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Beyond - Legends [DDC 2017] The Journal of Talon Tantiss: [Part 5] Secrets Revealed-Vol 2 (updated 12/11/17)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    I was going back and forth about this fifth possible journal. Should I just finish up Secrets Revealed as a regular fic or should I finish it as a DDC2017.

    I finally decided on doing it as a DDC only because I know I am lazy and that the only reason I wrote anything last year is I hate the thought of not finishing the DDC. So I guess we have The Journal of Talon Tantiss Part 5 and Volume 2 of the story Secrets Revealed. :p
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    If you have been reading Talon's Journals for the last few years you can skip this first post. It is all review.

    Note: This is a continuation of last year’s Dear Diary Challenge titled: The Journal of Talon Tantiss (Part 4) Secrets Revealed I am going to attempt to write this year’s diary so everybody can understand it, but now that I have written seven stories leading up to this diary, I don't think I will succeed.

    If you are interested in reading the previous stories, the first book in this series is called Second to None . That was a L/M love story, but it also explained the origin of Talon’s father Mark Tantiss. After that fanfic I wrote The Journal of Mark Tantiss. This covers the time from Wayland, Byss, and the discovery of the Eye of Palpatine. This was followed by the fanfic Second To None: Sacrifices. This story has Talon as a young man and details Jacen’s brush with the darkside. This is followed by The Journal of Talon Tantiss (part1) then The Journal of A Very Married Talon Tantiss (part 2), The Journal of Talon Tantiss: Jedi Knight and Reluctant Vornskr Owner (part 3), and finally The Journal of Talon Tantiss (Part 4) Secrets Revealed

    If you haven’t read all the stories leading up to this journal you may be hopelessly lost. I used to give a general synopsis of all the stories in the first entry to the diary, but now it is way too complicated. Instead, to help new readers, I will give a character introduction and synopsis of the last diary.

    Just put your cursor arrow above the title to get the links. Or you can find the links to these stories in my signature. I also have them archived at FFN.

    Some of the older stories might be affected by the truncation issue we had when we moved servers. If that is the case you can read the stories over at FFN.

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    Dramatis personæ

    Talon Marcus Tantiss: Jedi Knight and the son of retired Jedi Master Mark Tantiss and Kira Starkos Tantiss. He was named after his father’s best friend, Talon Karrde. Coincidently, he is married to Zylie Karrde, the daughter of Talon Karrde and Zara Maru. He works closely with Ben Skywalker, who is married to Zylie’s older sister Valla. The Karrde sisters work in the family trade business and fly a huge Wayfarer-class medium transport cargo ship for their father’s company. Ben and Talon have been acting as a roving Jedi and store their StealthX fighters on the freighter allowing them to spend time with their wives while giving them the freedom to work as Jedi. Talon is a Jedi Guardian and Void Jumper. He also has the unique Jedi ability of post cognition, which allows him to gain insight to the past by touching physical objects.

    Zylie Karrde Tantiss: She has been married to Talon Tantiss for almost two years and dated for four years prior to getting married. She is a skilled slicer, pilot and trader.

    Marcus Indupar: Twelve-year-old king of the Indupar Crown Worlds. He is not the true heir to the throne, but the child born out of a relationship between Talon Tantiss and Ema Aiti, the identical twin sister of Queen Kaie. The King of Indupar died when the queen was a two weeks pregnant. The queen miscarried and, at the same time, Ema realized she was pregnant with Talon’s baby. The sisters conspired to trade places and put Ema’s son on the throne. To pull this off Ema broke up with Talon without telling him she was pregnant. Talon didn’t find out he had a son until years later. Talon must keep Marcus’ parentage a secret. Only his immediate family and Ben and Valla know he is the father. Marcus is Force strong and inherited his father's ability of post cognition. He is also being trained to be a seer by the H'Drachi Seers living within his kingdom.

    Mark Tantiss: He is Talon Tantiss’ father. He is a clone created by the Dark Jedi Joruus C’baoth on the planet Wayland. He is a Luke Skywalker clone genetically altered to be bigger and stronger. It is believed he was intended to become an Imperial Sentinel…a three-meter giant that could be controlled by a darkside adept. If this is true, he didn’t grow to his full-intended size, as his height leveled off at 2.15 meters. He dyed his hair red and irises green and told the galaxy he is the long lost brother of Mara Jade Skywalker. Mark Tantiss is married to Kira Starkos who he rescued during a mission to Byss to kill the Emperor Reborn. They have been married for 36 years. Mark is currently training his grandson, the King of Indupar.

    Kira Starkos Tantiss: Mother of Talon and Jaden Tantiss. She is a chef by profession.

    Jaden Tantiss: Older brother to Talon Tantiss. Jaden is a Jedi healer at the Temple on Coruscant. He is married to Jysella Horn, another Jedi healer, and they have a daughter named Jessa.

    Ben Skywalker: Oldest son of Luke and Mara Skywalker. He has identical twin brothers, Jak and Owen, and a younger sister Hanna. He is married to Valla Karrde and works as a Jedi Sentinel.

    Valla Karrde Skywalker: Trader and second in command of her father’s trade business.

    Hanna Skywalker: Jedi Knight and daughter of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Skywalker.

    Jysella Horn Tantiss: She is a Jedi healer, daughter of Corran Horn and wife to Jaden Tantiss.

    Valin Horn: Jedi Knight, son of Corran Horn.

    Mokk Streke: Human male that is currently the Chief-of-State of the Galactic Alliance. The Jedi know he is working for somebody that wants the Jedi off of Coruscant, but they don’t know whom. Streke is an unrepentant Jedi hater. The Jedi believe he is planning to neutralize the Jedi somehow.

    Deke Tavik: This is Mark Tantiss' old Void Jumper buddy. Deke and Mark went on a very secret undercover mission to purge any evidence of Jacen Solo's turn to the darkside and his involvement with the Hapan Plague that killed many of Tenal Ka's enemies. Only Mark and Deke know about his mission, although Talon Tantiss suspects.

    ID10T: Droid pilot of the Vazy Princess- the ship owned by the Karrde sisters and their husbands.

    Princess: Zylie and Valla’s pet vornskr.

    Kriffer: Runt vornskr pup that was rejected from Princess’ litter. He was hand fed by Talon Tantiss.


    What happened in the last diary:

    Talon and Ben have been working as roving Jedi. Ben and Talon were given a Corsec holovid showing an unknown man in a mimetic suit telling Chief-of-State Mokk Streke that he wants the Jedi off Coruscant. The man inferred that he and his Master were responsible for getting Streke into the office of Chief-of-State. The identity of the mimetic suited man remains unknown.

    Later, Deke Tavik, personal guard to Tenal Ka, gave Mark Tantiss a Holovid of Vong Shamed Ones being trained as Void Jumpers. Their armor is made out of a lightsaber resistant alloy. Now the Jedi wonder if somebody is making a Jedi-killing army.

    Talon Tantiss was sent out to talk to Void Jumpers in hopes of discovering who is training the Vong. He went on various missions with the 33rd Void Jumper Company. While on Felucia he discovered that some retiring Void Jumpers were being recruited to work in an area run by the slave syndicate. Future events revealed the Vong Void Jumpers were being used against the slavers and not for them. The Jedi don't know who is in charge of the Vong Army, but the head Void Jumper was wearing a lightsaber.

    While investigating reports of pirates in the Imperial Remnant area, Mark Tantiss crosses paths with 'Ship' the Sith meditation sphere. He kills the creature but is hit with a blast of dark force energy which made him erratic for a short time. He appears to have fully recovered from his darkside injury.

    Marcus Indupar, King of the Indupar Crown Worlds, has brokered a deal with the Galactic Alliance to sell his planet's newly discovered stygium crystals (used in cloaking) in exchange for the Alliance's decommissioned Delta Reserve Fleet.

    The Chief-of-State had his geneticists create a nanovirus which can kill midichlorians and render a Force-user incapable of touching the Force. He is currently using the virus to Force-sterilize Force-strong convicts. The Jedi fear he might use it on them, although their fears are based solely on Streke's obvious dislike for Jedi.

    Criminal activity by Force adepts (not Jedi) is increasing on Coruscant. There was an assassination attempt on the Chief-of-State by somebody impersonating a Jedi. The Grand Master believes the attempt on Streke's life was orchestrated by the Chief-of-State himself.

    The investigation of the Anti-Slavers, nanovirus, and the mimetic suited man is currently ongoing.


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    The First post will be up this week.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    Kahara likes this.
  2. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    This story starts off where I left off in Volume One: Secrets Revealed
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    47.5 ABY


    Entry 1

    When I returned to my ship, I decided to try to figure out the identity of the lightsaber carrying Void Jumper first. Later on I will help Ben investigate the attempted assassination of the Chief-of-State.

    Hanna thought she recognized the Force signature of the Void Jumper from somewhere. After meditating about it for a moment she decided the man was a guest at both my knighting ceremony and my wedding. Unfortunately, that is all she remembers. She can’t place a face. I would think remembering a face would be easier than recognizing a Force signature…but each of us has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the Force.

    I looked through my holovids of my knighting ceremony party and my wedding and came up with three of my Void Jumper buddies that attended both ceremonies. All three are in current good standing with their military units and everyone could be accounted for during the time Hanna encountered the Void Jumper with the lightsaber. It was disappointing, but sort of a relief.

    It was then I realized there was another connection between the two events—the Manarai restaurant, once owned by my parents, catered both parties. Could a former employee of the restaurant be the mysterious Void Jumper? Perhaps he wasn’t trained in the Galactic Alliance Jump School but instead was instructed by former Void Jumpers at the same location the Vong Shamed Ones were trained.

    I was in my cabin on the Vazy Princess when I came up with this idea, so I decided to contact my father on Indupar to ask him.

    I stood in front of my holonet transceiver, keyed my father’s comm number, and waited. After a short pause the image of my bearded father appeared above the projection base.

    “Hey Talon, good to see you.” He had a big smile on his face…a smile that faded as I explained to him what Hanna had said and my theory about a Manarai employee being the mysterious Void Jumper.

    “What do you think dad? My knighting ceremony and wedding occurred years apart. Were there any employees that were at both events?”

    “Talon, your knighting was years ago. I can’t remember who was on staff during that time.”

    “Well, do you have an records as to who was employed at the restaurant during those two party dates?”

    My father shook his head. “When we sold the restaurant we left all those records with the new owner. You can ask the new manager, but usually businesses only keep records for the five-year auditing period. Perhaps some of the droids on staff maintained some records in their memory cores, but they are usually not programed to keep tabs on employees.”

    My shoulders slumped in defeat. “This is so frustrating. When you look at the facts, nothing adds up. And now Ben thinks a Sith is involved.”

    My dad cocked his head to the side. “Why is that?”

    “Remember that Corsec undercover vid with Streke conversing with some person wearing a stealth mimetic suit?”

    “Yeah, you mentioned it.”

    “Well, the guy said he had seen a Jedi pull information out of a person’s head before doing a mind wipe. Since those are darkside skills Ben is sure we are dealing with a Sith.”

    Dad laughed. “If you recall, you and Ben have seen me do that.”

    “Dad!” I groaned in protest. “Don’t joke about that. You already have people worried about your exposure to the Sith Meditation Sphere. Hell, you can talk to Sith creatures. Let’s not make comments that focus more suspicion on our family.”

    My dad chuckled at my discomfort. “Wow, you’re a bit touchy about that subject.” He looked up in thought. “I supposed a Sith might be involved. That would explain the appearance of that Sith Meditation Sphere. Maybe it was looking for its Master.”

    “Unfortunately for it, it ran into you.”

    ‘Yeah.” My father’s expression filled with uneasy worry. “Assuming there is a Sith and Streke is working for the Dark Lord, don’t you think the Jedi are in danger?”

    “Yeah dad, but we can’t abandon the Temple and leave Coruscant to fend for itself.”

    He nodded in agreement. “True, but maybe you can set a trap. Somebody wants the Jedi off planet so they can do something. So leave the planet and see what happens.”

    I scoffed at the idea. “Yeah, and what if the plan is galactic domination? And once we leave and the Sith reveals himself, what’s stopping Streke from releasing that that midichlorians killing virus if we return?”

    Dad’s brow creased in concentration. “What’s stopping him now? He has the virus. And, according to your brother, it doesn’t take much time and effort to militarize the virus for dispersion. If a Sith is truly involved he should have Streke strike now and neutralize all the Jedi.”

    I threw my hands out wide. “That is exactly what I told the Grand Master. None of this makes sense.”

    My dad ran his fingers through his beard as he often does when thinking. “Well, it would make sense if the mimetic suited man doesn’t actually want to hurt the Jedi. He just wants them out of the way so they don’t interfere with his plans.”

    “Yeah, well then his plans must be evil.”

    My father laughed, slow and easy. “The Jedi are thinking about interfering in an anti-slavery operation. I don’t think that’s an evil plan.”

    I stared at my father for a long pause. “Do you know something about the anti-slavery group? Do you know who the Void Jumper with the lightsaber is? Is he a Jump buddy of yours?”

    My father’s relaxed mood quickly disappeared. “Talon, are these questions the Grand Master wanted you to ask me? If so, he can call me himself and not use my son to spy or interrogate me.”

    I was so shocked by my father’s change of demeanor that I actually took a step away from my transceiver. “Dad…no…Uncle Luke…”

    “Your Uncle Luke doesn't trust me. He continues to blame me for a genocide that he believes he could have prevented.” His eyes narrowed and jaw stiffened. “I knew the Galaxy Gun was going to be used against the Vong and I kept that a secret from the Grand Master. When Luke found out he was outraged over the wholesale slaughter of an invading race. He thought things could be worked out in another way!” My father’s voice cracked with emotion. “But that’s not true. General Dodonna and Madine tried using conventional weapons, but the Vong’s ships just absorbed the energy. Only the galaxy gun could kill them because the missiles dropped out of hyperspace inches from their world ships. If we didn’t do that…all would have been lost.”

    “Dad there is no way you could know how a conventional war would have resulted.”

    “I do know.” The words came out as a hoarse whisper. “I consulted the Seers.”

    “What? When?”

    He gave a slight shrug of his shoulder. “A few years ago. Luke’s disappointment in my behavior always bothered me. It made me second-guess my decision to stay quiet. I asked the Seers if they had seen anything in alternate time streams during the time of the invasion. They said in the time streams where the galaxy gun wasn’t used…trillions died. Entire worlds fell and almost all the Jedi were lost.” My dad reached up and batted away a tear. “Including my entire family.”

    I stepped back and sat down on my bed heavily. “Dad…I don’t know what to say.”

    “Yeah, well.” He turned away from the projector. “I’m sorry that I can’t help you with your investigation.”

    “That’s okay Dad. I’ll talk to you later.”

    I felt really bad for bringing up the subject, but as I switched off the transceiver I realized two things—first, my dad is the one who brought up the subject of the Anti-slave operation and the Vong. Second, he never answered my question. Did he know the identity of the lightsaber carrying Void Jumper?

    I was going to call my father back, but decided there was no point. If my father didn’t want to talk about something there is no way of getting the information out of him. Keeping secrets is his specialty.
     
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  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Love to see him back and revealing some of the intrigue. I will be following this again
     
  4. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks for reading. I really appreciate the reviews.

    This is a short post. I have been so busy lately. I am supposed to be studying for a test right now. I am avoiding studying by writing fanfic. [face_worried]

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    Entry 2

    I caught up with Ben later that day on our ship. He gave me a hopeful expression upon seeing me in the galley.

    “Did you figure out the identity of our lightsaber-wearing Void Jumper?”

    I shook my head. “No, I examined the holo-images I had taken at both functions and looked over my wedding invitations and there were only three of my buddies that went to both events. All three were accounted for during the time Hanna talked to the man we are looking for.”

    Ben made a slight shrug. “Hanna could be wrong. She was young when you were knighted. She is good at Force signature recognition, but I can’t believe she could remember something that happened so long ago. Now…the wedding was fairly recent. She may be right about that one…but there were so many guests. They ranked in the hundreds, plus, with the Emperor there and Tenel Ka you can add dozens upon dozens of guards. I think this is a dead end.”

    “What do you have on the assassination attempt?”

    Ben barked out a sarcastic laugh. “I got a lot of roadblocks. I requested information about security in the area and asked to look at vid feed from various security cams and was denied. The Chief-of State’s assistant told me the Coruscant Security Bureau is investigating. Since a Jedi is suspected in the crime any investigation we conduct would be automatically tainted by a perceived conflict of interest.”

    I blew out a harsh breath. “Okay, no official investigation, but can we at least go to the rooftop where the sniper took the shot? My postcognitive abilities may be able to pick up something.”

    Ben shook his head. “I thought of that and requested permission to look at the area but it has been declared a crime scene and it’s guarded by two sentinel droids…you know, just in case the Jedi decided to sneak into the area and destroy evidence.”

    “Wow,” I said with a chuckle. “Mokk Streke has all the bases covered. He really doesn’t want us finding out it was a hoax, does he?”

    “It looks like it. That leaves us with trying to identify the mimetic suited man. I was on the transceiver with Corsec today and requested the location of that meeting.”

    “Good, maybe I can pick up some post-cog visions from that room.”

    Ben put up a hand in a halting gesture. “Not so fast. That hotel was bought by a developer weeks after the holovid was recorded and demolished. A new building is being constructed.”

    “Oh come on,” I groused. “It’s like somebody knows we recorded that meeting and I may go there to poke around.”

    “Yeah,” Ben said slowly. “It’s like somebody is anticipating our every move.” He ran a hand through his red hair and frowned. “When in deep meditation, my dad often has Force visions of the future. If we are dealing with a Sith he might be able to do that same.” His brow furrowed then rose. “Especially if the Sith had a Meditation Sphere that could help him concentrate his power. It could be a Sith was using the Sphere to see into the future.”

    “Well, the sphere is dead now. So if there is a Sith, he no longer has that advantage. Maybe he will slip up somewhere down the line.”

    “We can only hope,” Ben said softly. “We can only hope.”

    Ben's words sounded creepily ominous, so I decided to change the subject. “Where are the ladies?”

    “They’re arranging a cargo run to Indupar. Marcus’ people ordered a shipload of repair parts. His mechanics are getting ready to renovate Delta fleet once it is delivered to the Crown Worlds.”

    This new subject didn’t ease my mind at all. I still wonder if the Seers saw some war or conflict on the horizon that would warrant the purchase of an entire war fleet. I grabbed my coat off the dining area chair. “I’m going to see my brother. Maybe he can get me into Dr. J’Shan’s office. Perhaps I can glean some information that way, especially if Mokk Streke ever went there to talk to the geneticist.”

    Ben nodded. “I’ll go with you.”
     
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  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I love how you're handling this story. There's at least one character here who ticks all the boxes the person Talon and Ben are looking for, but who is also the less likely to be suspected -- and whose motivations for acting this way would be pretty obscure, but who is also good at keeping secrets. And I'm wondering what the person could be up to [face_thinking]
     
  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Great intrigue. Someone is making things difficult for Talon and his friends
     
  7. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Ahh, you figured it out already? :( Hopefully the ending isn't too obvious.

    Somebody obviously knows about his abilities and is covering their tracks.

    I have been so incredibly busy this semester. I have some really hard classes, so some of these posts may be short. Thanks everybody for reading.
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    Entry 3

    My brother called Dr. J’Shan and arranged for us to visit on the pretense of assisting him in his midichlorians research.

    As my brother drove us in his airspeeder to the scientist’s office we discussed our strategy.

    “Jaden, see if you can get us into his office. If Streke ever went to the laboratory to discuss the virus it probably would have been there.”

    My brother looked over to me from the driver’s seat. “I don’t think that would be a problem, but I really don’t think Streke would divulge any nefarious plans to Dr. J’Shan. The doctor doesn’t seem like a man who would work on a project to hurt the Jedi. I have a very good rapport with the man.”

    “Yeah, but you never know. It could be all a façade. He might be conspiring with the Chief-of-State to wipe out the Jedi.”

    My brother frowned as he gave me a sideways glance. “Talon, you do realize I am a Jedi. I think I’d know if he was lying to me.”

    I shrugged, not wanting to argue with my brother. “What exactly did you say to the man to get us in his lab?”

    “I told him you are willing to give him a DNA sample. He was disappointment that I didn’t get one from you the last time you visited.” He glanced back to Ben sitting in the backseat. “He would like to get one from you too, Ben. He said he is starting a new phase in his research and would like to get samples from people whose parents both are Force-users.”

    Ben nodded. “Sure.”

    We fought our way thought the heavy Coruscant flight traffic and finally arrived to a huge building with a equally large sign in front announcing it was the Coruscant Genome Center, also know as the CGC. We pulled into a parking deck and Jaden led Ben and I to Dr. J’Shan’s laboratory.

    I have to tell you, I was impressed. I was expecting to see something similar to the chemistry laboratory at the temple, but this place had much more than microscopes and beakers. The lab was packed with high tech equipment whose purpose was a mystery to me, but I suspect they all either analyzed or processed genetic samples.

    A short man with a impeccably groomed beard and short cropped white hair looked up from one of the laboratory's many machines and smiled. “Jaden.” He stepped away from his workstation and moved toward us with arms outstretched in a friendly manner. “You brought me some test subjects.”

    Jaden grinned as he moved forward and shook the man’s hand. He motioned towards me and Ben. “This is Ben Skywalker and this is my brother Talon.”

    Dr. J’Shan’s brow rose when he heard the name Skywalker. “Ben Skywalker. I have followed your father’s exploits since he destroyed the first Death Star. He’s the reason I have such a fascination with the Jedi. I always wondered why some Force-users are drawn to the darkside while others stay firmly in the light. Could there be mutations in the midichlorians that makes the darkside of Force power preferable?”

    Ben cocked his head in thought. “Are you hypothesizing that being drawn to the darkside might be genetic?”

    The doctor grinned wildly, “I don’t have enough data to hypothesize anything at this time, but wouldn’t that be a wonderful breakthrough?”

    “How so?” I asked.

    “It could cure darkside Force psychosis without rendering a person Force sterile. If I could target only the darkside prone midichlorians while keeping the normal ones active, then I could possibly change a Force-users affiliation.” He looked to Jaden. “I know there hasn’t been a Sith since the Death of Lumiya, but if you ever had a Jedi go rogue, I could possibly kill the offending midichlorians and bring the Jedi back to the light.” He paused before his expression took on the look of a man having a sudden epiphany. “Perhaps I could come up with a inoculation that could prevent a person from turning to the darkside in the first place.”

    I thought back to Jacen Solo, his short stint with the darkside, and the extreme measures the Jedi took to bring him back. Jacen was given a memory rub to make him forget ever training with Lumiya. Unfortunately, almost six years was taken from Jacen and he ended up forgetting his secret marriage to Tenel Ka and the birth of his daughter Allana. My father performed the memory rub and I know it bothers him to this day. “That would be a great breakthrough,” I whispered.

    “I think so, too,” Dr. J’Shan said enthusiastically. He looked to me and rubbed his hands together expectantly. “Now, let’s get to that DNA sample.” He pointed to a corner of his lab. “Over there is good.”

    I looked to where he indicated and blanched. “You mean in the lab?” I looked to my brother who appeared confused at my hesitation. “Can’t I go somewhere private? Maybe your office?”

    “My office,” the doctor said while running a hand over his beard. “Okay, we can go there.”

    “We?” I asked.

    The doctor chuckled. “I assume you need some help.”

    “Why would I need help?”

    Now the doctor looked as confused as my brother. “Well, I guess you could do it yourself, if you are experienced in that sort of thing. I realize we are only talking about a little prick, but most people like to close their eyes and have somebody else do the deed.”

    “Little prick?” I looked back to my brother. “Jaden, what lies have you been telling him?”

    “What?” Jaden shook his head in frustration. “Talon, when have you ever taken a blood sample from yourself?" He motioned to Dr. J'Shan. “Let him do it.”

    It was at that point I realized my mistake. “Oh! You want a blood sample.”

    Jaden stared at me for a long moment before he started cracking up. “Damn, Talon.”

    Ben looked over to Jaden for an explanation. When my brother caught his breath he enlightened my cousin. “Talon thought we wanted a sperm sample.”

    It was then all three men burst out in laughter. “Stop laughing, Jaden. The last time you asked me for a DNA sample you were researching heritability and wanted sperm. You were complaining about that on the drive over. Why wouldn’t I think that is what he wanted now?”

    My brother struggled to talk, he was laughing so hard. “Sorry Talon. I can’t wait to tell Jysella what you said.”

    I made a frustrated sound before I gestured to the doctor. “Get your syringe and let’s get this over with.”

    The doctor nodded while still chuckling. He got me seated and was ready to insert the needle when Ben said, “Just a little prick, Talon.”

    The doctor started laughing again and nearly jabbed the needle in my elbow.

    I am still pissed at my brother and cousin’s jesting. I did find out some information about the Chief-of-State that day, but I will write about that later.

    I need a drink.
     
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  8. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Fun at Talon's expences. He doesn't like needles?
     
  9. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    It isn't that. Talon is upset because he is embarrassed that he misunderstood what type of DNA sample they wanted. In last year's DDC Jaden revealed to Talon that midichlorians were not coded in the cellular DNA, but had their own DNA just like mitochondria. But when it comes to mitochondria, only the mitochondria from the female is inherited by the offspring. Dr. J'Shan was looking for Jedi volunteers to give sperm samples so he could determine why midichlorians are inherited from the male while mitochondria don't. That is why Talon was confused. He went into that lab thinking he was going to be asked for something other than blood.
     
  10. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks earlybird-obi-wan for reading.

    Entry 4

    I guess totally embarrassing myself in front of the doctor has its advantages…it seemed to make the man more receptive to conversation.

    After he took blood samples from Ben and me, he looked over in my direction as he placed the vials in a cooling unit and chuckled. “You have a wonderfully sardonic sense of humor, Jedi Tantiss.”

    Hey, if the doctor wanted to believe I was just joking and not honestly confused as to what type of DNA sample requested…then that is fine by me. I smiled broadly, “Yep, sardonic is my middle name.”

    The older man grinned while gesturing for us to follow him. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you three for helping me in my research. For some reason Jedi are very wary about my experiments.”

    He opened a door that led to a nicely furnished office with a large antique desk and wooden shelving units built into the walls which were littered with datapads, anatomical models, jars with unknown organic material along with old fashion flimsy books.

    “You can’t really blame the Jedi for being wary,” Ben said as he sat in one of the available seats surrounding the doctor’s desk. “You did develop a virus that can render a Jedi powerless.”

    Dr. J’Shan frowned as he propped himself at the edge of his desk. “What do you mean? My virus is to Force sterilize criminals who have committed violent offenses. It will never be used against the Jedi.” He shook his head in disbelief. “Does the Jedi Order actually feel threatened?”

    My brother and I plopped down on a small couch perched against the far wall. “You do know the Chief-of-State is not particularly fond of Jedi,” I pointed out.

    The look of utter confusion on the doctor’s face was almost comical. “What? What gave you that idea?”

    My brother leaned back and made a disarming gesture. “What my brother means is Mokk Streke doesn’t mince words when it comes to blaming the Jedi for the surge in Force strong criminals on Coruscant.”

    “Oh,” Doctor J’Shan nodded. “It is true. Young people flock to the temple for a chance to become Jedi and when they’re denied they find themselves stuck here. Many use their life savings to make the trip.”

    “That is not the Jedi’s fault,” Ben insisted. “It is a well known fact that we don’t allow walk-ins. There is a process in place to pre-screen recruits at their homeworld. Only properly nominated, screened and accepted recruits are allowed to enter the Academy. It is the same as any government organization. Nobody in his or her right mind would show up on the doorstep of the Coruscant Military Academy unannounced and expect to gain admittance. I have no idea why people think the Jedi Academy would be any different.”

    “That’s true, but they do show up.” The doctor moved around his desk and sat down. “The Chief-of-State is very concerned about the upsurge in Force strong criminals. And I don’t blame him, especially after a man with a lightsaber tried to kill him.”

    I rolled my eyes and made a rude snort. “Do you mean that sniper incident? “

    “No,” the doctor continued. “There was an assassination attempt at Streke’s home. A man with a lightsaber tried to take his head off, luckily a member of his private security was with him, otherwise he would be dead.”

    All three of us leaned forward in our seats. This was the first we’ve heard about it. “When did that happen?”

    J’Shan looked up to the ceiling in thought. “It was a couple weeks before I did human trials on the virus. The encounter left the Chief-of-State extremely shaken. He pushed me to move forward with human testing.”

    I sat back in my chair realizing Streke probably lied to the doctor in an effort to accelerate his research. I thought it was possible that this conversation might have occurred in this office, so I gripped the armrest of the couch and used my psychometric powers to gaze into the past. I saw some interesting conversations, but not the one the doctor was claiming had occurred.

    “I’m surprised to hear about this,” Ben said to the doctor. “Nothing was reported on the holonet.”

    The doctor ran his fingers through his hair nervously. I suspect he realized he might have revealed something the Chief-of-State told him in confidence. “He didn’t tell the media,” J’Shan said quietly. “Chief-of-State Streke has noticed the media has formed a negative bias against the Jedi and he didn’t want to fuel false allegations. If they knew a lightsaber was involved they might report that the Jedi attempted to assassinate him.”

    My brother gave Ben a curious look. “Why would a guy who doesn’t like the Jedi try to protect them?”

    The doctor threw his hands out wide. ”Why do you keep saying that? Mokk Streke likes a Jedi. He said a Jedi saved him from the lightsaber wielding assassin.”

    Ben’s brow rose. “I thought you said a member of his security force fought off the attacker?”

    “Oh…well, I just assumed it was a Jedi since he dueled with the assassin with his own lightsaber before killing the assailant,” Dr. J’Shan looked to Ben. “Your father didn’t assign somebody to protect the Chief-of-State?”

    “No,” Ben said slowly. “What happened to the attacker? What did they do with the body?”

    The doctor shrugged. “I don’t know.” He looked down at his wristchrono and then to us. “I promised my wife to meet her for lunch.” He stood and moved to the door. “You are welcome to join us if you like. She would love to meet the famous Ben Skywalker.”

    We rose from our seats and moved to leave. “No thank you,” Ben said with an apologetic tone. “We have to go.”

    As we walked out of the building I smirked. “The famous Ben Skywalker.”

    Ben rolled his eyes. “Knock it off. Please tell me you used your post-cognitive abilities while in his office.”

    I smiled broadly. “Yes, but that conversation the doctor described didn’t happen at that location. Streke has been to that office though. Some of the conversations were interesting, but nothing damning.”

    Ben nodded. “I guess we should get back to the temple and report to the Grand Master. He is going to be very interested in knowing about that lightsaber attack and Streke’s mysterious lightsaber wielding savior.”
     
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  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    The mystery deepens. Ben a celebrity;)
     
  12. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    I figure the first born of a war hero and Jedi Master may be famous, but that may just be an American thing. I know Americans were fascinated with Jon Jon (John Fitzgerald Kennedy Junior) until his untimely death. We also are interested in the children of Foreign dignitaries. Magazines are full of stories about Prince William and Harry and now we have magazine articles about Prince George.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  13. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks earlybird-obi-wan for reading! [:D]


    Entry 5

    We talked to the Grand Master later that day. To say he was skeptical of Streke's claims is an understatement.

    We all met in the Grand Master’s office--me, Ben, Jaden, Mara and Luke. My uncle was sitting behind his desk while my aunt leaned against the wall behind him. Ben, Jaden and I stood in front of his desk while we made our report.

    “Let me get this straight,” my uncle started out. “Streke told Dr. J’Shan that he was attacked in his own home by a man with a lightsaber, but a member of his security force, who also had a lightsaber, killed the assailant. And then the Chief-of-State covered it up to protect the Jedi.”

    My aunt gave an unladylike snort and a roll of the eyes. “Streke lied to the doctor. That’s obvious. The geneticist was probably reluctant to do human trials so the Chief-of-State made up a story to get the doctor to push ahead without any regulatory oversight.”

    My uncle sighed and leaned back in his padded chair. “That is the most likely scenario, but we shouldn’t dismiss the story outright. What if the amber lightsaber carrying man did attack him?”

    “Then who defended Streke?” My aunt asked. “We didn’t assign anybody to protect him.”

    He shrugged. “Jedi are not paid well. We could have a knight moonlighting as security.”

    Ben shook his head. “Even if a Knight was making extra credits that way, don’t you think he or she would report the attack...especially if he killed a man?”

    “Uncle Luke,” my brother interjected. “If it was true, where is the body? I would think that’s not an easy thing to dispose of.”

    My aunt scoffed. “It is easier than you might think.”

    When we all gave her a curious look she waved us off. “Really? You don’t think I made bodies disappear when I was the Emperor’s Hand?”

    My uncle made a face. “That may not be something to brag about.”

    She rolled her eyes. “All I am saying is getting rid of the body would be easy for a man of his importance and connections. If there was an assassin he’s most likely a permanent fixture of a duracrete basement at some new construction site by now.”

    “To get a body out, he would have to smuggle a large box out of his apartment,” my brother pointed out. “There are security holovids everywhere in the palace, especially in the capital wing. I think somebody would notice.”

    “Not unless the body was in two suitcases,” I said. “If the security guard did have a lightsaber he could have cut the man in half. Lightsabers cauterize wounds. He could shoved the body in two large suitcases, had a droid bring it to Streke’s private shuttle and then dump them off in the lava pits of Mustafar or the acid lakes of Maltov II. Or just shoot it out the airlock. Nobody would find the body in the vastness of space.” I paused. “But I don’t think that happened. The post-cognitive visions I experienced in Dr. J’Shan’s office made me believe the alleged lightsaber attack never happened.”

    Ben turned to me. “What did you see?”

    “I saw Mokk Streke visiting Dr. J’Shan after the sniper attack. He said the situation was getting worse and, now that they know the nanovirus works, he wanted it weaponized…made in a form that could be dispersed through the air.” I looked to my uncle and aunt. "It just seems like too much of a coincidence that each time the Chief-of-State wants the doctor to start a new phase of his research he is conveniently attacked by a Force user."

    My uncle groaned as he ran a hand over his face. “What did the doctor say?”

    “He was against the idea, pointing out that that could render the Jedi useless.”

    “I am sure that is exactly what Streke wants,” Mara said, disdain dripping off her words.

    “I don’t know. In my visions Streke insisted that he wanted to avoid that possibility. That is why he has been hinting for the Jedi to leave.”

    “Why hint?” Ben asked. “Just tell us to leave.”

    “The doctor asked him the same question.”

    “And what did he say?” my uncle asked.

    “He said the public wants the Jedi gone, but it would be political suicide on his part to force the Jedi to relocate.”

    “Not if the public actually wants us gone,” Aunt Mara scoffed. “He’s full of lies.”

    I shook my head. “The Chief-of-State told Dr. J’Shan that he didn’t want another Replo VI fiasco on his hands and I agree, it could happen.”

    My uncle shook his head. “What is the Replo VI fiasco?”

    I was actually shocked that my uncle didn’t know the story…it was the talk on military bases for months. Of course, my uncle doesn’t work closely with the military, so I guess it may only be common knowledge to soldiers.

    “There was a huge military base on Replo VI that was established a hundred years ago when the planet was sparsely populated. The military bought land from a local and built a giant facility to do war games. Over the decades towns popped up all around the base. Two years ago some teenagers on a dare climbed the fence surrounding the firing range and stepped on and detonated an unexploded ordnance. This infuriated the locals who demanded that all war games utilizing live ammo be stopped. They protested and marched and blocked the entrances of the base.” I took a breath before continuing. “So the military complied. They found another planet with no local population and relocated to that area. At that point the population on Replo VI panicked. They didn’t actually want the military to leave. They just wanted them to stop training.”

    “Talon,” my uncle interrupted me. “What does this have to do with the Jedi?”

    “When Streke says he wants to avoid a Replo VI fiasco, he means he doesn’t want pushback after a decision is made. In the case of Replo VI, all the businesses surrounding the military base closed. The value of houses and commercial real estate plummeted and the Mayor who voiced the public’s demands was voted out of office. Streke mentioned to Dr. J’Shan that he had his people draw up an economic impact report and it showed if the Jedi left Coruscant the tourist industry would decline twenty percent within a hundred kilometer radius around the temple. The people may not like the influx of Force-sensitive criminals, but they really wouldn’t like a mini-recession if the Jedi left. He wants us gone, but he wants the Grand Master to make that decision. He doesn’t want the loss of tourism to be pinned on him.”

    Luke looked over to Mara who simply shrugged.

    “Did he say what he was going to do if we didn’t leave?” Uncle Luke asked.

    I shook my head. “No, that is all I picked up in the visions.”

    The Grand Master blew out a breath. “If he just wants to Force sterilize the general population and not the Jedi…why wouldn’t he simply talk to me about his plan?”

    My aunt Mara laughed at that comment. Uncle Luke gazed over to her. “What's so funny?”

    “Streke knows you. If he came to you and said, ‘I would like the Jedi off planet while I douse the population with a midichlorians killing nanovirus’…would you agree?”

    “No,” my uncle admitted after some hesitation.

    “Of course, not,” Mara said. “You would probably throw roadblocks up like contacting the Environmental Regulatory Commission. The government would probably set up a committee to discuss the plan and Streke wouldn’t have a decision for years.”

    The Grand Master pinched the bridge of his nose. “Let us assume Streke simply wants to neutralize Force-strong criminals…why does the man in the mimetic suit want us gone? There are multiple players in this mystery and I doubt they all have the same motives. We need to find out what is going on before we act.” He looked up and gazed at my brother. “Jaden, is it possible to make a vaccine for that virus?”

    My brother thought about it for a moment. “I believe I can. I would have to let Dr. J’Shan know because I can’t bring the virus into the temple. We don’t have a containment facility.”

    Luke nodded before looking to his son. “I would like you to investigate this story about a lightsaber wielding attacker.” He pointed to me. “Have Talon help you.” He rubbed a hand over his face in frustration. “I am going have Hanna and Valin continue to track down the slavers and I will task a number of Jedi to scout out possible alternate locations for a Jedi temple. We may have to leave Coruscant eventually for our own safety.”

    He gave a wave of his hand dismissing us.

    As we left his office I addressed Ben. “Where do we start?”

    He shrugged. “We need to see if there is any security vids outside of Streke’s apartment or the docking bays in the capital wing. I would like to discover the identity of his attacker and protector…if they exist.”

    “Yeah, IF they exist.”

    That was a big ‘if’. I really doubt there was any validity to the Chief-of-State’s story.
     
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  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A mystery mimetic suit man. What's he up to. I hope Talon and Ben find out what's going on.
    Nice details about a military base on Replo VI and the consequences
     
  15. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks. Since I spent 26 years living on military bases, I have seen this happen a lot. The local civilians dislike the boisterous soldiers hanging around their town, they don't like hearing the artillery rounds going off during the day, or a number of other complaints...but when the BRAC commision (Base Realignment and Closure) decides to close the base they go crazy. I was stationed one rural military base that had restaurants and stores outside the gate, when the base closed all the businesses closed with it.

    Thanks for reading. I am taking three really difficult college classes this semester, so I have little time for writing. I appreciate you taking the time to review!


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    Entry 6

    ACK! The last thing I want to do is watch security vids. I don’t know how Ben tolerates working as a Jedi Sentinel. Give me Jedi Guardian work! I would rather be battling the enemy than sitting in a dark room scrutinizing security vids any day.

    Of course, before we can watch these mind-numbingly boring vids, we first must procure them. We could put in a request through official channels, but when you are investigating a possible death and cover-up involving the Chief-of-State one has to be a bit discrete. We knew we could probably get Zakarisz Ghent, the Chief of Cryptography, to slice into the security databanks. After all, Ghent was once a crew member of Talon Karrde and he assisted the Jedi on the mission to Byss….but because of Ghent’s close association with the Jedi and smugglers we thought he might be monitored a little more closely than other cryptologists.

    Ben and I were discussing this issue on the Vazy Princess while having dinner with our wives when a thought came to me. I pointed my fork in Zylie’s direction. “Maybe you can get your old boyfriend, Steben, to pull the vid records.”

    Zylie’s eyes narrowed. “You know full well Steben and I never dated.”

    I grinned mischievously. “Maybe, but he sure wanted to date you. I bet if you asked him he would fall all over his feet trying to get you the information.”

    She gave a noncommittal shrug of her petite shoulder. “Of course he would. What man wouldn’t?”

    Ben gave a laughing snort. “Do you think he would do it?”

    “Sure, but, since he could be risking his job, I think we may have to offer him something. It would have to be something he deeply desires.”

    I looked at Zylie questioningly. “You don’t think he’s going to want a date with you… I mean… you’re a married woman.”

    She laughed and then pointed to me. “No, I think he is going to want a date with you.”

    I sat back in my chair in surprise. “What?”

    Ben and Valla looked at me curiously while Zylie grinned.

    “You know how he’s fascinated with the Jedi. Maybe if you offer to spar with him with practice lightsabers he might consider doing a little slicing for us. ”

    I nodded with a smile. “I can do that.”


    Entry 7

    Zylie was right, Steben was more than willing to do a little trade with us. I checked out two practice sabers from the Temple armory and reserved a private sparing room for us. I went over some of the basics of the lightsaber and demonstrated on my own arm how contact would only result in painful swelling. After seeing me flinch and the appearance of an angry welt…I think Steben’s enthusiasm for sparing dimmed quite a bit.

    “Don’t worry, Steben, I won’t hurt you.”

    We spared for about a half hour. It was mainly Steben swinging wildly while I blocked his attacks. At the end of the session he looked tired and sweaty, but he was smiling. He deactivated his practice saber, reached into his pocket and tossed me a datachip.

    “I pulled the vids for the time frame you requested. The holocams are old and there are glitches in the system. I saw a lot of periodic static, but I checked and it doesn’t appear that somebody accessed the data and edited out information. The problem must be with the vid-recorders themselves.”

    I bounced the chip in my hand and smiled. “Thanks Steben. I appreciate it.”

    “Can you tell me what you’re investigating? Is it the Chief-of-State?”

    I gave him a guarded look. “Why would you ask that?”

    The man laughed as he ran his fingers through his dark hair. “Umm…maybe because you didn’t put in a request through normal channels and you wanted security vid information from the wing of the palace where the Chief-of-State lives and works.”

    “Are we that obvious.”

    He smiled widely. “Yes.” He hesitated for a moment before stepping forward and whispering conspiratorially. “I can keep an eye on him for you…for a price.”

    My eyes narrowed. “And what would that price be?”

    His smile turned into a toothy grin. “The Fan-Expo Holocon is coming up next month. Do you and Zylie want to go with me again?”

    I had to laugh remembering how I saved the man from a bunch of thugs in the Fan-Expo parking garage years ago. “You got it. Maybe, this time, I can wear a more authentic looking Jedi Knight costume.”

    We parted ways and I delivered the datachip to Ben, all the while hoping I would be called out to some horrifyingly dangerous mission so I could get out of watching the security feed…but I am never that lucky. NEVER!
     
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  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    nice plans to get the vids and hope he can escape watching them
     
  17. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    He is never that lucky.

    Sorry that this story is suffering because of my school. I have finals in two weeks and then I start my summer semester in May. The summer should be a little easier. I hope.

    Anyway, I needed to post something to stay in competition. So this is very short.

    Thanks everybody for reading.
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    Entry 8

    The trouble with watching security feed is the time involved. We were told the attack was in Streke’s private quarters, but not the exact date. At Ben's request, Steben pulled two weeks worth of vid feed from the hallway outside the entrance to Streke’s quarters. We also had video feed from the Palace docking bay, the courtyard outside Streke’s quarters and from the two main hallways leading to the building’s entrance. I was adding up the hours and the resulting sum total hurt my head. Coruscant has a planetary rotation of 21 standard hours, we have 14 days of recordings from five different security cameras. That means we have almost 1500 hours of video to look at.

    We started with the hallway outside of Streke’s quarters and all I have to say is, "I AM SO BORED!"

    We were in our ship’s galley watching the videos on our datapad. We split up the work with Ben taking the even days and I took the odd days.

    I was at the dining table, my head propped up on my hand as my eyes actually watered from the sheer boredom. The average day went like this: Streke leaves at 0745 hours. At 0900 housekeeping enters his apartment to clean, between 0900 and 0930 the custodian comes down the hall pushing a large janitorial trash cart. He knocks on Streke's door and the housekeeper opens up and tosses trash bags into his cart. At 1000 hours Streke's housekeeper leaves. Then there is usually a long lull where nobody comes down the hall unless the Chief-of-State goes back to his apartment, assuming for lunch. If he does, he stays about an hour and leaves again only to return late at night. Sometimes he is alone and sometimes he is with a lady friend. I noticed it was rarely the same woman. I have to hand it to Streke he is a major player. He puts my pre-Zylie love life to shame. The same boring events went on day after day with little variation.

    I eventually fell asleep only to wake when my head hit the table. I blushed as I looked up at Ben who was sitting across from me. “Sorry.”

    He shook his head in annoyance. “Did you find anything in your brief moments of consciousness?"

    I shook my head ignoring his jibe. “No, it looks like he's rarely home. Steben was right, though, the cameras are old and failing. I have one day where they get all fuzzy for an hour and two days later they must have totally broke down. I just get a black screen.”

    Ben put down his datapad and reached a hand out for mine. “Let me see that. I didn’t have any video blackouts or static.”

    I cued the video up and let him watch. He grabbed his datapad and pulled up other cameras at that time. He punched in some data and screen split into four equal parts each showing a different camera view.”

    He synced the screens to show the exact same time and rolled the video feed. He turned the datapad so I could see. “Look at the static. Do you notice anything?”

    I watched for a minute or two before shaking my head. “No.”

    He cued up the vid and then pointed to the first camera view. “This is the entrance of the building.” The camera went all fuzzy for about twenty seconds before the image returned. Ben pointed to the second screen. “This is the video feed in the next hallway.” As soon at the static in the building entrance cleared the first hallway turned to static. Then the next camera’s focus skewed and when white, when it returned to normal the security vid outside of Streke’s room went fuzzy. It took me a few minutes of thought, but finally it came to me. “Somebody is using a signal scrambler so they aren’t detected while walking into the building and to the Chief-of-State’s apartment.”

    Ben grinned. “I think so. Maybe there was an assassin. So if he is inside the apartment we just have to wait for Streke and his security detail to return to the apartment.”

    “No,” I said with a shake of my head. “Nobody accompanied him home that night and I didn’t see anybody but him leave the next morning. Everything is normal until the day after next. Housekeeping and the custodian show up and then the cameras do go down.”

    Ben stares at the security feed for a long moment before he looks up to me. “Talon, did you notice that the housekeeper and custodian are not the same people who serviced the apartment the week before?”

    I frowned before grabbing the datapad out of Ben’s hands. I scrutinized the vid before reluctantly admitting he was right. “Maybe the staff rotates or it is a part-time crew that covers the main staff on their days off.”

    “It could be,” Ben said absently. “I think we have narrowed down our search to two days.” He looked up and grinned. “I think I can take over for now. I mean unless you want to…”

    I didn’t let him finish that sentence. I was out of the galley in a heartbeat. I have watched enough video feed to last a life time.
     
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    boring for him but they sure found something in the static
     
  19. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks for reading. It is so hard to write this story this year. I had three very difficult courses this year that took almost all of my time. The next 8 weeks will be a little better, but not by much. Hopefully in August I can get a lot of writing done so I can finish this story this year.

    I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to review.
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    Entry 9

    Ha! I got out of the remainder of the investigation when the ladies got a shipping contract to pick up cargo from Hapes. I told Ben that I didn’t feel comfortable having our wives going on a cargo run without somebody to protect them…so I volunteered my services. He just rolled his eyes and told me to have fun. He knows how much I hate Sentinel work. So we are now on the way to the Hapes Consortium.

    Entry 10

    We arrived to the planet Hapes and were instructed to land at a docking bay located near the city of Ta'a Chume'Dan, which is the administrative capital of the consortium.

    I had spent most of the flight cleaning up the cargo bay in a valiant yet vain effort to purge the lingering smell of vornskr from the area. Now the bay smells like I gave a vornskr a bath in industrial cleaning fluid. That litter of vornskrs really stunk up the place. I am happy that we got rid of the litter, but I have to admit I miss the runt. I try not to dwell on it, though. He couldn’t stay with his mother after she rejected him and there was no way in the Nine Corellian Hells that Valla and Zylie would get rid of their precious Princess. That vornskr has been part of their lives since they were teenagers.

    Anyway, I finished cleaning and went to the flight deck to check the status of the cargo transfer now that we landed. There I found Zylie and Valla going over the power-down checklist. I don’t know why they insist of doing this themselves; we have a perfectly good (and annoying) pilot droid. “Why don’t you let ID10T do the power down protocol?”

    The droid turned his mechanical head in my direction. “I asked that exact question to the Captain Valla Skywalker and Mistress Zylie, but…”

    I gestured for him to stop talking. “ID10T, what did I tell you about talking to me?”

    The droid went silent before his silver metallic head drooped in a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy from me…which he isn’t going to get. “I was told to only speak when spoken to, unless I am dispensing information pertinent to the flight, ship status or the safety of the crew.”

    I nodded. “Does anything you were going to say have any importance, or were you just making conversation?”

    The droid answered after a long pause. “It is of no importance. I apologize Jedi Tantiss.”

    Zylie rolled her eyes. “Why do you always pick on our pilot droid?”

    I glared at the mechanical pilot. “Because he has a big mouth.”

    Valla and Zylie shook their heads as they grabbed their datapads and rose from their seats. “The cargo is on the way.”

    I followed them down to the ship’s bay. “Did we ever get a cargo manifest? I don’t like these last minute mysterious shipment runs.”

    Zylie made a humphing noise. “You like them when it gets you out of helping Ben.”

    I small sheepish grin spread across my face. “You got me there.”

    We entered the cargo area and Valla lowered the boarding ramp. “It is a live animals shipment to Bastion.” Valla looked down at her datapad. “It is some type of porcine species called Rottasvin. It’s a super expensive delicacy for the richest of the rich.”

    I nodded. “Yeah, I’ve had it a number of times at my parents’ restaurant. Believe me, it’s overrated.”

    We walked to the bottom of the loading ramp and waited for our cargo to arrive. “The food might be overrated,” Zylie said with a happpy grin, “But we’re getting a shipload of credits to deliver the live animals.”

    I nodded. I heard Rottasvin were stubborn and ornery animals. I just hope they don’t stink as much as vornskrs. Eventually a convertible speeder truck arrived with two large metal livestock containers. The crates were windowless, but were equipped with ventilation units to provide airflow to the animals inside. A second speeder pulled up behind the truck and four large men wearing protective headgear, goggles and baggy coats climbed out and immediately went to work loosening tie downs and slowly maneuvering the containers out of the speeder by way of a hoversled. The speeder truck driver got out and shouted orders to the other men. He was similarly dressed with his face partially concealed by goggles and headgear. These were convertible speeders, so it wasn’t unusual for people to wear extra eye protection while driving…still, something about the men that seemed off.

    As we waited patiently I noticed something odd…all five of the workers wore the exact same brand of boot. Normally that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, but they were all wearing Jump boots. Only active duty or veteran Void jumpers were allowed to wear that particular type of footwear. A closer look at the mens’ zipped up jackets revealed the outlines of something—possibly weapons—underneath. These men were not ordinary cargo carrier personnel, they were either former military or some sort of paramilitary security detail. I couldn’t detect any hostility emanating from the men through the force, so I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. It could be the high cost of the cargo justified extra security.

    I decided if this was an ambush it was better to confront the men outside of the ship. I turned to the ladies and whispered to them. “I have a bad feeling about these guys. Wait here.”

    I was relieved when the women didn’t argue. I guardedly walked up to the driver and apparent leader of the group. I had my hand casually lying on the handgrip of my blaster while my other hand lingered near my lightsaber. As I moved closer to the driver I realized I recognized his Force signature. As I prepared to speak he brought up his hand and made a military gesture for operational silence, which stopped me short. He quickly walked up, put a hand on my elbow, and guided me toward my ship. “Talon, let’s talk inside.”

    As we passed Valla and Zylie I gave them a forced smile and nonchalant wave of my hand. “Everything’s alright, we’re just going to check to see if the ship’s bay is prepared for the cargo.”

    When I got to the top of the ramp I turned to the man. “Deke? Deke Tavik? What’s going on?”

    The Commander of Queen Tenel Ka’s personal security unit took off the helmet and goggles revealing graying blond hair and deep blue eyes. He smiled widely as he looked around the ship. “Is it safe to talk?”

    I gave my father’s longtime friend a shrug. “You tell me? There’s nobody else here, if that is what you mean. I haven’t swept the ship for listening devices.”

    He nodded. “I’m sure it’s alright.” He looked back down the boarding ramp. “You are the only person I can trust with this cargo.”

    I looked at the livestock containers moving up the ramp on hoversleds. “I assume it’s not Rottasvin.”

    He chuckled. “No but they can be a royal pain in the ass just like Rottasvin.”

    My jaw dropped as I turned to stare at the containers. “Royal…” I whispered. “What’s going on?”

    “I don’t want to say too much in an unsecured area.” He slapped me on the shoulder good-naturedly. “When you get into hyperspace open the containers. They are ray shielded, so you shouldn’t have problems with customs when leaving.” He turned and watched his crew deposit the two containers in our hold. “You need to get off planet immediately.”

    “Wait, I don’t like this.” I said anxiously. I suspect that Jacen and Tenel Ka were inside the metal crates, but I didn’t like all this secrecy, especially with all the subterfuge going on throughout the galaxy.

    “I understand your concern, but you have to trust me. I am not asking you do anything illegal and I’m not putting you and your family in danger, Talon.” I guess I didn't look reassured, so the former Void Jumper continued. “Talon, I give you the Oath of Vernost that I am being honest with you.”

    My eyes went wide as I nodded slowly. “Okay.” The Oath of Vernost was the highest pledge of honor that a Void Jumper could give. Anybody breaking their oath was disgraced. Their name was forever removed from the Void Jumper Wall of Honor and they would be subjected to the Tradition of Silence…meaning no active or former Void Jumper would talk to the disgraced trooper or even acknowledge their existence. I have never heard anybody utter the oath before. It wasn’t something one declared lightly. “I trust you.”

    He grinned. “Good. I knew we could count on you.” He put his goggles and headgear back on, masking his identity, and then turned to his men. “When you have the cargo secure get back to the vehicles.” He then walked down the ramp giving Valla and Zylie a friendly wave as he passed them on the gangplank. Both of the ladies gave him a second look before giving me a questioningly gaze.

    I gestured toward the flight deck. “We got to go. Ask for clearance and prepare for take-off.”

    Valla’s eyes narrowed and I knew she had questions.

    “Please Valla, just do it.”

    When she didn’t move Zylie grabbed her sister by the elbow. “Come on, do as he says. I’ve seen that look before.”

    Valla resisted for a moment but eventually both women wandered down the corridor toward the flight deck. Deke Tavik’s men finished securing the crates and walked down the ramp without speaking. I raised the ramp and blew out a nervous breath. If Jacen and the Queen were in the containers something very bad was brewing on Hapes. I have never heard of the royal family getting smuggled off planet before.

    Entry 11

    Once we were airborne I was inundated with questions from the ladies. “What just happened?” Valla asked impatiently.

    “I think we are smuggling Jacen and Tenel Ka off planet.”

    “What?” she gasped. “Why?” She looked out of the viewport anxiously. “Will somebody come after us to get them?”

    I shook my head. “The speeder truck driver I spoke to is the commander of Tenel Ka’s security team. He said we won’t be in danger.”

    Zylie didn’t look convinced. “How could he possibly know we’ll be safe?” She stood. “I guess it is too late to do anything about it. Shouldn’t we let them out of the cargo containers?”

    “I was told to wait until we are in hyperspace.”

    Valla pulled back on a lever and the stars suddenly stretched into long lines. She stood and walked past me. “We’re in hyperspace. Let’s see what we’re smuggling.”

    We went down to the cargo bay and examined the exterior of the crates until we located the hatch release. I turned a handle and pulled open the door. There inside was my cousin Jacen and his oldest daughter Allana. He grinned widely as he reached out and shook my hand. “Hey Talon. Thanks for the lift.”

    Zylie managed to get the other container open and Queen Tenel Ka exited along with their youngest daughter Teela. “Thank you for coming at such short notice.” The queen remarked as she straightened her dress.

    “Deke didn’t tell me anything about the situation. Why did you have to sneak off planet?” I asked.

    Tenel Ka gave us an exasperated sigh. “According to Commander Tavik there is going to be an attack on the royal family in the next few days. He wants to take out the assassins and he won’t be able to do that if they know I’m not at the palace.”

    “He had to smuggle us out of the area,” Jacen added. “We have our body doubles standing in for us.”

    “That sounds like a fun job,” Zylie said sarcastically.

    Tenel Ka gave my wife an annoyed expression. “They are extremely well compensated and they will be protected by my men. Commander Tavik is very good at his job.” She glanced over to the livestock containers. “Although I doubt we needed to be smuggled off planet in swine containers. I suspect that was an unnecessary precaution added by my impertinent security commander. He has no respect for the crown.”

    I had to chuckle. That sounded like a Void Jumper prank. “If he’s so insolent, why don’t you fire him?”

    “I don’t dare.” Tenel Ka gave a sideward glance to her husband. “Commander Tavik knows too much.”

    “About palace security,” Jacen added quickly.

    “Plus the intelligence information he provides is extremely valuable and almost always accurate. I can’t take any chances when it comes to my family.” The Queen went back to the cargo container and picked up a small satchel.

    “Let me get that your highness.” I picked up the bag and then looked over to Valla questioningly. I wasn’t sure where to put the royal family.

    “Please follow me,” Valla said as she walked out of the cargo area and down the corridor. “If we knew we would have royal guests we would have prepared for your arrival. You can take my cabin. Ben isn’t with us on this trip. Let me just change the sheets and get some of my belongings out.”

    I looked over to Jacen. “Is our destination still Bastion?”

    He nodded. “Yes, we’ll be safe with my sister and Jag.”

    I put the Queen’s satchel in Valla’s cabin. “I guess the other Hapan royals wouldn’t dare make an attack against you while you’re within the Imperial Remnant territory.”

    “Let’s hope so.” Jacen muttered before pulling me down the corridor and out of earshot of his children. “Talon, I’ve got a really bad feeling about the future…and I don’t think it involves conspiring Hapan Royals.”

    “If not the Royals, then who or what?”

    He shook his head slowly. “I wish I knew, Talon. I wish I knew.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A very good idea to smuggle them off planet. Intriguing what's coming?
     
  21. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks. I had to put in that they were smuggled out in animal containers because that happened to me when in Panama. Our unit was supposed to go from Fort Sherman to Howard Air Force base and then back to the USA. Unfortunately, major protests started and it was dangerous for Americans to be seen in public (this was before the war in Panama). One officer got the brilliant idea of getting the local farmer to load us up in his cattle cars and drive us down the highway to the Air Force base. I was so happy about getting out of the county that I more more than willing to tolerate the lingering cow smell. lol! It worked!

    Thanks for reading and I appreciate your reviews.
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    Entry 12

    The trip to Bastion was interesting. I got to catch up with my cousin and enjoyed spending time with his kids. Allana and Teela are truly little princesses. They have that regal bearing and carry themselves like tiny adults.

    During the trip, Zylie, Jacen and I were sitting around the galley dining table (Valla and Tenel Ka were up on the flight deck) when Allana and Teela came up to us and asked to play with our vornskr. Zylie was all for it, but I balked.

    “I don’t know if that is a good idea,” I said to Zylie.

    She rolled her eyes. “I grew up with Princess and she never bit me.”

    “Yeah,” I said slowly. “But you and Valla are not Force sensitives. Vornskrs hunt using the Force. They are twitchy around Jedi.” I held up my arm where faded scars from my last vornskr attack were still visible.

    Jacen looked at my arm and blanched. “Ouch! Why didn’t you continue the bacta treatment until the scars were completely gone?”

    Zylie made a huffing noise. “Because he wants to keep the scar. Whenever we have a disagreement about Princess he points to the scar in order to make me feel bad.”

    “That’s not true.” I shrugged. “I just don’t like bacta patches.”

    She reached across the table and tried to pull the collar of my tunic down. “I bet you made sure that scar on your chest is gone.”

    I slapped her hand away. “We are not going to discuss that injury.”

    I was waiting for Jacen to ask me ‘What scar?’, but he just chuckled.

    I drummed my fingers on the top of the dining table in irritation before I turned to my cousin. “Jacen, do you know about my chest scar?”

    He bit his bottom lip so not to laugh. “Yeah, our security chief told me. His intelligence sources are remarkable.”

    “What scar!” Allana whispered excitedly. “Can I see?”

    “Me too!” Teela asked eagerly.

    I turned to the kids and gave my best fake smile. “Why don’t you two go play with the vornskr.” I looked over to Zylie. “Can you make sure Princess doesn’t eat them?”

    She shook her head while trying to hide a smirk, before getting up and escorting the children to the cargo bay. I turned to Jacen and sighed. “How did Deke find out about my chest wound?”

    “You mean, how did he discover your nipple was almost bit off by a baby vornskr?” My cousin laughed before shrugging noncommittally. “I assume he found out from your father…but to be honest, I’m not sure where he gets his information. Not that I haven’t tried to find out. His communications are monitored, but either he meets his informants when off planet or somebody is gathering the intelligence for him and coming to Hapes to brief him personally or via an information dead drop.”

    I looked at him slackjawed. “You distrust your security chief so much that you have him under surveillance?”

    Jacen sighed deeply. “I trust him. He saved the lives of my wife and children multiple times…I am just curious as to where he’s getting his information.”

    I thought about it. “Perhaps he is communicating with somebody using code. Who does he talk to regularly?”

    Jacen shook his head. “Nobody other than his wife and kids who are in college. Occasionally he contacts friends such as your dad or other Void Jumper buddies. The conversations seem normal…except the ones to his wife…wow, he is lovesick when it comes to her. I am fairly certain he has been married for three decades, but you would think they were newlyweds.”

    I grimaced. “Jacen, you shouldn’t be listening into personal conversations.”

    “I don’t listen to them. Hapan Intelligence briefs me. In my defense, Commander Tavik knows the palace intel office has the ability to monitor’s communications. That’s probably why I never get any solid intelligence about his informants.”

    I crossed my arms in front of my chest and thought about the situation. “Does it matter where he gets his information…as long as he is using it to help you?”

    Jacen tossed up his hands in frustration. “Tenel Ka is Queen…she should know who he is talking to.” He leaned forward in his chair. “Information is not cheap. What is he giving his informants in return? That is my concern.”

    “Have you asked him?”

    Jacen made a face. “Of course I asked him. He refuses to divulge his sources and he threatens to put in his retirement papers if I press the issue.”

    I blew out a breath. “Sorry that I can’t help you. I can tell you that my dad trusts the man…and, although I don’t know him that well, he is a Void Jumper and honor and fidelity are deeply instilled into our psyche. We can be hard drinking, smart asses with a deep disdain for rear echelon desk jockeys.” I wanted to say ‘Along with royalty and politicians’, but I kept that to myself. “ But we are loyal. Void jumpers are not traitors. I wouldn’t worry about Commander Tavik.”

    Jacen sat back in his seat. “Yeah. I just wish I was there to help him take on the assassins. I’m a trained Jedi Knight. I shouldn’t need non-Force users saving my family. I feel useless.”

    “Your job is to be a father to your little girls. Danger is everywhere. You should be here with them.” I tapped my index finger on the table for emphasis. “They need you by their side. You made the right choice.”

    A feeling of morose swept across me as I thought of my son on Indupar... a son who went into combat to defend his kingdom without his father by his side. Jacen doesn’t know how lucky he is to be able to raise his kids.

    “Whoa, why the sudden gloominess?” Jacen asked, obviously sensing my sadness through the Force. “Does it have something to do with children?” He cocked his head to the side before leaning forward and whispering. “Are you and Zylie having trouble…you know…having kids.”

    I shook my head. “No…it’s complicated.” I chewed on my bottom lip as I thought up a story that would satisfy his curiosity, but wouldn’t involve revealing the existence of my son. “I would like to have a baby with Zylie, but she has the family business to run and we don’t want to raise a child on a ship…” I trailed off hoping Jacen would fill in the blanks.

    He reached over and squeezed my shoulder. “It’ll happen. You have time. Zylie is still young.”

    It was then we felt the ship revert back to real space. “It looks like we are at our destination,” Jacen said as he stood and made his way to the flight deck. “Good, because I want to find out if anything happened on Hapes. I wish your ship had a hyperwave transceiver.”

    I laughed as I moved down the corridor. “You are more than welcome to install one of those expensive contraptions on my ship.”

    As we entered the flight deck Tenel Ka turned to us. “I’m attempting to communicate with your sister on her private channel.”

    After about thirty seconds the image of Empress Jaina Solo Fel appeared on the ship’s transceiver screen. Jaina’s face lit up when she saw her brother and his wife. “Thank the Force! We thought you were dead! Are the girls alright?”

    “The girls are fine.” Jacen looked to his wife and then back to his sister. “What happened?”

    Jaina looked at her brother in disbelief. “You don’t know? The Hapan palace was attacked. It looks like a war zone. The holonet news showed bodies being carried out of the palace. There were explosions in the area of the lessor royals. The Queen’s wing was left intact, but the reporters thought it was because the enemy wanted to take the royal family alive. I’ve been trying to contact you two for hours, but communications to the palace are down.” Jaina gave a sigh of relief. “I am so glad you weren’t there.”

    “We were warned of a possible attack,” Tenel Ka explained. “We slipped away undetected aboard the Vazy Princess.”

    “That’s a relief.” Jaina paused. “This channel is encrypted, but we shouldn’t take any chances. I am sending you docking coordinates. I will send an escort.” She smiled warmly. “I look forward to seeing you soon.”

    When Jaina signed off, Tenel Ka looked to Jacen. “Once again Commander Tavik’s intelligence was correct. Hopefully he was prepared enough to fight off the assailants.”

    “I hope so too,” Jacen muttered. “He knew they were coming, so I am optimistic.”

    Tenel Ka gave her husband a sidelong glance. “Knowing Tavik he probably ‘accidentally’ killed half of my conniving backstabbing family while defending the palace.”

    A slight smile graced Jacen’s face. “Friendly fire accidents do happen.”

    I shuddered slightly at seeing Jacen pleased at the thought of royals dying. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I always suspected he was responsible for the Hapan plague that killed many of the older royals years ago.

    I shook the thoughts out of my head. If anybody deserved to die it was the Hapan royals. They tried to kill Jacen’s family dozens of times, but they are always smart enough to hide their involvement. If Jacen gave Tavik orders to take them out…well, maybe that was for the best.

    I can’t believe I just wrote that. I am fairly certain the Grand Master would not approve.
     
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  22. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Love to read that about your transport.

    And nice discussion with Jacen and I hope Tavik will be alright
     
  23. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Thanks for reading. Sorry about the delay in posting. I am so swamped. I spent the last three weeks out of town doing job training. Now that I am back I am busy with my son's High School graduation and Eagle Scout Court of Honor. There are a lot of things happening this month. I hope that I will have more time in June to write.

    Thanks again for reading.
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    Entry 13

    Once we entered Imperial space Bastion’s starship transport controllers contacted the Vazy Princess and advised us to proceed to the Emperor’s private palace docking bay. Once there we are to remain on our ship and await further instructions. The directive to not debark our ship was emphasized multiple times.

    “It sounds like Jag and Jaina don’t want the Hapan royal family seen on Bastion.” I looked over to Jacen who was sitting on the flight deck with the remainder of the crew. “Do you think there are problems?”

    Jacen shrugged. “I don’t know. We haven’t been able to get a hold of Commander Tavik. We might not have gotten off planet unnoticed.”

    “Oh great,” Zylie moaned. “Don’t tell me assassins might have followed us.”

    “I wouldn’t worry,” I reassured Zylie. “You have three trained Jedi on board and an ill tempered vornskr.”

    For some reason my wife didn’t look placated by this comment. “With your luck, if assassins attacked, Princess would probably go after you first.”

    I heaved a sigh knowing that was probably true. “Hopefully Jag is just being cautious.”

    I hate to say it, but I have a bad feeling about this.


    Entry 14

    We docked and waited. After a few minutes I saw Kyp approach the ship. He was wearing his black Shadow Guard uniform while carrying his helmet in hand so we could see his face. He brought a comlink up to his mouth and communicated with the flight deck. “Remain on your ship and prepared to be boarded.”

    “I’ll meet him on the ramp.” I motioned to Jacen and Tenel Ka who were sitting on the flight deck with the rest of the crew. “I don't think he wants you to be seen.”

    I went to the rear of the ship and dropped the ramp. Kyp bounded up the entryway, not waiting for it to be fully lowered. “Talon, close the ramp. I need to talk to you.”

    I nodded and did as he said. He looked around. “Where are they?”

    “On the flight deck.” I motioned for him to follow me. “Do they need to keep out of sight?”

    The Shadow guard fell in step next to me. “Yes, events are unfolding on Hapes and we need to keep their visit secret for a bit longer.”

    As we entered the central corridor leading to the flight deck the royal family joined us. “What’s going on?” Jacen asked.

    Kyp motioned to the galley dining table. “Sit down and I’ll brief you.” I remained standing as Tenel Ka, Jacen and Kyp slid into the booth. “We got an encrypted message from your security chief. He said the attack was focused on all the royal families and not just the Queen. He has your body doubles acting on your behalf. He feared that if it was known that you were smuggled off planet the other royals would believe it was an attacked orchestrated by the Queen and her consort.”

    Tenel Ka groaned while pinching the bridge of her nose. “How many dead?”

    “A final count has not been established.” Kyp pulled in a breath before proceeding. “I was told your security crew found and dismantled bombs around your personal quarters, but they were not able to defuse the remaining explosives before they were attacked. From what I was told, at least two-dozen armed individuals infiltrated the palace and started blasting everybody in their path. There was heavy fighting and multiple explosions took out at least sixty percent of the lessor royal residences. Recovery of the bodies is a continuing operation.” He paused. “The latest count was fifty-three dead and one hundred-and-seventeen injured.

    The Queen shook her head sadly. “How about the schools and the nurseries located at the end of the palace.”

    “Completely destroyed.” Kyp said, but quickly added, “but there were no deaths among the younglings. By shear coincidence, an emergency drill was conducted not more than ten minutes prior to the attack. The children and teachers were outside the palace when the violence began. They were able to evacuate completely from the conflict area with no casualties.”

    Tenel Ka’s eyes narrowed. I knew she was thinking what I was thinking—it didn’t sound like a coincidence. It was more likely that Deke Tavik knew the exact time of the attack and made sure the children were safe while keeping the Queen’s royal rivals in harm’s way. I have no doubt that is what she assumed, but she didn’t verbalize her suspicions. “The emergency drill was a very fortunate happenstance.” She blew out a breath before returning her attention to Kyp. “What happens now?”

    “Since your body doubles are currently portraying you on Hapes, Commander Tavik suggested that we smuggle you into the Imperial Palace the same way you were smuggled out of Hapes.”

    Tenel Ka barely suppressed a caustic snort. “Commander Tavik expects me to once again hide in an animal shipment container.”

    “The Emperor agreed with his suggestion.” Kyp said softly. “We think it is best that you are not seen on planet until your body doubles can publicly leave Hapes and travel to Bastion.”

    The Queen closed her eyes and sighed deeply. “Jacen, remind me to have Tavik tossed in the dungeon when we return.”

    Her husband shook his head. “We dismantled the dungeon three years ago.”

    She gave him a sideward glance. “Then remind me to have it restored.”

    My cousin only chuckled. “No need for violence, after all, those containers are brand new. No animals have ever been inside and we wont be in them long. I am sure Commander Tavik is only looking out for your wellbeing.”

    She scoffed. “If I was freezing on Hoth, Commander Tavik would forgo placing me into a perfectly good emergency shelter so he could instead shove me into the carcass of an eviscerated Tauntaun.” I laughed at her comment resulting in a disapproving scowl aimed in my direction. “I am not surprised you would find my situation humorous. There is something about you hole-jumpers and your tasteless sense of humor.”

    That really got me laughing. “Void jumpers. We’re called Void Jumpers…not hole jumpers.”

    The queen waved me off. “Whatever you call yourself. Your profession apparently produces sardonic and insolent soldiers.” She paused with a hint of a smile. “Albeit, extremely skilled and lethal ones.”

    I chuckled. “That is true.” I motioned toward the cargo bay. “Can I assist your highness into your Rottasvin livestock container?”

    The Queen blew out a resigned sigh. “No, I think I can manage without your help.”

    I bit on my bottom lip in an effort to disguise my amusement. I am really surprised Tavik hasn’t been fired from his Royal employment years ago…especially when he appears to go out of his way to offend the sovereign ruler of sixty-three star systems. Tenel Ka had mentioned earlier that she couldn't fire Tavik because he knew too much. Jacen stated Commander Tavik extensive knowledge of palace security made him invaluable, but I wonder if that is true.

    Could Tenel Ka's security chief have incriminating information on the royal family? And if so, what?
     
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  24. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    intriguing update with all that's revealed about Tavik
     
  25. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004


    Thanks for reading. I really appreciate you taking the time to review.

    Sorry that it has taken so long to update. A couple weeks ago my eyesight started failing. Eventually my eyes got so inflamed and irritated that I knew what I was dealing with...Iritis or I guess it is called Uveitis nowadays. This is the third time I have gotten this supposedly rare eye disease. I fully recovered the first two times and I hope I will be just as lucky on the third go around. I have to take eye drops that basically paralyze the muscles in my eyes and prevent me from focusing. I can see big stuff but I couldn't read anything. Today I noticed my eyesight was getting better so I thought I would try to get this update out. I go back to the ophthalmologist next week. I hope I get some good news.

    Thanks again to all my readers!

    Entry 15

    Kyp was given the mission of smuggling the royal family into the palace warehouse and then into the Emperor’s private wing of the palace.

    Once we delivered the Jacen and Tenel Ka to Bastion, Valla wanted to immediately leave and return to Coruscant to be with her husband. I, on the other hand, didn’t look forward to returning and scrutinizing surveillance vids with Ben, so I insisted on staying at least a day so we could ascertain the situation on Hapes. Valla appeared a bit irritated with me, but she relented and put in a request to meet with the Emperor and Empress.

    As expected, our inquiry as was approved and twenty minutes later a security detail met us at our ship to escort us to the private wing of the Imperial palace. Since we usually stop by and visit Jaina and Jag while on these shipment runs I doubt anybody would become suspicious at our presence. At least I hope not, I don’t want our presence to bring unwanted scrutiny resulting in the discovery of the Royal family of Hapes on Bastion.

    We met the Emperor and Empress in an expansive atrium leading into their private living area. Jaina greeted me and the ladies with a wide smile and hugs. Jag, being more reserved than his wife, gave me a firm handshake and, for the ladies, a chaste kiss to the back of their hands.

    “Come on,” Jag said as he motioned us to follow. “Jacen, Tenel Ka and the kids are in the back conference room. I think we should all talk.”

    They led us to the rear of their quarters where he swung open two large and ornate wooden doors. Inside the room I could hear the sound of children laughing and spied Jacen and his wife sitting at a long wooden table and talking in hushed tones. They cut their conversation short when we entered.

    I looked to Tenel Ka and Jacen expectantly. “Have you heard anything from Hapes?”

    Jacen shook his head. “After the last communication from Commander Tavik we haven’t heard from him. We have been watching the news. It looks like a major assault force attacked the palace.”

    Tenel Ka looked to the ceiling. It wasn’t quite an eye roll but her expression conveyed her incredulity.

    “You don’t look too convinced.” I remarked to the Queen. “Do you think Tavik has betrayed you and attacked the palace himself?” I didn’t think it was possible, but you never know. “Is he working for somebody else?”

    She sighed as she sat back in her chair before looking over to Jaina. “Do you have a nanny that can care for the children while we talk? Perhaps the children could visit with their cousins.”

    “Certainly.” Jaina spoke into a comlink and almost immediately a guard came in to escort the children out of the area.

    Zylie looked to her sister who gave her a curt nod before she turned to the two royal couples. “If you don’t need us, we would like to make arrangements for a cargo shipment back to Coruscant. It will look less suspicious.”

    “Absolutely,” Jag said while gesturing to his guard. “Lieutenant James will drop the kids off and then escort you to a communications center.”

    Zylie threw me a kiss before turning and following her sister and the guard out of the room. I had to smile. Zylie and Valla knew state secrets were probably going to be discussed and that the royals would feel uncomfortable asking them to leave…so they made up an excuse not to participate in our conversation.

    When they were gone and the door closed Tenel Ka returned her attention to me. “My professional relationship with Commander Tavik goes back years and he has saved my life and the lives of my immediate family innumerable times.” She paused in thought. “With that said, he has a tendency of doing things that he believes is in my best interest and often without informing me of his plans in advance. His explanation for this behavior is his desire to give me plausible deniability.”

    “So,” I said slowly. “You do trust him?”

    “We trust him,” Jacen said. “But I don’t know if I trust his contacts. Where is he getting his information and how is he paying for that intelligence? He is paid well, but not well enough to purchase extremely accurate and invaluable intelligence. He must be doing something for his contacts in return.”

    “Do you want me to go to Hapes and talk to him and check out the situation? Maybe I can use my Force abilities to figure out what really happened there.”

    “Yes,” Jacen replied followed immediately by an adamant “No,” from Tenel Ka. She forced a disarming smile on her face as she addressed me. “Perhaps it would be better if Ben talked to Tavik.”

    My brow furrowed in confusion. “Why Ben?”

    The Queen shrugged nonchalantly. “He is a trained Jedi Sentinel. I assume he has more investigative training than a Guardian, like yourself.”

    I looked to the two in confusion. Even Jag and Jaina appeared equally confused over the conflicting opinions.

    “That is true,” I admitted grudgingly. “But, he doesn’t have post-cognitive abilities. I thought I would check out the damage and then talk to Tavik, Void Jumper-to-Void Jumper.”

    Jacen leaned in and whispered to his wife who whispered something back. Her words prompted Jacen to sit back in his seat and make an “Oh” expression.” He opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it.

    “What?” I said in irritation.

    Tenel Ka blew out a breath. “Jacen, why don’t you talk to your cousin in private?”

    I noticed Jacen blushed as he stood and walked to my position. Placing his hand on my shoulder, he ushered me to the far corner of the expansive conference room where we could talk with some semblance of privacy. “Talon, it’s your post cognitive talents that has the Queen concerned. If you were poking around our palace you might discover information that…uhh…information you shouldn’t be privy to.”

    I nodded. “I understand…state secrets and such.” I was a saddened that my family didn’t trust me fully, but I could appreciate their position.

    I guess Jacen sensed my disappointment. “Talon…we trust you explicitly. It just…well, if you are in our private wing of the palace…Tenel Ka believes you would be able to see her…and me in…umm…romantic situations.” He blew out a breath looking relieved that he got the words out. “It’s a little unsettling to think a person could have a glimpse into your personal moments.”

    “Oh,” I said softly. “I definitely would avoid your bedroom chamber. That’s something I don’t wish to see.”

    Jacen chewed on his bottom lip in thought. “You may have to avoid other rooms also. Like the bathroom, the spa area, the couch, the balcony, the kitchen,” He paused. “Now that I think about it…it probably would be best that you avoid our quarters in its entirely and also our private sparing room in the gym, the east guard tower…”

    “Okay…I get the point.”

    Jacen laughed. “I knew you would understand. I heard about your little Stealth X cockpit fiasco.”

    My jaw dropped. My immediate family knew about the compromising position Zylie and I found ourselves in when she wanted to try to make out in my Starfighter, but I didn’t think Jacen also knew. “Who told you?” I shook my head in frustration. “I swear I am going to kill Ben.”

    Jacen laughed harder. “It wasn’t Ben. As I said before…Commander Tavik’s contacts are very good.”

    My eyes widened. “What? What kinds on contacts would know about…?” I stopped with a grimace. “My dad and his big mouth.”

    Jacen’s grin widened. “Why don’t you go talk to Tavik. Find out who attacked us. See if he will reveal who he is getting his information from. Assess the situation. I’d like to know the extent of the damage.”

    “You got it.” I leaned in and whispered. “And if I do accidently uncover any state secrets, don’t worry. I am very good at keeping confidences.”

    Jacen gave me a knowing look. “That’s what I heard.” He gave me a pat on the shoulder. “You better get going.”

    I found his comment about my secret-keeping abilities somewhat cryptic and I started to wonder if Jacen had regained his memories since my father gave him the memory rub. Of course I couldn’t really ask him if he remembers ever turning to the dark side and trying to kill my Aunt, my father and injuring my brother because if he didn’t remember I would have a hell of a lot of explaining to do.


    I guess I should get my Stealth X prepped. I’m off to Hapes.
     
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