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War Is Hell: An Autopsy of the NJO War Crimes Scandal

War Is Hell: An Autopsy of the NJO War Crimes Scandal
by Professor Errik Nimdok, University of Alderaan

***

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is an IC piece of writing written from Nimdok’s perspective. As he states in his A/N, he abandoned any attempts to appear unbiased, and as a result he is far more sarcastic, cutting, and generally incensed in this than in the article he did on the Elder Compact. What he says here does not reflect my OOC opinions of any of the writers or factions involved. I consider it a really awesome piece of collaborative storytelling and had a lot of fun reading all these threads and following along with the story as it unfolded. Good job, everyone!
Compared to the Elder Compact, which was mostly a matter of the public record, I had a much harder time justifying how Nimdok would have knowledge of some of these events, as a great deal of the plot happened behind closed doors. So I apologize ahead of time if you're left going "how does he know about that?" Just know I tried to keep it as limited to Nimdok's POV as possible, but I admit some of this does come across as a wee bit omniscient. At least the summary of the narrative makes sense! Hopefully...

Author's Note​

As a historian, I strive to avoid bias, to tell all the facts, and to keep any personal feelings on the matter separate. But while researching and composing this manuscript, I found it impossible to avoid criticism and judgement in my analysis. This may be in part because I was heavily reliant on the testimony of a Jedi Padawan who attempted to join the NJO mere days before the news of the scandal broke. His frustration and horror colored my perspective of these events. So in addition to the bare bones, strictly facts historical account, I have opted to include my commentary on these events. Since I have failed to be unbiased, let it at least be said that I was honest.

I. Quill and Aradia On Ziost​

During the Galactic Alliance’s invasion of TSE-held Ziost, Jedi Master Jend-Ro Quill entered the Sorzus Academy of Sith Arts with a singular purpose: to rescue the students within. He acted outside the jurisdiction of the NJO or any other Jedi Order, and apparently without his peers’ knowledge. Quill soon encountered a young Sith acolyte named Aradia Pavanos at the Academy and was able to prevent her from attacking him through the use of a Confessional Talisman, which altered her emotional state and reawakened her conscience. The two spoke, and Quill revealed his intentions. When the skeptical Aradia claimed to have witnessed atrocities committed by the Jedi, Quill was able to convince her to show him her memories with the help of a device known as a Perspective Stone.

Through the Perspective Stone he witnessed her memories of three other GA invasions: Bastion, Korriban, and Dantooine. On Bastion, the NJO stormed the courtyard of a Sith academy at which she was a student; she dueled with Padawan Oceiros Sunstrider. An order was issued to “subdue” the acolytes, but for "those who resist, do what you must”. However, the ones who were subdued were subsequently killed. Aradia survived, ironically, because she had already been impaled by Sunstrider and left for dead. She eventually wound up at the Sith Enclave on Dantooine, where NJO Knight Maynard Treicolt and a force of his fellow Jedi stormed the building, killing all in their path. While these recollections were lurid and violent, without a doubt the standout incident was Korriban, where Aradia had witnessed an NJO Knight by the name of Bernard of Arca planting bombs in a Sith academy. Aradia’s capture of Bernard as he was attempting to leave the premises caused the alarm to be raised, and the academy was partially evacuated before the bomb went off. The ensuing explosion, while apparently intended to target the academy’s archives, resulted in the deaths of several remaining students, many of them underage. A subsequent attack force led by another NJO Knight, Rhis Fisto, purged whoever was left, killing any survivors they could find.

Master Quill would carry these memories with him as he completed his mission, rescuing the acolytes at the Sorzus Academy by posing as a Sith Master, and from there all the way to Jakku, where he first showed them to Auteme Denko-Durren, an NJO Knight and a student of his. Auteme, overwhelmed by the experience of seeing people she knew in these memories, promised to gather evidence and speak to other members of the NJO. Quill was not satisfied with this solution, which he feared would result in the matter being dismissed. He would later show the memories to Romi Jade, Grandmaster of the Jakku Jedi Enclave, and confide in her that he intended to blow the whistle on those involved.

II. The Triumvirate Talks and Quill’s Message​

In the aftermath of the invasion of Ziost, the Galactic Alliance and the New Imperial Order met on Coruscant to discuss an alliance between the two factions. They had already been involved in an informal agreement to fight together against the Sith Empire for many years, but this would be the moment the pact would become official. Before the proceedings could begin, a holoprojector located within the Senate chamber spontaneously activated, displaying a pre-recorded message from Jend-Ro Quill. In it, he announced what he had seen in Aradia’s memories, as well as his resignation from the New Jedi Order. He blamed the NJO’s close association with the NIO for the war crimes, and pleaded with the populace to “demand accountability”. As the message began to loop, an NIO Force User, Lucien Dooku, violently destroyed the holoprojector with his lightsaber.

With the alliance talks effectively derailed by the holocast, the galaxy at large was given the chance to see a wide range of reactions to Quill’s message. Most of the delegates chose to ignore the issue altogether, but Imperator Irveric Tavlar did deign to respond to Quill’s accusations by attempting to refute them. He claimed that the NIO was as transparent about their actions as they could possibly be without endangering national security, citing the dossiers for Operations Kyber Dark and Harvest Dark, which are available to the public, as evidence of this. By this logic, if the NIO government has not revealed an official story to the people, then it did not happen.

Some brought up the “self-defense” argument, which Quill himself refuted in his message. This argument only applies to some of the scenarios which occurred, and it only has merit so long as one ignores all other options. The covert bombing of the academy on Korriban was not a case of necessary self-defense by any stretch of the imagination; it was a calculated maneuver intended to kill the future of the Sith in cold blood. It is preposterous to propose that the NJO higher-ups who gave the order didn’t know the acolytes were still inside the building. All the rhetoric spouted by GA/NIO politicians and the press about how the Sith have consistently refused to evacuate their civilians directly contradicts such an assumption. Moreover, it isn’t as if non-lethal weapons weren’t available to them. There are Force techniques which can stun or pacify whole groups of people without causing them harm.

Another excuse presented was that of youthful folly. Most members of the NJO are under the age of thirty, and so their lack of maturity absolves them of responsibility for their actions. Essentially, they are children killing children in the absence of any adults to shepherd them. The blame for the atrocities is thus laid at the feet of the elder Jedi Masters, many of whom have distanced themselves from the NJO precisely because these “children” are too aggressive, too confrontational, and too unruly. Ryv Karis stated during the talks: "They asked children to fight this war. It's no surprise we've made mistakes. No one stuck around long enough to teach us what we were supposed to do." This abandonment mentality has roots going back much farther than this scandal; I briefly mentioned it in my account of the Elder Compact when discussing the differences in approach between the NJO and the Silver Jedi. This infantilization of the perpetrators clashes loudly with the self-defense argument, which named the acolytes—most of whom were younger than the NJO members who killed them—as responsible for their own deaths.

But by far the most prevalent justification for these crimes in the various media publications and discussions among the Jedi has been that war is hell. For decades now the galaxy has been in a state of near-constant conflict, which has resulted in the deaths of trillions of sentients, including many, many children. Therefore, the events driving this scandal are irrelevant. It is just another of the many horrors of the star wars. This is the justification which Ryv Karis would later present in his “Letter to the Jedi”, though he used the phrasing “war is war” instead; it is what King Enlil of the NIO meant when he said “In war, law is suspended,” and it is what Karis’ Padawan, Aelys, was referring to when he commented on Master Quill’s message in the senate: “We supposed ta ask every person tryin' to kill us how old they are?”

Now, credit where credit is due: there is nothing truly surprising here. Any faction which has their dirty laundry aired so openly would react in much the same way. Even the more level-headed among the NJO considered Quill’s actions ill-advised at best. In the moments after the holocast premiered, Auteme was seen using a Solitude Stone to telepathically communicate with Quill in the midst of the senate chamber. Reportedly she demanded to know why he sent the message without telling her, and scolded him for his impatience and recklessness. After the Triumvirate talks concluded, Auteme disappeared into a room with Ryv Karis, where the two conversed, presumably about the accusations. After walking out of that meeting, she was intercepted by Padawan Tom Kovack. Kovack, who had joined the NJO mere days earlier, asked her to confirm that what Quill had said was true. She admitted that the Sith academies were targeted, but insisted that they were “going to be better”.

Intel Wars, a satirical newspaper*, published an article parodying the accusations of war crimes in the form of a letter from an NJO Padawan. Written in a style reminiscent of a first grader’s journal, it seems to suggest the NJO are either very young children (playing off the aforementioned excuse that the NJO are “too young” and immature to understand the consequences of total war) or simple-minded and brainwashed into believing they are justified in any action, so long as it hastens the demise of the Sith Empire. Unfortunately, it seems this fiction isn’t too far from the truth.

III. Thalia Senn and the NJO At Jakku​

During his stay at the Jakku Jedi Enclave, Jend-Ro Quill was assaulted by a Jedi Padawan, Thalia Senn. Senn, whom Quill had previously trained, was a member of the NJO and reportedly was reacting to the revelation that Quill had saved Sith acolytes on Ziost; she called him a “traitor” during the attack. Injured, Quill attempted to flee, but she pursued him into the desert. During the battle, she appears to have been damaged by either her own lightsaber or a misfire of her Force powers. Quill used the Force to take her wounds upon himself, then departed while she was unconscious, disappearing into hiding. Senn likewise went AWOL.

In the aftermath of the assault, Master Romi Jade sent a letter to Ryv Karis, Knight Auteme Denko-Durren, and Chancellor Adhira Chandra. In it, Jade laid out her position: she had suspended Senn from the Enclave indefinitely, asserted that the Enclave was a neutral zone, and asked that those responsible be held accountable. Finally, she closed out her letter by requesting that Auteme pay her a visit, as Quill wished to show her something.

To the surprise of Jade and others at the Enclave, nearly every major member of the NJO except Auteme showed up unannounced. Headed, as always, by Ryv Karis, they met with the Grandmaster and asked to see Aradia Pavanos’ memories. Much like the various conferences held in the wake of the Elder Compact, tensions were running high. In particular, there was an altercation between the NJO members and Kyra Perl, Romi Jade’s adopted sister, who demanded that they leave. The meeting climaxed with Perl, provoked by Karis’ remarks about her spice addiction, punching the Sword of the Jedi in the nose and storming out.

As melodramatic and overwrought as her actions may have been, Miss Perl posed a very valid point. The NJO members who arrived on Jakku showed up unannounced in the wake of violence involving one of their own against a member of the Enclave. Their response in this case was not only tone deaf, it was downright dangerous. So why did they go about it this way? Well, the simple answer is that some moron installed the Sword of the Jedi as the NJO’s primary diplomat and PR manager, an office which he has proven woefully ill-suited to over and over again. During this incident and the two meetings he called during the Elder Compact fiasco, he came across as a bull in a china shop, barging into places of sanctuary without so much as a call ahead, flanked by armies of padawans and knights loyal to him and his faction, and presenting himself in a characteristic style which I can only describe as “masochistic machismo”—he manages to simultaneously martyr himself while flaunting his ego. It’s quite the achievement, really. Yet this man remains the primary spokesman for the NJO, their mascot and PR team all rolled into one, despite his rash behavior, brash demeanor, and all the trouble it has caused his faction.

Out of the most prominent members of the NJO, Auteme Denko-Durren, the “Shield of the Jedi” whom Jade originally asked to come, should probably be fulfilling this role. With her reputation for oratory prowess and desire for diplomatic understanding between Jedi, she appears to be far better-qualified to serve as the NJO’s representative in sensitive matters such as this. Alas, during the meeting Auteme was busy gathering the memories of the accused in her own Perspective Stone. She called Maynard Treicolt, Rhis Fisto, and Bernard of Arca into her office and asked for their testimonies. At the conclusion of the memory-sharing, Auteme asked each of them if they would continue to be Jedi or take the Barash Vow. All three refused. In the cases of Treicolt and Bernard, the former eventually would take the Barash, while the latter had already returned from a self-exile of sorts in the wake of Korriban, having been tracked down and convinced to return by Master Cotan Sar’andor.

IV. Fallout Among Other Jedi​

While I have limited information on the events I will describe in this section, I will only put forth events I am certain did occur, beginning with the private meeting between Jedi Masters Coren Starchaser, Zark San Tekka, and Jend-Ro Quill at Quill’s hideout on Jakku, which occurred at roughly the same time as the meeting between Romi Jade and Ryv Karis. The three are said to have debated what to do about the issues within the NJO. San Tekka refused to condemn the NJO and stated that he would continue to work with them, Starchaser returned to his own enclave while vowing his support whenever it was needed, while Quill remained resolutely against the NJO, condemning their practices and even going so far as to suggest they would eventually turn on the Silver Jedi in the coming years.

A short while later, Ryv Karis is alleged to have privately approached Maynard Treicolt and attempted to convince him to take the Barash by pitching it to him as a much-needed vacation for the good of his mental health. Treicolt, it should be noted, recently lost his wife, Loske Treicolt, who disappeared following an encounter with the Sith. He again refused to take the Barash, citing that he is a soldier and must fight, but ultimately did begrudgingly submit to imposed exile at a later date.

Padawan Thalia Senn was found to have returned to the home of her parents after her flight from Jakku. Two Jedi Knights, Aaran Tafo and Khefiir, were dispatched to speak with her and her family. It was suggested that perhaps Senn should not continue her Jedi training. As of the writing of this paper, her fate is unknown.

Auteme Denko-Durren traveled to Jakku in order to speak to Romi Jade and Jend-Ro Quill. The discussion quickly devolved into a blame game, and both Quill and Jade walked away, although making very different statements in the process; Quill dropped his lightsaber in disgust, while Jade gave Auteme a journal containing notes on the Jedi technique of battle meditation before ending the meeting. To my knowledge, Auteme and Quill did eventually reconcile via the written word, though it can’t be said whether they will continue to work together or if their relationship has become one of permanent and insurmountable distance.

V. Letter to the Jedi and Conclusion​

Finally, we have reached what I consider the zeitgeist of this entire scandal: Ryv Karis’ Letter to the Jedi. In it, Karis addressed the characterization of the NJO as warmongers and the accusations of war crimes, then spent the last third of the address apologizing for barging in on the Silver Jedi Assembly, the Temple on Commenor, and the Jakku Jedi Enclave unannounced and riling people up. I have already addressed this behavioral habit of his and my opinion that he should not be the one leading these meetings in the first place. Likewise, I have already discussed all of the justifications he offers up in the Letter for what he calls “the whole child-killing thing” in the previous section on the Triumvirate talks. The only thing worth mentioning here is that rumor has it Karis admitted, or is preparing to publicly admit, that he was the one who gave the order to bomb the academy. Whether this is true at all or he is simply taking the fall is still up for debate.

On the other hand, if it is true, then there is one quote from the Letter I simply must dissect if I am to complete this already overlong autopsy: “I understand they’ve [the Sith acolytes] been brainwashed and indoctrinated by these teachings. I know the people on top, the truly evil people like Darth Carnifex, are the ones to blame. We want them gone. And we're willing to make the sacrifices to make that happen. We're just not gonna ask a hundred soldiers, men, and women, with families, friends, and dreams, to stand there and die so idealists who aren't willing to make those sacrifices can sleep easier at night.” Given that the NJO/GA/NIO have thus far painted the Sith Empire as totally apathetic to the deaths of civilians—in fact they have encouraged their opponents to kill them as a form of psychological warfare—what purpose would the killing of prisoners of war or the covert bombing of a school with children inside serve? Demoralization? The Sith don’t care. The NJO have said so themselves, again and again.

As evidenced by his apology to the Jakku Jedi Enclave, this Letter was penned after Karis had obtained the memories from Romi Jade. Therefore, he was not ignorant of what actually occurred. He quite literally saw what happened through the eyes of Aradia Pavanos. Of course, if he did order the bombing, then it does not matter. He would’ve known all along, in which case the Letter and all of Karis’ actions may be construed as an elaborate and deeply misguided attempt at a cover-up.

So, what is the coroner’s final report? The general attitudes of denial, dismissal, obfuscation and blind loyalty displayed by the NJO in the wake of Quill’s message are symptomatic of a dark and nameless disease spreading through their ranks. Just as the patient cannot be cured unless they accept that they are ill and in need of treatment, one cannot take responsibility for one’s mistakes if one refuses to even acknowledge that a mistake was made. There was never any true acknowledgement from the NJO’s leaders that what had occurred on Korriban was wrong, or at least none that wasn’t hindered by flimsy excuse-making, grotesque justification, and/or hand-waving dismissal. It was always “The death of a child is a terrible thing, but…” followed by parroting of ancient platitudes about how horrible war is, hollow-ringing promises that they would "work to make things better", and propagandistic claptrap about the need to make “necessary sacrifices” in order to win. Rest assured, the NJO did not "win" in this scenario. At best, they were played for fools. The Sith Empire, which they have so thoroughly demonized for their disregard for life, have inadvertently succeeded in getting these Jedi to disregard life in the name of a greater good—the complete destruction of the Sith, down to the very last child. Riding practically on the heels of their complete rejection of the Elder Compact, which was also justified by its supporters as a necessary sacrifice for the greater good, the NJO here have become hypocrites. If anything of value can be taken from this disgraceful blot on the history of the Jedi, it is proof that while a faction may wear the trappings of the Light, in their actions they are still capable of great evil.

***

Footnotes

*I have since been told that Intel Wars in fact claims to be a legitimate source of news, but frankly I find such a statement too ludicrous to believe. The letter they published was an obvious forgery meant to appeal to those of us with an exceptionally black sense of humor. As for claiming to be legitimate, then I must assume they are either fringe lunatics, or playing a game of three-dimensional media chess.

Works Cited

Oceiros Sunstrider during the Bastion invasion.
Maynard Treicolt during the Dantooine invasion.
Bernard of Arca and Rhis Fisto during the Korriban/Felucia invasion.
Jend-Ro Quill and Aradia Pavanos ’s posts during the Ziost invasion.
Take it With a Grain of Sand - First of the Quill/Auteme storyline threads.
I'm Not My Season - Cotan Sar'andor seeks out Bernard, who has gone into self-exile and may have severed himself from the Force.
Light Calls, Sand Answers - Quill shares the memories given to him by Aradia with Romi Jade.
Light Calls, Iron Answers - The thread in which Quill broke the news during talks meant to make the GA/NIO alliance official.
Discretion - Auteme and Quill talk briefly during the aforementioned thread.
Step By Step - Ryv and Auteme talk after the talks.
Dirty Laundry - Tom Kovack and Auteme talk after the talk after the talks.
Desert Hermit - Thalia Senn attacks Quill on Jakku in retaliation for his rescuing Sith acolytes.
An Open Letter to the Alliance - Romi Jade requests to speak to Auteme.
So You Got Somethin' To Say? - Pretty much everyone except Auteme shows up, Ryv gets punched by Kyra Perl , a lot of people talk.
Legwork - Auteme obtains the memories of Maynard, Rhis, and Bernard as evidence. Both Maynard and Rhis insist upon staying/refuse to take the Barash. Bernard has not posted yet, but his writer stated OOC that he would likely also refuse, as he has already returned from self-exile.
Hope You Brought Casseroles - Coren Starchaser and Zark San Tekka track down Quill, who is in hiding while recovering from the wounds dealt him by Thalia. Zark refuses to give up on the NJO.
Bounty For Korriban Crimes - The Sith post a bounty on Ryv, Shaka Sunstar , Bernard and Coren for crimes committed on Korriban.
Oops. - Kyra sends a message to Romi apologizing for the incident, kinda?
To the Jedi of the Galaxy - Ryv sends out a letter covering his side of the issue.
You Know The Reason - Ryv and Maynard talk a little. Maynard again refuses to take the Barash when Ryv tries to pitch it to him as a much-needed vacation.
Stormwall - Thalia consequences thread.
The Bridge - Auteme comes to Jakku to speak to Romi and Quill. Things go downhill fast. Both Romi and Quill wind up leaving.
Assorted Notes - Quill and Auteme communicate. She apologizes for Jakku.
Intel Wars: Leaked NJO Documents Reveal Their True Nature - Humorous news article satirizing these events.
HNN War Crimes OOC - Ryv claims (writer OOC) that he was the one who issued the order to bomb the academy. He arranged to do a thread with Holly Starstorm, a news reporter, to announce this. Until the IC thread is posted, I will leave this here as a placeholder/reminder.
Crumbling Castle - Reference to Maynard’s exile.
About author
Nimdok
Me love fiction. Me want to be writer. No get published yet - but will someday.

Latest reviews

Pros: Compelling and deeply informative
You have made a bunch of fictional stuff palpable and real. Truly well done!

Comments

I am very disappointed this doesn't have a "The list of war crimes committed by the New Jedi Order is incomplete, you can help by expanding it." All the cool kids in the Sith are shown that note but with the Sith Order upon graduating from an Academy.​

All about motivating the next generation to be exceptional, from what I hear; an unwillingness to rest on their homicidal laurels?​
 
You gotta submit these to codex as media so I can have ic books on these lmao

If you look at the last post of Nimdok’s bio (underneath the picture of the scantily clad Zabrak Sith Priestess) you’ll see that I am working towards turning all of his works into a big subbed book. I just need to amass more content to make it worthwhile. But in the meantime, feel free to consider this a legitimate IC article.
 
This blog was fire, incredibly well written, and time well spent reading.

Probably one of my top 5 favorites in recent memory. Though maybe an unfair comparison, you definitely don't get literature nor quality like this from those snappy propaganda posters. Looking forward to more from you, Nimdok Nimdok
 
Ulrich would be happy to give Nimdok a personal interview regarding Mandalorian war crimes targeting sentient nonhumanoid species, as well as detail an extensive list of all the crimes he is planning on committing in retaliation.
 
Ulrich would be happy to give Nimdok a personal interview regarding Mandalorian war crimes targeting sentient nonhumanoid species, as well as detail an extensive list of all the crimes he is planning on committing in retaliation.

Mr. Ulrich,

As interesting as it would be to speak with you, I am not a journalist. Therefore I recommend you contact Miss Holly Starstorm to see about setting up a proper interview.

Sincerely,
Professor Nimdok
 

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