like a cross between circuitry and noodles), belongs to the Chairman of the Council. Portrayed by Gary Cole and wearing a smart suit (gunmetal gray), Chairman Kavell climbs up to his podium just as you arrive.
"Chairman, I present Senator Palpatine of Naboo," the representative says, gesturing (always gesturing) to the gray-haired, smiling Senator. "And his escorts, the Jedi... eh..."
"Myraline Kiros," Myraline introduces herself. "And my apprentice, Rianna Xi."
Chairman Kavell raises an eyebrow toward the three of you.
"What seems to be the problem here, Senator Palpatine?" Kavell says.
"You know very well, Chairman Kavell," Palpatine states. "There has been a drastic increase in military capacity for Beseedra over the past six months. King Veruna is concerned."
"You talk as if King Veruna has reason to fear war with our world," Chairman Kavell responds. "I have heard of Veruna's scandalous abuse of his high title, but he has not done anything to anger our Council. Not yet, at least."
Palpatine drops his pleasant smile, crinkling his brow.
Rianna will simply watch and...try to pay attention. She probably doesn't really know much about what the chairman is talking about...
Without Savoir-Faire, you do know much about it. King Veruna is the democratically elected monarch of Naboo, which makes little sense to you. Chairman Kavell seems to be insinuating that he is unpopular or corrupt.
"Honorable Chairman," Myraline says. "Senator Palpatine has been tasked as the representative of the Galactic Senate to inquire about the military build-up on Beseedra. Not only is King Veruna concerned, but Chancellor Valorum as well. The need for a sizeable droid army is not apparent to him or the Senate."
"Ah, I see," Chairman Kavell says, nodding. "The Senator here went and complained to the Chancellor. Well then. If you must know, our military program, led by Councillor-General Usby, has been under construction for some time. This is not a recent thing."
"But why has it gone into effect now, rather than before?" Senator Palpatine inquires. He does not seem pleased.
"There was no necessity for increased spending on the armed forces," Councillor-General Usby says, from his podium off to the left.
"Why was it suddenly deemed a necessity?" Rianna asks, curious. She'll try Scanning the Chairman, to see if she can sense anything about him.
Chairman Kavell is annoyed.
Councillor-General Usby starts to explain, but is interrupted by one of the other Councillors.
"This is nonsense!" the Councillor says. He is a pale, thin man with neatly combed hair, portrayed by Alfred Abel. His face is taught with frustration. "Our predicament is none of his concern! And what does he care, anyhow? I feel that Senator Palpatine is simply here to talk down upon our methods of production! Was it not so recently that you supported the environmental caution initiative that the Chancellor presented?"
"Yes, I did support that, but this is..." Palpatine starts to say.
"And it is no secret that the children of Naboo dislike Beseedra. They find their art in nature and in paintings, we find ours in machines and industry! Those mix as well as the sparkling waters of Theed and the productive oils of Beseedad."
"It is not my objective to lecture you about environmental issues!" Palpatine says. He does not raise his voice, though through his tone you can tell that Palpatine is greatly insulted.
"Calm yourself, Councillor Roch," Chairman Kavell says, rubbing his temples. "Senator Palpatine's concern about the increased production of military models is not without warrant. I feel that it is currently irrelevant to the issue at hand that the increased production also has increased atmospheric and environmental polution. If the Senator wishes to discuss this, he can do so another time."
"Thank you, Chairman," Palpatine says, his pleasant smile creeping back. "I will leave that for the Chancellor to discuss."
Councillor Roch slinks back in his seat, glaring at Palpatine.
"My question, please?" Rianna asks, glancing over at Roch. She doesn't like him, and will try Scanning him as well.
Councillor Roch... very firm mind, also very angry.
"Of course," Councillor-General Usby says, smoothing his waxed mustache nervously. "Now, as you know, we are situated on the very edge of Republic space. Currently we are having difficulties with pirates striking from the Outer Rim. They have been performing routine bombing raids on the surface and making attempts at entering the city."
"Why wasn't the Republic informed?" Myraline asks.
"Beseedrans are a resourceful people, Master Jedi," Chairman Kavell says. "We did not feel the need to put pressure on the Senate when we could handle the problem ourselves."
Now that they mention it, Rianna, that hole in the street covering definitely looked like it could have been caused by a proton bomb. Troubling!
Hmm, yes, it is...
"How long have you been having troubles with the pirates?" Rianna asks.
This has possibly just gotten a lot more interesting... she thinks to herself.
"Six months," Councillor-General Usby states. "But I believe we finally have the situation under control. Their attacks have been less frequent, and they cannot stand up to the might of Councillor Roch's creations."
Roch manages a smug grin.
Hmmm. Rianna's curious as to what exactly these creations are, but will wait to see if someone else asks about it.
You believe that he is referring to the battle droids.
"I apologize for my intrusion, Chairman," Palpatine says. "I was unaware of the current situation!"
"Understandable, Senator," Chairman Kavell says. "When you return to the Chancellor, please inform him that Beseedra has dealt with its piracy issues through increased firepower."
"Yes, Chairman. And I will see to it that Naboo will grant assistance to you, should it be needed! I understand our people are very different, as Councillor Roch was apt to point out..."
Roch frowns, then looks down at his display on the podium as if he is no longer paying attention.
"...but King Veruna will be sympathetic with your plight."
"Our many thanks, Senator," Chairman Kavell says, "but it is unnecessary at this time. Now, if we could move to ajourn? I have other matters to attend to..."
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