"How much longer is this gonna take," Jorgan asked restlessly. I could understand his frustration, Elara had entered the Jedi Council's chamber almost 2 hours ago and we hadn't heard anything since. I had taken to leaning on the wall near the huge double doors as Jorgan paced.
"Patience," I said with a calm I didn't feel. "You know Jedi, they never do anything quickly."
"Much to the annoyance of our young padawans," said a voice behind me. I quickly straightened and turned around to see a Torgruta woman who seemed to be inspecting me. "You and your brother bear a striking resemblance, Captain Terral."
"I'll take that as a compliment," I said with a small smile as I bowed respectfully. "Although I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage, Master Jedi. You seem to know who I am, but I'm afraid I don't have the same pleasure."
"Forgive me," she said, returning my bow, "I am Master Bela Kiwiiks. I was hoping if you had a moment we could speak privately concerning your brother."
"Of course," I answered before turning to Jorgan. "If this business with Dorne wraps up before I get back, head to the shuttle and wait for me there."
"You got it boss," Jorgan said before occupying the spot I had vacated.
I followed the Jedi through a series of hallways until we got to what I assumed was her office. Once we were both seated, she began to speak, "Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Captain."
"It's no trouble," I answered, "especially when Jarvel is involved."
"I wish my news was better," the Jedi Master started sadly, "however, I'm afraid your brother may be lost to us."
"Jarvel is dead?" I couldn't believe it. As a soldier, I knew to accept death as an inevitability, but a part of me had always assumed that I'd be the first of my brothers to go.
"I'm afraid it's not that simple," she sighed. "I cannot go into the details of his mission, as I'm sure you can understand, but he was captured by a powerful Dark Lord who we believe was able to turn him to the Dark Side."
"My brother is no traitor," I insisted angrily as I stood.
"Calm yourself, Captain," the Jedi said serenely. I took a deep breath and tried to force my anger away as I walked to the window on the other side of the room that overlooked the training grounds. "Some may argue that you and your brothers became traitors the day you became Republic citizens." I turned to face the Jedi Master. There was no malice on her face, just genuine curiosity.
"We would have been exiled for our crime. As long as we are no longer in Ascendency space it matters little to my people what we do."
"What did you do to deserve exile?"
"We tried to protect innocents caught up in a political battle. The reason we had to leave our home was because it was our family that tried to have another killed for political gain. Standing against the family is a far greater crime than joining the Republic."
"Joining your Empire's enemies is the lesser crime?"
"The Ascendency is not the Empire," I snapped, barely holding back my temper. It was not the Jedi Master's fault she didn't understand the politics involved, but I was seriously getting tired of having to explain this. "The Chiss Ascendency was never conquered by the Empire; instead, when they came with their fleets and demanded our unconditional surrender we asked to negotiate instead."
"And they agreed," Master Kiwiiks asked dubiously.
"As you can imagine, no one had said that to them before, at least without any fear of the consequences. So they sent their top Sith Lords to negotiate with representatives for my people. No one knows exactly what agreements were made, but when they were done, we were an ally of the Empire, keeping most of our sovereignty."
"No wonder the Empire keeps that story quiet," Master Kiwiiks said with a sigh. "We have strayed from the original conversation. Whatever consolation you may find, I do not believe your brother willingly turned to the Dark Side. I wish I could explain it better, but I'm afraid I do not fully understand myself as I'm merely interpreting feelings."
"You wanna run that by me again?"
"Your brother took on my former padawan when I became unable to continue her training, and we still share a small connection. It's how I know he is still alive and what he's doing now is not of his own will."
I watched several padawans going through practice routines with their training blades while I gathered my thoughts. "What's being done to find him," I finally asked.
"He is currently being held beyond our reach, but plans are being made to bring the situation to a resolution," she replied evenly.
"Bring the situation to a resolution,'" I echoed cynically. I turned to stare the Jedi down. "Sounds like something I would've said to Karden when he asked me to bring the former Havoc Squad members in alive." Master Kiwiiks tried to answer, but I interrupted her. "I'm a soldier, Master Jedi; I know the importance of neutralizing a risk. It speaks highly of my brother's ability that you would take his defection, however unwilling, as such a threat."
"Most in your position would be angry."
"They are not Chiss," I said simply, raising an eyebrow.
The Jedi Master gave me a small smile and said, "It seems I'm still learning about all the cultural nuances of your people, I meant no insult."
"I was not offended, Master Jedi," I assured. "Your ignorance on my culture is not your fault, we are secretive by nature. My people believe that the caliber of a warrior is judged by his enemies. That the Jedi Council views him as such a dangerous enemy is actually something in other circumstances would be a point of honor for my family. Should Jarvel try to contact me, I shall inform the Jedi Council right away."
"Thank you, Captain," Master Kiwiiks said, rising. "Whatever it's worth, I will do everything in my power to return him alive."
"I appreciate the sentiment," I replied with a cynical smile, "but you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath."
"I understand your skepticism," she said as she led me out of her office and back to the outside of the Council chambers, "just please don't lose faith. Despair is a tool of the Dark Side."
"What isn't," I muttered. Before Master Kiwiiks could respond, the doors to the Council chambers opened and Elara walked out with Grand Master Shan.
"Captain," the Jedi said as soon as she saw me, "I have finished the examination of Sgt. Dorne and briefed Gen. Garza and Personal Division's Commanding Officer. It is this council's findings that Sgt. Dorne has some force abilities. However, she is not a Sith, and therefore not a threat to the Republic."
"Thank you, Master Jedi," I said gratefully. I could see Elara was significantly more at ease than she had been since we boarded the derelict space station.
"Sgt. Dorne," Grand Master Shan said, turning to her, "all things considered, it was for the best that you were not discovered as a child, however, I do regret you were never able to improve your abilities. If things had been different…"
"Somehow, I think I ended up right where I was needed," Elara interrupted. Although she appeared calm, I knew her well enough to see her hidden anger. The Jedi Grand Master clearly sensed it as well.
"I believe you are right, Sergeant," she calmly replied. "Should you ever want to develop your abilities to augment your combat medical skills, please do not hesitate to contact the masters here."
"Thank you, Master Jedi."
"Captain," She said, turning to face me, "Gen. Garza has asked me to inform you that you should contact her once you are en route to your objective."
"Thank you," I answered bowing. "May the force be with you."
"May it be with us all in these dark times," she said wearily, returning my bow.