Disclaimer: The characters belong to Lucas and Bioware. I'm not making any money from this.
Reports of all sorts had flooded into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant regarding the Mandalorian impact on the galaxy. The culmination of these reports made one thing clear – the Jedi could not afford to consult on the matter any longer. As news spread quickly throughout the Temple, Revan used the momentum to take a stand. She'd been reluctant, at first, to take the lead. But in a private meeting held shortly after hers and Jek's return from Thyferra, a group of nine Jedi had decided she would lead the movement on Coruscant while Malak rounded up support on Dantooine. Both were very powerful and respected by many. Therefore, they had been the logical choice.
There was only so much time the Order could withstand such open disobedience, so they had to move fast. Unfortunately, that didn't leave much time for everyone with intent to join the war to finish their affairs. For all Jedi on missions, wanting to join the war meant finding resolutions to their current investigations.
The fact that both Manaan and Thyferra had incidents, that if successful, would benefit Czerka Corporation did not go unnoticed by Revan and Jek. Czerka undoubtedly wanted some way into the Manaan market. However, the Selkath were very strict on maintaining control of their kolto. As a backup, the Vratix research on their own healing substance would be very valuable if Czerka could find the resources to move it along more quickly. As it stood, Czerka was out of the loop as far as healing substances were concerned. And during a time of war, that was a bad spot to be in.
The evidence of Force Lightening at the research facility made Revan even more curious about Quinn's assistant, Fonaq. He very well could be the key to a good deal of the happenings on Manaan and Thyferra. But did they have enough evidence to make public accusations? The Jedi didn't think so. Time was running out, and although justice for any wrong-doing was important, it was more important for the Jedi to join the war.
There were many factors still to be considered in preparation for their departure to war, one of those being their own livelihood. The Order had always financed any Jedi actions. Jedi themselves required nothing in the way of material possessions. However, without the Order, the Jedi joining the war would not have the financial backing for the necessities to survive such as food and shelter. With the mass inclusion of Jedi among the ranks, the Republic would have to consider the financial burden. Revan and Jek's first order of business, therefore, was to work up a proposal for acceptance by the Senate. Unfortunately, getting it passed would be a difficult task. There was one key Senator they would need on their side to get the necessary approval. Although Senator Krishon had felt indebted to Revan in the past, the feeling didn't run quite as deep as his friendship with certain members of the High Council. It would be extremely difficult to convince him to go against the Council.
Those were some of the many thoughts running through Revan's mind as she stood at the window in her quarters within the Temple. She stared out at the city before her. The sun was setting and cast a glorious orange glow that reflected off of everything in sight. Coruscant was an exciting place. There was always something new to find; something new to learn. And she had loved growing up on it. Dantooine had been nice to visit, but she eventually would have become restless there. She never thought she'd feel that way about Coruscant. Yet here she was, ready to go. Two more ships were due to arrive in a few weeks. That was the goal she'd set for their departure.
In the distance, she could see the mushroom shape of the new Senate building. She looked in the direction of Fleet Headquarters. It wouldn't be long before it would no longer be easily spotted along the Coruscant skyline. She'd read a report that Admiral Handstadt had disregarded her proposal and sent two military transports to evacuate the people of Serroco. Mandalorian scout ships spotted the entourage of starfighters, and within hours, the survivors had been captured. Revan couldn't help but wonder if the Jedi involvement would be futile while leaders such as Admiral Shinst stood in the way of victory. The Republic needed someone smarter than that.
Revan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. If thoughts of the war weren't enough, there was always Jek. She didn't know at what point things had become so complicated with him. The realization of it hadn't even struck her until their recent mission to Thyferra. She and Jek had had a disagreement. Then he'd refused to talk to her for the rest of the day. She hadn't liked it much. At first she was irritated at him for being so short-sighted and not understanding her practical use of the Force. But as the day went on, she'd had more time to think about Jek. The unique thing about him was the purity of the lightness within him. It was that light that repelled any darkness, regardless of its intent. She smiled to herself as the last rays of the sun shown upon her face before fading away. She hoped he would never change.
The door to her quarters slid open and Malak walked in. Master Sypian had allowed Malak to speak to the students in his Advanced Lightsaber session. He turned up the lights and noticed her standing by the window. "I didn't know you'd be here."
"Jek's on his way over and the three of us are going to discuss this case so we can get it over with," she explained.
Malak sighed heavily. "Fine."
He disappeared into the sleeping chamber. Malak's irritation with Jek had become another issue Revan found herself pondering. She wondered how they would all work together on the bigger picture if those two couldn't even stand to be in the same room.
He came back out of the sleeping chamber without his outer robe and went to the dispenser for a drink. She asked him, "How did your speech go?"
He took a sip of his drink and leaned up against the dispenser. "Very good. They had a lot of questions. I answered what I could and told them the rest would be answered at your next session."
"Did you make me a list?" she asked.
He nodded. "Numa is putting one together."
She already knew the answer, but she had to ask, "And Sypian?"
Malak shook his head. "He won't go against the rest of the Council."
Revan let out an exasperated breath. "Even though he believes what we're doing is right?"
"Yes. But he is willing to help however he can otherwise," he explained.
Revan crossed her arms over her chest and huffed, "He's a lightsaber master. He can help by coming with us."
There was a chime at the door. Even though Malak stood right next to it, he walked over to the couch and took a seat. Revan rolled her eyes and went to the door to let Jek in.
Jek had a nice smile on his face when he walked through the doorway. However, it quickly faded when he spotted Malak resting on the couch. He grumbled sarcastically under his breath, "Thanks for the heads up." She smiled sweetly as they sat down at the small table in front of the couch. So maybe she hadn't mentioned it would be the three of them.
Malak and Jek exchanged cordial greetings. Revan asked, "Where do we stand on funding?"
Jek said, "Nobody's offering up anything."
"Did you work on the proposal?" she asked.
Jek handed her a datapad for her to study. She looked over it briefly. Jek said, "It's hard to give them numbers based on what we have so far. At this point, we have no idea how many Jedi will go."
Revan agreed. "We'll have to give them a large enough number to cover. The truth is, we won't know until we leave. And even then, some may come afterwards."
Looking up from the datapad, she stated, "We need to talk to Senator Krishon. If he were to announce his full support to the Senate, plans for deployment would be initiated immediately. I know it's a long shot, but I think it's worth a try."
Both men set down their datapads and looked at her doubtfully. Malak said, "Krishon? There's no way he'll do it."
Revan shrugged, "Why not?"
Jek reminded her, "Revan, the man has pictures of him and Master Vrook on the wall of his office. No matter how much he likes you, he won't go against Vrook and the High Council."
Malak shook his head and said, "You have to pick someone else."
This was odd. Malak and Jek were agreeing… and not with her. Revan explained, "No other single person will have the same impact and we're running out of time."
Malak said, "Exactly. You can't be wasting it on Krishon."
Jek added, "Nobody's denying the impact he'd have, Revan. But Malak's right, we should be using our time on more probable prospects."
Revan frowned, but held firm. "We need to meet with him regarding our investigation, anyway. We'll discuss it with him then."
Both men wanted to say more, but she cut them off. "We'll also need to work with the Fleet on proper placement. We need to have a good understanding of who can best be used where. For instance, Silas already said he'd like to start on the supply lines. Some may be more effective away from the front. But, we probably won't be able to figure a lot of that out until we get out there."
Jek added, "We can get an idea for general placement, though."
All three scrolled through their notes for a few minutes. Then Revan asked, "What's the status on Manaan?"
Malak replied, "If we can get a subpoena on Quinn and his guy, I'm certain Mapa would be willing to identify who contacted him."
Revan looked at him doubtfully and said, "That's not an easy request. And even still, if you're going to go through the trouble of getting Quinn, you wouldn't be able to stop until you got to Czerka."
"What's your point?" Malak asked.
"Time," Jek offered, though Revan could sense he didn't agree.
Malak thought about that. "You're saying we drop the investigation?"
Revan shrugged slightly. "You've already given them the assassin. Manaan will be happy with that outcome."
"Mapa will be put to death, Revan," Malak insisted.
Revan sighed, "Well, he did attempt to kill the judge, right?"
Malak struggled for the words, but Revan added, "You know he's not innocent. The best you'll be able to get for him is a chance three judges will give him life in prison instead. You already know Duula's going to push for death. And he's the one you have the most influence on. Are you going to be able to talk him into changing his mind?"
Malak paused to process his answer. It was clear he didn't agree. With a bit of annoyance, Revan thought, What is up with these two tonight?
Jek suggested, "Why don't we wait until we talk to Krishon? Maybe he has more information that will help both cases."
Malak scoffed, "He won't have anything. When it comes down to it, I doubt the man really cares."
He had a point. Krishon never had been overly concerned about the Vratix and he often times underestimated the potential for their research. But the Vratix were not politicians. Therefore, Krishon was necessary. He just needed to understand the value of their studies in order to better protect it.
Jek said, "Krishon will be back on-planet in three days. We'll talk to him then."
In a perfect situation, she would have liked to see justice carried out to completion. But bringing the president of Czerka Corporation down in the middle of a galaxy-wide war could also have an impact on the front. Malak didn't seem ready for that reasoning yet, so she let it drop for the time being.
The three Jedi finished up the last of their remaining items. Revan and Malak ended things in that no-talking mood they'd learned had saved their friendship many times before. He left for Dantooine shortly after. Jek hadn't been all that pleased with what he considered to be an unproductive meeting either. She had to admit both men had valid points. But all she could concern herself with at the moment was getting the funding. Anything else would have to wait a few more days to be resolved, anyway.
She looked up from her position next to the table. The holocron she received from Taren Quinn sat as yet untouched in a box that now rested on her shelving unit. Revan had always liked the boxes used for holocron storage in the archives and had acquired one for her own safe-keeping of crystals and other helpful items. 'A gift of friendship', he had called it. And for some reason she could only ascribe to the Force, she didn't question the sincerity of his words. The thought gave her an idea.
After a few well-placed inquiries, Revan was on her way to the Sah'c District for an evening visit. The area was full of exclusive residences commonly used by off-worlders. The trick was getting into the right one without anyone remembering she'd been there. Good thing she was a Jedi.
The guard escorted her into the simply decorated foyer. He turned to her and said, "Please wait here while I get my master." He bowed respectfully and left her waiting. Revan used the Force and did a tentative probe. Without being too intrusive, she was able to detect Quinn and… the boy. She'd attempted to find more information about Cree, but had come up with very little. There was a door off to the right. Revan sidled up to it and took a quick look around before slipping inside.
The boy was sitting cross-legged on the floor with his back to her when she entered. The well-lit room appeared to be a library of sorts. A computer screen displayed the Allied Tion Sector. But it looked as if the boy had abandoned those kinds of studies. There was a cleaning droid in front of him. Revan noticed it seemed to get a barely perceptible jolt in its circuits before continuing on its routine. Revan watched for a moment and could tell the boy was concentrating heavily on the droid. Another surge went through the droid, but it continued. Cree let out a frustrated sigh. As Revan watched him try again, she could see the undeniable resemblance between Quinn and the boy. However, Cree's strength in the Force seemed a bit stronger than his father's. Though she did question the training he'd been given so far.
She cleared her throat. Cree spun around. His eyes grew wide as if he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't have been. Revan smiled and took a seat on the floor next to him. The boy said nothing, watching her curiously. She focused on the cleaning droid and sent another surge through it that left it motionless for several seconds. "Energy is everywhere. It's only a matter of finding what you can control," she explained.
The boy relaxed and focused on the droid again. His brow knitted together as he searched for what he was looking for. Revan said, "Close your eyes." He did so.
"Let the Force guide you," she instructed.
He sat motionless for a minute and then his eyes shot open in wonder. He immediately focused on the droid. Revan detected the small ripple of energy and then the droid froze for at least two seconds. She felt the excitement emanate from the boy before she saw the huge smile on his face.
Just then, the guard entered the room and Revan and the boy both stood to face him. The man said, "My master is not accepting visitors at this hour. You will have to make an appointment."
That wouldn't do. Revan waved a hand in front of his face and with a touch of the Force said, "Your master will see me now."
The man paused before saying, "My master will see you now."
Revan glanced at Cree and winked. The boy snickered before he joined her in following the guard.
They entered a spacious common room with a wide panel of windows that showcased an excellent view of the city-planet. The room was pleasantly lit with soft lights that reflected off of the beige walls, and a seating area had been arranged in the center. Taren Quinn sat at a desk on the left side of the room studying a computer screen. When he realized he had company, he immediately said, "Rennek, I told you I was not accep –" He stopped when he saw Revan. He must have realized poor Rennek didn't have a choice as he let out an exasperated sigh. "Of course. Thank you, Rennek. You may go."
He looked past Revan to see the boy standing behind her. "Cree, it's late. Go to your chamber for the night."
"Yes, sir," the boy said with his soft voice.
Revan turned to say, "It was good to see you again, Cree."
The boy bowed in response and said, "And you, Master Jedi." His voice cracked slightly to indicate his age. It was the first he'd spoken to her directly. He quickly turned and disappeared down a hallway.
Quinn stood from his desk and motioned towards the sitting area for Revan to take a seat. He said, "Are you trying to corrupt my son, Jedi Revan? Leading him to believe a trick of the mind can get you whatever you want?"
Revan snorted as she settled into the nerfhide couch, "Trust me, it took more than a trick of the mind to get me up here."
He walked to a counter near the wall and retrieved a decanter. Pouring two glasses, he asked, "And do you always arrive uninvited?"
Revan smiled and said, "I like to catch people off-guard."
"Ahh, an opportunist," he said as if he'd just figured her out.
She shrugged. It wasn't the first time she'd been accused of such things.
He handed her a glass of brandy before taking the seat opposite her. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?" he asked.
Revan sipped lightly at her drink. Off-handedly, she said, "Your own illegal activities, I suppose." He chuckled at her comment. She continued by saying, "We've been asked to investigate two separate incidents on Manaan and Thyferra. Over the course of the last few months, we've accumulated quite a bit of evidence. Evidence that implicates you, Seario, and Thyferra together in a nice little bundle. One subpoena for you and your protégé to make a court appearance on Manaan and we have another match." She might have embellished the truth a little, but not enough for it to be a lie.
Quinn smirked, "If that were true, you would have already made your arrests."
"Not necessarily," she stated.
He raised an eyebrow. "And why is that?"
She smiled slightly, but didn't answer. She stood to check out the view from the windows. There was a bit more distance between the row of buildings they were in and the one directly across from them. It made it less stifling than the Senate District. She steeled herself for the delicacy of what she was about to imply. "You may or may not be aware that many Jedi have decided to join the war."
He looked at her skeptically. "And your Council approved?"
She gave a half smile. "Not exactly. Furthermore, without their approval, certain key members of the Senate are reluctant to provide their financial support. It's support we need in order to fully integrate with the Fleet."
Quinn was quiet, waiting for her to continue. When she didn't, he asked, "What does any of this have to do with me?"
"Absolutely nothing," she stated. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and said with a smirk, "But if you'd rather discuss your arrest…"
Quinn studied her for a few moments before getting up from his seat. He stood beside her as they both looked below to watch the traffic flash through the skylanes. He finally said, "Politicians can be quite greedy."
She took a sip from her glass and said, "As can many sentient beings."
Guilty himself, Quinn nodded in agreement. "Whose support do you need?" he asked.
"I've put a lot of thought into that," she stated.
He snorted laughter, "I have no doubt."
Here goes nothing, she thought. "It really falls upon one person. One person who has been a staunch supporter of the Council for years… Senator Krishon."
She watched Quinn's reflection in the glass to gauge his reaction. A small smile played upon his lips as he considered her dilemma. His interest was piqued, though he kept his response muted. "From Thyferra?" he asked.
"Indeed. He's head of the Senate appropriations committee. If he would agree to fund the Jedi joining the Fleet, the Senate would surely approve it. Most people want to see the Jedi involved. But Krishon has personal reasons for staying on the side of the Order. There would be no convincing him to take a political stand against the Council," she explained. "I like Krishon, for the most part. I think he's important to his planet. He does, however, seem more concerned with his own personal gain at times when I think he could be benefiting his people."
They stood in silence for a short while. Revan had planted the seeds and it was up to Quinn to decide what to do with them. But he had a good idea of what she wanted, and possibly the resources to help her accomplish it. She turned to Quinn and handed him her glass. "I apologize for voicing my frustrations. I'm sure you have other pressing matters. What I really came to say was to keep an eye out for that subpoena."
She started to walk towards the door. "Should I see myself out?"
Quinn set the glasses down and led her to the exit.
Before leaving, she said, "By the way, you may want to let your friend Pollard know that arms dealers have no business in the way of healing. The two don't quite go together. Disruption of the process in place will not be tolerated. The conflict with the Mandalorians requires full cooperation from the Selkath. Any act against the Selkath at this point will be considered treason, as far as I'm concerned. And I have a personal interest in the safety of the Vratix."
Quinn held an amused expression and said, "I'll pass on the message. But out of curiosity, why haven't you approached him with your accusations?"
She shrugged, "He's on Brentaal IV." It wasn't an answer to his question, though it sounded like one.
She stepped through the doorway, but Quinn called out before she left, "Before you go, have you had a chance to study the gift I gave you?"
She shook her head and answered honestly, "No." It's not that she wasn't curious. She just hadn't had the opportunity. She left Quinn's quarters and returned to the Temple much the same way she had come.
A few days later she received information on a series of fund transfers into various accounts belonging to Senator Krishon. After further study, Revan determined the funds came in some form from Pollard Seario. She did a standard probe to discover the anonymous source of the information, but was actually rather pleased when she came up with nothing. She didn't want to know how Quinn had done it, but the suspicious fund transfer had the potential to be very helpful. It was time to pitch the proposal to Krishon. She and Jek set a meeting for two days later.
Jek met Revan at the Senate offices. He hadn't seen much of her lately since they were both very busy. They'd managed to spar a few times since their return, but the rest of their time was spent with preparations. Revan had insisted on pitching the proposal to Senator Krishon, though Jek was sure it was a waste of time. Jek briefly wondered if she knew something he didn't. After all, as far as Jek knew, Krishon had been friends with Master Vrook ever since he'd first become Senator.
As usual, the Senator kept them waiting. It reminded Jek of his first meeting with Revan and the Senator. He laughed to himself as he thought of how much had changed since then. He never would have guessed then that she would some day become his lover.
The receptionist interrupted his musings and announced the Senator would see them. When they stood, Revan asked with a curious grin, "What are you smiling about?"
He decided to throw her off guard by giving her a suggestive look. She laughed.
The two Jedi exchanged greetings with the Senator and then took their seats. Revan purposely took the seat furthest away from the wall that held the friendly pictures on it.
Revan began. "Senator, before we get to the business of the attack –."
Apparently the Senator had already heard the news of the proposal. Krishon put his hands up to interrupt her, but she raised hers to let her continue. "Please, Senator, it never hurts to ask."
The older man nodded and said, "Continue."
"As you have heard, many Jedi are planning to assist the Fleet in their efforts against the Mandalorians. It's an act that will go against the advice of the Council. In order for complete success in our endeavor, we'll need the Senate's full support for integration with the Fleet. Considering your history with the Jedi, I understand your reluctance to support those of us embarking on this mission. However, the need to expedite our departure for the defense of the Republic is of the utmost importance. Insuring the financial support of the extra manpower is a concern we'd like to put to rest."
The Senator shook his head. "Surely, Jedi Revan, there are others within the Senate to help you with this matter."
"Nobody could facilitate our efforts as quickly as you could," Revan insisted.
Krishon feigned modesty. "Well, I think you give me and my position far too much credit. But really, you know I can't do what you ask."
To Jek's surprise, Revan conceded, "Very well then." What? That's her effort? Surely she had more in mind than just that.
She looked at Jek expectantly. He suppressed his confusion and addressed the Senator. "We spent a great deal of time at the facility and collected a substantial amount of data. We are getting closer in the investigation, but we'll need more time before we can come to any solid conclusions."
Krishon warbled a little and said, "The Vratix have suffered greatly through this tragedy. Although they would like to see the mystery solved, their main concern is for peace. We would like to put this incident behind us and continue with the research. I apologize for any inconvenience and I sincerely thank you for all of your efforts in getting this resolved thus far. However, I think it's best for all to move on."
Jek blinked. Was the Senator telling them to drop it? He couldn't believe what he was hearing. They'd spent all that time on Thyferra for nothing? Why would they ever want to drop it?
Revan sighed regretfully. She looked down to the datapad she held in her lap. "That is most unfortunate, Senator."
Both the Senator and Jek looked at her questioningly. At least Jek knew she was in agreement, but there was obviously more to it. She continued, "You see, our investigation so far has determined a possible initiator of the attack was somehow linked to Czerka Corporation."
Jek noticed the Senator shift in his seat, and felt a wave of discomfort through the Force. It was if Krishon had already known that. Revan leaned forward and handed Krishon the datapad she'd been holding. It was one the Jedi hadn't seen before. Krishon studied the contents of it and Jek watched as the man became quickly alarmed. The Senator looked up at Revan with wide eyes. He immediately took on a defensive tone and said, "This isn't what it looks like."
Jek's own apprehension rose. What was on that datapad?
Revan smiled knowingly. "Sure it is."
The Senator looked back down at the datapad and ran a hand over his face. He sighed deeply and then said, "What would you have me do?"
Revan answered simply, "You could give the credits back to Seario and Jek and I can continue our investigation. After, of course, we make a few more stops to see a few other Senators to try and rally their support for our cause."
Jek's head was buzzing with the new information. Had Senator Krishon actually received a bribe from Pollard Seario?
The Senator stood from his chair and walked over to the window. He peered out upon the cityscape while he contemplated his options. "Who else knows about this?" he finally asked.
Revan said, "Jek didn't even know about it until I showed it to you."
The Senator turned half way to glance at Jek, who didn't mask his disappointment. At the sight of Jek's expression, the Senator turned back to the window.
"And if I support the Jedi joining the war?" the Senator questioned.
So that was it. That was her plan. Revan answered with sincerity, "You would have my undying gratitude and continued vigilance over the protection of your planet's resources."
Jek vaguely registered the agreement between Krishon and Revan. He'd lost every last bit of respect he'd had for the older man. The Senator had just proven where his selfish priorities lie. And even more disturbing was that Jek didn't feel much better about Revan at the moment.
He and Revan didn't speak the entire trip back to the Temple. She followed him to his quarters. Once inside, she said, "What?"
"That was an interesting turn of events," Jek stated sharply.
Revan sighed. "We got the support we needed."
"Is that all that matters, Revan?" he asked.
She quickly and definitely answered, "For right now, yes."
Jek was exasperated. "You just blackmailed a Senator, Revan!"
Revan huffed, "Not from my point of view. I mean, it wouldn't really be an issue if he were innocent, would it?"
"What about the Vratix, their research? What about Seario and Quinn? Was it all for nothing?" he demanded.
Revan palmed the door control. Before leaving, she said, "The Republic is at war, Jek. It is what it is."
Meaningless. Why did it mean more to him than it did to her?
Jek and Revan didn't speak to each other for most of a week. Senator Krishon announced his support for the Jedi joining the war effort. The Council was in an uproar. Jek stayed as far away from Master Vrook as he could. The atmosphere around the Temple changed. There were more debates, more questions, more theories. Everyone was quickly divided into two factions – who would stay and who would not.
Jek had given the exchange with Krishon more thought. In hindsight, he really didn't blame Revan for exploiting the situation. If that was the kind of man Krishon chose to be, then he deserved the scorn he surely had received from members of the Council. In the end, the Jedi leaving had received something extremely valuable. However, the price paid was Pollard Seario and Taren Quinn going free. Without the information from the Thyferra investigation, the case on Manaan had less to pull it together. Chances of getting a subpoena were slim to none. And the current man in custody would remain as charged.
Jek had thought a lot about his situation with Revan since their return from Thyferra. He guessed she did as well, though neither spoke of it. He knew it would change between them once they left Coruscant. Things would change for everyone.
The day of departure was fast approaching. Many of the Jedi joining the war had been pouring onto Coruscant in the last few days. Jek had decided to have a few drinks with friends he hadn't seen in a long time. They all met at a club commonly frequented by Jedi. The club was full of those joining the Fleet. Any Jedi not approving of the move had elected to stay away for the night.
Jek could feel the excitement in the air when he walked in. It was difficult not to get caught up in it. He quickly found Tocchu and some other friends. Surprisingly, there was little talk of the war. Everyone seemed more interested in catching up and enjoying one last moment together.
He was surprised when Revan arrived. She hadn't taken much time away from the preparations. But he supposed it was a different kind of night. It was something they all needed. She found her seat next to Malak on the other side of the club. Dancers and patrons blocked his view of her.
Every once in a while, the crowd would clear out enough for them to exchange glances. Despite his reservations regarding her recent choices, he still would have preferred Malak to have stayed away for one more night. Jek had a feeling it would be the last night they could be who they really were. He didn't know what was in store for him and Revan once they left Coruscant. But he did know it wouldn't be the same.
As the night went on, their occasional glances turned into flirting. She wore a dark purple shirt that he'd always liked, and she knew it, too. He felt a tap on his senses and looked in her direction. She nodded her head towards the back stairway that led to the second level. He sent his agreement and excused himself from his companions.
He'd been dying to speak with her all night. Their week apart had felt much longer than any absence since they'd become lovers. Jek maneuvered through the many Jedi to find his way to the back, his anticipation growing as he drew closer.
The stairway itself was well lit. However, he found her in a small semi-darkened alcove off to the side of it. He slipped into the nook and stood facing her, his arms instantly sliding around her for a better fit in the tight space.
She had a mischievous grin on her face and said, "I just wanted to say, 'hi'."
That look had always meant good things for him. Jek brought his face closer to hers. In a low voice, he said, "Hi."
She pulled him even closer and kissed him earnestly. He certainly didn't object. He'd missed her and she tasted wonderful. He returned the kiss and leaned into her to press her against the wall.
Their embrace quickly intensified and Jek wondered just how private their little spot really was. His thoughts were interrupted when she started laughing and pulled away. "Slow down there, Jedi," she said as she put her hands on his chest. Then she nuzzled into his neck, kissed him lightly under his ear, and said, "But don't leave without me."
She ducked under his arms that held her and sauntered away, leaving Jek to consider her words. He quickly decided there was no way in the Nine Corellian Hells he was leaving without her.
An hour later, he signaled his departure through the Force. She met him outside and they spent the rest of the night in his quarters. He did his best to keep thoughts of the next day away. Instead, he enjoyed the moment and made love to her as if it was their last time.
Malak stood at the front of the large training room. The numerous seats were filled with various Jedi. A great deal of time and effort had gone into special assignments within the Fleet. There was still quite a bit of work to be done regarding Jedi placement. However, much of it would have to wait until the need was better determined. Most Jedi would go straight to the front for further instruction. Those Jedi had already received their assignments.
Many Jedi in the room were experienced Knights. There were a few Masters with their Padawans, but most Masters had steered clear of the deployment. Much of the placement decisions were made based on previous missions. Most every Guardian would be sent to the front. Some Jedi had been placed along the troop supply lines. Others were sent beyond the front to continue to acquire a full spectrum of the situation. Malak himself would move on to Field Operations with Revan.
The assignment distribution would not take long. Many Jedi still had affairs to wrap up and did not have much time to spare. Malak had completed his investigation on Manaan. Judge Duula had been happy for a resolution and considered himself indebted to Malak for identifying the assailant. Unfortunately, Malak didn't agree with the final outcome. He'd felt it was very possible that Mapa had been tricked by way of the Force into attempting to take Duula's life. But Revan was right – bringing the full details to light may have resulted in much broader consequences. Instead, they'd found an alternative that in turn benefited the Jedi that wanted to go to war. Of course, Senator Krishon announcing his support for the Jedi joining the war effort a week earlier had not made the Council pleased in the least. Fortunately, those preparing to leave were not deterred.
The Jedi in the room divided up into three sections to receive their assignments. Each datapad had the full details on which ship they would depart on and who they would report to upon arrival. The Solen and the Ravager would arrive in Coruscant space within the week to transport the Jedi to their respective staging areas.
Within the hour, most of the Jedi had filed through until there were only about fifteen left. Wodi walked through and handed out datapads. Malak had a general idea of where the remaining Jedi would be placed. However, what he didn't know was where Jek would be going. He'd managed to keep his opinions regarding the other man's usefulness to himself. In turn, he'd been kept out of any discussions regarding it.
Malak glanced over at Revan's bed partner. The datapad sat loosely in Jek's hands as he talked with Tocchu. Malak liked Tocchu. He was glad the other man had decided to join them. Tocchu and Jek said their goodbyes and Jek turned his attention to the instructions in his hand. Malak noticed Jek furrow his brow as he studied the contents. He quickly tapped through a few screens and then clenched his jaw. Malak was instantly assaulted with a wave of shock from the man. Jek's gaze slowly lifted from the pad and settled upon Revan. He was not pleased.
Normally Malak would have found pleasure in such a display. However, the feeling he had instead was actually rather odd. How many times had Revan done something that completely pissed him off? Nobody else in the Order could do it quite as well as she could. Malak knew that feeling well. And judging by Jek's reaction, she had done it to him too. Malak actually felt sympathy for the other man.
Jek's glare did not waver, but he erected effective shields around his rising ire. Malak looked over at Revan. She'd been speaking with one of the Masters before she looked at Jek. She did not smile and held her head up in defiance. Malak recognized that look. She'd expected Jek's response and was now steeling herself for the consequences.
Curiosity got the better of Malak and he quickly pulled up the master list of assignments. He called up Jek's name. When the orders came up, Malak couldn't believe it. Jek would serve as Senate Liaison to Jedi in the Fleet… on Coruscant. Malak shook his head. Damn, Revan.
He decided it would be best for him to leave before he got accused of that one. He gathered up his things and left. As he walked down the Grand Corridor, he wasn't sure whether to be proud of her for ridding herself of the Jek taint, or disappointed that she couldn't find a better way to do it. He let out a resigned sigh. Some things never change.
When the discussion arose on who would represent them once they left Coruscant, it had been a difficult decision. Anyone already staying on Coruscant did not support joining the war. Therefore, how could they be trusted to properly convey the needs of those serving the Fleet?
Jek had spent the last few years serving the Senate. And he felt strongly about what the Jedi were doing. His support would be unwavering and Revan trusted him explicitly. In the back of her mind, she wondered if it would be overkill to leave someone as skilled as Jek fighting off Senators rather than Mandalorians. But if Jek could get over the contemptuousness he currently felt, he could be one of their greatest assets.
There were many good reasons to keep Jek on Coruscant. And the one reason she had for taking him with her was an even bigger reason for him to stay.
Revan had suddenly found her situation with Jek a bit more complicated. She wasn't a fool and she knew the last few times they'd been together had been about more than sex. She did not deny there was a deeper connection. As much as she had enjoyed her time with him, it was essential they move on.
The decision hadn't been that difficult. However, she knew the consequences would be. And judging by the tremble in his Force signature, she was about to find out just how much.
The last of the others gathered their things and filtered out the door. When it slid shut, Jek stood and went to one of the windows. He had his hands on his hips and kept his stance rigid. He glared out at the stretching cityscape. Revan had never seen him like that before. She was quickly awash with guilt when she detected his struggle to quiet his anger.
He finally asked in an even but dangerously low tone, "Why?"
She suddenly lost the ability to come up with a solid answer. It didn't matter. He shook his head as he figured it out for himself, and spun around to face her. "This is your solution? A little bit of feeling trickles in and you get me as far away from you as you possibly can?" He stared at her unbelievingly.
She withstood his gaze, but had no response. Somehow she wasn't quite trained for this – failed negotiations, hostile situations, wild beasts she could handle… but this...
He asked with unnerving calmness, "How could you do this? You know I had every intention of going. Now I'm supposed to stay on Coruscant and be your errand boy?"
Revan shook her head. "It's not like that."
Jek huffed indignantly. "How long have you known? Or was it your idea in the first place?"
When she didn't answer, he demanded, "Answer me, Revan!"
"With your experience, you were the best choice," she explained. It sounded weak even to her.
He ran his fingers through his hair and then dropped them to his sides. He smiled humorlessly. "And this has nothing to do with me and you?"
She didn't have to answer. Their gazes locked, both knew it had everything to do with the two of them.
He shook his head slowly and mused, "And yet, I'm the one left behind." He chuckled to himself and added, "It's all about you, isn't it Revan?" And as if he fully comprehended the truth in his words, he trailed off, "Always about you."
He remained frozen in thought only for a moment. Then without another word, he turned to leave. But before he reached the door he paused and turned to ask, "What was the other night?"
Another trickle of guilt slipped through, but she made sure to shield it from him. She said, "It was 'goodbye'. And I thought you knew that."
She instantly felt the pain her words caused him. However, something told her he'd known all along. Wishful thinking, perhaps. She watched as Jek slowly turned and left.
Revan sat down heavily in her seat. She'd given lots of thought to his potential reaction. However, she'd never anticipated what she would feel like. A heaviness weighed on her chest and sadness washed over her. She would miss him.
The day of the Jedi departure quickly came. Jek had hoped Revan would stop by just to say… anything. But he knew she wouldn't. When the transports arrived, he went to the docks to observe the activity.
He stayed in the shadows, back against a wall, and watched. At first, there was nothing but chaos as several hundred Jedi started to show up. Revan was nowhere to be found. But it wasn't long before he felt her arrive. She had a Force signature that throbbed with life. It was something nobody could miss. He chuckled softly when he saw Malak point to his wrist chrono as she finally arrived. Jek thought Malak would have realized by now she'd never be on time. She worked on her own clock that nobody else understood.
Like any good Jedi, Revan stopped the chaos of the throngs of Jedi and turned it into harmony. Suddenly there was order and before long the first transport left for space dock. Even after all that they'd been through, Jek still smiled in admiration of her.
He watched her all the while she was there, never taking his awareness from her. Though when several of the Jedi in charge of the deployment stopped everything they were doing and looked towards the entrance to their landing bay, Jek followed their gaze. Thirty or so Masters walked through the door at that moment. Jek was just as curious as the rest. But without faltering in their steps, the Masters approached and stopped within two meters of Revan. Jek was amazed to see one of them was Master Sypian. She'd done it; she'd convinced Sypian. After a moment, she slowly bowed to the Masters. They, in return, bowed to her. Jek felt such tremendous pride in her at that very instant, though it was Malak that embraced her. It wasn't long before each Master was given their assignment and boarded the next transport.
Soon after, all of the containers were loaded onto the transports… and the docks were bare. It was time to go. She turned towards him for the first time since she'd arrived. Although he knew her reasons, he knew it was best for both of them as Jedi… the man in him wanted so much to embrace her and never let go.
They stared at each other for a long moment. It was time. One last bask in her presence. On the outside, he gave nothing away. On the inside, he was slowly crumbling. Please don't go, he silently pleaded. A part of him chastised himself for the selfishness of his thoughts. It was the part he chose to ignore. She was leaving.
She bowed her farewell before she stepped onto the boarding ramp and disappeared into the transport. The repulsorlifts came online and the vessel slowly rose off of the ground and vanished in the Coruscant sky.
To be continued...
A/N: This fic now has cover art. Please see my profile for a link. Special thanks go to my awesome betas, Lossefalme and Alexandra3.