Chapter 8-Pushing Buttons
The Clone Wars had been raging for a time. The Galaxy had been turned on its axis with the grand scale of the war being fought between two sides seeking to defeat the other. Each with their own armies, technology, and ideals on how things should be run in terms of a Galactic government.
One side was the Galactic Republic, which had stood proudly for well over one thousand years. And on the other side was their enemy, the Confederacy of Independent Systems (A.K.A. The Separatists).
And through it all, the two main players in it were warring Sith Lords. One seeking to turn the Republic into a Galactic Empire, which he could control all things in the entire Galaxy. The other, was one from the future, sent back in time by the Force to right a much needed wrong on all things.
Darth Sidious VS Darth Vader. The fate of the Sith and the Galaxy as a whole was now hanging in the balance.
And each had pawns or pieces that needed to be played.
Played and destroyed with just the right touch.
And they weren't the only ones either.
(Jedi Temple-At the Moment)
"I can't believe this! They...Master Qui-gon...I...!" exclaimed Anakin in shock and some denial with his old Master nodding in agreement.
"I understand your feelings Anakin. I do. I never thought I would witness such a thing," said Qui-gon with a tired sigh and his age being felt through his very being.
"But why? Why betray us? Are we not on the same side? A same part of the Jedi Order? Aren't we suppose to be beyond such things?" asked Anakin while Qui-gon smiling at the young man before him.
"We are Anakin. Or rather, we should be, if not beyond such things," said Qui-gon before he glanced over at Master Yoda, who was also feeling old right now.
Master Windu seemed to age a few years too.
"We didn't take this news lightly and are conducting a discreet and quite investigation into this," said Master Windu while sensing the anger rolling off of Anakin like a storm.
"I have fought, bled, and nearly died for the Jedi Order. For the Republic. And what does one of them do? It tries to kill me! To kill Master Qui-gon! What kind of Order does that to its own members? I thought only the Sith did that kind of thing?" asked Anakin while Yoda let out a small noise in his throat.
"Conspiracy within the Jedi Order, there is. Trying to prevent change, these Jedi are. We need to be cautious in this, I sense. Patience you must have young Skywalker," said Yoda while Anakin fought to keep his anger under control.
Only a gentle hand from Qui-gon seemed to work.
"Master Yoda, its clear the Jedi Order is fracturing. Breaking apart from within. They fear the change caused by the prophecy. They seek to defy the Will of the Force. If our history with the Force has told us anything, it is defying its Will was never good anyone caught in its destructive path," warned Qui-gon with Yoda nodding his head since history had quite a few footnotes of the Force's Will being denied and the cosmic energy setting things in motion to retaliate.
And retaliate throughout history it certainly did.
"Fortunately, we suspect only the Consular Class within the Jedi Order being responsible for this since they have been the most resistant to implementing any kind of changes. The evidence collected so far shows they are the ones impeding everything from within our ranks. Though for what purpose remains unseen," said Mace since he never suspected the Jedi Order would have such a thing happen to it from within.
Without yes. Within no.
"Not to mention the story that went over the HoloNet just last week. The one where that prison for rogue Jedi had been attacked by the Separatists and well over a hundred Jedi thought dead were found alive. It has made public support for the Jedi Order sink to an all time low," said Anakin while infuriated that the Jedi Order did that and to those who did not deserve it in the first place.
It was an insult to him as a man, an insult to his honor, and his belief in loyalty should be returned when given.
"No knowledge of them, I did. Influence of this rogue section of the Jedi Consular Class, strong it is to hide things from me. Investigate further, we will," said Yoda firmly since he had been told those Jedi long thought dead had all died on various missions one way or another.
Only to find they were in fact alive in a prison designed to hold Jedi who had gone rogue from the Order and were a threat to the Galaxy. And under the Grandmaster's very own nose. Disturbing to say the least.
"What about the Separatists? We can't fight a war on two fronts," said Anakin since he felt the Jedi Order was splintering and being ripped apart from all sides.
"Face them on your side, you must. Face the internal problems, we will," said Yoda while Qui-gon nor Anakin looked convinced.
"Who else knows of this treachery?" asked Qui-gon while Mace looked at Master Yoda.
"Aside from the culprits and ourselves, a small handful of Jedi Masters we know can be trusted. If this spread throughout the rest of the Jedi Order, it would be fractured beyond repair," said Master Windu while Anakin still looked frustrated.
"Does anyone know of our return?" asked Qui-gon with Master Yoda shaking his head no.
"Your arrival, no one knows. Kept a secret per your request, we did," said Master Yoda while Qui-gon nodded.
"The ones influencing events to cause our near death will no doubt be surprised by our sudden return, much less our survival," said Qui-gon with Yoda and Windu nodding in agreement.
No doubt those surprised to see the two Jedi return to the Temple, much less alive would spark something in the Force for all of them to detect.
(Planet Serenno-Sometime Later)
"Your own personal construction project is moving along nicely. Though it should be expected with the vast amount of Construction Droids you asked the Techno Union to send over," said Dooku to Vader with the two once more sitting across from each other to convey reports on the progress of the war and other items of interest.
"Considering the project, it is to be expected. Besides, once what I have in mind is fully operational, the true enemy will be overwhelmed by the sheer firepower coming down upon them," said Vader while Dooku nodded in agreement.
"You wish this particular ship being constructed to be the 'pointy tip of the sword' in your mission to crush them," Dooku surmised and saw Vader nodding.
"It seems appropriate when you look at the design," said Vader knowing such a project would be a massive undertaking.
Which is why Vader used Construction Droids to do the work. They were cheap and effective. Plus, he could program or alter their programming when necessary. Not only that, but Vader could also use this make Sidious slip in the belief his rival was building his own Death Star first. With the number of Construction Droids ordered through the Techno Union, Sidious would draw that very conclusion, and try to take it to the Senate as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. All the while using Republic Laws regarding safety and security to keep how he learned of these things a secret from everyone. Including the Jedi Council. By the time the truth came out, Sidious as the Supreme Chancellor would look foolish, and paranoid.
By the time Vader was done, Sidious wouldn't have any political capital to work with in order to keep his position as Chancellor.
"And our new ally?" asked Dooku since he had not yet met the man Vader claimed was worth the entire Katana Dreadnought Fleet.
"Getting settled on his new Capital Class ship Chimera. He was pleased by our generous gift given to his people to use and reported our real enemy sent out a scouting party just last month. Fortunately, the Katana Dreadnought Fleet did as advertised, and brought the Chiss a solid victory over a hollow one. Without the aid we provided, our secret friends would have lost a great deal in the process," said Vader while Dooku was surprised to hear this.
"Major losses? All from a scouting party?" asked Dooku to further confirm that he heard Vader correctly.
"The scouting party consisted of a large fleet of organic ships. By our own standards, you would simply assume it was an invasion force. Not a scouting party. That being said, the Chiss Ascendency has concluded the main force is calculated to be massive on a Galactic scale by far. But due to it being so massive, it takes time to get here. And by time, I mean it will take many of our own Galactic standard years from now for their main military force to arrive in our Galaxy. Which gives us an advantage to get ready for them," said Vader with Dooku looking concerned about all of this given what the Sith Lord just told him.
"Provided this war can end before that happens and there is something left to build on to prepare for their arrival," commented Dooku since he knew both sides had hit each other pretty badly during their time fighting.
"If we do everything correctly in the end, it will," said Vader knowing things had to get worse before they changed for the better.
(The Chimera-At the Moment)
Admiral Thrawn observed everything around him. His eyes calculating and sharp. When the Sith Lord came to his people to call in the debt the Chiss Ascendency had obtained following the generous donation of the Katana Dreadnought Fleet, Thrawn had been a bit surprised. A rarity to be sure. The simple fact that Darth Vader wished for him to join the Confederacy to fight in the Clone Wars as the price for the warships had been confusing to say the least. For one, a single person was not worth an entire fleet of dreadnoughts with an army of battle droids to match. Second, the war the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic was not something he felt that the Chiss Ascendency should get involved in.
And yet, Vader had been well aware of the true threat to the Galaxy. Not the war between to factions within the Galaxy as a whole. That was just a means to an end on his part. No, the true war that was to coming from outside of their very Galaxy. Something that Vader wished to prevent from happening. Hence why he provided the dreadnoughts in the first place. By crushing the scouts in such a way, any remaining survivors would report back to the main fleet what happened. The end result would no doubt make the Far Outsiders delay their advances long enough for the Galaxy to prepare fully for the inevitable.
Hence why Vader wanted Thrawn to participate in the Clone Wars. By giving Thrawn experience in the Clone Wars, he could be more prepared to engage the Far Outsiders. It made sense since the more military experience Thrawn possessed, the more likely such experience could be used in the long run against the Galaxy's true enemy.
"Admiral, we have enemies approaching in Sector 8 at 8321.9," said a droid on the bridge watching for any enemy warships.
"Numbers?" asked Thrawn calmly.
"Roughly thirteen Capital Class ships and four corvettes. The Capital Class ships have begun launching fighters sir," said the droid.
"So the beast wishes to engage us immediately with its teeth and claws extended. An aggressive move. Name of the fleet's flagship?" questioned Thrawn since the main ship leading them would help the Chiss determine who was in command.
"Checking. The flagship is the Endurance. Usually commanded by Admiral Tosk," said the Commander Droid nearby.
Thrawn narrowed his eyes slightly. Since joining the Confederacy, Darth Vader and the former Jedi turned Head of State Count Dooku had provided the Chiss with the names of the various Admirals and Generals leading the Clone Armies of the Republic. For the most part, Jedi Generals led the fleets with the Admirals on the flagship being the SIC to take control after the Jedi Generals went into their star fighters to engage the enemy in space or ground combat.
But Admiral William Tosk was different. Born in the Core World, Corulag, to a wealthy family with history of military service. William Tosk went to the best military academy on Corulag, Galactic Point, the Republic had to offer. But unlike most Admirals, who went to the same Academy as him, the man simply refused to work with any Jedi General or Jedi in general. The times he did, it wasn't by choice. And even when assigned one, the Admiral didn't always obey orders or simply countermanded them. All with disastrous results. He was rude. Arrogant. And the only reason the man was still an Admiral was due to this family's wealth along with political connections. Plus, the ever growing public opinion of "Republic Jedi" going downhill didn't hurt the Admiral either.
But what few knew about Admiral Tosk was the man had issues with non human people overall and made no attempt to hide it. He despised Gungans, Wookiees, Rodians, and other non human or oddly shaped humanoid species. Unless you were a human being, the man had no respect for your race or you as a person.
"What is our Intel on the fleet and those assigned to it? Any Jedi?" asked Thrawn with the Commander Droid shaking its head no.
"Negative. Intel suggests no Jedi have been assigned to this enemy fleet or Admiral," said the Commander Droid while Thrawn nodded.
"Proceed with the engagement. Launch all fighters. Prepare to defend yourself against the enemy. But keep on the lookout for any ships that might come out of light speed to flank us from behind," commanded Thrawn knowing that while his ship and the fleet with him were powerful, it was unwise to leave things to chance.
Admiral Tosk was also known to be aggressive in his engagements with the enemy, as well as throw away the lives of his soldiers. It didn't matter if they were clones or loyal Republic volunteers. The man treated his troops, at best, like expendable droids or trash, at worst.
And Thrawn had no respect for someone like that. Whether they were a fellow officer, an enemy, or an ally.
When the Chiss Admiral shared his views with Dooku and Vader, the two men agreed such a person was a disgrace to anyone calling themselves a human being. In fact, both men had given Thrawn the green light to kill the man should the two ever engage in any form of combat and the opportunity presented itself.
Not only that, but it would humiliate the Republic even further if it got out a non human CIS Admiral leading a smaller fleet could defeat a Republic Admiral.
"We are being hailed my the enemy flagship," said the Commander Droid.
"Put it on the projector," ordered Thrawn while the man walked over to it.
And saw the face of his enemy.
Admiral Tosk was had short, black, standard military crisped hair. He had basic human features, but in the eyes of women, many would say he was attractive. He wore a crisp, clean Admiral's uniform with all the pins and stripes befitting his rank. His face was one of discipline and yet had a scowl on it. Which upon seeing Thrawn, sported a sneer, and a look of disgust.
"So it is true. The Separatist scum have recruited a new alien officer to fight for them. My Intel says you are supposedly some kind of tactical genius and prodigy in the way of war. But I'm not impressed. It is bad enough that I have to occasionally deal with Jedi, aliens of different races, or both when required. But to believe someone like yourself is a threat just makes me feel the Republic's fears are unwarranted," said Admiral Tosk while he was looking Thrawn up and down.
And clearly wasn't impressed.
"And I can see the Intel we have on you is highly accurate. Your profile says you are a smug, arrogant fool, and bigot with his family's connections being the only reason for your rank. You may have graduated from Corulag's finest military academy, but the rank of Admiral is wasted on someone like yourself," countered Thrawn while analyzing every aspect of the man in front of him during the conversation.
Every twitch of a muscle. Every movement of the eyes. The sound of the man's voice as he spoke first to Thrawn were all a means to produce a tactical advantage over him.
As well as seeing how the Admiral will respond to an insult that was clearly deserved.
"You insolent alien filth! Trash like you dares to accuse me of being unworthy of my own rank? Of this position?! If anyone is unworthy of being an officer, much less an Admiral, it is a blue skinned creature like yourself. It is a shame your species had to have such an inferior look in terms of skin. I could almost respect you. Almost," said Admiral Tosk, as he saw Thrawn didn't rise to take the insults or the bait to make the Chiss angry.
"I take it you wish to talk terms?" asked Thrawn while Admiral Tosk looked at him with venom in his eyes.
"If you were human, yes. But you are not. I do not show mercy to alien scum like you. Not now. Not ever! I only wanted to see your face so I know what you look like and report to my superiors how I bested the Separatist's new so called 'secret weapon' with ease," said Tosk while Thrawn didn't look the least bit intimidated or angry at his words.
"Highly unlikely Admiral. Though I do encourage you to try your hardest to win against me in our battle. It would be extremely disappointing if you didn't," said Thrawn before calmly cutting the connection to the now angry Admiral.
Let the battle begin.
(Coruscant-Supreme Chancellor's Office)
Sidious frowned in his office. The report given to him showed his enemies had obtained a powerful ally in the form of a blue skin alien calling himself Thrawn. The blue skinned humanoid was given the rank of a Admiral right away, but it was clear that he was very qualified to have such a rank and would moving himself up the ranks to Grand Admiral soon enough. The Chiss had engaged Admiral Tosk in a space battle with a fleet that was much noticeably smaller than the Admiral, yet came out of it victorious despite the odds. Granted, Admiral Tosk was not worthy of his rank, but in the eyes of many, to best one seasoned Admiral when you were just given the rank of Admiral was impressive.
And the public on a Galactic scale knew it.
And it wasn't just Admiral Tosk who lost to Thrawn either. Several Jedi Generals had also failed to best Thrawn openly in combat. At best, they forced the man into a draw, and he retreated soon after. Some would think the retreat would signify loss, but Sidious knew better since Thrawn was able to keep most of his ships during those retreats. And neither Dooku nor Vader had any intention of punishing the blue skinned man for those draws or losses against the Jedi since they were so few to begin with.
'If only I had obtained the man first to fight for the Republic. Or found out where his race originated from. I could have persuaded him to fight for me until the time came for my Empire to rise,' thought Sidious while frowning at how the public opinion of the war was not going in his favor.
Granted, it did make the Senate give him more power to make deliberations go faster. But it didn't help that a large portion of key Republic worlds joined the CIS and another side in the form of neutral planets had formed as a result. Neutral. Bah! They merely wanted to wait out the entire war and side with the winning team when it was all said and done.
The fact Naboo had been one of those planets and the former Queen and Senator Amidala was among its chief founding members didn't help either. It weakened his position in the Senate for a time, but it was nothing too serious to be concerned about. With the way the war was waging the people needed him as a central form of leadership during these dark times.
Still, it was unsettling how things were becoming gloomy for the Republic's image. Even for him. The time was not right, nowhere near it, to turn the Republic to be transformed into an Empire. He had to win the war first! But Darth Vader was making it increasingly difficult. His constant exposures of Senate corruption had made many worlds flock to the cause of the Separatists or become neutral. It was getting to the point where other factions with key space routes like the Hutts would need to be contacted.
If not for the fact that Vader had launched his own campaign against the Hutts and wiped out the entire slug race from existence. Afterwards, the Sith Lord had taking the massive wealth from each Hutt Clan to further bolster the CIS treasury to insane amounts.
There was also rumors of a major construction project being performed by them, but it was so top secret that the only reason Sidious knew of it was his spies were monitoring their supply shipments. While he could not pinpoint the route these supplies were going, Sidious hidden Sith Lord knew his rival was planning something big.
'Could he be planning to build the Death Star? My secret creation designed to keep the Force subservient to me? How could he know about my creation? How could he know of my plans to eventually make such a supreme weapon of mass destruction? Still, if I could get proof of his intentions, exposing the Separatists for making such a weapon...yes. Yes! The planets within CIS space and neutral would flock to the Republic again to stop such a thing from being made. Never realizing that I would seize it for myself when my Empire was forged and use to keep those naive fools in line when trying to oppose me,' thought Sidious while contacting the Clone Intelligence Unit to order them to monitor the CIS more closely.
He would expose his enemy and take what they had to further strengthen himself and the Empire that would be forged using their deaths!
(Jedi Temple-Sometime Later)
"We are losing the war! Against the Separatists, the Sith, and even the Galaxy's public opinion of us!" exclaimed a Jedi Master with frustration in his voice.
"I agree. Our resources have thinned. Jedi have either been killed or left the Order. More of them have been found locked away in a prison we had designed centuries ago to hold rouge Jedi. The public on a Galactic scale sees us as unstable. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain momentum in this war," said Master Koth with worry in his voice.
"Not to mention the public now knows about how we have been taking infants from their parents shortly after birth and denied contact with them long after adulthood. I have been hearing rumors and whispers in the Senate of a law banning the Jedi Order from taking them when they are so young," said Jedi Master Shaak Ti.
"Politicians have no business in Jedi matters. Much less how we claim Force sensitives into our ranks. Besides, if we don't claim them around that time, the parents might form attachments to the children. Not to mention it prevents us from stamping any emotions out of the children we obtain," said Jedi Consular Tarbes almost heartlessly.
"There have also been accusations of certain Jedi Masters using the Force to influence a parent to giving up their child when they refuse," added Shaak Ti with the Jedi Consular shrugging his shoulders.
"One or two instances. Hardly something we need to worry about if the public raises an issue over it," commented the Jedi Master Chromic while many in the room narrowed their eyes at him.
"There shouldn't be one or two instances. If the parent says no, we have no right to take the child away from them. It makes us no better than the Sith," said Master Windu while the two Jedi Masters from the Consular Class didn't see it that way.
In the years since Vader's sudden appearance and the revelation that the Sith were not wiped out like they first thought, the Jedi Order was increasingly growing more divided. The Jedi Consulars were becoming increasingly resistant to fighting in the Clone Wars, denouncing it on their end, and some openly admitting that the Republic was wrong to even fight the Separatists. They also felt that one's existence in the physical life was immaterial and that transforming into the Force upon death was so natural that it should not be impeded.
It had been a growing unpopular belief among the people within the Republic since not everyone wanted to give up the physical life. Not only that, but not everyone believed in the Force and thus didn't like the idea of simply doing nothing during a war to stop the violence except possibly die at some random moment in time.
The Jedi Order as a whole tried to state they didn't agree with the Jedi Consulars who believed in such a position, but the damage was already done. Adding the accusations of the Jedi Order taking and keeping Force sensitive children from their parents once taken while denying any and all contact didn't help either. Many people felt that it didn't make sense since children needed emotional loving support from their parents. To learn all of the core values and beliefs of their parents and to become a respected member of society. Not only that, but the people didn't understand why the Jedi even banned parents to have contact with their children long after said children were full grown?
Needless to say, it was causing more and more people to resent the Jedi Order.
"The Jedi Order needs members Master Ti. Not only that, but parents of these children have neither the skill or knowledge on how to deal with Force sensitive children. Only a Jedi can do what it needed to keep them from lashing out with the Force," said another Jedi Consular looking to be of lizard like origin.
"But the pain we cause the parents is not something Jedi should do. And the Galaxy is a large place with countless planets. We will never be able to connect with people with Force sensitive children. What happens when we come across a youth strong in the Force, but has attachments to his parents like Master Qui-gon did with young Skywalker? asked Shaak Ti knowing there were some rare instances like Anakin's regarding Jedi finding Force sensitive children deemed "too old" by the Order.
"We do what is necessary," said the Jedi Master with a hint of something in his tone some of the Jedi in the room didn't like in the slightest.
"And does that include plotting to kill fellow Jedi or have them imprisoned?" asked Mace Windu while some of the Jedi in the room looked uncomfortable or nervous.
"If necessary. They went against the teachings of the Jedi Order. Some were involved in secret relationships or were planning to alter the Jedi Code to some degree. They had to be stopped!" said another Jedi Consular in the room.
"And what of Anakin Skywalker? What if he is in fact the Chosen One? Surely you do not wish to go against the Will of the Force?" questioned Master Koth while sensing the emotions in the room just like Master Windu and Master Yoda were doing.
"That issue has yet to be proven. Besides, the Jedi Order has no need for such a person to do such a thing. Especially if it bring about changes that are unnecessary," commented a Jedi Master Tarbes, who was from a asexual reproducing race with a strict resistance in the way of changing things when tradition or precedent was set.
"Even if it means going against the Will of the Force?" asked Master Ti knowing few in the history of the Jedi Order dared to try.
"Even the Force makes mistakes. We are simply redirecting its Will to be more beneficial to the Jedi Order and those who wield its power," said Jedi Master Chromic, who came from a semi-predatory race in the Outer-Rim with his race's way of raising their young to be questionable.
Not surprising considering his race believed that raising the young shortly after the birth did not provide them strength in their environment. As such, tradition dictated the child be abandoned at the age of five years, and had to survive in the harsh wilderness of their world for thee more. Only by proving their worth would they be allowed into the family and that was if they could remember their family's scent. If they were wrong, the child was killed, and was considered a disgrace to the real family's bloodline.
When a Jedi Master came upon his people, Chromic was just born, and his parents were told about his Force potential. Feeling the child's new found abilities were a crutch or a cheat, they gave him to the Jedi Master to do with as the Order saw fit. Raised by Jedi Order, the youngling grew up learning under a Jedi Consular, who was strict with him when it came to emotions. Saying emotions of any kind led to the Dark Side, whether they were positive or negative. It didn't matter. Positive ones could lead to arrogance, which led to greed, ambition, a hunger for power, and ultimately being seduced to the Dark Side. Negative emotions naturally brought the same result, but ultimately with far more easier paths to the Dark Side.
Hence no emotions and thus no Dark Side of the Force to influence you.
At the time, Chromic embraced those beliefs his Master imparted to him, and tried to pass them onto other members of the Jedi Order himself. Some embraced such thinking while others did not. Emotions were life some said. To denounce it or cut them off was to remove life from your very being. To Chromic, they were fools. Idiots. Traitors to the Jedi Order and all it stood for in the last 1,000 years.
Like Master Tarbes, he believed the Force has a Will of its own, but the Will of the Force could be wrong in what it wanted. They felt as Jedi Consulars of the Order, it was set upon them to do their duty and "redirecting" the Will of the Force. And in doing so, to better serve the Jedi Order in maintaining their own strength, power, and influence in the Galaxy.
"Even if it means killing me?" asked Anakin Skywalker while he and Jedi Master Qui-gon entered the Council chambers.
"You're alive?!" exclaimed Tarbes in shock and with a hint of nervousness.
"You sound surprised Master. Why is that? Surely, you are happy to see two members of the Jedi Order alive and breathing after the events surrounding the planet we were on?" asked Qui-gon while Tarbes did his best to hide his sudden emotional moment.
"We had heard reports of your demise. Though seeing you here is more of a relief since the Republic has need of your talents," said Chromic calmly though he did glance at the other Jedi in the room and wondered who else knew of their survival.
"I have no problem fighting for the Republic. What I do have a problem with, are certain members of the Jedi Order trying to set us up to die," said Anakin while his arms were crossed in front of him and glaring at Chromic and Tarbes.
"Outrageous! Such insolence on your part. You dare make such an accusation here in this room? Before this Council? Without proof?!" questioned Tarbes furiously since he felt such an accusation had to be nipped in the bud and stamped out.
"Who said I was without proof? When I was on Jabiim with Master Qui-gon, we were overrun by the Separatists forces. I personally sent a message to the Jedi Order to send in reinforcements to our position. I know the message was received because I saw it had been and was informed it would be sent to the Jedi Council immediately," said Anakin while Tarbes scowled.
"That proves nothing. The environment you were in was hostile from the start. They could have intercepted the transmission or blocked it. There could have been planetary inference from the weather. In any case, if there had been a transmission, the Jedi in charge of it would have reported such a message immediately," said Tarbes while Yoda made a noise.
"Unless, the Jedi in charge deleted it, they did," said Master Yoda while giving Tarbes a piercing look.
"For what purpose Master Yoda?" asked Shaak Ti while sensing the Jedi Consulars in the room growing more nervous.
"To kill the Chosen One, they had hoped. To end the prophecy, they wanted. To prevent change from happening within the Jedi Order, their goal," said Master Yoda while Shaak Ti was surprised by this.
"There is no proof a Jedi would do such a thing," said Chromic while his fingers on his chair twitched slightly.
"I found the data stream where young Skywalker's request for reinforcements was located and had been erased. Records of who was monitoring the transmission during that time has also been erased. Something only a Jedi Master or a member of this Council has the authority to do," commented Master Windu while glaring at certain Jedi in the room.
"You suspect one of us?" asked Chromic while Anakin's glare intensified.
"No. I'm accusing all of you. More specifically, all of you who are Consular Class Jedi," said Anakin while two mentioned Jedi Consulars in the room glared at him.
"Watch your tone Knight Skywalker. You may believe that your status as the so called 'Chosen One' give you some kind of special status, but it doesn't! You are accusing your fellow Jedi, Masters no less, of this with circumstantial proof. You are not fit to be a Jedi with emotions such as yours," stated Chromic while Anakin glared at him.
"I would rather have emotions over not having any at all. How can the Jedi Order say it cares about people when we isolate ourselves from the people? How can we say our purpose is to protect people and serve the Force when all we do is enforce questionable policies set by the Senate?" asked Anakin while the Jedi Consulars in the room glared harder.
"You do not have the right nor the authority to question how the Jedi Order does things in terms of its relations with the Republic. We have stood like this for 1,000 years and have no need to change the Order for the supposed betterment of the Galaxy!" stated Chromic while letting out a huff.
"Really? Because the sheer number of Jedi leaving the Order or died during the war says otherwise. Not to mention how those who were imprisoned unjustly and now side with the Separatists," counter Anakin while Chromic and Tarbes scowled angrily.
"Those who left or freed from the prison are traitors to the Jedi Order. When this war is over, they will dealt with in accordance with our ways," said Tarbes with many of the Jedi Masters in the room not liking that statement.
"You assume they will be punished. Leaving the Jedi Order is not a crime. In fact, many of the Jedi who did leave us have not joined the Separatists. Instead, they wished to travel the Galaxy and rediscover their connection to the Force. There is no crime in that," said Qui-gon since he knew some of the Jedi who did leave and actually wished them well on their travels.
"They should stay here and make the Jedi Order stronger as a central point of the Galaxy. Not spread themselves out. The Jedi Order is a pillar. It stands tall above all things and has no equal," said Chromic while Shaak Ti and Mace Windu frowned.
"I always felt the Jedi Order should be more like a tree. Multiple branches. Spread out through the Galaxy. Touching people, systems, and worlds to make everyone better. To be a pillar is to stand still and become stagnant," said Anakin while Chromic and Tarbes scowled at him.
"And that is why you are a Knight and we are Masters. It is no wonder your nominations for being a Master have been rejected time and time again. With your way of thinking, you will never be given such a rank," commented Tarbes while Anakin's face looked absolutely furious.
"My nominations were rejected because of Masters like you, who sit in this Temple doing nothing while Knights like myself, and Masters like mine are out on the front lines of a war. A war we are slowly losing because of so called Jedi Masters like you who refuse to fight in it!" exclaimed Anakin angrily while Chromic snarled and showed his sharp teeth.
"We refuse to participate in this war because it causes pain, suffering, strife, and death to those in it. By not involving ourselves in this senseless war, the Dark Side does not grow stronger. Our actions prevent the Dark Side from feeding on such things," said Chromic while Anakin looked like he was ready to draw his Lightsaber on him.
"The people dying and fighting in this war are in the millions. Two Jedi Masters, at least, who refuse to fight in it hardly keeps the Dark Side from getting stronger! If anything, your inaction to fight makes the Dark Side grow because of the stagnation you bring to the table," said Anakin knowing neither of these Jedi had fought in the Clone Wars, yet acted like they were his better for it.
"You are an insolent whelp, who knows nothing of the Force. You go run off to fight in a war and suddenly it makes you a Master? Or worthy of being one? You have neither the knowledge or wisdom to become one and never will be one so long as Jedi like myself sit on this Council!" said Chromic firmly.
"And how did you become a Master exactly? How did you earn your rank and position?" demanded Anakin while taking a step forward, but a firm hand from Qui-gon stopped his advancement.
"By following the teachings of our assigned Masters. We didn't question them. Argue with them. We learned and embraced their teachings. Clearly, your choice in a Master was a mistake. He should have been paired with Kenobi. He would have kept your wild nature in line. Stamped it out. You should have never been a Jedi. Prophecy or not!" said Chromic while Anakin growled.
It actually sounded somewhat intimidating.
"Really? I could say the same thing about you. Jedi are suppose to be compassionate and caring of people. Yet you do nothing for them during these dark times for them. What did your Masters teach you about the people and helping them with their continued suffering from it?" questioned Anakin while the two Jedi Masters looked increasingly irritated.
"We can only help the people to a certain degree. What else they go through is not our concern," said Chromic since his own culture's beliefs had rubbed off on him since he had been curious in his youth about what his species did and did some research on them.
"And you wonder why the public on a Galactic scale thinks so poorly of the Jedi Order," countered Anakin with Chromic and Tarbes now looking ready to retaliate.
"Enough! Master Chromic. Master Tarbes. You are to be escorted to your quarters and are to stay there until further notice. You are relived of your duties on this Council," said Master Windu while both Jedi Master looked at him in shock.
"You can't be serious?!" demanded Tarbes while Master Windu gave him a withering glare.
"Either you go to your quarters willingly or several Jedi will do it by force," warned Master Windu while Tarbes and Chromic glared back.
"On what charges are we removed from this Council?" demanded Tarbes.
"Conspiring against your fellow Jedi. Conspiring to imprison innocent Jedi. Conspiring to murder fellow Jedi. All of whom are not Jedi Consular class," said Master Plo Koon from his own hologram projected form while having stayed quiet the entire time just to see the events playing out before him.
"With what proof? Some supposed transmission being deleted? Some lost Jedi found in prisons? The word of this...boy?!" demanded Tarbes while Yoda made his Force presence flood the room to remind them Masters here who was in charge.
"Digging further before this meeting, I did. Found more evidence, there was. Know more about the conspirators, I do," said Yoda while glaring at the two so called Jedi Masters with an ever knowing look.
"How could you do it? How could you and the others like you conspire against the rest of the Jedi Order?" demanded Anakin while the two nearly snarled at him and rising from their seats in defiance.
"Against the Order? We of the Consular Class are the Jedi Order. We have seen what the other Jedi classes have caused during their time and the effects they have played on the Galaxy. All the other classes do is cause pain, suffering, and chaos in their wake. But not us. We will not act like barbarians and brutes with our Lightsabers and aggressive abuse of our Force Powers. We see things clearly. We see the future. We see that fighting in a war is not the Jedi way. We handle things as diplomats and advisors who guide those in power to do the right thing. We guide them to a proper future through words and wisdom that allows them act in a civil manner," said Tarbes while believing the way to help the Galaxy was through words and reason instead of the pointy tip of the Lightsaber.
They believed using the Force to influence the minds within the Senate to make and set policies where all benefitted from the actions done there. Which was way they had felt during the end of the Jedi/Sith War, the Jedi should be closely bound to the Senate so such a plan could be put into effect. It was also their chance to remove or weaken the other two classes over time in case they tried to impede the plan they set into motion if it was ever discovered.
As far as they were concerned at the time, the Sith were wiped out. Gone forever! Why would the Galaxy need warriors or anything weapon related. They had the Force. They would ascend to a level beyond the physical one upon death so it was not like caring for the people was a must.
Just the minds and actions of those running the Galactic Republic.
Only now, somewhere along the way, it seemed the Force had decided their way, after 1,000 years, had to change. It was foolish in their minds. They had general peace for nearly a millennia and the Force wanted to change things. While their core beliefs were to follow the Will of the Force when commanded, they also felt that the Force could make mistakes in rare instances. This being one of them. So they chose to do something about it in terms of...well not defying it per se, but rather altering its Will to better suit their own needs over the original intentions of the Force itself. Hence why they spent the latter part of the millennia having Jedi who were a threat to go missing, being imprisoned, or if truly necessary...killed.
Hence why they have been trying to do everything in their power to help keep most of the Jedi Consular Class within the Order alive. They had secretly instructed others like them to not fight in the war or if they did, to give the bare minimum effort in the fighting since that was the job of the clone army. Let the living pawns fight against the soulless droids of the Separatists and let those who seek to avoid war thrive in the aftermath.
The Jedi Consulars like them knew when the war did end, peace would follow, and those in power would be those they could advise to keep the peace.
And they would be the true power in the Galaxy.
But the plan had gone bad for them. They had never expected the Force to turn against them in the way it did. They didn't expect the Sith returning after 1,000 years and taking their influence in the Senate from them. They didn't expect a war to break out and cause their overall plan to be exposed in such a way in front of so many who within the Order who would oppose them.
"Such arrogance," said Mace before the two Jedi Consulars used the Force to knock almost everyone back and rushed for the door.
Only to be blocked by Anakin, who had his Lightsaber drawn, and now pointed at Tarbes in a threatening manner.
"Don't move," growled Anakin while he activated his Lightsaber and fully intended to use it.
"Stand aside boy," commanded Tarbes while putting the Force into his voice to make Anakin obey.
But the Jedi Consular clearly underestimated the younger man's power and shook off the command before slicing Tarbes's right arm off.
"Unhand me! I command you to obey us!" commanded Chromic while he was restrained by Shaak Ti and Mace Windu with both Jedi Masters using their own skills to keep him from getting free.
"Forgotten your place as Jedi, you have. Abuse your position, guilty I sense. Correct this situation, I will," said Master Yoda while he walked past Chromic and saw Tarbes on his knees in pain.
"Now do you see Master Yoda. The boy prefers violence to reason. He chooses a path that will lead him to the Dark Side. Expel him from the order. Cut him off from the Force and throw him out! Do what must be done to preserve what the Jedi Order has had for the last 1,000 years. Stop this entity of change from destroying our peaceful existence!" said Tarbes while hoping the Grandmaster would see reason.
"A peace forged from lies and deceit with the intent to overstep your bounds in areas the Jedi were not meant to go. How are your methods any different from those of the Sith Lords who lived in ancient times?" demanded Anakin and saw Tarbes glare back at him.
"We bring peace, wisdom, light, and understanding. All you do is bring brute force and violence, which leads to the Dark Side!" countered Tarbes with Yoda shaking his head.
"Words alone, not enough to fight the Dark Side. Words without strength, weak they are. Must be ready to fight should the Dark Side attack with violence, we must," said Yoda while Chromic shook his head.
"The Dark Side is a fire. Let it burn itself out. Let it consume itself. By fighting them, we only make the flames stronger. We add fuel to it. We make our enemies powerful. By not fighting, we will be hurting the Dark Side," said Chromic with Yoda shaking his head.
"Do nothing and evil will win, it can. The Dark Side nor the Sith care if we fight it, they do. Only care about winning, it does. Whether by violence or other means, they will," said Yoda while Chromic continued to struggle against the two Jedi Masters and Tarbes clutching his stump of an arm.
"All the more reason not to play their game. They cannot win so long as we do not play the game they set for us," said Chromic while Anakin glared at the fool.
"Are you blind or just plain stupid? The Sith don't setup a game where you have to play in order for them to win. They arrange it so no matter what we do, they will still win one way or another. Its better to fight to stop their schemes over doing nothing while they gain a foothold!" countered Anakin while Tarbes glared from his position in front of the young Jedi Knight.
"You think stopping us will stop our goals from coming to fruition? We are not the only Jedi in the Order who think this way. We will not be stopped. Not by you, Master Yoda, the other Jedi in the Order, or even the Sith themselves. We will take control of the Jedi Order and bring the everlasting peace through our power. Anyone who stands in our way is an enemy of the true Jedi and the Force," said Tarbes while Anakin leaned down.
"You're way of doing things has left the Jedi Order stagnant and weak. Because of you, the Jedi Order has become its weakest ever while our enemies see their opportunity to crush us. They don't care about words, the Force, or us possibly ascending to a higher level of existence when we die. They care about seeing us die and destroying what we leave behind for a legacy until all is left are stories or rumors. Is that what you want? For the Jedi Order to fade away into dust? Just because you have no issues becoming some kind of ascended spirit in the Force? What about the people of the Galaxy? Don't they matter?" demanded Anakin while Tarbes just looked at him cold, nearly emotionless eyes.
"The Force is all that matters. Everything and everyone else is immaterial. I welcome the day I become one with the Force. To leave the physical level and ascend to the spiritual. Anything else is an attachment that must be removed," said Tarbes as if he was speaking like it was indoctrinated inside his head.
"If I were a lesser man or Jedi, I would remove your head from the rest of your wretched slimo body," said Anakin while thinking of all the innocent lives these Jedi and those like them had ruined over the years for an entire millennia.
"Anakin," warned Qui-gon though he knew the Jedi Knight wouldn't do it.
"But I won't. You and the rest of your conspirators will be rounded up and answer for all their crimes before going to the very prison you sent those betrayed Jedi to over the years to get your way," said Anakin since he felt it was fitting.
"You have no right! Jedi Consulars are the backbone of the Order. If you remove the majority of us, it will be weakened considerably. You can't risk such a thing during a time of war!" protested Chromic while glaring at the Jedi Knight.
"And if we don't remove you, the war will end with the Sith winning. I would rather we be weakened over being destroyed. At least we have a chance to recover and learn from this semi-weakened state," Anakin shot back.
"You don't know what you are doing! You will regret this!" exclaimed Chromic while he and Tarbes were being dragged out of the room.
"We need to put the entire Temple on lockdown. If we are going to find out who are like those two, we need to prevent them from leaving," said Anakin knowing this skirmish would not go unnoticed by others within the Jedi Temple.
"Agreed. Not only to keep this faction of the Jedi Consulars from escaping, but to keep the Sith from learning of this fracture within the Order," said Qui-gon knowing either Sith could or would pounce on this opportunity.
"As much as I hope they don't find out Master, I have a bad feeling one of them already knows the truth," said Anakin worriedly since he could feel it in the Force that one, if not both Sith were already aware of this noticeable fracture within the Jedi Order.
And yet the Force was not unhappy by this situation. If anything, it was...pleased? As if this was a long time coming and had finally revealed an ugly truth kept hidden.
(Dathomir-At the Moment)
Ky Narec watched from the sidelines as his former apprentice was sparring with other, now former, Jedi of the Republic. Helping them in regaining their lost strength, purpose, and ideals long since lost upon being betrayed before getting locked away in that damn prison. After they had been freed from said prison, Ky had talked to Dooku, and Vader about possible locations for them to hide and retrain them. Dooku had no problem with his home world being one such location, but also knew having several others would be ideal in case Serenno was ever attacked.
Putting all the former Jedi on one world would be too inviting for Sidious to launch some kind of invasion fleet against them just for that single purpose. One which neither Ky, Dooku, and Vader had no intention of letting happen anytime soon. Hence why Vader had ultimately suggested Dathomir as a secondary location. Few knew of the planet's location outside of those who lived and breathed within the Outer-Rim territories and those in the Outer-Rim territories had no intention of getting involved with the Clone Wars.
Ky agreed with the idea so long as he was one of the Jedi overseeing their rehabilitation along with Ventress since they were welcome on Dathomir. Vader agreed since it would not only hide the recovering Jedi there, but also strengthen relations with Dathomir as an ally for the future.
"You are proud of Ventress," commented Mother Talzin while standing beside him with a smile on her face.
"I am. I always will be proud of her," said Ky with a smile on his face while he saw his former apprentice wielding two Lightsabers and instructing the former Jedi on how to use them.
She still trained under Master Sifo Dias, but when Ventress wasn't learning, the woman was teaching, and passing on those teachings to the other Jedi. Ky couldn't be more proud of her for the accomplishments she achieved under his tutelage and during the war itself.
"You see yourself as her Father. The one she never knew. The one she never had," added Mother Talzin with Ky nodding.
"As time progressed, I came to the realization that Ventress would need more then just a teacher. Ventress needed a Father. Someone who could guide and care for her when growing up. The Jedi Order has always taken children from their parents at an extremely young age. It was a policy I never fully agreed with. If the parents were abusive or a risk to the child's health in any shape or form, then yes, it was necessary. But what if there was no risk? What if the family was kind, gentle, loving, and understanding of what their child's power could do? Why deny them? When I found Ventress, she was alone, scared, and I knew without proper guidance, it would spell disaster." said Ky Narec with Mother Talzin smiling gently.
"It is a shame you do not embrace the pleasures of the flesh. I know a few women in our tribe who love to give you a child born of your blood. I have no doubt they would strong in the Force like yourself," said Mother Talzin and was amused at how the Jedi looked a bit uncomfortable at hearing this.
"I'm sure they would. But I do not think such an offer can be considered so quickly. I also believe that a child should be born through love between both parents when together. Not simply lust and a desire to procreate. If I did decide to have a relationship with a woman, any woman for that matter, I would do it because of genuine love. Not simply to produce a strong Force sensitive child," said Ky while Mother Talzin nodded in respect to that belief.
"Maybe one day, you will find such a woman. And here among my tribe no less," said Mother Talzin with a knowing smile.
"A vision of the future?" asked Ky while Mother Talzin kept on smiling and walked away from him.
"That would be telling," commented the Mother Witch.
"Do not fret old friend. Women are even more of a mystery to us then even the Force," said Sifo Dias with an amused look on his face.
"I have often wondered what it would be like to be with a woman. To be married and have a child. Do you think Jedi should be allowed to marry? Have children?" asked Ky with a hint of uncertainty.
"I think they can and they should. It strengthens us. It allows us to form a strong bond with people and with those we care about. Granted, you won't be allowed to train your children fully, but it doesn't stop you from spending time with them, and providing some helpful methods to their training," said Sifo Dias causally while having a conversation with Dooku about it years ago and how the Jedi Order were fools to hide behind such fears of certain emotional attachments like love leading to the Dark Side.
Granted it could do that, but love also had the power to bring someone from the darkness into the Light. Love was a two way street and didn't have to be considered something so horrible that it should stomped out.
Ky had heard talks in the Jedi Order before leaving for the Outer-Rim. Whispers from Jedi from the Consular Class. They felt emotions should be stomped out of all Jedi. That they led members of the Order down the path of the Dark Side. That it fueled it and the best way to impede its progress was deny emotions.
They believe that by their actions, they would stop feeding the Dark Side. Ky thought and knew that even IF, such a plan was used, it was ultimately foolish since the Dark Side of the Force could feed on negative emotions to gain strength. The only thing the Jedi really did, in Ky's opinion, was weaken themselves more than they did the Dark Side. It was not just some emotions the Jedi Consulars wanted to stomp out of people, but ALL of them. To feel nothing for anyone or anything. To simply exist and go through daily motions before one day dying and transforming into the Force.
Ky couldn't stand the thought of living in the Jedi Temple or being around fellow Jedi like that. Which is why he left for the Outer-Rim to do some real good and continue to have purpose away from the emotionless Jedi policy the Order seemed to be following. It had been his hope to find other Jedi, the ones who chose exile, and they could build their own version of the Jedi Order that did not follow what was being done on Coruscant.
To start fresh.
Only to find everything he had ever known to be turned in so many different directions when he had been rescued by a Sith Lord of all people. Now he was fighting for a newly formed Galactic government, opposing the Republic, opposing the Jedi Order, and was assisting in the retraining of Jedi who had been betrayed by a sect. within the Order itself.
It was hard to imagine such a thing could be happening in his lifetime.
"In a few more years, you could be ready for becoming a true Jedi Master my friend," said Sifo Dias with a smile on his face.
"Hardly. I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as you," said Ky while the Jedi Master beside let out an amused chuckle.
"Knowledge, like wisdom, is gained through experience in most cases. Since we have joined Dooku and Vader, both of us have obtained a new level of knowledge. Some of it we should have known from the start, but the teachings of the Jedi Order from our time there dulled our senses. Now, our skill, and our minds are sharper then we could have ever hoped them to be prior to this. We must press forward my friend. Only by relearning and unlearning what we know can a future for the Jedi and the rest of the Galaxy can survive the evil that is to come," said Sifo Dias with Ky nodding since Vader had let both men in on the true enemy waiting to invade their Galaxy in the next couple of decades to come.
They still had plenty of work left to do before the Galaxy was ready for that. They still had a Sith Lord in the shadows to worry about. One who would sooner let the Galaxy burn over letting it continue on without him.
(A/N: YAY! An update! Consider it my gift to you guys and the final update of 2018. When will the next one come up for my fics. Sometime after 2019. When will that be exactly? Hell if I know. LOL! Anyway, enjoy this chapter until the next one from one of my other fics when the New Year starts. It may take awhile though. Games, gifts, and work will keep me plenty busy so if I don't update for awhile...blame Christmas gifts and work. Until next time...PEACE!)