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HoloNet News Presents: Battle for Democracy

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
@[member="Maerys Cadalthor"]

The former Omega Protectorate foreign minister -- so sad about that medical discharge after the battle on Kaeshana -- adjusted her speaking notes. A burly Ithorian cameraman held up a four-fingered hand. "And we're live in four, three-" Two, one, he counted off silently.

"Good evening, Republic," said Linna, the Zelton host of HNN's Battle for Democracy, the fair and balanced news alternative and debate hour. She shared a smile with her co-host, the Eldorai Maerys Cadalthor. "Tonight, exclusive war zone coverage from our affiliates in Mandalorian space. We all watch the fight for democracy and freedom on Ossus, and watch our troops defend against Sith aggression at Manaan, and now it seems like our brave troops have inspired people across the galaxy. While Republic forces keep the Sith Empire at bay, we have confirmed reports that the Mandalorians have finally struck back against the forces that have torched and terrorized their worlds. We go now to our embedded reporter with the Mandalorian forces. Jerall?"

"Thank you, Linna. I'm here on the observation deck of a Mandalorian command ship. Behind me you can see small craft deploying for what looks like another attack. I've just been told that Mandalorian stealth ships managed to land on Dromund Kaas before the planetary shields went up. The Sith response appears to be...scattered, confused. It looks like the Manaan and Ossus fronts have tied up the assets that the Sith would have used to defend their capital, and the Mandalorians have seized the opportunity."

"And our thoughts go with them," said Linna fervently. Journeyman Jaster aired after this, on an affiliate network. Every time she mentioned Mandalorians, the critically-acclaimed 'Darker And Grittier' Mando-based holoshow got a five-percent ratings bump. "Are there-"

The view shook. "Sorry, Linna, I think we're about to lose transmission str-"

"And that was Jerall Ventus, live from the Mandalorian front near Dromund Kaas. In other news, today the Supreme Chancellor and representatives of the Omega Protectorate posted a total of seventy-five million credits of bounty money for the Sith Lord Circe Savan. Now, Maerys, some people are saying that this fits the Republic's legacy of appropriate proportional response, but I've also heard people say that the Republic should be focusing on higher-value targets, like Emperor Kaine Zambrano or the Sith terrorists who recently destroyed the Senate building. What's your take?"
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

Maerys Cadalthor gave the camera a dazzling smile before turning serious, as was appropriate for the highly important issues they were dealing with. For it was their task to report the truth, alert concerned citizens to the manifold dangers agains their freedom and way of life. She was a noblewoman from the Eldorai homeworld of Kaeshana, but had long left this planet in search of something greater, seeking out a nation that represented progress, freedom and unlimited opportunity for those ready to work to achieve it.

By contrast Kaeshana was run by reactionaries, who had thrown in their lot with that plutocratic dictatorship...wait, the Protectorate was an ally now. The Protectorate had always been an ally. Kerrigan was still a borderline psychopath.

"A small correction, apparently the Sith 'Emperor' has a hundred credit bounty on his head. The better to give people incentive to turn in this dangerous criminal," Maerys spoke gently, eyes, in which one one could see fervour to bring the truth across - even if politicians thought that it was 'inconvenient' or got in the way of 'realpolitik', as if there could be politics without values and conviction.

"As for the concerns, there undoubtedly are reasons in favour of that argument, but unfortunately in this day and age they follow an outdated strategy. Reliable sources in the intelligence community have made clear that we're just facing a few villains who can be taken out, but a galactic network of darkside threats. We need only remember the terrible attacks on Osarian, Rhommamool, the theft of the Jedi archives," she paused briefly, both as a respectful moment of silence for the victims of these terrible terrorist attacks and to let her words sink in.

"Circe Savan is a dangerous criminal schooled in the vile art of Sith alchemy by villains such as Velok. Her shipping company produces warships for Fringe - the Sith of the rim - and the Empire, she even had a medical corporation on Coruscant, doing gods knows what for vile experiments. And in the light of these calamities, it's reasonable to assume there are many others still operating in the shadows, ready to use Sith artefacts to deadly effect. A 'shadow network of terror and malignancy', as General Raeder, speaking for the Republic High Command, called it. The Republic's soldiers and their noble Mandalorian allies are fighting gallantly on the front, but if we ignore these threats the price will be great."
 

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
Linna nodded emphatically. "Absolutely, Maerys. If I remember right, her medical clinic on Coruscant turned out to be a front for biological experimentation and unapproved treatments. Didn't a Jedi Master resign over that?" She shuffled her notes unnecessarily, with a cursory look. "Master...Feena Mason, who left the Jedi Order and now has some kind of a secretive role in the leadership of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, only a short hyperspace hop from our brave troops on Hoylin." A world which the Republic had taken just to have a striking position on the Confederate capital, but that was unimportant. "It seems like you're right, Maerys -- that network of connections just extends everywhere. Now, I mean, in fairness, the Confederacy has had a bounty on Savan for years now. They used to be really proactive about that sort of thing."

She leaned forward over the desk in a fervor of decolletage, speaking half to Maerys and half to the audience. "But here's what I wonder. Is it possible to get so caught up in the individuals that we forget about the threat to our way of life? Here in the Republic we value justice, fairness, hard work, and democracy. I've stayed quiet about my own opinions so far, but if you'll permit me a comment, I think the threat is bigger than just one Sith. I think the situation now is the same as it was a thousand years ago, and two thousand, and two thousand before that. I think our home and our children will only be safe when all the Sith are dead or converted. Now, call me stereotypical, but there are some ideals that are just always true, and that's one of them. Only the Republic acts according to those eternal absolutes. Everything else is compromise. So isn't one fanatical Sith apprentice just as great a threat, in a way, as an Emperor?"
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

"The Confederacy has always been an...unknown variable. Their policies have been difficult to anticipate, fluctuating from fighting against slavers and criminal elements to claiming friendship with Fringers and, if reports are to be believed, the Sith. But perhaps new leadership means a new leaf," she spoke, leaning further into the camera. Her smile was perfect, there was not a hair out of place and her suit....fit her well.

She gave Linna a nod and an encouraging smile. For on this news show valued truth above all else. It was their credo to speak their minds and tell the people where the threats really lurked. Politicians might speak of compromise, but everyone knew that one could not make a deal with demons and expect to get out of it unscathed. "I agree completely. I think it goes back to the fundamental nature of our struggle. Some people would have us think it's just power politics, one empire against the other, all craving nothing but dominance, resources. Why, some individuals think Valen was a war for cortosis and profit. But we know it's a war for values. Truth, justice, opportunity against tyranny, statism, oppression. The dark side is a very real thing and just mystical mumbo-jumbo," she paused for a moment, staring intently into the holocameras.

"It must be said, Chalacta wasn't just a mistake, it was a great crime. Not only did we abandon half the Galaxy to oppression, we made our own citizens believe you could compromise with evil. The result were terrible tragedies, the deaths of so many innocents. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but you can't help looking back and think it was all neatly arranged, like we were playing into the hands of dark forces." Her bosom heaved as she gave an intake of breath, underlining the drama of the moment. "Anyone can see the firm axis between the Sith and their Fringe comrades - led by the very Empress whose minions were stopped by our boys at Roche. It sounds brutal, but as long as there's Sith fanatic at large, as long as they are free to proliferate their Sith poisons and artefacts, we're at risk," she said with an air of finality.

The camera provided a nice close-up of the beautiful space elf. "Speaking of unknowns, what is your take on the recently concluded battle of Atrisia. There's still much that's uncertain about it, Can we welcome the Atrisians as friends or were wolves just devouring wolves?"
 

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
"Well, I know what you think," said Linna with a chuckle -- this was an old conversation. "But I think we really have to come down on the side of caution. Look at the facts. Their Emperor used to be the supreme commander of the Republic military, but he's no friend of the current administration. He's signed pacts and treaties, at various points, with people who don't wish us well at all. And if he's still the Republican leader that he was, why isn't his space part of the Republic? Why does he have to be his own little empire, right on our borders?" She jiggled with outrage. "Why can't they be their own people with their own culture inside the most multicultural and tolerant society in a thousand years? The Atrisian Empire -- I can't call them the Galactic Empire; only the Republic is galactic -- they have odd friends and secrets and fights that don't make sense. And they've got a clear line to attack Coruscant any time they want. Good fences make good neighbours, and I believe we need a better fence. Or we're going to wind up with a two-front war someday."
@[member="Maerys Cadalthor"]
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

"Fiery as always. Calm yourself, dear," Maerys said softly, naturally not wanting to restrain anyone from uttering their opinion. After all, what separated the Republic from every other great power in the Galaxy was that it valued freedom of expression and opinion. Everywhere else dictators ruled and spat upon the rule of law. She bent over slightly to pat Linna's hand, which by the way might have meant that the camera got a bit of a flash of her bosom.

"We have to speak softly and carry a big stick. Keep in mind, Fringe is close to us and they are Sith. I am quite certain they didn't leave Lujo out of the goodness of their heart once it was shown we mean business. The Atrisians - I can't call them galactic anymore than you can - still cling to their old beliefs. Alas, change takes time, just look at how the small clique of Hapan reactionaries reacted when we offered them to enter our great commonwealth of free people, even though the Sith are right across the border." Briefly a screen above them would blend in a scene of Hapan renegades attacking Chancellor Saelari and the Queen, to be put down by heroic Jedi and soldiers, followed by the Queen ratifying the treaty of annexation, to spontaneous applause from Hapan citizens.

"And the Atrisians have been isolated for long. They want trade, we have the biggest market and can bind them to us through that. As...distasteful as their glorification of past Imperial dictators is, they claim to despise Sith and should get the chance to show they mean business in the Crusade. Sooner or later will have to fight the Fringe Sith, it'll help if we can have safe passage through Atrisia, basing rights. But...they must show that they're honest. The days of secret deals, double-dealing are over. There's no middle ground between freedom and Sith tyranny. Soft intervnetion to guide them on the right path is preferrable, but sometimes hard intervention is needed."
 

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
"But soft intervention can be rejected," she said, crossing her ankles and flashing the audience with a gratuitous amount of reddish leg. "And I can see Atrisia from my house, Maerys. I know for sure that I'm not the only homeowner who likes a nice straight fence, just so everyone knows what's what."
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

"Oh, I like a good strong fence. Strong enough to keep scoundrels out, but with enough of a view to show I have the nicer garden," she joked. The camera focused for a moment on her full red lips and those perfect, very flexible elf ears. "To show any neighbours how better it would be to be my friend...but make him realise I'm not unprotected and that the rifle on the wall isn't just for show. Hence why I say it's downright irresponsible that we haven't closed that gap in the core. We can see Atrisia from our home, but how much closer is Lujo. It could fall to Fringers or Atrisians any time. Or Dahrtag. The soft underbelly into the unknown regions."
 

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
"Now here's what I wonder, here's what I wonder." She collected her thoughts for a moment. "The Battle of Atrisia. A Fringe leader named Grand Admiral Shira Karrde -- obviously a self-granted promotion for a petty dictator -- reveals herself to be former Sith Empress Ashin Varanin, on public airwaves. Then she marches up to the gates of the Atrisian Emperor's, alone, and forces him to sign some kind of secret document. Whatever she told him, or did to him, was so important that she then ordered the so-called Lords of the Fringe to just pack up and leave an entrenched defensive position. Two million soldiers and enough shield generators and heavy weapons to hold that part of the planet basically forever. Between that and her standing at the gates of the palace, well, Maerys, here's what I wonder. What could Atrisia have possibly agreed to do that would convince the Sith of the Unknown Regions to show mercy? And now we're getting reports that the Fringe has pulled out of Lujo, which could only ever have been useful as a staging point against Coruscant itself. I don't think they're running scared. I think they beat Atrisia up until it agreed to play some kind of a secret role in destroying the Republic and the Omega Protectorate. I mean, just look at the Fringe move to Phu. From there, they can hit Fondor as easily as they can hit Atrisia, and when they took that world they had an alliance with Atrisia.

"Maerys, we have enemies everywhere. I-" The shapely Zeltron put a hand to her ear. "Now we're getting word of something really interesting, something you'll want to see. A protest is forming outside the Jedi Temple. I'm looking at a press release from a group called Mothers of Metalorn -- a world dominated by the Sith, of course -- Mothers of Metalorn, claiming to speak for, how do they put this." She adjusted her holonotes. "'For all our children in the Unreal City who died at the hands of the Butcher of Metalorn.' Now of course they're talking about the wildly overblown charges against Jedi Master Matsu Ike, who was reinstated to the Order recently after a period of self-examination. And I don't use the word overblown lightly. As if a Jedi Master would kill thousands of civilians loyal to the Republic just to secure a tactical position!" She snorted in contempt. "Frankly, I think this whole movement is disgusting and dangerous, and probably orchestrated by the Sith Empire. I've even heard they picketed a Jedi's funeral. It's disrespectful to our brave troops and it's just fundamentally wrong."
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

An expression of pure disgust crossed Maerys' perfect features. "Not just wrong, it's outrageous. As Republicans we value freedom of expression, but this spits on the sacrifices of our brave boys, our valiant Jedi. All the millions of innocents lost on Rhommamool and Osarian. Innocent homeowners like you and me who just wanted to live in peace. Not to forget the slaves who died revolting against Sith barbarity on Metalorn," she looked absolutely disgusted. "We all know the Sith techniques. When they can't destroy, they propagate the Big Lie. This movement is a Sith charade from start to finish. On the same level as the insane cranks who claim the destruction of the Senate was an inside job. Matsu Ike is a hero of the Republic. One just needs to look into her eyes and see a woman who knows what sacrifice means, who understands the hard choices that must be made....so that we can live in peace."

Briefly a flattering holoimage of Matsu Ike, paladin of the Jedi order, was blended in. She stood there like a martyr, serene and regal, as she was cast out by the former Grand Master Je'gan, who had disappeared recently. No one could say where. Conspiracy? The truth was out there. "Any sane person knows that the 'civilians' had been twisted into monstrosities by Sith alchemy - the work of the notorious war criminal Circe Savan. They would've butchered our boys, killing them was a mercy. The evil of the Sith knows no bounds, anyone is at risk as long as even one of them lives. These Mothers of Metalorn are traitors. Same goes for the 'conscientous objectors' among the Jedi who just...deserted this noble order of crusaders and their duty to the people. They have a responsibility in this dark hour, when the people look for hope, and they...left. No one knows to whom they're loyal to. Wait a sec, I have THE list right here," she tapped in a command on a holopad and the list of traitors appeared on the big-screen. The images were all designed to put them in a rather negative light.

"Qae Shena, Jaxton Ravos, Boolon Murr, Rosa Mazhar, Feena Mason, Seroth Ur-Rahn, Coryth Elaris, Nick Kahoshi, Je'gan Olra'en, Aleidis Ijet, Hion the Herglic - all of them deserted. Seven of them masters of the force. Coming back to your point about Atrisia, Linna, reliable sources inform us that 'Master' Kahoshi is the Atrisian Emperor's father and was at the battle. What was he doing there, I wonder? Why did he not fight the Sith Empress. Boolon Murr corrupted the Jedi Shadows - our secret weapon in the War on Darkness - into a group of meek group of pacifists. By the gods, he and Olra'en trained traitor Aleidis who signed over half the Galaxy to Sith oppression and brought us to the brink of war with our allies, the Omega Protectorate. The former Grand Master Je'gan Olra'en merits a section of his own. He tried to purge the Order and almost broke it, casting out valiant heroes like Masters Matsu Ike, Syn, the current Grand Master Selena Halcyon because they wanted to fight Sith, he happily went along with the Betrayal of Metalorn.Then he retreated in ignominy and has not been heard of since - and he had access to every Republic secret! Nobody knows where he is, but I'd call that suspicious. He is a master illusionist, the best perhaps, and he passed his knowledge on to traitors like Ijet and Elaris," her tone became more enraged and passionate with every word, for a moment she looked embarrassed, flushing a bit, as she calmed down.

"I'm sorry. But I don't think anyone can feel safe as long as traitors roam around freely, accountable to no one. Lest we forget, the Jedi's Senator for Tython, Hion, brutally murdered a Padawan," at that she put her hand to her ear, "joined the Sith. Reliable sources say he's been cowardly slaughtering our brave troops on Manaan!" The image of a savage, bipedal whale, eyes ablaze with fury, appeared on the screen.

"Our freedom makes us great, but we need an investigation into this. I think much of the recent years must be reexamined. Why, it's public knowledge now that our second chancellor, Ardak Serifen, is managaging Ssi-Ruuv territory as the Sith Empress' viceroy. The man who was propelled into the chancellery because he promised to 'make the Republic safe and crush its enemies' is happily serving the woman who butchered our boys at Roche! I don't want to jump ahead, but we need to consider just how far back their collaboration went. Was he already in contact with her and Velok at Polis Massa? I think this puts that tragic incident in a new light." Briefly one would see a holoimage of Serifen shaking the hand of Ashin Varanin, whose blue Bando Gora eyes glowed menacingly, with a predatory smile on her face. No doubt they were contemplating the conquest of innocent worlds.

She leaned over to Linna, a few buttons on her blouse were undone, not enough to be indecent in polite company, but showing a hint of cleavage. "Correct me if I'm wrong, Linna, but wasn't Spencer Jacobs, who turned traitor and fought our brave troops at Roche, present at Polis Massa with Serifen on his command ship?
 

Linna Beorht

Character
Character
@[member="Maerys Cadalthor"]

"Funny you should mention that. I was just reading the after-action reports from that battle. Fascinating how Spencer Jacobs, who was skulking as the so-called Queen of the Echani, 'accidentally' became the amplifying antenna for the ancient Phobis device. Thousands were driven mad, and the Republic and Protectorate were driven to the brink of war. And all from one woman on Ardak Serifen's starship. One woman who, despite being known as a traitor to the Republic, was somehow allowed to keep her throne in Republic space. The more chances we give these people, the more danger we bring on our homes and families. That's a principle that the Republic has always upheld as fundamental. I mean, look at the trial of Ulic Qel-Droma, which led to the death of the entire Senate at the time.

"Or think about the deadly threat of the first Sith Empire. Supreme Chancellor Pultimo, who was filled with regret but had no other reasonable option, ordered the brave troops of the Republic to go to Korriban and Ziost and eliminate the Sith threat once and for all. His only mistake was that he didn't go far enough. The Sith still manged to escape to Dromund Kaas and begin again. I have a little garden, Maerys. I grow some herbs, some vegetables. When weeds get in, I have to rip them out by the roots. I can't leave even a bit of root behind, or the weeds will just all grow back. Some knowledge keeps on coming back. Look at this footage, Maerys. Newly uncovered, but from a reliable source. This is a Republic resort planet, and what you're looking at is a spacetime distortion in the planet's atmosphere, over a remote beach. Some kind of hyperspace wormhole. And watch as an asteroid just falls out of it and a tidal wave covers the land. Now, let's zoom in on that private starship lifting off from the beach just before the tidal wave hits. That's been positively identified as the Peregrine, the personal transport of Ashin Varanin and Spencer Jacobs. What you're seeing here is Varanin teaching her lover how to create what's called a Force Storm. And this view -- this is the sky over Elrood, where Jacobs combined the powers of numerous Force-sensitives, a lot of them collaborators, to make another storm. It was only a matter of luck that that storm didn't wipe out our brave troops on Elrood, and that knowledge, those people, they're still out there."
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

Maerys gazed with the appropriate shock and horror, then disgust as she saw the devastation wrought by the force storm, the apex power of darksiders. Entire fleets could be wiped out by it. "This is shocking. Just when you think you have uncovered the web of treachery, you see it extends even further. To think our troops were callously endangered like that. Ashin Varanin now rules a dark empire almost within range of the core, the Atrisians might be her pawns. Spencer Jacobs murdered our boys at Roche for this Dark Lord. I'm dead certain that she's still in contact with her and took the Echani throne to be her agent in the Republic, masquerading as our ally while she spread her philosophy of 'balance', which is just a fancy term for embracing the darkside. Lest we forget, she was very friendly with Ijet! Can we truly believe Ijet's word that Velok is dead? Can we trust anything she said? Our brave troops were stabbed in the back."

She checked her holonotes before looking at Linna. "This is shocking even for me, but didn't she call the Sith the Republic's allies when meeting with Lady Protector Alcori, while you were Exarch Kerrigan's policy adviser, Linna?" she asked for confirmation. As a high-ranking member of the Protectorate government Linna would have had perfect access. "Nobody ever told our people they'd be entering an alliance with the butchers of Donanyd, Metalorn and Osarian. The people never voted for that. We're faced with a ruthless cabal of traitors that will stop at nothing to destroy our way of life and I think any investigation must start with Eshan, where Jacobs is still Queen. Our own vice-chancellor, Yusan Fenn, is Echani. I do not want to cast aspersions, but what is his relation with her? He must answer to the public and our courageous troops must occupy Eshan and free it from Sith influence. There can be no mercy in the struggle against evil. It's like putting down a kath hound gone mad," there was strong passion in her voice before she again shifted through her holonotes, a push of

"They have tried to incite conflict to divide the forces of the light from the very start. Linna, isn't it so that in the early days of Omega Pyre, when Kamon Vondiranach, Jacobs' father, ruled Eshan, the Echani tried to hire the Pyre to destroy the Mandalorians, who so often have been our first line of defence against the Sith? And didn't the Echani used the Sith Lord Velok, the genocidal monster, as an emissary? Just think of what would have happened if the Mandalorians had been overrun, the Sith would have had a free shot at us."
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
"And now, a word from our sponsors."

BLAS-TECH! The Choice of Today's Patriot!

Hold on to everything you are/With the power of Loronar!

Great Leap Forward, Incorporated. Fear No Sith.

Battle for Democracy returned with a split screen, Linna and Maerys sharing airtime with a gently blinking Ithorian. Backlit by the sun of Ithor through trees, Boolon Murr nodded along with their introduction as if they hadn't just suggested that he was a traitor.

Linna opened her remarks with gratuitous amounts of leg. "Here with us today is Boolon Murr, an Ithorian Priest of the Mother Jungle, and a noted pacifist and environmentalist." She tried not to make those adjectives sound like expletives. "Mr. Murr, you've attracted attention for leaving the Jedi Order and for drafting the Treaty of Ithor. Tell me, why did you try to make an alliance of the Republic's enemies?"

The Ithorian burbled serenely. "Do you wish me to be clear or brief, Ms. Beorht?"

"I want you to answer the question."

"I brought together the nations of the galaxy to form a treaty of peace, because I knew that the Republic had lost whatever value it could claim, and I went searching for value elsewhere."

Linna's jaw knotted visibly. "And of the five signatories to the Treaty, one was a criminal organization, one was composed of pirates and rapists under a Sith leader, one is an authoritarian dictatorship, and one is a malevolent technocracy run by a war criminal. So tell me, Mr. Murr-"

"Boolon, please."

"So tell me, Boolon. Did you find the value you were after? Were these tinpot dictatorships somehow more worthy than the Republic?"

The Ithorian leaned closer to the holocam, and for a long moment, Linna remembered how strong Ithorians were, how tall, and how their voices could ripple steel. "They shared the Republic's greatest sin, Ms. Beorht. They claims were full of righteousness and their actions empty."

"How dare you judge the Republic. Can you really speak for trillions upon trillions of people? Can you say that the government held up by their ideals and their hopes is worthless? That's a bold claim. I could see a lot of people being offended by that."

"Ms. Beorht -- Doctor Beorht, rather -- you have a graduate degree in international relations and political theory. You know as well as I do that no government is perfectly accountable to its people, or perfectly wise in representing the interests of its people. You know as well as I do that governments use voices like yours to make the people believe in their righteousness and hide the acts that suggest otherwise."

"And what acts are these, Boolon? I've looked over the so-called proof about Matsu Ike-"

"That woman's atrocities-"

"A respected Jedi Master would never-"

"Excuse me, Ms. Beorht," said the Ithorian priest firmly, and she found herself silenced. "It is true that I left the Republic and the Jedi Order because of my experiences tending and burying the thousands of Republic-friendly prisoners of the Sith, prisoners who Matsu Ike murdered for strategic advantage on Metalorn. However, that was merely the final straw, as they say. I served the Republic for many years as a Jedi Shadow and a strategic asset. I watched as my fellow Jedi Shadows broke Republic law consistently, the current Grandmaster among them. To my shame, I went with the Republic to Cato Neimoidia, a planet which was conquered, taken by force, its government replaced, simply because the Republic did not like its tariff regime. It was protectionist against Republic imports-"

"But you were there, Boolon. You helped 'conquer' that planet, as you call it. So where do you get the right to judge the Republic? Where do you get the right to claim righteousness?"

"It is not always a mark or claim of righteousness to see evil for what it is. Just ask the Jedi Council that seeks evil everywhere. I speak the truth, but I have said nothing about myself."
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
"Indeed. When we are on the topic of speaking of shame. You speak of the Republic's 'crimes', you blast it for Cato Neimoidia, but what of the slaves that were butchered by Sith by the thousands? The one billion innocents of Donanyd who were annihilated by the Sith within the blink of an eye. The people who died on Osarian and Rhommamool. Are their lives insignificant, do they not have rights? Can you avert your eyes from the evil the Republic has been fighting for so long?"

To emphasise and punctuate these words while Maerys spoke the big screen behind her would show images of destruction, each of these worlds being depicted in turn. Viewers would see the irradiated, burnt-out surface of Donanyd, and they would hear the mocking, triumphant words of Darth Apparatus as he promised death and destruction to anyone who dared oppose the Sith Empire. They would holophotos of hundreds of corpses of slaves butchered on Metalorn, among them women and children. The screen shifting again they would see a demonstration of the relatives of those killed when Velok vaporised Osarian, walking in a demonstration of silence through Republic Square, each of them holding a candle, some of them carrying 'Never Forget' and 'Remember Osarian' placards, many of them carrying pictures and holopics of the loved ones they had lost in the terrible cataclysm, brought about by the evil of the vile Whiphid.

"Can you look at this suffering and honestly say that the Republic and the Sith Empire - the fracticidal, genocidal tyranny where daily common sentients suffer and die - are the same? Would you tell that to young Togorians, children, who were torn from their homes when the tyrant 'Emperor' Kaine ordered them to be enslaved just because he could? You speak of Metalorn, but when have you last acted against Sith atrocities? The only law Sith have, the only code, is that enforced by the muzzle of the blaster. Is it not so that you trained Aleidis Ijet? Who was made a Jedi master at a mere sixteen years of age and then propelled into the chancellery? Who called the Sith allies and abandoned billions to their tyranny, brought us to the brink of war with our one partner, and treated the traitor Spencer Jacobs, the Sith Empress' apprentice, as a friend? This was the sort of company she kept, while you made alliances between the enemies of the one democracy this Galaxy has."
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
@[member="Maerys Cadalthor"]

The Ithorian priest nodded evenly.

"You may use truth as ammunition, a weight to tip the scales, but the scales of truth always balance out in the end. May I present some truth of my own?"

His half of the window changed, becoming footage from a small holocamera. Boolon provided voiceover for very new, formerly buried footage.

"This is from the security cameras recovered from the Unreal City at Metalorn. The Unreal City was a Sith prison full of, among others, Republic loyalists and prisoners of war captured at Roche. To the right you see the gates of the Unreal City, and to the left you see the Jedi Master Matsu Ike. Watch," he said evenly but with a catch in his voice, "as she creates an earthquake. Now you're seeing an internal view, watching the stacked cells break open and hundreds fall to their deaths. Back to the external view as they try to run to safety, out the front gates, but she creates a tornado and they continue to die. I was there after the battle, administering first aid to the survivors of this atrocity."

The view shifted again, to a different but nearby planet. "This is footage from Contruum, and I apologize for the brutality. Republic Intelligence trained and equipped these terrorists. These are the people they killed...and this is what was done to them after the Republic abandoned them, when they became politically inconvenient. And this...this is Contruum more recently, an unaligned world swarming with Republic military forces. Watch as Republic soldiers fire first on Black Sun officials. I guarantee, Maerys," said Boolon as he reappeared, "the Republic will do this again, and soon-"

"Thank you for joining us, Mr. Murr," said Linna, "but that's all the time we have for today."

Shortly thereafter, the segment ended. Any publicity was good publicity, and by that reckoning, the HoloNet furor was very good indeed.
 

Qual'Zyanya

Xioquo Renegade
Character
@[member="Linna Beorht"]

"And now, to the commercials."

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Battle for Democracy returned with a bang, for the alternative news broadcast that delivered fair and unbiased news and analysis could not be silenced even in these dark times. The Crusade for Democracy had been rebuffed at O'reen by the rampaging hordes of the 'Fringe Confederation', then savage Kraug invaded Coruscant, seeking to sack and raze it, but the heroic Jedi Army of Light had driven them back from whence they came and cleansed the den of evil in a firestorm, putting an end to their malice. Now Mandalorians came to make demands of the senate and rumours abounded of a new Sith Phantom Menace rising.

Troubling times indeed, for even the Jedi seemed to lack direction with Selena the Righteous having vanished, but the Voice of Freedom would continue to report the truth so that one day A New Hope could rise and lead an Attack of the Clones, the Jedi, all those who believed in liberty to stop the Revenge of the Sith.

Maerys Cadalthor, Eldorai aristocrat who had seen the light and embraced progress, adjusted her speaking notes. As usual she was beautifully dressed, not a hair out of place. Their burly Ithorian camera-man held up a four-fingered hand. "We're live in four...three...two one...," he counted silently, giving her a thumbs-up at the end.

"Good evening Republic, fellow citizens," Maerys started, opening her remarks by showing a gratuitous amount of leg. A number of buttons on her blouse were undone, displaying slightly more cleavage than moralistic censors might consider decent, but then this was a free country.

"We have breaking news of an act of shame and betrayal that happened right on our doorstep, on Coruscant. While our hearts were going out to our fellow citizens who lost their loved ones during the cowardly Sith terrorist attack, while we cheered on our brave troops as they put an end to their evil, the arch-traitors Ashin Varanin and Spencer Jacobs were being received right inside the Jedi Temple! Our correspondent Jacen Ventura has confirmed through interviews with Jedi that they were giving a lecture on 'defence against the dark arts'. Lest we forget, these two led the Sith Empire, they personally fought our brave troops at Roche, then after being toppled went on to build another Dark Empire right on our doorstep - we can see their outpost on Lujo from our homes, like a dagger pointed at our heart. At this moment their rampaging hordes are invading our Protectorate allies at Eriadu to restore an evil dictator to power. And, this shall not be forgotten, they were long-term collaborators of the monster Velok."

At this moment the viewers would get a screen showing the evil Whiphid, showed in a suitably threatening pose. The screen would then shift to showing the annual 'Never Forget' demonstrations where those who had lost friends and loved ones at the Rhommamool/Osarian genocide marched through Republic Square, holding placards with phrases such as 'Never Again', 'Remember Osarian' or with holopics of those they had lost, men, women, children, innocent life extinguished by a Sith's love for destruction.

"We made 'peace' with the Fringe at Telos, but now they seek to exploit our lack of vigilance by carrying their corruption right into the halls of the Jedi Temple, twisting the next generation of Knights. They are wolves in sheep's clothing," Maerys continued with fervent passion in her voice, adjusting her earpiece. "Just a moment, dear viewers. We're getting a call from our correspondent on spot. Things are...even worse than we thought. Jacen, is it true? The Sith 'Empress' and her First Apprentice were received in the Jedi Council Chambers?"

"Yes, Maerys, as shocking as it is...that's the truth. As of now the Council has made no statement, but there are some patriotic Jedi who were ready to confirm, while asking not to be named, that after their 'class' was broken up they were taken straight to the Council for an...interview. Not only that, I have live-footage of them jumping out of the window of the tower and leaping down. Wait a moment, I am transmitting it to you."

There were a few moments of silence then the viewers would be treated to a display of the dramatic exit Varanin and Jacobs had pulled off. "From what I hear the Sith claimed they had 'redeemed themselves' and 'wanted to return to the Jedi Order'. When the Council asked for proof and their aid against their darkside confederates, they bailed after declaring that anyone trying to stop 'their people' would be destroyed and slandering our most trusted Jedi Masters."

"Thank you, Jacen. And that was Jacen Ventura, live from the Jedi Temple. Citizens, we were promised peace for our time and what have we got? The traitor Hion was 'pardoned' by our Vice-Chancellor before the noble Jedi tried to put him into custody so that he could be tried and face justice for his crimes, we signed a 'peace treaty' that allows Fringe to continue to be a haven for darksiders and now we learn two Dark Lords walked the halls of the Jedi Temple. Linna, what do you say to this? Is this what our brave soldiers fought for?"
 
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