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06.12.2012 , 11:55 AM | #45
24. In which Jaesa’s reading habits come to light

A Sith and a Jedi confined
On a ship where their goals aren’t aligned
Will balance, we pray,
In a sensible way,
Else they’ll drive themselves out of their minds.

Nalenne was in the habit of checking the Helicarrier’s data transfer logs. Ever since the whole ‘Quinn has been sending extra reports to Baras on the side’ thing, it seemed prudent. For the most part, Nalenne declined to judge or comment on the prodigious media consumption habits of the crew. However, one title caught her eye.

Nalenne went to Jaesa’s quarters and knocked. “Come in,” said the Jedi.

Jaesa was sitting crosslegged on her bunk. The glow of a serene Force meditation faded from around her as she opened her eyes. “Hi,” she said.

“Hello. I was just reviewing the data transfer logs and couldn’t help but notice a major stream from one of my favorite Republic media-smuggling hubs.”

“Is that so, master?” Jaesa was absolutely terrible at looking innocent.

“Yeah. You’re devouring the Mynock series faster than even I can read. Really? Is that what you’re into? Where did you even hear about the Mynock?

“From one of your Ultraguy crossovers. Turns out the Mynock has a huge mythos of his own.”

“I never liked him. A guy who works up all that rage, only to not kill people, is doing it wrong.”

“He’s declining to pay forward the violence that brought him into being. I really sympathize with him.”

“You shouldn’t. He’s crazy and has nothing in common with you.”

“His parents are dead. My parents are dead.”

“You said you understood why I had to do that!”

“It could still be the motivator for my career of evil-fighting.”

“I thought we were friends!”

Jaesa unfolded her legs and leaned toward Nalenne. “But that’s the fascinating thing. Mynock and the Prankster – the Prankster didn’t kill his parents specifically in some continuities, but hear me out – they have one of the most intimate relationships in the entire Coruscant Comics canon. The same system created them, it’s just that one broke one way and the other broke…well, the other. Here we are, two sides of the same coin. The mad destroyer and the troubled protector. We’re natural enemies, but neither one of us can kill the other: the truth of our existence lies in our eternal opposition. I complete you. You complete me.”

“Jaesa, that is the most disturbing thing you have ever said.”

“I’m just saying I see the parallels.”

“And we don't even oppose each other that much, outside sabacc nights. If you do start following me around foiling my every plan, I’m going to be that writer who says ‘screw it’ and actually kills you off. Mynock-girl.”

“Someday some writer will get sick of you and will give you a moment’s clarity, one reason for true compassion, and we’ll all see what happens then. Prankster. I hope it redeems you, but I think it’ll break you.”

“Doesn’t matter what you do to the Prankster. He’ll always be back. You may think this wicked galaxy needs you, Jaesa…but it wants me.”

Nalenne strutted back out. And straight to her own room’s console, where she prepared to cut off access to that particular Holonet hub for every user but herself.

She hesitated, though. Every minute Jaesa spent overthinking comic books was a minute she wasn’t trying to overthrow the Empire. And the entire point of keeping her around was to keep her from that crusade of hers. Let her try to destroy the fabric of Imperial society…or let her sit around drawing up morality lectures based on comparisons with supervillains. Fabric of society…supervillain morality lectures.

The things I do for the Empire. Nalenne set her teeth and subscribed Jaesa to two additional Mynock series.
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