Chapter Forty-One: Revelation
"I'm sorry, Ma'am," the TSF officer said, "but no one is allowed inside to see Commodore Onasi or any member of his party."
Bastila's eyes narrowed. "Officer, I am Bastila Shan of the Jedi Order. I need—"
"Forgive me, Ma'am, but you're not exactly wearing official Jedi robes." The TSF officer looked her up and down. Granted, the outfit she was wearing—a floor-length white skirt with red and gold trim, matching sleeveless top with an exposed midriff and matching earrings—wasn't exactly a Jedi uniform, so she could understand the officer's hesitation. To a point, at least. "So, unless the Jedi have really relaxed their dress code, why don't you just go back to the cantina—"
Her sigh reflected her impatience. "Just tell someone inside that Bastila Shan is here. They can verify who I am."
"Ma'am, with all due respect, how do I know you're not someone who just wants to see the Commodore for—"
"Just do it!" she snapped.
The TSF officer stared at her for a few seconds, then shrugged his shoulders and knocked on the door to the apartment. Bastila closed her eyes, recited the Code, and took a deep breath. She did not sneak out of the Jedi Temple to mouth off at a TSF officer just doing his job; she snuck out to deliver a message. She couldn't trust the holonet as a means of communication; the Council had most channels tapped. And who was to say Citadel Station wasn't monitoring all calls after the lockdown? Besides, in person Revan couldn't ignore her or suddenly and conveniently drop the connection. And with what Bastila had to say, she wouldn't entirely be able to blame the other Jedi for the 'lost connection.'
Bastila had to somehow convince Revan to return to Coruscant with Dustil before the Council arrived to oversee the mission personally. Or at least that was the impression Bastila had been given based on her last meeting with them. Maybe Master Vrook wasn't being literal when he said he'd "rent a damn shuttle" and "bring them back myself." But Bastila wasn't going to take any chances, especially since she was somehow still in their good graces, and planned on staying that way.
Would she still be in their good graces after this little stunt? Something else one never could tell. The Jedi Council had changed their points of view on so many topics over the last eight years; it was easier to calculate the odds of winning a Sabacca tournament than whether the Council would be pleased with a Jedi's actions. And when the Council was as difficult to read as Wookiee poetry, it was always best to just follow the Code. At least that way one wouldn't get in trouble—especially if one was a recovering Sith Apprentice.
Bastila could sense Revan's presence nearby, sense her anxiety and frustration towards Dustil, but above all else, could sense Revan's love for Carth.
Convincing Revan to return to Coruscant would be easy if not for the complication of Carth. And judging from the time it took them to find Dustil versus how long it had been since they began looking, Revan and Carth must had been enjoying their time away from the prying eyes of the Jedi Council.
Dammit, this was going to be harder than Bastila originally thought.
"Statement," Bastila heard a familiar mechanical voice say. "The prudish meatbag is here to see Master."
Bastila blinked at HK-47's description of her and immediately took offense—even though she probably should have been relieved the droid acknowledged knowing her instead of feigning ignorance. "I am not prudish!" She pushed her way past the TSF officer. "Out of all the adjectives Basic has to choose from, that's the one you pick?"
If his face wasn't carved out of metal, Bastila was fairly sure HK-47 would have been grinning in sadistic glee. "Correction: The petulant meatbag—"
"Enough," Bastila ordered. She gave the TSF officer a brief nod of thanks, then entered the apartment—the extravagantly-decorated apartment, she quickly noted. Plants, paintings, expensive-looking furniture… the Telosians spared no expense in putting together a suite for their famous Commodore. Bastila didn't have a trained eye for the finer things in life, which is probably why the whole room looked tacky to her.
And the Mandalorian mercenary standing in the middle of the room looked grossly out of place.
Canderous snorted at her. "Where'ja buy that get-up, Princess? Doesn't exactly look like approved threads."
Princess. It was oddly refreshing to know that in all the months that had passed, Canderous hadn't changed. She placed her hands on her hips and stared at him. "I need to see—" She stopped when she noticed another man sitting on the couch, a blond-haired man wearing a stereotypical smuggler's uniform. She didn't recognize him, and him staring at her not unlike a starving man staring at a nerf steak dinner was not a good first impression. "Who is this?"
"Bastila, this is Nal Simer," Canderous introduced. "Nal, Bastila Shan."
Bastila eyed Nal. "He a friend of yours?" she asked Canderous.
"Not really," the Mandalorian answered.
Nal looked at Canderous. "She a friend of yours?"
"Can she be a friend of mine?"
Bastila rolled her eyes in disgust then turned her attention back to Canderous. "Where is…" Bastila almost slipped and said 'Revan', but stopped herself. "Where is Liana? I need to speak with her."
"Since when do I have to go through you to speak with her?"
Canderous didn't answer. He just stared.
Bastila sighed. "This is a private matter."
He continued to stare.
"Just… tell me where she is!"
She was met with more staring.
Bastila narrowed her eyes then turned to Nal. "Where is she?"
Nal looked at Canderous's steely face, then back at Bastila. "Picking sides might get me in trouble."
"You won't get in trouble," she said. "You're not a child, you're a grown man."
"Did I say 'trouble'?" Nal asked. "I meant 'hurt'."
Before Bastila could say anything back to him, the door to the balcony at the far end of the room opened, and Revan stepped through. She was wearing a blue, tight-fitting dress, her hair loose and make-up on her face. The fact Revan wasn't wearing traditional robes wasn't a good sign. Course, Bastila wasn't either, but that was more so to walk around the station undetected. She could sense that Revan's ensemble wasn't chosen for the same reason, and wondered if Revan had filled the rest of her wardrobe with similar outfits.
Bastila sighed. "There you are."
"And there you are," Revan said. "Question is, what are you doing here?"
Bastila looked at Canderous and Nal. When neither man made any effort to move and give her and Revan some privacy, Bastila gave up. "I'm here to clean this mess up before it gets anymore out of hand."
Canderous smiled. "Ah, so the Jedi Council finally sent their puppet to—"
"I am not their puppet!" Bastila snapped.
Nal blinked. "She's a Jedi, too?" He looked back at Bastila. "Man, you weren't kiddin' about the change in the dress code."
Bastila felt like pulling her hair out. "Okay, who are you? And don't tell me 'Nal Simer' because that means nothing—"
"He's part of the inner circle now," Revan said. "He knows the truth and proved can be trusted with it."
Nal nodded and pointed at HK-47. "Besides, if I talk, the scary droid shoots me."
Revan stepped forward and dismissed Nal's comment with a wave of her hand. "Okay, look. This situation it a bit complicated, I'll admit. But I've got everything under control, so there's no need for you to swoop in and save the day—"
"Do you?" Bastila asked. "Do you honestly believe this situation is under control? Because I can tell you for a fact the Council doesn't believe that. After they learned about Dustil attacking Carth—"
"She had nothing to do with that," Canderous interrupted. "The Council can't blame her for Sith Junior's stupidity."
"Finding Dustil was Revan's responsibility," Bastila said. She looked at Revan. "You were supposed to return Dustil to the Temple for training."
"If he chose so," Revan reminded her. "And he did not."
"Something you failed to pass on to the Council," Bastila said. "Instead of telling them the truth, whatever that truth is, you chose to abandon your oath and run away. I don't care whose child he is. You left a dangerous Sith in civilian hands, and he almost killed a Republic war hero. You call that a situation under control? Do you have any idea what the Council is going to say when they discover you willingly did this?"
The pain Bastila sensed through the Force was Revan's guilt eating away at her. Bastila wasn't completely certain, but she got the general sense that Revan hadn't thought about that angle before. Or maybe she had and hearing it from someone else had solidified her feelings.
Revan shook her head. "Bastila, I'm not saying what I did was right. But it's over, it's done with. I can't change the past, anymore than I can change what happened during the Mandalorian Wars. I plan on owning up to my mistakes to the Council, but right now is not the time."
"Then when will it be the right time?" Bastila asked. "You need to tell them before anymore time passes. This is more complicated than you know."
Nal snorted. "Ain't it always?"
Bastila ignored him. "I don't know all the details, but what I do know is this. You weren't just any Sith, Revan. You were a Sith Lord. Padawans like Dustil or… or myself who have been redeemed from the dark side, the Council knows how to… handle. But—"
"Wait, you were a Sith?" Simer asked. Bastila nodded. He turned to Canderous. "So is there anyone you guys know who isn't a member of a party the galaxy fears?" Canderous shut him up with a glare.
Bastila continued. "You're different. You were a formidable enemy during the Jedi Civil war, much more powerful than Malak could have ever hoped to be. They can't just ease you back into the Order like they can with Dustil. You're a war criminal. Do you know what civilizations would do to you if they ever got their hands on you?"
"So far you aren't telling me anything I don't already know," Revan said. "But please, do continue."
Bastila was slowly getting annoyed at Revan's attitude. How could she not see how important her actions and choices were? How could she not see that she continued to defy the Council, she'd slip right back to the dark side. Was this how she was during the Mandalorian Wars, condescending and defiant to the point of near aggression.
Bastila tried a different approach. "If you keep this up, you'll never make it past Jedi Knight, you won't get a padawan to train, and you won't get a seat on the Council. You'll be forever locked in this limbo with nothing to do until you prove you can be trusted."
"If she keep what up?" Nal asked.
"This!" Bastila said, more frustration in her voice than she had originally planned. "Everything! Everything she's done since she left Coruscant! Everything she's continuing to do!"
Revan clenched her fists. "That's what you came here to tell me?"
Nal cocked his head. "I don't get it."
Canderous snorted. "I do." He glared at Bastila. "You always had a stick up your ass about the Jedi Code, but now you've yanked it out and are trying to beat people to death with it."
Bastila's words dripped with ice. "This isn't about me."
"Yes, it is," Revan said. "You've convinced yourself I need to start being you. I need to follow the Code to the letter, and do everything the Council wants without question."
It wasn't exactly what Bastila had been trying to convey, but it would work. "For your own sake—"
"For my own sake!" Revan exclaimed. "Bastila, this may come as a shocker for you, but I know I've failed. I've failed miserably, and I'm not trying to hide it. I should have stayed and dealt with Dustil before he exploded. I should have hauled him back to Coruscant and handed him to the Council for his own sake. I should have done a lot of things, but I didn't. But I've got everything under control right now, and flipping a switch and becoming the perfect Jedi isn't going to solve this situation."
"If you hadn't let your emotions get the better of you, you wouldn't be in the situation in the first place!"
"My emotions? You don't even know what happened on Korriban—"
"Well, something must have happened emotionally!" Bastila retorted. "Otherwise you would have contacted the Council and returned to Coruscant, like you were supposed to!"
"My emotions are none of your damn—"
"Your emotions got you into this mess before you even left Coruscant! You should have gone on your own without dragging Carth into this!"
"Dustil is Carth's son! I couldn't turn him away!"
"And being able to spend time with Carth away from the Council didn't cross your mind at all? You can't hide your feelings from me, and you can't convince me that you and Carth did not take advantage of the Council's leniency—"
"So you're accusing me and Carth of having non-stop sex for two months before we started looking for Dustil?"
Bastila wrinkled her nose. "I wouldn't have put it so crudely."
"But you are," Revan said. "And now you waltz in here like my mother to scold me, slap my hand, and bring me back home!"
"Like it or not, Revan, you are still under order from the Council to return—"
"You don't understand that I have to stay here!"
"And you don't understand Jedi protocol!" Bastila snapped.
"Doing what the Jedi Council says is one thing," Revan said. "Going about it is another. Technically, I'm still following orders by staying here and making sure things don't get out of control before we head back to Coruscant. We can't afford to have Dustil fly off the handle again, plus I'm not leaving until Carth is well enough to travel."
Bastila tried to reason with a compromise. "You and Dustil can leave now with me. Carth can stay here and heal—"
Revan put durasteel in her tone. "I'm not leaving him behind."
"You can't honestly tell me you still plan on jeopardizing your future for Carth! Revan, you're talking about giving up your future with the Order again for… for… for what?"
Nal chimed in. "Maybe it's his really impressive wussy beard?"
Canderous snorted. "Really impressive for those who can't grow one."
Nal's eyes narrowed. "I have blonde hair. Beards makes me look dumb."
Canderous cocked an eyebrow. "It's just the beard makes you look—"
"Hush it," Nal warned.
Bastila was beyond frustrated. "Think about this, Revan! Think about what you're giving up!"
"Giving up?" Revan asked, taken aback. "I know exactly what I'm giving up. I've giving up a life as a prisoner of the Jedi—"
Bastila took offense. "They are not treating you like a prisoner!"
"Sure about that, Princess?" Canderous asked. "If the Council has their way, they'd keep her inside the Temple for the rest of her days. In the meantime, they won't let her advance in rank, won't let her pass on her knowledge to a padawan, and won't give her a seat on the Council she damn well deserves for bein' brighter than all their brains together. And for what? Because she doesn't lead the life of a perfect Jedi now that all of her Sith tattoos have disappeared? What the hell is she supposed to do?"
"Perhaps in time the Council will reconsider their opinions," Bastila answered, irritated yet not surprised that Canderous was taking Revan's side. "But not anytime soon if she refuses to follow the Jedi Code."
"If memory serves, her not following the Code was the best thing she could have done for the Republic," Canderous said.
"And that's coming from a Mandalorian," Nal added.
Bastila shook her head. "It might have been the best for the Republic, but not for the Jedi."
Revan tried to interject. "Alright, look—"
"And that's coming from a puppet of the Council," Canderous said to Nal.
"I am not their puppet!" Bastila snapped.
"Then you have to tell me whose side you're on, because things are awfully fuzzy from where I'm standin'," Canderous replied.
"Enough!" Revan snapped. She looked at Canderous. "I can fight my own battles." Then she turned to Bastila. "And don't think I so blind to my emotions that I'm not reading between the lines, here. That Council-loving brain of yours has twisted this entire situation around, and you've convinced yourself I'm repeating the actions of my downfall."
Bastila hesitated. Revan was right; Bastila did fear Revan was repeating her old life over again. But the Council hadn't twisted Bastila's mind into believe that. The evidence spoke for itself. "There is no mistaking that this situation with the Onasis is eerily familiar to how you handled the Mandalorian Wars—"
It was Nal who spoke up. "Whoa! Canderous, buddy, how did we miss this?" He stood up and feigned shock and awe, as if Bastila had just unraveled the mysteries of the universe. "Revan wiping out an entire enemy army threatening to destroy the Republic as they killed millions and destroyed planets while the Jedi Council sat on their asses is exactly like her not wanting to return to Corsucant until Dustil's sane and Carth's healthy!" He stood in front of Bastila and placed one hand on her shoulder, the other over his heart. "Thank you, Bastila, so much for coming here to tell us this. Otherwise we would have been helpless against Darth Revan's tyrannical return! HK! Arrest your master!"
Bastila gritted her teeth. "Take your hands off of me." She pulled away and moved a few steps back so Nal wasn't blocking her view of Canderous and Revan. The look on Canderous's face almost made Bastila want to use Nal as a human shield again. "What I meant was, like with the wars, Revan went against the Council and took matters into her own hands. She ignored their orders, and look what it lead to. And right now she's ignoring their orders. Again. Who knows what troubles will come because of this?"
Revan turned sharply and headed down the side hall.
"Where are you going?" Bastila asked.
"I'm leaving this room so I don't break your neck!"
Bastila didn't hide her disgust. She sat down on the couch opposite Nal, crossed her legs at the knee and folded her arms across her chest.
"I wouldn't sit there if I were you!" Revan called back as she walked away.
"Carth and I had sex on that couch!"
Bastila shot up like a rocket.
Canderous studied the couch, titled his head, then shrugged. "Republic must be more flexible than I give him credit for."
Bastila glared at the Mandalorian. "That's the one thing I don't miss about you: the vulgar, rude comments."
He raised an eyebrow. "Which means there is something about me you miss?"
Visually flustered, Bastila's hands clamped right back on her hips as she resumed pacing. "She doesn't understand! She doesn't get it! I'm trying to help her and she… she… just…" Bastila let out a cry of frustration.
"Well, let's see here, Princess," Canderous said. "You storm in here unannounced and accuse Revan to her face of becoming a Sith Lord, and you wonder why she's being difficult."
"I didn't accuse her of becoming—"
"No," Nal said. "You alluded to it." He shook his head. "Look, lady, I don't know who you, I really don't care, and I no longer want to be your friend. But as someone who has only know Revan for two weeks, I can tell you there's isn't an evil bone in that woman's body."
Bastila looked at him as if he were brainless. "She's a former Sith Lord."
"Hey, I didn't say she wasn't scary. I just said she wasn't evil."
"She'll struggle with her redemption for the rest of her life," Bastila said. "Constantly second-guessing herself, constantly wondering if she'll fall again. She won't find the peace she desperately needs unless she listens to the Code and follows the rules of the Order."
Canderous raised an eyebrow. "You sure you're talking about Revan and not yourself, apprentice?"
Bastila's lips thinned. "Need I remind you that this isn't about me?"
Nal blinked. "Wait… I'm missing something here. You said she was Sith earlier…"
The corner of Canderous's mouth rose. "She was Darth Malak's apprentice."
Nal stared at him. "So what you're saying is Bastila should be keeping her big hypocritical mouth shut?"
"This isn't about me!" Bastila snapped.
Canderous snorted. "Keep telling yourself that, Princess."
"Stop turning this around!" Bastila cried. "This is about Revan! This is about the hasty, reckless decisions she continues to make! This has got to stop before the Council steps in and forced her to stop!"
"You talk about a daily basis struggling with the dark side," Canderous replied. "She does, too. You hide behind the Council to cope. She hides behind Carth. I'm not saying you're right, I'm not saying she's wrong. That's the reality of the situation. You aren't going to change her mind, and she isn't trying to change yours. Deal with it and move on."
"She's the most powerful Jedi of this generation. She can't just up and walk away!"
"Carth screamed at her on Korriban over what happened with Sith Junior, and her solution was to flee. If her goal in life was be a Grand Master of the Jedi, she would have fled to Coruscant and let the Jedi… well, turn her into you."
Bastila's icy stare reflected her annoyance. But then she realized just what he had said. She eyed him suspiciously. "Wait, did Revan tell you what happened on Korriban?"
Canderous said nothing.
"She did, didn't she?"
"Revan confided in me the events on Korriban," he confirmed without backing down. "If she means for you to know, she'll tell you herself."
"What do you know?" she pressed. "Tell me."
He glared right back. "If you're trying to intimidate me, you're talking through a dead commlink."
A male voice rang through the room, making everyone jump in surprise: "I'll tell you what happened."
Canderous looked over and saw standing in the entranceway to the side hall the young man that caused the entire incident in the first place. His eyes narrowed as Dustil sternly entered the room.
"But first," Dustil continued, "one of you has to explain why you didn't see it necessary to inform me my father's sleeping with a Sith Lord."
A-ha! I have not given up on this story! Life had gotten in the way since I last updated, but I'm back! Thank you to everyone for your kind words in your reviews! I really appreciate the continuing feedback and comments, even if I didn't get a chance to thank you for them personally. Some of your comments, in fact, made my day, and forced me to find the time to revisit this little tale. So thank you all again!