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Old 01-06-2006, 08:58 PM   #24
JasraLantill
No One Liners
 
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Scotland, UK
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Chapter 6--part 2

Berland closed the dormitory door behind him, and with his lips pressed into a tight line, he turned to Ithra. “I’ve just had the displeasure of being chastised by Rade Chano for your ‘observations’ about the Cathar. He has decided to assign one of his droids to tend our needs now.”

Ithra folded her arms across her chest. “At least droids don’t shed,” she said grumpily.

“No, they don’t. And neither are they easily manipulated.” Berland heaved a disappointed sigh. “Really, Ithra, you must be more cautious in what you say if you wish to remain a Prime Keeper. If you are truly not up to the task, I can always ask Prefect Keel to ….”

“No!”

“Then, please, just do as I say,” Berland said, dropping his shoulders in exasperation. “Ithra, I know it’s hard for you being on board this ship with Lord Revan, or Rade Chano, or whatever he wants to call himself, but unforeseen circumstances have forced us into our current predicament. For the sake of our mission, we must make the best of it.”

“I know. But his presence is… disturbing.” She pulled her cloak tighter around her shoulders. “He lied about having no memories of being Revan,” she said accusingly. “He does. I sensed them. They were faint and unclear, like a whisper floating through a fog….” She shivered, and then her face grew blank as if recalling a forgotten memory of her own. “But they were there.”

“Then let us hope his memories stay buried,” said Berland. “We don’t need any more complications on this mission.” Her vacant gaze began to puzzle him. “Ithra?”

“Even from my room in the Priory, I could hear the screams echoing from the Haven that day,” she said distantly.

He studied her for a brief moment. “Ithra, some things are best left forgotten,” he said in a deceptively even tone while gliding his hand in a barely noticeable arc. “Do not dwell on the past. Keep your focus on the here and now.”

Ithra blinked a few times. “But we must not dwell on the past. We must focus on the here and now.”

“An excellent suggestion, my dear.” Berland pensively templed his fingers and began to pace the room. After a few moments, he said, “Now that we are underway, I believe it is time that we got better acquainted with our travelling companions.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because I know what I could expect from Lord Revan, but this ‘Rade Chano’ he now professes to be….” Berland paused, tapping an index finger across his lips. The faint creases across his brow soon deepened into contemplatory grooves. “He is an enigma. And to quote a proverb from my home world, “When the character of a man is unknown to you, look at his friends.’”

Ithra frowned. “But you told me I should not seek on outlanders,” Ithra said. “You said they consider it….”

“Impolite,” Berland finished. “Yes, that is exactly what I said. However, I am not suggesting that you use your seeking abilities on them. I was thinking of rather a more… direct approach.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want you to talk to them.”

A look of horror flashed across her face. “Me?”

“They are far more likely to open up to you than they are to me. A *former* Sith,” he added sarcastically.

“Talk to them about what?”

“Just engage them in conversation.”

“Actual face-to-face conversation?”

Berland nodded. “Yes. Discover their likes, their dislikes, their history, their skills, their weaknesses—get to know them.”

Ithra gasped. “But… but… that’s…that’s repulsive!” she said with obvious disgust. “I have absolutely no desire to ‘get to know’ any of them! They are outlanders! Infidels!”

“As am I,” said Berland. “And you have no problem conversing with me. Listening, is a problem. Heeding my advice, most definitely so. But you seem to have no problem whatsoever in voicing any of your opinions and ‘observations.’”

“But you’re….different,” she said. “You’re my mentor.”

Berland sighed with exasperation while he closed his eyes and smoothed his hands over his head. “Ithra,” he said, looking at her directly. “You will have to get accustomed to interacting with other ‘outlanders’ besides me if you are ever to become a Republic Senator. Is that not our prime objective? Your duty?”

“Yes.” Ithra's shoulders sank. “Duty is the hinge of Balance,” she said blandly. “All right. I will ‘talk’ to them.”

“Good. You can start with apologising to the Cathar.”

Ithra’s mouth dropped. “Do what?”

“Apologise,” Berland repeated. “My dear, it is most unwise to dismiss any of our travelling companions without first assessing if they possess skills or knowledge that could be deemed useful to us in future. And even though the Cathar was most upset with you, you will be amazed by the amount influence a modest retraction can gain.” He paused. “Oh, and keep in mind what I told you in the Council Chambers. Do not lie to any of the Jedi. Either answer only what they ask or change the subject. You did well, for the most part, in front of the Jedi Council, but you still lack the skills to completely mask any deceit. And if I can sense it, they most certainly can.”

“I understand.”

“Be honest with them, but be frugal with your words, and ravenous with your ears.”

“I will do my best,” she said meekly.

“That’s all I ask,” Berland said gently. “But first, perhaps a small tour around the ship is in order, so that you may get your bearings. After all, we are passengers, not prisoners.” He motioned her to follow him. “Come. We’ll start with the basics, like the food dispensers, and work our way up to the Cathar from there.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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