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11.15.2012 , 08:13 PM | #156
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 54: In which Kira wants to believe

Time period: during Master Rho's campaign

"I can't do this," said Jaesa.

"Sure you can," said Nalenne. "You're a capable young woman who has learned and accomplished incredible things since you became my apprentice. You've grown. You've developed. You've gotten infinitely more powerful. You can certainly deal with telling a straight-faced lie to a valued friend who trusts you." Nalenne clapped Jaesa's shoulder. "Besides, I'll dump you on Hoth without a coat if you screw this up."

Lieutenant Ritter twitched.

Jaesa swallowed and tapped the holo to call Kira Carsen.

The Jedi's image appeared and smiled cheerfully at Jaesa. "Hey! Is the witch out?"

Nalenne arched a brow ridge at Jaesa. Jaesa blushed and tried to maintain her composure. "Yes, she's off trampling things with Insanity Company. The professional call-screener letting you through?"

"Yeah, Scourge is out doing something with Master Rho. I've gotta say, operations have streamlined since Scourge took over screening holocalls, but he's kind of…overeager sometimes."

"There's a reason for that, actually."

"If you know something about Lord Scourge I don't, I will be seriously surprised. The man cannot shut up about himself."

"Well, he's probably been lying through his teeth. Did you know he wasn't de-emotion-ified as part of his immortality thing, he was burned out afterward because he wouldn't stop messing around on the job?"

"He never put it that way. Color me intrigued."

"The Emperor cut off his feelings because he kept using his persuasive powers for, um, recreation. So now he just goes around trying to get personal revenge by using any Jedi he can get to listen."

"But the Emperor's supposed to be devouring the galaxy."

"Yeah, Lord Scourge completely made that up."

"How do you know all this?"

Jaesa took a deep breath. "HR," she said nervously.

"HR? The Emperor's HR?"

"Basically, yes."

"And the Emperor's human resources department had a good reason to come to you with convenient secret truths about the guy who's coming after them."

"It just came up during a briefing with the Wrath. I know these guys. They wouldn't support an evil plan to sacrifice their own lives if their lives depended…on…that didn't come out right. Anyway, I think they're telling the truth, and I think Lord Scourge needs to be stopped."

"I'm pretty sure we want to take down the Emperor anyway. Stars know you spend enough time talking about how horrible everything he does is."

Nalenne arched both brow ridges. Jaesa, sweating, ignored her. "That isn't the point. Do we really want to hand Scourge something he wants?" she asked Kira.

Kira considered. "Well, no. Not really."

"We need Master Rho. I want to work with you. My master, too, if we need her for the fight. Lord Scourge needs to be stopped."

Kira hesitated. "I'm sorry, Jaesa, but I have to ask. Is this some kind of attempt to use Master Rho's trust to deal with our common enemy, only to turn on us the second Lord Scourge is dealt with?"

Nalenne watched Jaesa very intently.

"Of course not," Jaesa said stoutly. "The Wrath wants him stopped as much as any of us, but I can get her to leave you alone once the huge obnoxious threat is out of the way." She swallowed hard. "You do believe me, right?" she said in a very small voice.

"Oh, yeah, I believe what you're claiming about him. The song and dance routine for personal gain does sound exactly like something he would do. I can talk to Master Rho, but he…you know. He won't really listen to me over him. About anything."

"Really? Still? I'm sorry."

"No kidding. He's always off with Scourge alone, listening to him first, and then coming back to talk about how wise and brave and strong he is. Scourge just keeps trying to turn him against the rest of us. He screens Rho's calls, he's jealous, he's petty, he's…and I've known Rho so much longer! I've been there for him! I have no idea what he sees in that stupid Sith. What does Scourge have that I don't?"

Jaesa blushed. "I really couldn't say. I think you're much more attractive than he is."

"At least someone around here has some sense. Look, I'll talk to Master Rho, but I'm not sure he's going to listen."

"We'll do whatever we can. Can I meet with you someplace? To strategize."

"How about the next secluded corner Scourge tries to get Rho into for 'artifact hunting'? I'm sure he'll give the rest of the crew plenty of time to hang around talking while he goes out and…rrrgh. I don't even want to think about it." Kira crossed her arms and scowled. "I'll forward you the venue when I have it."

"I appreciate it, Kira. Hang in there. We'll rescue Master Rho and we'll take care of Scourge once and for all."

"And dammit, when we do, I'll be there for him. Rho, I mean. One of these days he's gotta wake up."

Jaesa cut the holo before Nalenne's snickering got out of control.

"What was that, master?" demanded Jaesa.

Nalenne made another attempt to suppress her snickering, failed, and let the laughter run its course. "Rho," she gasped. "I can't help it. All this time he wasn't asexual, just gay and with Lord Scourge.”

"You would've gotten with Lord Scourge too, if you could have," accused Jaesa. "Don't think I've forgotten."

"Entirely beside the point. I can still make fun of the Jedi."

"Also he isn't gay," said Jaesa.

"Ahem," said Pierce. "Jaesa, you wouldn't know gay if it wore Jedi robes and read Mynock comics all day."

"I would too," huffed Jaesa.

Nalenne smiled sweetly. "Don't mind him. My room tonight to check out the bootleg omnibus that actually included the last few Mynock issues? My room's got the best screen on the ship, plus you have got to check out the bed I bought for the new place. I think you'll love it."

Jaesa smiled, smoothing her Jedi robes. "You're on, master."
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