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07.24.2015 , 06:10 PM | #31
Part 3-12. In which Lana Beniko voices concerns

This series has pervasive spoilers for the Shadow of Revan introduction, Forged Alliances. It also regularly uses the chapter 3 titles for the Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor, along with the background of their companions.

The smartest conspirators see
That quiet serves all plans-to-be.
The general rule
They should teach in school:
Skullduggery’s best done low-key.

Lana Beniko was trying to blend in and failing. Her sweeping cape and mussed golden hair gave her a damning resemblance to an adventurer a cut above the varied yet universally grimy spacers in the shop. She sat upright as if desperately interested in something as yet undisclosed, and that is how Nalenne and Niselle found her.

She greeted them with “Shh. I’ve arranged a private room.” Stepping aside, she beckoned and led them into a small dining room that reeked of spice and burnt caf.

“Oh,” said Lana. “Did you want something to eat?”

Nalenne wrinkled her nose. “Not anymore.”

“If you lured us here to be murdered, you could at least have chosen someplace with class,” said Niselle.

“I didn’t want us followed. What I have to say is for your ears alone.”

There was a pause.

“Uh, whose, specifically?” said Nalenne.

“Both of you. This is important. Darth Arkous wasn’t entirely forthcoming about his reasons for invading the Jedi Temple – not even with me. He was after a very specific item. An artifact.”

“Wasn’t Vette’s fault,” Nalenne said automatically.

“Yes, but what was it?” Niselle said languidly.

“I wish I could tell you. Whatever it is, Darth Arkous was in a rage with Lord Goh until he found it.”

“So this thing made it off planet,” said Niselle. “Did Goh? Or is he still playing My First Dark Side Meditation somewhere?”

“He was killed on the surface when the Jedi retook the temple.”

“WHAT.” Nalenne cleared her throat and continued. “I leave someplace for TEN MINUTES and you lose it again?”

“We caught the Order off guard. We couldn’t keep that advantage forever.”

“Fine. Fine. See if I crack any fortresses for you again anytime soon.”

“There’s more,” said Lana. “I now believe that the Republic’s attack on Korriban wasn’t a retaliation for Tython. It was intended to coincide with our own attack.”

“Well, yes, obviously,” said Niselle. “The time-share gambit was a dead giveaway there. Whatever did this, it didn’t belong to the two great powers.”

Nalenne eyed her. “Were you going to share this?”

“Were you going to care?”

“…all right, fair point.”

“This kind of move doesn’t make sense from our current vantage point,” said Lana. “But a wider context may exist that could explain recent events. There’s…something in the Force that I’ve never felt before. It exists nowhere and everywhere at once.” She gestured agitatedly. “Writhing, growing.”

“You should probably get that looked at,” muttered Nalenne.

Niselle snarled annoyedly. “I should sense that as well. Are you sure?”

“I think I sense this ‘growth’ because I’m tied to it somehow, maybe by association to Darth Arkous.” Lana’s yellow eyes narrowed as if searching for specifics. “I think…I think the Empire’s in terrible danger. I’m far from weak, but I’m only one Sith. Whatever’s coming, I can’t stop it alone.”

“No,” Niselle said thoughtfully, bleach-pale eyes gleaming. “Perhaps you can’t.”

“If it moves I can kill it,” said Nalenne. “Writhing Force things not excepted.”

“Of course,” drawled Niselle. “Unknown metaphysical entity? Stab it. It worked so well for your husband.”

“He was an exceptional case,” Nalenne said resentfully. “So what did you want to do about it, Lana?”

“As of yet, before it has a name? Nothing. But I hope I can call on you when my investigation leads somewhere.”

“Oh, yes, I’d much rather be plotting with you than with any of the Dark Council,” said Niselle. “They just have this attitude I find intolerable.”

“Mutual,” hummed Nalenne.

“Lenny, if you think you can keep your mouth shut about something for once in your life you can come along on this.”

“Like I need your permission?” Nalenne leaned toward Lana. “This is the most fun I’ve had since that time Quinn and I…er. Ahem. I’m in.”
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