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12.16.2012 , 02:23 AM |
: First Day on the Job
: Jurial (JC)
: Sink or Swim
Spoilers for Esseles flashpoint, mention of Jedi Consular Tython story, as well as general mission on Tython.
Jurial wants to be written in first person. I’ve tried dodging it using journal entries or other approaches, but with this entry I succumb to the inevitable.
Jurial speaks in first person. And present tense.
“Master Jedi?” the trooper asks.
“Herald?” Qyzen asks.
I hesitate. I know what lies beyond the door. I’ve felt him for some time now. I don’t know his name. But he rages, seethes, and beneath it all, fears. Fears to face me, fears to fall, fears still more failing but being spared, then facing his master’s wrath. He will cover it with bravado when the time comes. Try to plant his fear in others and feed on the bitter harvest.
And me? Do I fear?
I am a scholar. Leading people, choosing the fate of so many, I…I do not feel ready for this burden. It is too soon. I need more time. But there is no more time. The Force has led me here, and I will do my best for these people who look to me for hope and inspiration.
Emotion, yet peace
These are the older words, and I prefer them. I fear, yet I have faith in the Force. Whatever comes. I have peace.
“Open it, sergeant,” I say.
The Dark Side rolls in like a suffocating fog. He is a young man, a Human, or was once. I cannot help but wonder what he might have been if he had followed a different path. He tosses aside the soldiers who followed me, broken toys before an angry child.
“Leave them be,” I command. He listens, and drops them. The Twi’lek ambassador crawls away—I do not think this Sith recognized her.
“A Jedi,” he says, and his voice is frozen oil. Slippery and cold. “It is the way of the Sith to challenge themselves against powerful opponents. I sense little challenge here.”
Qyzen steps in front of me before I can stop him, “This is the Scorekeeper’s Herald, dark, soft thing. I will protect him,” he hisses.
The Sith snorts, “Muzzle your growling pet. I am Vokk, son of the Lord Ozur and apprenticed to Sith Master Tuur!” He ignites his sabers, and their red glow gives his face its only warmth, “When I carve your heart from your body, Jedi, your master will feel it, as will mine, and know my victory.”
“You will not have victory here, Vokk,” I say, “If you withdraw, you may keep your life.” I ignite my own saber. Its blade is gold. I have used it only once before. My task was done. There has been enough death here today, and I still feel the lives lost as voids in the Force’s fabric. But I know he will not accept my offer, just as he knows I must make it.
“Ha,” he laughs, “you are mistaken, Jedi. The Dark Side is the ultimate power, and it is mine to command.” I feel the gathering of power before he unleashes it. Combat begins with violet lightning: a rent in the Force that only we can perceive.
In truth, the battle is a blur to me. I will unravel it later. Now is not the time. I let the Force direct me, supporting my allies or attacking the Sith as appropriate. As needed. It is not an easy fight. We bring down the Sith, but at such pain. My soldiers are slain or injured, Qyzen is hurt, I am overwhelmed. All to bring about one death. One more death, one more void.
“Come on,” the ambassador says, “we must go!”
I know what the new Captain wishes, but he is wrong. “Bring our dead,” I command. There are few. We were few to begin with. They were brave. It will comfort the survivors, and they deserve better than to be vented to space like so much garbage.
I expect resistance, but she acquiesces without comment. Qyzen carries the body of the sergeant, the trooper, a Mirialan like myself. A female with bright red hair and a pair of diamonds beneath her eyes like dark tears. I wonder what they meant to her. She will never be able to tell me.
Qyzen pilots the shuttle back to the
. I keep busy tending to our injured. They need kolto tanks and more professional medical attention than I can give. But I can ease their pain, and it helps to keep my mind off my own.
My command of the Force is insufficient. I could not have defeated Vokk without aid. The Dark Side may not be stronger overall, but it is stronger than I am today.
Somewhere between the ships I realize this is not so. Vokk was strong in the Force, but he was alone. I look at the young man whose wounds I heal, who followed me because I am Jedi. The Force is in him too, even if he cannot feel it like I do. My presence gave him strength and courage to do the impossible. And with his aid, I did.
Later. We are back on route to Coruscant, with no sign of pursuit. The acting Captain grants my request for an audience.
“Master Jedi,” he says, indicating a chair at the small desk. He still resides in the first officer’s quarters, and has no separate space to meet. “I can only reiterate my congratulations. You saved this ship and the ambassador. I didn’t think it was possible.”
I stay silent for a moment. His quarters are clean, neat, regulation, impersonal. Except for his rank insignia. He is not the Captain. I smile at him and say, “Three days.”
Captain Haken blinks. “I’m sorry? Three days what, Master Jedi?”
I pace. This is a bad habit, and I must break it, but not now. “You were thinking, Captain, that as I am a Jedi, I have dealt with these kinds of situations my whole life. That it was nothing to pick up and do the impossible, because that is what Jedi do.” I make myself stop and face him, “It is the fifteenth. I have been a Jedi for three days.”
“It’s the sixteenth,” he replies.
“My apologies, then,” I say, “four days. I lost track of time.”
Captain Haken sinks into the seat I declined, “Four…days,” he mutters.
“Five days ago I was a student on Tython. A padawan learner,” I say, “I studied philosophy and ancient history, if that helps.”
“A student,” he repeats.
“Today I am a Jedi,” I continue, “In the crisis you looked to me for leadership.”
“That’s because I didn’t know you were barely a Jedi,” he replies, and there is bitterness in his voice.
“Does it matter?”
“Yes!” he slams on fist on the table. Small objects jump.
“Because—“ he pauses.
I remain silent for a moment again and do not interrupt his thoughts. His insights. “Your crew needs you to be Captain, and it does not matter if your time in that office measures in minutes or years. Be Captain, Haken, and let their faith in you make it so.”
“It’s not that simple,” he objects.
“On the contrary, it is that simple,” I reply, “Would you feel more ready if you passed an exam? Had someone tell you that you were officially qualified to be Captain?”
“That’s different,” he says, “that’s how it’s supposed to happen.”
“Whose faith in your abilities is more important?” I ask, “A proctor filing away your exam record, or that of the crew who follows you and your own in yourself?” I resume pacing. I cannot be still. “You know what they expect. You expected it from your Captain.” I take the two steps to the door, “No one is ever ready, Captain Haken. Be the leader they expect you to be. I think you will find you already are.”
I see Captain Haken later. He wears the proper insignia. I acknowledge him, but that is all. I think perhaps this is why the Force brought me here, to this ship, at this moment. All these events were long in play. If I had not been here, another would have taken my place and dealt with the situation. Perhaps the same way, perhaps another. But this man needed me. This new Captain needed my words. I have no doubt the Republic will need him in the future.
I return to my stateroom. After my unplanned trials, I tried to return to Rajivari’s ghost, but the Council had sealed off his chamber. For safety, they said. I am not yet ready to meditate on the battle with Vokk. Nor contemplate Kilran’s actions beyond what I already know: if he wanted the ambassador dead, he would have simply destroyed the
I open my datapad to the works of Avamarivash the Warrior-Poet. I have much to think about.
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