The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

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Iaex Larek
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-05 06:48

”So then, with emotion as the imprecise yet powerful tool that leaves thought as the precise yet less-powerful tool.”

The happiness which was spreading through the crew of the ship snaked its way from place to place, brightening the mood of everyone it touched on its way – seemingly without any explanation to those affected. The power available through the Meld was seemingly infinite, stretching out as far as his mind could feel in every direction and yet even with all of the potential there, it was hardly volatile and yet the dormant power just beneath the surface was clearly evident.

“I assume then that influencing thought in the Meld would be similar to emotion, then.” he added through the telepathic connection, “except of course it would be sending a common thought or action through the currents rather than feelings and base motivations.”

For a moment he allowed himself to drift further in the currents of the Meld, feeling the emotional current he had started begin to ebb and slow down, partly because he was not actively guiding it along and partly because it was bound to reach its end at some point. Then, just as the Holocron had predicted the opposite effect began to happen as the business of life, obligations, and stress returned to the minds of those who had formerly been influenced. With such a light action in the Meld, it was understandable the effect would not be as long-lived as otherwise, but some still held onto the happiness, or it had added to their own.

”So, since this is the way to affect the minds of many at once through the Meld, how best is it to perform active intrusion in other cases?” He could clearly see how the Meld was certainly the most efficient way to operate with large numbers, but the inherent limitations with it were apparent because of the indirect nature of the contact. Rather than directly influencing the minds of those around him, he needed to move the currents of thought or emotion to where and how he wanted them to flow. “Also, how would it be best to practice that technique? The Meld is much less invasive…but I doubt I will get a ton of volunteers for me to probe around in their mind – especially if they know the potential risks.”
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-05 13:09

"Interrogations", the Holocron replied. "Questioning of prisoners, mainly illegal spies, but also in criminal investigations and intelligence gathering.

"Then there's field practice. Controlling people during combat missions, attempts to penetrate the mind of enemy Force Users. Obviously, some of those options are limited when it comes to ICE. Maybe you'll find some semi-sapient lifeforms you will want to try to establish communication with.

"Before you get totally lost in the Meld, I should tell you of related disciplines. The first being Danger Sense, and even more specifically, The Harrowing. All of us practice this until it becomes second nature. It consists of several disciplines, but the most important ones are empathic senses, to pick up on aggressive, hostile emotions from beings. The second is short-term precognition, to see future events a few seconds before they happen. The third and final is Force Sense, which is mainly useful to detect Force Users or Force Sensitives. This practice is both passive and active, that is, you will sense hostiles without trying, and you can search for them, too. Danger Sense is not a telepathic power per se, but telepathy and empathy are of the means through which it can be employed. The core of this power relies upon sensing the Force, however. Which is both similar and very different, as you already know by experience.

"Then there is psychometry. It is the art of interpreting leftover Force imprints in objects. It doesn't use telepathy but instead relies entirely on sensing the Force, but I thought I should mention it. The process of interpretation is similar to telepathic disciplines, so in that sense it is related. Few people practice psychometry.

"Finally, in regards to telepathy, there are species which have developed natural telepathy or empathy. The Ikotchi, the Hortek, and the Zeltrons to name some. There are also species which have some natural telepaths but not all members of the species, like the Lamproids. Natural telepaths become very powerful if they happen to be Force sensitive and then trained to use their abilities. Normal natural telepaths are very weak when compared to us, however. Perhaps less than one per mille of what we can accomplish. Certain tales of a Sith Marauder speaks of a natural telepath probing his mind. The Marauder answered with an offensive mental burst which left the telepath burnt out, instantly killing the prodder. Such is the power of intrusion."
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-06 01:04

At least there were ways for him to get in practice on that technique, he thought. It hadn’t occurred to him, primarily because the expedition had not yet actually encountered any new life forms of either a friendly or hostile nature. It was one of those things that he would get the chance to practice later, but for now would remain largely of a theoretical nature in his studies.

”Since these other disciplines that you mention are linked by sensing the Force, is it possible to utilize them while in the Meld?” The warning that had been given previously about his body being vulnerable while his mind was in the Meld was quite true. Iaex could sense his own body as the vessel that contained his mind…but while he was in the Meld he was detached and separate from it in a way, “or must I be fully in corporeal form to utilize them? I imagine psychometry at the very least would require that.”

Since there were no other Force users on ICE to Iaex’s knowledge, he resolved to search the personnel records to see if he could find any crewmembers or resident scientists from one of the naturally telepathic species. Even with significantly more limited abilities than his own, interaction with them would allow him to practice the method somewhat and get used to contact specifically with other life forms before the time came for him to encounter a completely new species of some sort – sentient or not – and attempt use of such techniques.
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-06 02:57

"All it takes for you to use telepathy is a mind. Likewise, all it takes for you to use empathy is a spirit."

Iaex thought that distinction the Holocron made between mind and spirit was interesting. He had read of Force spirits, of course. Was there spirits without 'minds'? Like an animal spirit, maybe?

"Psychometry does not require a corporeal form, but it is always used as such. Because you need to be close to the object, touching it is preferable. But not Melding with it. That could disturb the imprint and may even overwrite it with another. All living creatures leaves imprints, but the strongest ones are made by Force Users. Natural imprinting is part of why each Dark Jedi should make and customize their own lightsabre. It significantly alters their use as focal tools and can even affect their combat ability. If you are interested in studying psychometry, you only need to touch objects and attempt to find their imprint in the Force. However, it is trickier than it sounds. Imprints can be very weak, and partially overwritten by newer imprints. The objects that are most valued by a person are likely to be imprinted by them, but strong imprints can be found in the most unexpected of places. For example, beds."

"Beds?"

"Some dreams, nightmares, and other activities can leave strong emotional imprints. We spend a lot of time in our beds. It is only natural that they would be likely objects to receive imprints. But it can be anything. A cup, a door handle, a piece of clothing. Most imprints are created in a split second, but they can also grow over time. I should also mention that while most imprints are of the past - some on record as hundreds of years old and quite possibly many millennia - there are rare imprints of the future. These may have been left by flow-walkers."

The Holocron paused briefly again. "I would recommend that you return to yourself now. One can get lost in a Meld. Half of the training involved consists of self-preservation and finding your way back. Most of the time it's easy to return. But if you venture far or go deeply into a large Meld, there's a risk of losing your sense of self long enough that you get lost, possibly permanently."
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-06 04:40

So, now came the task of returning to his own body. At least at this point, it was still a distinct place that he could easily locate in the vast Meld, but the concern of getting lost was not lost on the young Dark Jedi. As he found it, he could sense that it was still in exactly the place he had left it in, quite calmly sitting there. That’s another potential danger of entering the Meld, I suppose. While I’m in here, it is completely helpless, and if I stayed away too long it could die of dehydration. He didn’t see any conceivable reason that such a thing would be necessary, but it was worth it to keep in mind.

The most logical way to get out of the Meld was the opposite of joining it, so as soon as he was sure of himself, he ‘raised’ himself out of the ocean of thought, feeling all the freedom of before yet not such a direct connection to the others. From his new vantage point, things became much clearer as his mind filtered back into the body. Once it was all there and the fading tendrils of the Meld slipped away like water evaporating from skin, he opened his eyes to reveal his quarters once again. The sense of being back in his own body felt strange at first, but eventually normalized itself once again.

He was not sure how much time had passed exactly from the time he had first entered the Meld, but continued his conversation with the Holocron, “So, if psychometry does not require a corporeal form, then it is simply another case of the corporeal form making it easier for my mind to process, right?”

“Exactly,” the Holocron replied with a wave of its hand, “you can use the Force more effectively when your body and mind work together.”

On the surface, the technique did not seem overly complicated. It would no doubt require some careful solving of puzzles on his part to put together the Force imprints left behind on objects, but once he developed the necessary sensitivity to pick up on those imprints it would become easier. The expedition had mostly been constructed from scratch, so it was unlikely he would find anything significant on it. Once they reached their destination however, he would have to try it out and see what he could discover - the possibilities were endless.

“You also mentioned that psychometry can be used to read imprints of the future left by,” He paused for a moment as he thought of what the Holocron had called them earlier, “flow-walkers. What exactly are they, some sort of Force spirit or being?”
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-06 11:00

"Welcome back. Flow-walking is a rare power, first discovered by the mysterious and isolationistic Aing-Tii. A scant few other people have either learnt it from them or discovered it on their own. You are aware that one can see the past and the future through the Force, yes? With flow-walking one may travel along an axis to reach either the past or the future and leave an imprint there for others of our kind to find. While it doesn't change the past directly, this way of sending information backwards in time could change their impression and potentially make them take a different path of action. Many steps have to be accomplished before it could make a lasting impression on known history however, and there is always the element of chance. Even if you successfully pass information to the past, you can never be sure that it will have the intended effect. Flow-walking is mostly useful for finding out information with greater clarity than regular farseeing can provide. The risk of getting lost is pronounced during flow-walking. It is an advanced technique that you should not investigate yet."
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-07 01:26

“I see.” Iaex responded to the warning about flow-walking. It sounded…strange, to say the least. The potential uses for such a technique were many, but the methods that would be necessary to get it to work seemed equally unlikely to work as anything else. In the end, the technique came across as more baffling than useful, and he decided to revisit it at a later time in his studies, probably after practicing more with the mental techniques he had already learned to get a feel for how such a thing was even feasible. Once he got further along in his study of mainstream Force users of the Jedi and Sith traditions, he could possibly also branch out to learning about others such as the Aing-Tii, or the Nightsisters.

“So far this leaves me with quite a few disciplines and techniques to practice and explore further, as well as refinements I will be able to work up to later, such as Battle Meditation.” He said, thinking back to all of the various paths this lesson had already taken in fleshing the second half of the Manipulation aspect, “are there any other related things which I should know or be aware of in Manipulation that aren’t related to either the psychokinetic or telepathic?”
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-09 11:44

"Since those are the main branches of the Manipulation Aspect, not really. You will find that your abilitity in sensing the Force and use and direct your Flow will serve as a base in every other discipline you may want to study. Likewise, there are similarities to be found with what you have just learned in other Aspects. The difference lies in its utilization. The Jedi usually teaches this as Control, Sense, and Alter.

"But there are a few more things I should tell you before we part. With the Meld, you can use it to understand another being even if you do not understand their language, as long as you can connect their feelings and behaviour. This might come in handy, should you encounter any new aliens. I know that linguistics and behavioural sciences are not your specialty, but you may want to keep them in mind. You should also know that there are several different kinds of Force Illusions. Those that are wholly fantasy and only created in the mind of man or beast, those that are real in the sense that they are created with sound and light, and finally those that have a real, physical existence, enabled through the Force. The last thing I will relate to you for now is that all those things you could influence or inflict upon another can also be done to your self, even by your self. All other things I may tell you on this subject at this point are minor details or related to practice", the Holocron finished, and perhaps to illustrate a point, was suddenly wearing a long cloak over his armor, and stuck its hands into its long sleeves, waiting for Iaex to have his say.
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-10 09:04

He nodded to the Holocron as it described the ways in which he would eventually go about learning techniques from the other aspects. It seemed that the Jedi had simplified the aspect chart considerably, limiting it to just three. It was likely they had their own reasons for teaching it in such a way, just as the Omega Order had its reasons for using a more expanded aspect chart. In the end, it all comes down to the basics, and how well I can use them to achieve the desired end, he was reminded by the Holocron.

With all of the free time that Iaex had discovered now that the expedition was well under way and traveling through the void, he resolved to visit the library and databases of ICE to at least gain some insight into behavioral sciences and linguistics. Or maybe I will see if there is an expert onboard who would be willing to help me figure out some of the basics…it would at least seem like most of them wouldn’t have much to do at this point of the expedition either…I may always be wrong about that, though. He knew a few languages passably, but they were mostly trade dialects which he had picked up while traveling with his parents or on his own, useful in the event that someone didn’t speak Basic while avoiding the need to learn a vast multitude of languages.

The Force Illusions mentioned were not specifically something the Holocron had gone over with him, but it was not difficult to put together several potential ways that such things could be created using the powers he already knew. And interestingly enough, it would make sense for each of those methods to correspond to one of the descriptions I was given on the types of Force Illusions. The sudden change of appearance was somewhat surprising, but Iaex was getting close to the point that he would no longer put anything past the Holocron.

“You mention that any of these powers could be used against me by others, which makes sense…but what exactly do you mean that I could use them against myself?
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-10 12:51

"Just what it sounds like. Suppose that you will be facing an enemy that you fear could read your mind. So to prevent this from spoiling your plans, you could lock away the plan in your mind, effectively making you forget them until certain conditions have been met. Or perhaps for a less far-fetched scenario, you can bolster your own confidence and focus with similar methods as you would when influencing others. For example, we have a power called Battlemind. It augments your fighting spirit and bolster your own morale. It can be used together with numerous other battle techniques, such as Combat Sense, in which you focus only on the battle at hand, dulling out all distractions and highlighting the enemy within your mind.

"Battlemind is a Reinforcement Aspect Power. It is not our true strength as Controllers, being two steps away from our own Aspect, but nevertheless do the Enhancers have many techniques useful in direct combat. As you can tell, the difference with Battlemind is as I said before, with the utility of it, not so much how you go about to prepare it. Using telepathy on yourself to control your own actions is just like controlling others, though. Hence why it belongs to Manipulation. You can see that there aren't hard lines drawn between Aspects, but rather a seamless progression from one to another. We, I, separate them in theory and learning because it is the most practical approach I've found. You will read much of other perspectives of the Force during your studies. Even Palpatine studied all other ways of the Force that manifests itself in the galaxy, such as the Falanassi, the Night Witches, the Jensaarai, and more.

"Our school, the Aspect School, was founded after I did the same. I went back to the basic learnings of the Force, the original as deeply as I could deduce it, and found a truth in them that I didn't see being taught in the modern schools of the Force. Granted that I also had to deal with semi-mythical Sith 'spells' as I did so, but the legends had a core to it that I believe I have rediscovered rather than discovered. Little of the theoretical framework still exists, however, and they separate the Force into magic schools like Aeromancy, Animalism or Necromancy rather than functional divisions of talent and method. In any case, what I will teach you is what I have been given life for, the Aspect School, as defined by Darth Kane. I can sum up the philosophy of this school as 'whatever works best', but as you already know, great care is given to the right methodology in order to achieve the optimal results. We are certainly not going about it through random trial and testing", the Holocron finished and lifted its hand as if to both show and offer.
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-12 07:34

“I see…” Iaex pondered as the Holocron explained the possible uses of the Manipulation aspect on himself, whether it be to hide information where it could not be found, or to control his own emotions and thoughts in such a way as to make him more efficient and effective in battle, even working together with techniques from Reinforcement that would directly increase his abilities, endurance, healing, and so forth. The lines blurred considerably between aspects, which explained even further why different groups throughout history had decided to divide it differently than their predecessors had.

“In my readings so far about the history and traditions of the Force I have learned about many different practitioners and their beliefs, but I will pay close attention to noting the specifics of how and why they saw things differently.”

With a broad basis in the Manipulation Aspect and the inherent vagueness of Specialization that could only be explored over time and through experience as well as theory in other areas of the Force, that still left four others wide open from which he had yet to learn, in addition to the finer details of each of the aspects once he had covered the basic fundamentals. This will take a while to make it through everything…a long while. Perhaps it’s good that I have this opportunity to train and grow in the Force during the journey before we arrive.

“As you have mentioned,” he recalled, “Darth Kane has the same primary aspect as myself. What is the next aspect which I should begin studying, so that I may learn it from you?”
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-15 12:18

"Now that will require some trial and error. While most Controllers have fairly solid skillsets in Emission, hence why we consider that Aspect the next related one on the chart, it's not a certainty. Odd personalities can jump across the chart and have their Secondary Aspect in something like Reinforcement or even Materalization. Transformation is completely opposite however, so it would take a unique personality to mix and match the two. It is theoretically achieveable, but we have no recorded case of it", the Holocron explained with an outward motion of its right hand.

"Reinforcement has solid combat capabilities, but it's not very compatible with the mindset of a Manipulator. So my advice to you would be to attempt Emission next, as a logical approach. While Manipulation is all about thought, logic and control, Emission is a lot more emotional and about letting go. The only reason Manipulators tend to do well with it is because we extend Control to include our own emotions, as you have practiced. Emitters tend to specialize in just one type of energy, but that's more of a preference than skill division. While there's just as much to learn about Emission, the basic ability is to convert Force energy to physical energy, such as electric, thermal, radiant and of course, the iconic Force Lightning, which is neither. But let's get practical. I will give you one Emission power to practice with, to lay down the base for Emission use. Stand at ease."

While Iaex already stood relaxed enough, stand at ease was a military term for a position where you stood ready but still in a position that could be maintained for a long time. Assuming that the Holocron had something in mind when saying that, Iaex fell back on his basic training in the navy to stand at ease.

"Okay. Now, remember anytime when it felt like your stomach churned? That's what we want to recreate. Close your eyes, it may help you get in touch with your feelings. Feel the burn increase in your center. Anger... pain... frustration. Primal emotions made to fight with. Start focusing the Flow in your stomach, spin it into a ball and compress it. Not too much now, we don't want to cause undue damage. Just let out some frustration. Concentrate on your emotions while you move the Force. Imagine what you can feel, give it form and function. Now... it is ready to be unleashed now, but it needs your direction. Stretch out your hand and let it go, feel it pass through your body and strike. Go!"

Iaex lifted his hand, and unleashed a white-bluish crack of energy, but even untrained he could tell that it wasn't Force Lightning, or if it was, it was a pretty weak version of it.

"Didn't that feel good? The aftermath is releasing and relaxing, but all the emotions you need to get it working means it's pretty mentally draining and tiresome. Stronger efforts with emission can leave you torpid. That's one of the reasons that strong emotions are needed as a base. Anyway, that was a Force Shock. The effect of it is rather similar to a mild stun bolt, and you can direct it to your target by letting it go, you don't even need to concentrate on its movements beyond the final moment before release. Might even be useful in combat if you practice enough to do it real quick. The technique is similar to a Force Lightning and other energy projection, but more basic. Contrary to common belief, Force Lightning doesn't require use of the Dark Side. But it does take using strong emotions, which is why the Jedi typically view its use as corrupting. Another time, we'll also practice a bit with kinetic energy. Its has some similarity with psychokinetic practices, but the method is different, which is why it's considered Emission. That is also a good illustration of the rule that most of the things you can do with one Aspect, can be accomplished through another Aspect, in a different way."
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-08-19 01:29

The fact that something such as a Manipulation/Transformation combination was theoretically possible spoke volumes, but hardly meant that anything of the sort would ever happen. And a combination of opposites in such a way as that would produce quite a unique individual. Possibly instable on top of that.

At the Holocron’s urging, Iaex stood at ease to prepare for his first lesson in Emission, so that he could practice the basic concepts for later lessons that went more in depth. Thinking back on times and memories that made his stomach churn was not particularly hard. He was generally slow to anger, so situations of anger stood out clearly in his memory. Similarly, moments of fear stood out equally well because he had learned important lessons from many of them; lessons that made him into who he was today and that could have killed him if they didn’t go the right way. Like that one time we were attacked by gundarks while making a delivery. It was a good thing we weren’t far from the settlement and managed to get out of the way.

Iaex drew upon the powerful emotions he was remembering, mixing their essence into a potent cocktail that churned and bubbled with intensity deep within him. In his stomach it felt similar to the adrenaline rush one got along with the ‘fight or flight’ response. It was the sort of thing adrenaline junkies spent their lives chasing after. When he drew upon the Force its focus was not on himself necessarily so much as the charged ball of emotion within him. As it reached the boiling point, he stretched out his arm pushed it along through the conduit of his being like power traveling from a generator to where it was used.

When the emotion-Force-energy cocktail reached his hand it built up until he cast it out of him in what turned out to be a crack of bluish-white energy. It arced out across the room for a second with tendrils dancing around it in much the same way as Force Lightning that he had read of...and yet this definitely wasn’t that. At least, it wasn’t strong enough to be that, the principle seemed largely the same in how it acted and how it was created. Its release came along with the calm relaxation of having accomplished something significant – either out fighting or outrunning whatever the threat had been.

“I presume then that Force Lightning is simply a more powerful technique then – in the same way that Battle Meditation is a more powerful version of the Meld? Something which I will be able to achieve later, after I have increased my Flow further and become more proficient in the basics.”

The Holocron nodded in response to his question, confirming yet again the Aspect school as being focused on the basics, from which all other more complex things came.

“Unless you have anything else you wish to teach me in this session, I will practice more with what I have learned so we may continue next time.”
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Kane » 2011-08-23 10:13

"Advanced users sometimes combine Force Lightning with for example psychokinesis, to give it additional or different properties. But I believe this should suffice for now. Unless you have specific questions next time, we should look into physical enhancement. It is Reinforcement techniques, but all Force Users learn to enhance basic abilities. I bid you farewell and may the Dark Side give you what you deserve", the Holocron finished and disappeared with a slight bow, the crystal going inert and lifeless, with no trace of it ever being anything else than a strangely shaped, partially translucent object. Iaex could still feel its Force signature linger, but noted that it was was significantly reduced as the Holocron deactivated. To anyone without the gift of the Force, or curse depending on your perspective, it was just another piece of art and decoration without any markings on it.
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Re: The Quest For Eternity [Restricted: Ace]

Post by Iaex Larek » 2015-01-18 19:02

The long weeks alone in the void had given Iaex ample opportunities to continue studying the texts he had available to him and to practice the techniques given to him by the Holocron he had been given before departing on this journey of a lifetime. Starting first with telekinetic techniques he had gotten extensive practice lifting and moving small objects, at first only one or two at a time before then increasing their number, size, and the complexity of their movement. Though still far from mastery of either the precision or brute force ends of the power, he had progressed to have greater control of both than before. On the telepathic spectrum of his Manipulation aspect, he had gained greater practice reading the surface thoughts of those around him by frequenting the lounge more often where he would sit in the corner and pick out those within the room to analyze more deeply or — when he was feeling especially ambitious — to attempt the Meld with the more pliable minds of those in the Lounge who had imbibed some intoxicating beverage or another subject to the restrictions that had been placed on alcohol consumption after a number of physical and verbal altercations had broken out.

The stresses of such a long journey with a totally uncertain future ahead of it is clearly wearing on the crew. Even those of us here for the love of adventure and the desire to see the unseen are feeling it, and we’re not even everyone on the expedition. In what mind reading he had done and the probing he felt comfortable performing on his fellow crewmembers while not risking their lives or sanity, Iaex had discovered that at least a plurality if not a majority of those on ICE were there for reasons other than wanderlust. I can’t tell for most of them yet since those are much deeper-held secrets I can’t access without more intrusive telepathic methods, but a lot of them are hiding things. Running from things. There are very few who seem to have much to look back upon favorably.

It was in that environment in which he had learned the Meld, and with its help he hoped to be able to use the Force to influence the crew through whatever means possible to keep up morale. A time or two he had managed to spur those drinking in the lounge to a rousing — if horribly tuned — rendition of various songs they knew, building a sense of comradery among them and hopefully smoothing over some tensions. That is part of my job description as the Omega Order representative, is it not? It’s within my power certainly to help improve crew morale in some minor ways and it definitely has helped Moff Calad and Vicerine Roosh perform their own duties more effectively without having to deal with the constant fallout of misdemeanors in the lounge.

He had also discovered that the lounge was a hotbed of thoughts and emotions that he could study through other means. ICE was one of the newest ships in the galaxy or, in the universe at this point he supposed. As such, there was very little onboard that could truly be described as ‘old’ or holding any sort of significance as an artifact aside from the gifts he had received from the Emperor before departing. While the Holocron had told him that beds were a common place for the storage of Force imprints that could be read using Psychometry, he had precious little access to the beds of the entire crew and needed other ways to practice reading the imprints of the force. In the absence of readily-accessible beds or ancient artifacts to examine, he had taken the Holocron’s other suggestion and looked at the purely mundane. The patrons of the lounge provided sufficient fodder for him to practice telepathy, but their emotions and mysteries also ran high enough to leave behind imprints strong enough for even he — a relatively inexperienced Force user — to detect.

The strongest imprints it turns out tended to be left on the glasses people drank from and the chairs and stools where they sat. While a glass might have a particularly strong flash of emotion or memories if someone was drinking to forget something, they were often lost far more quickly as the glass was washed and reused for another patron. Far clearer were the imprints left in seats where people sat. Being creatures of habit, they would often gravitate toward the same parts of the lounge and even with the muddling of the imprints by many different patrons using the same seat, Iaex thought that he could pick out a separate signature for regulars through a common story or chain of thought. When not at the sensor stations, training physically and with the force, or socializing, he had taken to volunteering as a bartender in the lounge on occasion to give him access to those imprints and practice his very basic knowledge of Psychometry. Actually interpreting what he could sense from those objects and understanding it was something he would have to work on, but he felt that he was making progress in determining who had left what signature and the general feel of it.

All of that practice in his daily life as well as using the Force to shield his mind had served to increase his Flow, and setting limits on what he would allow himself to do such as trying to read only one person in the lounge to the exclusion of all others or to guide all but one to a common song had given greater control over how he utilized it. At the moment however, he sat cross-legged in his quarters meditating with a set of durasteel orbs he had ordered from the ship’s manufacturing facilities. Ranging in size and mass from tiny ball bearings to a massive fifty kilogram orb, he had taken to using them to practice telekinesis while also studying the star systems in the target galaxy that were now coming into sensor range. Starting with the sensors, he would target a system at random and download all the data he could gather to a datapad before studying it in detail and attempting to recreate the system in whole using his models to approximate the relative size, mass, orbital trajectory, and orbital velocity of the different bodies in the system. Stars and planets were now easy for him to replicate and he had begun practicing more with moons orbiting the individual planets. Eventually, once he mastered that, he would move on to trying to include the random bits of interstellar debris that also inevitably made up a star system. Though Jack will probably have to make more orbs for me to do that, he thought ruefully.

Satisfied with his practice with the orbs for today, he carefully placed them back within the case that had been specially-designed to hold them. While the largest of the orbs were only 50 kilograms, the total mass of all of the ones he now possessed was in excess of 300 kilograms, which helped increase the power he was able to use with his telekinesis. Closing that case, he carefully removed his gold pendant from around his neck and walked to the even more important case where the Holocron was kept. Sliding it in to the slot specifically designed to fit the pendant, he turned it a quarter turn and the case revealed the next layer of the security protocol. The keypad he used to access the Holocron had long since been converted from Basic into the Sith language to help his progress in learning that tongue and the fingerprint and retinal scans that were performed simultaneously while he keyed in the code remained the same. His newest addition to the security protocol — owing to his practice with the various puzzles and mind games that he had also been practicing with — was a latch of the lock unconnected to anything. When the pleasant beep greeting him on successfully passing the passcode, fingerprint, and retinal security checks he now had to use the Force to pull another series of deadbolts out of the way before the panel could be opened to the Holocron, the lightsabre, and the other strange — still unexplained — polychron crystal within that seemed to bend reality around it if you looked at it too long.

Picking up the Holocron in what seemed a somewhat familiar ritual by now, he noticed that its glow once again grew brighter when he touched it. Taking it out of the case he returned to where he had been training earlier and sat down, placing the Holocron in front of him and activating it at the same time through the Force. Above it, the ghostly image of the Emperor appeared before him. “Greetings, Dark Jedi,” the Holocron spoke as if Darth Kane himself were in the room with him, “I can sense that you have been practicing since we last spoke and are perhaps ready for more knowledge. What can I assist you with today?”

“You mentioned that I should begin exploring Reinforcement techniques, or also that we could engage in some sort of mental sparring when we last spoke,” Iaex responded. “I am prepared to learn either or to study whatever else you think would be necessary at this time; I feel that the more I learn and practice, the more I discover that I don’t truly understand anything, but perhaps that is the best way to learn — by discovering what one doesn’t know.”
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