[background=My sister’s notes can get ugly sometimes. She left reams of material behind, much of it from the half-century she spent as a Nightsister and a Sith Lord. In those notes, I don’t always see the woman and girl I knew. [/size]
[background=Rave and I both had trouble tracking down a firm date on [url="http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Prototypes"]this file[/url]. It’s a few hours of security camera feed from a cybernetics facility in the Outer Rim. From context and outside research, we’re fairly sure it took place between 1,000 and 2,000 BBY.
[background=The clip begins as two men enter the facility. One’s a big Gen’Dai, and the other’s no species I recognize, though his face looks like a Mandalorian mythosaur logo, right down to the massive horns. He’s called Jiang, which I understand is a Mandalorian name, though Beyyr’s translator droid doesn’t spit out any particular meaning. The Gen’Dai’s name is Durge. He was a bounty hunter with a two-thousand-year career; he killed Jedi during Kaan’s war and went into hiding after Ruusan. Pops up a bit in the fragmentary records we have from the Clone Wars era, too. When this was recorded, though, Durge was still fairly young. He talks to Jaing like a student to a teacher, and vice versa. They’ve apparently been summoned, they don’t know why, and they’re both fresh from battle. The facility holds two people already, two doctors. One’s male, dark hair, white coat, leaning on a walking stick. It looks exactly like that replica of Palpatine’s cane that Ashin Varanin used to run around with. The other doctor is female, seriously injured but conscious, and undergoing a reconstructive/cyborg procedure. [/size]
[background=Parts of the recording were corrupted past Akure’s ability to fix. The male doctor’s name never shows up, and the time data is hopelessly garbled. The female doctor is called Noobil or something like that. It becomes clear later that Noobil is a trained Force-sensitive and owns a lightsabre. Frankly, I’m fairly sure both doctors are actually Sith Lords -- Noobil for certain, the doctor just possibly, though he’d be an undercover one.[/size]
[background=There’s some static, some lost material, and the next thing you know, Durge and Jaing have agreed to let the male doctor merge their armour with their bodies, upgrading it in the process. By the time it’s complete, so’s the surgery on Noobil, whose body turns out to have similar capabilities. All kinds of fancy aiming and maneuvering capabilities, weapons systems, and tons more. Whoever the male doctor is, he really knows his business. There might even be alchemy involved.[/size]
[background=That’s about when the Mandalorians kick down the door and things get weird. It turns out there’s some kind of Sith artifact, the male doctor has it, and the Mandos won’t stop until they get it. More on that in a sec. The Mandos apparently follow someone named Ung Kusp, but I called Alec Rekali and all she could tell me was Mand’alor some time between Mand’alor the Avenger and Mand’alor the Uniter, which fits.[/size]
[background=Durge, Jaing, and Noobil take on two, three times their number in supercommandos and wreck them, but Jaing dies, Noobil’s seriously injured or killed, and Durge runs off swearing revenge. Then the male doctor starts talking to Jaing’s body and Noobil. He’s apparently aiming to instigate a war between the Mandalorians and the Sith. One line stands out, talking about the Mandos now that Dredge is after them: “they will beg me to come to their rescue.” He produces a lightsabre from somewhere, and dang if it doesn’t look familiar, though I can’t place it; then he drops it on Noobil and says it’s hers and he’s giving it back as promised. [/size]
[background=This clip drove Rave a little nuts trying to figure it out. Some of her guesswork fits things I know or could guess. It’s pretty obvious that the doctor has a serious but secret grudge against the Sith, all Sith. Maybe that’s Noobil, maybe that’s Noobil’s potential Master. Maybe Noobil’s his apprentice. Maybe he’s a Sith or a spin-off heretic. He’s clearly familiar with lightsabres, and he’s got a Sith artifact of some kind. [/size]
[background=But what Sith artifact would Mandalorians do anything to get? I’m on the fence about this, but the context seemed to suggest they were acting on their own initiative, rather than pursuing someone else’s objectives as mercs. Off the top of my head, I only know of three major times when the Sith and the Mandos crossed paths before 1,000 BBY. They all took place within about a hundred years of each other. Revan beating Mand’alor the Whoever and becoming Mand’alor himself; the Mandalorian Knights experiment, tied up with Demagol, which might be a real solid connection to this doctor; and the Mandos who helped forge Freedon Nadd’s tomb. Revan was nonsense, the Mandalorian Knights were a footnote -- my money’s on Nadd. And Naddist material is no joke. [/size]
[background=I keep coming back to the lightsabre. I swear I’ve seen it before, in some book or holocron or whatever. [/size]
[background=...oh. Oh, wait. The cane, hiding in plain sight. That thing looks pretty much identical to the one Varanin used during the early Fringe years -- there’s tons of footage. I even found some folks who swear it was the actual thing, Palpatine’s cane. If Palpatine’s cane and the doctor’s cane are one and the same, fifteen hundred years of longevity speak to the possibility that it’s an Artifact with a capital Aurek. [/size]
[background=But why the feth would [/size][background=Mandalorians[/i][background= want a cane? They’re not [/size][background=that[/i][background= lame.[/size]
[background=Then again, Mount Tantiss alone is proof that Palpatine was a hoarder. So maybe the cane is just a cane, and the real artifact, the one this cyberneticist stole from the Mandalorians, is something else entirely.[/size]
[background=Let’s go back to the lightsabre. I’ve started digging through my files for anything comparable. It looks a little like half of Exar Kun’s sabre, but with the three prongs standing out from the emitter like outriggers, still parallel with the shaft. It’s a very Sith aesthetic. Heck, it looks very similar to half of a three-clawed lightstaff from the Cold War. Or Darth Baras’ lightsaber without the massive real claw; there’s even a bit of curve, I think. Sort of a ribbed or spiral pattern, and a narrowing before the claws. [/size]
[background=May need to consult a specialist. I swear I’ve seen this thing before.[/size]