Metellos, referred to as the Coruscant that Wasn't, witnessed unparalleled destruction at the hands of the One Sith during their occupation of the Core Worlds. Many believed a brighter future could be found at the hands of those who came after the One Sith's expulsion from the Core. Unfortunately, Metellos, alongside her sister planets, witnessed pillaging at the Sith Empire's clutches before its being conquered by Imperial Warlords. Peace never quite came to the Core Worlds. It wasn't until the Warlords were ousted by the brave actions of both the High Republic and Grayson Imperium, now formally allied and recognized as the Galactic Alliance. Years outside of the shadow of tyranny have provided Metellos the necessary time to begin rebuilding. Still, the Metelleans do not have the required resources or infrastructure to handle such a process on their own.
A meeting of minds between the Chancellor and two representatives of the New Jedi Order has introduced the idea of bringing aid to Metellos. Doing so could potentially see the betterment of billions of lives, on top of Metellos and neighboring planet's assimilation into the Galactic Alliance. Moreover, Metellos provides something to not only the Alliance itself but also the budding New Jedi Order. No other world in the Core facilitates an uninterrupted jump to Ilum, a sacred location to Jedi across the stars. Within the Grand Convocation Chamber, a Jedi representative shall take the podium beside the Chancellor to sway the Senate into supporting their cause.
Elsewhere, the New Jedi Order has officially been called together for the first time. Led by Allyson Locke and Loske Matson, the Order aims to establish a base of operations and safehouse upon the busy planet of Metellos. While also charting the first of hopefully many jumps to Ilum. If the Jedi Order see success, they may see an opportunity to do what some consider impossible. A leap through hyperspace only accessible to force sensitives across the stars.
Coruscant // Galactic City
Senate Chamber // Grand Convocation Chamber
Weeks of debating has seen the Senate locked in a stalemate. Shute Gunray
, Senator of Caamas, leads the Corporatists against providing financial aid to the New Jedi Order and Metellos. While Adhira Chandra
stands in favor of relief efforts to Metellos and the backing of the New Jedi Order. In hopes of breaking this stalemate, Chancellor Tagge has called a representative of the Order to take the stand for the Jedi. A line has been drawn in the sand. Will you stand for or against the people of Metellos and the Jedi?
Metellos // Ektra
Led by Allyson Locke
and Loske Matson
, the New Jedi Order has arrived at an unknown safehouse, rumored to formerly belong to the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Together, the Jedi will establish the first of many bases intended on keeping them safe and secured in case of emergency. Once completed, the Jedi Aces shall guide the Order along the hyperspace lane only accessible to force-sensitive pilots to Ilum, where they can explore the ancient Jedi Temple upon the planet. A piece of history long forgotten, familiarize yourself with our past and return to the roots of who we are. If the temple run isn't your style, a budding evil sees growth at the expense of Ilum's ecosystem and natural resources. Scout the enemy and help prepare the Galactic Alliance for the inevitable clash.
Metellos is a sprawling metropolis, while Ilum has seen obscurity for many years. Get out there and explore our two lovely settings. Find a cantina in Ektra and kick back, enjoy an excellent show with a drink in your hand. Maybe the city isn't your speed. There are bound to be dangers and beauty alike on Ilum to discover. Brave the snow and beasts alike to carve out your path. The possibilities are endless.
Max took his seat in the observer pod high above the rest of the senate. Not a great view, but bureaucrats arguing wasn't his reason for visiting Galactic City. He had been working closely with the Alliance for months now in preparation for today's proceedings. Devern Robotics had risen to prominence on his homeworld of Metellos during the time of the rebuilding. He remembered the various occupations of his home well. He was lucky to have lived on the streets during those times. The Empire had mostly overlooked the ground-pounders.
His work so far had been fairly simple until now. His company was in the process of expanding into Alliance space, and he had made it his mission to smooth the incorporation of Metellos into the Alliance with whatever power he held on the world. The past week or so brought a hiccup. He had spent a good while learning of the Alliance's politics and he thought by every metric he would consider himself a corporatist. Up until he learned of Senator Shute Gunray
's drive for them to turn their backs on Max's home.
With a relaxed posture, one leg crossed over the other, in his finest suit, he observed. There was little else he could do. He hoped that today he would be able to speak with the politicians. Understanding them better might help him decide who to support...
Was there some level of irony to be appreciated here on Metellos? The last time she'd been on the planet she'd been under the alias of Blue Sato, swoop racer extraordinaire who boldly objected to any level of Force sensitivity. Now she was back on an exclusively Jedi-oriented objective on behalf of the New Jedi Order.
Yeah, there was some irony to it -- and her countenance evidenced the realized amusement.
Others were already collected within the temple, given the time to explore and appreciate the installation before their next departure. Each Jedi here had travelled to the location via a discreet patch through their navcomputers after they'd made their initial departure from The Alliance's homebase. From Coruscant, they'd had to make an adjustment from the Corellian Trade Spine. The announcement to those that followed Saber's XO to Metellos came after the primary jump, and just before their second leg to the other heavily populated planet. The coordinates weren't off course by much, the adjustment was minor for each of their astromechs to make, but an adjustment nevertheless -- and encrypted to maintain the purpose of a safe house. These were the same coordinates that Allyson had received a few weeks prior, just before she'd gone undercover.
It was about that time she was supposed to show her face in Galactic Alliance space once again, and Loske paced anxiously around the legs of her parked X-Wing. Before going into the temple, she had to coordinate with Allyson -- to see what they were in store for at the end of the exclusive hyperlane.
"It's not ale, right? You got whiskey?"
Can you imagine mixing Ale with hot cocoa?
"Can you imagine anything?"
I can run simulations. And any outcome of mixing a warm fermented base alcohol with a milk-based liquid is repulsive.
Loske blinked at the triangle-faced astromech, folding her arms indignantly at his refusal to confirm her simple inquiry.
Yes. He finally admitted, a compartment at the top of his dome opening and a small bottle rising from its placeholder. I got Corellian Whiskey
The uniform was itchy, Allyson was never a uniform type of girl, but to keep face, she wore one. The flight to the coordinates were easy enough to calculate, and she was lucky she was with one of the best escorts in the Alliance. The woman was quiet and kept to herself; they had a silent understanding that their missions were confidential. Both were seasoned undercover agents, Allyson had requested the efforts of Maria Escajeda. The pair had worked together several times and remembered the woman from her times with the shadows. Both held a bond for being Corellian and when another Corellian was in danger, especially if said Corellian was a First Class you didn't refuse.
A leather-gloved hand waved over the nav computer, showing the woman the coordinates of their exit. There was a slight shift in the X-Wing front seat as Allyson figured it was the coordinates and Maria showing her discomfort. "Maria, just trust me." The radio crackled with Maria's delicate voice, and it was times like this Allyson forgot the woman was younger than her. "Roger that, Lucky." Professional as always. Covering her mouth, Allyson could smell the leather. It reminded her of her mother and was a brief moment that Allyson remembered where she had come from. They began their landing sequence and Allyson once more scratched at the uniform, was she nervous seeing Loske after this time? Exhaling softly, the Corellian did her best to calm her nerves. Allyson didn't know what she would have done if Loske wasn't the one to receive her after an eternity of being undercover.
Heels echoed along the line of X-Wings, decorated woman strutted down the line as if she was modeling the latest uniform of the ZU. Upon seeing the Kiffar woman, Allyson snapped out of the character she created and ran towards the woman. Smiles wider than the beaches of Corellia, Allyson called out to the blonde woman. "Loske!" The familiar feeling of Loske's presence brought warmth in the Corellian that not even the coldest corners of Ilum or Metellos could penetrate.
Standing in the uniform of her undercover, she looked around and smirked. "Did you bring the goods?" Hopefully, Loske had grabbed the go-bag from the Jedi Master's locker, or she would have to dig around for other things left in the safehouse. Also, the whiskey. Pausing, she relaxed for the first time in weeks and nodded. "I'm thrilled to see you. I felt like I was starting to lose myself - been awhile since I've done anything military."
"Honourable members of the Senate," Emmen holds his arms wide, waiting for the booming sound of his voice over the speakers to silence the echoing chatter of the massive rotunda "I hereby bring the fourth senate meeting on the subject of the New Jedi Order's integration into the Galactic Alliance into session."
The Chancellor draws his arms back to rest his hands together on top of the podium. He lets out a sigh, then forces a tired smile across his face. Emmen was determined to reach a conclusion today. He hadn't anticipated such resistance from the Corporatists, but he'd been pleased to find allies among both the Populist and Centrist representatives. For one reason or another, they'd been quick to bog it down with a seemingly endless number of debates, committee meetings and public panels.
"These last few weeks have divided us in this chamber -- but it is time we find an answer. The people of our Alliance depend on our ability to function with efficiency. We mustn't let them down. The proposal in question remains the same: Should the New Jedi Order be formally recognized as a part of the Galactic Alliance? As such, they would represent us across the Galaxy and accept accountability in accordance with our laws. Or, should they remain a separate, albeit allied, organization?" Emmen looks out across the Convocation Chamber, already able to spot several senators exchanging words with their advisors and sending messages from their datapads.
"As we've discussed; the Jedi have expressed an interest in formally pledging themselves to the Galactic Alliance. I am in support of this, as I believe it will help grow our relationship while allowing us to keep them in check, so to speak. There are those among us who remain cautious of the Order for reasons that I understand and respect. However, this would give us a means to exercise some degree of authority over their actions. But you have all already heard my plea, and so I offer something new to help bring closure to this debate," the Chancellor gestures off toward a seemingly random repulsorpod among the thousands in the room.
"I recognize the Jedi Knight Ryv Karis, Sword of the Jedi and a recipient of a Golden Starbird, as an authority to speak for the intentions of the New Jedi Order. Jedi Knight," the Chancellor takes a symbolic step back, finding himself standing next to the Vice Chair Lisza Starseeker
, "I yield the floor to you."
Unlike the rest of the floating city, the safehouse was relatively quiet and spacious - which gave ample opportunity for the commanding clicks of Allyson's heels. It was an introduction none could pay for, and Loske spun on her own at the announcement of her name. A breath she didn't know she'd been holding exhaled, and she gave into the net of relief. With someone going undercover for so long, there was always that slim chance they might not come back.
They could die, or they could choose to prefer their alter ego, and forget themselves.
It was a position Loske found admirable, and the fact that Allyson could pull it off so well was due credit to her. The ability to lie that well was an unnerving asset, and it made the Kiffar appreciate that the Corellian was on the right side. As for lying, Loske would make a terrible shadow. She was pathetic at untruths.
"Allyson!" The salutations was elated, and she wrapped her arms around the shoulders of the uniform donned woman with a squeeze. She took a step back after the embrace, keeping her hands on the padded shoulders of the suit, her expression perplexed. "Is this..oh. wow, hah ---this is...this is nice." Her tone betrayed the faux compliment, and she chuckled. "It looks really itchy."
"Did I bring the goods. pfffft"She mimicked being appalled, doing her darnedest to be as normal as possible despite the strangeness of Allyson's distance for a stretch of time. On cue, Frank rolled forward with the bottle elevated above his metallic dome for Allyson to snatch.
Welcome back to the friendly zone, Lucky. Good to see you.
"I can't get over how you do it." Loske admitted with a shrug and a nonchalant pat to Frank's head. "We missed you, it's kind of crazy what you're doing. Crazy in a cool way.
Did you learn anything juicy? Anything we need to know before a whole slew of us follow the line to the other side?"
First mission. First. Mission. with Saber Squadron, and it wasn't even one with the pew-pew-pew. Was he disappointed? No. That wasn't Jedi-like. Okay, maybe a little disappoint, but just transiting with them was enough to scratch the itch. It was a thing to do and the expansion to his Jedi training only swallowed up part of the void he faced, until he was accepted into the ranks of the squadron. Completion of the last dregs of his compulsory education freed up a lot of time, and after so many years of crammed schedules, the lull made him uneasy, and... stewing in the reality of his elderly, sickly great-grandfather? That made it unbearable.
So here he was, out of the robes and into the flightsuit... and if that was itchy, he didn't notice. Mostly. Practically growing up with Jedi robes as a part of his daily life, Andrik had figured out, more or less, how to separate himself from the feeling. That wasn't to say it never bothered him, and when engrossed in getting to better know his assigned astromech - Jenks - on the way to Metellos, he was absently scratching at the back of his neck, here and there. The transit was uneventful. Probably for the best.
He wanted to spend a little time just sitting in the X-wing, collecting his thoughts, swallowing his concerns and some small wish that Torch was along for this. That was another thing dogging him: he didn't know what he'd done, but his best mate had been growing distant. Rik hadn't seen hide nor hair of Kyle Torchwood
in weeks. He didn't think he'd be doing this thing alone. This becoming a true Jedi thing. They were brothers... but he breathed it out, mouthed assurance that things would come around, and steeling his composure, hopped out of the x-wing, hitting the deck with a steady, controlled thud.
Rising and giving the underbelly of the X-Wing a pat, as if to say 'good job', Andrik slung the small pack he brought along over one shoulder and walked the line in a less dramatic fashion than... he averted his gaze, looking up at the noses of the line of snubfighters as he went, letting that train of thought crash and burn. Reconciling being a Jedi with being Corellian and a Teenager was one of the greater challenges of his life to date, even at eighteen. Even moreso at eighteen. He blew out a long breath and pulled his gaze back down, seeing the blonde and brunette now as just two other pilots, one fellow Corellian, one Kiffar. Yep. He could do this. He could be the upstanding young man his parents had raised him to be. Yeeeeep. He just moseyed on up like it was nothin' at all...
"Hey XO; Lucky," and for the astromech: "Hey, Frank."
...then gave a salute of two fingers off the top of his head as he passed, flashed a half a grin, and broke into a jog to go explore the secret temple with the rest of them while he still could. Okay, that was gonna be cool.
Cool air rolled over the inert Sabre-class X-wing and into the opened cockpit, where Bernard sat deeply reclined into the pilot's seat. His legs were resting to the left of the instrument panel, sticking out over the side of the fighter's frame. The ship had set down near the edge of the small grouping of X-wings. He'd arrived as one of the last to the meeting, taking a brief detour to better acquaint himself with the controls of the latest Jedi starfighter. The lack of firepower while its S-foils remained closed was an adjustment that would take some time to get used to, but overall the added oomph to its offensive arsenal was a welcome addition.
He looked forward to flying alongside his, well, he supposed they were friends at this point. As part of the Jedi Order, they were fellow Jedi, Force peers, but there were some among their small number he had come to regard with more than the detachment of brief acquaintance. He'd grown used to the idea of only working with other sentients in short intervals in the wake of the Jedi's end at the hands of the One Sith. When many fled to the Outer Rim, he hid among the Core's most deserted worlds, hidden and alone until the eventual collapse of the One Sith. Crime and corruption rose drastically in the years to come. Bernard had been a single severely undertrained padawan at the time. Nonetheless, he took up the fight against injustice in whatever way he could. A lot of the time that meant working alone against all odds, without a team to fall back on. But he excelled at his craft, unlike many others he knew. He survived.
When the time came to rejoin the Jedi, it didn't take him long to realize the very same instincts that had saved his life just a few months prior now served to endanger the Jedi around him. Adjusting to life as part of a greater whole hadn't been easy, but he came to like the new environment in due time, in no small part to the many amazing Jedi he met.
Loud conversation stirred him from his near-meditative state. He could hear the voice of Allyson, quickly followed by that of Loske and someone he was unfamiliar with, excitement was apparent in their tones. The arkanian opened his eyes ever so slightly to look at the sky above. Despite the time he'd spent with these new Jedi, he was still far from a social creature. Excitement was an emotion he rarely felt, a consequence of a life spent idolizing detachment above all else. He admired the ease with which it came to his friends. Shaking the dogmas that ruled his life loose enough to break through those artificial walls was no easy feat.
The corner of his mouth tensed up slightly as his muscles barely managed the indication of a shrug. Lone meditation was more his pace anyway, he thought as he reclined again to return his thoughts to idle contemplation. There was much that still weighed on his mind in regards to their mission, as well as his recent investigations.
This was Leon's first misson with Saber squadron. Not much of a big combat mission, like Leon had been expecting his first to be, but it was nice to get to know the other Jedi in it. He already had met a few, but not all the members. The young Jedi was excited, to say the least. Plus, he'd heard they were going to Ilum. Maybe while they were there he could get a kyber crystal for his new Lightsaber.
He was sitting on the tip of his X-wing, mindlessly swinging his legs. The others were meeting up now, and he should go start talking with them. He slipped off the nose of his fighter to head to the other Jedi. He knew Loske, and had met Allyson before. As for the other two here, he didn't recognize them. He jogged up to the group of four to introduce himself to his new squad mates.
Fable sat stiffly in her seat in the Senate. A dull ache throbbed in her forehead, but she ignored it, and kept her hands resting lightly on the desk. This was one of the first big showdowns between the factions that had been developing and establishing themselves within the Senate. Ironically, it wasn't she was expecting. According to political analysis articles that she had been following, she herself had been placed within the bloc known as the Populists, with their main opponents being the Centrists. Yet here they were working together and opposed by the Corporatists. Why exactly that was the case, she couldn't quite make out. But they had spent a week arguing over these points. Two separate, but related, albeit vaguely. Formalizing the New Jedi Order within the ranks of the Alliance and providing reconstruction aid to Metellos and welcoming them into the fold. One was complicated, fraught with fears and prejudices, and the other involved spending billions of credits and delicate political shenanigans to help a world get back on its feet.
So why was opposition so stiff? That was the topic that had kept her quiet for most of the week as she recorded the proceedings, the debates, and read the transcripts of every break-out group and committee group relevant to the discussion. But for now, she would wait for the Jedi to speak for themselves. Perhaps they could shed some light on the situation or draw out enough ire that motivations would become close enough to the surface that she could press them. Unlikely there'd be any connection between Jedi and Metellos, but that could be useful as well. She had an array of notes that quoted other speeches and statements given throughout the week from various parties to compare to.
All she had to do was wait for them to speak. If she could get someone from Metellos to speak, that would be even better.
Off to the side of the central podium housing Chancellor Emmen Tagge and his second, Lisza Starseeker, Ryv stood as straight as an arrow. When he initially offered to speak in favor of the New Jedi Order, he hadn't expected to come before the entirety of the Senate after weeks of ongoing debates surrounding the matter of the integration of the order into the Galactic Alliance. The Jedi Knight expected to meet individual senators behind closed doors, side by side with the Chancellor, not all of them during what is the opening speech to the day's agenda. Contrary to popular belief, his speech before the Alliance on Unity Day wasn't something he expected to go over as well as it did. And while it stood as a confidence booster for the young Jedi Knight, today's audience was far different from the crowds of partying citizens. The various senators of the Galactic Alliance made a living off giving speeches, analyzing others, and tearing apart those who couldn't put together a sound enough reason for one thing or another. The thought of being humiliated before the entirety of the Alliance left the Jedi regretting his decisions.
"I recognize the Jedi Knight Ryv Karis, Sword of the Jedi and a recipient of a Golden Starbird, as an authority to speak for the intentions of the New Jedi Order. Jedi Knight," Chancellor Tagge's voice cut through Ryv's silent reflections, pulling the Jedi Knight's attention back to the situation at hand. "I yield the floor to you," Tagge finished. It saw Ryv's repulsorpod slowly shifting higher into the room, taking up a traditional position beside the Chancellor's podium to signify where the room's attention should fall.
"Good day, senators," Ryv began, setting the datapad down beside him. "As Chancellor Tagge stated, my name is Ryv Karis. During my time with the Jedi Order, I was named the Sword of the Jedi for my services to the Core Alliance, High Republic, and Silver Jedi Order. I've had the opportunity to meet some of you during the establishment of the current way of things. For those of you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet, thank you for allowing me to come before you all and speak on behalf of the New Jedi Order. This is an opportunity the Jedi no longer deserve," he'd pause, allowing the sentiment to settle around the chamber. "When the One Sith invaded the core worlds, it was us, the Jedi, who promised we'd keep you safe. We took noble titles, Paragons of the Order, Masters of the Force... yet, we failed to do anything with those titles. Billions of lives were lost on nearly every world, totaling far above that across the Core. The memory of the Jedi who died fighting will never be forgotten, nor shall I allow their names to be tarnished, but this isn't about them. It's about the Jedi who ran away to establish the Silver Jedi Order. It's about the Jedi within the Alliance and Republic who could not see the corruption, hubris, and arrogance growing within their ranks. It's about the Jedi, who became lost in the dated code that permeates the hallowed halls of each temple," Ryv reached down, taking hold of the Blade of Ruusan. He set it before him, welcoming the warmth of its calming embrace as it washed over him.
"More than anything, I want to promise you all those very same promises. I want to assure you when the Sith inevitably rear their ugly heads, we'll be there to contest them. I want to tell you in the face of impossible odds, we'll prevail and ensure the continued existence of this Galactic Alliance. There are so many things I want to assure you of, but I know empty promises and the words of a stranger mean little in the face of reality. A Jedi's oath has meant nothing for a long time, but the New Jedi Order will change that. I can't convince you with just my words, but I believe the actions of my friends and family have proven we can at least be trusted. We've stood shoulder to shoulder with this union as far back as the Corellian Confederation and Grayson Imperium, just under different names and groups. We've been here this entire time, and as this unification has seen total success, we will continue to be here."
"Serving the Galactic Alliance has provided us a chance to do more than sit back and watch the events of the galaxy unfold, as so many modern Jedi seem to prefer. It's given us the chance to join the brave people out in the field, serving the interests of more than just an ancient code and set of traditions, but also the principles that dictate everything you all stand for. No longer will the Jedi stand idle in the face of injustice and tyranny. No longer will we watch as terrible things happen to good people, our hands tied due to dubiously maintained non-aggression pacts or alliances. If the Galactic Alliance dubs the New Imperial Order allies in the face of preserving righteous action, we shall take up arms and fight side-by-side with them, as we would the Alliance's defensive forces. By working together, we can ensure more than just the betterment of either of our groups. Together, the New Jedi Order and the Galactic Alliance can bring peace to worlds beneath the Sith-Imperial boot. We can fight off the genocidal Bryn'adul of the Outer Rim and return those planets to the refugees who've fled from this."
Ryv took a deep breath, feeling the passion of his beliefs taking hold within his words. He'd prepared for this moment. He hoped deep down when the time came, he'd do right by the Jedi who'd lost their lives preserving stability in the past. The Jedi Knight couldn't allow the sacrifices of those lost to be without meaning. Not as long as he lived. Nor could he let his people, the Jedi, go without representation, or be treated as faceless soldiers, expected to die for a people who thought nothing of them. It was time to bring change, and Ryv refused to watch that chance pass by him.
"By agreeing to support the New Jedi Order, you'll allow us to do more than speak, but act. We'll continue to stand beside you without fail. We'll be held accountable by you, the Senate, and you'll be held responsible by us, the Jedi. No government is without shortcomings, as no Jedi Order is without error. This will allow us to remain grounded in how we face the galaxy, rather than allow for hubris and arrogance to destroy everything once more."
Ryv took a step back, mirroring the movements of the Chancellor.
"I am open to questions, but," Ryv shifted his gaze back to Tagge. "I yield the floor, Chancellor."
The Balmorran Senator watched carefully as the Chancellor called forth one of the great heroes of the Alliance to speak on behalf of the Jedi. Adhira was, of course, a former Jedi herself, as much as a failure in the eyes of the Order as ever there could be. Yet her faith in the Light was no more diminished now than during her dutiful service as a Padawan. In the wind, in the light of the stars, in the waters, she felt Ashla all around her and she held a special reverence for the Light. Just as she continued to hold a special place in her heart for the Jedi.
Fortunately for the centrist politician, for once she found herself in the majority, in fact, Adhira, according to galactic media was the leading voice among the Senators endorsing the Jedi with substantial support from both Centrists and Populists. It was the Corporatist faction that she found herself fighting. When the Sword of the Jedi finished speaking, the dusky politician wasted no time pressing her control buttons, causing her repulsor pod to sail into view. She was adorned in bright azure blue robes, sparkling with adamant crystals that refracted the rainbow with every subtle shift of her body which helped to bring attention to her speech.
"Chancellor Tagge, the delegation of Balmorra seeks recognition!" Adhira gave a nod of respect to the Chancellor's podium as she always did prior to being granted recognition to speak.
"Honorable members, for thousands of years the Sith has threatened the peace and stability of our galaxy," there was a pause to allow her own echo to die away as members of the Senate voiced their agreement, "and... for thousands of years the Jedi has stood as their foil, their enemy, their vulnerability."
Tepid applause rippled throughout the chamber.
"Yet, at their strongest, the Jedi have not stood... alone. When this galaxy stared down the maul of darkness in 1010 BBY, it was not just the Jedi who stood before the might of the Sith. The Army of Light, the ultimate manifestation of order, justice, and good stood resolute against the forces of darkness."
"Once more, the seed of evil has been sown in this galaxy, and once again, we must rise up in the name of the Light and cast out the forces that would seek to destroy us. Jedi, this republic, our people, hand in hand, with reverence and dedication to the power of Ashla must fight to restore order. To restore balance. Together we must repel the darkness as we did in times of old." A more certain ripple of approval echoed through the Galactic Alliance Senate. "No longer must we permit ourselves to sit neutral, in the shadows. The Sith Empire must be destroyed... the Sith Empire can be destroyed but only with the unity of the Alliance and the New Jedi Order can this be realized."
"My fellow Senators, I urge you to reject the fear-mongering of our corporatist colleagues... and embrace the sacred duty of our magnificent republic to bring order to the galaxy. This order of light begins with the liberation of Metellos and by extension, the defense of Illum. Chancellor, I yield the floor."
He'd arrived planetside on Coruscant to little fanfare outside of whispers following the tune of the Sovereign Imperator's arrival. At the onset of the Federal Assembly, he'd arrived to the Senate Dome and any illusion of silence around him was shattered immediately. Cleared to attend by the Chancellor Emmen Tagge
himself, he would be the first to speak before the Senate with wholly foreign interests. Though the Imperial dogma still held steadfast roots within the Core, the Galactic Alliance stood as a pillar of Democracy and valuing sentient life.
The New Imperial Order nestled within the outland retained itself as a bulwark between the marauding Sith Empire and the Galactic Core. Whether it intended to or not. Irveric's motive here would be polarizing, not only to the Senate, the people of the Alliance but as well as those who looked to him as their leader and commander in the provinces commanded from Nirauan.
Even still, he rose in the platform to the epicenter of the Senate Chamber. They had no reason, no obligation to listen to what he might have to say. He was not one of them but even so, for all intents and purposes, within the context of the greater Galactic struggle against the Sith Empire. In this moment, he was the tip of the spear, the commander to all the combined war efforts be they New Imperial or Alliance. Enigmatic, despicable, dubious or peculiar nature about him aside, it had to be worth something.
Seizing the floor not long after Adhira Chandra
he spoke. A man separated from the nuanced political narratives that might've played out within the Senate. He was as openly candid as he could posture. To no fanfare, no introduction, he made a case. Whether anyone could predict the sentiment he would speak was another layer of peculiarity all its own. He appeared as the man of military origins as he was, forged in martial decorum and the fires of war he did not carry himself a politician. A Warlord might've been far more of a fitting title for him as he donned the black and grey of his regime.
"People of the Galactic Alliance..." He stated, appraising the initial reaction with a shift of his lone organic eye adjacent to the eyepatch and protruding beskar horn which marred the other side of his visage.
"You may or may not be immediately aware of who I am. I might preface this that I am not one of you, I was not born of Corellia, Coruscant, Balmorra, Brentaal...any of them. I do not know your way of life nor do I know your struggles. I am Irveric Tavlar, Sovereign Imperator of the New Imperial Order. I was not born under clear skies or with my hands unshackled. I was born, raised and fought for the Sith Empire. For two decades, I served at the whim of the Sith Emperor, the Dark Council and the cultists adherent to its Rule Of Order."Though he had only recently postured himself as the very being of which he would make an attempt at the destruction of the Sith Empire, this was not always the case.
"I had no choice in this matter, it was not up to me. I was conscripted to fight in their wars, in their genocidal conquests. I was subjugate to their rule and their will. To fear. I continued my service in the interests of the men and women at my side, not in the interests of the Empire. It was for the same reason that I declared my treason and rebelled. My people...we do not have a choice. We stake everything in this war. Our way of life, our friends, our families. Your people do, however, have that luxury. You can choose." Irveric says, his tone frigid and honest. He seems to have no regards for any of the beliefs, doctrines or feelings of any of the Senators nor spectators in attendance. He speaks his mind.
"However if you do not wish to live in chains like Dantooine and Bescane or starve on the cinder like Mandalore and Ession...you would be right to facilitate this New Jedi Order. The Jedi, for whatever they are...have stood against darkness for millennia. I was born and shaped in the shadow of the Sith Empire. I know the horrors it is capable of inflicting...because I inflicted them. I speak not as a foreign leader, with differing interests and beliefs but as a soldier. The Alliance needs the Jedi, just as men like Belisarius
, Sam Deckard
and Khagan Harrow
needed them. Together, we can defeat the Sith. Let the Jedi show the Galaxy that we will not die not kneeling. That we will fight." Irveric Tavlar states, concluding his case.
"I thank you, Chancellor Emmen Tagge
for allowing me this opportunity. I yield the floor."
Field work was so exciting! Auteme could see why all the other Jedi did it so often. She really needed to get out more; packing for the trip was so fun. A lot had been fitted into the Farseer Traveling Bag for the little assignment. A sonic mapping device, miscellaneous scanners, technical equipment, extra coats for everyone, and nearly all of her notebooks. It was so handy. Everybody should've had one.
When she arrived on the Coruscant That Wasn't, that was all she had on her, aside from some comfortable travel clothes and shoes. Her transport was filled with a variety of support staff and other Jedi-helpers. Exploring Ilum's ancient temple was good, but there was more to it than just that -- if it was to become a base of operations for the Jedi in the future, there was much work to be done. Auteme was there to help with that, along with the rest of the group.
They'd just arrived and were refueling before they left once more, but Auteme took a bit of time to head into the hangar where the Saber Squadron had gathered. She walked briskly in, immediately calling out to the people she recognized. "Hey Allyson! Hey Loske!" She recognized Leon, sort of, and gave him a warm smile. It took her a moment, but after a bit of squinting she saw Bernard in the hangar as well and gave him a wave. "Hey Bernard!" There was another guy, but she definitely didn't know him.
The padawan walked over to the two she'd greeted first. "I think you need a change of clothes," she noted about Allyson's choice of uniform. "I've got a few extra winter coats if you need one." The first response of kindness and care quickly gave way to Auteme's excitement. She bounced on her toes like a little girl, a little squeak escaping her lips. "I can't wait! Ilum sounds so cool, and a temple there? And the danger is kind of exciting too... is this how you guys always feel?" Probably not, and they were probably a lot more serious about this whole deal, but there was a good feeling in the air and Auteme felt the need to capitalize a little considering how down she'd been the last time she'd talked to both Loske and Allyson.
The state of the galaxy was always in dissaray. There wasn't any doubt about it to anyone. New factions had shown up and revealed themselves as they vyed for power and of course the constant blows suffered at the hands of the Sith Empire. He almost didn't recognize the galaxy as it was anymore. Perhaps that was a good thing, it led him to believe that he wanted to stay in his own world. Part of him wondered if that would be selfish of him, and his thoughts drifted to his sister Spencer Varanin
whom he hadn't seen in years. He hoped that she was okay, then again he knew that she was.
If anyone could handle themselves it was that woman.
A hooded figure knelt down next to a several pieces of broken comms equipment as his gloved hands moved things around to try and see what he could find or even scavenge. Aston Jacobs glanced up slowly as he heard the sounds of voices and the like in the far distance. He was unaware of anyone being here in this place. While had happened upon here by mere chance, perhaps it was more than that. The bearded man stood up and his hand slowly reached for the blaster pistol at his side. There was no lightsaber there at this time, Aston hardly felt the need for the weapon much these days. His lightsaber that he had since the old days of the Republic when he was in his teens was destroyed.
Aston was then set upon a group of individuals, none he could recall or remember. His hand rested gently against the blaster then easily fell to his side as he took a few more steps towards the group, who seemed to know each other for the most part.
"I didn't know anyone else was here?" Aston voiced calmly as he pulled his hood back and his hand raised to rub his bearded chin ever so slightly. "Who are you?"
A Sith holocron had been stolen from the Jedi libraries by a dark Force cult on Elektra seeking to bring the floating cities down. The holocron, according to the librarians, contained the mind controlling and destructive teachings of an ancient Sith Lord; teachings that would very well elevate the cult from merely a sect of buffoons to a dangerous syndicate.
The search had led him into an abandoned building in the slums of Elektra. None of the three cultists holed in expected his visit, he made sure they weren't able to document it either - a wave of the hand sent them into a deep slumber and the Jedi shuffled into the room unbothered. None of them answered the description of Han Dale, the leader of the cult and the suspected thief of the holocron. Avic looted the trio of sleeping princes and, luckily, found a datacron.
Kaito's pod floated without an aim as he and his delegation listened to the impassioned words of the young Sword of the Jedi, his fellow Senator, and the Imperator of the Imperial rebel government. That last one had gotten whispers and a few shouts. The vote to join the Sith-Imperial Civil War was barely won despite seeing multipartisian support in the Senate and the bill to increase military spending went much the same. To those that had voted against war, a Sith Imperial was a Sith Imperial regardless of if they were conscripted or joined with the intent to slaughter millions. The fact was, that blood was on his hands, specifically Core World blood weather or not he had been a grunt in the Battle of Coruscant or in the near genocide of Mon Calamari.
Kaito thought that was a little egregious and unfair though. He'd happily voted for war. It meant fewer eyes on him and his Yokai, which made starting the war in the Botor Sector all the easier. But now he wasn't sure he much agreed with Adhira this time around. The Jedi...Got in the way of progress and his own work personally, but on a grander scale their morality and religion was counterproductive to Galactic Stability. They were always out to poke some big eye out, always there to cut off an arm or incinerate a city's populace, but never there to take true responsibility. Obi-Wan Justice was no Justice at all...Not that he ACTUALLY cared about that, but it still made the pile of paperwork higher and higher. He especially didn't like the Army of Light comparison. He hadn't had much time with history, but the stories he'd heard of that self-righteous order were darker than those of the Clone Wars. They'd become zealots, only obsessed with ending the Sith plight, worlds, soldiers, and resources be damned.
All that said if he could make it so there could be some sort of accountability...Some sort of chain to keep their little lightsaber-wielding zealots beholden to the people they claimed to serve then maybe. After all, the infamous Palpatine was said to have manipulated the Jedi into their own extinction. How hard could it be to fool them now that their presence was so small within the Core worlds?
Kaito pushed his pod forward and depressed the button that signaled that he wished to take the floor after Tavlar.
"The Delegation from Corellia would like to remind the Senate, that though it is not within our borders, the Unchecked military power awarded to the Jedi allowed for the massacre on Roche and the obliteration of Mirial. Our Corporatist colleagues are not merely fear-mongering. The honorable Senator of Balmorra brought up the fairy tale of the Army of Light and the esteemed Sovereign Imperator has given the true battle experience of their effectiveness in battle and war painting them as heroes with plenty of glory shots for the War Holos. But we also know what further support can and has caused. Less than a decade ago in this very city, the Jedi staged a coup and had fallen in with the Sith Empire, leaving our homes in ruin. Less than a decade before that, a Jedi Knight helped the One Sith bypass the old Republic's defenses, laying waste to the surface and causing untold damages to the Undercity that even now have yet to be determined." He looked up towards Adhira and paused before continuing.
"That, is something you can still see the effects of today. Corellia offers its support to Metallos but the finalized edition of the current Jedi support bill would need to see serious concessions to Senate and military authority before I'd willingly fund the next Jedi Uprising and see my home destroyed by a Jedi 'turned Dark'," he air quoted for further his point. "That being said, maybe a preliminary run of this needs to happen before we fully act on this. The Jedi can wait. They've waited a decade for true support, they can wait longer off of the many individual donations systems and sectors have made to their cause. I say we leave it to individual systems and sectors to fund their own projects, just as Corellia has, but don't force the blood of the next Coruscant Massacre or Jedi Assassination on the hands of all present."
It possessed communiques with other similar dark side cultists and pro-Sith-Imperial structures, code names, stash houses, safe houses and etc.; all the checks for a criminal start-up; this was already far bigger than a cult. Guess the Jedi had struck a lieutenant. Some would call it luck, Avic called it the Force. All of that information he made Dapper encrypt and send to Allyson Locke
. The New Jedi Order had to be up to date with all news and rumors regarding supporters of the dark side; there was no rest for the wicked.
The piece of information he would personally follow-up was that regarding "Effigy". A location, Avic assumed given the coordinates, that sounded as worth checking out. Effigies, more often than not, were usually the foundations of every cult, be it evil or not.
He gave a thankful tap on the shoulder to Dapper and disappeared back into the shadows to find "Effigy".
Dread churned his stomach. The Force urged him to gallop.
Aboard an Alliance command ship, somewhere near Coruscant.
One week earlier. Top Gun Anthem
The short, husky and slightly grouchy voice could be heard through the metal door leading to the office. The office of admiral Hayes. In another time and at another place, she would have awaited a sharp rollicking about the unbecoming of fly-bys or something along that line, but now... Now, it was different. Kathryn took a deep breath and entered just after adjusting her practical braid. She wore a good fitting steel-blue service uniform with maroon details on the shoulders and around the jackets wrists.
''Ah! Foster! Have a seat!'' the distinguished admiral said contently with a smile and leant back in his leather chair, motioning with a hand at the chair in front of the desk.
''Thank you, sir.'' Kathryn said and offered him a soft smile in return, before taking the offered seat.
''Good to be back?''
Admiral Hayes made sure to get to the point rather quick, straightforward and forthright as he was. This was their third meeting since her graduation from the flight academy and Hayes kept the conversation light and casual, something she would never have imagined were possible when beginning at the academy, many years ago. Many were the cadets who took him for a grouch. Strict most of the time, but always fair and a man of his words.
''It's... strange, but I'll manage. It feels good, though! I'm grateful for the offer, sir.'' she replied while Hayes twisted his chair from left to right, all the while with a content face.
''Well, I'm glad you accepted it, Foster. The Alliance need clever pilots as you. It's I who should be thanking you. It was a pleasure flying with you the other day too, and I was happy to see that you still got that edge from the time in the academy. Not that I had any doubts about it.'' he said with a light satisfied chuckle.
''I'm going straight to the point as I'm having a meeting in a couple of minutes...'' he continued and leant forward once again, tapping on a datapad on the desk, examining the content of a file.
''I'm setting you up with... lieutenant commander Loske, she'll be your squadron leader... and... lieutenant commander Locke. You might already know of them?'' he said but soon continued. ''Saber Squadron have grown in the last couple of weeks. There'll be plenty of new faces around. The deck officer will get you all saddled into a T-85, I believe it's the same as you flew with me. Your rendezvous point is on Metellos. Orders and briefing will be in the flight computer.''
Without further ado, admiral Hayes raised from the chair, Kathryn mirroring him and them two shook hands and exchanged a friendly salute.
''Glad to have you aboard, lieutenant. You're dismissed.''
Metellos. Ektra. Rendezvous point.
Much like Cloud City on Bespin, Metellos floating cities was an engineering wonder in their own. Ektra was one of the largest and made Cloud City look small in comparison.
The names mentioned by Hayes did not ring any bells with her. The years passed fast and to remember all the names in the academy would have been quite the acheivement. Maybe when getting a face of the two other women, she would recognise them if they ever had made acquaitances. The thought of meeting someone from the academy, maybe even from her own class, was both exciting and slightly frightening at the same time. If that would be the case, she didn't know what to expect.
Pushing the thoughts out of her head, she took of the flight gloves and laid them on the dashboard then unbuckled the helmet and put it on the floor between her knees. She saw a group of pilots standing beyond the rest of the parked starfighters. Starfighters of different models and in different color schemes that showed the strenght of diversity in the Alliance. A light sigh left her before she climbed out with light and accustomed steps.
She awaited to greet them until reaching the group. Upon doing so, she turned to the woman who would be lieutenant commander Loske and saluted her.
''Ma'am? Lieutenant Foster reporting in.'' she said, but kept it semi-formal as the ambience felt kind of light. Still, she thought it to be best greeting the XO in the proper way learned in the academy. Then, the XO were the one to set the standards. She could not place the faces exactly, but she guessed it was now they could do if they had met before. The others were given a friendly gentle smile and nod, feeling in the ambience at first.
The coordinates led Avic to a yet another abandoned building in the slums. Unlike the other, this one was completely devoid of life and at a far more unlivable location of the city; nearly forgotten. The denizens of the immediate surrounding drifted aimlessly, hollow of life, running down the clock. He was no sense specialist but the churning of his stomach now found a friend in the chill running down his spine.
Something was clearly wrong here.
It took him an hour of investigating the building before he found was looking for - the basement. With a snap hiss of his lightsaber, he lit his way forward. Another hour went by till he discovered what looked like a heavy door of a bombing shelter. It was slightly open. The stench of death from within forced a cough out of his damage lungs and Avic spent a minute dealing with it before he could proceed.
A hundred yards in and there was no need for his lightsaber as eerie, buzzing lamps hanging from the ceiling lit the way. He followed the stench till he reached its source; a round chamber with old and fresh corpses piled in the middle.
Towering over them a statue of pure darkness.
Blaster red flashed from the shadows and caught him straight at the chest by surprise.