Before - Legends Zero Sum: The Innocent Saga, Part Three (of Five)

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  1. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    For those interested in catching up, here are the first two parts, neither particularly long.

    Kinitics: Part One

    Broken Circuit: Part Two

    ********************************************************

    ZERO SUM

    THE INNOCENT SAGA

    PART THREE

    Ran Keltar felt that he had tripped down the womprat hole. This was not the right Jedi Council he was talking too. Oh, yes, this was the Council chamber; the seats were even arranged correctly, but there was a moment late in the meeting with the Council, when Ran Keltar felt very sure that he had slipped into a bizarre alternate reality.

    "Perhaps, lie, we should," Yoda said matter of factly; it was this line that had prompted Keltar's spiral into his own particular dream world.

    They had been hashing over the events of the previous days, mainly the disastrous sting operation against Family and Future, carried out mainly by Keltar himself. It had ended with the realization that it had been a sting operation by Family and Future against him.

    "The story broke immediately," Van Spicer said, steepling her fingers. "It contained all the details. A peaceful protest by Family and Future at the site of what they call a Jedi Kidnapping, the taking of a child from its parents. The protest involved fake blasters; they were very open about that. The blasters apparently had the word 'fake' actually written on them?"

    Keltar nodded as did Tomack. "Yes, I didn't notice. I was focused."

    Tomack spoke. "I didn't notice either; no one would if someone was charging you with a blaster. You don't take time to read the manufacturer off the butt."

    "Understood," Spicer said. "They also admit to a small explosion that damaged only two trash containers."

    "Left us little ground for a comeback, they have," Yoda said. "Admitted to anything that could be construed as wrong doing, they have."

    "And what of the purpose of your mission?" Spicer asked. "The child you were to pick up, the child who was taken by Family and Future?"

    "I don't believe they took the child at all," Keltar said. "This has been a set up since word go. What about our spy inside Family and Future?"

    "No contact for over seventy-eight hours," Levid Fronacht said, running a hand over his large skull.

    "He's either a double agent, really working for them, or they knew he was working for us," Keltar said. "Either way, they knew I was a Jedi when I arrived. They strung me along, made me believe that they were planning to kill Tomack when he arrived on planet to pick up his new prospect."

    At Spicer's questioning look, Keltar shook his head. "No, they never said it; just implied it. They kept saying they were going to break new ground; I thought they were talking about taking children away from us, about killing Tomack. They were really talking about sacrificing themselves to make us look bad."

    "That was the one detail not included in the initial news report," Fronacht said. "How many of them died. They left that entirely up to you. They were ready to die for their cause."

    "Yes," Keltar said. "And we obliged them."

    "The news report was ready to go out; they had it planned to the wire. It even said that you had infiltrated their ranks and that they had informed you of the peaceful protest as you were to participate," Fronacht continued. "Their plan worked to perfection."

    Keltar felt his face growing hotter by the second. "I was played like a fool, but it didn't start with them. Xerton, the smuggler who pretended to be a Jedi and took the child, he claimed it was Family and Future, even gave me a description of Dun Weir." The name rolled off his tongue and Keltar remembered his saber blade sliding into Dun Weir, pinning him to the wall, Weir's last defiant, choking laugh, the moment when Keltar had realized he had been lied to from the beginning.

    "So you truly believe," Spicer asked, "Th
  2. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
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    OH I KNOW I want to follow this one. Please PM me when you update.

    =D=
  3. Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Who'd a thunk it, mixing politics with a mystery. Also, any word on the insider in the Jedi Order?

    PM me updates if you can, rogue
  4. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Van Spicer let out a long breath, ran her fingers through her short brown hair. She was alone in the Council Chamber, the other members having finally been dismissed. There were days she wished for anything but what she had. Any life, she thought, would be better than this one.

    She remembered something from an ancient text, a story of Jedi in battle. "Do you think I'd be here if I could do anything else?" one of the Jedi had said just before he died. At the time, fresh into the order, just reaching independence, her master slowly letting her free of his teaching, she'd thought the line not so much heretical as simply idiotic.

    Now she understood. She wondered what the young Van Spicer would have thought of the life she was now leading. She thought she knew; she would have found it, not necessarily heretical, but simply stupid beyond belief. Van Spicer was tired; she was not a leader; she certainly didn't have it within her to make the kinds of decisions she was being faced with now.

    Things had gone very wrong, not just today, not just this week but for a very, very long time. She walked to the window, pressed her forehead against its coolness and thought about what it would feel like to fly for even an instant.

    She opened her eyes. In the reflection in the window, a dim reflection in the dark council room, a shadow moved, a figure suddenly stepped forward. She caught only the shape of a hood and she spun, a gasp of fear in her throat.

    It was Ran Keltar. "By the Force, Ran . . ."

    "Indeed," Keltar said. "You didn't hear me coming?"

    She ignored the slightly mocking reproach that tinged his voice. "I was meditating," she snapped.

    "Mmm," Keltar said. "About what?"

    "The after life," she said, her own tones becoming mocking. She reined herself in. This kind of dislike was utterly out of bounds for a Council member.

    "I'm rather busy thinking about this one," Keltar said. "I've decided that I need to go back, find Xerton again. Well, not find him, he's still in prison, I suppose. But find out who paid him to feed me misinformation."

    Spicer gritted her teeth. "Maybe it's time to let this one go, Ran."

    "You're so familiar tonight," Keltar said. "Only happens when we're alone, I notice."

    "Calling you by your first name is hardly familiar," Spicer said.

    "Not compared to how familiar we used to be, it's true," Keltar said. "I've been thinking about that too."

    "Thinking about the future and the past all in one night?" Spicer said. "That's hardly intelligent."

    "Been thinking about it for a long time. I was having dreams," Keltar said. "When I was with Family & Future. I was remembering things. What was the name of that cretin you used to so close too?"

    "Gage," Spicer said.

    "Gage, yes," Keltar said. "Hard to believe he's been dead this six years."

    "Master Keltar," Spicer said. "This hardly seems pertinent."

    "It's very pertinent," Keltar said.

    "I can't see why."

    "I know you can't. You never could." Keltar stepped away from her, turned a slow circle in the room. "If I hadn't seen Gage buried with my own eyes, I'd expect him to pop out from behind one of these chairs." He stopped, turned back to her. "I still expect him to be pulling your strings." The venom in his voice was a physical thing in the room.

    "Enough," Spicer said.

    "You lied to me a lot back then," Keltar said. "I kept trusting you. I don't anymore."

    "You're under a lot of stress," Spicer said. "Go get some sleep. And we can talk tomorrow."

    "Tomorrow, I'll be gone," Keltar said. "Back on the trail of this child." He paused. "Why don't you want me to find him? Really?"

    Spicer lowered her head, loosed a sigh of incredible depth. "Ran . . ."

    "See, that's why it's all so pertinent," Keltar said. "The Jedi aren't supposed to own anything. But we own our hearts, don't we? And every feeling in them?"

    "We learn to master our emotions," Spicer said. Her voice was entirely flat, no inflection at all.

    "Yes, and I have," Keltar said. "I'v
  5. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    I was wondering about this one. :p Great update!

    Van Spicer slumped back against the window, thought again about flying, nodded. "Go," she said. "All the way to hell if you like. I don't care." Keltar turned to go away. "Ran," she said. "Try not to kill any more people."

    His face was in shadow. "No promises."

    "No more innocent people?"

    "No promises."


    =D=
  6. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Great to see more here. :D :D


    I'd have to agree with Keltar needing to get to the bottom of this.
  7. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Enk Loswell opened his eyes slowly, sat up in bed, shrugged off the hand on his shoulder. "What?" he said, his voice clear and alert.

    Keltar loved his padawan like a son. But watching him wake up was beyond infuriating; he simply woke, completely at himself and ready for action, speech, intelligent thought. Keltar required at least four cups of caff before he felt like saying more than five words in a sentence. He wondered again by what quirk of fate, the role of teacher had fallen to him.

    He'd heard a Jedi say once that the Master should learn more from the Padawan than the Padawan from the teacher. He'd found that idea annoying too, but maybe Enk could teach him, at least, something about REM sleep.

    "I've just been with Spicer," Keltar said. "We have permission. We're going."

    "How'd you swing that?" Enk said, stepping out of bed and reaching for his robe.

    "Not important," Keltar said. "What's important is that we go and go now."

    Loswell's hand found his commlink, pushed a button. "It's early," he said.

    "I prefer to think of it as late," Keltar said. "Extremely late, for us and for the child. Whoever stole him has had him for far too long already."

    "So, we're going," Enk said. "Where too, exactly?"

    "Back to Sylvestrin, obviously," Keltar said. "Silvan Xerton will still be in prison there. He's the one who told me it was Family & Future. He was lying and I want to know why. More importantly, he was on the ship when the child was kidnapped. He knows something that is true, no matter how much of a lie his last story was. And I want to find out the truth this time."

    "You should call Mytral," Enk said.

    "No," Keltar said. "We're going under heavy cover this time. I don't know how the kidnappers kept up with us before, but they beat us to the child by only a matter of hours. And then we were being manipulated during the whole Family & Future debacle. This time, no one knows where we are or what we're doing."

    Loswell was dressed. He clipped his saber to his belt. "I see the wisdom of that," he said quietly. "And probably best for the Council if they can simply deny knowledge of our whereabouts."

    "Exactly," Keltar said. "That's why we leave now. By the morning, Spicer will have to speak for the Council and not herself. She'll send a message telling me the Council voted her down and I can't go. By the time, she gets that far, I want to be well on my way."

    "She spoke for herself, did she?" Loswell said, raising one eyebrow.

    "Mind your duffel," Keltar said, flinging the bag at Loswell's head. Loswell ducked, caught it. Keltar turned, slung his own bag over his shoulder and slid the door open. Tomack, his blonde hair tousled, was just raising a hand to knock.

    "Excellent timing," Tomack said.

    "Yes," Keltar said, "Just what I was thinking myself."

    "We need to talk about this Family & Future thing," Tomack said. "There'll be an investigation and the media will be watching closely. They . . ." His voice trailed off. His eyes had found the pack on Keltar's shoulder. "Going somewhere." It wasn't a question.

    "You might just say," Keltar said. "Excuse us," he brushed by Tomack.

    Tomack stifled a laugh. "Come on, Ran, this is serious business. We could see serious reprecussions from this."

    "I've got a kid to find," Keltar said. He kept walking.

    "Our man in Family & Future," Tomack said to his back. "He's dead. They shot him, dumped the body at one of our outposts."

    Keltar stopped, turned. "Buffer?"

    "That's the one," Tomack said. "He got you inside, remember? Vouched for you? And they knew who you were. So, they knew who he was too."

    "I told him it was important," Keltar said. "It was. It still is." He shook his head. "I'll talk to you later, Tomack."

    As Keltar turned again, Tomack said, "You don't care at all, do you?"

    "When you see Spicer," Keltar said, his voice sharp in the still corridor, loud in the shadows, "And you will see her as soon as she knows I'm gone, tell her I'm sorry, but I t
  8. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Glad to see you posting on this again! And I recognize your quote. I read it in one of my books about the French Revolution but I can't find the book right now. :p

    =D=
  9. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Yay for more here, from the Keltar's observation of the way his padawan can wake to Tomack's observations of the allegiances Keltar holds.

    Excellent post.
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
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    star 8
    There was a fine misting rain of the type that soaks things more deeply than even the most intense downpour falling when Keltar and Loswell exited the tramp ship they'd booked passage on. Keltar tipped his face up to the rain for just a moment; he'd been gone from Coruscant for a few days now,but he'd caught a news report at one of the earlier stops. The Jedi were standing by him, refusing to release comments about the Family and Future report, calling it a lie and a smear tactic. Family & Future was planning to release security footage of the 'slaughter,' a spokesperson for F&F said and hope that would force the Jedi to talk.

    Keltar had to admire the Council's ability to pretend nothing was happening until the last possible moment. It was a mode of unflappable serenity that had stood them well in stead. He wondered occasionally (more than that, truth be told) if it might not one day be their downfall. Stalling was a tactic long in tradition and held in high esteem by all great strategists. But it was never undertaken without risk; one day, Keltar thought, the Council will wait just a second too long to act. That day, there would be hell to pay. He hoped it didn't come in his lifetime.

    He and Enk made straight for the police station. It had been a few days since he'd seen the report; doubtless, Family & Future had released the report by now. The Council would be feeling the pressure to act and part of that action would have to be bringing him back home again. There wasn't much time.

    The child had now been missing for two months. There wasn't much time left for him either. Ran Keltar glanced at his padawan, wondered if Enk had considered the possibility that the child was dead already. Of course he had, Keltar thought. Enk was smart. Enk glanced at him, met his gaze for an instant. But the words wouldn't be spoken. Not for a long time yet. Enk Loswell was loyal too and he would follow Ran Keltar quite a few light years yet before he would even think of trying to stop his master. Ran Keltar might have smiled inside his hood, might have tasted the rain on his lips for just an instant, might have felt almost happy for about one second. He might have, but he didn't.

    Even Mytral hadn't known they were coming. No one had known, though of course the Council would know where he had gone. But Dan Mytral had obviously been hoping to hear a communique before seeing his two Jedi friends in person again. He turned from his desk at the call from a fellow officer. Of all the visitors he wanted to see, these two were the last.

    "Mytral," Keltar said. "Been following the news?"

    "I have," Mytral said. His eyes went to his desk, to his commlink specifically. Keltar wondered why. "I wonder," Mytral said, "If I could have five minutes here. I'm in the middle of . . ."

    "Yeah, a real crime wave out there," Keltar said. "This planet still has about the lowest crime rate in the Republic. I'm the biggest thing you've got going on now. Have a seat."

    "Yeah, yeah," Mytral said, raking his hand through his hair. "Right, right, of course. Have a seat yourself." He dropped into his chair.

    "I'd rather stand," Keltar said. He noted Enk Loswell stepping away from him, glancing down at Mytral's desk. Keltar knew Loswell had noticed something was wrong as well.

    "So, you saw the news?" Loswell said, moving around the desk from Keltar, pulling Mytral's attention in two directions.

    "Yeah," Mytral said. "Heartbreaker, huh? A washout?"

    "Those words work," Keltar said. "Also, set-up. False lead. Lie." He stepped in. "I guess you talked to Xerton after you saw the news, huh?"

    "Yeah, yeah," Mytral said. "He's pretty clammed up, he . . ."

    "Sure he is," Keltar said. "Never mind, I'll talk to him myself." He turned to go.

    "He's . . ." Mytral said in a rush. Keltar turned back, a questioning look on his face. "He's not back there," Mytral said.

    "What?" Keltar said, stepping back.

    "He escaped," Mytral said. "He escaped. Right after the Family & Future thin
  11. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

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    "He's . . ." Mytral said in a rush. Keltar turned back, a questioning look on his face. "He's not back there," Mytral said.

    "What?" Keltar said, stepping back.

    "He escaped," Mytral said. "He escaped. Right after the Family & Future thing went down. He's gone."


    What's going to happen next??

    =D=
  12. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

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    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Keltar had to admire the Council's ability to pretend nothing was happening until the last possible moment. It was a mode of unflappable serenity that had stood them well in stead. He wondered occasionally (more than that, truth be told) if it might not one day be their downfall.

    And wonder he should.

    Keltar didn't think it was going to that easy, did he?

    Superb post.
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Keltar followed Dan Mytral down the hallway; he was silent, Enk just behind him. He was almost treading on Mytral's heels, the better to make him nervous, not that he needed to be any more so. Keltar refused to speak and eventually, Mytral filled the gap as Keltar knew he would. A fluke thing, Mytral said. He'd escaped right after the Family and Future thing had broken. An APB was out and that had worked before, hadn't it, so no reason to be worried, in fact maybe this was a good thing, maybe he'd lead them to his bosses, maybe . . .

    Keltar had hoped Mytral would start talking, so he could figure out what had really happened here. He'd hoped to find out what exactly was causing Mytral's nervousness; sadly, Mytral was so nervous any attempts were in vain. He rambled and blathered all the way down the hall.

    "Right in here," he finally said, palming a door open. Keltar followed him in. Enk glanced up and down the hallway and then stepped in. Enk palmed the door closed behind them. Mytral spun around, nearly clipping Keltar with his elbow in the tight confines of the cell. "Kind of tight in here, ain't it?" Mytral said, laughing nervously.

    "Not tight enough apparently," Keltar said. "He got out, didn't he?"

    "Yeah, well, stuff happens," Mytral said weakly, shrugging his shoulders.

    "Stuff happens?" Keltar said, his voice sharp and loud in the close room.

    "I, uh, yeah?" Mytral said, a question in his voice, his voice nearly breaking on the last word.

    Keltar glanced at Enk. Enk leaned against the door. Keltar took a step toward Mytral, a step toward someone he was already uncomfortably close too. Keltar smiled. "Yeah, I suppose it does."

    He moved like a flash of lightning; he had grabbed Mytral by the lapels of his jacket before Mytral even had time to react. He spun around, thrust Mytral away from him, slammed the officer against the wall of the cell so hard that the room seemed to shift for a second with the sound of the concussion. He was on Mytral again, grabbing him again before Mytral's mouth had even closed from his stunned grunt of pain. He spun him around again and took him all the way across the room to the other wall, hit him hard again and this time Mytral's head bounced off the wall. Mytral screwed his eyes shut, let out a curse.

    Keltar leaned in, close enough to have kissed the detective with hardly a move made on either part. "I want to know what happened!" Keltar shouted at the top of his lungs.

    "He . . . escaped . . ." Mytral said, his breath coming in pained gasps. "APB . . . he . . ."

    Keltar pulled him off the wall, slammed him home again. "Interior room, you stupid barve. Interior room, no damage to any walls, floor, ceiling or door. Lock in fine working order and he disappears just after Family & Future screwed me over! What happened?"

    "He . . ." Mytral started to say and then stopped.

    Keltar stepped back, let him fall. Mytral landed on his hands and knees at Keltar's feet. "Show me where he got out!" Keltar shouted. He reached down, grabbed Mytral by the hair and yanked his head up. "What the kriff happened? Tell me now!"

    Enk straightened from his place by the door. Keltar caught the movement out of the corner of his eye and he glanced quickly at his padawan. Enk was frowning and as Keltar watched, he shook his head only slightly, a barely obvious movement. Keltar ignored the motion and turned back to Mytral, hoisting him to his feet by an arm.

    "All right, all right," Mytral was saying. He was trembling. "It was . . ." His commlink buzzed. He glanced at it.

    Keltar chucked him under the chin, forcing Mytral to look at him again. "Answer it," a voice said.

    Keltar whipped his head around. It was Enk, standing by the door. "Answer it," Enk said again. "It's something."

    Keltar looked back at Mytral and nodded, stepped back with a sigh. "Mytral," the officer said, thumbing the commlink.

    "This is Verban," a voice said, crackly with static. "We've got Xerton spotted. Do we take him?"

    "No, wait,"
  14. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Another great update! =D=
  15. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

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    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    arrgh, still don't know how he got out! :p
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Keltar and Loswell had shed their cloaks in favor of long jackets that covered their traditional Jedi garb. They threaded through the crowded market place behind Mytral. "Where's your guy?" Keltar said.

    "I'm trying to raise him," Mytral snapped over his shoulder. Since the assault in the cell, his hackles had raised and he seemed more irritated with the Jedi presence than anything else. He slipped his commlink into his pocket. "There," he said.

    Ahead of them in the crowd, a large man in a bulky jacket had stepped quickly out of an alleyway, glanced their direction and then stepped back. The three slipped their way into the alley. "About time," Verban said.

    "Where is he?" Mytral said.

    Verban pointed across the way. "He went in there about five minutes ago." Verban glanced at Keltar, didn't acknowledge him and looked back to Mytral. Keltar looked Verban up and down discreetly; he was incredibly big, not with fat but with muscle, unshaven and smelled as though he hadn't bathed in a couple of days.

    "He's in there alone?" Mytral said.

    "You think I'm stupid?" Verban snapped. "Lotram and Pernack went in to keep an eye on him. I stayed to flag you down."

    "Okay," Mytral said. "They're on link?"

    "Sure," Verban said.

    "Raise them," Mytral said. "Let's get a picture of his location and then we'll . . ." He didn't get to finish his sentence and Verban didn't get to finish raising his commlink to his mouth. A sharp fusillade of blaster fire erupted, a window shattered from the building across the way. Before the volley, perhaps seven quick shots or perhaps even eight or nine, had even stopped, Keltar was bolting across the street.

    "Wait, wait, wait," Mytral shouted, leaping after him, but Loswell was faster and was ahead of him. Verban lumbered after the three of them. More shots rang out, but Keltar didn't flag, leaping over a low shopping stall and hitting the door to the building, right foot leading. The doors exploded inward and he landed, quickly assessing.

    He had his saber out and even as he thumbed it to life he took it in: bodies, two of them, sprawled on the staircase leading up. He leaped over the first, then the second as he bolted up stairs. Another shot sounded. Around the corner was sprawled another man in bulky jacket, apparently one of Verban's compatriots, blaster in hand, head smoking from a hole just below his right eye. "Damn it," Keltar cursed and then he had topped the stairs. More bodies, four of them, one of them a woman, young; another was small . . . a child Keltar realized as he jumped over it, couldn't have been more then eleven. And then he landed, skidded to a stop.

    It was Xerton, at the end of the hall, his back pressed against the right wall. Just beyond him, a large window overlooked the street; through the window, Keltar saw a police vehicle just arriving. Keltar lowered his saber and took a slow step toward Xerton. "Stop," Xerton said and Keltar did, felt Loswell behind him. Mytral arrived at the corner, aimed his blaster.

    Xerton shouted again, "Stop," his voice shaking.

    The accomadation given to Xerton's requests was a simple thing, the result of the blaster in Xerton's hand and the placement of it, the barrel resting snug behind the ear of an elderly woman that he held in a death grip. "Don't come any closer," Xerton said. "Not going back. Not going back."

    "You don't have too," Keltar said.

    Xerton glanced in his direction for the first time, paused and Keltar had time to note something odd in Keltar's eyes and then to note that the man sported a freshly broken nose and what looked like a crosshatch of burn marks across his right cheek. And then Xerton opened his mouth and screamed, a long sound of terror and pain that was as wordless as it was terrible. Then he found his words; "I did what you said," he screamed and then the blaster left the old woman's head and he aimed at Keltar and squeezed the trigger. Keltar upped his saber and deflected the first three shots into the walls and ceiling. The o
  17. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

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    "Black Sun," Enk said. He jerked his head at the young child behind them. "That one, innocent. This one, not so much." He sighed and his voice finally dropped to a normal volume. "Black Sun."

    Excellent! =D=
  18. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    "Not going back. Not going back."


    DAmnm he damn serious. :eek:
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Dan Mytral held the cup of caf up to his face, let the warm smell into his head, tried to find stillness. He spoke into the darkness. "It was an easy choice to make," he said.

    "I'd been a cop for five years," he sighed, maybe remembering how very old he was now, how he would never be so young again. "The drug traffic was insane and I was investigating a triple homicide that tied back to Black Sun. They wanted me to stop following the lead I was following, so they . . . sent me a message. She was six years old. My wife and I, we got married while I was still in the academy, got ourselves pregnant right away. Thought it would be fun and it was, but it was incredibly hard too."

    "Helping her live was nothing compared to watching her die. And one of her friends from the neighborhood was playing with her at the time. They snuffed him too."

    "The choice was easy. A lot of people would have been out for revenge. My wife though, she's the reason I made the decision I did. I contacted Black Sun, I let them know I was ready to deal. I didn't want money, I didn't want power, I wanted safety for my people, for my friends, for my wife, for me. I wanted no other father to have to see what I saw that day. And if Black Sun wanted this planet for their own, wanted to work in the system and funnel money through, funnel drugs through, hell, let them." Mytral sighed again, shifted in his seat.

    "They took the offer. They started pulling strings. Within three years, I was head of the division here. And we looked the other way. In return, they didn't do any killing here, not even of each other. I told them then, one Black Sun operative kills a civilian, I walk. If I can't have peace for my planet, I don't want any part of this. They tried to pay me a couple of times. I didn't take the money. I really didn't."

    Why is the crime rate here in the basement? Why no murders, why no violence, no rape, no theft, why none of the things you associate with big cities? Because I knew enough to pick my battles. I could fight those people in the streets over the spice they funnel through here and maybe kill a few people and maybe an innocent or two get stuck in the crossfire. I'd rather let them funnel spice, as much as they want, and know for sure that they'll never kill anyone on my watch. And neither will I, not even accidentally; I'll never have to shoot a civilian because he gets in the way of a shot I'm aiming at a criminal. You see, to make your city safe, your home safe, you don't fight them. You give them what they want; no one kills someone who's giving them what they want.

    I made my peace with my loss and then I made my peace with Black Sun. You see, you either escalate or you deal. I chose to deal and my planet is a better place because of it. It's a safe place. You don't have to be afraid to walk the streets at night.

    Why join the Republic I said, but no one would listen to me. Maybe I should have taken more power when Black Sun offered it. But I didn't. So I had no say. And I knew what would happen. We joined the Republic. Then you folks showed up. Then other folks showed up. Now, I have the first homicide investigation in over ten years open on my desk.

    I knew something was up. Xerton wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't tell me who hired him to help kidnap that kid. So I turned him over to Black Sun; they wanted to know too, you see, who was operating in their back yard. They tortured him, I guess, from the way he looked, but apparently he got away from them. I don't know if they found anything out from him. You'll want to talk to my contact in Black Sun, I suppose and you can do that. I'll call him right now. You can talk to him tomorrow morning, I'm sure.

    Well, you wanted an explanation. You got it. Glare all you want, you won't make me feel guilty for the choice I made. I know you think the job is about bringing justice to the guilty. But it's not; it's about bringing peace to the innocent. I gave up on justice for lawbreakers in order to make sure that the
  20. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    I chose peace over justice, over principles. I can tell by the way you're looking at me that you think I'm an evil person for doing that. You think I've sold out? I have. I did. I don't regret it. The evil came with you, when you got interested in this planet. You Jedi . . . you have your principles and that's why you kill, that's why you maim, that's why you poke in where you don't know and don't belong.

    Yeah, I traded my principles for a little peace. It was easy.


    Wow. Incredible update. =D=
  21. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Wow, my chest is so tight from that post. I can understand why he did it.
  22. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The man behind the desk was dressed all in black, save for a single ruby ring on one finger of his right hand. He was fingering the head of a cane, a carved Krayt Dragon head. He levered himself to his feet with the cane when Dan Mytral came in, followed by Ran Keltar and Enk Loswell. "Gentlemen," he said as he started around the desk.

    "Thank you for meeting us, Trak," Mytral said. "This is Jedi Master Keltar and Padawan Loswell."

    "A pleasure to meet a Jedi," Trak said. "I'm Trak Stantun."

    "You have my real name," Keltar said. "Do I have yours?"

    Mytral cut a sharp glance at Keltar. Trak raised a hand. "Please, Dan, allow me. Master Keltar, I'm a bureaucrat, a clerk. I work for Black Sun and I think you'd be surprised just how many ordinary people do, people with nothing to hide and no aliases to be found. I've never killed a man; I file papers."

    "Yes," Keltar said. "I'm growing accustomed to the air of self-righteousness found in people who've sold out. I ask a simple question and I get a monologue." He glanced at Mytral. "I'm getting used to it, all the justifications."

    Mytral sighed and looked away, out the large window overlooking the bustling city below. "Granted," Trak said. "The Jedi never justify themselves. I'd forgotten that little quirk of your morality. This Family and Future thing . . . the Jedi still refusing to talk and I hear that was you that killed those people. But no effort to justify yourself to me. I wonder if that's a sign of your own moral certainty or just the fact that you despise everyone who isn't like you. Whichever, it strikes me as being self-centered if not self-righteous."

    Keltar drew himself up a hair taller and crossed his arms. "The Jedi justify themselves to no one because all who aren't corrupted can easily see that the Jedi are just. When your path is obviously correct, you don't need words."

    "A philosopher once said that every way of man is right in his own . . ." Trak began.

    Loswell cleared his throat loudly, stepped forward between Trak and Keltar and said, "Could we please just get to business, fascinating as I find all this? We're here for a reason and I think the sooner we part ways, the happier everyone will be."

    "Ah," Trak said with a small grin, "In the midst of moral and ethical conundrums, rears the ugly head of a pragmatist. Of course, you're right, Padawan Loswell. Please, all of you, have a seat."

    The four men seated themselves. "You're here about Silvan Xerton, of course," Trak continued. "You know, of course, from Dan that he turned him over to us when his own methods of interrogation had failed. He was desperate to find out who had hired him to pilot the ship used to smuggle that child off planet, but his methods failed to extract an answer. So he turned to the professionals."

    "I thought we were done with justifications," Keltar said.

    "Oh, we are," Trak said. "You see, I oversaw his interrogations myself and I have no grounds to paint Dan's methods as ineffectual. You see, we failed too. He never told us anything."

    Dan frowned. "Really? You . . ."

    "Yes," Trak said. "Really. And I'm as shocked as you are. Our methods . . . they work. Generally. But not this time. He wouldn't say a word."

    "Well, then this meeting is pointless," Keltar said. "You learned nothing about the people who hired him." He started to stand.

    "Oh, I learned something about them," Trak said.

    "You just said that he told you nothing," Keltar said, sinking back in his seat.

    "Let me ask you something," Trak said. "These people who kidnapped this child, are you going to continue looking for them?"

    "Yes," Keltar said.

    "How?" Trak said. "You have no actual leads, do you? Xerton steered you towards Family and Future, which was entirely a lie. All you know is that someone hired him and they took the child off planet. How are you going to pursue at this point?"

    "I don't know," Keltar said. "Talk to the parents again."

    "The parents are gone," Trak said.

    "What?" Keltar said.

    "The paren
  23. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Wow. Intense update! :eek:

    "Yes," Keltar said. "I'm growing accustomed to the air of self-righteousness found in people who've sold out. I ask a simple question and I get a monologue." He glanced at Mytral. "I'm getting used to it, all the justifications."

    Mytral sighed and looked away, out the large window overlooking the bustling city below. "Granted," Trak said. "The Jedi never justify themselves. I'd forgotten that little quirk of your morality. This Family and Future thing . . . the Jedi still refusing to talk and I hear that was you that killed those people. But no effort to justify yourself to me. I wonder if that's a sign of your own moral certainty or just the fact that you despise everyone who isn't like you. Whichever, it strikes me as being self-centered if not self-righteous."

    Keltar drew himself up a hair taller and crossed his arms. "The Jedi justify themselves to no one because all who aren't corrupted can easily see that the Jedi are just. When your path is obviously correct, you don't need words."



    =D=
  24. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Whoa, I agree with intense! :eek:

    For some reason this makes me think of the line from Buffy: Generally speaking, when scary things get scared: not good.

    Trak is definitely scared over whoever it was that Xerton kept quiet about.

    Very good post! :D :D
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