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Sep 29, 2022 4:58 AM
Someone important is dead. Kina Skywalker takes this personally.
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"...Masters Jedi.  Master Tiin specifically.  Are we discussing my Master's assassination?  Because - I can help, I'm reasonably confident in the skill I would use to help turning up something useful, even.  It would suck.  But I've done equally sucky things for less known benefit, so...I should be self-consistent, there."  Kina's...gotten a bit less flat on the way over.

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"What have you in mind now?" asks Yoda. It's at least a good sign that she's able to look to the future, although he assumes whatever plan she has will be risky at best.

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"How secure is this - ...you know what, I'm going to look for sneaky things myself."

Kina does a slow, methodical sweep of the room for listening devices, produces any she finds, silently, then unplugs everything that can theoretically broadcast, even the stuff that's supposed to be there.

"...Alright.  ...Actually, if someone could make sure that nobody's able to listen at the door or window or anything, that would be great."

...Assuming any of the Jedi Masters can put barriers over the space to stop sound from propagating...then Kina speaks.

"Yesterday evening, before he left the Temple, I spoke with Qui-Gon Jinn about some very concerning subjects.  First of all, there is at least the possibility of a third Sith being presently active; a Muun with a particular interest in Force-related biology to the point of running horrible experiments on Force sensitives - if there are Jedi corpses missing hearts and drained of blood, it was probably on his orders, though not by his hand - that seemingly commanded the Sith who commanded the Sith that's presently dead.

"Secondly, I believe the Sith who commanded the attacker to be seriously invested in galactic politics; I have unlocked the communicator we recovered on Tatooine, and he specifically ordered Queen Amidala to be left alive, presumably to cause the vote of no confidence - implying a concerning level of intelligence on the Queen's personality.  It's likely that whoever wins is who he wanted to win, unless he knows we know this, and forcing him to deny himself that victory is a victory of our own.  I spoke of this only to Master Jinn, and in a sensor blind spot.  The news that Senate security has mysteriously lost a month's worth of security footage right now only increases my confidence that there is a Sith very close to the Senate right now.  Unfortunately, I don't know who it is, but I am confident it is not the Senator from Malastare, one of the three Chancellor candidates, because I would have seen his distinguishing features even through the hooded robe I saw the not-Muun Sith wearing.  However, there's no way he isn't in some way a collaborator.  This does provide us with an avenue of investigation; he'll flip to save his skin.  I know his type too well.

"Thirdly, if I may have access to anything that was on the scene when Master Jinn died, but especially his kyber crystal or any physical evidence of the murder...I can probably replicate what I did to find out the information I just told you about the Sith Lords."

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"Most of this, Qui-Gon explained," Yoda says. "However, another situation, we have. If we interrogate the Senators, and cause a scandal, delay the end of the blockade it will. In danger, Naboo still is, and even when the Jedi arrive, handle this alone, we cannot. First must the Senate save Naboo. Only then can we search for our Sith."

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"I think she can have the lightsaber, under supervision," says Tiin.

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"Why is everyone jumping to interrogating the Senators?  Do subterfuge!  Offer guards, since the Sith is presently trying to interfere with the Republic's political process!  That's not even a lie!  And of course they have to be trained in sneakiness and spycraft to defend from an insidious threat like this!  And yes, supervision would be fine, you could probably help."

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...there's a bit of a silence.

"I think that's technically treason," someone says.

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"Understood it is, the importance of unravelling this mystery," replies Yoda. "But work with the Senate we must, and it moves slowly. Next week can we move forward, I hope."

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"...Why in the blasted sands would it be treason to offer to protect people from an insidious plot?  There are incidental benefits to it in that having sneaky Jedi constantly around makes it a lot more likely that they'll spot potentially concealed evidence of Sith doesn't make it less valid!"

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"It's not legal to spy on Senators without a warrant, which would take permission from a special session of the Senate," says Tiin. "We could put some Jedi in there to guard the Senate, but we can't actually send them into the Senators' rooms or anything, so we can't find anything out unless the Senators are openly plotting in the central building for some reason."

"...which, honestly, might catch a few briberies, but I doubt the Sith would be that careless."

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"...What, not even if they're invited in by the Senators?  Surely there's some close-protection protocol?"

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"Most of the Senators probably have non-Sith reasons to want their privacy. And even if we somehow got everyone's permission, there are a lot of Senators."

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"...So we focus on the Chancellor candidates.  Because they're targets.  And maybe agree to ignore non-Sith things, if necessary, perhaps?"

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"I think we can contact the candidates, then," says Tiin, "although Teem may not give his permission. Adi, Oppo, can you contact them and post a few people over at the Senate?"

They nod and exit.

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"Remember to tell Senator Teem that the Jedi can only stand between him and an angry Sith Lord cutting loose ends if he lets them!"

Kina's silent while the door is open.

"So.  Qui-Gon's assassination.  I'd put money on it being ultimately the Siths' fault, but obviously we still don't know who they used, here, nor how they arranged it.  If we can find out anything about their methodology here...That would be very good.  Is there any reason that we shouldn't do divination about this as soon as possible?"

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The Council members look around. "No," says Yoda. "Qui-Gon's lightsaber, we will use. Come, you should." Yoda leaves the room, signaling to Kina that she should follow.

As they walk, Yoda prepares several times to say something, but the words never seem right. He doubts Kina will take his advice on attachment, not after how the meditation had gone.

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"...There something you want to talk about?"  Yoda looks uncomfortable.  And maybe it's that it's her, being all outlier-y ever since she entered the Order, but...She'd rather have an ally, than an enemy, and so the air needs to be cleared.  "Can't promise I'll obey, but I will listen, if you want to say something right now.  And honestly I've been meaning to talk to you, I don't know if you got my message?"

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"Yes," replies Yoda, hesitantly. "In mourning you of course are. Concerned I am, that drive you to dangerous decisions it will. Already do you seek revenge. Such fury can lead you down a dark path, one from which you cannot recover."

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"Hmm.  You're not wrong about that being potentially concerning, honestly.  I don't think my primary motive is revenge, because most of this was already stuff I was planning to do, just...now with a very personal stake in the matter, and I'm trying to correct for that emotion, in my planning, or allow it an outlet that harms none.  But the thing is...you can't deny your feelings without destroying yourself.  So I can't deny that I feel an urge to avenge my Master - but.  I can control what I do with that urge.  I can learn to shoot a blaster, for example, instead of running off to search for the killer on my own.  Especially because doing that is the least effective way to try and solve the whole 'murderous Sith' problem.  My personal satisfaction for having theoretically solved the mystery myself would have almost nothing on - " she is randomly struck by an idea, and pulls out a flimsiplast to scratch 'midichloran testing - do Sith have fancy poison?  tox screen?' - "the sheer value of getting it done faster, done better, with the Order's help; they'll harm less people this way, as best I can approximate.  So I do the thing I think is most right, as best I can.  And if I feel emotions about that, I feel emotions.  What does it really matter, so long as the right things continue to be done?"

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Yoda sighs. "Say where you are wrong, I cannot. But stand before me, many have. Say they do, that no need to release their emotions, they have, that fueled by anger they can be, and yet nevertheless will they make the right decisions. Each time, no specific counter, I have. And yet each time have they turned to darkness."

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"Of course they have.  People aren't perfect.  You're not perfect.  I'm certainly not perfect, look at me, I'm a surprisingly functional bundle of pain response.  Did they pick themselves back up, when they fell?  Make amends for any harm they'd done when emotion overpowered reason, if possible?  Still try to do the right thing, when it came down to it?  Or did they break, instead of bending? That's my problem with how you're teaching what you teach.  There's no way back up from falling down, the way you tell it."

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"Yes! There is no way back! Great power over its users, the dark side of the Force holds. Once one has fallen, recognize that their actions are wrong, they no longer can. Futile it is, to teach you to recover, when the mistake warps you so that there can be no recovery!"

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"...What the kriff, Master Yoda?"

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"That doesn't make sense unless - suns-blasted sands, I might've been more right than I knew when I was speculating about why prophecies - but - how even?"

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"Surely if it can be done by the Dark, so can it be undone by Light?  If it is a warp, warps can be straightened; if it is a break, breaks can be mended; how came you to this conclusion?  How can you be sure?"

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