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Dec 04, 2022 7:30 AM
Padmé Amidala asks no boarding operations of her people that she won't ask of herself. Meanwhile, Kina Skywalker and Count Dooku talk.
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"Kina Skywalker.  It's been a pleasure getting to know you."

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It is only when she's certain that he's off the premises that Kina Skywalker exhales.

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Yoda watches as Dooku emerges, and then as quickly as possible runs over to Kina.

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"...You didn't need to rush.

"...He's reckless.  He seems focused on his goals to the detriment of truly considering their consequences.  I don't think he's of the same breed as the Sith meddling with the Senate, but if they approached him the right way, he'd fall for their rhetoric without considering the sort of weapon they'd make of him.  And I don't think you can keep the eye on him that someone really needs to.

 

 

"...Kriff, I should not be doing that either, really, but...who else can, by now?  ...I believe he's...stable, mind you; that he actually will still act for the betterment of the galaxy as he understands it, but it's his understanding that's his weakest point."

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"Concerned, I am as well," Yoda says. "Always his problem, has this been. Some path, he must be able to justify, and when satisfied with what we offer he is not, desperate he is, to prove himself stronger. Agree, I do, that the Sith would appeal to him. But you... no. Too close to him, you cannot be. Dangerous, he already is." Now that Qui-Gon's missing, he really doesn't have anyone left in the Order - a few casual acquaintances, maybe, but nobody he really trusts. But he would be a horrible influence on Kina. "Find someone else, we must."

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"You're not wrong that he's dangerous, especially without guidance...but does he have anyone he trusts left, with Qui-Gon dead?  If not...I might be the only option we have."

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"Yes, but... concerning, it is, that already such a close bond to him you think you have! Manipulating you, he may be!"

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"Yeah, well, I'm trying to manipulate him right back, so it's only sporting.  And it's not that I think that we're particularly close, yet, but that - I'm starting from neutral, whereas the Jedi Order is not something he likes.  I don't sound like a Jedi, and I'm willing to be - unorthodox, though nothing like his - ...He's walking a path where one misstep could end him, and he strikes me as the sort who has that careful footwork, but...he hasn't seemed to think about the need for it, anytime recently.  He's cautious, but not careful.  I quite probably have the opposite problem, as you might recall with the lightsaber earlier."  Kina puffs out a small, wry, chuckle.  "At least the funeral didn't end up having a massive fight that everyone involved would regret.  That was all I was originally concerned about, before all that happened.  So my plan worked, there.  Yay."  The sarcasm is dripping.  "Not that I'd go back and undo that conversation, if I could be sure that what I was aiming to prevent would still not happen.  The information we gained...It's useful, I think.  And it opens up certain other options."  Like dangling him out for the Sith and seeing if they bite.  Or have bitten.

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Why does she have to be like this. "No. Look for someone else to handle this, I will."

It's only then that he reads the message on the commlink.

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...Kina is not above peering over his shoulder.  Or having C3PO do so as well.

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"It seems that capture a battleship, Queen Amidala has," Yoda says. "Your fault, this somehow is."

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"I did tell Padmé that I thought the Trade Federation was likely to have some kriffing obvious flaws in their droid designs, because merchants prize cheapness and not problem-solvingness, but I can't take credit for this!  I wasn't even there!  ...What're they doing with it?"

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Yoda sighs. "Waiting for the Trade Federation to surrender, they say. That easy, it will not be. Already will the Senate be in motion. This time, I think, their slowness will help us. But head there, I must."

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"Take C3PO with you.  He's good at political stuff, and we could use a recording of the room for analysis."

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Yoda sighs significantly harder. "Very well. C-3PO, with me!" He exits, wondering what is going on in the Senate.

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By the time Senator Palpatine is summoned to an emergency meeting of the Senate, he's already received the news from the Trade Federation, and he is very certain that it was not legal for the Jedi to board the ship, but oh well, he's arguing the other side, and anyway, if anyone still paid attention to legal, they wouldn't have gotten here to begin with.

The second call he gets turns out to be a bit more interesting.

"Why, Baron! What a pleasant surprise! Of course I'd be interested in discussing campaign contrib - what bill? Oh, yes, that one." Apologetically, he steps outside, whispering to the other Senators, "You know how it is." It's a little sad that he's using bribery as a routine excuse instead of something to generate excuses for, but oh, well.

When he makes it into a more private room, he begins speaking to the person actually on the line, Count Dooku. "You met the Skywalker girl? Might she be able to join the Sith?"

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"Possibly," Dooku replies, his smile clear even through the audio. "But I think I may end up joining her."

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"That is... a joke of some sort, Dooku?"

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Palpatine eventually manages to get a full report, which really doesn't reassure him. And then he's called back into the Senate building, where the Trade Federation seems to be very upset that their ship has been stolen. Who would have guessed. Okay, time to act angry.

"Might I remind you, Senator, that this only began because you forcibly invaded our planet and caused us quite a bit more loss than your ship is worth, denominated in the lives of our dying people - in many cases already dead! If you have any objection to the alleged invasion of your battleship, then just as you proposed with Naboo, the Senate can assemble a sluggish investigative committee over the course of the next few months, and let us compete over who can bribe them more."

And spin this to help him! "Or, of course, we could move forward with establishing a more effective leadership for our galaxy. I assure you, Senator, that when I am elected, I will stop all of the treacherous criminals operating on Naboo. We all know who is at the top of that list."

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"Senator Palpatine, I confess that I'm concerned over your ability to manage this," says Bail Antilles, floating his pod to the center of the Senate. "I don't deny that an investigation is needed, but we all know that Naboo's own Senator would hardly stay impartial! Neither you nor Senator Teem would be able to handle this in a way that would truly find who is at fault." It's the Federation, of course, but he can't say that out loud.

"In addition, I find myself appalled that the fate of the entire Senate seems to be dependent on the outcome of this one conflict! Important though Naboo may be, there are thousands of other planets that would be strongly affected by the election of a new Chancellor. I would urge all of you to vote based on the many issues that plague our galaxy at the moment - including the ongoing shortage of construction materials in the Outer Rim regions, extreme amounts of corruption in our banking system, a need for stronger taxation of galactic trade routes - "

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Senator Lott Dod of the Trade Federation explains his opinions on taxing trade routes, which contain more curses than the usual Senate speech. After a few sentences, his aide informs him that his microphone is on.

Vice Chancellor Mas Amedda is technically supposed to be enforcing strict orders of discussion among the Senators now that Valorum has left. At the moment, he's sitting back and watching, because this is getting fun.

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(Kina, watching the recording, wishes more politicians were like Senator Antilles.  He might actually care.)

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"Senator Antilles, I certainly agree that Palpatine is biased," Teem says, joining the growing group in the center of the building, "but I, unlike him, don't happen to work for one of the parties involved in this affair. I simply arrived at a conclusion that at this point should be quite obvious! Naboo owed a clear debt to the Trade Federation that they time and again refused to pay! The Federation simply sent its collectors as permitted by law, and Naboo decided to respond with hostile force, and seize even more property to add to their list of crimes! Can you truly call yourself impartial, simply for refusing so strongly to recognize the truth?"

"In addition, I would point out - perhaps not quite in the same words as my colleague, but in the same sentiment - that taxation of trade is precisely why so many problems are arising in the galaxy! For example, the material shortage that you yourself pointed out, happens to be one that countless systems would have been capable of resolving if not for federal interference! I know for a fact that my own people on Malastare have long been involved in the trades of lumber and fuel, but following a harsh tariff in recent years, many of our businesses have been forced to shut down, due to this government's desire to take their meager profits for itself! And you wonder why there are so many planets unable to satisfy their needs."

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