Turn of Events (COMPLETED)

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Turn of Events (COMPLETED)

Post by Ciara » 2011-04-29 14:02

Hanna looked incredously at the image in front of her. "Very well, I will contact Mr. Bavvet immediately. Please hold", she responded. But even as she worked on calling Jubar, her thoughts raced. This couldn't mean anything good, she felt. But she was going to let Jubar make up his own mind, as always. He answered almost immediately.

"Jubar, you have... an unexpected call. You may want to take a look at this at once."

"Who is it?"

"Her holonet id says Chief Secretary of His Imperial Majesty's Staff. A Ciara Laton", Hanna replied with privacy mode on.

That startled Jubar too, but as his thoughts raced in turn, he asked a question, mostly with the reason to gain time. "She didn't say what this is about?"

"Your ears only, sorry. She's holding right now. The communication is at the maximum encryption we can handle. Should I tell her to, uhm, wait until your meeting is over?"

"No. We're almost done here anyway. Just give me a minute."

What could this possibly mean? Was the Emperor on to his association with the Rebel Alliance Party and simply wanted to tell Jubar to lay it off before something bad happened to him? Not in those words, of course, but the meaning would be clear enough. Or was this about... no, at the moment he couldn't think of any other reason the Emperor would want to contact him. Or was this not related to the Emperor at all? Maybe they just wanted to hire him for a job or something... dream on Jubar.

Well, he couldn't keep her waiting forever, and by now, he was dying to find out. As soon as he was alone in a room, opened the channel again. "I'm ready Hanna."

"Connecting."

The hologram of a suprisingly young human woman in a business suit appeared before him. She tilted her head just a little and smiled beautifully before she spoke first, in a cheerful soprano. "Greetings Vice-Ambassador Bavvet. I have a message to you from the Emperor."

"Greetings to you as well. What does it say?", Jubar answered hesitantly.

"Actually, I can't say. I only have specific spatial co-ordinates and a time, forty-eight hours from now. I wish I could help more, but I only have instructions to relay that data. The Emperor's schedule is booked for that time, so I assume that he does not intend to meet you in person. Perhaps he intend for you to meet with someone else in privacy."

"Where is this place located?"

"An unexplored patch of space deep in the Morath Nebula, Hatawa Sector. Official records only has map coordinates of larger objects around the nebula, nothing else. I was told to arrange transportation for you if necessary. I have prepared it, should I proceed? Someone can pick you up in twelve minutes and thirty-four seconds", she said and clasped her hands together.
Last edited by Ciara on 2011-04-30 09:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-04-29 19:48

AT THE ADASCOPOLIS MEDCENTER, ON ARKANIA…

“Greetings, Vice-Ambassador Bavvet. I have a message for you from the Emperor.”

That sentence took Jubar aback for a moment. Never in his life, not even at some of the swankest political fundraisers and gatherings had he ever been anywhere close to Emperor Kane. They had never exchanged a single correspondence. Nor did they had have a single friend or regular professional colleague in common.

“Greetings to you, as well,” he said carefully, his tongue playing with the teeth at the back of his mouth—he often did this when he was thinking. “What does it say?”

“Actually, I can’t say,” said the woman. “I have specific co-ordinates and a time, forty-eight hours from now. I wish I could help more, but I only have instructions to relay that data.” She went on to explain that the Emperor’s schedule was actually booked during that time, and that she suspected he would be meeting with an intermediary. When he asked for a specific location, she told him, and Jubar thought about that.

The Hatawa sector, he pondered. Morath Nebula. The only thing he could think of that had any significance in that neighborhood was the Marais homeworld. But it was in the Galactic Core, so it might only be a pit stop, a rendezvous point to take him someplace else. But where? he thought. For the first time in a long, long while, Jubar Bavvet felt a tickle of fear at the back of his mind. He suddenly had a recollection of the ISB and COMPNOR, Emperor Palpatine’s all-encompassing secret police.

“I was told to arrange transportation for you, if necessary,” the lovely young lady went on. “I have prepared it. Should I proceed? Someone can pick you up in twelve minutes and thirty-four seconds,” she added helpfully.

Jubar’s paranoia dial went up another tick. This all had the aroma of an ambush. It was all well mapped out ahead of time. But, then, this was the Emperor, of course the people around him arranged everything down to the very last detail, so he shouldn’t be so surprised.

Should he?

Jubar had his own vessel, the Voice of Reason, but he had an idea that, as soon as he asked to take it instead of whatever transportation she had prearranged, she would then find some reason to prescribe her own accommodations. Feeling the inexorable pull of automatic response that only a man caught off-guard could relate to, he said, “Sure…sure. Um…of course. I’m currently in the—”

“Arkania sector, we know,” she said. “We were so glad to hear that your operation was successful. Congratulations on beating Naranger’s Disease.”

“Well, it’s not beaten, only sort of…tricked at the moment.”

“We live day by day,” she said philosophically, and then immediately went back to the topic at hand. “I can have the transport there in eleven minutes and forty-two seconds now.”

The timeframe had shrunk. Which means the transportation is already moving, he thought. An ambush of sorts, most definitely, not just well planned out. Jubar sighed and said, “Of course. You may have to tear me away from these doctors, though. They’re, um…well, they’re very worried about me in this new state. My legs, they look and feel real, but they’re a composite of cloned tissues and cybernetic replacements. It’s a weak system, I can stand up but very slowly—my balance isn’t so good, it’s been a while since I’ve walked—but I think can manage.”

“Excellent,” she said, perking up. “Most excellent. His Imperial Majesty will be delighted that you accepted. Good day to you, Vice-Ambassador.” Her image winked out, and Jubar was left there, alone in the conference room of the Adascopolis Medcenter.

He reached down to touch his legs, testing, prodding, ensuring. Jubar flexed his toes—he was told to remain barefoot for the time being, and to walk with baggy clothing until he got used to the various degrees of freedom that his new limbs allowed him. Ostensibly, they appeared to be the same as his old legs, and they even felt the same, only weaker.

His datapad chimed. It was Hanna, he knew it before he even answered it. “Yes?”

“What’s going on, sir?” She was wide-eyed and extremely curious. After all, it wasn’t every day that a person got a communication from Emperor Kane. “Are we in trouble?”

Jubar was thinking. “I dunno. Maybe. I’m supposed to go meet with an intermediary or something in the Morath Nebula.”

“What do you think it’s about? The Rebel Alliance?”

“Hard to say. The RA’s gained a bit of public attention, certainly, but mostly in a grass roots sort of way. If that’s his concern, then this is something new.”

“You think he feels, I dunno, threatened?”

Jubar snorted. “Are you intimidated by termites?” he asked rhetorically. He thought for a moment longer, and added, “They’re on their way to pick me up.”

“Is that a good idea?” Hanna said, suddenly worried. “In your condition, and all?”

“Emperor Kane wants to give me a message, Hanna,” he said. “And who knows? If I pass this up, he might not be so polite next time, or he may not be willing to discuss later whatever he’s willing to discuss today.”

“Need me to come along?”

Jubar thought about that. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary. Besides, I’ll need to you stand in my place for a few appointments rather than cancelling them. But keep in contact with any major updates concerning any of the RA’s appointments, and I’ll try and keep in touch with you about…about whatever this is about,” he said. And he thought, That’s assuming they let me communicate back at all.

On the heels of that, he thought, That’s ludicrous. Don’t be so paranoid, Bavvet.

Still, even as he got the call that his transport had arrived, Jubar couldn’t help but think of COMPNOR again, of the ISB and all those dark, dark tales of politicians that suddenly went missing whenever they voiced even the slightest opposition to Palpatine, especially in those days before he finally dissolved the Senate. Kane wouldn’t do that, he thought. But, in all honesty, he wasn’t entirely certain of that. Sarapin had changed everything.

Had it changed Kane?
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-04-29 20:41

The transport turned out to be a YV-664 light freighter. Unmarked. No imperial cogwheel or NIF star anywhere to be found on it. No one came to greet him. Getting closer to the ship, he could easily spot rust marks on the hull, and various external fittings that looked nonstandard.

Jubar was beginning to think that he had come to the wrong docking bay and turned around to check the number again when someone called out for him.

"Hey! Yer the passenger I'm supposed to pick up?"

Jubar turned around slowly in response to the booming voice. He was still getting used to his legs again and didn't want to fall flat on his face by overextending his capabilities. The possibly human man was a burly, stout figure with a black beard that would have made Crimson Jack proud.

"Maybe", he replied. "I was told to go here for my ship. Jubar Bavvet", he said and extended his hand for a shake.

"Right. So get in and strap yerself down, we're taking off right now or I'll lose the bonus", the burly fellow grabbed Jubar's hand carefully, almost as if he was concerned that he would break it with just a little slack in concentration, shook it vigorously a couple times and then pushed Jubar towards the hold hard enough that he fell. Jubar managed to grab one of the safety handles just in time to avoid hard metal and was still hanging on to it when the heavy built man grabbed him like a package around the waist and twisted himself sideways to get inside without scraping the airlock frame with Jubar. He plunged Jubar down into a seat and laughed, heartily and like a rolling thunder.

"Ain't got yer space legs yet, eh laddie? Welcome abord the Outlaw Star, Captain Nefarious Levvy speaking", the incredibly muscular man said and laughed again. "We've gots to hurry, I'm on a schedule", he finished and dived his head into the walkway going to the cockpit. "Naisl, get her movin'", Jubar could hear him shouting. "He's me copilot", Nefarious said when he looked back at Jubar. "Duros, good with te mechanical stuff, y'know. Gets ready and we'll be off in a moment. Then ye can tell me what yer doin' in a hurry inte off-chart regions", he said and laughed again. "Not that I'm pryin' or nuthin'", he excused himself. "I'm not paid to know too much. Ye gots sumthin' ta do and ye got'ta get there quickly, me gets it. None of me business. But if ye wants to talk, I'm fine with it. It'll take us a while to get 'er anyway, and Naisl can get pretty borin' with his huttese prattle. Ye play cards laddie? Holochess maybe? I've gots me a good ol' brandy, Alderanian ye know, they don't make that stuff anymore. I'll put it on the table and if ye can win a round or two, ye gets to share. What say you, laddie?", he laughed shortly and turned around, opening a container box and started to rummage around in it, presumably looking for the aforementioned brandy and in a total disregard for following pre-launch safety protocols. A metallic klunk was heard and Jubar could feel the ship beginning to move, inertial dampeners not yet compensating for the movement, but this didn't seem to worry Captain Nefarious one bit.

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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-04-30 03:54

What…the…blazes? were the first words that came tentatively to mind. But Jubar didn’t say them. He was afraid to. He wasn’t sure how to behave at the moment, so taken off his guard was he. Nefarious…Levvy? Was this some sort of practical joke? Jubar didn’t think he knew anyone who would pull such an elaborate prank, but that didn’t mean anything. Certainly there were enough journalists out there who were into making a politician look stupid by setting them up in some silly situation where they could be recorded being ridiculous (or at least in the company of ridiculous or questionable people). That sort of so-called “gotcha journalism” always had a roster of pseudo-journalists who were more than willing to take the fall later if they could put a little egg on a politician’s face today.

“We’ll be takin’ right off here shortly, m’friend,” said the self-declared captain. When the ship bumped and lurched, he guffawed and said, “See?” Once again the inertial dampeners failed to kick in on time, and again this worried Levvy none at all.

“You are taking me to the Morath Nebula, correct?”

“Correct!” he shouted jovially as he started to set up a game of sabacc on a dejarik board that was currently switched off.

“In the Hatawa sector,” Jubar confirmed.

“Ye know of another’un?” he chortled, setting up the cards. Yet, there was no randomizer, nor any interference field. What sort of sabacc were they going to play without either of those? “Ye look a mite worried, friend. Don’t be. Me ship’s taken me from one end o’ the galaxy ter the next! Haw! She may sound a little rusty an’ occasionally whines like a woman, but like any good woman she gets her arse in gear an’ gets the chores done when time comes! Haw haw! Here, check what ye got? See how many cards ye got, an’ I’ll get us some brandy.”

Jubar looked down at the hand dealt him, and for a moment none of the values connected with anything he had in memory because none of this was making any sense. There’s been a mistake, he thought. Some kind of huge mistake. There’s no way this is my transport. He started to ask something of Levvy when the captain hollered something out.

“I unnerstand ye like Whyren’s Reserve?”

“What? Yes. I mean…” The glass was already being shoved into his hand.

The burly, black-bearded fellow plopped down in his seat across from Jubar and said, “Now, how many cards ye want, laddie?”

Jubar set the cards down on the table. “What is this?”

“What d’yer mean? It’s called sabacc. E’er heard of it? Haw!”

Jubar pushed the cards to the side. “Not this. This.” He pointed down to the ship’s floor, and then leaned back and splayed is hands open, gesticulating around at everything and obviously discussing the ship. “Who are you? Is this some kind of a joke? Because if it is—”

“Sabacc an’ brandy are never a joke, m’friend—”

“I am a member of the Imperial Senate,” Jubar half lied. He was a politician to be sure, and was the power behind the throne of the Rebel Alliance Party, which was slowly making waves throughout the Senate, but he wasn’t technically a member of the Senate at all. “I hope you understand what this means when—”

“Oh, stars above help me,” said the captain, plopping down three cards and drawing three from the deck. “They tol’ me ye might talk like this. An’ I can already tell they were right. I can also tell I don’t like ye, but that makes me like ye. That’s weird, isn’t it? That I should only like the people that I don’t like? That makes me, whattaya call it…?” He thought for a moment. “Duplicitous! Aye, that’s me word, duplicitous. Heard that word on a late-night quiz show, never forgot about it! Har!”

Jubar didn’t know what to say to this person to make him speak sense. He felt like he was speaking to a character in some eccentric adventure novelist’s story, brimming over with personality and bursting with exuberant ignorance of all matters of importance. “Let me ask this as clearly as I can, and please, please, try to answer as coherently as you can.” Captain Nefarious Levvy looked up at him innocently, and for a moment was silent and looked like a child waiting to hear whether or not his parents had decided to let him have the toy gogo transport for his birthday. “Who sent you, and where are we going exactly?”

Levvy’s left eye winked. “I dunno to the first, an’ I dunno to the second. Haw! Now, are ye gonna play yer cards, or am I gonna have ter play ’em fer ye?”

Jubar leaned back in his chair in sheer wonderment. This is wrong. This is all wrong. Emperor Kane doesn’t send out invitations and arrange transportation for someone just to send along an obviously questionable sort that had all the comprehensibility of a Wookiee. He was suddenly aware that he never carried a blaster or self-defense object of any kind these days. He figured he should have started doing so around the time he started working with people like Goru Notombis, but then Jubar hadn’t expected to live very long, anyway. Naranger’s Disease had eaten him quickly after Sarapin, and it had only been getting worse until very recently.

Let your guard down once, his father had warned long ago, and that’s all it takes for the vultures and snakes to get in.

Then, not knowing what else to do besides appease his captor (he assumed it was a captor at this point), Jubar leaned forward and had no other choice than to play the cards he had been dealt. Just the way it had always been.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-04-30 09:46

"Now there's a good lad", Captain Nefarious gave up a big grin, revealing lots of big, shiny white strong theeth rather than the mouth full of yellow rotting shark fangs that Jubar had come to expect at this point. They played a round which Nefarious won, hardly strange because Jubar still couldn't concentrate on the game.

"Can you at least tell me who told you I prefer this", he pointed at the bottle of Whyren's Reserve.

"Shadow's figure."

"Shadow's figure?"

"Ye. Dark, shadowy, nuthin' ye can see. Very, whatchamacallit, specific instructions he gots fer me, tho", Levvy said and dealt the cards for a second round.

A duros showed up in the off-center opening leading to the cockpit. "Antua achur ainti akia tupusha. Tun mota chasi kasan kayna marka." Whatever he said, he didn't seem happy about it.

"So go fix it, kent ya? Kent ye see me busy with us guest 'ere. Just put 'er on auto and gets down the shaft an' hammer the generator a few times. Gets 'em right up evere time!", Levvy laughed shortly.

"Tagwa bosi..."

The duros disappaered again.

"Now were where we? Haw! Funny experssion, that. Oh yes, me was about to take all yer half-pennies! Har har!"

A couple of rounds later, Jubar won his first. "Me kent believe it with me own eyes! An idjot's arrey. I haven't seen one of those since me was a wee lad an' still suckling off me mama. Here, yev earned it", Levvy filled up Jubar's glass to the brim with his precious Alderanian brandy. "Cheers!", he said, raised his glass and downed it in one go. "Ahh, now there's a good year." The alcohol didn't seem to have any effect on Levvy since he was talkative and unhibited enough without it, even though he consumed it in a far higher rate than Jubar would have considered safe.

Jubar carefully tried the brandy to not get Levvy in a fit. He hoped that the strong alcohol would kill any bacteria still left on the glass, because it looked like it had seen better days. It was suprisingly smooth, very strong, and the aftertaste kind of melted away in his mouth. "Not bad", he said to himself.

"Har! Ain't that te best booze yev ever drunk? Me only brings it out fer special moments like these", Levvy said and emptied his glass again. Fortunately, they were small shots.

"So what's going to happen when we arrive?"

"Beats me. I wuz told ta gets ye thar real quick, buts there's nuthin' there that I know of. Must be a second ship comin' up fer ya."

The rest of the evening proceeded in a similar manner. Jubar decided to tuck in early and gets as much rest as possible to prepare him for whatever might lay ahead, and to get away from self-proclaimed captain Nefarious Levvy before something worse came up. "Please excuse me, I've had... a long day. I'm going to rest early."

"Har! Ye's a mornin' bird, then. Like Naisl over there. Me, I prefer ta sleep in me beatuy sleep. Nuthin' works better fer ye skin, me tells ya. Keeps me strong and steady. Aw, yer bunk's down the hall. Don mind the tools an' stuff Naisl keeps in it."

Thankful to get away for the time being, Jubar found that they had turned the ship's minimal medical bay into a storage for power tools and junk, both mechanical and electronic. Apparently he was meant to sleep on the diagnostic bed.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-04-30 22:34

“Please excuse me, I’ve had…a long day,” Jubar said, rising from his seat. “I’m going to rest early.”

The captain told him that his bunk was down the hall, and not to mind the tools and equipment his co-pilot Naisl left inside it. That was how he was directed to the right room. At least, Jubar assumed this was meant to be his room. I’m meant to sleep…on the diagnostic bed? His unease set to new heights, he reflexively reached for his datapad, and then stopped. No, we’re in hyperspace. Datapad won’t send a message. He glanced around, wondering if the ship had a HoloNet transceiver/receiver.

Jubar stepped into the medical bay, which was rife with clutter and parts that looked like they ranged from shuttle parts to the kinds of things one might find on a speeder bike. In fact, he was certain that at the far end he could make out the husk of a 74-Z, which looked a little charred, like the last owner of it had meant an untimely and fiery end.

He stood there a moment, wondering if his ruse of needing rest would be entirely believed. Jubar didn’t need a rest, he needed time to think. And now, looking at all these discarded parts, he realized, I need a weapon. It had to be something solid, but concealable.

Jubar moved as surreptitiously as he could, aware that his captor (if he was in fact a captor) could very well have security cams set up all throughout the ship. He had to be careful. He spotted a long, solid lead pipe that looked like a handlebar to some other kind of speeder bike, but thought, No…too big. Then, he saw it. His eyes landed on a hydrospanner, which was sitting in the lap of a long destroyed 3PO droid. Jubar moved over to it, and took a seat beside it under the pretense of massaging his new legs (again, in case anyone was watching), and then, in a motion as fast as he could manage, he reached out, snatched up the hydrospanner, and secreted it away inside the folds of his robes.

Then, looking around and making a show of yawning, he backed up towards the diagnostic bed, swept a place clean for himself, and laid down. A loud thrumming noise nearly startled him into action, and Jubar almost grabbed up his hydrospanner to defend himself before he realized it was just the air circulators switching on. He laid back down, slower this time, and listened to the sounds of the ship. Down the hall, he could hear the captain arguing with Naisl about something.

He checked his chrono, closed his eyes, and pretended to sleep. I can’t escape, and they’re probably better fighters than I am. The best thing I can do is to pretend to be complacent and weak. If they underestimate me, that might be my only advantage. Jubar checked his chrono again, and waited.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-02 12:57

The evening passed into night uneventfully aside the noises from the ship itself. Given that Jubar's temporary quarters were located well away from the engine section, made it comparatively peaceful even abord this rustbucket of a ship. Waiting calmly, Jubar eventually passed into sleep. When he woke up and checked his chrono to find out it was early morning, nothing seemed to have changed.

He slowly got up and briefly performed a short version of his isk maega exercises. After that, he went out with his hydrospanner to explore and see what he came up with. Everything seemed peaceful enough, and he went into the walkway to towards the cockpit, wondering if captain Levvy was asleep after his drinking binge, and Naisl was alone piloting the ship. Or was it even running on auto again? But what Jubar looked for was a way to communicate with the outside world, not take over the ship. In the walkway, however, he ran into something unexpected.

"Too-WEET. Bwuu-daa."

An R2-series astromech droid, painted white like most of them, with red and brown details. "Uhm, hello there", Jubar said and tried to simply walk past it, like most people ignored droids. But the little droid rolled and blocked the way. "Bwo-BWEEP!"

"No need to get upset... I was just... looking around."

"Bwee-bwoo-buwEEP."

"No, you don't understand. See, I have to contact my assistant about an important meeting I forgot."

"Bwo-oo." The R2 shook its head in a semi-circular motion. "Bee-dwo-buDOP. Bwee-doo."

Jubar considered using the hydrospanner on the droid, but figured he couldn't disable it quickly enough that it wouldn't alert Naisl and Captain Levvy. He didn't trust his legs to get him running past the droid, find a com console, and enable an uplink fast enough that he could get a message away undisturbed. It was probably better to wait for another opportunity... at least for now.

"I have permission", he tried.

"Bwee-doop, wee-dwop."

"Fine, I'll go back for now."

On the way back he noticed something he had missed on the way in. An automatic food dispenser. Apparently this was what substituted for a properly maintained kitchen aboard the Outlaw Star. Thinking that he might as well try to keep his strength up if he was going to attempt to get away from here, he selected the exo-protein wafers and a tin of caf, failing to find anything else non-alcoholic among its beverage selection. From there he went back to his hideout to eat and consider what he was going to do next. What passed for his breakfast looked unappetizing at best in its transparent flimsi package. Protein wafers were dry and crumbly without any added flavour, which is why starship captains usually picked a variant flavoured to their taste. From what little he knew of Levvy, Jubar expected the wafers to taste like Accarragm fungus alcolhol or perhaps deuterium-pyro.

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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-03 04:48

Frustrated more than he could articulate to anyone—if anyone had been around to listen—Jubar forced down the wafers, which tasted almost, but not totally, completely unlike any wafer he had ever tasted before. Accaragm fungus indeed, with just a dash of something like a species of rotted mynock.

The ship shuddered, and when it did his hand went reflexively for the hydrospanner under the folds of his robe. He didn’t know what he was going to do with it, he wasn’t a combatant or anything, and had only received a dash of personal self-defense training a few years ago when he had first started out in politics—it was suggested by an ex-bodyguard friend of his from Coronet University. Still, the feel of the hydrospanner was somehow reassuring. For the moment, it gave him a feeling of having some control over his destiny, which he needed at the moment.

Jubar took a sip of water, which tasted like something that came out of the south end of a northbound bantha, but he was thirsty so what else could he do? He closed his eyes, ran through his Isk Maega exercises again, trying to control his anxiety—the doctors at Adascopolis Medcenter had warned him that stress could very well cause a reinvigoration of his Naranger’s. There was so much little understood about the disease that just about anything could happen. The trauma of Kutannin’s death had brought it on strong, so who knew what else might set it off?

Staggering to his feet with his new legs, and feeling just a twinge of discomfort from one of the nerve cluster connectors, Jubar felt like a man at sea when the waters were slightly disturbed. In fact, the lurching feeling even made him experience motion sickness for a moment before he regained himself and made his way in a much more composed fashion down the hall and back to his room.

The R2 unit trundled behind him, as though trying to usher him into his room. “I’m going, I’m going!” Jubar hissed at the infernal thing. “Kriffin’ bucket of bolts,” he muttered, sitting back down on the diagnostic bed.

The R2 unit let him be for the moment, and Jubar sat there, alone in the quiet room, with no other company besides the defunct 3PO droid in the corner. He thought about his position in life. He thought about the rise and fall of his career, thought about how he had climbed out of the alleys of Coronet with the help of his father and their illegal Whyren’s Reserve business, how he used that money to get him into Coronet University and how it had led to him writing the essay titled What is Little Understood About Politics, how that had piqued Usten Kutannin’s interest, and how, inexplicably, it had all led him here.

To the Outlaw Star, he mused. On a quest into nowhere. Along the way, Jubar had shed friends the way canines shed their winter coat when it warms up. He had tried to keep them, really he had, but circumstances had pushed him further and further into his work, and working with Usten Kutannin had been a full-time job, for the man had preferred to keep himself moving in the political sphere, shaking hands and regularly making deals with everyone from underworld bosses on Phaeda to corporate CEOs on Coruscant.

Then had come the dark times, when he had come under suspicion for helping Kutannin with a traitorous act during the Battle of Sarapin. Jubar had merely been caught up in all of that, hadn’t known at all what Kutannin or his ally Hackett had been plotting, but it seemed the ISIS hadn’t fully believed that. And who can blame them? he wondered. I wouldn’t believe me if I were in their shoes. As far as Jubar knew, the investigation into his lives, friends, business and acquaintances was still ongoing, despite the covert diplomatic work he had done for Zhaf Spunns of ISIS.

Despite my work on Nefaris, despite what I did during the Battles of Bogden and Arkania, they still don’t trust me.

And that, he was certain, was why he was here. After all, he hadn’t done himself any favors by going and starting the Rebel Alliance Party, now had he? If this was in fact Emperor Kane’s way of getting rid of him, then Jubar had very stupidly walked right into it.

Mentally, Jubar steeled himself for it. His mind went to the hydrospanner, the only pathetic weapon he had left, and thought, But they won’t take me without a fight. It’ll be weak, it won’t count for much coming from a half-cripple getting used to his new legs, but it’ll be there. He checked his chrono one last time, and then, very reluctantly, laid back down. He shut his eyes, and didn’t believe he would be able to sleep. Yet somehow, he did.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-03 08:38

For whatever the reason, Jubar was left to fend for himself many hours since his attempt to contact the outside galaxy. While he had found somewhat more pleasing food by going through the dispenser's menu thoroughly, he had slightly lost track of time. Until that R2 unit showed up again.

"Buu-whoo-dee-whoop."

"What is it?", Jubar eyed the droid suspiciously.

"Beeoowheep", it let out and rolled away. The droids Jubar tended to meet were usually found in a social function - protocol droids, attendant droids, waitresses. They had good communicative skills and were always glad to service him. As a result, Jubar's Binary Language was lacking, even though communication skills were critical for a politician such as he. The droid seemed to want him to... follow? It had wanted something at least, and then rolled away. Cautiously, Jubar stood up and walked out slowly, getting out of the doorway in time to see the droid roll into the cockpit tunnel. Thinking that he wouldn't get worse off than the last time he tried that, he walked across the circular main bay and followed the droid in its tracks. Once he reached the actual cockpit, he found Naisl sitting in the co-pilot's chair and Levvy standing behind Naisl's chair, leaning over it from behind. The R2 unit was plugged into what Jubar believed was the navigational computer on the side wall before the actual cockpit area.

"Thar ye are", Levvy said and turned around. "Beeper's got ye after all. We're enterin' the nebula."

"Uhm, okay. So, we're almost there?"

"Yar. But we're takin' it nice and slowly, ya'hear? The nebula's reflectin' signals, it is. Ye can't get through it without active sensor sweeps, an' even that'll be limited in range. Ye could hide a whole star system in here an' ye'll never know", Levvy guffawed. "Fact is, rumours have it that the Black Fleet is hidin' out here... somewhere."

"The Black Fleet?"

"One of 'em imperial lost fleets. I've never been 'ere meself, none of us have. But we've got some basic nav data that might sell fer an extra half-penny or two. That is, if I wanna sell it! Might be a good hidin' place if I ever need one, har har!"

"Bloo-wee-doop!"

"Ye? What's that bleedin' thing says, Naisl?"

"The data from the signal buoy we found has been compiled, Captain", the duros replied without turning his head, proving that he both understood and spoke Basic, if with a notable accent. "You were more right than you knew. There is a star system here."

"Har har har! Mebe' I should've been one of 'em explorers, har har har! What'cha got?"

"A proto star with three planets. One gas giant, two rocky planets with class one atmosphere. Breathable without aid. Morath II is a cold, ice-covered planet with volcanic activity on its surface and some vegetation. Morath I is a desert world with patches of surface liquid and vegetation. No found cities or technology."

"Hrrm. The co-ordinates, they're leading anywhere near that?"

Naisl didn't get a chance to answer that before Beeper cut in.

"Bee-woo-blee-dooup. Doo-whee."

"Beeper reports that we have picked up a second signal from the surface of Morath I."

"Hrrm. What ya think laddie, that's not a trap, issit?"

This whole trip is one big death trap with your ship being the largest part, Jubar thought. But he was ever the diplomat. "I don't know. It seems like an awfully convoluted trap to have us come all this way just to set us up", he said, which was the truth of how he felt about the whole thing.

"Hrrm. I suppose there's that. Well then, prepare to land. Go strap yerself in laddie. Might get a lil' rough. Dampener's a bit slow on the pickup."

You don't say, Jubar thought. "If you don't mind, I'll just take this backseat. Wouldn't miss this for the world."

"Har har! An adventurer, are ye? I like that", Captain Nefarious Levvy said and gave Jubar a slap on the back that took the air out of his lungs. Levvy finally took up his seat as well. Within a few minutes, a brownish planet appeared in front view. It had a thin cloud cover with a slight tinge of sand colour, but no visible oceans anywhere. The ship began to whine and buckle and waver and the windows turned red around the borders as they approached the edge of atmosphere at which was clearly too high velocity and an unstable course.

"Think of it laddie, barely anyone's set foot on this place 'cept for us. Whoever's wanna meet ya must really like their secludity. Better arm up before we get out. Even if it's not a trap, thar mebe toothy critters. Ye can fire a gun?"

"Secludedness", Naisl corrected the captain.

"Whatever. Point is, thar mebe sumthin' down there that don't like a disturbin'"

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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-04 05:09

The shuttle shook and shifted as it landed on the planet’s surface. Naisl lifted the ship once, pitched it sideways (for unknown reasons) and then settled again, like a bird tentatively testing a surface it wasn’t sure about. Jubar held fast to the wall, and felt a sickening feeling a little like going over the top of a rollercoaster too fast.

Out the front viewport, he could see a landscape half etched by wind erosion, with great, sweeping gusts of sand and dust whipping across the surface irregularly. Captain Levvy guffawed, pointing at something that Jubar couldn’t see, and saying muttering something to Naisl close to his ear. Must be an inside joke, he thought, reaching down to test his legs. If he was going to have to run, he wanted to be able to trust his new legs.

“Set ’er down already, Naisl!” shouted Levvy.

Yes, please do. The shudder happened when the Outlaw Star finally slammed hard onto the surface of the world. What had Naisl called it? Morath I? Not a world he was familiar with, perhaps one that few, if any, were very familiar with.

Levvy pointed at something on the display and Naisl nodded. The Duros went through all of the final systems check after the landing cycle was completed. A few alarms went off, signaling that the Outlaw Star might have a problem or two, but Naisl quickly flipped a few switches to silence them, and looked at Levvy to say, “We’re good.”

“Are we, though?” said the captain, scratching at his beard. “Ah’m not so sure, m’friend.” He glanced over his shoulder at Jubar. “Ye ’ave some strange friends, Vice-Ambassador. Whoever they are, they don’t seem ter want anyone knowin’ where they hide themselves.”

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Jubar said, standing up and walking over to join them by the transparisteel viewport. He was no longer certain that Levvy really knew who it was that had hired him to pick up a vice-ambassador on Arkania. In fact, if the people who wanted Jubar out here actually wanted him dead, then Levvy and Naisl might be just as expendable as anyone else. “This could be bad, guys,” he said, thinking again of the hydrospanner secreted inside the folds of his robes. “Are you gentlemen thinking of leaving?” You should be, he thought, but didn’t say.

“Haw!” Captain Levvy said. “Us? Turn back now? Har har! Naw, me an’ Naisl always finish a job once we’re paid.”

That’s what I thought. Jubar sighed and pushed himself away from the pilot’s seat—which was torn and patched in a dozen different places—and looked at the big, burly captain. “It’s your show then, guys. What’s next? Are we supposed to wait here or step out for a welcoming committee of some kind? Did these employers of yours happen to tell you?”
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-04 08:40

"All we gots were those co-ordinates", Levvy replied as he got up from his chair. "Plus a detailed description of ye, of course. We haven't been paid in full yet, so I'm gonna get out an' look for it. Naisl, ye stay with tha ship an' keep an eye on 'er, willya? Ye go with me", he directed at Jubar, then stomped off.

He went directly for an arms locker and dug up a mean-looking beam tube with odd custom gadgets which he slung over his back. He also pulled out a blaster pistol which he flung over to Jubar as the latter came out from the cockpit tunnel.

"Thar ye go. Now let's get out an' find out what's going on."

Levvy took the lead, stomped away to the airlock and opened it up, letting a wave of hot, dry air in. Captain Nefarious was already outside when Jubar carefully stepped down the boarding ramp and looked around. There were dunes of sand in every direction, only broken up by occasional rocky cliffs as he could see. The air was thankfully calm, but hot enough to cause instant sweating and he didn't want to take a deep breath of it. Without water, they couldn't go on for long in this desert.

"Come on laddie, let's check that signal", Levvy said as he looked at some kind of handheld sensor device. Jubar could see a tall, spindly structure off in the distance, presumably the antenna that brought them here. Once they got a bit closer, he could see that it was some kind of tall mast set atop a cliff for increased range. It was only a kilometer or so away from their landing site, but even this distance felt tough to walk. To make matters worse, they had to climb the rock face once they got there. Levvy turned out to be a great help with his steady footing and great strength, helping Jubar over a couple difficult parts. Finally they were topside, and Levvy started to inspect the mast.

"Thar's nuthin' here... but me sensor tells me thar's sumthin' over the other side of the cliff face."

Great, more walking. Jubar wished he could have stayed back at the Outlaw Star, but he realized that wasn't much of an option. It was ironic, since it wasn't long since he wished to get off that ship.

The view on the other side of the cliffs surprised the both of them. The valley below was an oasis, with lots of bushes, long grass and curiously twisted trees. Getting down was going to get even harder than getting up, though. Jubar could see no safe path down. But Levvy turned out to have a syntherope dispenser. This liquid cable turned solid with air exposure and formed a strong, synthetic rope with which they could climb down. Jubar only hoped that they wouldn't have to take the same way up, too. Levvy was surprisingly good with knots and made an improvised security harness for Jubar and a simpler one for himself. Then they began the ardous work of safely descending the near-vertical rock face with protruding cliffs.

"Looksee, thar's one of em', whatchacallit, emergensee shelters", Levvy pointed down the valley once they were halfway down. Jubar turned his head. It was indeed a structure of the sort that was used on scientific or survey expeditions, or sometimes as emergceny shelters. They could be set up quickly to offer protection from the elements. It had the basic shape of a half-cylinder laying on the ground.

Before they could reach the ground itself, it turned out that a group of angry lizards of some sort objected to this intrusion of their private space. Or at least, that was what Jubar gathered from their hisses and snorts.

"Looks like we're eatin' fresh tonight!", Levvy exclaimed enthusiastically as he readied his beam tube and turned it downwards. The laser beam danced across the ground and sliced two of the lizard-things into half with a small cloud of smoke coming from vapourized parts of their bodies. The rest of the animals left in a hurry. Once they were down, the smell was similar to grilled meat and the laser had left remains of the vegetation with carbon burn marks.

"Alrighty, we'll pick these up once we've had a looksee at that shelter", Levvy declared. Jubar was not looking forward to scaling the rock while packed with laser-grilled lizard meat. Hopefully they could at least haul it up bit by bit. But right now, he just as curious as Captain Nefarious to find out what that shelter was about. There was nothing special on the outside, just a small door on the green duraplast. Levvy stepped inside, and Jubar followed him.

Inside, he found a simple living space set up, of the kind you could expect from a temporary shelter, complete with a table and some stools. Nothing could have prepared him for what else he saw though. Two of the three men he didn't recognize, but the one sitting at the short end of the table? His likeness was displayed on millions of holograms, paintings, statues, everywhere from one end of the galaxy to the next. Unmistakably, Emperor Kane. He was forming a triangle with his hands and gazed at the newcomers with a look sharper than the laser Captain Levvy had used a few minutes ago. It gave the impression that he was able to penetrate your defences and look directly at your soul, weighing its worth to him.

"Greetings", he said and made an open gesture with his right hand. "You took long enough to get here. Have a seat while I explain what's going on."

"I'd prefer to stand, if ye don't mind", Levvy replied, fingering on his beam tube, probably feeling very uncertain of what was going on right now.

"Sit, stand, dance for a bit. It makes no difference to me", Kane replied. "We'll deal with you in a moment. Perhaps you can even turn out to be of additional assistance in a while."

One of the other men poured up a glass on the table. Jubar recognized the bottle as his preferred brand. Still feeling a bit shocked, he sat down and nodded in response as he accepted his drink.

"The point is this", Kane addressed Jubar, "Six months ago, a clone took my place on the imperial throne. I'm unstatisfied with the development since, and so I and my compatriots plan to usurp him. You are here because you are one of the few who have dared to challenge the Emperor's rule. It would seem mutually beneficial if we were to pool our efforts."
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-04 21:59

“The point is this. Six months ago a clone took my place on the Imperial throne. I’m unsatisfied with the developments since, and so I and my compatriots plan to usurp him. You are here because you are one of the few who have dared to challenge the Emperor’s rule. It would see mutually beneficial if we were to pool our efforts.”

For a moment, those words just hung in the air. Jubar was absolutely speechless.

“Um…” The first thing Jubar thought to say was, I’m not sure I have the right tent, but that was ridiculous. The next thing he thought to say was, Is this some kind of practical joke? The very next thing he thought was that he might be present for some loyalty test, or something of that nature. He stared at the figure, the very image of Emperor Kane, and wondered. Then, after what seemed like minutes crawling by, “Come again?”

“I’m sure this may come as a shock to you,” said the man claiming to be Emperor. “But I assure you, every bit of it is true.”

“This is…I don’t even know what to say…”

“Take a seat.”

Jubar was reluctant, but then thought, If they’re going to kill me, it’s going to happen one way or another. There’s no getting out of here. He did as he was bidden, and was still caught so off-guard that he wasn’t sure of he should bow or nod or say something special to acknowledge His Imperial Majesty. As he slowly slid into his seat, he said, “What am I doing here? You said…a clone? What…how?”

“It’s very complicated,” the man said. Jubar wasn’t entirely sure if he was actually talking to the Emperor Kane or not. In fact, he wasn’t even sure that he wasn’t dreaming.

Then, deciding to be perfectly honest with all his suspicions, Jubar said, “Frankly…I can’t just believe what I’m seeing here. I’ve suffered a lot of…um…pain and discomfort. I’ve been on some mild pain medication, I feel that maybe it’s having an adverse effect. Or, maybe this is actually real, but you’re an imposter. Or something, I dunno. How do I know you are who you say you are? And, if you can prove that you are Emperor Kane…then what’s to blame for this clone? How did this all happen, and what do you need with me?” He added tentatively, “Your Majesty.”
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-04 23:11

"I understand you haven't had time to think about this, and I can see that you are not in good health. You'll have to excuse me for getting so straight to the point. I'm used to giving orders more than information. Now, let's see... proving my identity shouldn't be too hard", the man who claimed to be the Emperor said thoughtfully and touched his chin. "Any suggestions?", he asked the man standing to his right, looking up at him. The man with sandy hair seemed somehow familiar to Jubar, although he didn't think he had ever seen him before.

"Something big. We're practically alone on this planet anyway."

"Well, there is that", Kane said and stood up from his chair, very tall. "Come along", he said as he started to walk, and before Jubar had time to react, his stool was lifted up in the air and moved as if by repulsorlift toward the door, after the man who claimed to be the Emperor.

"Outside should provide something large enough to work with, don't you think?" Jubar just nodded, still taken with everything going on. The Man Who Claimed to be the Emperor lifted his open palms on his sides and closed his eyes. Within moments, the crack of lightning struck the heavens and clouds began to form where moments prior there had been only scorching sun and beige sky. Thunder rolled over the landscape, and rain began to fall. Massive rain. None of it touched Kane or Jubar, proteced as if by an invisible forcefield. But puddles began to form almost immediately.

"I'd rather not cancel it, this planet needs every drop it can get. Let's continue our discussion inside", Kane said and walked inside again, the door opening for him as if it was automatic, not that Jubar had seen any such mechanism when he entered the shelter. He and his chair was put down gently where it had been, and Kane resumed his seat as if nothing had happened, except for the sound of heavy rain smattering against the duraplast ceiling and occasional thunder from the outside.

"I don't know how much you know about the Emperor, but now you know at least that I'm a Force user of some skill. There aren't too many of us as I'm certain you are aware. As for your second question, I'll give you the truth. Just understand that you already know too much as far as the clone is concerned, but you can still back out on my offer. We'll erase your memory and replace it with something less conspicuous. Six months ago, I died. I had accumulated too much energy, basically, and I could no longer control all of it."

"But..."

"I got better. Meanwhile, the clone assumed my position. It was a contingency plan that activated. Rather than risk the NIF fracturing under a power vacuum, he was to take up my part. The plan worked, but as you can tell, not flawlessly. I'd rather discuss what I'd like to do about the situation than what went wrong with it, though. I want to avoid civil war if at all possible. Currently I don't have access to the same kind of fingertip information I used to, but I still have resources. Older command codes are still useful in some places for instance. I have a number of allies, for instance Luke here", he gestured to the man on his right.

"Hey. Good to meet you.", Luke said.

"This here is Bastian, from the NIF", Kane said and made a quick gesture to his left.

"Hello."

"There are others, but we have limited resources for the moment. Even so, like I said I don't want open warfare. It would damage the Federation, both politically and otherwise. What we don't have at our disposal is political support in the Imperial Senate. That's where you come in."

Jubar had a lot to take in, and was carefully considering what he was going to say, or even decide if he believed any of this. While he hesitated, Kane spoke again. "I've had a little time to study you now, Mr. Bavvet. A chronic disease of some sort? Synthetic parts in your legs. The progression of your disease look stable enough, so I presume you have some kind of medication. You also have... an effective, uniform way of breathing, which shows you have uncommon training, perhaps as part of a medical rehabilitation program. I wasn't aware of this, but you must have a very rare disease. It seems that your careful steps when you entered had more to it than natural caution. Given your position, I surmise that you have had high quality care. We may be able to help you out in different ways, however. But don't take that as any sort of pressure. Just something to think about."

"You always do this", Luke said and looked at Kane.

"Do what?"

"Manipulate people. Even when you're offering them help."

"So what? It beats forcing them, doesn't it?", Kane said and formed a triangle with his hands again.

"...barely."

Captain Levvy was still standing near one corner during all this and was uncommonly quiet, observing these people he had come to meet. He understood that regardless of the truth to any of it, these were dangerous people in a dangerous situation. He would have left already if he had been paid, but for now he waited. Maybe, just maybe, there was some coin to be made from all of this, and the high risks it probably involved meant good pay.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-05 02:56

Jubar’s day had turned up one mystery after another, and several successive wonders. He had gone from total despair, knowing in his heart that his life was soon to come to an end by the hand of Emperor Kane, only to be shown just how wrong he was and to be given a new lease on life by Emperor Kane. He had seen an incredible wonder, two incredible wonders actually—the first was his chair that had levitated and carried him outside, and the second was the formation of an entire storm system at the behest of a single man within the span of a minute.

And, if this man’s story could be believed—and at this point Jubar saw no reason to doubt the validity of his claim—then he could add a third wonder. Emperor Kane, it seemed, had died. He had died and then been cloned, only to return. It wasn’t every day a person saw a storm system summoned by a wizard, nor was it every day that they encountered a resurrected being.

The severity of the moment caused him to experience a bit of mild anxiety, which was controlled by his Iron Breath exercise, the same sort that he had shared with Mon Mothma to alleviate her own pains in her last days.

Jubar glanced at the fellow with the sandy-brown hair, and realized that it was no illusion—it truly was Luke Skywalker, Grandmaster and Founder of the New Jedi Order. If this was true, and again Jubar had no reason to doubt his senses anymore, then this was a fourth wonder. Luke Skywalker, working with the Emperor in some conspiracy? And yet, a fifth wonder had just come from the Emperor’s mouth. He was asking Jubar to join their conspiracy. But a conspiracy to do what, exactly? Return the true Emperor Kane to the throne, no doubt, but how?

“My Lord,” Jubar said tentatively, addressing the man more formally now and inclining his head in deference. “What you’ve told me here, quite frankly it shocks me. I’m…well, I’m stunned, and nearly speechless. With all due respect, I am honored by your thoughts to include me in on this…this…well, this conspiracy of yours. And while I agree that this does indeed place our prized Federation, and indeed the entire galaxy, in a great deal of peril, I’m not sure how I can help. I’m…still reeling from all of this, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m trying to articulate my thoughts. But…you and Skywalker seemed to be the most fit to face this imposter. What is it that you would have me do in the Senate?”
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-05 08:08

"You believe my claim then", Kane didn't smile as much as just hinted at one. "I can tell that you see the pieces fall together as I speak. I am indeed working with Luke Skywalker. It is an odd situation to be certain, but our goals are compatible, after all", he spoke and looked at Luke, still with some humour in his eyes.

"Yes, I don't want another imperial civil war, and I don't want the clone Emperor to attack the New Republic", Luke stated to explain his position in all this. "It's more complicated than that, but those are my main goals."

"If the clone had proven satisfactory, I would have enjoyed retirement, I believe", Kane said as he looked at Jubar again. "In most things he has, to give him some credit. But the present course of the Federation is a perilous one to be sure. He aims to destroy the Republic, and it's going to cost a lot on both sides. I'm not going to bother you with the details, but the plan right now calls for a surgical strike. But to answer your question in regards to what you can do, there are two things. In the Imperial Senate, you are already working to undermine the Emperor's credibility, I understand. It is a difficult enough road to walk as it is, but I also need you to keep the hotter heads in check, or the situation could easily escalate into civil war. The second part is the Republic. You have already made some friends there, or so the rumour has it. Given my limited resources, I'm working with elements of the New Republic, most prominently represented by Luke here. We also don't open war between the NIF and the NR. To achieve that we need an understanding to come into place under the table on both sides. There will undoubtedly come a time when forces will and have to clash, but we're going to keep that to a necessary minimum."

Kane silenced at that point to give Jubar some time to catch up and see for himself what he could do. It was very obvious that he was still in shock, he hadn't even touched his drink yet, even though the desert must have made him thirsty. It was no wonder really, a lot of the world as he knew it had just been turned upside down.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-05 19:29

Jubar mulled this over. “I can see your point,” he said, his mind only now catching up to everything that he was being asked to accept in such a short time. Of course, when looked at retrospectively, a lot of it made perfect sense—Jubar hadn’t been alone in his surprise when the Emperor had suddenly a much more aggressive and less thoughtful angle regarding the NR. Many people had commented on it, the braver ones mentioning it on HoloNet pundit talk shows, but the murmurs had rippled through the Senate, and were gaining volume. “And I understand that you wouldn’t want unnecessary death and destruction, Your Highness. It’s something I’ve been looking to prevent, as well. Even before I knew that you were…well, resurrected, it seemed certain to me that the NIF and the NR would eventually ‘clash’ as you put it, and I also predict that, if that happens, it’ll be a war far bloodier than any we’ve seen in a long, long time.”

“This is why we selected you, of course,” said the Emperor. Beside him, Skywalker glanced at him, and then looked at Jubar. He was measuring both men, gauging them. Perhaps the Jedi Grandmaster wasn’t certain himself of Kane’s plans? Perhaps he was trying to cipher the exact meaning and direction that this was all going. “And, given my clone’s recent show, I don’t believe that you’re too far off with that prediction.”

Jubar nodded. “I suppose you’re all caught up with what’s been going on in the galaxy, then. There’ve been some…changes.”

“Sarapin,” he said, nodding. “And the Bothan dilemma. Yes, I am well aware.”

“Then you know that this Jen’vey and his Assembly, they’ve managed to rile a few feathers. People in the NR who didn’t even know they could be rebellious again are rediscovering their Rebel roots. Jen’vey has rallied that old fighter’s spirit, and had preyed on their fears of an Old Empire’s return—your clone has only lent credence to Jen’vey’s claims. He might only be one Bothan now, and against both the NR and the NIF he most likely doesn’t stand a chance, but, well…”

Kane nodded, understanding. “But it’s what he stands for that threatens the galaxy, yes?" he said. "It's that dangerous, unfocused rebellious spirit that riles the people up unnecessarily."

“Exactly,” Jubar said. “Even if you kill him today, right now, right this very instant, the damage has been done. Hell, killing him might even make him a martyr of sorts, and you'd have conspiracy theories and violent public protests happening in the streets from here to the Unknown Regions. And not just because of him, but because of the anger your clone has generated in the NR's citizens. Jen'vey's just another in a long line of rebels and warlords, he's just sparked the most interest of late. To many, he and your clone have proven that the Federation cannot ever be trusted. The only thing that can undo it is to show that this Empire isn’t the same as the old. We can say to the media that we are different than Palpatine’s order, but actions speak louder than words. Every second that ticks by threatens to not only lend credence to Jen’vey’s claims and rally his supporters, but it also rallies NIF citizens behind your clone, demanding more blood not only from Jen'vey, but from the NR, who many suspect let him off the leash on purpose. This Clone Emperor is now getting every bit of the excuse he needs to wage a war. This is how it all starts, the people, the citizens of two governments demanding that their politicians do something. And the damnable misery of it is this: we’ve got perfectly good leaders willing to negotiate, but they’re not being listened to. Warlords are stealing the hearts and minds of the frustrated people. And here you sit, the same reasonable man who once led the NIF to its height and glory, with Luke Skywalker no less, with Leia Organa-Solo and Ponc Gavrisom asking for talks, and because of a sick twist of fate the people now have more faith in these bloodthirsty types than in yourselves! The two of you obviously don’t want a war," he said, pointing to Kane and Skywalker. "I’ve spoken with your sister, too, Master Skywalker.”

“I know,” Skywalker said. “She told me. It wasn’t just your creation of this Rebel Alliance Party that drew our attention—although we did find that heartening and a little funny—but it was the fact that you, and only a handful of others, had shown any real openness to discussion without shouting or making absurd demands.” The Jedi Grandmaster looked a little solemn. “I’m ashamed to say, but the politicians in our Senate aren’t functioning any better than those in your Senate. Leia told me about the talk that you had together, and that Mon Mothma spoke highly of you in her last days.”

Emperor Kane favored Jubar with a smile. “Believe it or not, as lowly a politician as you are and as sordid as your past appears to be, and even though you were semi-blacklisted after the whole business near Sarapin, you’ve got a subtle reputation in the political sphere as being one who not only reaches across the aisle, but also reaches across the galaxy to other governments.” Then, his smile took on a new meaning. “So I know a good manipulator when I see one. And that’s what we need right now.”

Jubar shifted uncomfortably. “What do you mean, My Lord?”

Then, Kane gave a slight chuckle. “Don’t play coy with me, Vice-Ambassador. The Rebel Alliance? You created it by assuring politicians that other politicians had already joined, when in fact they hadn’t yet. You confused the timeline, the sequence of events, and had others step forward in the media to take credit for your work—a bold move, but one that ensured that, should it all go ‘south’ as they say, it couldn’t be hung around your head. Senator Cabbatt, Senator Yumb, Ambassador Notombis—you made them all a lightning rod in case Palpatine’s COMPNOR made a return, didn’t you?”

Jubar shifted again. It wasn’t common that someone caught him in his schemes.

“It’s perfectly fine,” Kane said. “It’s politics, right? And, as it stands, it’s just another reason that you fit the bill for what we have in mind.”

For a moment, Jubar remained silent, and then figured, Hell, why bother denying it? He’s a Dark Jedi, and can probably read my mind. He sighed and said, “Yeah…all right. So you’re saying you need to use my…techniques to keep hotter heads in check. I think I can do that. And I can go to Leia again, organize a palaver between her, myself, and Ponc Gavrisom. The question is, how much do you want me to tell them? It’s obvious you’ve gone to great lengths to keep your return a secret, so I’m sure you don’t just want me dropping your name.” He laughed nervously, but neither Kane nor Skywalker appeared humored. Jubar licked his lips, using Isk Maega to keep his composure.

A short silence passed through the room, and Jubar glanced at the man Kane had identified as Bastian, and then he looked at Captain Levvy in the corner, who still looked wary of this whole situation. Levvy was making Jubar nervous just standing there.

“So then, what sort of movements do you require I begin to make to help facilitate this transition,” Jubar said, using perfect politician’s lingo. “To be frank, I suppose I just have three questions, if you’ll permit me, Your Highness. The first is, do you have specific political targets in mind, certain politicians you want me to focus on…controlling? The second is, do you have specific goals you wish me to reach, specific things you need me to get out of the Imperial Senate or the Republic Senate? The final question is, is there a timeline; when do you plan to do all of this, or is that too much to ask for at this juncture?”
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-06 14:21

Jubar seemed a lot more practical than most politicians were. Undoubtedly, this was part of why he had initiated the Rebel Alliance movement. Perhaps his sickness claimed part of it too. If he was chronically ill, he might not have as much to lose as more healty people, or for that matter, people already firm in the power structure with alliances, rank, status, and reputations to guard. To that could be added that he was a loyalist, that is to say, a believer in the ideas that lead to the creation of the NIF. In short, he was perfect for the job, or so it appeared to Kane.

"Very good questions all, and none easy to give simple answers to. I understand that you have been building support for a vote of no confidence? That pleases me more than you know. We wanted a strong central government, which also means it can't be easy to overthrow it. But I also recognized the possibility of an Emperor who didn't function as intended when we wrote up the constitution, which is why that option exists. The Senate exists to voice the people's will and to act as a balance to unrestricted dictatorship. But we have to move carefully. While we also discarded the political police when we founded the NIF, we are certain that the Emperor is building an armed force of his own. There are certain other organizations which answers to the Emperor behind the scenes, but one of those have been dismantled and the other has seen members rejected and declared traitors. In both cases because some of their members rebelled against the Emperor, given that they had a better grasp on the situation than the public. This leaves him without means to directly strike against his political enemies, but you can be certain that he's working to find an alternative. This gives us a small window of opportunity. I estimate between two and six months before the situation turns critical. The largest problem are those politicians who strongly support the Emperor's actions - the Supreme Chancellor being the most prominent. I believe that the Imperial Party can be swayed if they can be convinced that the Emperor works against their long-term interests. Basically, you have to promote nationalism over monarchism for them. At the same time, we have to ease the percieved outside threat which pushes the nationalists to war. It is a complicated matter, and this is just scratching the surface of it. We may also have to get you into the senate to facilitate this. I have the means to fund your campaign. Another thing I'm going to need you to work on is restoring faith in the government once we have managed to dispose of the tyrant. To achieve this, we are going to need to blame him for just about every wrong thing imagineable and institute some popular moves, such as cutting the war tax. We'll still need to raise a smilar amount of money, but we'll make it less obvious and we'll put that money into infrastructure improvements, education, certain social programs, and some minor tax cuts. If you are prepared to, you can be part of the face of the new government and ride it to success or failure."

As much as Kane was telling Jubar, there was a lot of things he didn't go into detail over that he didn't need to know. The money he was talking about for instance was legally his - but with the clone in charge, he basically had to commit fraud to get them, and hide the fact that he had diverted funds.
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-06 21:30

“Two to six months,” Jubar said at length. He mulled that over for a moment. “That doesn’t give us much time, Your Highness. Though I do agree that sooner is better than later, and that if we waited much longer than that the Clone Emperor might somehow find out that you’re back and where you’re located, which would lose us the element of surprise.”

“You are correct in that,” said Kane. “If we lose the element of surprise, then we naturally would lose the initiative. We would no doubt have an army after us, and my clone would get the story out fast that I’m an imposter, and that I must be destroyed quickly, which would put me in a no-win situation of trying to explain the complexity of what’s really going on—people tend to believe whichever story hear first. Then comes the herd instinct—the tendency of people to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviors of the majority to feel safer and to avoid conflict.”

Jubar nodded. “And then naturally comes system justification—they’ll bolster and defend the status quo. It’ll be an uphill battle for sure after that,” he reflected, recalling his own brush with those sorts of cognitive biases. In the days after Kutannin’s public shame and suicide, everybody Jubar knew suddenly made conclusions about his own part in Kutannin’s downfall, especially those who weren’t there and knew nothing about what actually happened. It would be a snowball effect.

“You see now why we can’t just attack this clone head-on without also covering all other bases,” Skywalker said, steepling his fingers. “If we were to attack him, and fail, he would rally people very, very easily in light of what he would be able to deem an ‘unprecedented assassination attempt on the Emperor by an unbelievably good imposter and the fools who followed him.’ We must sow the seeds of doubt ahead of that, draw attention to the Emperor’s recent behaviors, turn some of the doubt people have had in his recent aggressive moves to our advantage.”

Jubar looked between the two men seriously. “You say you want me to help you with the Supreme Chancellor,” he said. “Reuben Edarra and the Imperial Party will indeed need to see that the Clone Emperor works against their long-term interests, but at this point I don’t have even a modicum of the power and clout it would take to really bend his ear.”

“As I said, we can fix that,” said Kane.

“You said something about putting me in the Senate,” Jubar said. “That would definitely help…if we had an opportunity...”

“There are elections coming up,” Kane put in.

Jubar nodded. This guy’s planned this way, way, way ahead of time. He didn’t just bring me here on any random day, he timed it just right, bringing me here and drawing me in just as the election season is almost upon us. His level of respect, already high after having studied Kane and all politics for many years (not to mention having just seen him summon/create a storm), just went up a few more notches. “But I can’t think of any systems or sectors in particular that I would be ideal to run.” He shrugged. “The Rebel Alliance Party has already approached me about running as a dark horse candidate, but they’ve not been specific. We don’t have the capital to run an effective campaign just yet…but you say you have money you’re willing to spare for all of this?”

“I do,” said Kane, waving to Bastian who produced a folder. “And, as it so happens, we’ve already done the research necessary on which systems and sectors would be the most logical for you to represent. We narrowed it down to one powerful contender.”

Bastian slid the folder over to the Jubar, and looked inside. The file inside detailed the sector in question, and showed the many elaborate talking points he would have to brush up on if he wanted to sound authoritative when it came time for the debates. His heart sank a little, and he looked up to Kane and Skywalker. “You’re kidding,” he chuckled. “Cademimu?”

“As I understand it, your experience in Cademimu sector is somewhat known and revered in certain political circles,” said Kane. “You dealt with it in a way that many politicians have been afraid to. You met with Goru Notombis directly and, contrary to what many believed was possible, convinced him within a matter of days to see reason, and all without threat of violence.”

“I went in and convinced Goru Notombis and a few others to allow more transparency with their books, to help us understand just how extensive the corruption is there without having to twist arms and spend years culling information from all the muck of money laundering and smuggling and so forth. That’s all I did.”

“That’s more than you know. It gives you a foothold, something to raise a degree of hope, even. It even lends a kind of…savior aspect, doesn’t it?” he mused, looking at Skywalker. “An outsider, come to save the billions of hungry and impoverished who are being victimized by the likes of these syndicates.” After a moment while Jubar perused the file’s contents, Kane added, “There are people there, simple commoners, who remember your name with a certain reverence. You don’t have a cult following, as it were,” he chuckled, “but you’ll have friends there. And who doesn’t like an underdog? Someone who climbs out of the muck of the unknown and declares that he wants to run for a Senate seat in one of the most heated and criminally embattled places in the galaxy?” He shrugged.

“But I don’t hardly even—” He shook his head. “I’m not from there, I’m not a native, and so I won’t be trusted worth sithspit. Not only that, but the entire sector is run by the largest amount of corruption outside of Hutt Space, maybe even more so.”

“Again, we’ll have our thumb on things. We can keep the elections ‘fair enough,’ but then the rest is up to you. You’ll have to win the people over, you’ll have to run outside of all the standard parties, even outside of your own Rebel Alliance, so that you appear truly independent. I have every faith that I’ve chosen the right person for this. Once you’re in the Senate, we may make contact with you—not so often as to attract attention—and may help guide you if necessary.”

“This isn’t going to be easy.”

Kane smiled. “So, you’ll go through with it?”

Jubar nodded. He sighed, and for a moment he felt overwhelmed. But Isk Maega calmed him again, returning logic and rationale to his side. What use was it to deny the future, especially when the Emperor had selected you personally? Something occurred to him. “If all goes well, do you plan on eventually letting the public know what all happened here, that you were cloned and that the entire galaxy was fooled for a time?” Then, something else occurred to him. “Is there some way I can contact you once this all starts, perhaps a way to get messages to you in case…I dunno, I case we have to change our game plan?”
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Kane » 2011-05-06 22:31

"It depends", Kane replied seriously. "For a time, I considered removing the clone and assume his position smoothly, without letting the people know what happened. But a lot of things have happened quickly, and damage has already been done. At this point, it looks like it would be better to let him assume the blame, even though this presents a problem in itself, namely, lost faith in the government. We can restore some of this by putting the blame on the clone and promptly remove him. We can hardly tell them everything, but the gist of it, possibly."

Luke looked at him, but didn't say anything.

"I would do it peacefully if I get the chance. Yes, I'm willing to let him off the hook. But I'm not kidding myself, the chance is slim that he will co-operate, although I have... convincing arguments at hand."

It looked like he was addressing Luke as much as Jubar with that answer. "As for communications, Bastian here will act as an intermediate and may show up from time to time, which is one of the reasons I wanted to introduce him to you. In case of necessity, we have a certain device for you", he directed at Jubar.

"Here, Mr. Bavvet", Bastian said and brought up a small red and glowing crystal which he then slid across the table. "This device is not exactly dependent on any standard technology. We have given this crystal a special harmonic, synchronized with another similar device. You might say that they are interconnected regardless of the distance between them", Kane continued.

"How do I use it?", Jubar asked as he accepted the crystal. "Simply touch it and focus your thoughts. The message will be received, and it cannot be intercepted. It works two-way, but only when you are in direct physical contact with it. In case you are interested, it is actually a piece of the Exar Kun's tomb on Yavin IV. It was destroyed by the Jedi Master Corran Horn because it was still a place of dark power and writings from Kun's lore. I have re-purposed this particular rock thanks to shall we say, unique knowledge of the place."

"You mean Exar Kun's spirit told you about it", Luke shot in.

"Let's just say that he was a bit more co-operative with me than he proved to be for you."

"I'll say, I almost died."

"Well, let's not dwell on the past shall we? My focus remains on the future."
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Re: Turn of Events

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2011-05-07 03:31

Jubar studied the thing in his hand. The crystal was red and glowed from within, as though some single, bright ember refused to die at its core. He would have to make sure that nobody ever caught him with the thing; else they would certainly ask what he was doing just walking around with such an item. Jubar was thinking ahead. Perhaps he could put it in a private art collection, that way if it was ever found out by any of the Clone Emperor’s agents he could simply claim it was a rare antique that had come into his possession through a private auction.

Kane was saying, “Well, let’s not dwell on the past, shall we? My focus remains on the future.”

Jubar nodded, putting the crystal carefully into his pocket. “All right, let’s talk about the future, then. What’s next for me? When I leave here, do you want Captain Levvy here to escort me all the way back to Arkania?”

“The captain here has proven useful to us so far,” said the Emperor, glancing at Nefarious Levvy for just a moment.

“Then,” Jubar ventured, “what do you want me to do in the immediate future? Should I go ahead and announce my candidacy? I see no reason to postpone this, unless you have any objections. If I’m to be a dark horse candidate, it might make things easier if I suddenly splash onto the scene with a suddenness. You know, dramatic and all that.”

“I see no reason to delay, either,” Kane said. “As you’ve already said, our window of opportunity is shrinking as we speak. And the fate of the galaxy is decided in that Senate. We have many parts to this machine, all of them must work if we're to dethrone my doppelganger. If even one cog in the machine is not performing at peak condition, then the entire machine could collapse.”

He nodded. “Then is there anything else you need to tell me, Your Majesty? Anything at all? Do you have any other special commands for me, or extra warnings to give? This has been a lot to take in, and any extra advice at this point is greatly appreciated.”
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