Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

Galactic News Bulletin - Arson! CorSec on Alert
Correspondent Trace Stardust

Corellian Security Force officials are on alert after a series of bombings in the sector.

At least twelve are dead on Corellia after an explosion in the Corellian sector corporate headquarters of Sienar Fleet Systems.

This follows in the wake of an explosive decompression on board one of the Selonian- Kuat Drive Yards partnered orbital shipyards.

Authorities are investigating but have yet to identify any connection between the two events.

Trace Stardust, Galactic News Network.

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Vignette: Beware the Dark Side, Jedi
Cut Scene

(OOC: 1. A little insight into how Callia is feeling after the badness on Jiroch. 2. Deals with some heavy stuff at the end. TW for youngling death.)

The dream come in a fitful manner, shadows enveloping her on all sides, images of children screaming and of gunfire on a dark night. She can hear their desperate and confused pleas as they are ruthlessly cut down by a hooded figure carrying a blade of blue.

‘’Will you turn and run again? Run from your future? Won’t you grasp this power that is at your very fingertips.’’

The voice of a long-lost friend oozes through her mind as the shadows warp the dream. Callia stand on Felucia, watching as the Clone Troopers overwhelm her Master, watching as they take her down with their blasters.

‘’You didn’t help her at all, Callia. You let this happen. You could have saved your master but instead you ran.’’

It tears at her heart, to watch her Master be shot over and over. Callia can feel her slipping into the Force, feel the life of a bright star leaving her behind.

“There is no Death, there is the Force!”

Callia nearly screams it. It is an important part of the Code, something she has been taught for as long as she can remember. She eats, breaths and lives by the Jedi Code but how can the Jedi Code know better when her Master is dying before her very eyes.

‘’The Jedi know nothing of true power, Callia. I know you can ’’’feel’’’ that. Your master is dying and your Jedi Code prevents you from acting. I can feel your pain, your anguish. The Jedi are dead, Callia.’’

No. No! Her saber ignites in her hands and suddenly she is cutting through the Clones surrounding her Master. They fall one by one, soundless deaths, helmeted faces pointed toward the dusky sky. None see it coming, not one turns on Callia as she cuts them down in the throes of passion.

‘’Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.’’

She reaches her Master as warm, familiar voice whispers in her ear. A sob escapes her as she reaches down to uncover her Master from beneath her deep brown robes. Lifeless blue eyes stare up at her. Her face is haloed in blond waves, her delicate features not those of her Master but herself.

‘’Beware the Dark Side, Jedi.’’

A chorus of voices greet her as Callia turns again. The ’saber is lit in her hands once more, the dream has shifted. She stands in the Council Chamber of the Jedi Temple, the last dredges of sunlight highlighting the finer details in the room. Around her lies the small bodies of Initiates and Padawans who were taking refuge from the fighting in the lower levels. Their clothing is scorched from where a saber cut them.

‘’Beware the Dark Side.’’

Callia gasps in shock, sinking to her knees as the darkness and shadows finally close in on her.

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Roleplay log: The Long Sleep
an e-mail roleplay log

Santos hasn’t move since being loaded onto the Freedom’s Purchase. Zet’s lying, motionless, on the bed set up for her in a quiet corner of the infimary. Santos is wholly focused on his unconscious friend.

He’s tried time and again to heal her with his new found talent in the force, and he becomes more and more disheartened each time it fails.

“Zet. Please don’t leave me.”

The Twi’lek sleeps for a little over 24 hours. At first she does so deeply, held under by the lingering effect of her own stun grenade. For the final few hours she’s more restless, stirring from time to time and murmuring in the throes of some dark dream.

Zet finally awakens with a disoriented mumble, her fingers flexing to tighten in Santos’ hand as her other twitches under the blankets towards where she would normally wear her blaster at her hip. She opens her eyes, turning her head to focus on her friend, and swallows against the dry feeling in her throat that comes of going so long without water.

“If I’m here and you’re here, who’s flying the ship?” For once she’s not trying to be a smartass. She sounds genuinely confused.

“New owners.” The Chiss replies, dripping with resentment. “The rebels stole our ship, and were going to leave us stranded on Jiroch, The one in charge thanked us for ‘graciously’ donating my ship, and ‘gave’ us back our speeders. I swear we would have gotten a better deal with the pirates.”

He tells himself to let it go. After seeing what the dark side can turn you into, he doesn’t want anything to drag him closer. He tightens his grip in response to Zet’s flexing, and attempts a smile. “How are you feeling? I was afraid you wouldn’t…”

“The rebels…?” Zet echoes threadily. Her stun grenade went off before the backup showed up. Pulling her free hand from under the thin blanket, she rubs groggily at her eyes. “Um. I have a really bad headache. But I think I’m okay.” This time she squeezes his hand with intent, not letting go. “Did I get her? Did everyone else make it?”

“We’re all more or less in one piece, but Callia is in rough shape.” Nevermind that Santos himself is coated in his dried blood. He truly hasn’t Zet’s side, even to be looked after by a medic. “She certainly wasn’t prepared for you,” he continued with a chuckle, “she seemed pretty rattled, but she didn’t go down. I don’t know exactly what happened to her.”

He reaches into his utility belt, and takes out a few small crystals. “The room below was full of these. They might be worth something. Maybe enough to get our ship back up in the air.” He folds her hand around a the gems.

Poor Zet seems to be processing this information more slowly than usual. After the size of that explosion, it’s easy to believe her brains are a little rattled. She hasn’t even responded yet when her hand closes on their prize.

Lifting them up into view, she squints as she tries to focus properly on one of them. “Where’d these come from?” She definitely does not remember seeing any crystals. Just Black Sun logos everywhere… “I don’t wanna run any errands for Callia anymore.”

“After you… tried to blow yourself up I took you down deeper into the tomb, away from the fighting.” Keeping him safe from being knocked unconscious a second time was an added perk. “We found the crystals there, and… I placed you on an altar, I guess hoping that I could focus the force and wake you up, but instead the temple kinda gave me this.” He holds up the holocron for her to see, before quickly putting it away.

Well /that/ puts a little of the old spark in her eyes. “I didn’t try to blow myself up.” Zet holds the crystals back out to him so he can hang onto them for now. “I figured if I got her real good you could finish her off, obviously.” The holocron gets a blank look. “What is that? You got it because you stuck me on a Jedi altar in some creepy temple?” She closes her eyes. “No more Force stuff…”

“I’m not sure we’ll have a choice.” Santos does share Zet’s sentiment, but it seems to him that the Force pulls you where IT wants you. “I don’t know what this thing is, but I thinks it’s what we were there for. I think it wanted to be found by us.” Ok, at least that can be it for the Force stuff for a week or so.

“So from what I can tell, the rebels are going to drop us and speeders off on Corellia. That should be big enough for you to find a fence, right? From there, who knows.”

“So what? What would’ve happened if we had just flown on by?” Now she’s getting testy. “This is all way above our pay grades, Santos. Yeah, let’s sell the crystals and the speeders and figure out how we’re gonna get back to Nar Shaddaa. Then things can go back to normal.” Zet opens her eyes to gaze up at the ceiling. “I can’t believe I ran away.”

“You what?” Santos wracks his brain trying to figure out what she’s talking about. He remembers being basically back to back with her, and then the wall attacked him. Although she wasn’t there when he came to, was she? “I’m sure it was the right thing to do at the time.” He shrugs, “you came back, anyway.”

Zet gives him a funny look. She actually missed him getting knocked out… “When she got in my head, I dunno. I don’t think you were looking my way. I panicked and bolted. I don’t want to be around anyone who can do that to me ever again.” She rubs at her neck. “Or drag me across the room. No wonder people are scared of Jedi if that’s what they can become.”

Santos doesn’t respond right away. People are only scared of Jedi because that’s all they know. Truth is, they are really afraid of what the Force can do to people.

“Alright, so here’s the deal: I’ll do what I can to keep you from being dragged across the room. You do what you can to keep me from dragging people across the room. Sound good?”

When she looks at Santos again, Zet’s expression is just a little guilty. All that stuff just came spilling out of her mouth, but she really didn’t mean him. Him, she trusts implicitly. “Yeah. Of course I will. I don’t want you to end up that way, Santos.” Slowly, she struggles to sit up, but once upright she leans forward to press the heels of her hands into her temples. “What did you do back there?” The Twi’lek’s eyes are closed again as her head swims. “In the temple, you grabbed my arm and it was like you healed me but it really hurt…”

“I did heal you,” Santos really doesn’t know how to explain what happened. He’s not entirely sure himself. “After we were attacked by those beasts, I tried to meditate a bit, just to push past the pain. Instead, I felt the Force stitching my wounds. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but you were looking pretty rough, and there were still 4 spiders to deal with, so I tried to do the same on you. Only, when I tried to heal you I could only seem to access the… wrong… kind of Force.”

Now that she’s been awake a little longer, Zet seems to be getting her kneejerk responses back under control again. The tension in her shoulders and her brief silence after he does his best to explain should still read loud and clear to Santos, but when she answers him she just says, “Oh.” Rubbing her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose, she finally looks up and around the inside of the hangar again. “Well… thanks for having my six.” When she finally returns her gaze to his face, she blinks. It’s like she’s just taking in all of his own old wounds for the first time. “Aw man, you should’ve let a doctor look at you…”

“I will,” he replies with a soft smile, “now that I know you’re ok. I think we have a long trip ahead of us, anyway. I should be at 110% by the next available opportunity for crime.”

“Good.” Zet smiles back at him. “Just how bad_ is_ Callia?” She stretches her arms above her head, arching her back until her spine gives a satisfying crack. “If everyone else needs the rest, maybe we can just lay low on Corellia for a while. Gather some resources, heal up, make a better plan to travel the rest of the way to Nar Shaddaa so we aren’t just constantly on the run and stealing ships and losing them again…”

“She looks like the temple was pulled in on her.” If that Twi’lek could do that much to Callia, he feels pretty comfortable with taking Zet to safety in the tomb. “She was walking funny when she joined us in the tomb, and someone had to guide her. I think she may be blind.”

If Zet had been awake to witness what Sora did to Callia, she would_ also_ have been pretty cool with the way Santos carried her off to hide her. In spite of how annoyed she’s feeling with their Jedi friend for leading them into that mess, shock flickers across her face at this new development. “What?? Is she going to get better?” Apparently she missed a lot while she was out. “Damn, I really hope we can just go back to shooting at pirates and run-of-the-mill crooks for a while…”

“She’ll be fine,” Santos says, reassuringly. “I think.” Not so reassuring. “I’m hoping she just needs time.”

The blue giant doesn’t hide how relieved he is that the twi’lek is moving around again, or how guilty he feels about the whole fiasco. Callia wasn’t the only one who wanted to explore the temple.

“Definitely. We will only shoot at pirates and partake in run-of-the-mill ne’er do welling for a long while.”

Callia wasn’t, but Zet has a hard time blaming Santos for much. As far as she’s concerned, Callia’s the one who should have known better. It’s not Santos’ fault that he’s attracted to the possibility of shiny things, and he doesn’t know much about the Force at all. So there. “Are the rebels serving us breakfast? I’m starving.” She definitely isn’t moving with her usual natural ease, but with a little effort she gets her feet over the side of the bed. Leaning forward, she frowns as she brushes her thumb beneath one of the scrapes on his face. “And you need to see a real medic, like, now. None of my hack job attempts to patch you all up on the go.”

Santos laughs loudly. “Alright, alright. Just save me a seat at the breakfast table.” He gets up and slowly limps away to find some medical attention.

“I’ll guard it with my life,” Zet retorts. She gets unsteadily to her feet, waiting there for a moment as the room stops spinning and watching him to make sure he’s headed in the right direction. Behind his back, her easygoing expression melts away into a worried frown, but she turns to go rustle up something to eat without another word.

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Episode IV: Pro Tip: Buildings Hurt
Santos' Journal

Well that was a nightmare.

Jiroch is a nice enough place, and I hope we never go there again. I managed to get the shuttle down onto the planet without detection, with the help of Qerzer, of course. And that was pretty much the high point of the whole affair. We landed about half a day away from the temple that had been calling us, and we figured a nice little stroll would do us some good. Ingrid stayed with the shuttle, so there was someone looking after my baby. The rest of us set out for a place that we weren’t precisely sure of the location, or appearance, or whether or not it was actually real. So it was a good start. The heat soon became unbearable, although I think the others were affected by it so much that they didn’t even realize how hot it was.

Just about when I was ready for a nice glass of water and a nap, we saw a group of hunters who had decided that we’d make fine prey. They seemed pretty messed up, at the time we thought drugged, so Callia suggested they go shoot at some trees. Humans are weird. I hopped in one of their landspeeders, and the rest of the group followed. As we were driving off I think I saw some smoke in the distance.

We eventually found the temple grounds. They were a bit over grown, but still intact. I parked the speeder in a cave that turned out to be full of weird cat-like creatures. They seemed to be affected by something, similar to the hunters, and it was more and more apparent that they weren’t drugged.

In the temple we were greeted by this creepy old man going on about some pilgrimage and a master. He cackled far too much as we made our way into the main temple chamber. The temple was pretty much what you’d expect an ancient jedi temple to be. Boring. I found a cool little jedi toy, but there wasn’t much of value. And then, spiders. 5 of them. Big, nasty things that land on you and bite you with their big, nasty teeth. On top of the, this sith ghost appears and starts terrifying each of us. We manage to kill all but one of the spiders, and Callia straight out attacks the ghost (probably not the most rational thing she’s done). And then a pillar attacks me and I’m out for the count.

I wake up and the ghost is actually a Twi’lek jedi named Sora, who used to be friends with Callia. Callia was holding this creepy mask, and seemed to be fighting to avoid putting it on. Naturally, I effortlessly flung the mask at the wall using my incredibly powerful mind, and eventually shot it into several pieces.

Sora went on a rampage, nearly killing Zet. I feel like I could have gone full dark at that moment, as I’ve never wanted to kill anyone more than I wanted to kill Sora at that moment. Nobody hurts Zet. Except Zet, of course, who gleefully set off a stun grenade as Sora held her by her throat. The blast knocked Zet out and shook up Sora. Sora eventually threw Zet at me. I caught her and ran further down into the temple to get her away from danger. I found an altar in the middle of the room, and felt the need to place Zet on it. It did nothing for her, but to me it revealed what turned out to be an ancient holocron. Naturally I took the holocron as well as the crystals lining the chamber.

I really don’t know what happened to Sora, but Callia was broken in pretty much every conceivable way. Rakine invited her Rebel friends to the party, and they showed up just in time to steal my ship. They were going to leave us marooned on Jiroch, but Rakine talked them into dropping us off on Corellia. They could have at least paid me for the ship.

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Episode IV: So done with the Force
zet's journal

It took a little doing, but between Qurzer and Santos, we managed to land in the Jiroch system without any trouble. Ingrid stayed behind on the shuttle while the rest of us headed out into some kind of savanna. It felt nice to me, but Santos was really not doing so well in all the heat.

We were lucky enough to find a little cache full of extra food and water supplies on the way, but eventually we came across some landspeeders and a camp full of hunters. It looked to me like they’d been drinking some really bad water… The leaders were really aggressive and started out saying they wanted to hunt US. While I was in the middle of talking them down, Callia and Rakine somehow got them to go shoot at some trees for a while. I’m still a bit confused about how that worked, but it meant we got a free landspeeder to take us the rest of the way to the temple.

When we tried to park the ‘speeder in a little cave, these huge tusked cat things came out of nowhere and attacked us. We really didn’t have much choice but to kill them, because we needed to know for sure that our escape route would be clear. They got Callia and Santos pretty good, and with Ingrid gone I did my best to patch them up but I’m really not sure how well I did. Like, Callia was looking better, but I think I might have messed it up a bit?

From there we headed across what looked like a big, broken plaza, and we found a hut on the path to the temple where this crazy old man was cooking stew. He kept babbling on about how the master was hungry, and asking if we were on a pilgrimage, and trying to get us to eat his weird food. We couldn’t really get anything useful out of him but by that point I was definitely starting to feel like going there was an awful idea. Too bad the Jedi in the party couldn’t be swayed…

The temple is where everything finally went south. We found a few trinkets in a tomb, and then I scouted ahead because we could see some firelight in the next room, but it looked safe to me. Unfortunately I didn’t look up. When I came back again with the others, these huge spiders fell from the ceiling to attack us, and while we were fighting them off this shadow ghost with a creepy white mask appeared to start messing with our heads.

After that, it’s all a bit confused to me. I remember Santos grabbed my arm and did something to me, something that made me feel like I was burning up from the inside out, but afterwards some of my cuts and scrapes had knit themselves up. I remember being back to back with him as we fought off the spiders. But then something happened, something in my head. I mean, as soon as I set foot on a civilized planet, I can’t help but be hyper-aware of the fact that there’s a moving target on my back. The Suns are genuinely, actually operating on nearly every world in some capacity. This was just like, all of a sudden, I couldn’t think about anything else. My mind just kept racing: they’re everywhere. I can’t escape them. I can’t possibly ever repay them for what I did. They might go after my family, or my friends. Hell, some of my so-called friends might even even BE Black Suns, in disguise, waiting for the right moment to shoot me in the back. So in the middle of a huge fight, with some of us half-dead, I turned and ran.

My head mostly cleared a few minutes later, at least enough for me to come back, but even then it’s all a blur. I know I tried to shoot at the Sith – not a ghost, but actually some Jedi Callia used to know who had gone horribly bad. I remember that she used the Force to pull me over to her, and she had me by the throat… I’m pretty sure Santos tried to attack her, but as I was choking I was already reaching into my pocket for a stun grenade. I think that I thought I could take her out with me. When it went off, everything went black.

I’m still trying to piece together what I missed. The Sith woman got away… she was a Twi’lek, like me. Santos apparently carried me down to some altar to try to wake me up, and the temple spat out some little cube at him. Rakine really IS with the rebellion, and whensome of her friends turned up to back us up, they took our shuttle away, although they’re at least taking us to a safe location. I haven’t spoken to Callia, but Santos says she’s hurt really bad, maybe blind. I think I’m just going to steer clear of her for a while.

Things seemed pretty simple, just a little over a week ago. Make money, pay off the Hutts, get the Dash back in the air, and then it was just me and Santos, doing what we do best and staying one step ahead of our enemies. I don’t want to get pulled into a rebellion against the empire and I don’t want to try to fight Sith lords with lightsabers and the power to screw with my head or throw me across a room. The next time Callia feels the Force pulling her to some random planet, we’ll just forcefeed her quanya until she can’t feel it anymore and fly on by, as far as I’m concerned. What an absolute disaster.

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The Reclusive Rebel
Flavor text

Somehow this shuttle full of misfits had made it into the clear. The Togruta calling herself Rakine rests secure in the conviction that she has done everything she can to ensure they won’t be followed — and that the Imperial ship and her crew won’t be so lucky as to escape by stealing the civilian cruise liner after what they did to the captain.

Waiting in the infirmary, she’d had time to envision the drama playing out: two ruined ships and the swarm of scavengers… The chaos as the storm troopers are spread thin to defend all access to their ship and desperately await word of backup. They deserve it. Let them experience that state of fear and reconsider the role they play in this universe.

It was Rakine’s own intent to take the sniper fire meant for Callia. Then, selflessly, the Jedi had insisted on being the last to leave the cargo bay despite that. That shows the makings of a hero. A true potential asset to the Rebellion…

A new scar for herself is nothing to be concerned about. Rakine didn’t mind being last to see the doctor.

Afterward, she was to be found quietly taking inventory of the armory. Her usual habit of staying out of the way. Only after noticing that the drunk pilot has left the cockpit does she venture out.

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Roleplay log: The Force and You!
An email roleplay log

The shuttle’s makeshift hangar probably isn’t the most comfortable place to get some sleep, but Santos is still feeling the lingering effects of the five stims he’d taken earlier. With the rest of the passengers on the upper deck pretending a Selonian slicer, Core World doctor, Togruta demolitionist and Jedi-in-hiding have anything in common to bond over, the Chiss climbs into the see of his speeder, and focuses on the bottle of whiskey sitting on the edge of the the speeder’s nose. He slowly holds out his right hand, ready to catch the bottle. And he waits for something to happen.

The Jedi-in-hiding is not much of small talk or even pretending to have anything in common with the others. She was thankful for the doctor’s help, glad to be out of the Stormtrooper gear and then found a quiet place to herself for a while. With it being only a half-day’s journey to the Jiroch system, there isn’t much time to dwell or prepare for what they may find there.

Meditation and being more in tune to the Force gives her a bit of an edge. She feels when Santos finally leaves Zet to the cockpit and feels when he decides to take solace away from the others. It’s the perfect opportunity. Her footfall is quiet as she makes her way into the cargo hold to see exactly what he is doing. “You must center yourself. Empty your mind and focus.”

Santos probably should have been startled, given how quiet Callia was when she approached. He wasn’t though. He had a feeling she’d find him.

“How can I do that?” He asks quietly, still focusing on the bottle? “A week ago all I had to worry about was making the creds to get my ship back. Now Zet tells me I’m on the verge of becoming a ‘baby-eating supervillain.’”

The Jedi comes closer into view, her arms folded behind her back and her posture still bogged with the day’s hurts. She has a bit of a limp in her left leg, but she’s walking it out. She snorts softly. “I think ‘baby-eating supervillain’ is a bit of a jump.”

“There is, however, a danger. Depending on your power within the Force, there could be complications. I would recommend at least learning to control the Force and what you may use it for.” She gestures to the bottle. “But that requires clearing your mind and reaching out with the Force.”

The Chiss attempts to follow instructions, closing his eyes and pushing everything out of his mind. For what seems like hours he fights the rush of thoughts flooding into the void he’s created, until the effort itself fills the empty space, and everything comes back.

“Did it move? Even a little?” He asks, hopefully. It didn’t. “What kind of complications?”. He changes the subject, hoping some understanding of the risks will help him concentrate on avoiding them.

Callia watches for that time, reaching out. “Not even a little.” She is honest, at least. “I would say maybe try when you…and I’m assuming here…haven’t drank half the bottle. I would also recommend meditating before you sleep to empty your mind out. If you’d like help, we could do a guided meditation.”

“Mostly, the Empire may be more inclined to come after you. I’m not sure what they do with their Force-Sensitive captives these days, but there was a time when they were just killed outright.” She paces in a small circle. “It is dangerous to not know your abilities, especially if someone else recognizes them as such and turns you over.”

“There is also the possibility of going down a dark path, if you are not careful. Heightened emotions can cause any Force-sensitive to react in a dangerous manner that can be ultimately deadly for not only you but also your friends.”

She pauses in her pacing, turning to face him. “I’m not telling you to become a Jedi and wield a lightsaber or any of that. We are mostly extinct for good reason. What I will ask is you at least consider learning enough to control the Force and to veil yourself from any Force users the Empire may employ.”

“Zet had a glass.” Santos responds defensively, as if that makes much of a difference. He stays quiet for a few minutes after that, digesting everything the Jedi says. It seems Zet wasn’t wrong to be concerned. He’s always acted on his emotions. How can that suddenly be deadly for him. “I don’t want to be a jedi… I don’t really think I can be.” He says at last, “but I would l like you to help me not kill the people close to me.” He manages to crack a smile, unsure if Callia will notice under this light, “and I think I could deal with a lightsaber.”

The blue giant hops off the speeder and forgets about the bottle. He sits down on the floor, clumsily attempting the position he saw Callia meditating in on the Night of the Blanket Fort. “So, what do I do?”

“Well, if Zet had a glass then that changes everything.” Callia replies, her tone lilting with sarcasm.

She releases a soft breath, a smile touching her lips. “I will do everything in my power to help you, then. We’ll see about the lightsaber, that might take more time to come to.” She moves in closer, slipping easily into the lotus position across from Santos. She sits only a few hand-spans in front of him.

“You must start, like I said earlier, by emptying yourself. Try focusing on something simple in your mind. Like the flame of a candle.”

“Alright. Something simple.” Santos repeats quietly as he closes his eyes. Callia will notice that he’s suddenly, uncharacteristically serious. If this mediation business is going to help keep him from hurting Zet or anyone else, he’s gonna master the shit out of it.

He calls up an image of the room he’s in, two speeders, Callia sitting across from him, and a candle where the whiskey once stood. He tries to focus on the candle, watching the flame flicker and dance to the gentle, almost undetectable current of the artificial atmosphere. After some time, he finds that the candle isn’t clearing out his mind effectively, and he changes scenes.

Light flakes of snow fall gently to the ground, and he can almost feel the moisture as one falls on his nose. He had almost forgotten about this place, a small hill about an hour outside of Csaplar. He used to ‘borrow’ one of his father’s landspeeders when he was nine and head here, away from the lights of the city where he could wait for the sun to go down and the stars to appear. Now, he just watches the endless snow covered plains, the sun high in the sky, gliding closer and closer to the horizon until it’s nothing more than a point, then, nothing.

His breath becomes slow and deep.

Callia can feel the tension as Santos tries to no avail. Her eyes remain open and focused upon him. This is a bit of a training exercise not only for him but her as well. But as his demeanor changes to that of one letting go, Callia releases a soft breath. She closes her eyes and inhales.

“Now…you must open yourself up.” Her voice is smooth, a gentle breeze that blows past him. Snowflakes dance in that breeze as they glide into a new course. “Open yourself up to that feeling that is always with you. Let flow into you, through you.”

Sure enough, that Feeling is right there, all around him. With his mind empty, the Force seems a little more prominent, more real that it may have before.

Callia may notice a small, genuine smile appear on Santos’ face. Coming this far is a small victory, but a victory none the less.

He opens a hand, palm towards the sky and allows a snowflake to land dead centre. The snowflake becomes a faint warm light that stretches out towards his finger tips and then slowly spreads down his arm, through his chest, until light pours from every part of his body.

He opens his mouth to say something, but he’s not sure he has the words to describe the experience.

Once again, Callia feels the build of power in the Chiss sitting across from him. She exhales and opens her eyes again to watch him. “This is the Force.” In case he hadn’t figured that out. It’s definitely out of this world, that feeling. “Allow it to flow freely through you.”

‘Ok Force, do your thing.’ Santos thinks to himself. He doesn’t try to force anything, control anything. He simply allows himself to be present with the Force.

Good Santos. Not forcing the Force is the first step on a path toward the Light. “Reach out where that bottle is. Guide the Force as it moves through you.” Her voice is still soft like the wind. “Allow it to be your arm extending it’s reach and grab the bottle.”

Santos has to think for moment about where he really is. And where the bottle is. His focus falters for a moment as he considers the irony of Callia chiding him for drinking, then instructing him to reach out for the bottle with the force.

He regains his focus faster than he thought possible. The stims must be wearing off. Without opening his eyes he see the bottle, both on the speeder and in the snow. He extends his arm and asks the light to reach out and encompass the bottle, and watches it slowly extend beyond his form.

Grabbing the bottle and drinking the bottle are not exclusive. Callia worries for that half-second where his mind seems to wander then is surprised when he pulls back faster than she would have expected. “Just like that, yes.” She says. “Guide the Force about the bottle and back to yourself.”

The light envelopes the bottle. It plays with the liquid within, bathing Santos’ mind in waves of amber. He watches as the bottle starts to vibrate, snow flurrying out of the way.

In an instant the light begins to retract back into his arm at a blinding speed, and his eyes open as he feels a sharp pain as the bottle strikes his hand as though shot out of a bowcaster. He quickly wraps his finger around its neck as it begins to drop to the floor.

“Ah, not so fa—-” Too late. Callia winces at the speed of the bottle connecting with Santos’ hand. But hey, he did it? “Well…you catch on fast.” She smiles. “You can learn to control how to better guide the Force. For now, continue with these sorts of meditations. The first step to the Light is not to force it, but to let it happen.”

Not many people get to see this Chiss sheepish. “I just asked it to bring the bottle,” he replies quietly, with a hint of guilt.

Santos stands up, his legs uncomfortably stiff. Lotus position isn’t all that comfortable for a man his size. He offers Callia a hand getting up, unsure if she intends to remain there in solitude. “I should get back to the cockpit now. We must be nearing the planet.”

He looks at the bottle in his hand, sets it back down on the speeder and heads for the stair. “Thank you,” he says as he stops and looks back at the Jedi, “I’m not used to people trying to help me and well… thanks.” As if to let Callia know she won’t be changing everything about him, Santos bolts up the stairs, three at a time.

Callia’s eyes dance in delight. “It happens to us all when we’re still learning. I remember the mishaps that took place with the other younglings in the Temple. Imagine having a group of ten to twenty over-eager Force-sensitive children in the same place.” She laughs at the memory though a deep sadness touches her voice. Nostalgia can be dangerous.

The offered hand is taken and she lifts herself up with the Chiss’ help, just as graceful as when she sat. “Of course. I am going to check in on the others and then find a quiet place to meditate. I may join you there soon, to see if we can guide ourselves to whatever is tugging us here. Perhaps without bothering the locals too much.”

“There is no need to thank me. This is what I do. Just keep practicing the meditation and we can learn more, together, as you wish to.” When he bolts away, she shakes her head and chuckles. Sometimes, you can’t change everything and it is a truth Callia will have to accept.

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Roleplay log: Flying lessons
an e-mail roleplay log

Zet really had made straight for a gunnery station, back on the Imperial ship, but as soon as Santos got them clear she was more concerned with seeing for herself that he was okay than shooting anything. And then she buzzed off for a while when it became obvious to her that Callia wanted to discuss their next destination with him, taking some time to herself to take stock of their new ship.

Some time later, after Ingrid has patched everyone up, she reappears in the cockpit, slipping between the various ops chairs to drop quietly into the copilot seat beside him. She doesn’t say anything for a minute, instead just glancing over the readouts on the screens before her. “Why are we stopping in Jiroch? There’s nothing there.”

When Zet enters the cockpit, she finds Santos wide-eyed with a huge grin. Sure, he may be overstimulated due to the obscene amount of stims running through his system, but mostly, he’s excited to be flying again. His week on the Corellian Runner was a nice break, but it was a little too relaxed for his tastes, and he was getting desperate to feel the controls of a ship under his fingers again.

He doesn’t take his eyes off the stars fanning out in front of him as he responds to Zet. “Callia seems to think there’s some ancient Jedi temple down there.” He’s confident Zet knows what ancient temples mean. Treasure hunting!

“Oh.” Zet sounds maybe a fraction less excited than Santos might expect her to be, but she flashes a grin at him nonetheless. “Looks like a short trip… lucky for you we found so many stims.” Yeah, she knows a manic Chiss when she sees one. “There’s all kinds of stuff in the weapons lockers, so at least we’ll be prepared for just about anything down there. And I think Qurzer’s gonna do something real technical so we don’t flag as an Imperial vessel to anyone who scans us.” She slides down in her chair, bending one knee up so she can rest her heel on the edge of it. “Nice to be in control of our own ship again, huh.”

“Zet, this is where we are meant to be.” Santos effortlessly pulls off needless maneuvers as he manually pilots the vessel. Again, needlessly, as auto-pilot is more than enough right now. “We’re free again. We can go anywhere, and after Jiroch, we’ll head straight for Hutt space.” He chuckles at the thought of how many stims he’s taken today. “Five stims today. Must be a new record, huh?” He’s definitely going to crash, hard.

“Well this’s better than… since before Mos Shuuta, I think,” Zet agrees, looking up and around the ship. His fancy flying doesn’t faze her any. “It’s a sturdier ship than the Krayt Fang was, and it doesn’t reek like dead Trandoshan…” She gives him another glance. “For you? Probably… You better not pass out while we’re down there, because I don’t think I can carry you and all your souvenirs back to the shuttle.”

“I’ll be fine,” Santos shrugs off Zet’s concern as he begins the ship’s third consecutive barrel roll. “In an hour or two I’ll find someplace to stretch out and sleep it off. I think Qurzer knows enough to keep an eye on things for a few hours.”

Santos lets his left arm fall down over the armrest, and brings it back up, grasping the neck of a bottle of whiskey that somehow wasn’t tossed around at any point during Santos’ showboating. He’s got his priorities, and jury rigging a bottle holder to the side of the pilot’s seat was on the top of his list, after escaping the Imperials and subsequent pirates, of course.

“I can do it,” Zet replies insistently. “I’ve been riding around on starships since you were a tiny little Chiss baby. Show me.” She’s just turning her very best ‘pleeeeease’ pout on him when her eyes catch on the alcohol. Someone else might object, especially with the sheer amount of stims in his system. Zet, on the other hand… “I hope you’ve got enough to share.”

Santos smiles widely as his right hand produces two glass. “There’s always enough to share!”

He pours two drinks and passes one to Zet. He decides to wait until she’s takes a sip before tapping a few buttons. “Controls on with your console now. Let’s do this.”

The Twi’lek grins at him, lightly clinking her glass against his before she has a small swig. She untangles herself from her half-curled up position, balancing her drink on the seat between her knees.

“What- okay,” she says, taking hold of the controls on her side. There’s an uncertain slant to her head, like maybe she wasn’t expecting him to just throw it over to her, but she’s sure ready to try. “What do I do?” At least there’s nothing to crash into…

Santos begins to guide Zet around the console. This controls your movement, this increases or decreases velocity. Press this button to engage hyperdrive. Do not press this button under any circumstance. Just the basics.

“Don’t worry. We’re in a large void, so there’s no danger here. This boat will tell you if there’s anything to be concerned about.”

The Chiss then leans back, puts his feet up, and starts on his glass.

Zet pays close attention, particularly to the stuff she isn’t supposed to mess with. And then when Santos is done walking her through it, she cautiously experiments with the directional controls, getting a feel for how sensitive they are. Nothing like driving lessons while there are four other beings on board to get jerked around – then again it can’t be much worse than Santos’ deliberate barrel rolls.

After a few silent minutes of this, she feels she has enough of a handle on it in an obstacle-free place to return to making small talk. “You aren’t worried about stealing stuff from some old Jedi temple now that you know you could be one of them?”

“I don’t want to be one of them.” Santos watches as Zet explores the controls. “And is it really stealing, if the place has been abandoned?”

For all Santos et al. know, Callia is the only surviving Jedi. Wouldn’t they be protecting the Jedi history by bringing a few artifacts back and selling them to someone who can appreciate them?

“Anyway, there is something down there, calling Callia. I can feel it too. Something wants us to find it.”

“Callia would probably tell you it was stealing.” Zet’s tone is almost perfectly neutral. It’s a trick that he’s likely seen her use successfully on dozens of marks, but Santos should be able to tell when she’s fishing for something or building up to a point. It doesn’t help that her next little fiddle with their flight path is so twitchy it nearly spills her drink in her lap.

Steadying them with a wince, she reaches down to pick her glass up and takes another swallow. “I don’t mind stopping though, if you two think it’s important. It sounds interesting.”

Santos makes a slight correction so Zet’s flight path, almost without thinking. “Gently. There’s nothing for you to fly into here. Remember to adjust the stabilizers when necessary, and let the ship do the hard work.”

He sips the whiskey slowly, partially out of respect for the drink, and partially because he’s trying not to mix the depressant too much with the stimulants he’s already overloaded with.

“So what is it?” Santos is fairly blunt, and pretty much an open book. Zet can string people along to great effect, but he prefers a more direct approach, “what are you trying to get at?”

Zet nods agreeably enough to his advice, nestling her drink between her knees again as she returns both hands to the controls. She gives him a look out of the corner of her eye as he calls her out, though. “I dunno. I was just asking Callia about some stuff. Like, after what I saw her do today. I think you should probably talk to her.” The next time she glances over at him, there’s a flicker of worry on her face. “She made it sound like bad things could happen if you don’t at least kind of understand how it all works, even if you don’t want to do all kinds of training… I don’t really get it.”

“Yeah… ok, I’ll talk to her.” Damnit Zet, why do you have to go to a dark place? “I won’t mind learning how to do that mind control thing she does, I just don’t want to become what she is, always guarding herself. Can you really see me as a Jedi?” Santos slowly lets the last few gulps of whiskey slide down his throat. “Do you think you’re ready to fly solo?”

Once in a while, one of them has to worry about the big problems. That’s why. “No,” Zet admits bluntly. “I can’t. I just don’t want you to turn into some kinda baby-eating supervillain.” She flickers a smile at him. “Thanks.”

She eyes the controls warily. “Well, like you said, it’s not like there’s really anything to crash into… You ready for your nap?” Zet lets out a breath in a quiet huff. “I swear the second we weren’t on the same ship anymore I couldn’t do anything right. You better not go too far.”

“You’ll be fine,” Santos reassures her, “if anything goes wrong I’ll be back here faster than you can blink… I’ll ‘feel’ it.” He shoots Zet a mischievous glance before picking up what’s left of the whiskey bottle, and heading down to the speeders.

Zet tries so hard to shoot him a disapproving look, but she can’t keep the amused grin off her face. “I’m gonna hold you to that. Be back here before we actually have to land if you don’t want me to break your shiny new toy.”

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Roleplay Log: Callia and Zet in the infirmary
an e-mail rp log

The very first thing Zetnu’ri did once they made the jump into hyperspace was reassure herself that Santos was alive, albeit not well. And then, after Ingrid gave everyone a once-over, she disappeared into the belly of the ship on her own for a while, no doubt investigating all its nooks and crannies for anything of value that isn’t nailed down. Though the Twi’lek seems rattled again — and who wouldn’t be, given how deeply into the bowels of that Imperial vessel they went — she actually seems less upset than she did after the bounty hunter incident.

She eventually wanders past the infirmary area again, her eyes downturned as she adjusts the way her utility belt rests around her hips. She actually almost walks right on by, but then she notices Callia laying there out of the corner of her eye and hesitates.

“Feeling any better?” she ventures after a moment.

The exiled Jedi was quite intent with Santos for a while, the two of them dicking around with the Nav computer to bring them where-ever the Force was urging her to go. After that, she collapsed into a cot in the makeshift medbay and rested. Ingrid did her work on Callia’s hurts and now she’s comfortably off in her own little world.

It’s clear she’s not asleep when Zet walks by but there is a delay before she answers the Twi’lek. “Yes, thank you.” Her eyes open to take her friend in. “Are you?” No doubt Callia can feel Zet’s sudden hesitation so the question rings with a double meaning.

Something has changed between them. After rooming together for the past week and sharing more than a few secrets, no doubt the two women were feeling much closer, but now there’s something palpably cautious about the way Zet is holding herself. It wasn’t present when they met as complete strangers on Tatooine. This is new.

“Ah- well, yet again, I don’t think I took a beating the way you and Santos did,” she replies with a shadow of her usual smile. Another awkward pause stretches between them. “Um. I’m not complaining, because she was using it to shoot me half to death at the time, but- … did you know you cut someone’s arm off today?”

These sorts of things are bound to happen. Callia considers the Twi’lek for a moment before sitting up properly. A ghost of a smile crosses her own features, self-reprimanding.

“Ah…yes. I am aware I removed a woman’s limb today. Not one of my finer moments.” She takes a deep breath. “I was worried for you, Zet. If I acted in a way you find reprehensible, I apologise.”

Well, that response surprises her… “Reprehensible?” Zet echoes, mystified. “You saved my life. When people pull my ass out of the fire I don’t tend to get hung up on how they did it. I just… wasn’t… expecting you to do it that way…” She pauses again, then adds, “Especially after all that stuff you said about killing people back on Bespin…”

Callia’s smile is gentle. “The Force works in mysterious ways,” She starts. There is clearly a bit of a lecture that is going to go in here. “As a Jedi, I was taught the value of a life is sacred. Taking a life or even just a limb is not something I do without being fully aware of my actions and what the consequences to those actions may be. The Force guides me, but so do my principles. I felt that woman may have killed you so as a last resort, I used the tool I have for those last resorts. I would prefer another way but there isn’t always another way.”

Zet folds her arms in front of her, studying Callia’s face as she explains. “Look, like I said, it’s not like you offended my moral sensibilities or something. She was kicking my ass and she was an Imp anyway. You got to miss how those guys treated all the non-humans while you were hiding in the vent.” Her lip curls faintly. It seems to be a struggle for her to nail down what, exactly, has her so perturbed, though. “… I’ve never even seen a lightsaber before. I guess I just didn’t realize…” Maybe she’s remembering how a week ago, she was drunkenly “lightsaber” fighting with glow rods.

She glances up and away, in the vague direction of the cockpit. “I mean- is Santos gonna get one of those? Actually?”

Callia dips her head. “Yes, the Empire is overly Xenophobic. It wasn’t always this bad.” The woman closes her eyes, falling silent for a long span of time. Perhaps she’s reliving the day or maybe she’s just deciding on the right words.

“They’re not a weapon to be wielded lightly, nor are they a weapon most are comfortable with. We all romanticize the idea of a laser sword until we see one in action. Even younglings growing up in the temple do. It’s a long, arduous process to even reach the point of building one. It requires much training, not only with the Lightsaber itself but also within oneself.” She’s clearly ramping up, here. “So…if it is Santos’ wish to carry such a weapon, I will make sure he is prepared to wield it with proper care.” For all that she’ll be able to. He is kind of a reckless fool, after all.

Zet nods slowly, two of her fingers drumming against the opposite arm. She’s silent herself for another long moment, looking off to one side.

“Thanks,” she says at last, then pauses to chew on her bottom lip. “You’ve bailed me out a lot lately. I don’t wanna seem like I’m not grateful, ‘cause I am. I’m really glad you’re on our side.” Flicking her gaze back to the Jedi’s face, Zet looks at her more directly than she has for this entire conversation. “Santos is… really important to me. More than a friend. I just want him to be safe.” With a self-deprecating smile, she appends, “As safe as he gets in this line of work, anyway.”

Callia nods her head again, locking Zet with the same look. “I know you do.” She replies. “And I will do my best to make sure he is safe, same with everyone else. Just note…if he does decide to pursuit his Force-sensitive abilities, he may not always be safe. Not just in the sense that being Force-sensitive in the galaxy is dangerous at the moment, but also in the sense that it is a fine line to walk and not slip to the Dark side.”

“I’ll look after him.” There’s a determined set to Zet’s jaw as she says that, a tightening of her shoulders. “He listens to me.” Sometimes. “So I won’t let that happen.” She tilts her head at Callia. “Should I be keeping an eye on you, too?” The Jedi will detect no suspicion or hostility in her tone, nor hidden beneath it if she’s attentive to the Twi’lek’s intent. It’s a genuine question, born of genuine concern for a friend, the consequence of growing up in a generation that has been fed nothing but lies about the order.

“Alright. Good.” Callia smiles. “Just know it’s not always that easy. He must be careful in how he acts according to his emotions. Reacting in heightened states when in a bad frame of mind can do a lot of damage.” She taps her fingers against her thigh. “I think I will be okay.” She replies. “I remember most of my training. If you see me react in a way that is in cold blood or anger, then you should start to be concerned.”

Well… given how emotionally driven Zet and Santos both seem to be, that might prove a challenge. Uncertainty flickers across the Twi’lek’s face, but she nods to show she understands anyway. “So if you’re the one to casually shoot the hostage in the head next time,” she says with a faint smirk. “Or if you don’t tell me off afterwards.”

Just a little bit of one. “Or if I show no remorse for a group of innocents we just abandoned to pirates…” Callia suppliments. “The list goes on.”

That makes Zet’s smile flicker. “I didn’t want it to end that way for them either. I was hoping we’d be able to use the cruiser as our getaway. I’m sorry.” She unfolds her arms, but twists her fingers together in front of her. “I should probably go see how Santos is doing… he was pretty beat up. And let you get some more rest.”

“I don’t think any of us wanted it to end that way.” Callia agrees. “The circumstances were dire, though. It was the will of the Force.” She pauses. “My Master used to say that to me when something upsetting occurred. It never made me feel any better, but it helped me accept that sometimes, things are beyond my control.” She bobs her head. “Yes. Go see how he is and I will go back to meditating. Thank you for looking up on me, Zet.”

Zet’s usual cocksure grin is a little wavery when she flashes it at Callia. “Well, things being out of my control – that’s something I’m kinda used to. I’ll see you later.” With a wave, she backs up a step or two, and then turns to head up towards the cockpit.

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Episode III: That escalated quickly
Zet's journal

On the one hand, it was a really nice treat to have an all-expenses paid trip on a fancy passenger liner for a week. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten so well in my life. But on the other hand, Santos is right… I don’t know if I’d pick that kind of cushy lifestyle in the long term.

It was all nice and quiet until earlier today, when COINCIDENTALLY we noticed Rakine in the dining area, minutes before we were waylaid by an Imperial customs ship. Callia was worried that her ID wouldn’t come up clean, so we did what any rational being does with a pint-sized Jedi and stuffed her in the vents in our room. I couldn’t find anywhere to stash my more dangerous grenades, though. The Imperials were about as bad as I expected. They barely even glanced at the humans but they were pretty rough with the rest of us. I managed to palm my frags off to Santos before they searched me, at least, while those morons were standing right in front of me watching me.

Suddenly the major was freaking out, saying there were rebels on board and they’d found explosives in someone’s room upstairs. Then Rakine just disappears into the kitchen and all the Imps start looking for her. When the Stormtroopers walked in there to look, a stun grenade went off and she came barrelling out and ran down the stairs! We were trying to get Callia on the comm – she managed to find the bomb, and took it to the bridge.

It took a little doing to get up there and meet her. I didn’t manage to sneak up on my own, so instead the major marched me up there and locked me in my room. Whatever, I’m small and bendy enough for the vents too, ha. Too bad Santos, Ingrid, and Qurzer weren’t even a tiny bit sneaky about it. We freaked the Imps out by getting on the PA and telling them the rebels had control of the bridge, at which point Rakine hailed us from engineering to clarify what was going on. So she’s … maybe a rebel? I’m not that clear on it.

We had to deal with the Imperials in the hall at that point, though. That major got me really good, more than once, before Callia lit up a frigging LIGHTSABER in the middle of the hall and cut her arm off. Obviously I’m happy I didn’t get shot to death, but that was kiiind of terrifying. I didn’t even realize she was carrying one of those.

Ultimately, this was the plan: Santos, Ingrid, and Qurzer had managed to take out three Stormtroopers, so we relieved them of their cool stuff and put Ingrid and Callia in their armor. They were supposed to fake-arrest Rakine and I to walk us onto the Imperial cruiser, while Santos stayed on the bridge of the passenger ship, ready to jump us into hyperspace as soon as we’d dealt with the Imperials. Qurzer stuck with him for backup and we were gonna help Rakine sabotage the Imperial ship so we could all just fly away. Easy, right?

It was actually all going fine until a guard looked the wrong way as I was breaking a door open for the others. Callia and Rakine ran for it to the hyperspace controls, but that left Ingrid and I to deal with a bunch of pissed off Imperials. Actually it mostly left Ingrid, because the guard threw me in a cell immediately. She was smart enough to start opening the forcefields holding the other prisoners in, and then she managed to shoot a light out somehow while I was still fighting with the damn locking system on my cell. That’s when Callia came busting back out there, her lightsaber literally the only source of light in the place, to let me out and chop a guard’s head off!?

Meanwhile I had Santos on the comm telling me more and more Stormtroopers were boarding the passenger ship, and then stuff started exploding over there. I’m pretty sure Callia wanted us all to bail anyway but I wasn’t even really thinking about that. I just booked it as fast as I possibly could to get back to him. The others were lucky I was nice enough to hold the elevator for them. By the time I got to it, he’d managed to get from the cruise ship over to the Imperial one and down to the very bottom level.

When we got down there, he and Qurzer were on a pair of speeder bikes they’d found, using them to fire on a bunch of soldiers. Callia jumped in right away, and I left a nice little surprise on the elevator for anyone coming down behind us. But we didn’t have much time to screw around in there. Ingrid managed to shoot out one of the consoles and suddenly all the lights and alarms started going off to warn us the room was about to open to space outside. We booked it onto a Lambda shuttle (with speeder bikes, in Qurzer and Santos’ case) and got the hell out of there just as a really, really badass Stormtrooper showed up to start trying to kill people.

I guess Rakine and Callia ended up using the lightsaber to wreck the hyperdrive on the Imperial ship, but inexplicably the passenger vessel half-exploded too. We had to jump away as pirates started showing up to raid them. Callia was not happy. I don’t really know how that happened… it wasn’t what I would’ve wished on all those innocent people, that’s for sure.

I kind of have a feeling Santos thinks I’m worrying about him too much. I didn’t really put much thought to it when we found out he’s sensitive to the Force, but after seeing what Callia did today… And she says things could get really dangerous for him if he doesn’t learn how to control it. Especially because he’s we’re so impulsive, and the kind of work we do… I don’t know. I told him to go and talk to her. He left me flying the damn ship. There’s nothing here to crash into, at least. Our next stop is some planet in the Jiroch system. Apparently there’s a Jedi temple there or something that’s calling to him and Callia. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me kind of nervous, but at the same time, what if we find something there that could help Santos? We’ve got to look.

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