Author Notes: Hey Everyone so rather than doing the usual updates, I though I would do something a bit less formal. So if you have been following my profile you may already know this, but I honestly just do not have as much time, or more importantly for writing for me, large periods of uninterrupted time (ie 2-4 weeks) where I can pump out 150-250k words. I really struggle to write in small pockets of time, even when I have a few days to try to get things down. It usually takes me a few days of just rereading - review - researching - planning before I even get to writing. When a story get so big it often gets really hard to juggle everything going on in the story, the 100+ storylines going in the background and all the other interconnected and future stuff for hundreds of thousands of words later that groundwork is getting laid for right now. So that is the primary reason I have not been updating my stories at the pace I wish I could, because quite frankly I have not stopped planning things out, especially in my head and there is some really REALLY cool and mostly unique things I have thought up that I want to share with my readers. This chapter ended up getting a few section bumped to the next chapter, so a bit shorter than I was thinking, but should still be around 36.5k words. Things are really starting to pick up in this universe now, and I hate to cut it where I do, but I really just didn't have enough of the next stuff written to get it done by today.

Thank you all for your reviews and your continued support, even if my chapter pace has been abysmal. I have not given up on writing these stories, and maybe when the new Stargate starts coming out I will be given a jolt to get more content actually written for you all at a FAR better pace. Have a great Christmas and a happy holiday season for everyone!

Thank you Lighthawk68 for going over my rough stuff from time to time for me!

Chapter 13:

They were relaxing in the small sitting area on the side of the train arena after almost thirty minutes of dueling, and Harry could tell Qui-Gon was very tired. The man was not young anymore, and his style trades endurance for more power in his defense and strikes, and it was easy to tell it was not a good style for an aging man, or one not in prime shape. Qui-Gon had done better than he had expected, but at the same time Harry was simply much faster, and stronger than a normal human which gave an advantage he was more than willing to exploit. After a few minutes to let the old man catch his breath he decided to end the silence.

"I think that was a good demonstration of what I have learnt over the last two years." he said with not a small amount of cheek and a smile.

"It certainly was, I must commend you on your progress." Qui-Gon said, still a bit winded.

"I won't take all the credit. Without giving away any secrets, let's just say I have a number of things that can help one learn something faster, and a few items aiding me in my practice as well." he said alluding to his advanced mind magics, his time turner, and the knowledge he had absorbed. Yea there was no way he was going to tell the Jedi about his ability to transverse time, however limited, nor any details about the ritual he had performed on Ruusan. And no amount of eyebrow raising on behalf of Qui-Gon was going to change that fact. He would resist!

"I will pry no further if you are unwilling to share. You have already been more open than I have any right to expect, and I thank you for that." Qui-Gon said honestly, and he did not need the Force to confirm that for him

"Don't sweat it. I like you, you're one of my step-son's Masters, and good company to boot, so I have no problem putting you up for however long you wish to stay." he said with a smile before it faltered a bit as he continued. "I am far more worried about the rising tensions in the galaxy and the faltering economy of the Republic, than a Jedi staying with me, and unfortunately it's not just in the Outer Rim where tensions are rising this time," he said honestly.

"What do you mean?" Qui-Gon asked clearly not fully aware of the state of the galaxy, which quite frankly shocked him, as he felt this was something the Jedi should be keeping a close eye on. He expected a Jedi to be at least a bit more abreast of the general state of things.

"Well first there is the whole fiasco with the Outer Rim free trade zone, and new taxes put in place by the Senate that are just a boiling kettle waiting to explode. Not to mention the fact that a lot of Outer Rim planets and sectors don't believe, often rightly so, the Republic offers them anything tangible, not even proper representation, and yet demands ever increasing tax rates and stricter laws while offering no protection from larger entities that take advantages of them." he said explaining how he and a huge portion of the residents of the Outer Rim saw things. "Then you have mega corporations who are abusing massive loopholes in said laws to get the best of both worlds while leaving both the Republic and most Outer Rim planets in the lurch. So you have Outer Rim planets that dislike or outright hate the Republic as they see them as distant overlords enabling local ones, and you have the Republic who is facing an economic crisis because they are failing to properly tax said mega corporations who often use the Republic as a shield to exploit the Outer Rim. With the huge migration of jobs from the core to untaxed and unregulated Outer Rim corporate worlds over the last century, I feel Core planets and the Republic as a whole are in for some tough times." he said a bit more passionately than he had intended when he started, but could also feel Qui-Gon's growing shock in the force.

"I knew there were issues, but I didn't think it was that bad." Qui-Gon replied. "Are you sure it is as bad as you are implying?" Qui-Gon asked him, to which he simply gave the man a deadpanned look.

"Qui-Gon.. my Jedi friend, I operate a fairly large corporation that makes huge profits, quite a bit of those profits are from within Republic space, and yet I still pay little in republic taxes, and only a small fraction to Naboo in planetary taxes," he exclaimed. "Less than 4% of total profits! And HPI makes sure we ignore tax incentives or loopholes, simply because we don't need to take advantage of the system to be competitive. To be honest that is just one issue and that doesn't even scratch at the rising piracy, increased slavery, and emerging immoral governments who somehow gain control over their sector's senate seats. Just look to the Yam'rii or Huk war to see the Republic aiding a murderous slaving regime to beat down one of the species of people that was rising up that the Yam'rii had enslaved and massacred for years. That is how many of the Outer Rim and even many Mid Rim worlds in the know see it, and they see the Jedi having played a major role in that disaster." he said, giving his friend a serious look.

A lot of the Outer Rim really did not have the best impressions of either the Jedi or the Republic, and there were real proper reasons for them to have that opinion. Though the Jedi did still have a much better reputation, but that had been taking hit after hit over the last few are many real reasons some still didn't accept Republic Credits here on Tatooine and it had nothing to do with them not having buying power here with him being around. Some people just hated the Republic that much that they refused to even use their currency. It was also part of why he refused to allow Republic influence here on Tatooine or live anywhere under their control for any extended period of time.

"You seem not to like the Republic." Qui-Gon said carefully, but obviously probing.

"Well that is partially true, but it's more I dislike the corruption and greediness that has infested the senate and other arms of the Republic. Its bureaucracy has also become so over bloated that many operations and procedures are continued simply because no one knows what impact not doing them would have, let alone having any actual value." he said while taking a good long sip of his green tea. Sue him, he may be a Brit, but he preferred a good cuppa of dragonlily green tea over that of a splendid earl gray most days. Not to say he would ever reject a decent cuppa of earl gray either. "There is a reason I live out here beyond the control of the Republic, but I also respect and follow its rules when within its borders... well at least more of them." he said the last bit with some cheek and a smile, causing a big smile to break on Qui-Gon's face.

"I am glad you don't dislike it as much as I may have feared with some of the views you have been exposed to." Qui-Gon said like the perfect diplomat. "As I already know many of your views on the Jedi order, I can also see how some of these events can paint it in an even worse light, but I hope you see that we simply wished to prevent as much harm from happening as possible." his friend finished with a pleading look.

"I can tell from my short visit to the temple that what you said is true about almost all of the Jedi, and can also tell you it is mainly a matter of the Senate abusing the Jedi order to often do their dirty work. However the Jedi are not blameless," he said continuing his rant. "Look again at the Huk War, the Republic helped the enslavers and murderers destroy the Kaleesh war and economic assets putting them into economic ruin, and then bankrupting them by demanding they pay for the war costs and massive reparations. A war they didn't start, and a war that saw nearly their entire planet destroyed in their fight for liberation from slavery, and now they are in crippling debt paying reparations to the Republic that I would bet my life on was making its way into many senators pockets. Don't get me wrong though, some of the Kaleesh were not saints when enacting their counter offensive, but they certainly got shafted by the Republic, and now they are starving because of it." he said passionately, knowing he was right.

"Are you sure about this?" Qui-Gon asked, obviously upset about what he was hearing.

"As sure as I can be, and any 'evidence' I have could not ever be used in a court." he said, dismissing the other man's clear avenue of approach to try and rectify things. "Sorry I just gained some of this information recently, even if the war has been concluded for some time now. I have even decided to try and help in some way, but I have yet to figure out how as it is quite far outside my company's area of operation, and it seems others have already stepped in." he said as he had been thinking about it for a few days now.

"You said you have been making huge profits, could you not help them ease the burden of their debts?" Qui-Gon said clearly, also getting personally invested in the plight of a people he had not even met. It really showed how good of a man the Jedi was. However, it was no longer necessary as apparently the Galactic Banking Clans had signed some sort of deal with them just this month, but if he had found out earlier, it would have been something he would have done. He could still help though by establishing his company there in some way.

"It's a bit too late for that, as one of the Galactic Banking Clans has taken on their debt for some reason." he said a bit morosely. "I can only imagine what they have managed to obtain in return for doing so, and as I said that is only one problem of the many that plague this galaxy." he said before laughing humorously, getting a questioning eyebrow from Qui-Gon. "It honestly wouldn't surprise me if somehow the Galactic Banking Clans had a hand in the economic situation of Kalee just to ensure they got whatever it was they wanted from the planet." They sat there contemplating for another few minutes just enjoying their tea digesting what had been discussed, before Qui-Gon asked another question.

"I meant to ask before, but I noticed a number of droids I have not seen before being employed by HPI, I was hoping you would be able to tell me a bit about them?" Qui-Gon asked him, getting a small smile from him in return.

"They are a new proprietary model of battle droid I designed for HPI. I had been working on them for some time, and the Naboo conflict prompted me to finish their designs." he shared happily, not seeing a reason not to answer. "It's not the core out here, as the remains of the battle in space are there to prove it, so I expected to need something a bit more robust than the GU-Series droids HPI had been using mostly till now. They simply were not quite good enough to protect HPI assets against some of the larger threats it has been facing." Qui-Gon listened, nodding his head in understanding.

"Are you planning to sell them?" The Jedi asked, seemingly quite interested.

"No plans for selling them, as we can barely build enough to fill our own needs, let alone anyone else's'. If we keep growing we may even find ourselves short, so no we won't be selling them." he said honestly, not sure if Qui-Gon was just curious or milking him for information for the Jedi council. There were obviously other reasons for not selling them, but he didn't feel like going into those. "So how has the council been handling the re-emergence of the Sith?" he asked, interested in what they were doing about the issue. Qui-Gon grimaced at the question, foreshadowing a poor answer.

"Unfortunately the council has taken little action, as they feel the threat may have been dealt with for now with the defeat of the Sith on Naboo." Qui-Gon said almost like he was pulling hairs. "Some still are unsure if it was even a Sith, regardless of everyone's testimonies. For now they are being more vigilant, and have told me they are on the lookout for any signs of more Sith activity." Qui-Gon answered, clearly not impressed with that answer either.

"That is about as much as I expected from them to be honest," he said. "The Jedi Order often presents the Jedi to the wider galaxy in a poor light. They would have the Jedi become unfeeling machines, if one was to follow their code to its exactness. In fact I think some Jedi would make better droids than some droids would." he said with a bit of humor at the end there, not wanting to insult the place Qui-Gon had called home too much. "However the vast majority of the Jedi I have met have been quite nice people." he said with a smile looking at his friend who also smiled in return. "And there was this absolutely adorable little Togruta girl named Ashoka that I met when visiting Anakin last time. She certainly boosted the Jedi's image." he said only somewhat jokingly.

"At least the council is not as bad as having to deal with the Hutts all the time." Qui-Gon said, catching Harry off guard, making him snort then laugh.

"I will give you that, but thankfully I leave that mostly to Jabba." he said as it was certainly the truth.

"I am still surprised by your relationship with Jabba the Hutt." Qui-Gon said before taking a sip of tea.

"It's not really that strange if you start to really think about it. At first it was because of necessity, but now it's because honestly the big slug has grown on me, and he has made efforts to change for the better which I can respect. He might not be considered a 'good' person, but he is constantly striving for improvements, which means a lot. He also is incredibly important to the success of our shared little planet here, so it only stands to reason we are close, as we must be able to trust each other to some extent." he said honestly, reminiscing on his and Jabba's friendship.

"Fascinating. To think the way to get a Hutt to change for the better is to make it stupidly profitable to do so, and unprofitable not too." Qui-Gon said sagely causing them both to laugh as it was the honest truth. Jabba had been working hard to make him happy too over the years, and it showed, as it was becoming rare and rare to see any slave here on Tatooine. Which if one takes into account slaves made up more than 50% of the population several decades ago, it is a drastic change.

They ended up talking for quite some time, letting off steam, and even Qui-Gon got to complaining about his stupid former master going off and making rash decisions. That and the fact that he could not track the man down, nor could he find out what he was up to. Honestly the way Qui-Gon described his former master, the now Count Dooku, made him quite interested in meeting the man, as some of the complaints Dooku had for leaving the order were things he had already observed in the order as well. Qui-Gon also defended the Order's habits of recruiting members from such young ages, even informing Harry that parents had the option to refuse to give up their children to the order, even if few choose not to. He was still not convinced by the practice. The whole night was quite fun, and not something he had done in ages, and worked wonders on cementing the budding friendship between him and Qui-Gon.

"I am sorry sir, that is a public park, you cannot purchase it." he said exaggeratedly at the fat human male and the blue droids that were with him. He had been excited at first when called, as someone coming from off world to invest in anything in Kalee was rare in recent years, even more so since the war with the Huk ended and they were put under economic sanctions. However now he was just getting exacerbated as the fat man wanted to purchase one of the very few public parks they had for a 'project'.

He had shown this human dozens of prime locations within one of the few repaired districts in this city, and the stupid human was most interested in buying was the sole park that had just been completed for the few children left in the city.

"No, No, my employers simply wish to lease this land for a month." the fat man said while moving around the space. "Yes this is perfect, just as was required." the stupid human said while looking around ignoring him and his annoyed expression. Perhaps this human simply failed to pick up on his social cues, but he was wary to give any more benefit of the doubt to this moron.

"Sir, as I said this is a public park, one of the very few we have, and it is not available for rent or sale." he said, exacerbated. How did he go from being a warrior of decent renown to this. It was beyond humiliating, however he had a family to take care of and this job provided just enough for them to not starve.

"10 million credits for a one month lease." The fat man said to him dismissively as he continued to gush over how the park was perfect for his boss's needs. He personally had stilled when the man had spoken the amount. It was an ungodly amount for what was being requested, especially for their economy here on Kalee. It was enough for them to build a few hundred more parks of this caliber if they wanted. His annoyance with this Human had dropped now but his interest and caution had spiked tremendously. What could this Human be up to? He would need to be watched carefully, and this HPI would need to be investigated, even with their limited resources.

"Yes, the statue and fountain will be perfect right there!" the fat man said, dragging his attention back.

"Sir, there are no water services to this park." he replied, deciding to see where this was going.

"Oh well, we can't allow that to be." the fat man said in surprise to him before turning to one of the droids and giving it orders. "Get a quote for the cost of installation of water services to this park. And make sure they are able to provide a sufficient amount of water. Oh and make sure it is crystal clear. The water from the fountain should be clean and drinkable if one so wishes." The fat man said while walking around once again ignoring him.

Looking down to the padd he was carrying that had some details on the visitor he was showing around, he looked at the company name, Hadrian Peverell Inc. Hopefully they will honor their deals. The credits for the lease of the park would go a long way to helping prevent some people from starving, and would be worth dealing with this headache.

"Ah yes the gold statue will go perfectly right there!" the fat man said, causing him to look up in interest. Why in the world would they be installing a statue, and a gold one at that?

"Sir, anything you install will have to be removed before the lease expires or we will have to confiscate anything and charge any fees for removal." he said, deciding to remind them of the obvious before they complained in the future.

"Yes, Yes, not a concern." the man said while listing out orders to his droids seemingly deciding to ignore him from now on. Humans are so... weird.

Harry was happy that Qui-Gon had settled in so well in the month since he arrived back. The man really kept to himself besides joining them for dinner every other night. It didn't hurt that Qui-Gon seemed to be keeping himself busy trying to track down information on his former master via holonet contact. It would appear that Count Dooku was an elusive bugger, as Qui-Gon could rarely even find out where the man had been, let alone where he was at that moment. He had offered to help track down the Count, but the Jedi declined, saying it was Jedi business that could be handled by the Jedi, and would look bad on them if they needed outside help in this matter.

It was therefore not too hard to get time to work on his projects which let him devote more time working on his hyperdrives that he wanted to design for his ships without ignoring other ongoing projects. He may have realized quite quickly that he had chewed off slightly more than he could swallow with this one as hyperdrives were quite finicky, but mainly because there was just a lot of mundane engineering that needed to be done on each size of hyperdrive that really didn't need his skills or for him to be spending his time going over the same force equation again and again… and again. He had actually complained to Shmi and she had told him that she would find him a qualified engineer with appropriate credentials to help him with some of his projects.

Of course she had managed to use that opportunity to somehow find a female Twi-lek Starship Engineer who focused on ship propulsion systems, including hyperdrives. Who did not have any family here on Tatooine, had formerly been a slave, and was now living on Tatooine looking for a better opportunity to use the skills she had acquired with her former masters. Shmi didn't seem to think it hurt that she was also attractive, young, bright, and someone Harry would be forced to spend lots of time together with while they worked. Weirdly though, as insisting as she could be with him finding other partners, as she almost seemed to make a game out of it or at least was having fun with it, she was seemingly in no rush herself to start having more kids. Which was just fine with him as he had no desire yet to be a full time parent as he had too much he wanted to do with his life before he settled down and took on that responsibility.

He had already gotten a taste of being a father with Anakin, and honestly it was all he really wanted right now. The fact that he did have real concerns with the direction the galaxy was heading, meant that it might not be the best time to decide to have kids anyways. Either way he needed help with his projects and that is why he now was working with Lerla Var on a regular basis. He certainly was keeping things fairly professional between the two of them, regardless of the encouragement that Shmi kept giving him.

He had Lerla sign a magical contract that would protect his secrets that she learnt while working for him, mostly just as a contingency. If she ever tried to share them, the magic of the contract would warn her, and if she persisted then she would lose all of her knowledge of things she learnt about him. Of course that had been an interesting part to include in a standard non-disclosure agreement, but it had only caused a raised eyebrow before she had signed. For being a former slave that was working currently as a mechanic to get by, they were offering her a stupidly high salary bump, so she did not delay long in signing.

With Lerla taking a lot of the more mundane or rote engineering tasks off of his hands it had freed up a good amount of time to put some work into his three fighter size crafts he had been developing ever since he started working on his droids. That being his bomber, fighter, and interceptor, with the bomber and interceptor having hyperspace capabilities. There had been a reason he had put them off as two of them required his hyperdrives he was working on, and the other being that he had already decided to base the fighter off of the Trade Federation VULTURE droid, with some major improvements.

To say Lerla's contribution was limited to mundane things would be selling her short, as she also had some amazing ideas and concepts she had learnt during her 30 or so years as a slave but had not shared or implemented. Apparently it was her little bit of revenge, as she would not go beyond what was required of her, and kept her own innovations to herself. One major thing she had contributed was to the accuracy of the hyperdrive by creating a correlation algorithm that used existing data combined with sensor data fed via the ship to create a more accurate target point for their exit from hyperspace. What this meant was that the hyperdrive could jump far closer to a planet, ship, or other gravity wells before dropping out of hyperspace. Whereas most hyperdrives had to drop out of hyperspace quite far out of a planet's gravity well, their drives could drop out almost in high orbit giving them a massive advantage.

If their new hyperdrive panned out this would allow for RaTDaCs to drop out of hyperspace close to a planet reducing the time enemies would have to shoot at it or prepare for their droids being hot dropped on them. Let alone what it would mean for interceptors, bombers, or any other ships he had planned. It added quite a large tactical advantage to his ships over the standards of most other militaries, as the additional accuracy also allowed ships to drop out closer to enemy fleets with less chance of collisions, and in tighter formations to boot. All important things with the huge amounts of electronic warfare modules that were standard on most ships these days, military or civilian. A simple sensor jammer could add a substantial amount of extra relative-survivability to a ship for cheap, drastically reducing enemy ships accuracy and tracking of their weapons, and for that reasons basic modules were found on nearly anything that could fly.

Due to the way Blasters, Turbo lasers, and Laser cannons worked, the further the shot was from the source the more the containment fields holding the plasma together would destabilize. This meant that the farther from the ship or person the bolt was, the less 'damage' it was going to do, that was why galvanizing the plasma to protect the cohesion of the bolt was important for longer range weapons. This was only exacerbated even more in an atmosphere, and was the reason a lot of turbo lasers, if not powerful enough, could not be used to fire from orbit and hit the ground before dissipating. Combined with good electronic warfare, and you had the reason why a lot of firefights in space happened so close together, they were almost reminiscent of old naval style warfare of Earth. Even though there are so many obvious advantages to fighting at range in space, short range battles were the reality for nearly all encounters. So being able to drop out right in range of enemies could circumvent long range bombardment with missiles, torpedoes, or fighter squadrons.

The other major area of help that Lerla was able to provide assistance in was with interdiction systems that he had read a bit about. They basically created an artificial gravity well that pulled ships out of hyperspace, or prevented them from jumping to hyperspace till they left the gravity well. He had made quite a bit of progress but was having a few problems trying to make it powerful enough for his needs when she had suggested using multiple smaller generators that would combine together to create a larger interdiction field.

Even when working together so closely he still kept a lot of secrets from Lerla regardless that she was under contract, so he avoided sharing some of his ideas with her, like using extra fuel from the fuel caps for cooling, by rapidly decompressing them into space to create a huge cooling effect as a result. An absurdly wasteful use, but not to him. The fuel caps were basically the only real contribution he was making to his ships with magic, and even then it was proving quite hard to hide that fact from Lerla and others. His company had to even buy a few dozen plasma and fuel haulers to just cover the fact they were not actually shipping around or purchasing fuel for their facilities because they were producing their plasma and fuel through the caps or his plasma generators.

So they had to actually purchase real fuel, stuff that would not disappear in a few minutes, and then shipped it around and even sold it at their space ports. It was big business, and almost all space ports needed fuel to sell, but his fuel caps would not work for that purpose due to the temporary nature of the fuel they produced. So PA had decided on this course of action, getting slow ass fuel freighters to ship fuels to their spaceports, and to even a few more remote places that do not get service often. Those places offer quite the premium to risk the dangerous pirate infested routes to their planets.

Regardless, working with Lerla really sped things up, and allowed him to make sure he had time each day to train in the Force and practice his lightsaber combat, often with Qui-Gon when he was around. Qui-Gon had already mentioned he was planning to head out for a few weeks to run down a lead on his former master. Honestly he was not sure why the man put so much importance on finding his former master, but apparently Qui-Gon was worried about the count. Either way he was happy that he didn't need to entertain his guest each day he was here, as that would have gotten old fast. He also had to get ready for when Anakin returned, not that he had much planned besides a small party and a few gifts.

Sidious watched the proceedings of the senate with pleasure, but with little attention. They were in the final discussions on a law to rollback protections for mineral rights for many Outer Rim planets. The conclusion was forgone, and he was simply putting on an image of being engrossed in the proceedings while thinking about his plans all coming together perfectly, well nearly perfectly.

The invasion of Naboo and the death of Maul could have gone better, but the overall results were acceptable. His accession to Chancellor had proceeded as planned. The only issue had been the blasted Jedi Master Qui-Gon escaping with his life. His death was an important step in pushing his future apprentice towards him and the darkside. Fortunately it seemed it had been unnecessary in the long run, as it appeared all things were progressing on schedule. The whole debacle with Naboo had been made worse by that company, HPI, that seemed to have come out of nowhere, and no matter how many times he immersed himself in the Force to find answers about the company, he was always stymied or was never given a full picture.

That did not stop him from collecting information from his normal sources, and what he got only made his mood darken. HPI, through no direct actions against him, was constantly working against his plans and putting decades and decades of careful planning and work back years in several sectors. He and his former master's efforts to fund and encourage the rise of piracy and slavery gangs had been progressing smoothly in nearly all sectors of the mid and Outer Rim. There had been even a few beneficial spillover effects of the situation, netting him additional funds under the nose of his former master even. Their efforts had now been put in jeopardy in several sectors by HPI.

The confounding issue he was having was that he could not find the source for many of their products they were selling, except of course what was obviously in the open for all to see. Going after their suppliers would have been an easy way to gain control of the company. However the factories his informants had found could not account for even a small fraction of what HPI seemed to be selling. Their plasma gas was a good example, as he had initially thought that Naboo had been providing it somehow behind his back, and even had directed Nute Gunnery to look into that avenue to no avail.

He felt his hand start to hurt as he realized he had been squeezing the hand rail in the front of his pod in his frustration, and reined in his rising temper. His control of his emotions had been frayed ever since that explosion of the light side of the Force from the Jedi Temple. Thankfully HPI was only a small source of irritation and he would be able to take the sweetest revenge if he managed to turn the young Anakin towards his side. Maybe playing Anakin off against his 'step-father' would be the best way forward. Yes that would work well, and be sweet revenge for all the times Hadrian Peverell was getting in the way of his plans. His smile only grew as he planned out his future revenge and fed upon his anger fueling his force cloak preventing his presence from being detected by the foolish Jedi nearby.

Yes, revenge was always sweet.

Qui-Gon would often join him at the pod races, but not always, as he did go to one almost every week these days if he could with his schedule not being quite so busy with the help of Lerla. Shmi did not really enjoy them, so rarely joined him, but he didn't really mind it was not everyone's speed. So after one of the races it was when he was walking from the elevator that led to his private booth at the arena to his speeder while being escorted by a few HB-2s, that someone he didn't recognize called out to him.

"Hadrian Peverell?! Can I have a moment of your time?" asked a young human male, probably in his early twenties. As Harry looked him over, it was obvious this guy didn't belong here as he totally didn't fit in, and gave Harry a huge nerd vibe. One of his HB-2s had moved to intercept the man, but didn't outright block him. He was not in a rush, nor was he feeling any danger from the Force, so he decided to indulge his curiosity on who this person was and why they were here.

"I have a few minutes, but how can I help you?" he asked the young blond haired man, giving him a few moments of his time. Honestly, as hard as it was to believe, this was incredibly rare for him. Most people simply gave him a wide berth on Tatooine, and there were no celebrity fandoms vying for his attention here, even if he was becoming quite famous. He honestly chalked it up to a combination of factors, but mainly his position on this world as its de facto ruler, the type of world it was, and simply the culture of Tatooine, which had been growing on him.

"Hi sorry, I am a reporter from HoloNet News, and I was hoping to be able to ask you a few questions?" the young now identified reporter asked. That surprised him even more, as he had not had any interaction with the press since arriving here in this galaxy. Which was an amazing fact in its own right. PA had HPI public relations people handle all of the reporters that have covered their company, while he tried to keep a lower profile, not that it works so well with some of his actions, so having a reporter wanting to ask him questions personally was a new and not entirely unpleasant surprise. More surprising was that he was getting interviewed out here, outside the Republic on what some would have called the lawless world of Tatooine. Honestly what the hell was this ultra white collar guy doing on a planet where many of the less savory types still frequented. He was almost begging to be a target of criminals.

"A reporter hu? Can we take these questions on the road?" he said pointing to his speeder not wanting to talk out in the open. He didn't see any harm answering a few questions. In fact it may be beneficial, as people will probably start hounding him as his company's profile continues to grow and grow and grow. It was not that surprising what a new perspective and an ample application of magic could do for a business's growth projections.

"Ah.. well. yes, sure that would be wonderful!" the young man said, obviously flustered, and excited about being granted a short interview. Harry got into the driver's seat and waited for his new passenger as a few of his droids also attached themselves to the sides of the speeder keeping watch on their surroundings. "I can't thank you enough. I was not sure if you would agree to answer some questions, and I am a huge fan of yours." the young man whose name he still didn't know yet kept chattering away. Though he was also a bit surprised the man was a fan of him and not his company.

"I didn't catch your name?" he said, reminding the inexperienced man that he had not yet introduced himself. As he asked that question he pulled them out of the parking area and toward his complex.

"Oh my apologies, this is my first interview offworld, and I am a bit flustered." the guy said, almost making Harry take his eyes off the road to ogle at the man. Who comes to Tatooine for their first offworld interview... That was just insane, or a complete lack of awareness of the dangers even just coming to the Outer Rim put one in, let alone coming this far and close to Hutt space. "My name is Beraka."

"Hmm well it seems you are quite the adventurous reporter." he said with a smirk knowing that the man clearly was not.

"I guess you could say that, but I was given this assignment, and wanted to ensure I did a good job with it. As I said it is my first offworld assignment." Beraka replied. "I have seen the advertisements about the safety of HPI transports and looked up their public safety rating and felt there was no risk of traveling directly here." It seemed the man was not as stupid as he looked, but it also appeared he was clearly fresh off the block and a bit naïve.

"That is certainly the truth, but that safety does end the moment you step out of the Space Port my friend. There are many unsavory individuals that still call Tatooine their home." he said plainly to his passenger as he zipped along the roads towards the HPI compound. Before you would barely be able to go 40km/h safely and now he could blast through at 150+km/h and not need to worry about running into someone. It was one of the many traffic improvements his company was making. "So what is it you wanted to ask?"

"Oh, yes. Um." Beraka said while fumbling and getting a nice looking but smaller padd out. "When I first got this assignment, I realized how little information there was on your company besides that of its business offerings, the official information from its Holonet site, and some rumors. I was hoping you would be able to tell me some basic information about HPI?" Beraka asked, his emotions projection through the Force clearly to Harry. The man was excited but nervous and that brought a smile to his face.

"Well what are you interested in knowing about?" he asked, giving the reporter a quick glance before focusing back on the road.

"Could you tell me the origins of HPI?" Beraka asked, clearly getting more comfortable doing something he was used to.

"Well I founded HPI here on Tatooine over a decade ago and have till recently primarily been operating outside Republic space. We started out offering a number of goods for sale before quickly adding a number of services as well. Since then HPI has only gone from one large growth spurt to another. Now it is a sovereign corporate entity that controls several planetary systems." he said happily while driving. He still loved the feel of having such a powerful speeder under his control, even after the 1000th time he took it for a spin. He did turn his attention back to the reporter when he felt a spike of surprise from the man through the Force.

"Could you explain what you mean by Sovereign entity?" Beraka asked, letting Harry know what had surprised him.

"Well as you may know, Tatooine here is outside Republic space, and as such I do not consider HPI a Republic company, rather a foreign company that does business within the Republic. Republic laws do not hold sway here or in any system that HPI controls." he said to the man, spelling it out as simply as he could. Though he expected he was probably going to ruffle a few feathers with that answer. That thought just made him smile. "Not that there is not a lot of overlap when it comes to personal protections."

"Interesting, I did not know that. Can you tell me a little bit more about what HPI does?"

"HPI dabbles in many different industries, but many people know of us because of our transport service, G-NET, or even some of the exclusive goods we sell. Jerky is super popular across many worlds, and is a surprisingly good money maker." he said with a smile while thinking about it. Man there were probably a dozen different sectors HPI was involved in that he probably didn't even know about, it was truly getting that big, and PA was a god sent.

"That actually leads nicely into another one of my questions, and a question that is on many people's minds, where are all these exclusive and proprietary goods HPI sells coming from?" Beraka asked him while taking notes on the little padd. He looked the reporter over more closely and probed him with his magic and found nothing nefarious about the man's questions except pure curiosity.

"Nearly all of the unique products that HPI sells come from my planet of origin, or have been created by me or one of my ancestors." he answered happily giving a mostly honest answer.

"From the rumors I picked up, the planet you are from is called Avalon?"

"Yes." he said fudging things a bit, but that was the story he had decided and he was going to stick with it.

"It's incredible to think so many amazing products come from a single planet. If you don't mind me asking where is your home planet located, and what type of world is it?"

"Avalon is a garden world, just over 70% covered in water. About 7 Billion inhabitants. Unfortunately I cannot tell you where it is, as I do not know myself." he said honestly, getting the reporter's full attention.

"How is it you don't know where your home planet is?" asked his intrepid reporter. Harry looked over carefully at his passenger and debated a bit how he wanted to answer that.

"I think we can save that topic for another time." he deflected the question, deciding that he did not want to get into THAT discussion. His reporter friend took the que and quickly moved on.

"HPI has been making some waves in regards to their medications that are being offered, and their much lower price in comparison to several alternatives. Could you elaborate on why that is the route your business has decided to take? It is my understanding from some brief research that demand is such that your company could increase prices and still maintain its current sales volume." his young reporter friend came out of left field with that question.

"Ah well two reasons. One, I think certain medical procedures should only cost so much. And two, if we increased our prices we would inevitably price out some of our loyal customers who were often the ones that took a risk on trying out a new company's product in the first place." he answered. "We make good profit on most of the medicine we sell, and I don't see a reason to change things as long as that remains to be true. There are many lower income earners, such as some less well off agri-farmers that are direct customers and business partners of other segments of our business. If we were to raise prices too much, those loyal business partners would be priced out of one of our goods that they have started to rely on."

"How are you then handling the resale of your medicine for much higher prices than your own?" Baraka asked a good question making him smile and the naive but clearly not stupid reporter. New to the reality of the galaxy yes, but not dumb it seemed. Merlin, how someone so green thought it was a good idea to come straight to Tatooine is beyond him.

"We track our sales and their use quite closely ensuring only a small amount can get through the cracks for resale at exuberant prices. All of our sales to large institutions also come with contracts that prevent such price gouging when being sold or used on patients. Finally we ensure that anyone can come and obtain free medical services here on Tatooine for the simple price of transport here and some other minor fees. We even offer pick up via our medical transports for a small fee, and it can even be free if there are enough patients coming from a single pick up location."

"If you don't mind me asking, how can HPI afford to pay for the medical care for people that I would assume are not paying taxes or fees by living here on this world?"

"The medical services are a loss leader, but we make back the investment in other ways, as the offer does cause a substantial amount of medical tourism to Tatooine. So while we don't charge patients, we do charge any visitors they have and for their stays here, the things they buy, etc.. This brings in business for all sorts here on Tatooine. There are several other factors that make the offer more affordable for us to continue, one being we produce many of the medications here in house." he said answering the tricky question, because Baraka was not wrong in that it was not cheap to keep running, however the Elves made that so much easier.

In fact it was mostly because of the Elves that he started offering this service. For the longest time, years in fact, he had felt that he had been working his elves too hard or more correctly he felt he was abusing the bond between them. When in reality it was the complete opposites, and it took Dobby informing him of four Elves which had taken their own lives, all because they felt they were taking advantage of the bond, and not offering enough service to him in return! It had been an eye opener to say the least, and had left him fairly upset that such a tragedy occurred for such a simple stupid reason to him. But to the Elves it was not.

It was a stark reminder that Elves were a different species, and therefore valued and desired different things from him. Their perspective and avenue to happiness may be completely foreign to him, but it was what brought them happiness, and in this case it was providing service to him in return for the bond they relied on for survival. He could certainly relate to the idea of not wanting to get something for free without giving something in return, especially from those you respect. However it still was a kick in the bullocks whenever he thought about those Elves that took their own lives.

So he started his grand endeavor to find something that would help the Elves feel more fulfilled in life, and that was how he ended up landing on offering medical care. Elves love, and he means LOVE, taking care of people and were quite skilled in using magic and potions for healing and nursing someone back to health. Combined together with a suite of medical droids and you had some of the best nurse/doctor combinations you would find galaxy wide. It also just so happened to keep the costs down far lower than anyone probably expected. Meeting Dobby was truly one of the best things to ever happen to him. That reminded him to reward the little fellow.

"It is good to see a company looking out for their people and customers as you do. If you don't mind changing topics slightly, I wanted to talk about Tatooine and the changes here, as well as the battle in space recently I have heard so many rumors about?"

From there it was a fairly sedate conversation about the changes made to Tatooine since his arrival, some of his plans for the future and how HPI and Jabba play into these. It took them about forty minutes and during said time he drove them around Tatooine to show the reporter what he was talking about. Of course much was not mentioned but there was already so much that was public there was no shortage of topics to discuss. A major topic being their stance on slavery, as it was quite a stark contrast to those of surrounding planets.

"One last question, and I only ask this due to some rumors I picked up. If you are not offended, could you confirm your species, as I have heard many odd stories about what you are, even if you look human to me?" That question caused him to smile and laugh at the reporter he was coming to like. He actually took a few seconds to think on how to answer that question.

"Hmm a fair question with many of the rumors going around. I have yet to encounter a name for my species here in the wider galaxy, as such I feel it is fair to simply refer to me as being a Near Human Species." he said with a smile. "Though even with the stark similarities in appearance, I believe you would find many startling differences between myself and a baseline human. For example my people without any outside help can easily live well beyond 2 centuries, and that can be extended even further with simple skill and practice. There are several of my people who are known to be functionally ageless." he said, smiling at the surprise and shock coming from the young man. It was almost like pranking someone, but with the truth.

"Incredible!" Baraka exclaimed, before a look like a light bulb had gone off crossed his face and then he asked. "If that is true, then how old would that make you?" which caused Harry to smile even more and decide to prank the man a bit and infer he is much older than he is.

"Well it is fair to say that I have not aged a day in many years." he said with a smirk at the shock and widened eyes of his passenger.

Garrn looked through the digital enhanced telescopic scope of his trusty blaster rifle at all the activity going on at nearly 3 km out. Way outside his rifle's range, but still within his scope's ability to see, and that was all he needed. He was paid by a few of his clients, people he was fairly sure worked closely with the Trade Federation, to come here to Tatooine and see what was being built here and anything else juicy he could ascertain. It seemed the Trade Federation, or at least some of the groups within it, were worried about HPI going into another major industry, and disrupting their businesses. Or at least that was the bantha poodoo he was fed when he accepted this job.

Anyone with a quick glance could see this was a military base from orbit with a basic scan, but apparently those were not detailed enough so here he was scoping out the place and recording what he saw. He would also add in his own notes and suppositions to his final report on what his experience said they were doing within the base, but it seemed fairly obvious to him. Tatooine had been attacked months ago, and they were now finally building a few military installations outside Mos Espa to defend the place. The new facility was certainly not commercial in any respects, and that showed by being 15km outside Mos Espa, in a new 'exclusion zone'.

The military base was about 3 km wide and long, making it fairly square in nature, and was situated in a flat sandy plane making it impossible to approach further without being seen. There was also a tall 30m wall surrounding the entire base with ample defenses present and visible to, mostly he felt to deter enemies, or even just to scare away people from attacking. He expected there to be many hidden weapon installations as well, if what he had heard was true about a few large weapon platforms that had popped out of hiding within the city during the previous attack.

Inside the base was a number of buildings, for all sorts of things he imagined, but a number were clearly hangars, and equipment sheds. The whole base was simply teeming with droids, and even had a few grav tanks of a model he had never seen before, but mostly it was the two droids of HPI's design that he had previously seen in the city, and his employers had already mentioned them in their mission dossier.

There was also a large landing area, and in that area was where the most interesting stuff was happening. That being the construction of something large, but if he had to guess it was parts of or a whole entire orbital defense installation that would be tractored into space. He guessed they were doing it down here to be out of sight from most, instead of up in orbit, and it would not be too hard to get them up there in the first place with a few ships or repulsors. He knew of a few orbital weapons and defenses that actually could deorbit and launch under their own power; often coming down planet side for maintenance. Since some species had much harder times working in the vacuum of space, he imagined there were all kinds of things like that around the Galaxy.

It was fun to get paid to speculate on matters like this, but this job also scared the crap out of him, as people in the bounty hunting industry, and others, had quickly learned, you don't fuck with HPI. It always turned out poorly, and then went doubly so for those who try to take on the owner, who if the rumors in some circles were to be believed, was a Daemon in disguise, or a former Jedi, exiled from the order for his brutality and blood lust. Neither of which were things he wanted to tangle with, but the pay for this job was just too good to pass up, as apparently they could not get anyone competent to take it on for any reasonable rate.

Another point of interest he noticed was a few larger boxy looking shuttles, and even two large rectangle looking ships. The ships were about 200m long, and maybe 50m or so wide. They were mean looking machines, if a bit simplistic in their design. Each looked heavily armored, and had weapons easily visible. They were probably designed to carry around some of the droids and hardware he could see, and if he was not wrong, the smaller boxy shuttles or transports should be able to just fit into the larger crafts for transport over longer distances.

Besides all that there was not much to see on the surface, but from the way things were laid out, and the design choices, he would bet his life there were shield generators and other party tricks hidden inside and outside those walls. He hoped this would suffice his employers, as it seemed this was all he was going to get. Either way he quickly and stealthy made his way back down the cliff to his speeder and made his way out of there going the opposite way of the city; mostly just to try and hide his tracks better. Honestly, some would call him paranoid, but he didn't want to underestimate HPI, as they were quite handy for getting around for a bounty hunter like him without a ship. With his large paycheck in mind he started to make his way back into Mod Espa, and directly to the spaceport. Maybe he should buy his own ship sometime?

Obi-Wan watched his young Padawan almost bouncing on his feet as they approached Tatooine through hyperspace. Anakin was coming along quite well in his training, but he was still in many ways the young child they had picked up from Tatooine. Unfortunately he was a bit ostracized by those around his age for his acceptance into the order at such a late age, for still having contact with his family, and for the fact that somehow rumors that Anakin could be the possible chosen one had spread around the temple. With Anakin being a prodigy in many ways, it did not help with his peers' envy either, and Obi-Wan was personally worried it may go to the young boy's head. Thankfully Qui-Gon was still there to give the sturdy, mature and flexible opinion he admittedly lacked, and was able to guide Anakin in the first few years to help deal with some of those issues. Though there was much work to still be done on that topic.

They had been told they were only a few minutes out by the intercom onboard the ship they were on. They had been traveling in some style, as they had hitched a ride on one of the HPI transports from Coruscant to Tatooine. They had been given the state room on one of the CR-90s in the convoy, and all at no cost. Apparently the offer of Harry's for the Jedi was real as the man had said, as many Jedi had taken advantage of it as word in the order had spread. HPI transports were quick, reliable, and well protected, so quite popular amongst Jedi taking missions to wherever they serviced. Though it probably didn't hurt that he was traveling with Anakin, as every droid on the ship, and even during loading had personally greeted his Padawan and asked to make sure Anakin had all he needed.

He felt it was something he would need to keep an eye on, but didn't think it would be too much of a problem, as Anakin even though coming from money later in his life did not have many personal belongings with him in the order. That was also the reason he had two masters, rather than one, as it allowed them to give him more attention than most when the boy needed it.

He could sense that they were about the drop out of hyperspace a few seconds before they did, so he walked over to where Anakin was looking out a window to see what had changed since his last arrival. The first difference that stood out to him was how Tatooine felt far more full of life and vibrant to his Force scenes. The next thing he saw was the number of ships, and other things in space. Whereas before when they had arrived over two years ago they had been the only ship in space at the time, now there had to be several hundred at least. Many of them were well armed if their size and visible weapons were anything to go by, but that was not to be unexpected, as both he and Anakin had heard about the attack six months ago. What truly surprised him though was the constant traffic to and from the surface of the planet.

Anakin had been understandably upset when he learnt about the attack on Tatooine, but at the same time was ecstatic when he had heard about the results of the battle. It had come as quite the shock to many in the Order when they had heard about the battle, and those few in the Republic that had more than rumor or hearsay to go off of. It had been one of the largest fleet battles known to the Jedi order in quite some time, and really showed how far the state of the galaxy had deteriorated, even if it was not in what most consider the Republic space. It was something that had been worrying a number of Senators in the know, or at least that is what he had heard from Master Windu.

From what he could see and the planet profile on Tatooine he had read in the Jedi archives before coming, recently updated, he could identify at least six Arquitens-class light cruisers, a few dozen CR-90s, and swarms of fighters. It was like they were flying into a well protected military installation, and he expected those stationary orbital objects he could see were orbital defenses of some kind as well. He heard Anakin beside him give out a slow long whistle in appreciation at what he saw.

"You would almost not recognize the planet if it was not for all the stupid sand and the two suns." his Padawan said letting his well known dislike for sand come through in his voice, which only made Obi-Wan chuckle. He found it hilarious that his Padawan had such a dislike for the substance, that he would complain about it at least once every time it came into his eyesight. Though he felt his Padawan may be right, and expected they would see even more of the annoyance before their trip was over. He had not had the opportunity during their last visit to properly see the planet, as he had guarded the ship and enacted repairs, so he only had his Padawans remarks to color his opinion. That and what his former master had reported about his stay.

Apparently Master Qui-Gon was going to meet them at the spaceport, after which he was going to take them to where they would be staying during their visit. It would certainly be good to see his master again. His thoughts were interrupted by a deep blue HPI droid coming into the room and speaking.

"Master Jedi, Master Anakin, we are about to land. You shall be allowed to disembark first. Is there anything else we can do for you before you depart?" the droid clearly asked Anakin, not being rude to him, but obviously differing to his young charge.

"No, that is alright, and thank you." Anakin said, being polite to the droid like he always was to all droids. It was something he had noticed quickly and was not an example most followed. He liked that aspect about his Padawan, and saw no reason to try and change it about him.

They both got out of the CR-90 taking the elevator from its third deck all the way to the flight deck of the landing pad. Walking out they could feel Qui-Gon just off to the side, and who was easily spotted once you knew where to look. His master was clearly waiting there patiently for them to arrive, but surprisingly there were two blue droids beside him waiting also. As they finally finished their approach, he looked at the two droids pointedly before raising his eyebrow in question.

"I didn't know you had droid escorts?" he said, as he knew most Jedi would have turned them down.

"Harry insisted, and I felt it was not worth the battle." his master said cheekily, as it didn't seem to be too big of an inconvenience. "We will be taking a speeder to the HPI HQ where we will be staying." Qui-Gon finished saying which didn't surprise him, as they were here due to the agreement the Council had made to allow Anakin to see his parents.

"Is there anything we should watch out for? It appears a lot has changed since we were last here." he asked while looking around. He could also see his Padawan looking around excitedly, and for some reason, giving off clear feelings of being nervous in the force. He sent feelings of support to his Padawan through the bond that had been forming over the past few years they had been training together.

"It's so... different." Anakin said not waiting for Qui-Gon's response.

"Yes young one, much has changed. Your parents have done wonders over the last few years creating the differences you see." Qui-Gon said with a smile as they looked around at the clean spaceport, and the thousands and thousands of people going about their business. It was clear they walked without fear for their safety, and were not afraid of getting robbed. It was both easy to see, and feel in the force. Quite refreshing if he was being honest with himself.

They walked from the spaceport chatting about many topics, mostly catching up, and observing the incredible improvements made in the city. During their ride Qui-Gon informed them of his plans to spend time training Anakin, while he also wanted a spar with Obi-Wan. It took them no time at all for them to reach the massive complex that was both quite intimidating, and welcoming. Anyone looking to rob the place would take one look at the height of the walls or the clear military style of the droids and decide on a better place. While at the same time there were signs and other additions like trees to welcome people in. Trees of all things in a Desert.

It was when they passed the barrier to the gate, he felt the force barrier that surrounded the place, and his Master had described to the council in the past. It was incredible, almost tangible in the Force as he entered, and inside he was constantly being buffeted by waves of the Force, almost like a gentle wind. Some of the effects were fairly apparent to any Force trained individual, like the slight calming, and sense of protection the field provided. He was not quite sure if that feeling was a result of protections provided, or just a feeling induced by the field. The other quite obvious difference was the cooling of the area, which was even felt within the speeder they were riding as the intensity of glare from the suns seemed to dim as they entered.

As they pulled around the main building they saw Harry and Shmi waiting for them, and he could feel it was all his Padawan could do to restrain himself and not jump out of the still moving speeder. When they stopped, Anakin was the first out and into his mother's arms. Even if it was against the code, and it made many Jedi upset, it only brought a smile to his face to see his young Padawan so happy. It unfortunately brought a jolt of pain to his heart as well as it directed his thoughts to the one person who invoked such feelings in him. It was the one time he truly felt conflicted about being a Jedi, and something he still thinks about each and every day. He wondered what Satine was up to these days.

Looking at Anakin brought such joy to her heart, but she would have been a terrible mother if she could not notice right away that something was bothering her little boy. Or maybe not so little anymore. It seemed that as much as had changed here on Tatooine, her little ball of joy and happiness had also been going through many changes, a growth spurt one the clearest of them all.

She didn't have long to think about it because Ani had run straight into her arms giving her a back breaking hug, one which she returned with zeal. Tucking his head under her chin, something she was happy she could still do, she breathed in his smell and relaxed as she was happy to have her family all here with her at home. She held her boy for nearly thirty seconds without saying anything, before pushing him back a bit to arms length while still holding him so she could get a better look.

He was still her adorable little boy, but he had now lost much of his baby fat, and held himself with more confidence, but at the same time she only confirmed that something was bothering her son, and it was causing him to doubt himself it seemed. Or something else important to him. She would make sure to figure out what it is, and if she couldn't she would send Harry in to find out what was wrong. If the Jedi were treating her son badly they would get a piece of her mind. She was not the same woman she was years ago, but for now there were more important things to do.

"Welcome home Ani, I missed you dearly." she said with a big smile before pulling him back in for another even stronger hug.

"I missed you mom." she heard him say muffled into her chest as she squeezed him tight not wanting to let him go and have him disappear on her again.

He stood there for a bit watching Anakin who was looking out on the balcony, for someone so young he seemed so conflicted. That would not do. He may not have been the boy's biological father, but he felt it was his duty to offer advice when he could, so he walked but made sure he was making enough noise so Ani heard him.

"What seems to have you so troubled?" he said while also standing beside the kid looking out over the growing city that still somehow didn't feel like it had the rushed existence of most other cities. Even if it now did. All the small sounds coming together creating this subtle calm to the otherwise rowdy city was beautiful, and it seemed both he and Anakin could enjoy the atmosphere created, as the boy, or should he say young man, took his time to formulate his answer.

"I have been considering leaving my training with the Jedi." Anakin said a bit sadly but with a bit of heat in the kid's voice, surprising Harry quite a bit, as Ani had spent most of his youth telling his mom and him about wanting to become a Jedi. Something must have really disillusioned him to The Order to have this large a change in mindset.

"What brought this on, I thought you wanted to be a Jedi?" he asked the obvious question.

"I have been training for years now, and all we do is sit around the temple discussing things when we could be out here changing the galaxy for the better!" Anakin said showing his frustration, almost causing Harry to laugh at the teen. Oh the rush of youth.

"Anakin, you know your mother and I would support your decision either way." he said before quickly continuing. "But really, you need to learn to walk before you can run, and I would have been more than a little miffed had the Jedi allowed you to go galivanting around the galaxy with so little training, and quite frankly you have not even seen me upset. And imagine how your mother would feel. I think the issue of you doing nothing will start to change soon, just give it some more time or you could come to really regret making a rash decision now before giving the order a real chance." he said to the boy who seemed to really be taking in his words and even nodded in understanding.

"I just want to make a difference out here, free as many slaves and save as many people as I can." Anakin said passionately, and a bit sadly. "Look at all you have managed to accomplish, and yet look how many Jedi there are, and I don't see them doing much of anything in comparison." he said sadly.

"Anakin the Galaxy is a big place, and the Jedi are few. It would be surprising if you saw lots of evidence of their work with your own eyes after only a few years. I would imagine most planets go decades or even centuries without seeing a Jedi. They have to pick and choose their battles, but at the same time I do agree somewhat, as I too feel they could do more." he told the boy as the both looked out over the cityscape. "Maybe it will be you that brings about that change in the order." he said softly while they both stood there enjoying the view in silence just enjoying each other's presence.

"I like the final droid designs." Ani said all of a sudden, causing Harry to laugh as they got into a heated, and purely soul enriching discussion on all the choices he had made in designing the droids. Anakin had a passion for these things, similar to him, and it was something he loved sharing with the kid. They ended up chatting well into the night, causing an upset Shmi to come and kick them to bed. Regardless they had both left feeling much better than when they had walked out onto that balcony.

Obi-Wan could not believe the improvement that his master had achieved with his lightsaber in the months since they had last sparred. It was humbling to see the older man not degrade in skills as he took a less active role around the galaxy, but instead to see marked improvement was something else. It made him wonder the reason, something he would make sure to inquire about.

He could barely keep up his defense and he was flagging after only a few minutes, while his master's relentless assault, which should have left him exhausted, only seemed to have created a light sheen on his forehead. Comparatively he was sweating heavily and breathing deep, just barely keeping ahead of the aggressive assault of lightsaber hits he was defending from. Just then his former master ended their duel by pulling him out of position by striking to his left with only minimal force but seemed like a heavy strike causing him to over extend slightly and leave himself with a small opening on his right. An opening his master took advantage of and hit him cleaning before leaping back ending the duel.

"You have been improving. I believe it was the right choice to change your style, it appears to suit you well." Qui-Gon said to him, causing him to scoff.

"If I am improving, what do you call what you're doing?" he sniped back, but smiled non the less at the honest compliment of his master.

"Staving off old age with diligent practice?" his master said with a smile before they both broke out laughing as the tension from their spar left them, and they made their way over to the nice sitting area on the side to relax and unwind from their recent bash.

They sat for a second before a droid came from the side with cold water, and asked them if they wanted anything else, which his master ordered them a pot of tea for later. Thankfully the lull allowed him to get his thoughts together on the issue he most wanted to bring up.

"Master, I have some reservations about this mission the Council has given me and Anakin. I do not believe he is in quite the right mindset to go on his first mission.'' He said carefully to his Master not wanting to let on about his own insecurities about not feeling ready to take his Padawan on a mission that could be dangerous.

"Have faith in young Anakin, and in the Force." his master said after looking at him for moments. It seems that while some things change, others don't. "More than anything I believe Anakin now needs to see the good that the Jedi can do around the galaxy." He certainly conquered, as it seemed that Anakin was becoming more and more restless within the Jedi temple, and more despondent for some reason he has yet to discover. The young man was not always forthcoming with many of his inner fears. He felt it was probably because of how many in the Order looked at his young Padawan and often judged him beyond what Obi-Wan felt was fair.

"I will. I just have a bad feeling about this." he said while taking a sip of his tea, before going back to his ice water deciding that no he had not cooled down enough yet.

Qui-Gon left the HPI ship on a Coruscant landing platform. He appreciated traveling in HPI vessels when he could, they were quite convenient since he had been traveling around a lot more recently trying to track down his former master, often simply running down and talking to a few sources with little success. Coruscant didn't seem any different to him, not that he expected it to, so he checked himself to make sure he didn't forget anything. He had not brought much with himself on this short trip. The only thing of any substance really was the odd medium sized wooden chest that Hadrian had given to him for the Jedi. The chest itself was shielded from his Force senses in some way, but he felt no threat from it.

It did not take him long to hail an air taxi and arrive at one of the private entrances to the Jedi temple where returning Jedi more often than not came to, rather than the large public entrances. He walked through the temple and could not see much that stood out to him as being different. Seeing how quickly things changed on Tatooine, often right in front of his eyes, he could not say he was not somewhat disappointed to see obvious nothing had changed. And yet there was also a feeling of comfort from knowing things were close to the same as before; That his home hadn't changed in his absence.

He quickly made his way through the temple carrying the chest that Harry had entrusted to him to give to the Council. He smiled fondly at many of the sights along the way, his absence having grown a sense of longing in him for some of the sites he used to see often. It also made him realize how much he had become used to living on Tatooine with its admittedly 'cleaner' presence in the Force. Whereas Tatooine certainly had its dark spots in the Force, overall it felt refreshing and lively, and certainly aligned more with the light side, or at least neutral. Here even in the temple the Force still felt, almost unclean or better to say slightly contaminated by all the negative feelings and emotions of the surrounding planet. Coruscant being the center of the Republic Government and the corruption that follows, the hundreds of levels that were deemed not even safe for Jedi to venture into, all truly combined to give the Force an almost polluted feel.

He would not have even truly been able to feel the difference had he not been spending so much time meditating within the wards on Tatooine. During those times he often inspected them and the various Force-imbued items he could feel in Harry's compound with the Force. This had dramatically improved his sensitivity to fluctuations and variance in the Force. He was even starting to be able to discern an almost feeling to some of the layers of the 'wards' and what they did individually. It was quite fascinating and something he looked forward to each meditation session.

He continued to enjoy the sights till he finally made it to the elevator that allowed one to arrive at the top of the tower to the Jedi High Council chambers. Once on board he schooled his features and sent feelers out with the Force to see how many Masters were present today. From what he could feel it seemed he had arrived at a time when many were personally present. He was not sure if that was a good thing or not. Well at least there will be a good audience for presenting Harry's gift. Hopefully it was nothing that would embarrass them.

When the lift arrived at the top he quickly moved towards the High Council chamber door and stood there waiting. He knew they could sense his presence and would call him when free, which to his surprise came almost immediately. They usually made him wait ten to fifteen minutes at minimum before allowing him in, so it intrigued him as to the change. So he stood there with a thoughtful look on his face as the door to the chamber swung open. Walking in he smiled and nodded in greeting to the various Masters in the room.

"Master Qui-Gon, good to see you, it is." Master Yoda spoke calmly from his floating chair.

"You as well Master Yoda, and greetings to you Masters" he said and got many greetings in return.

"What updates do you have for us on your two missions?" Master Windu asked him after they all finished greeting each other. Several looked closely, as many in the order were interested in hearing more on the whereabouts of his former Master, Dooku or on Hadrian

"Unfortunately I have little to report on the matter of my former master. His whereabouts continue to elude my best efforts. I seem to always be several steps behind him, and I am inclined to believe he may be purposely avoiding me." he said with a little bit of sadness and even a touch of failure in his voice.

He started to go into detail about his various efforts to get into contact with his former master, and his failures. He also mentioned how nearly all contacts that he shared with Dooku seemed to have come up with nothing for him, which led him to believe they were withholding information. There was unfortunately little he could do as most valued their relationship with Dooku more than him, and those that didn't had little good information for him.

"And how progresses the investigation into Mr. Peverell?" asked Master Jocasta, who seemed far more interested in the topic of Hadrian than his former master.

"Lord Peverell." he answered almost reflexively.

"Lord Peverell?" Master Piell questioned with a deriding snort.

"That is the way most on Tatooine address him, and one he does admit, rather reluctantly after some persuasive questioning, to having valid claims to." he said with little conviction. Not all on Tatooine used the title, but it was rapidly becoming more and more popular and the dominant form of address, especially amongst many of the former slaves who were making the planet their home. "Though lord of what exactly, Harry has not dined to elaborate much on, except that he holds several titles from his home planet."

"His supposed titles are unimportant here, what more were you able to learn about his Force abilities?" Master Piell retorted.

"As stated in my regular reports, he uses the Force constantly throughout his day in all sorts of manners. It is so integrated into his use, I would postulate that Force use itself is quite integrated into his people's daily lives. This is supported by the number and frankly narrow uses of the many Force-imbued objects around his home. He has also proven to be an incredibly fast learner."

"Could you give an example of such an object?" Jocasta asked him, clearly interested.

"Hmm.. a good example would be a wooden spoon created simply to stir a pot in the kitchen at a rate the user requires, all on its own once set. From my observation, these utensils have no other use, and shows how specialized these objects can get." he answered after thinking for a few moments.

"There are more than one?"

"Yes, a whole assortment of kitchen tools, and many other everyday devices." he answered truthfully, thinking back to his stay on Tatooine. That reminded him of the chest he had brought with him. "I believe this may be an example of such a tool." he said, holding up the chest that now had all the Masters' attention before putting it on the ground.

"What is it?" Jocasta asked as she got up from her seat to get a closer look at the chest that was beautifully engraved wood with silver metal hardware.

"I am uncertain, except that the chest appears to be designed to block or isolate the Force presence of the object within." he awkwardly answered, as he had not been able to discover anything else about the chest or what it contained during his entire trip to Coruscant. "Harry asked that I wait to open it within the Temple for maximum effect." he answered the unasked question he knew was coming.

"Are we certain that it is safe to open and it's not a bomb or something else nefarious?" Ask Master Adi Gallia.

"Sense no danger, do I," Master Yoda, who had been concentrating on the chest, said to the room with his eyes closed.

"Lord Peverell did mention one reason for the gift and that is he felt the younglings should not have to grow up in a place and form their connections with the light side in an area as tainted by the dark side as he says Coruscant is." he added to his report after putting the chest on the ground so Master Jocasta, and the few others who had gotten up could inspect it closer. That comment of Harry's seemed to have gotten some of the council ruffled a bit, as they clearly don't agree with that assessment of the Force presence of Coruscant.

As he was thinking about that, Jocasta was inspecting the chest closely and carefully running her hands over it gently barely touching the Engravings that were beautifully carved into the wood top of the chest. Master Nu let out a small gasp causing everyone in the room's attention to draw to her as her own attention left the chest and look it over at them and saying "the wood feels alive in the force, and yet ancient."

"Is such a thing possible?'' asked one of the Masters, Jocasta was just about to answer when she briefly touched the chest again and the latch fell open causing the wood top to abruptly swing open. The opening of the chest was accompanied by an explosion of light, but more importantly and alarmingly was the sure palpable wave of the Force he could feel exploding out of the chest. He didn't even have enough time to brace himself before the wave hit and didn't come with the expected knockback, but instead with the most incredible feeling of being so invigorated by the light side that he almost forgot himself.

The explosion of the Force from the chest was so strongly aligned to the light side and was in such abundance and density that it almost felt like a real wind passing through the room, it took a few moments for them to all recover before anyone could say anything or see as the explosion of light that was caused when opening the chest gradually faded leaving a white glowing round orb about 30 cm across floating gently above the chest at about head height. From the orb they could feel a constant and heady wave of the light side coming from the object, the white light it was giving off seemingly coalesced to the top of the orb into the shape of what one can only describe as a small quad pedal animal.

"By the force" exclaimed Master Windu who had gotten up from his seat in the excitement, hand on his lightsaber.

The small animal which Qui-Gon quickly realized resembles a rabbit of the Lothar Plains, he was just about to mention this fact when the animal shifted from the rabbit into a small lizard he was uncertain of which species it belonged to. The animal was looking around the room as if it was searching for an enemy or something that had called forth its attention. It just shifted several more times into other animals some he did recognize but were of a quite similar size as the animal was standing on the now floating white glowing orb. Seemingly after a few moments the Force phenomenon decided that there was no threat and broke apart before the white light was reabsorbed back into the orb.

The wave of the force that had been released from the chest had not simply stopped at the room, no it traveled around the planet cleansing it as it went, with the closer you got to the temple to more powerful the effect had been. The wave seemed to almost circle the planet several times before petering out and caused everyone to be silent as they used their own powers to sense what was happening, himself included.

"I do not understand how this could be possible. A font of the Force should not be mobile, nor should it be so strongly linked to a single affiliation of the Force." said Master Jocasta after finally recovering from falling on her butt when the chest had unexpectedly opened.

"A great gift we have been given'' Master Yoda said solemnly after a moment of contemplation.

"You mentioned that Lord Peverell created this.. Font?" Asked Master Gallia with clear intrigue in her voice. That question reminded many in the room of that earlier statement of his, and caused all of them to look to him for confirmation.

"Yes, to the best of my knowledge Lord Peverell spent some time designing and creating this 'font'. However, from what little he said, I believe this may have been his first attempt at creating such a thing, as he mentioned doing a few experiments." he replied after quickly reviewing his memories of the event. "Hadrian said that it was a gift primarily to clean up the presence of the Force here on Coruscant, while also giving the younglings a better environment to learn about the Force in. Or at least that is what he said. Though it is well known on Tatooine that Hadrian has a soft spot for children, so I can see that as actually being a large part of his true motivation."

Qui-Gon looked around the room at the various masters and realized that Harry's gift had not been well received by all. While certainly there were those who looked clearly pleased and excited about the gift, there were those who certainly looked concerned and even upset with the offering. It had him thinking a bit deeper about the meaning of the gift or if there was any deeper meaning for Harry other than giving something because he could. It certainly looked like he was not the only one in deep thought, but regardless he had not felt better in years because of the influx of the Force, and he certainly wasn't going to squander the mood of brooding over an unexpected event.

Sheev Palpatine or as he preferred to be known, Darth Sidious, was sitting quietly in his hidden private office secretly attached to his public one via a carefully hidden doorway. It was where he often undertook most of his more clandestine activities, and a place where he was slightly more relaxed and embraced his Sith side. Still even here while going over mundane reports, he kept a tight leash on his power in the Force, lest those pathetic Jedi grew a brain cell and sensed something.

He was just about to move onto another report when he got the briefest of warnings before a wave of the Force aligned to the light side came through his office, being accompanied by full body spasms of excruciating pain. As the light side of the Force constantly infused his body and was roundly rejected by his darkside nature, it came at the cost of pain nigh unbearable, he started to scream loudly out his pain into the otherwise silent room.

The pain didn't simply go away either and he fell from his chair and slid to the ground and tried to reset himself in the force but even with using the pain to fuel his connection he was just too awash in the light side at the moment. As he felt himself about to finally blackout in pain, he swore he would get revenge on whoever was responsible, and that he would torture even more Jedi than he had planned when he was Emperor just because he could.

"Move in!" Sugi ordered the twelve droids she was near. She could hear at the same time as the ones in the front, the others on the other side of the building were breaching the building too. They had finally tracked down another one of the spicer gang leaders that was behind the attack on Tatooine. This was the fourth such leader they had taken down, and she had been making great progress, and a lot of money at the same time. It certainly didn't hurt that she had the new HPI droids to help her. Each individual gang usually had dozens of sites she would hit before taking on the leader or their main base, letting them stew in their fear of the inevitable. Working with HPI droids was like working with an unstoppable force, at least to conventional weapons, and she was bringing that force against these assholes.

In fact the droids honestly scared her, and that was not even including the specialty droids that had been personally loaned to her by Harry. Observing the normal HB-2 was enough to make sure she never took a job that would ever put her up against them. They were terrifying in their ability to constantly keep themselves moving in combat bobbing and weaving and they laid down streams of baster fire with dead accurate shots from their built in arm blasters. Almost literally in most cases, and that was before she had them download a bunch of other skill sets to help out in their hunt for HPI's enemies.

The best part of the whole thing was that she felt she was doing good, even honest work, and this raid was mostly likely going to be the same. She often found dozens of slaves, and even abused droids that had been forced to do a number of quite unspeakable things. Usually the production of spice, or as Harry called it 'drugs', was quite dangerous and harmful to those involved. So each time she raided some of these shitstains, she ended up sending a number of former slaves to Tatooine to find a better life and sadly for medical care.

In these smaller scale operations she was using mostly HB-2s, as they were more specialized, but the stuff she had available to use was, in her opinion, overkill, and that was saying something. Like seriously, Harry had sent her a boxy, almost ugly looking ship called a RaTDaC which had enough firepower on board to basically take over this planet. The fact that Harry trusted her that much with that fire power made her feel warm and fuzzy inside. And maybe a little turned on. But seriously what was she supposed to use more than 40 repulsor tanks for?

Either way that was not important to think about right now, because she just watched the first HB-2 in the line of twelve finish kicking the weak metal door down and swiftly enter the building. Even before her eyes had adjusted or the door hit the ground, she saw blaster bolts leave the droid and steak towards targets she couldn't see. The droid moved fast, clearing the building, not even letting his buddies behind him get any action. Honestly bringing so many was almost overkill at times, but she felt it was better to be prepared than sorry. That was why she also had one of those nifty MTC shuttle craft that were chalk full of droids on standby just a few hundred meters away, floating like a deadly sentinel.

"Bew Pew Pew Piii-oow.'' The rapid stream of blaster noise came to her as she carefully followed the pack of droids. Her being here was not really necessary, as the droids had been getting better and better at doing this each time they did it. The first time four droids had been destroyed during the attack, and last time only one had been even seriously damaged. This time she was excited to see if they had improved again, as she even saw them practicing things sometimes when not on 'duty'. That had been a startling discovery, as she had never seen droids practice something before… As she had said, they scared her to a good degree.

The 'battle' was all over before she even knew it, barely a minute for basically two droids to clear all three floors of the dinghy building, killing dozens of enemies. Terrifying. "Maam, the building is secure. No droid casualties, all enemies down, and seven non combatants detained." one of the droids said to her as it continued to scan the area and waited for her orders. Moving into one of the back rooms she saw her main target with a blaster shot through the heart and head. The blue, admittedly attractive male Twi-lek had clearly been caught off guard... somehow, as they had been playing a game of Sabac. Well it seemed another enemy of HPI's had been dealt with, and HPI's hold on Ryloth had been strengthened all the more.

She was not blind to what her actions were causing. Each time she took out a gang that was sticking their noses where it didn't belong, HPI had to often come in and start providing many of the services and opportunities that the gangs did. Otherwise people would just be far worse off, many starving to death as not enough food could be imported with little to no income. This meant HPI was gaining more and more control over the planet, even if it was an unintentional by-product of her raids. She had even mentioned it to Harry during one of their flirting sessions, er she meant briefings, but he seemed unconcerned or even uninterested with their growing presence on the planet.

It made her feel better that he was not doing this for the better access his company was getting, and it didn't take a genius to see the positive impact HPI was having on Ryloth. Even if it was only in certain areas, as they mostly had influence around the three major spaceports they now operated on the planet. She hated slavery, and HPI seemed to be the only group in the galaxy actually doing anything about it, which said a lot when this was considered a Republic world. Not just any old Republic world either, one of the oldest members, which really just exemplified the corruption in the Republic when you consider that slaves have been Ryloth's biggest or second biggest export for the entire duration of its membership.

Either way it was absurd that in broad daylight she could orchestrate an attack like this and have everyone just ignored it. There were no authorities coming to stop them or arrest them, simply nothing. It was pathetic, and certainly didn't reflect the people she had met since being here. The Twi-lek people were anything but pathetic, and the situation now, and in the past simply reflected the fact that these people had been constantly getting shafted for thousands of years. It was sickening, and was partially what had been driving her to go a bit beyond her mandate here. So what if she could have finished this job far sooner than she had been or without raiding each and every base first before hitting their leaders.

Any gang or organization that had even been loosely tied to the attack on Tatooine that she could find out about, she was going after. Even if it was well beyond what Harry had asked, it didn't seem PA or the PAM droid assigned to her objected at all, as they continued to bring in supplies and 'clean up' crews to deal with the aftermath of gangs being wiped off the map. All of it simply brought a smile to her face, as she was doing good things, making money, and even having fun doing it. Not to mention the perks, both the company perks, and those of a more personal nature. That thought brought a smile to her face as she sauntered off to report to Harry, and left the captured slaves to the HB-2s that had empathy and counseling packages already downloaded to handle.

It had been over two years since Anakin's first visit back to Tatooine, and since then the young Jedi and his masters were now going on missions quite often. They returned for a few days almost every six months or so. Mostly to check in, but also to get more training in with Qui-Gon who was stationed primarily on the planet these days. At least Anakin had less doubts about his desire to be a Jedi, as something had occurred on his first mission to change his mind about being a member of the order. Obviously the boy was in a better head space, even if he was getting a bit cocky. Maybe more than just a bit.

Qui-Gon on the other hand was even more preoccupied with searching for his former master than really learning about him or his force abilities, both for personal reasons and by the direction of the Jedi Council. This worked out great for Harry, as most of their training together was limited to working with their lightsabers, and incorporating Force manipulation into controlling their blades. It was fun when they actually got around to doing it, but left tons of time for Harry to make progress on his many.. many projects, and progress he had made.

Lerla was a gift from Mother Magic herself, and was now in charge of a 'small' division of engineers and scientists working on many of the mundane and even complex systems they needed done for all sorts of stuff they were creating. Most importantly was the fact that they had finally finished a hyperdrive system for anything roughly under 600m in length, give or take. A hyperdrive for larger ships was still in the works, and not far off, but had a bit of tweaking still to do before even prototyping stage. What it did mean was that all his current designs that needed hyperdrives were going to get them.

Hyperdrives had a number of factors that went into determining their quality or value besides their physical size. First was how accurate they were, if given coordinates how close can your hyperdrive land you to those coordinates. For most hyperdrives at this point in time, accuracy within a certain amount of distance was not a problem. His personal goal for his own hyperdrives was for them to be extremely accurate, but that was not his main priority. The next major factor, at least for him, was stability. This meant how deep in a gravity well can you get to in hyperspace before needing to drop out or be ripped apart. In real terms what this meant was how close to a planet or body of mass can you drop out of hyperspace from, and how close you can be to one before jumping into hyperspace. It also did mean that gravity wells along on your route would have less impact on your trip while traveling through hyperspace, i.e. blackholes, stars, planetary bodies, nebulas or other spatial anomalies. This will result in tighter and therefore faster hyperspace routes the more stable your hyperdrive is.

The next major factor was speed. This was fairly well established, but producing consistent hyperdrives at 'low' hyperspace factors, i.e. 1 or lower, was hard to do. This meant the faster the hyperdrive the more rapidly expensive it got, and for nearly all large companies they simply made huge batches, and took the better made ones that they happened to manage to produce and sell them for substantially more. However he didn't want to go that route, having several dozen times as many grade 2 hyperdrives as he did grade 1 or lower was far from ideal. The next major factor for most is fuel economy. How much fuel does the drive burn to go from x to y? For him this was the least important factor, and something he was able to easily put far, FAR less emphasis on. The final major consideration for him and most others was durability, whether this meant more time between repairs, or being able to take more battle damage before failure, it was important to civilians and military users alike.

This was why he had spent so much time comparably working on a single system when he was easily creating dozens of systems for other devices in days or weeks. He wanted to ensure he could create a hyperdrive that both met his extremely high standards, but also not hugely extensive. So in the end he had worked out a drive that was of superb quality, but only slightly expensive, and would have had anyone who cared about fuel economy thinking he was off his bloody rocker. It certainly had to have its downsides, otherwise it would have been prohibitively expensive to produce. It didn't hurt that their production was nearly entirely vertically integrated, meaning they mined and refined the materials they were now using to produce their end products. Hence why Lerla and her team were helping him tons, as he took on quite a few more difficult tasks over the last few years.

All the new hires that were working on sensitive projects had to sign magical contracts that would prevent them from spilling any secretive information, but did not actually restrict them too much. If they truly tried to share information about their work, and ignored the warnings the magic of the contract would provide, they would simply lose all memories of what they had been working on at HPI. It would also prevent them from storing data or information in non-company places. Nothing too extreme, but it prevented loose lips from spilling the fact that they were working on a number of military technologies that the Republic, The Hutts, and even some of the other Galactic powers would have a cow if they knew they were even looking into them. Not that it was exactly illegal out here, as Tatooine was outside the Republic space, but they still would not be at all happy a Republic associated company was doing so, and may make HPI's trade within Republic space difficult. They certainly would restrict his purchases.

Besides the drive, his relationships with both Sugi and Lerla were advancing as well, but not at the speed Shmi may have wanted them to be. Seeing as she had brought Lelra into their bedroom one evening, entirely surprising him, he expected he was moving too slow for her. Sugi on the other hand liked to have him to herself, and wanted a more physical relationship with him, than an emotional one. Which he was not too opposed to either, as it was a good way to let off some stress. His and Shmi's wedding had taken place, and had only been attended by a few dozen guests of their choosing, many of high standing, but mostly of a personal nature. It was nice, small, and intimate, without a ton of fanfare or public presence, just as they had both wanted.

Things had been going smooth overall, but there were certainly areas where they faced problems. Ryloth seemed to always be an issue, and many times he almost felt it was not worth the headache to even operate there on the scale they were now, but then he looked at all the positives that had resulted and simply soldiered on. Or at least had HPI, and now Sugi, soldier on in his stead. HPI's influence on the planet had grown so much these days that between the need for new jobs on the planet, and the huge demand for weapons, they had drastically expanded their blaster division present there. It seemed the fact that they gave a single free prefilled blaster gas canister with each blaster purchased made their products incredibly hard to compete with.

A small four liter canister of blaster gas could go for a few hundred credits depending on the grade, and that meant it was quite the bonus with a purchase of a weapon. The fact that it was still offered on bulk purchases of generic blasters for large organizations, had them gaining a ton of planetary defense contracts for entire regiments. The weapons HPI's blaster division created were a solid design, but nothing crazy, except if you count the value for what you paid, and its reliability. It was an extremely fast growing business, and the rising tensions in the galaxy didn't hurt to push sales to a point where they were creating more jobs than they had scared off of Ryloth during their crackdown on certain 'groups'.

However most of HPI's internal equipment and ships were being produced on their factory world of Avalon, and the other smaller hidden factories on the many, many worlds they had discovered over the years. The hyperspace probes were finding new systems on an almost daily basis now, and currently had a failure rate due to hyperspace accidents of lower than 75% which was just unheard of. It seemed the ever expanding gravitation sensor net each probe provided really helped with mapping new routes in and out of their area of space. They had long surrounded Geonosis to the North, and had expanded over two sectors towards the core. Including having discovered or rediscovered over 350 systems in the Arkanis Sector which Tatooine belonged to.

This helped quite a bit to circumvent the Regency Worlds of the Arkanis sector, who liked to control and impose taxes on trade that passed through their systems. Of course large corporations like the Trade Federation had their own routes around such places, or lucrative side deals, but for smaller companies they really needed to play ball or be barred from over twenty systems' spaceports. Well now HPI not only had the routes needed, they had hundreds of systems to use in the area as well for stopovers if desired.

Unfortunately not all systems were really that valuable, beside the fact they were star systems of course. One needed to remember is that mapped star systems were quite common, with there being over a billion explored systems, and nearly hundred million systems with large populations in the galaxy. That said, they did discover many many planets with plentiful resources they could exploit. This was something he let PA handle almost entirely on her own, as it didn't need his input, and he had little time to spare from his projects and from working on improving his magical skills. So he relied primarily on the updates PA gave him on the progress they were making.

Another amazing side effect of having hyperspace probes over the few surrounding sectors, was that they could keep track of almost everyone moving in and out of their space. Sure they couldn't track someone in hyperspace, but they certainly could see when and what direction they left in, and the possible destinations they could have. This meant that any ships using uncharted hyperlanes, or at least private ones, could have those routes recorded by his probes by simply seeing where the ship leaves and then where it arrives. After sending a probe or two of their own to chart the lane they could then have access to it themselves. This increased the efficiency of their shipping and transport business by huge margins, while also allowing them to keep watch on the ships in their surrounding regions of space. Hopefully this would prevent any surprise attacks on Tatooine in the future.

The fuel cap on his probes was really starting to pay dividends too, as what they were doing would simply be unfeasible for anyone else. The costs of refueling and keeping the probes powered would make the data they were getting far too expensive. The logistics alone to provide said fuel would be a nightmare. With the fuel cap they simply ignored this problem, and were able to have the probes run powerful sensors 24/7 without ever needing refueling. It was just another way that his magic, or the Force if you will, gave him a huge advantage. Unfortunately, it did mean that he had to personally power crates full of the things on a daily basis. They now even had a system in place, and he set aside twenty minutes a day at the start of each of his days to empower runes for the fuel caps and enchant mirrors. The number they were using was far less than those he was empowering, mainly because they were stock piling them in case he ever got indisposed and could not make them for a time.

This was in part because it was quite obvious to him that tensions in the surrounding regions were still rising contrary to their efforts, as pirate raids on their ships had increased, even if their successes in attacking had plummeted. Clearly there were a number of differing interest groups pulling strings, and the failings of the Republic government were becoming more and more public and visible for all to see. Probably at the desire of those various interest groups.

Sadly he and PA were still having troubles figuring out who even most of the players were that were pulling the strings in their attempts to destabilize the galaxy. Nor even where many of these groups were getting their funding or direction from. It seemed on the surface that most of the various groups were not working together, but if you took a broader view of the situation, it sure looked like a number of them were deciding to make visible problems for the Republic all at the same time while often ignoring each other to boot. Piracy and slavery doesn't just rise across the whole galaxy at the same time without help.

So of course he had put a lot of work into making his new fighters, and other small ships. Once the hyperdrives had been done for his smaller craft, he had turned his attention to the experimental ion engines he had been working with from the Scimitar. He had already done a number of changes to them for some of his other ships, but he did another entire overhaul to ensure they were robustly designed, fast, but also durable with low maintenance. Some people neglected how much advancement had actually been made in the department of reducing maintenance and difficulty of repair for most technology across the galaxy. Honestly compared to hyperdrives, it had not taken him long to get the Ion Engines done, less than a month, and with that being the last major component for his fighters he had gotten straight to work on finishing up his designs for them.

The first one he approached was the straight up fighter craft, which he was admittedly ripping off the VULTURE droid design for his own use. The ability to go from a mobile fighter to a walking sentry droid was quite a useful ability, especially when they could attach themselves to the hulls of allied ships and fire on anything incoming or snag a ride through hyperspace. The problem with the VULTURE droids was the same thing that plagued most of the Trade Federation adopted designs, and that was them cutting corners to reduce costs; but really what can one expect with a massive group of penny pinchers.

Related to that aversion, he really needs to stop demonizing the entire group like he often did, as there were even a number of members of the Trade Federation his company did good business with, sure mostly out of necessity, and often because they were the only other company servicing some Outer Rim planets. Still there were also good people in the organization, it was just that their leadership left a lot to be desired. Kind of like those plague the Republic Senate.

Back to his new fighter design, the problem with basing his build off of existing designs, is that to use them in Republic space without getting into infringement problems, he would need to make enough changes to be obviously different. So the only major portion that he kept the same was the vertical 'wings' or legs if you wanted to call them that and their coupling system. He did however change the systems they contained, incorporating a lot he had learnt with his droid's, but otherwise the outward appearance of the wings were still quite similar. It was the central section that he changed immensely.

Firstly he got rid of the 'head', and majorly bulked up the central portion, however because he had gotten rid of the head and did the proper maths for the exterior shape, the whole system was still more aerodynamic than before while being larger. It helped improve its atmospheric speeds as a result. This larger central section allowed him to pack in additional systems normal vulture droids did not have, like shields; but more importantly a far more powerful reactor fueled by one of his handy little fuel caps to provide the power for those additional systems he was including. With the fuel cap alone, he felt the largest flaw of the VULTURE droid was already fixed, that being only having a thirty-five minute combat operation time. The shield was the next major flaw in his opinion.

His new Ion engines he had developed took far more power than the engines that were in vulture droids originally. With more power requirements generally came with more speed, and made these 'little' machines speed demons, all with incredible maneuverability. They could do things no organics could ever hope to do and expect to live, especially close to a planet. People back on Earth often thought gravity of a planet drops off just outside its atmosphere because astronauts back there would be able to float in space and appear to be not affected by Earth's gravity on the ISS. That was very much not the case, as the only reason those astronauts float was because they are traveling so quickly that they would go around the Earth and keep falling off the planet's curve without ever hitting the ground. Giving the illusion of floating relative to the planet's surface, but were in fact still being affected almost as much by gravity as those on the ground.

What this meant for pilots, is that in any battles near planets, organics would still be affected by the gravity of said planet, and thus pulling 'Gs' in that direction on top of the forces from pulling maneuvers. Inertial dampeners small enough to fit on fighters could only do so much. Whereas droid piloted craft could withstand G forces no organic could ever hope to survive let alone operate in, so he insured he installed many small actuating motors to increase his droids stupid ability to fly in and out of atmosphere doing incredible feats of acrobatics. The change in shape and engines gave his droid fighters a stunning 1500 km/h speed in atmosphere, and a Megalight per hour (MGLT) of 115.

The simplified explanation of MGLT is a measurement of the relative speed of any craft in space, or basically how far it could go in an hour relative to its starting position and speed. For comparison his CR90s, one of the fastest non fighter craft around, could only do 81 MGLT, the standard VULTURE droid could do 85.

Honestly the Ion engines that had been in the Scimitar were incredible, and could be scaled to massive sizes too. The creators were a credit to whatever species they may belong to. Sadly he could not find any information on the engine, or its creators. Clearly it was a secret prototype of some type, which begged the question of where or how the Sith from Naboo had gotten his hands on it. Of course he had tinkered and improved on the engines regardless of their quality, as the Scimitar had an original MGLT of 95. The Force could certainly be a cheat at times, it did make him wonder why more Force sensitives didn't go into engineering or business. With a bit of knowledge and the Force guiding you it's truly hard to fuck up when designing something new.

Besides the shields and engines, the other large power drains were the much larger variable sensor array, electronics warfare module, and the improved weapons systems. This rounded out the fighter quite nicely in his mind. Using ECM in such numbers from his fighters could cause real havoc on some ship's systems, especially their fine tracking often needed by flak, or anti fighter weapons to be truly effective. This he hoped would add another level of defense to his fighters in larger battles.

With having his own designs for blasters, and owning an ever expanding blaster business, it was only a matter of upscaling and small redesigns to create a series of laser cannons and turbo lasers for his new ships. He installed on the fighter an upgraded twin repeating blaster cannons, for damaging unshielded or lightly armored targets. They could shred through droids or combatants, and do major damage to shuttles. However he also included two smaller laser cannons to take on shielded fighters, and small ships. On top of that, instead of having energy torpedo launchers, he included twelve concussion missiles that were stored in the larger central section for firing from the two launcher sites.

The original launcher that fired missiles full of small droids did not appeal to him either, as they were only truly effective when you had the specific designs of your enemy's ships before you engaged in battle with them for the little droids to do any real damage. So he instead replaced it with Ion torpedo launchers with four torpedoes used to disable any lightly shielded craft.

His personal variant of ion torpedoes were tipped with a plasma charge to help them penetrate any shielding of a craft before they would explode in a big ball of ion energy. Ideally it would be able to catch as many small ships in its large radius as possible. The ion blasts would disable any electrical equipment without destroying the ship it was targeting. The problem with these types of torpedoes or any of the missiles he was including, was that he had to design and build them himself from scratch to circumvent Republic regulations.

There was no way he would be able to purchase the arms he wanted on the scale he needed without sending up an army of major red flags in the Republic. His company was already sending some of those flags up, just on a smaller scale, and he had already gotten reports from PA of a number of Republic officials having voiced moderate concerns over his transport ship's armaments, at least it was still mostly mild discontent for now. Add on the fact that the Jedi were keeping a close eye on him, and his involvement in the Naboo crisis, had all drawn unwanted attention to his company. He had far too many people's eyes on him for his own liking. So he felt it was prudent to be able to produce his equipment, and weapons independent of others for a variety of reasons.

This didn't mean he stopped buying from other companies, in fact it was quite the opposite. His order for CR90s, and Arquitens-Class ships were increasing month over month, and he still needed tons of mining and construction equipment from around the Galaxy. SoroSuub also still supplied him with nearly all of his repulsor cores demands. In fact HPI had purchased an unheard of 20% stake in the company not long ago to ensure a steady supply of repulsor cores; that and because it seemed like a sound investment. He had an in person board of directors meeting he is supposed to attend in the future coming up soon. Thankfully it was still a few years out due to them being rare. The shops in his space ports and stations also sold a number of goods HPI didn't personally produce, adding on to his 'imports'. It was just the more important security related technologies and those he had issues acquiring in the Republic that they had been striving to produce all internally.

This self-reliant direction he had chosen had resulted in R3 basically spending his entire time on Avalon setting up new underground factories and other infrastructure to support all the automated facilities and factories being built. One after another. The little astromech droid had become a genius at doing that type of work, and loved the challenge of each new factory for each new design. The complexity and difficulty in working and integrating everything together created nirvana for the droid it seemed. The little guy had also undergone a number of upgrades on himself to increase his abilities since Harry had bought him. Shamefully he had been so busy with his self appointed projects that he had not even gotten around to checking out Avalon yet, as really there had not been much to see in the beginning, and lately he simply had not much spare time. It was something he would need to rectify soon.

With HPI producing all these designs themselves, it did mean Harry's engineering team got more work to do, as he could easily outsource some parts of his designs or various subsections to that group by giving them directions on what he needed. It was one area he didn't really have problems spending credits on, as it seemed prudent to even keep the design process in house. So paying large engineering salaries was something PA had been getting used to at his insistence.

With having to do so many things by himself, having extra help really did reduce the time it took him to get things to a stage where they could go beyond a few prototypes or examples made with the help of his magic. That all said, he did want to ensure he engineered things right the first time around, rather than trying to do something on a budget, so there were times designs were outright discarded and started again regardless of cost, in credits or time.

In the end though he had an incredibly powerful droid fighter that was able to take on a number of VULTURE droids itself without sweating. It cost twice the price of the original, but it far outstripped any benefits having two normal vulture droids would bring. In flight mode it was 7m long 2m tall 4m wide and was done in a dark blue standard to most of his ships. It had the ability like all his droids to communicate with all other units with its DCU. Its own DCU was in the most armored central section of the fighter to ensure its protection. The final name he had decided on for the design was F-1 following his company's simple naming conventions, and paying some homage to Earth.

With many of the systems for his fighter worked out it was a bit easier to finish the designs on his starfighter, and bomber craft for his fleets. The starfighter was designed to take on larger ships than the fighter, while also still being a very good anti-fighter craft. This meant that they had to sacrifice some things the F-1s had, that mainly being any ground capabilities, but it truly gained so much in return. Without needing to be able to walk on the ground, or attach themselves to other ships' hulls to travel through hyperspace, meant there was no reason to really follow VULTURE droid design for this craft.

His starfighters actually took on the V-wing shape of stealth aircraft from Earth, and looked like a smaller version of the F-117 Nighthawk, just with fatter wings. It was 12 meters long and eight meters wide between its wing tips, with a 2.5 meter height, but unlike the Earth craft its wings were less aerodynamic by being thicker which allowed for significantly more equipment to be packed inside. As its role was different that the F-1, he also equipped it with entirely different loadout of weapons.

It had two front-facing dual heavy laser cannons built into the craft, able to damage shields of smaller ships, or rip apart unshielded targets. On the top of each wing was a specially designed ingressed turreted dual light laser cannon. These could fire with a 360 degree arc over the entire wing, as well as fire directly up from the craft. They were mainly there as anti-fighter weapons or to shoot down incoming ordinance, but they could also do damage to larger ships who's shields have already failed. However the main difference between his starfighters and fighters, besides being able to travel through hyperspace by themselves, was that his starfighters were designed to be able to take on far larger targets.

That is why they were equipped with hybrid missile and torpedo launchers on the underside of each wing. The missiles that could be fired were much larger than on the F-1s, and could do serious damage to larger ships. Even his Arquitens-Class light cruisers would most likely be disabled by a full payload of missiles from a single one of his starfighters if they didn't take the threat seriously and intercepted a few incoming missiles. In small groups even larger ships would need to seriously consider them a threat, as they could jump in close with his new and improved hyperdrives, and be within combat range incredibly quickly. Hitting an enemy then getting out or providing support to other fleet elements, would make them deadly craft to face in battle and will be the bane of many of his enemies.

Like the F-1s, the SF-1s came with many similar internal systems like shields, the new ion engines, and an even more powerful communication system. SF-1s were designed to be able to easily function by themselves or in larger groups away from other fleet assets, this meant they needed even more navigation hardware which took up quite a bit of their additional space, not to mention the even larger reactor to power all of this. Regardless he was incredibly happy with them, and when painted in an even deeper dark blue that was almost black it made them incredibly menacing to look at.

His bombers were simply a 30% larger upscaled version of the SF-1s, keeping similar weaponry, but replacing the missiles torpedo launchers, with their bomber variant. The additional space was also taken up with bomb storage so each bomber craft could carry 12 medium sized proton bombs. The B-1s were not designed to be front line fighter craft, and were made to take out or damage large sized ground or space targets. However, that did not mean they could not also take on smaller craft, as they had similar point defense and anti-fighter weapons as the SF-1s minus the missiles launchers.

All of these craft could be carried in his RaTDaCs, but also in every one of his currently operating ships, as they were quite compact with having no life support systems, or anything related to pilots controls or cockpit. This made them incredibly powerful and compact for their price. Fully loaded the F-1 cost 80,000 credits, the SF-1 cost 130,000 credits, and the B-1 cost 185,000 credits. They would be replacing all of his CS fighters, as well as filling in the gaps he had in his fleet compositions. Soon he would start a number of patrol fleets of SF-1s that would 'simply' go around the sectors HPI operated in and make their presence known. Provide aid when needed to others, but mostly to hunt down and kill the rising pirate scum that seemed to be plaguing his business these days.

The last thing he had been working on was his new small frigate designs he had plans to replace his ACs with in the future. Unlike the CR90, he felt the AC Cruiser was not a great design and only ever believed it was a stop gap till he made something better. He was currently designing something sub 500m in length to replace the AC, but it was still some time off, and was actually what he was working on when his uninvited guest walked into his office following a PAM droid. The man was quite regal looking, well dressed and had a powerful presence in the Force. Even though it was his first time meeting the man, he was able to instantly recognize him.

It was quite ironic that Count Dooku was here on Tatooine just as Qui-Gon was off running after the latest tip he had gotten on said man's location. Or it would be if it was not by design as he suspected, either way he had heard a number of good things from Qui-Gon and his own contacts about Count Dooku. The Count's own disgruntlement over various failings of the Jedi order and Republic were well known to him, and coincided nicely with his own thoughts, so it was odd that the Force fed him a feeling of caution about the Count when the man had entered the room. Not danger, but still a warning of some kind.

"Hello, I am Hadrian Peverell, owner and CEO of HPI. It is nice to meet you." he said, getting up while also shutting down the work he had been doing on his new frigate. It was a protected screen so Dooku would not be able to see what Harry had been working on when entering the office. He walked around his desk to exchange pleasantries with the Count.

"Greetings. As I explained to your droids, I am Count Dooku of Serenno, and former master of the Jedi order." Dooku said while they shook each other's hands, and both sat when he indicated for the count to take a seat while returning to his own. "You are quite powerful in the force Mr. Peverell, I can easily sense that from here." Dooku said calmly but seriously as they both sat down.

"I can feel that you are also well connected to the Force, however I have to admit to not knowing the reason for your visit." he said in return, turning the discussion away from his own abilities as he didn't quite know this man well enough to discuss those. "If you are looking for your former apprentice, then I must sadly inform you that he is currently off-world… looking for you to be exact." he said, raising an eyebrow in question, causing a small smile to break on the older man's face. Clearly he still had fond feelings for his former Padawan.

"Unfortunately my trip here is not for personal reasons, but of a more political nature." Dooku said, and Harry got the oddest feeling from the man when he said that.

"Well I am unsure of how I can help you in that regard, as I try to stay as far from Politics as I can and I am not too interested in sponsoring or supporting any senators." he said honestly to the older man.

"And is that why you have taken over control on this planet, and created a large business empire spanning many thousands of planets?" the Count asked with a small amount of dry humor in his voice, and Harry could see why. It was no secret that he and Jabba had 'official' control of Tatooine now, nor that being in business often crossed your path with areas of a political nature; but honestly he tried his damndest to avoid those, and PA and their various departments handled a number of political issues without involving him just because of his distaste for most politicians. The only thing he kept a personal eye on was the running of Tatooine and his overall business empire. The small stuff was PA's department, he simply did not have the time in his day.

"I can admit necessity has forced me into a few positions I would rather not be in, but I do avoid politics on principle. It is part of why HPI does not fund any political campaigns or parties. With that in mind, how can I help you?" he asked the former Jedi, confused about the reason behind the man's visit.

"I have come to hopefully find a like minded individual and Force user that also saw the repeated failures of the Republic Senate to see to the needs of Outer Rim planets." Dooku said seriously and with a good dash of real passion. "I am sure you clearly have been able to see with the rising pirate threat across the galaxy, that the Republic has failed to police and ensure uninterrupted trade here in the Outer Rim. Worlds starve and are exploited because of the policies of the Republic, with little to no recourse available to them. In fact they are often punished for seeking aid with their issues or taking problems into their own hands." Dooku said, gaining Harry's interest and he could sense the man was being honest. It didn't hurt that he generally agreed either.

He could easily admit he had seen that and much more related to issues with the Republic that pissed him off. The chats he had with Qui-Gon were often along similar veins, where he would vent about the issues within the Republic that were affecting him that week, or more often these days the appalling apathy that the Senate showed again and again to those suffering, especially to the booming slaving business. Ryloth was often the example he returned to, with it being so close to home for him here in this part of the Galaxy. The Republic has stood for an extremely long time, and even while it was corrupt and clearly failing, they had experienced over a thousand years of continual peace without any major conflicts escalating beyond the bounds of a few systems. It was an incredible accomplishment, but at this time with the growing emergence of the Outer Rim, the Republic had been failing in so many ways over the last 2 centuries that public opinion of them was quite low out here.

"There is a reason I live outside the bounds of the Republic, even if my company does extensive business within it." he said, making his position known. "If it is simply someone to talk to Count, then I am entirely open to spending a few hours discussing the Republic's failings with you. However, I do not believe you would make a personal visit all the way out here for something so benign as a good discussion with a like minded individual." he said leaving the question unasked causing a small smile to appear on the older man's face.

"Quite right. I have been approaching a number of similarly positioned individuals about their feelings on the Republic and what can be done about the current issues many people are facing." Dooku said, which was the start of their several hour conversation on how Dooku felt that only with a collective voice could they sway the Republic Senate to make real tangible changes for the Outer Rim. However, Harry honestly was not that moved, as he really felt his independence was what made him proactive and progressive in comparison to others, not having others chaining him down; but he could not find himself to disagree outright with a lot of what the Count said. It was a simple truth, a combined voice would be louder than many separate people yelling about their issues.

In the end Dooku and him had spent well into the evening chatting before the man left. While Harry had not promised the man anything, he was open to working together in the future if it called for it, regardless he had enjoyed the conversation a lot. It had been truly refreshing, as they had really held similar gripes with both the Republic and the Jedi, but Dooku still had this standoffish feeling in the Force for him. It meant that he had kept up his alertness throughout the entire conversation, and did not let it get too friendly even if he was finding himself liking the older man.

There had been no end of things they could complain about, and Dooku had even introduced Harry to a number of large mistakes of the Republic Senate that he had not known about. Like them elimination and slaughtering of a group going by the name of The True Mandalorians, because of some fake evidence a real terrorist group provided the Senate. Combined with a dash of corruption had led to the death of many innocents and Jedi alike, while allowing the real terrorists to escape punishment. It was quite the large blemish on both the Jedi's and Senate's faces, no wonder it was covered up so thoroughly that he had yet to hear about it.

There had been many such examples discussed, but the whole conversation had made him feel odd. Nothing too concrete had even been broached, but Harry felt there was a reason the Count had come, beside the obvious interest in his Force abilities. He had felt the Count constantly reaching out via the Force and inspecting things in his home throughout their conversation. Not that he would have been able to learn anything serious that way. Still the whole conversation made him feel like his preparations had not been for nothing, as it seemed that the situation in the galaxy was going to get more interesting before it calmed down. For that very reason he needed to get back to work, and started on some of his other projects, and made sure PA had started production on the F-1, SF-1, and B-1 on Avalon.

Qui-Gon was not in the best mood, and so he tried to center himself in the Force. He had spent the last two months tracking down false leads to try and locate his former master with no luck. The Force kept giving him an ominous feeling, that if he couldn't find his former master soon, it would be too late. Too late for what, he did not know, but he feared that the time had already come and gone. It seemed like every time he arrived somewhere, either Dooku had never actually been there, or had already left, sometimes just by hours. So it was beyond annoying to find out from Harry that Dooku had been here on Tatooine over a month ago for an entire day.

"What did you meet about?" he asked as he did not understand what the two had in common, besides being powerful Force users.

"I am not certain to be honest. I feel like he was both interested in meeting me, while also feeling me out for something. Regardless, we mainly chatted about our mutual dislike for a number of the Republic's policies, and its suffocating bureaucracy." Harry said going over a common topic the man complained about when the Republic did something that was causing him issues with his business. Or more often when they failed to do something they should have been doing for the people, like dealing with pirates on main trade routes, or getting emergency supplies to disaster areas. It was hard to argue in the Republic's defense when he often agreed with those opinions at times. It was one of the reasons the close ties between the Senate and the Jedi unnerved him.

"Did he mention where he was going?" he asked, hoping to be able to catch up to his former master. He had some questions he wanted to ask the man personally, and some the Order wanted to know as well.

"No, but to be honest Qui-Gon, I am fairly certain he is purposely avoiding you." Harry said a little bit hesitantly. "I got the feeling that he felt he would be bad for you to be around, and was not interested in meeting with you. I did mention the fact that you were staying here lately and looking for him." Harry said a bit morosely, but it was almost like a gut punch to him. Dooku was almost like his father, and he could not understand how the man could be a threat to him, let alone why he was actively trying to avoid him. It did make him understand the reason behind why most of his leads ended up in failures or were false to begin with.

"That is.. unfortunate, but I must continue my search, if only because of the High Council's orders if nothing else." he said a bit sadly, but honestly to his friend. Harry was an interesting fellow to be around. Quite frank, honest in what he says, and even a bit childish at times, but incredibly serious when he needed to be. The political opinions of his friend certainly differed from his own, but that did not prevent them from becoming closer friends than Qui-Gon had expected over the years.

After chatting for a bit longer, they both decided to go and spar. He needed the practice after a few months of almost no lightsaber use, and it would be another good outlet for his annoyance. It was appalling then to once again be so easily outmatched by the younger man, and far newer swordsman. Harry's constant improvement was quite frankly, frightening, and he was not sure if anyone in the order would be able to defeat him one on one in a clean fight anymore.

Often throughout the fight, Harry used his growing ability to control his blades with the Force to throw one light saber at him while attacking with the other. Then the blade that had been thrown would often strike out at him from his blind spots, and only the Force's warnings saved him in those moments. He himself had developed some skill with using his telekinesis to move his blade, but was more limited to throwing it while causing it to spin, before returning it to him after some desired distance. It was quite useful when needing to take out a larger group of closely packed people, or droids. He imagined that it would have come in handy during the Naboo invasion.

Harry on the other hand could do all sorts of things, and controlled his blades with his power like they were an extension of his will that he had absolute control over. One such move was what Harry called his Buzzsaw, it was when he spun his blade so quickly it blurred into a giant round shield or as Harry liked to call it a saw blade. He would then move the 'Buzzsaw' around so that they cut through anything they came in contact with. They were nearly impossible to defend against, as they would repeatedly strike down on you, draining any strength from your defense. It is as he said, Harry was quite frightening with his blades, and that was without Harry using a lot of the Force powers he had seen over his stay.

He had known for some time that Harry had a number of Force abilities that he was unaware of, but most seemed to not actually be related to combat. Or at least that was what he was able to observe. He did know the man could summon many of the 'elements', like fire, water, and even lightning, but it was certainly not Sith Lightning. Other than a bolt or wave of force that he used to stun people, there had not been a lot of opportunities to see Harry use his abilities in combat or otherwise. Most of the sparring was limited to lightsabers, as that seemed to be what they both wanted to focus on for the time being, but it did leave him wondering. His own near death experience on Naboo had also spurred him to improve his waning skills, and Harry was more than willing to oblige.

It was during the customary wind down period over tea when Harry said something that caught him off guard. "I am telling you Qui-Gon there is a war coming, and not a small one either. The people preparing may be able to hide it from the masses, and even some of those who are on watch for these things, but the logistics and markets don't lie." Harry said seriously while enjoying a cool drink. "Certain materials, war materials mainly, are being bought up and moved around in quantities unheard of in recent history. Good for the flagging economy, but worrying for what they are being used for. At least it is keeping the Republic afloat for a while longer, with how close to bankruptcy it is." The idea of a coming war certainly did worry him, but he was a bit more than skeptical, even with the rising tensions between certain factions.

"How can you know this?" He was interested in why his friend thought this. He could not think of many times Harry was wrong about things, and that did worry him some.

"HPI is invested heavily in the transport business Qui-Gon, and we track what we ship when we can." Harry said, obviously exacerbated. "Not only that, but we also strictly follow the prices and trading of materials for business purposes, and while some people are clearly trying hard to make sure prices are not rising too quickly, they are still rising. The cost of the CR90s I buy from CEC have gone up by nearly 10% in the last year alone, or at least that is what PA tells me. While not that much in the grand scheme of things, for a Galaxy that usually faces little to no inflation galaxy wide, it is quite indicative of things to come." the powerful man said to him. The more Harry said the more it worried him, as he feared his friend was right. The Force had been giving hints of something dire to come in the future, and it may just be this war Harry was predicting.

Harry talked to him about the price of hypermatter increasing, multiple people approaching his company to buy plasma for weapons in bulk, and other worrying signs. It seemed to point to a war of some scale breaking out somewhere in the galaxy. What had him most worried was that he had not heard any of this before, and didn't think the Council had either or at least no one had put it together like Harry had and presented it as such. Regardless it showed a picture of a few large groups preparing for something in secret. He would need to let the order know about Harry's concerns, hopefully they won't dismiss them outright.

"There it is! It's just taking off!" his idiotic brother in law said from the side as he manned the sensor station, the only thing he could trust the moron with and not have him fuck it up royally.

"Do you see any other ships on the scanners or just the expected transport?" he said, glancing over to said brother in law.

"Of course I do Garlan the whole fleet is still on the scanners." his brother in law said stupidly.

"No you moron! Do you see any other non-fleet ships!" he said exacerbated, palming his face to work out the stress.

The fleet mentioned were the other four ships under his nominal command that the Syndicate had lent out for this raid. Even the ship he was commanding was lent to him by the Black Sun leadership. He had been captain of this small cruiser with his well seasoned crew for nearly a year now, and while it was not the best ship it was still holding together and serving him well. The fact that it had decent firepower and a large cargo hold for slaves and loot made it perfect for his needs.

"No nothing else." his brother in law said happily, like the idiot he was. God how he wished his sister had better tastes in men.

"Well what are we dealing with?" he said a bit more relaxed as he sat back in his chair. "Tell the rest of the fleet to move into position." he said to his tactical officer who nodded back to him. At least someone on this bridge could be trusted to do their job right.

"It's just coming into range." his brother in law said, as they moved closer to where the ship was leaving the planet with the rest of the fleet. "Oh wow it's a CR90! We've hit the jackpot, imagine what they're transporting in that!" his brother in law exclaimed, causing some excitement around the bridge, but it also niggled something in the back of his mind, but clearly it was not too important if he couldn't remember what it was.

"Tell the other ships to make sure they hit the transport as soon as it leaves atmosphere, we can't have it running away on us with its better speed." he ordered, getting excited. This was an agri world that normally produced food stuff for a number of planets, but that didn't mean they could not have a smaller amount of hidden cash crops secreted away somewhere that brought in the real money. He had seen it before, many times. There were a number of different plants with medicinal properties that chemical companies paid buckets of credits for. It was a good thing they had brought a number of ships for slaves and cargo as this was looking up and up.

He watched the front screen waiting for when they got visuals on their target, as his heart started to beat faster. Barely a minute ticked by before he and his ship came to a halt as the transport rose from the planet and came into visual range. It was a beautifully blue painted CR90, but looked a bit odd to him from this angle.

"Send out the order to arm weapons and prepare to fire," he said to the bridge.

"Shouldn't we demand their surrender?" his communications officer asked. A fair question, he thought.

"We don't want to give them the chance to make a run for it. They will be slowed while still in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. We can disable them, then demand their surrender or face death." he said with a bit of glee as their planning seemed to be paying off.

"Oh! It seems they may have detected our weapons being charged, as they have detached a few fighter craft." his brother in law said.

"Put it on the main screen," he ordered. Fighter craft escorting was not something he had expected, but nothing they shouldn't be able to handle. It was odd however and gave him that feeling once again that he was forgetting something important. Looking at the ships, he could not make out what model they were. "Zoom in on one of the fighters." he ordered as the odd fighter came into clearer view when zoomed in on. It almost looked like one of those droid fighters that the Trade Federation uses, but was certainly different. Just then the weapons on his ship started to fire as they finally came into weapons range. A moment later he saw something zoom away from the fighter too quick for him to identify in the zoomed in view they currently had. "Wait what was that?" he asked as he saw several more streaks dart away from the fighter.

"Torpedoes! Dozens of them from the fighters and the CR90! Brace for impact!" his tactical officer yelled causing him to freeze in shock. Torpedoes! What type of transport company uses torpedoes to protect their cargo! Each missile or torpedo depending on their quality was worth more than most transports would make in a single run. It was then that it clicked in his mind, CR90s, Painted Blue, and now the over aggressive response, an HPI ship! He had heard a few stories about them from some.. er 'colleagues' and brushed them off as being over exaggerated excuses for poor performance. The revelation also broke him out of his shock.

"Use the point defense turrets, target those torpedoes!" he yelled, but it was too late as he felt a massive impact on the shields, and then another before all the power in his ship went out. Their positioning themselves so close to try and catch the transport ship as it left the planet meant there was little to no time to try and intercept the torpedoes fired at them. "What is our status?" he yelled into the near pitch dark bridge, while grabbing to his waist and getting his lighter and flipping it on for some light. Just then the emergency lighting kicked on, but little else. Regardless he felt stupid sitting there holding his lit lighter.

"I don't know, my console is not working at all." his idiotic brother in law said from his side. No fucking kidding.

"I believe we were hit with some type of Ion weapon. If so it may take some time to get the systems back online." his tactical officer said in a bit of a panic and he worked to get his console working.

"How long till we're back online?" he asked, his anger rising the more he heard.

"Maybe 30 minutes? I am not sure, I have never dealt with something like this before, and we don't have the normal sized technical and engineering crew on board to handle a situation like this." the tactical officer said as he took the panel off his station and started to look at something inside.

"Can we get communications back?" he asked, not that he expected his 'allies' to be in any better shape with how his ship had fared.

"Not certain." his communications officer said as he was likewise working on his console.

He sat there stewing in his anger for a few minutes as his crew went about systematically getting systems turned on one by one, when all of a sudden there was a massive thunk coming from somewhere in the ship.

"What the blazes was that?" he asked to no one in particular. No one answered him as everyone was silently looking around the bridge for answers. Not thirty seconds later as everyone was still on guard they started to hear blaster fire and screams coming from deeper in the ship. "We've been boarded!" he said, realizing what the impact had been. Everyone got their weapons ready, and into defensive positions. He didn't even bother giving the order to let the ship know as he knew the internal comms were still down. This ship clearly was on its last legs, Ion weapons or not.

Ominously the screams and blaster fire quickly got louder and louder. Far too rapidly for his tastes, it was almost like his men were putting up no fight against their borders. It was despicable, and if they made it out of this they would learn what the Black Suns do to cowards.

Suddenly he heard a scream and loud footsteps as someone came running towards the bridge. Everyone inside tensed and prepared to engage when they saw one of their own come in crazed and covered in blood.

"Close the doors!" he said in a panic seeing no one move the mad move to the side and start to hit all sorts of buttons. "How do you close the doors! Someone help!" the man yelled at them in panic like he was running from death itself.

"The power to the doors is still down." mumbled out his brother in law causing the man to turn to them in fear dropping his blaster he had barely been grasping to the ground. A few moments later between the man's legs there was a sharp tinkling sound as a round ball was thrown from deep down the corridor and landed inside the bridge, he barely had time to realize it was a grenade before it went off sending a blinding light and noise throughout the area.

He and the others in the room let out screams of fright and pain, and he personally thrashed on the ground as he grabbed his face in pain. As his hearing was just starting to clear he heard what sounded like a quiet metal boot against the metal of the ship. He only just had a chance to look up and see a blurry outline of a droid or armored figure of some kind before he was hit with a stun wave from a blaster and knocked out cold.

"Harry." PA said to him she floated into his workshop just as he was putting together a new shield projector. "I need you to build a device for me." PA said to him, causing him to halt what he was doing and look over as his trusted friend. PA almost never asked him to build something new straight from scratch, and so he was intrigued straight away in what she wanted.

"What do you need exactly?" he asked her happily.

"I need some way to easily break up a large area of a planet to be more easily mined. I am tired of all the time spent simply getting material out of the ground compared to asteroid mining. Some materials truly are harder to mine than others." PA said before handing him a padd she had been holding onto with one of her tiny retractable arms. Looking through the document on the padd, it seemed PA wanted something to use on a large scale, as traditional mining methods simply were not moving at the rate she desired. Most were also designed to be used on planets with atmosphere or populations around, so minimize destruction; not something PA really needs it seems.

"Are the massive scrap refineries not keeping up with our needs?" he asked while looking over some of the locations and needs highlighted in PA's report.

"They are more than adequate, but it is too much of a waste to simply have these planets sitting around not being mined. What happens if someone comes along and discovers a new hyperspace lane to our planets. I won't be blamed if we lose valuable materials or claims due to not further developing them." PA said clearly not actually upset, or worried even if her tone did raise a bit. He could also see the desirability for something to break up solid rock formations so mining droids could easily extract materials. Really the best idea that came to his mind was simply using a massive kinetic explosion to break apart whatever was needed. The lack of a fireball or plasma discharge would also be handy in not ruining the materials they wanted, still too much force could have the same problem. It called a kinetic EXPLOSION for a reason. Though there would have to be a happy medium somewhere for his idea.

It honestly didn't take him long to have a general idea in his head, and he moved over to his computer workstation in his workshop to put some ideas on 'paper'. PA just floated there quietly already used to his methods, knowing he had an idea. Basically he made a small kinetic kill missile to be shot from space or far away to impact said desired area and break up large areas of the ground. Really it was not too hard and within a few hours he had a design for PA, but after having been thinking on the issue he had actually got interested in seeing a few of these systems they were operating out of for himself.

It was a bit late for him to finally be taking the trip, but better now rather than never. PA rarely mentioned those systems either, and had simply told him to wait in the beginning as she wanted to surprise him with at least some progress on their planets before he saw them. They only really had infrastructure not related to mining on a select few planets, Avalon being the largest by far, or at least that is what PA has been reporting. Part of the reason was that the planets were kept completely hush hush, and his presence did tend to attract a lot of people's attention, but really that was just an excuse with the Marauder around.

So he just decided to board the ship the next day to see for himself where most of his new toys were being built. He certainly saw the results, with the few thousands G-Series droids he had all been absolutely dwarfed by the number of HB-Series droids he now saw walking around. Nearly all positions aboard vessels were also manned by his new droids, and the few semi-successful raids on his ships cost any pirates trying to board them an incredible toll in blood to do so. Even Jabba used the droids to protect his palace, and Rota had a specially painted HB-2 droid with many child rearing packages installed. Not quite what it was designed for, but Rota loved the droid, and it seemed to put Jabba's mind a bit more at ease. The fact that the droid had dual repeating blasters built into each arm and could mow down an entire room full of opponents in a second or two was a large bonus to the big Hutt.

Once on the Marauder, it took off quite quickly, and was in space in minutes all at the command of the pilot droid. From there it was a matter of getting to the egress point in the system for the hyperlane. They were not following the vast majority of traffic that was now a constant above Tatooine, with a good majority of it being his company's ships. He even saw, of all things, a trade federation core ship, which was part of their Lurcrehulk 'downgrades' since the Naboo incident. The Senate had been in a tizzy after the Naboo invasion, and ended up ordering the Trade Federation to decommission their Lurcrehulk, which they did by simply removing the ring and supposedly destroying them. But he would bet a good chunk of his substantial fortune that they had simply parked them somewhere till they were needed, and would reattach the rings when that time came.

The Avalon system was quite close in galactic terms to Tatooine, and only took ten minutes in the Marauder to get there by hyperspace. Which only helped make his excuses for not having visited before that much worse, as it would not have taken any time at all, but PA who was beside him seemed excited to show him the progress. Regardless of what he had been expecting, it was not was not what he found when he exited hyperspace.

The first thing that grabbed his attention was the fact that the space around Avalon was swarming with ships of all sizes. He could even see squads of small dots just at the limit of his vision. He expected those were groups of fighters or larger ships on patrol. However there had to be at least a dozen Arquitens-Class cruisers, and maybe fifty CR90s. To say he was shocked was an understatement, as he had no idea they had this large of a fleet protecting Avalon. Sure he had approved the formation of a defense fleet for their factory world, but didn't realize PA had taken it to this extreme. Before he even could ask that question he noticed even more 'stuff' in space.

There were dozens and dozens of large constructs around the planet, and even more under construction. He could see there was a mixture of shipyards, refineries, and defensive stations designed to provide protection for the planet. Indeed it was quite the glorious sight to see, certainly not Kuat Shipyards, but this was all his, and it was crazy to think that. By the number of shipyards he could see alone, it seemed he had not realized that he was the one holding up their production by taking so long on his designs.

"PA how many shipyards are operational, and why is there such a large fleet?" he asked his droid companion without taking his eyes off of the planet they were slowly approaching. The planet itself was not much to look at, a barren rock, but it did have a number of what seemed like large vents giving off huge amounts of smoke that was slowly causing a masisma over the planet.

"Besides defending our main construction and factory world, the fleet here can also reinforce Tatooine very easily if it is attacked again." she said, making him realize that it was almost perfect being so close by to help defend each other. Especially if their enemies have no idea about a secondary fleet sitting here ready for combat at a moment's notice. "There are currently 96 fully operational shipyards, and 2617 foundries on the planet." PA said, causing him to nod along even if the numbers were... well beyond what he had been expecting. What the hell did they need more than two thousand factories or foundries for...

He may have underestimated the scale of their operations here, and at some other places too. It was sometimes easy to simply see a figure like they opened two space ports on this new planet or those fifteen planets in x sector each day, but neglect how much was actually involved in an operation like that or how quickly those numbers become meaningless. How many ships were servicing said space port, the droids to protect and operate the site, power generators, and many other things needed. Thankfully they were still buying ships from others, otherwise this 'small' group of shipyards would not be able to handle the requirements of their business expansion, he did know that, but holy hanna was that a lot of groundside facilities.

It actually made him think there may be some merit in limiting how much further they expand 'geographically' till they have fully developed the areas they were already in. Stretching their assets too thin would not be a good idea, and having fleet elements be within fast reinforcement range of others was also a boon, and something clearly PA had already picked up on. Sure there were certain systems that he wanted to service, but trying to service entire sectors as they had been was not an easy task.

His company may have been large for a single entity, even in galactic terms, but it really had nothing on behemoths like the Techno Union or the Trade Federation. The Trade Federation was a federation of millions and millions of merchants and their ships, along with all the Federation's own assets to boot. Whereas his company was owned solely by him, and lacked any other controlling interests, which gave him unprecedented control, but still didn't put him on the league of the Trade Federation.

"PA can we afford to have a fleet this large here?" he asked, not too sure on their cash flow at the moment, it was constantly changing, and as long as it was in the black, or green as some like to say, he didn't care what the number was. That was an area he left almost exclusively to PA, and simply got percentage growth updates, which now that he thinks about it, they are really starting to lose their scale. PA, the droid, snorted before answering him, causing him to smile at her actions.

"Of course we do, this is small potatoes compared to what we are making." PA said happily, as she always was when talking about money. "You seem to forget that the few dozen mirrors you are enchanting each day for us are each a new planet connected to G-NET. I don't know if you know this, but our G-NET division is already our largest revenue generator, and seeing as that revenue is almost entirely profit we are making huge gobs of credits!" PA said a little sinisterly causing him to look over at her in fond exacerbation. Hey who was he to judge how she chose to express herself, but it starkly clashed with her motherly persona she adopted most of the time.

"Well I certainly knew it was a good idea when I mentioned it, but its seems like I was underestimated the amount of people willing to adopt something so new." he said honestly, he really needed to take a closer look at some of his numbers sometime soon, but honestly he was just too busy with both working on his force powers, and finishing the innumerable amount of 'jobs' he had created for himself. "So our cash flow is good then?" he asked his droid, as he may as well get an update now while he was on the topic.

"Better than good, we are bringing in tens of billions in excess credits each month, so much so that I have started a massive stockpile of rare materials for HPI's use. Otherwise we would simply be sitting on a lot of credits piling up, and with the current state of quite a bit of the galaxy, widespread investing in other companies is not a sound investment plan at the moment, and holding onto Credits in huge quantities is ill advised too." PA said excitedly to him. "I took the concept of strategic reserves from one of those books you digitized for me." PA said referring to a number of his books from Earth he had digitized so PA could read and learn more about him and where he came from. He had done the same for Shmi after telling her a bit more about himself and Earth.

But thinking about the number of credits they were brining in was crazy. No wonder PA was not bothered by the few ships here. Maybe it was time to splurge a bit and buy some things that could really improve the defenses around Tatooine, or possibly start buying some shares of companies that should do well if the galaxy went to shit like he felt it would. OR perhaps even looking into possibly doing some 'humanitarian' work in the sectors they operated in. It would also help improve their corporate image, as any large cooperation puts some people ill at ease for no other reason than it being a large corporation. There was really quite a bit they could do with those credits.

"Speaking of the G-NET Harry, I was wondering if you would be alright with making a few dozen or a few hundred extra mirrors a day?" PA asked him, making him wonder what she needed them for. He already spent about five minutes making a few dozen when he did the daily fuel caps load. He really didn't think there were that many new planets getting hooked up either, so it had him wondering.

"What do we need them for? Is there a backlog of planets wanting G-NET access?" he asked the droid, taking his eyes off of one of the partially constructed monstrous shipyards that was a hive of bot activity. It was interesting watching the zero-g construction droids do their work. Watching a tiny, at least in comparison, droid pick up a massive floating piece of the shipyard and move it into place was surprisingly entertaining to watch for some reason.

"Yes, there are several thousand planets with varying demand that have requested the service, but that is not the reason I ask as I came to the conclusion lately that secure transmission to and from our ships would be key for future engagements." PA replied to him. "It would also allow us to sell holonet access to our customers mid-flight, which is quite expensive for other companies to offer." she said getting to what he believed to be the true crux of the reason for asking, of course it was after buttering him up on the practical side before she presented her credit making idea. Though she did have a point. He certainly would not want to make one for each ship, as they were much harder to make than empowering already carved runic arrays on fuel caps.

"If we limit them to larger vessels, say CR90 and up, and nearby vessels could use encrypted communication to that ship, which then could share access to the G-NET." he mused trying to come up with a solution, but maybe even CR90s would be to small, as he was fairly sure they had a large number of those vessels flying around the vast empty space of the galaxy.

"That could work, and it could even possibly allow for pooling of computational power from fleets not using it and directing it to others in need, or even for use in HPI research and development groups." PA said taking one of his ideas and running with it to places he hadn't even considered, again. He could hear PA's systems run faster as she clearly got excited and was crunching some numbers.

"Wait groups? What do you mean? Are there others besides the group working under Lerla?" he asked after realizing what she had said.

"You didn't think that was the only one right?" PA asked him, and he could swear she was looking at him like he was dumb. "That division is specifically tasked to aid you. HPI employs thousands of scientists and engineers working on all sorts of things from going over simple geological data from system scans, to producing new materials and alloys for our use. We even have some working on high energy physics to improve our reactors and such." PA said shocking him for another time today. Whatever, he was not going to let it bother him, as there were never bad surprises with PA, at least not yet. Fingers crossed.

"Where are we housing these research labs?" he asked, actually interested in possibly visiting.

"Well there are several on Naboo, as it seemed like a great location with our Republic HQ already being there. However the majority are on Tatooine, and some related to our weapons division on Ryloth." PA said as he thought about the locations. All of them seemed to be good choices, and were planets they already had fairly large presences on, so adding a bit more would not hurt or even be too noticeable. "I didn't spread them out too much as ensuring the security of our facilities was a top priority." she finished saying.

"I certainly can agree with that." he said, still digesting the new bombshell dropped on him. That would seem to answer the question of how some of those really mundane systems he needed to be designed were done so quickly. Engineering proper coolant ducts on a ship or even accommodating for large corridors in the design of larger ships for transporting large pieces of equipment was not glamorous or ground breaking work, but was still really important to be done right. So it was nice to have a solid group to be sending those types of tasks to, mostly so he can concentrate on the more important stuff, like designing whole new subsystems, or making huge improvements to existing ones.

"I hope you are not upset, but I felt this was something under the purview of my role as COO in running the business." PA said to him, which he shook his head in negative to being upset, and decided to change the subject.

"Not at all, more impressed than anything my friend. So PA what was that surprise you said you set up on Avalon for me?" he asked his droid companion about the grand surprise she had alluded to years ago now.

"Well you can not see it now, but let me pull it up on the sensors." PA said, causing something to pop up on a panel beside the expansive view window. Looking it over quickly he could see it was showing some sort of construct that was partially between Avalon and the star it rotated around. However it was not too large, but the field it was generating certainly was. Looking closer he realized it was producing a powerful magnetic field that seemed to be stopping solar rays from bombarding the planet. Quickly a few screen taps later he pulled up scans of the planet and some related readouts. Reading those for a few minutes brought a huge smile to his face.

"I see, and I have to congratulate you on your initiative." he said after realizing that the little droid was taking this lifeless planet and turning it into a garden world, by of all things, using their factories to produce an atmosphere while protecting it from solar rays with the magnetic field. It was quite an ingenious way to capitalize on the fact that they were producing, at least it seemed partially by design, tons of what most worlds would consider pollution. However, you need an atmosphere of some kind to have any life, regardless of its composition. It was far easier to take a poor atmosphere and transform it into a desirable one than create desirable one from scratch.

"Yes, I thought you would like that." PA said back in her happy motherly voice. "However, it will take a number of decades still to see any real results, and that is only if we keep increasing the number of factories and foundries." PA said to him, as the Marauder floated around in a high orbit looking at some of the space assets and the planet itself. It was still a barren lifeless rock and really had little to see except the obvious activity his company was creating, but for some reason he was becoming attached to the planet.

Almost all of the HB droids were being built here on this planet, along with most of the other equipment and ships that they were carried in. From one planet his company made whole armies of droids that could take on planets. It was kind of scary to think of how easy it had been to build up to this point, and it really only took money, drive and a smidgen of magic. He at least was not planning on attacking anyone, which he could not say for a lot of the other groups that seemed to be building up arms in this turbulent galaxy. The pirates had to be getting their ships and weapons from somewhere.

The only thing really missing from this planet was the larger battleships to escort the droid transport and cruisers. Those would come soon, and some of the shipyards were clearly constructed to a size to build some massive ships. One of them still in early stages of construction seemed to be nearly 10km long, and 4 km tall and wide. The shipyards were of HPI design, nothing fancy, just built to their specs, and was something undertaken by R3. Now that he thought of it, he imagined that the droid had gotten a lot of help from the other divisions in HPI that he now knew about.

Thank Merlin, progress on his frigate was going well, as he had decided on a dagger shape, similar to the existing AC light cruiser for his new frigate, but also in line with the larger ship design that PA had found for him years ago now. He had been working on it on and off while developing his other systems and equipment, and it was coming along nicely. It was not something you rushed, unless you wanted to be left with something subpar, and as he improved various systems for other ships, its design came together that much more easily. After he finished his 'Dagger Class' frigate he was going to have most of what he needed to finally finish his capital sized ship too.

Either way it was going to take him a lot of time, and probably take him away from being able to improve on his pure magical skills a bit, which he had been neglecting to some extent to work on his new Force abilities and lightsaber combat. That being said, he really didn't care, as he was doing what he wanted to do, and what had his attention the most at the time. He was having fun, simple as that, and his 'magical' skills were already incredibly high between his own learning, and the memories he had stolen from Voldemort, and now added to by new Force abilities. Let alone the impact of the absorbing souls from the thought bomb had on his ability to wield magic like no other. While the Force and Magic were from what he could tell were virtually the same, it still felt at times that there was a distinction that he was just still not fully understanding. Like as if there was some component missing from pure Force examples that was present in pure Mana or magic.

"I think we should approach the Gungans about buying the rights to develop their shield technology." he said to PA, as he had a number of ideas for that technology. With the 'new' research groups he could even give a lot of it to them to pursue. Mainly though it was because he wanted to incorporate personal square shields for his droids to carry, on top of their other shield and/or armor. The fact that he had such close ties with Naboo would mean that even if he took the technology and made improvements on it enough to not infringe on theirs in the eyes of Republic law, it would still not look great in the eyes of many on Naboo. Especially with Padme's recent efforts to improve relations between the Humans and Gungans. It would not do good things for his reputation on the planet to damage those endeavors.

"I can certainly have someone do that." PA said while 'looking' at him and waiting for him to continue and tell her why. He smiled happily at that. PA had fast become one of his closest friends, and he just loved all of her quirkiness, it brought flavor and even some excitement into his life.

"I was thinking that equipping some droids with large rectangular shields would be quite advantageous. Also looking into their larger mobile shields, and the shields they use to protect their cities is not something to sniff at either." he said, as they both knew that trying to get any form of planetary, or even city scale shields was incredibly difficult and highly regulated by the Republic. So designing something themselves may be a good route to go, especially if he didn't need to do the bulk of the work himself. He had already spent substantial time on downsizing and improving the shield generators for his droids and ships, and didn't feel like doing the opposite with the technology while he still had other projects on his to do list.

"That can easily be looked into, and a good idea to reduce damage in some of our facilities around the galaxy." PA said to him, probably already issuing orders. "There was another thing I wanted to discuss with you." PA said a little bit hesitantly which grabbed his entire attention, before the console he had been using changed again. This time it was a report put together by PA, and it was about the economics, and recent trends of the Republic. Spending a few minutes reading it over, it seemed like there is a huge increase in the number of new currencies being issued by the Galactic Banking Clans, a major increase of over 1000% in the last few years, and an unprecedented one if you look at a larger window of time. More new currencies have been issued in the last five years than the two centuries before that.

Combined with the fact that the Republic had a well known debt crisis ongoing, and their ballooning budget did not spell good news for the future of the Republic economy. In fact a war could be a good way to bolster the economy enough to get through a crisis, which made him start thinking. However, halting those thoughts for now and staying on the topic at hand, he could see how this could be a problem for them, even for their operations outside of the Republic. The stability of the Republic credit was important for their business dealings.

"What are you suggesting we do?" he asked PA, as he looked and saw that it seemed like there might even be a bit of inflation going on in the Republic for some reason. However most politicians were probably trying to hide that fact and blaming the rising unrest for prices going up. It could also be larger corporations taking advantage of that rising unrest to simply raise prices because they could excuse the increased price as a result of rising costs due to piracy, supply chain issues, or any other excuse they could think of.

"I want to create and issue our own currency." she said, catching him utterly off guard. Why would they ever want to do that was the first question that came to mind. "It will allow us to not be reliant on the stability of the Republic Credit, and give us more control in relation to exchange rates for other currencies." she said as he thought about it a bit. Loosely pegging it against some of their goods at the start would also make it so that it could easily be introduced while keeping it stable for a time.

It would not be too crazy hard to implement, but he just was not that sure of the benefits. If things were as bad as PA seemed to believe they could be, then having their own solid currency would be a good idea, and using gold Peggats was just not really a good option. Using gold severely limited the amount of currency that could be in circulation, and often caused huge problems down the line. However he was not sure if a new credit would be adopted by many, as change was not something people here in the Outer Rim really embraced, or well really anywhere, but having their own sovereign planet did help. Jabba's recent reputation for being a savvy and incredibly successful businessman, and for a Hutt, being mostly honest in his dealings would also help in pushing a new currency.

"I don't see why you can't try, but I am not sure how well it will go over with 'the people'." he said to his droid friend with a little chuckle at referring to everyone as 'the people'. If it was something she wanted to work on, and felt was a good idea, who was he to tell her not to try. She was the expert here. It was not like it was going to negatively affect him too much if it failed, if at all. "If you do implement it, ensure you add a digital form and the ability to easily do transactions and store funds through the G-NET." he said almost as an afterthought, but turned to PA when he heard her systems revving up into overdrive. Clearly that idea had gotten her thinking about huge profits again, and he was not even sure why. Thank god he had someone to handle the financial and business side of things for him, it was certainly not his forte, and honestly after having seen some of the stuff PA and Shmi did, he would have been more lost than on his first time finding the Hogwarts Express.

"I can already see the profits." PA said happily as she thought of ways to implement his ideas, and to clearly make money off of them.

"Speaking of profits, have you been making sure to use ten percent for droid maintenance and improvements?" he asked her. Quite early on in creating HPI, he set aside ten percent of their profits for the droids to use, not so much a salary, but it worked out to be the same. Some of the Droids wanted simple things like oil baths, but mostly from what he had heard and observed they simply saved their credits for future use, if they ever used them at all. It was something he felt strongly about, and so asked to make sure it was still happening.

"Yes, yes." PA said annoyed at his question. "However, even more still refuse to spend their 'dividends' as you call it." PA said, making him concerned, as that had been a problem with quite a few droids. People forget droids are programmed for their tasks, which meant that was just all many of them wanted to do. To simply keep doing their tasks they were designed for to the best of their ability, and do so till their droid brains failed. R3 and PA were quite unique droids to truly develop personalities and go beyond their original programming and tasks, but even then they were rarities. Thankfully there were a growing number of those rare droids amongst his growing droid 'army', and their numbers were growing as mind wipes were forbidden with his droids.

"Just make sure they have resources available for if they finally desire something." he said to his droid friend who was basically running the company for him. Even if officially she didn't actually hold the title of COO on paper, she still did the job and more. Stupid galactic prejudices against droids. It was just another thing that so many in the galaxy just took for granted as normal, and it truly puzzled him. Even people like Padme who is a stout supporter of the rights of beings, often overlooked droids as anything but tools to be used, simply to be disposed of when they lacked usefulness. Mandatory mind wipes of droids was basically murder in his eyes. Either way it was not something he could really change at this time.

"Start purchasing some artwork and artifacts for a few museums I mean to open on Tatooine," he said before continuing. "I imagine there will be many people wanting to liquidate parts of their art collections during these troubled times. Also keep a look out for any Force artifacts or related material, I imagine we can find a use for that sometime in the future." he said almost absent mindedly.

"Is there anything you are looking for in particular?" PA asked.

"Not really. I would not mind finding a natural source for Kyber crystal as I wanted to do a number of tests with them, but not that much to really search it out personally." he said honestly, while also feeling the Force suddenly give him a pull in a direction he knew would eventually lead him most likely to a source of Kyber crystals. However, it was nothing serious in nature and he quickly ignored the feeling, as he was not in need of the crystals yet. "I am just thinking of building up a collection for later possible use." he said while turning his attention back to the many hundreds of construction ships and droids floating around the space of Avalon doing their tireless work.

He loved watching the construction going on, but he had work to do on his frigate now that he knew he was holding things up with not having that finished. There was also no reason not to visit a few of the other planets they were mining to see what was going on there. So he got PA to take them to the next location she wanted to show him. It was crazy to think they controlled so many star systems, and all relatively close to each other. It made him smile to look back at where he came from, being cramped and wanting for space in his cupboard, to now owning entire star systems with no one living in them.

Captain Jar Chochi was standing at the ready in the small bridge of his ship he owned and captained. They were halfway through transiting the system they were in to the next egress point. His ship was only a medium sized transport, just under 100m in length, but he had a solid crew of seven under him and enough cargo space to make a good honest living. All his crew were Pantorans like himself, all former military, and an interesting gathering of individuals to boot. They often did cargo runs from their homeworld trading whatever they could get their hands on. It was not an easy life, as the situation had been getting dicey out here in the rim, but someone needed to do the job, and the increased pay reflected the times. It was part of the reason they were going north-eastward galactically rather than heading west like they used to, as it was safer now.

Each time they dropped out of hyperspace to transit to the next leg of their journey he was always on alert, ready for anything to happen and standing on the bridge. It was good that he was, as the worst happened when he saw on their sensors a number of ships come out of a nearby asteroid field where they had been hiding powered down. It did not take a genius to realize what was going on with the lack of communications, and the mishmash makeup of the small fleet. There were a number of smaller ships and fighters, about the average makeup of a small pirate fleet. Which even with their lackluster look made his heart drop at how low the chances of surviving this encounter were.

"Full military thrust!" he ordered his pilot, before turning to his communication's officer. "Immediately send out an SOS before they can start jamming us." he said as there was little hope of them being able to get to either of the egress points from the system before their pursuers caught up with them. His military mind was telling him that they had picked a good spot to wait in ambush for an unsuspecting trader as they were stuck between either hyperspace jump points. Now all he could do was hope that they could hold it together in one piece and make it to hyperspace before being too damaged by enemy fire. "Get Mers, and Jeppo onto the weapons and tell them to be ready for incoming enemy fire and fightercraft. How is the SOS coming?" he asked hoping for good news.

"We were able to get out only a single burst off before the enemy got in range to jam us, Sir." his comms man said, getting right back into their military roles, even if they were now civies. It wasn't what he wanted to hear, but still better than he had expected. It seemed they had been on the ball, and managed to get a small win over the pirates already. Not that he really expected to get much help out here in the Outer Rim, even if this space was a bit safer due to being frequented by HPI trade ships.

"Shields to full, route any additional power to the aft deflectors." he said to his crew. "Make sure everyone has their personal weapons on them, and are ready to repel possible borders." he said calmly, hopefully promoting a feeling of calm assurance in his crew.

He looked stoically at his readout as it showed the enemy closing in quickly on his slower trade ship. He had skimped on protection, as his ship was far better equipped offensively than most trade ships, but still he didn't like their odds, at all. He knew he was going to most likely have to give the order to repel boarders, but really the question was whether or not they actually wanted to try and fight. If they simply gave up after their ship was disabled they may still have a chance of being let go after their cargo was taken. Sadly, he knew that the days of a more civilized pirate had been waning, and more often than not giving up without a fight would mean a quicker route to slavery or death. He personally would prefer to go out fighting.

He felt the laser cannons on the ship fire, meaning that the enemy was now in range. He trusted his crew to score a few good shots, and take out or disable a number of the smaller craft, but the larger 100m+ ship he was seeing on the scanners was going to be a problem. Just after that thought the ship started to shake as they took some fire from the enemy fighters. Clearly smaller laser cannon fire, as there was no damage evident yet.

"Shield Status?" he asked the room.

"Holding Sir at 86% and recovering," said his tactical officer. "SIR! Another fleet just dropped out of hyperspace danger close! Reading 32 starfighters, their indents are being decoded!" the tactical officer yelled then held his breath as they waited for the computer. "Sir! They are HPI vessels!" his officer said happily exclaimed, causing all of them to let out the breath they had been holding. He honestly could not believe their luck, there must have been a trade fleet somewhere close by to answer their call so fast. The number of fighters was odd though.

"Pull up one of those starfighters on the big screen. Are there any larger ships?" he asked, trying to figure out what was going on. The ships that appeared on screen were incredibly sleek and almost predatory in look, while also painted in a deeper blue than HPI ships usually were. It was a design he had never seen or heard of before, however he didn't doubt their capabilities. He already knew of the Cloak Shaped fighters HPI used and how good they were at taking out pirates left and right. So if those had been replaced, it would be for good reasons he expected.

Hopefully for them it was not because some board was cutting costs, but from what little he knew that was not how HPI usually operated. He had even heard stories about them spending stupid amount of credits just being stubborn in continuing to offer services to a few select planets with only tiny populations on them even after their ships have been repeatedly attacked on route. He had also heard through a few friends in the cargo hauling business that HPI was taking what could only be losses on several AGRI worlds by offering cheap transport services to various farming planets.

"Sir the HPI fighters are fast, they are going to intercept the enemies in twenty seconds." his comms officer said a bit shocked. He understood the man's shock, as hyperspace jumps close in a system like that were hard, and extremely dangerous to do, plus took a really good hyperdrive, as well navigation data and computers. Combined with how fast these starfighters seemed, it was no wonder they had been introduced. He just hoped their weapons systems were just as good.

"Shield status?" he asked again hoping they were going to be able to hold out. Just as he thought that there was a much larger shake of the ship, indicating something more significant had impacted the shields.

"Sir they just dropped to 52%, we just got into the weapons range of the small pirate cruiser. Four enemy fighters are down already from our own fire." his tactical officer said much happier this time around, as they knew reinforcements were incoming. Just then his tactical officer spoke suddenly in obvious surprise. "Friendly torpedos in flight, counting at least 50!"

Another shock to add to the list, as most groups didn't use torpedoes or missiles as they were almost always incredibly costly to replace, and always in limited supply. When blaster gas was so much cheaper and easier to transport, laser cannons and turbo lasers were the go to for most ships, especially those who were less well funded. It was also a matter of getting good enough torpedoes or missiles that they would not be disabled from all the electronic warfare most ships used to jam sensors and communications. Let alone the fact that shoddy weapons of dubious origins had been known to explode in their ammo racks taking whole ships with them. He watched his screen readout that was now tracking the torpedoes as they streaked through the space between the HPI fighters and the pirates. He didn't even need to wait for the torpedoes to arrive at the pirates before they started to break off and retreat.

It didn't help as the torpedoes impacted with near perfect accuracy, while also spreading their weapons fire appropriately. The larger cruiser was immediately crippled, and nearly a dozen smaller ships simply ceased to exist. The HPI starfighters whipped by his ship at incredible speeds already hunting down the remaining pirates. It seemed that their practice of no quarter still stood for pirates operating in 'HPI sectors', as most people in the Outer Rim had started calling the space the company heavily operated in, which was a fairly accurate description of reality here in space. It was the reason they had decided to come this way in the first place due to it being safer with HPI activity. This just proved it was the right decision, as it seemed they were now operating patrol fleets if his gut feeling was correct.

Finally someone seemed to be doing something about the rising pirate dangers, the fact that it was an independent company or planet was not lost on him. It made his opinion of the Republic just that much lower, as he felt that this was their responsibility if they wanted people like him to continue paying them taxes. Especially with the fact that the Senate also ignored a lot of the needs of planets like Pantora in the Outer Rim. Even the Mid-Rim worlds were often ignored and seen as backwater planets. He more than most was exposed to this view point due to his job of transporting goods around this part of the Galaxy. No one on Pantora would ever consider themselves backwater, and in fact often thought that way of many core worlds for some of their barbaric practices.

"What do those indents on the closest HPI starfighter read as?" he asked out of curiosity.

"HPI SF-1396 and Patrol Fleet-53, on one of the starfighters, the rest are similar." his comms officer said while looking over to him in interest.

"It seems HPI is taking an even more active role in protecting the trade routes of this sector." he said as he also saw the last few pirate ships shot down by the HPI fighters like the vermin they were. Just as he was about to celebrate a notification of incoming communication came in.

"Sir we are being hailed by one of the HPI Starfighters!" his comms officer announced in surprise. Hopefully it would not be them asking for payment for the cost of those torpedos. That would wipe them out, and most likely even put him and the crew in debt.

"Put them on screen." he said more confidently than he felt before getting himself ready to talk to whoever it was that had saved their butts.

"Ah sir, we are receiving audio only." said the comms officer. "Putting them on." the officer said while he also relaxed his stance knowing this would not be a face to face chat.

"This is HPI SF-1327, do you require additional assistance with repairs or medical aid?" the obviously droid voice came through the comms, and surprised him a bit. Which really it shouldn't have if he thought about it, as most HPI ships were manned by minimal organic crews, if any at all. This was one reason HPI could afford to offer such good rates, and is what had many wondering how they pulled it off. Sure many companies had tried in the past, but often all droid crews failed to live up to expectations, and took huge numbers to really be successful like on some Trade Federation ships. He looked over to his tactical officer who shook her head in negative for any repairs before he answered the droid.

"Thank you for the offer but we do not require any repairs. I must also thank you and HPI for responding to our SOS." he told the droid honestly. It didn't hurt to be polite, as the interaction may be reviewed later by someone at HPI HQ or wherever those things were taken care of.

"It is our honor to assist fellow traders." the droid said seriously which made him smile a bit at the absurdity of calling HPI simply a trading company, or Starfighers as traders, but he still liked the mentality. "If it is acceptable with you, we would escort you until you leave this sector, as pirate activity here was not expected in our recent updates." the droid starfighter's almost monotone voice requested of them. He saw no reason to reject being escorted part of their trip so quickly answered.

"That is acceptable with me, and we would be happy for the extra protection." he said truthfully, and it was not like their route was a secret or anything so it would not hurt. This whole situation had really upped his opinion of HPI even more than it already was, as they already held a fairly large amount of his respect for their trading practices. Though he did look down on them some for their trade of Alcohol and Cannabis, a mind altering substance. He had heard that was how they had first gotten in with the Crime Lord Jabba the Hutt, or maybe it was not quite fair to really call the Hutt a crime lord anymore, as it seemed from the news he heard that most of the Hutt's business was coming from legal sources these days. It was amazing what becomes legal when you're the lawful sovereign of a planet, or well at least half of the ruling party. Most people saw it as Hadrian Peverell who was truly running things, and Jabba as the muscle enforcing the rules on the seedier sides of things, but he was not too sure, as Hutts had their reputation for a reason.

This all made him want to visit the planet Tatooine someday soon to see the heart of HPI and the society they were developing there. He had heard some fairly outlandish rumors, but he also knew what the planet's reputation had been only a decade ago. He had been flying these skies long enough to know that there was usually some grain of truth to most rumors spread by those surfing the hyper waves. And nothing spread quicker than a rumor about profits to be made on a well traveled hyperlane. With a small chuckle and his new starfighter escort, he relaxed after the short but heart pounding battle.

He was only mildly surprised then when they were about to leave the system that their sensors picked up a larger HPI ship drop out of hyperspace right into the former battlefield and started salvage operations on the pirate vessels. They certainly were fast, but he also understood it was most likely one of the ways the company paid for and justified continuing to offer help like this. It made him smile at the thought of HPI making money off of some pirates' misery.

A/N: Well there it is everyone, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. The editing was done a bit quick on this one so there may be some spots where it shows, otherwise have a happy holidays and hopefully I have chapters up for you far before next xmas!