Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic
“Master Atris, in your infinite wisdom, did it never occur to you that, had you backed Revan up instead of shunning him, he might not have been so quick to turn against you?” – Zayne Carrick.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
It is a dark time for the Jedi, their forces torn apart by a JEDI CIVIL WAR. The first shots of the war have been fired by Sith forces at the command of DARTH REVAN, who has begun a massive campaign to destroy the Jedi Order and conquer the Galactic Republic.
Remnant forces, survivors of the initial attack by the SITH ARMADA, have gathered in orbit around the planet Dantooine, where a massive gathering of the Jedi Order is about to commence.
One of the survivors, the Jedi Padawan DAKEN RAO-KUN, illegitimate son of the legendary Exar Kun, wonders over the fate of his friend, ERALL RAND, who suffered tremendous damage to his body during the initial assault of Revan’s flagship, THE VICTUS.
Elsewhere, on the bridge of the Victus, Sith initiate CARISSA ONASI listens intently to her new master, Darth Revan himself, who reveals his initial plans to topple the Jedi High Council once and for all…
Pan Down from Opening Crawl to Planet Kamino. Zoom from Orbit through torrential rainstorms, into a domed structure. Camera focuses on sign outside of door: (Patient – ERALL RAND. Benefactor – JEDI ORDER. Condition – STABLE) Within the room can be heard the distorted voice of a holovid, and the sound of air pockets percolating in a Kolto Tank.
In the first exciting session of Star Wars KOTOR – Heart of the Force, our story began on the stormy world of Kamino, where Erall Rand was preparing to finally exit his Kolto Tank and depart the facility whose brilliant scientific minds helped to rebuild his charred and ruined body.
Still awaiting the Kolto drain, Erall watched intently as Supreme Chancellor Cressa addressed the Galactic Republic, urging citizen worlds to be patient with, and loyal to, the Republic in the face of this new Sith threat. A Kaminoan scientist entered Erall’s recovery area, watched the holovid for a few moments, and informed Erall that she felt it was a shame that there were worlds whose loyalty to the Jedi and the Republic were already faltering.
Meanwhile, in a Conductor-class Landing Craft, R15-K prepared to land and deliver his master and the other Jedi to their intended destination. Sas’k commented his droid on an excellent landing. Apparently, his starship pilot programming was only recently installed, and he could not previously pilot a ship.
Aboard the landing craft were Master Ko’Dora Vadis, her Padawan learner, Daken Rao-Kun, Master Sas’k, and Risk. After landing the ship, the four proceeded into the hospital, where they were greeted by Erall as he stepped out from his Kolto tank. It was a joyous reunion for Erall and Daken, who had not seen one another since that fateful day when Darth Revan’s flagship opened fire on the Broadsword and nearly killed Erall.
Wipe to Interior: Dantooine – Night – Rai-El Hulis’s Quarters
Rai-El Hulis stared at a holographic projection of a starry sky on her bedroom ceiling. Actually, because she was a Miraluka, she saw the projection and the actual sky beyond the roof of the building she was staying in on Dantooine. She was here for over six months, now, recovering from her experiences as a castaway on Dathomir.
Rai-El was not eager to return to her life as a Jedi. Master Vandar told her to take all the time she needed, but she felt like the longer she remained, yet avoided her duties, the thinner her welcome wore. When she heard that a great conflagration of Jedi were gathering on Dantooine to discuss the Revan issue at length, her interests were piqued. However, even though the gathering was occurring tomorrow, she was restless in bed and pondering whether or not she dared show her face in there.
She heard the doorbell indicate a visitor on the fourth or fifth time it went off. It was Jedi Master Atris, a member of the Jedi High Council on Coruscant. She addressed Rai-El with respect and kindness, explaining that she understood her reluctance to return to her duties in the Jedi Order, but explaining her reasons for wanting Rai-El by her side.
Atris had recently taken over as the headmaster of a Jedi Academy, and she wanted to approach Rai-El Hulis, the famous survivor who protected and nurtured a group of refugees in a harsh and hostile environment for nearly two years. Atris explained that her academy, the Broadsword, was filled with students deemed at least marginally susceptible to turning to the Dark Side of the Force during their continuing training.
Understanding who Rai-El was, the only living blood relative of Revan, Atris knew that the young Padawan would understand the dangers of such temptation, and the reason why people devoted to keeping students of the force rooted in the Light were in such high demand, especially now. She told Rai-El that she would like to take her on as her own Padawan learner, guide her to her Jedi Trials for Knighthood, and then, if she was willing, invite her to become an instructor at the Broadsword Jedi Academy.
Rai-El graciously accepted. Atris explained that the Broadsword was away on a mission, but it would be here in time for the gathering tomorrow. Rai-El would be welcomed as an honorary Upperclassmen and be listed as a graduate of the academy. After all, before taking the trials, she would be the headmaster’s own Padawan learner, so technically, any success she had in attaining Knighthood would be through the Broadsword.
Rai-El woke the next morning, all her gear packed, and donned her robes and lightsaber once again. She met Atris in the lobby of her apartment building, where she saw that Atris was amid speaking to another Padawan, Bastila Shan. Bastila was there for the gathering, much as Atris and, now, Rai-El. They left the apartment building, and Rai-El was shocked to see how many ships were making landfall on the surface, and the many more yet in orbit. From here, because how how many ships there were, and how tightly packed they were in orbit, it seemed as if Dantooine grew a ring system overnight.
Wipe to Interior: Broadsword – Starboard Observation Deck
Erall had been back on the Broadsword for two days, but he already felt at home. He had new quarters; he no longer had to hide in the cargo bay to avoid having his power injure another student or staff member. He and the other Upperclassman, Daken, slept in the instructor’s dorms. They had their own rooms. Erall was excited by the prospect.
He also learned of his new Underclassman, the student for whom he was charged with mentoring through his studies in preparation for becoming a Padawan learner. He has not yet met him, a human named Ren-ha Krees, but as apprehensive as he once was of taking on the burden of a personal protege, the thought now intrigued him greatly.
The Broadsword arrived in orbit around Dantooine as the Jedi Conclave was first exposed to the light of its morning sun. Erall joined Daken, Master Sas’k, Master Ko’Dora, and all the droids, Rusty, Skip, and Risk, on the Starboard observation deck, looking down at the majesty of the planet. Another Jedi Master, Kabi-do Raiku, expressed a desire to have some time to go fishing in a particularly beautiful lake on the far-side of the world. He said the fishing there reminded him of his time on his home world, which was destroyed. He wished everyone luck and bade them a good journey.
Risk readied the dropship and the Jedi collected on the Starboard docking bay. They boarded their dropship and made the flight down to land on Dantooine. Risk jokingly said “LET’S SEE WHAT THIS BABY CAN DO!!!”, but Sas’k warned him not to take any unnecessary risks. Risk kept to himself the irony of that warning.
Wipe to Exterior: Dantooine – Day – Landing Platform AA-23
As the ship descended, the Jedi were amazed by the sheer number of ships lined up in orbit alongside the Broadsword, forming a neat single ring of traffic around the planet’s equatorial zone. As packed as the parking was (They were landing ships in the grassy fields outside the enclave, now, as all the surrounding spaceports were full-up) Risk still managed to find a decent landing area, and he nestled the dropship between two other vessels, a long-range fighter and a modified superlight freighter.
The Jedi and their Droid companions left the dropship to find Headmaster Atris and another young Padawan standing beside her. Off to one end of the landing platform, leaning casually against his superlight freighter, was a familiar Zabrak mercenary named “Aurek” Xan. Erall went to greet Xan while Risk, Rusty, and Skip went to greet 5-KL1 (Skully), Aurek Xan’s unique droid. Xan did not at first recognize Erall, as he was surrounded in a protective suit. Apparently, Xan was hired by a couple of those gathering here on Dantooine, and he was just waiting out here for his “fare” to return. He smiled and told Erall not to worry. He left the meter running, so to speak.
Meanwhile Daken followed Sas’k and Ko’Dora to meet with the headmaster and her new Padawan. Headmaster Atris had a history of casting shadows on Daken and Erall, due largely to their blood lineage. Now, as she introduced Rai-El Hulis to the other Jedi collecting on the landing platform, she began to use language that earned admonition from Ko’Dora Vadis. As Atris announced the names of Daken and Erall, their surnames in particuler, Rai-El was concerned. Kun? As in, Exar Kun? Rand?! As in, Sazha Rand?!
Atris expressed, once again with derision, that the decision to train the sons of Sith was not made with her consent or her blessing. Ko’Dora came instantly to her Padawan’s defense, and to Erall’s as well. She said that a person’s worth cannot be measured by lineage, but by their own actions. Both Daken and Erall have proven themselves humble, noble, and worthy of the respect of the Jedi Order. Atris disagreed, but when Sas’k chimed in, she immediately backpedaled, realizing that arguing with Vadis in front of her new Padawan would give a poor first impression. She relented and apologized. Daken noted that the apology was forced and emotionally vacant. She meant every word of her attack on his character, but none of the words she used in her half-hearted apology.
She told Ko’Dora that she has chosen to take on Rai-El as her Padawan learner. Master Ko’Dora expressed concern that her decision to take a personal learner might be more responsibility than she could handle, unless she was planning to step down as the Headmaster of the Broadsword Academy already. Atris replied, saying: “No, Master Vadis, I fulfill my obligations to the Jedi Order.” It was an obvious attack on Master Ko’Dora, and Sas’k, Erall, and Daken were about to come to Ko’Dora’s defense when she gestured for them to let it go, and returned the insult with a smile.
As the Jedi began to make their way toward the Enclave, Xan looked over his shoulder, having gotten a suspicious feeling from a group of robed Jedi approached one of the other entrances into the main building. Erall, too, became suspicious, as did Rai-El. Rai-El used her ability to gaze into the future, and she did not see that these robed individuals posed a threat to the gathering. However, erring on the side of caution, Erall ordered Risk to scout them out, observe their actions, and report back. Risk hesitated, as he was Sas’k’s droid, not Erall’s. However, Erall explained that as Sas’k’s Padawan, Risk was subject to his orders as well. Risk shrugged, engaged his stealth field generator, and began to trail the suspicious robed figures into the Enclave.
Wipe to Interior: Dantooine – Jedi Enclave Meeting Hall
As our heroes entered the building, they were guided toward their seats. Atris had excused herself, as she was one of the Jedi who arranged for the meeting, and she would be needed to help organize the proceedings. Rai-El, in the mean time, followed Master Ko’Dora and sat near her. Master Ko’Dora urged Rai-El to keep her mind far more open than that of her master, and realize that no Jedi, no matter how powerful, has every answer. Some have the wisdom to admit they do not know, whereas others are content to enforce their best guesses as facts beyond question.
As he sat down in his seat, Sas’k leaned over to explain to Daken how the gathering would work. In front of every seat was a control module, a single oval-shaped knob above which a holographic display floated. By turning the knob, a Daken could select an individual from the room and then, by pulling the control toward him, he would be in contact with his chosen audience. Sas’k demonstrated by dialing Daken’s name with his control and activating it. A small holographic version of Sas’k’s head appeared in front of Daken. “See” both Sas’k and his hologram said at the same time. He explained that, at any given time, a member of the gathering could address the entire meeting by depressing the control. They planned on addressing everyone’s concerns at this meeting, and leaving with a concrete plan and a unified resolve.
Meanwhile, Erall sat down and scanned the room for any sign of Risk or those other, suspicious robed figures. Something told him that they were no Jedi. Though there were plenty of non-Jedi here at the gathering, mostly Galactic Senators and members of the Republic Armed Forces, an unshakable suspicion gripped Erall that these robed individuals were not invited to this gathering. Rai-El pointed out that it appeared the suspicious group moved so sit underneath the raised main audience seating, but she still did not feel any hostile motions or see any kind of violent intentions in their future.
As the meeting began, Master Zhar Lestin addressed the gathering, a group of over two-thousand members of the Jedi Order, the Republic Armed Forces, the Galactic Senate, and other peoples of interest. He explained the purpose of the gathering, to discuss the official policy of the Jedi Order regarding the Jedi Civil War. Almost immediately, there was a passionate response from someone in the crowd, a Republic Naval officer who flatly said this war was the Jedi’s fault, and that they should have been involved from the very beginning.
Master Atris relieved Zhar to explain that Revan’s actions do not reflect the Jedi Code, and that his fall must have been orchestrated in order to create the current division among both the Jedi and the Sith. Someone from the chamber called out that the Jedi ignored the plight of the Republic during the Mandalorian War, and now, one of their own was waging war against them. “The Jedi can’t be trusted to resolve this conflict!”
After a menagerie of shouts and outraged fingerpointing, Master Vrook slammed his gavel down and called for order to be regained among the gathering participants. Suddenly, in front of Daken, a brown-haired human stood up and said: "Master Atris, in your infinite wisdom, did it never occur to you that, had you backed Revan up instead of shunning him, he might not have been so quick to turn against you?” There were minor gasps from the crowd, and the white-skinned woman next to him put her hand on her forehead and shook it in disbelief. Atris responded: “I don’t believe you were invited to this gathering, Zayne. Guards?”
As guards began to circle toward him, Zayne Carrick looked at his companion, saying “Okay, Jarael, that’s our queue!” He leapt from his seat and awkwardly crawled back over several rows of seats, Sas’k’s and Daken’s included. Jarael smashed her hand onto Risk’s head as she leapt over the final row of seats and bashed a guard in the face with her shockstaff. Some members of the gathering began to clap for Zayne’s clumsy, yet effective defiance. Master Vrook once again called for order.
Other dissenting views were expressed until, eventually, Master Vandar interjected and explained, finally, why the Jedi Order neglected to condone involvement in the Mandalorian War. They believed that the entire war was staged in an effort to draw out the Jedi Order and weaken it. They do not know who may be responsible for this, but they did not believe that the Mandalorians were warring with the Republic for their stated reason of conquest and manifest destiny.
Risk returned to deliver his findings to Erall, and he connected his High-speed transfer cable to Erall’s glove-integrated datapad. Once Erall saw the images, that there were Mandalorian armors hidden within those robes, he sprung into action. He showed Sas’k, and Rai-El said that she could see them moving out from the shadows. Sas’k leapt into the air, sprouting wings from his back, and flew across the meeting hall. As he ignited his lightsaber, the four robed figures rounded a corner behind the Masters’ seats, and hundreds of lightsabers ignited throughout the chamber in concert with Sas’k’s. Erall, Rai-El, Daken, Ko’Dora, and Risk similarly bounded to the center of the chamber. However, as the four Mandalorians came into view, their hands were up, not holding any weapons, and they stepped forward into the light before the Jedi Council.
Risk pulled a blaster and aimed it toward the four Mandalorians, but one of them stepped forward and, using the Force, pulled the blaster from his hand, separated it into its core components in midair, and let the pieces rain down onto the carpeted floor below.
Removing their helmets, the four Mandalorians revealed their faces. Their leader, Rohlan Dyre, introduced their group as The Inquest, a group devoted to learning the truth about the reasons for the Mandalorian War. The tension in the room was crushing, with tremendous anger coming from both Republic soldiers and members of the Jedi. One of the Mandalorians was an old student of the Broadsword, Ven Jagt.
Atris called for their arrest, but Rohlan stated that if they looked, they would find that none of them were wanted for any crime. Vrook blurted out that they just committed the crime of trespassing. Rohlan said: “You hold a gathering to discuss the reason why our fathers and sons lie dead and spread out across the galaxy. We have as much a right to have answers to these questions as any of you.”
Rohlan explained that in their investigation, they discovered that the Mandalore was receiving transmissions from someone that originated in the Unknown Regions. They believed that the Jedi were correct in their assessment. The Mandalore was not fighting a Mandalorian War. If he was, Serroco would not have been reduced to glass. That is not their way. They preserve whatever resources they can. They take prisoners. They don’t nuke worlds from orbit.
Someone from the crowd said that they begged to differ. He was on the Courageous over Serroco. He saw what the Mandalorians did there. Rohlan nodded and said that the actions of Mandalore the Ultimate led to many unnecessary deaths, including his own. Whoever was behind the war, they were not the Mandalore. Whoever was behind the war, they were enemy to both the Jedi and the Inquest.
Rohlan retook his helmet and the other three Mandalorians followed suit. He said that they would be in touch if they learned more about their mutual enemy. Guards tried to stop them from leaving, but Ven was interrupted en route. He was about to confront the guard, but Master Atris got her lightsaber up to Ven’s neck before he could react. She held her blade against him, just barely away from slicing into him and ending his life. She then told the guard to stand down and let them leave.
As they left, Ven nodded surreptitiously toward Erall and Daken, winked at Rai-El, and then paused in front of Sas’k. He said something inaudible to the Jedi Master, then continued up the stairs. Suddenly, he was tripped by someone, his helmet was ripped from his head, and he was punched squarely in the face. The female Echani stood up from him, spat, and said she felt better, now. She offered him a hand, and he accepted it. She helped him to his feet and, despite the pain, he was laughing. He respected that Hokura Fenni succeeded in paying back his previous assault against her during his escape from the Broadsword. She pulled him close and whispered: “Now we’re even. Next time I see you, you’re dead.”
“Right back atcha, ’Kura.”
Erall neared Sas’k and asked what Ven said. Sas’k replied: “Eight words. There’s no reason we have to be enemies.”
Wipe to Interior: Broadsword – Headmaster’s Office
Two days later, our heroes were back aboard the Broadsword. Headmaster Atris had called the three Padawans into her office. She explained that she was impressed with the three of them. She admitted that her earlier apology was not genuine, but that they represented themselves as Jedi in the gathering, and that has earned her respect. She saw how they performed, not as warriors, but as mediators, which she believes is a far greater part of what it is to be a Jedi.
Daken was visibly pleased with Atris’s change of heart. She then held up a datapad and said that she was holding in her hand the release to grant them permission to take the Jedi Knighthood Trials. She had not yet signed them. Daken’s heart sunk. She was about to tell them that, despite what she saw, she didn’t think them ready, or worthy, or something. Instead, to his surprise, she said that she wanted them to be there to watch her sign the orders firsthand. She did so, congratulated them, and informed them that their Jedi Trials will begin as soon as the Broadsword arrived in orbit around Nar’Shadaa.
Erall and Daken looked to one another, visibly dreading that choice of a venue for their trials.