((OOC: Ok, I finally got back on track, and as I'm off work for a few days, hopefully I can get some more written and perhaps even finish off the story. Thanks to everyone for maintaining interest in it.
After the initial shock and confusion of the past few minutes, things were finally calm for the moment on the Ebon Hawk
. Thanks to Kye’s apparent knack for Force Healing, Canderous had fully recovered from his near fatal blaster accident with HK and now stood in the corridor that was next to the med bay, albeit keeping a closer eye on the droid. Kye herself sat on one side of the main hold, casually reclining back in one of the chairs. Ithra, still seething at her sister’s unexpected appearance, sat on the opposite end of the hold, her arms crossed defiantly over her chest while Bastila and Jolee securely flanked her on either side. And in the middle of the hold stood Carth, HK, and Mission, with Rade pacing back and forth.
“So,” Rade started, stopping to look directly at Kye. “I think you have some explaining to do.”
Kye blinked with astonishment. “Me? I was just hitching a ride! You’re the Sith Lord with your motley crew and crazed assassin droid skulking about Oasis interrogating people while you travel around with a Jantessan who I’m sure is that,” she measured out a small space between her thumb and forefinger, “that
close to being a Sith herself! If there’s any explaining to do, it’s you
, not me, who needs to do it!”
"I told you, I am not Revan anymore," Rade said firmly.
“And I am not a Sith!” Ithra protested vehemently. “You’re the traitor, not me!”
Kye gave her sister a deadpan look. “Nice to see you, too, Ithra. It’s been a long time.”
“Not long enough for me,” Ithra spat.
Kye sighed and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well, it is written that ‘You can pick your friends, but your family is inflicted upon you.’”
“Who wrote that?” asked Jolee.
Kye shrugged. “Dunno. Read it on the wall in a public toilet once. True though.” Kye eyed her sister. “You know, despite what you must think of me, Ithra, I am
glad to see you.”
“Hmphf! Liar! You wanted me dead, like the rest!”
Kye sighed. “No. I didn’t.” She looked at Rade. “He did though. And if you really are a Keeper, you should seek him and learn the truth.”
Ithra’s jaw set. “He’s not Revan. Not anymore.”
“So everyone keeps saying.” Kye gave Rade a long, hard, critical stare. “Well, he still looks like Revan to me.”
“Only on the outside, not on the inside,” Bastila said defensively. “The Jedi Council healed the Darkness within his mind.”
Kye raised an eyebrow. “Really? But that’s exactly where I was looking. Inside.”
Rade exchanged looks with Bastila, then Ithra, then his eyes set upon Kye. “I didn’t feel you invade my mind.”
“No, you wouldn’t.” She turned to her sister. “I take it then that you give people headaches when you seek?”
Ithra scowled at her.
“Ah. Thought so. Mark of poor training. Who did finish your training, by the way?” Her gaze slowly returned to Rade. “You mentioned the name ‘Berland’ earlier? Please don’t tell me that slimy, double-talking, rankweed sucking Sith that was your valet is still on Jantessa.”
“Clarification: Ambassador Berland’s title when he was serving Revan was ‘Personal Assistant,’” HK corrected her.
“Ambassador? Oh, well then... retraction: that slimy, double-talking, rankweed sucking Sith that was your Personal Assistant
,” Kye mimicked HK. “And, as I recall, you served him, too," she said to the droid. "Revan, I mean, not Berland. Although, after your recent ‘display of arms’ in the cargo hold, I’m having serious doubts about that now.”
“HK doesn't serve Berland. He serves me," said Rade. “And yes, Berland is on Jantessa and I suspect he sabotaged HK on our way to Jantessa.”
“So, you let Berland actually travel with you? On board this ship?” She raised a doubtful brow. “And you say you’ve changed?" She snorted. "Yeah. Right.”
“Let’s get to the reason why you’re here,” Carth said to Kye. “You lied to me…us…I mean, Mission and me.”
“No, I didn’t,” Kye said. “I needed a ride to Onderon, and I told you my business there was my own. I told no lies.”
“You said you were looking for work,” said Carth.
“And I will be when I get there. Can’t get accommodation and food without credits, now can I? Besides, as I recall, you were quite happy to let me believe that you and your ‘crew’ here were a team of Republic surveyors for cortosis mines. I'd consider that at the least misleading, if not an outright lie.”
“Well…," Carth hesitated. "You could have invaded our minds at any time to see that wasn’t true. It's not like we could do that."
“I don’t just go about ‘invading’ people’s private thoughts unnecessarily,” said Kye, sounding outright offended. “Aside from the fact that some private thoughts can be, well… disturbing, for lack of a better word, it’s …, to put it simple terms, it’s just plain rude. I may be a traitor among my people, but I still follow standards of conduct.”
“Standards of conduct?” Ithra scoffed. “You certainly didn’t follow them on Jantessa! Admit it, Kiana, the only thing you care about is the Aylah’han Gem. You stole it from the Haven, now tell us where it is so we can return it to its rightful place and undo some of the damage you did!”
“I don’t know where it is. Exactly.”
“But you have an idea about where it’s going to be, don’t you?” asked Rade.
“Well, of course I do. I didn’t choose to go to Onderon by throwing a random dart on a star map.”
Rade looked at her askance.
Kye snorted. “I’m certainly not telling you, Revan!”
“Rade,” Rade corrected.
“Whatever!” Kye retorted. “You’re the one person in the Galaxy whose hands I do not
want to see the Gem to fall into. I’d sooner let Co’Vanni keep it.”
“So…you’re not Co’Vanni?” Carth said.
Kye began to smile. “Me?” She chuckled. “No. And if you ever meet Co’Vanni, you’ll understand how amusing that is.”
“With or without your help, Rade is bringing the Gem back to Jantessa, thief,” Ithra hissed at her sister. “So it can once again be tuned by the hands of the Keepers.”
“You must mean the hands of the Sith
,” Kye countered, “and they couldn’t tune it if it were a single note whistle. Like I said, there are no more real
“I am a real Keeper!” Ithra said adamantly as she rose from her seat. “I lead the meditations in the Haven. I am the one who selects the novices for initiation. I’m the one who has access to the sacred scrolls of Aylah’han the First, and,” she added vehemently, “I’ve committed nearly all of the passages to memory.”
“Well, good for you,” said Kye. “Did Berland give you a gold star for doing that?”
Ithra started to lunge at her sister, but was held back firmly by Jolee and Bastila.
Kye shook her head at Ithra’s uncontrolled outburst. “Prime Keeper, indeed,” she said scornfully. “There are no Keepers.”
“There’s you,” said Jolee. “You say you’re not a Keeper, but you obviously still have the knowledge and the skills of one. Being able to cloak your Force signature is no easy task. Not even for a Jedi Master.”
“Having skills and knowledge doesn’t make me a Keeper, any more than you teaching Carth to use a lightsaber would make him a Jedi,” said Kye. “I cloak my Force-Sensitivity for simple, selfish self-preservation against Sith spies and recruiters, nothing else. I’ve just done it for so long, that it’s second nature to me.”
“If you claim to not be a Keeper anymore,” asked Bastila, “then why are you interested in the Gem?”
“Who says I’m interested in it? I just don’t want anyone else to use it,” Kye said bluntly. “It’s a dangerous tool of manipulation.”
“It is not!” Ithra interjected. “It brings order and balance to….”
“It’s used to manipulate people’s thoughts so that they will work as a collective,” Kye interrupted. “To strive for a common goal.” Her eyes left Ithra for Rade. “A power that Revan found quite intriguing. And obviously, still does.” She paused. “Look, it doesn’t matter what I know or don’t know. As long as the Gem stays out of the wrong hands, I’m not too bothered by what any so-called Keepers or Sith get up to on Jantessa. It’s not my problem anymore.”
“Yes, it is.” Carth spoke up. “If you’re the only one left who can properly use the Gem, then I’d say it’s your problem. Jantessa aside, imagine the affect it could have on the entire Galaxy if it fell into Sith hands? No wonder Berland wants it so bad.”
“So that’s why they want to join the Republic,” Bastila said softly.
Kye visibly blanched. “What did you say?”
“The Jantessans. They want to join the Republic,” said Bastila. “That’s part of the reason Ithra’s here. She is to be trained by the Jedi in the arts of diplomacy, schooled in the cultures of other worlds, so she can be the Jantessan’s Senator.”
“Kriffin’ Sith’s Blood,” Kye swore. She looked at Ithra. “You? A Senator? You call yourself the Prime Keeper and you didn’t see anything wrong with this plan?”
Ithra hesitated. “It wasn’t my idea,” she stammered. “Prefect Keel was the one who made the motion at the….”
” Kye shouted. “And you call me
a traitor? Ha!” She turned back to Bastila. “You give that Gem back to the Jantessans and Ithra and I promise you, your ‘Republic’ is finished. And I mean finished.
No battles, no wars, no treaties, just… finished. Done. The Sith will use the Gem to gain total control over every Republic planet without even having to fire a single blaster shot by controlling the will of the Galactic Senators.” She turned back to Ithra and her eyes narrowed menacingly. “Won’t they?
Ithra looked flustered. “It wasn’t my idea,” she said in a tiny voice. “I don’t want to be a Senator. Not really. But they said it would bring peace and order to the Galaxy. And isn’t that what everyone wants?”
“Peace, yes. Order? No.” Kye let out a long sigh. “Although, I can see how you would think that. I thought that once. I was wrong.” Her expression grew dark, then her eyes found Rade’s. “So, very, very wrong.”