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Thread: A Man Alone

  1. #1

    Imperial - Closed A Man Alone

    Dear diary,

    Why would I write that? I don’t address things to inanimate objects, and my eyes are the only ones which will see this, in any case. I suppose I should simply start from the beginning - at least the beginning of this account, for the sake of my own memory and to record the truth should I never escape this place alive. This is a dangerous record to keep, as should it be found before I make my escape, surely I will be killed without hesitation. But I knew that, already.

    Phindar was a mess, and a bloody one, at that. I killed two men, two men simply doing their duty and following orders. They likely had family to support, and I suppose they were good at what they did, as they were on speeder bikes, and you certainly don’t get to that level of freedom without showing your responsibility. Still, that did not stop me from breaking one’s neck, and cutting another in half. I wish there had been another way. I wish so many things were different, but wishes never did anyone any good. Especially me.

    That was not the only blood spilled on Phindar. A man I scarcely knew attempted to defend me, and he was shot down for it. I swore no others would die, that day, and to my own failure, I held fast to that oath. Perhaps on a civilized planet I could have made my escape, but against such numbers on a forested, simple world? I knew I stood little chance, and so I surrendered, which brings me to my current predicament, hiding in plain sight, using only a false identity as camouflage to keep the truth from being known.

    But would they even believe the truth, if they knew it? I know it, I lived it, and yet even I scarecely believe it. Frozen for one hundred and seven years; enough time for everyone you ever knew to die, and for the galaxy to change in ways wholly unimaginable. That sort of thing only happens in holovision shows, or in comic books. It certainly wasn’t the comic book I’d have chosen, if I’d been given the choice. No, I’d have picked the Scintillating Scorpion-Man, to be honest, but I suppose the subject of a comic never gets to pick which one they star in, and should simply be happy that someone has bothered to write about them at all. Not that anyone really wrote about me.

    In the records I could salvage on Ossus, I learned there was only a basic profile on myself, and that I’m still listed as missing, presumed dead. That’s it. Nothing about my smile, my insubordination, my dance moves, my undercover work, nothing. To have your whole life reduced to less than a paragraph leaves one less than thrilled with the memory of one’s friends.

    My memory is fresh, though. I remember them all, and now, trapped within the very halls of the place I once called home, their faces appear to me, their voices find passage in faint echoes as I look upon a life so long past.

    I know now that I spent five days aboard that Imperial ship in transit, here, and I’ve spent almost a week under lock and key in what once was the Jedi Temple. So much has changed, and yet so much more remains the same. All the passages I know to be shortcuts remain, but I dare not use them. The great library still stands, but I dare not ask to visit it. I cannot give them any clue that I am so intimately familiar with this place, when they believe me to be a rank newcomer to its halls. It is harder now than it was my first few days in this place, so long ago, and that was no pleasantry, either.

    I was just turned fifteen, then, and had I just studied harder, and focused on my school work instead of on the girls, I would have tested into technical high school, and I would have never come to Coruscant. But I didn’t. I failed, badly, and my father was so disappointed in me. I remember lying awake in bed, that night, hearing my mother and father arguing from the other side of the wall. I was a failure, a layabout and a dreamer, three things which would never amount to anything for anyone of my class. Oh, how they shouted. I was an embarrassment to my whole family, and that night I could not sleep, so I packed my bags.

    Some months before, I’d been tested and found to be off the scale in something or another, and was banned from fencing classes, or any sports, because it was said I had an unfair advantage. A Jedi came to my city, and met with me, and said I was attuned to the Force, but I knew little of what that meant, other than what I’d seen in sensantionalized holovision accounts. I had been invited to join the Jedi, and my Sultan had been absolutely for it, but at the time I said no.

    The morning after I’d failed my tests, I said goodbye to my parents, and my brothers, and boarded a ship bound for Coruscant. Aside from a school camping trip, I’d never been on a journey of any real sort on my own, before, and even that didn’t count. Despite my trip being paid for by the royal court, it was not the easiest or fastest, and it took nearly two weeks to reach Coruscant, by which point I’d made it with three girls of alien races. I can’t remember any of their names.

    Coruscant, though, it was like something out of a dream. The largest city I’d ever seen was the capital of Nehantish, but compared to the glittering ball of lights, gleaming transparisteel chrome, my home seemed an insignificant speck. Coruscant was overwhelming at first, and I stepped off of my transport among a group of younger children, most of whom had traveled with a parent from their own respective worlds, and I had never felt more alone.

    I was alien, not only in race, but in culture, and in turn Coruscant was alien to me. I was the first Nehantite to ever be sent to join the Jedi Order in all of history. Me, the very first ever of my race, to join such an ancient, illustrious Order. Me, the kid who failed the entrance exam to technical high school.

    I watched as the other children, mostly under the age of seven, were ushered into the massive temple, while I simply stood there, alone on that landing platform, my bag over my shoulder. The Jedi didn’t even realize I was supposed to be an initiate, they thought I’d gotten off on the wrong stop. Left alone on that platform, I waited and watched my transport ship disembark, and I gazed over the glittering towers, and the lines of traffic as they crisscrossed the skies. I was to be the first Nehantite Jedi, and I had no idea what I was doing, or supposed to do.

    So, when it was clear no one was going to come get me, I took a deep breath and walked through the doors on my own. The same awe which filled me then filled me again as I was walked through them, now, though this time I was not some fresh-faced teenager with wonder awaiting him, but a prisoner bound and marched at gunpoint into a familiar, yet foreign captivity.

    The paint scheme had changed, as had the uniforms I saw, but overall, little else seemed different. The ceilings still soared overhead, the architecture remained mostly untouched, and the turbolifts still had that rhaspy little whine before disembarking either up or down. The food is likely the biggest thing which has changed. Meal cubes. Ugh. Getting really sick of meal cubes.

    As far as my captors go, I have to thank my master for having trained me well in the art of deception, misdirection, and partial truths. I have been hiding under the name of an old schoolmate whom I despised - Kyle Rayner. I’ve convinced them that I have been wandering for some time, now, with only partial training from a Jedi who himself was on the run. Knowing Midlothian bureaucracy, it should take no less than a year for them to be able to officially see through my disguise, but paperwork is the least likely factor for me to be discovered.

    No, these Imperials are smart, as they should be, and keep me under constant surveillance. I have to pay careful attention to my role as the cheerful fool, I have to make the right sort of mistakes for a newcomer, I have to take the occasional wrong turn, or get off on the wrong floor - they all look alike, don’t they? I am confined to the temple, yes, and for most of the time confined to my room, but they have allowed me some small measure of freedom at times, likely to see what I will do.

    But how could they guess who I really am? How could they know what I know of this place, and of them? Even in my own day, many Jedi did not know some of the things I know of the Force, and that is what I must keep hidden most of all. I have to stare out the windows in awe at the view I am granted. I have to oversleep occasionally and miss breakfast. I have to repeatedly ask for fur and body wash because the bar of soap just doesn’t cut it when you have a coat of fur. And, I have to make sure to give myself a good scratch when I need it, or take care of… other urges… when I pretend to think I am truly alone. I will provide them with distractions so ordinary they will be puzzled by them, and be prevented from seeking deeper, for now.

    I’m told I am to be made a Cadet in these new Imperial Knights. I have a chance to start anew, and a chance to be the proper, attentive student that I certainly wasn’t in my youth. While I am no fan of the Empire, or how the Imperial Knights are used, perhaps I will be able to make some good come of this.

    And maybe, just maybe I’ll figure out how Bastian Cain also survived this time, and why he does not know me, or at least pretends not to know me. I remember him from my days in the old Order; surely this cannot be coincidence. I must attempt to get with him in private, and determine what he truly knows, without giving myself away in the process. That, and, well, he’s always been a hottie, and if I can get him alone, well… might not be such a bad thing. Be a nice warm-up until I can get that Selonian back to my quarters, or me to hers...

    But those are thoughts for another time. For now, I need sleep. I'm told my training will begin, tomorrow.

  2. #2
    Things have grown interesting. I mean this in a variety of ways, which I will attempt to explain so that whoever reads this can fully understand, as I expect the likelihood of someone reading this will come after my death in which case you won’t be able to ask me any questions or request clarification.

    I have been made an Imperial Cadet in the Imperial Knights program. I know that I am in such a program because Knight-General Atrapes is unsure about me, and wishes me tested, but I have decided to do more than simply put on a good front for his sake. You see, under my guise of the half-trained nobody, Kyle Rayner, I am free to make mistakes, to be poor at areas of study both in the Force and in martial arts, and that is not a stumbling block or problem. My fellow cadets range in age and skill level, though I can safely say none have the proficiency in the Force that I have, but I choose to appear lagging behind them in areas of study I am genuinely poor at.

    And why wouldn’t I? There is training, here. Real training, albeit harsh and demanding, but it is training I did not get, or did poorly in my first time around. If I can learn from these Knights, then is my time here in hiding truly a waste? I think not. The Empire does not know it, but they are effectively training a weapon of their own downfall. I will focus hard on areas of Force skill I have never done well in, and make those my subjects of proficiency here, while ignoring or feigning lack of interest in the things I do well. So far I have not seen any who can wield telekinetic powers like I can, here, nor anywhere else for that matter, so that is a skill I will hide the most.

    With luck, I will learn about healing and meditation, though those do not seem to be things the Imperial Knights hold in high regard. I will stumble heavily in interrogation techniques, making it clear that I am a straightforward man, not one with layers of secrets. Those are the kind who always struggle with interrogation and reading others - the kind who have no depth to themselves to compare their subject against.

    Also with luck I hope to pet the cute little Shistavanen puppy. He’s simply adorable. There’s nothing to be gained by this, either in training or to help my cover, but I just want to. How can you not want to pet a puppy?

    But thinking of other fur I’d like to stroke, I managed to get that big, muscular, gorgeous Selonian, Vissica, up to my room last night, and naked, no less! Sadly it turns out that she’s got zero ability to understand innuendo, and even less of a sex drive, even when she saw me naked. Think I’m getting a bead on her, though, and while I didn’t get to hit that, yet, I did get a hell of a grappling lesson until the wee hours of the morning. I still hurt in places I didn’t know I had, but I did learn a thing or two, and got a few good feel-ups along the way (not that she even noticed). In the end, we both wound up crashing out in my room, and she was actually pleasant come morning. She was the one I was most worried about getting on my side, but if I can keep playing apt pupil, I may have scored myself a shield amongst the suspicion of the Knights.

    Baastian Cain has been absent for over a week, now, likely off on some PR trip, or a mission of some sort, but I’ve been working hard at my lessons with the other knights, and trying to build friendships with my fellow cadets. It’s not easy, and I’m certainly the new kid in school who has to figure out the politics of the rest of the class. Thank goodness they all seem to think we Nehantites are just dumb wrench-turners, because it’s made it much easier on me to impress. Not that I have impressed much, nor should I. I’m playing the fool, but I’m also being careful not to cross over to class clown. It’s one thing to be the slow kid in class, it’s another to be the smart alec. Been the latter before, and that got me shuffled off to the sidelines. Need to actually be part of the class, this time around.

    It is so weird being back here, though, and being a student again. So many times I’ve almost said something I shouldn’t about the way we used to teach, or the lessons I learned so long ago, here. Keeping this cover has been immensely difficult, as I still have to make measured mistakes now and then, and maintain my personality. Getting so very tired of the meal cubes, though. Project for this week will be learning how I can A: get some pocket money, and B: get out of the old temple and find a diner or fast food joint around here for some real food.

    In all fairness, other than the oppression and blind obedience factors they instill, here, the Imperial Knights aren’t all that bad as a program. Yes, the Knights are meant to be enforcers of the Empire’s will, but from what I sense of the cadets, most of them truly want to do good. Maybe there’s something about these halls that still speaks of the Jedi of old. Or, maybe the heart just hasn’t been pounded out of these kids, yet. Either way, it gives me hope in a place I never thought I’d find it. Maybe I can nurture that hope and keep this class on a more positive course, through individual or small-group interaction. Yeah, I can’t go overboard and be all rah-rah cheerleader (though I’d look killer in one of those little sweater and pleated skirt numbers, just saying), but if I can keep the heart of good nature in at least some of these cadets, that is enough for me.

    Maybe that’s why I wound up here. I have never understood Garfife’s will in the past, and I doubt it’ll ever be something I fully comprehend, but He has sent me here, and He has a plan for me. I just have to fake it long enough until I get the memo on what that plan is.

  3. #3
    Dear Diary,

    I want beer. And sex.

  4. #4
    Dear Diary,

    It's been a week since my last update, and a great deal has happened. I still haven't been allowed off-site, but to be fair none of the cadets have. We have begun to bond as a unit, and I see good in many of my training mates. Yes, the Empire itself is evil, and yes it oppresses, murders and loots, but I do not see that in the faces and hearts of many of my fellow cadets. Most have families they wish to protect, or have noble goals in life. I always wondered what the bad guy soldiers in movies thought of their work, or if they even realized they were the bad guys. Being among them it's clear that, no, most don't realize they're the bad guy, and there's so much propaganda going on that the only time they'll actually see what the Empire is really doing to people's lives is when they get out into the field themselves. Some may see how much they hurt and oppress, and through that experience they may either leave service, or attempt to improve things. Some may find power in the experience, and follow the path laid out for us here which celebrates our power, while others may follow a middle path - not enjoying what they do, but telling themselves it is for a greater good. I feel that many here are among that third camp.

    In good news, I got to pet Khoovi, the Shistavanen puppy. He didn't really appreciate it overall, but he did lean in to my fingers when I was scritching one of his ears. He glared at me afterwards, but I think I was still forgiven.

    Otherwise it's been a lot of work. The physical fitness routine is tasking, but I'm seeing improvement in my performance, and working off some of the fat I put on while lounging around on Ossus. Loki would be impressed if he could see my jogging stamina, that's for sure, and I'm slowly improving how much I can lift, and how many reps. Vissica is a harsh weight trainer, but it gets results. The food is still horrible, nothing but meal cubes and sauce three meals a day. They actually used me in a promotional video for the Imperial Knights program and they gave me some candy to hand out to kids who came to tour the facility. I think they didn't notice when I ate a few pieces myself.

    As far as escape is concerned, I have yet to find an avenue which would get me farther than the doors of this old temple. Yeah, getting out of here would be easy enough, but I need to actually get out on the streets and learn the area before I can formulate a real escape plan, and even then I'm in a dangerous position with needing off-world transport. I constantly think of home, but for now I am resigned to my fate here, acting out each day as Kyle Rayner and trying to be a model cadet. Knighthood promises the best chance to make a break for it, so I'd better work hard along that path. Who knows, maybe I'll get a lightsaber again. Well, other than the one I've been hiding this whole time. It's best nobody knows about that one, right now. Who knows if I can make it to Knight. It's a tall order, and I'll likely be discovered by then, but if I don't try for it then they'll know something is up. I hate having to spout their rhetoric, it tastes like bitter ashes upon my tongue, but this is about more than just me. Maybe I can bring some of the better cadets here with me. Maybe we can make a break for it and I can convert some of them to the light side from this haze of grey. Or maybe I'm being a dreamer, knowing that when I run, it'll likely be alone.

    But I don't want to be alone. I've been alone for so long, and being here I feel more alone than ever. Even if I were to convince a few of them to come with me, I'd be forever tainted in their eyes by the lies about who I am, and the false persona I portrayed in order to gain their trust. You can't inspire faith with a lie. I've never understood that passage from the Book more than I do now. I know I was never deeply religious, but more than ever I want a copy of the Book to read and gain direction from. Sadly it's not allowed here.

    So I pray on my own, in the silence of my room, and I look for signs where they can be found. It is not enough, but it will have to be until the doors can be opened, either by grace or by force. To them I grow more and more as Kyle Rayner, I have never more wanted to be Halajiin Rabeak.

  5. #5
    Dear Diary,

    It's been a good week so far. Mostly classroom instruction, and I'm learning things about modern tech that I didn't know. I've said it before, but whatever they can teach me, I'll learn. To know your enemy is to know how to defeat them, and I'm playing the role of a studious... student. Mom would be so proud if she could see me now, actually getting top marks in class. Maybe if I'd approached Junior High and High School like this I wouldn't have ever been sent to Coruscant in the first place. And then I could have lived the noble and virtuous life of a heating and air conditioning repairman, and been dead decades and decades ago. Think I'm gonna stick with being a slacker in school back then having been a good thing.

    Meal cubes are starting to get to us all. Khoovi farted in class and it was bad. Like, soooooo bad. We had to open the windows, and I swear he was blushing under that fur. Poor little guy, he tries so hard to be the perfect cadet, and then... frrrrt!

    Other than that, not much exciting has been going on. Lessons at the blaster range have gone well, and I'm working on improving my aim without modifying bolt vector with the Force. I'm not the best shot in class, but I'd say top twenty percent. Lightsaber lessons begin next week, they say, and I'm really going to have to work on sucking at that - at least in the beginning. Anything to get me some holomovie rentals with swordfights in them for "study." Mostly I just want to watch holomovies; they are one of my few reminders that there is normal life outside of these walls, and that good can still triumph over evil. Last time I watched one I got a few other cadets to watch it with me. It was almost like having friends again, which was nice. Maybe they can be real friends, someday, but probably not if they knew who I really was.

    They don't sneer at me for having my own private room anymore. I've worked hard enough and earned their respect, and the story of me having been partially trained by a Jedi has spread through the ranks, which has added something to my mystique. Not added enough to get one of them interested enough to come up and join me for some alone time, but I'm still working on that. Garfife I need some. I haven't gone this long without it since before I came to the Order in the first place. Pretty sure the guys watching the "spy" cameras "hidden" in my room are getting tired of seeing me and my paw have a good time at night, lol! But until the real thing shows up, it's just Leftina and Rightbecca for me.

    Rumor has it there'll be a mission coming up soon, and some of us cadets are going to go on it. I'll be working extra hard to go, as it might afford me the opportunity to escape. Wish me luck.

  6. #6
    It's me, again, Margaret,

    Things have been crazy, and now more than ever I know that keeping this diary is one of the most dangerous things I could do. Pallaxides was like something out of a nightmare. What should have been a relaxing, luxurious bodyguard mission turned into a deadly struggle against beasts no one should ever try and keep as "pets." That said, I did get to ride one of those bird-bat things, and I got to shoot my blaster at stuff, so there was an up-side. Lady Vissica is a terror in battle, having finally gotten to see her in action for the first time, and Khoovi remained surprisingly calm as he manned the ops center while everything hit the fan. Turned out we saved the life of the empress's boy-toy, and because of that I got invited to stand by her side at some boring meeting.

    Except it wasn't boring! It turned out that it was a meeting between the empress and the highest-ranking representative of the Alliance who was still expendable enough to be sent into the heart of the Empire! I knew that if I could just sneak onto his ship, I could get out of here and have a safe trip back home, but as that could set off an international incident I listened to that whiny little voice in my head and stuck to my duties, standing there like a good guard doggie. Heh, doggie is a fun word to say. Doggie doggie doggie! Okay, got that out of my system.

    That isn't to say I did nothing. I'm not much good at telepathy, as it can often give both parties a headache if it goes on for too long, but I did sneak a message to the Alliance envoy, telling him who I was, and that I needed a way out of here, discretely. I think he got the message, though I haven't seen any opportunities for escape yet. Even if he just lets the Jedi know that I'm alive and okay, maybe that's enough, so I don't just go missing again like I did over a century ago. I want out, yes, but I need to get out in a way that won't cause loss of life, or make waves large enough to reach the border. If my remaining a prisoner here means that peace can be maintained, then a prisoner I shall remain for now.

    Speaking of prisoners, I've discovered that the Imperial Knights program is a prison system in and of itself. At first I thought that the cadets here volunteered - and most of the older crop here did - but after getting to know some better I've learned that if you're identified as being Force-sensitive, you have three choices: the cadet program, prison, or death. I had hoped that the Empire might have had some redeeming features somewhere, and that the Knights could be an actual symbol for hope, but now I can only see them as weaponized people, many against their will. Oh, yes, they'll be brainwashed and convinced that they're doing it by choice, but I know many are not. Word has it that a new group of young cadets is being brought in, and that our ranks are about to swell now that the Empire has better methods for identifying Force-adepts. With this organized, compulsory training, the Imperial Knights are soon to become a force that the Jedi will not be able to hold off, which makes me fearful for those that we train back on Ossus. While I disagree with the compulsory nature of training here in the Empire, the only counter I can see to it is for the Alliance to do the same thing, which violates the principles of free will and rationality that the Jedi hold so dear.

    The only plus side that I can see is that while the Empire holds the ancient Jedi archives, here, most cadets don't have access, and even the senior knights seem to be on a restricted access level to it. It means they're only skimming the surface and not digging deep into the mysteries and obscurities of the Force like I did, and like we can still do on Ossus, now that we've got access to the library. As much as it pains me to suggest it, but it may be our best hope if I can find a way to somehow destroy or damage the archives here before I go, so that the knowledge contained there cannot be used for evil.

    Just glanced out my window, and saw a big transport landing. That'll be the new cadets, I bet, and that means it's time for me to actually put some pants on and get downstairs for assembly and inspection. Wonder what we'll get in this new batch, and if there are any who just might be able to see my kinder, gentler approach to things as inspiring, so they don't fully lose their souls to the Empire.

  7. #7
    Dear Diary,

    Six months have passed since I found myself within these walls once more. Six months since anyone I knew had heard from me. I wonder how they feel, if they feel anything at all. Is this how it was when I first disappeared? Is this my punishment; to be torn away from my friends and family at the very moment when I begin to feel I have found my place? If so, Garfife must really hate me, because he's too damn good at arranging these messes.

    But it's not all bad. I am convinced that the Empire cannot disprove my identity as Kyle Rayner, as they haven't been able to do so thus far. In some ways I have begun to think of myself as Kyle, anyway. Forced mannerisms and habits have become second nature, as has the pattern of my speech, and even writing my false name has become easy and fluid. I could be Kyle Rayner forever, if I needed, and perhaps it would be okay. Kyle has friends here, he has other cadets who look up to him and respect him, and even some of the Knights appreciate his skills and commitment. But he's not without rivals, either. Jeryd Redsun is a fantastic dick, and not in the way I'd enjoy. He's driven, focused, and keen on the Empire being the best thing since lubricated condoms. Both he and I need to get laid, like, for reals. And not with each other. I mean, there's anal, and then there's anal, and Jeryd is the wrong kind for me. Still, even he believes in Kyle Rayner enough to curse his name when he thinks I can't hear, and rallies his own little goof troop against the Kyle Rayner fan club whenever he can. Maybe the galaxy doesn't need a Halajiin Rabeak, as it's proven it could get by without one for over a century.

    Or maybe it realized that I came too early. Not the first time for that, and now I'm getting off track because that's totally not what I meant by that. What I mean is, maybe I was meant to be here, in this time. My experience in the Jedi Temple, back when it still was the Jedi Temple, is a gift none of the others here can match, as was my training in those days. Here, we practice for war, they cultivate anger and hate, and yet they don't understand the power of understanding and focus. The Knights themselves, many being leftover Inquisitors, know how to demand results, and thus the cadets train toward those results as their goals and do not stop to think about what else they might do. It is like learning to fight only with your fists, not realizing one can kick, elbow, or bite. Dominance, winning, power: these are the things which are taught. It makes for effective soldiers, but poor masters. It is clear to me that no one in this program is at my level for telekinesis, nor do they even appear to grasp what it is that I am able do to with it.

    But I don't let on. I make the same mistakes I did when I was young and learning telekinesis, before I understood my gift. I blow things up, I drop them, I hurtle things across the room, or I fail, careful to manage each reaction to the same emotional state I display. It seems to have worked, as I was removed from TK classes, and deemed unfit to wield such power. If only they knew what I've been doing inside the walls to the holocron vault. As I sit and study, I sever the bond between molecules within the meter-thick durasteel walls that they don't even know exists. In time I'll have my doorway, ready to pull out when I need it, but it is an agonizing process as I must work slowly as not to be detected.

    Telepathy has been improving, though I may have hit my limit there. I still cause headaches, and get them myself, but mine grow less severe as I learn to control myself. It's probably the biggest skill I've improved since being here, and I've been certain to take advantage of whatever training I'm given. When it comes to swordplay, I'm the ace of the cadets, paws down. Training sabers or wooden swords, I am the best in the cadet class, and I've survived countless challenges. It's an easy one to play off, seeing as fencing is a Nehantite national sport, and of course it doesn't really hurt that I cheat whenever possible. Cheating is encouraged, here. If I pulled some of the same stunts back in my old padawan days, I'd be sent to bed with no supper. Here, I get applauded. I like winning, but not like that. Still, I put on my smile and toot my own horn, because I'm Kyle Rayner, and that's what's expected of me.

    Who knows, maybe I'll even get knighted. I don't see any other way out, so I have to keep working toward it, bettering my weaker skills every day, while playing their game. And at the same time I continue to plant the seeds of doubt within the other cadets, making them question whether the Empire is truly right. I'm subtle, and approach it sideways so that I don't get hit with fomenting dissent, but still it's there. If only the cadets knew the glory that the Force could truly offer, and how much of a difference they could make in the galaxy if they chose to work for good. Maybe I'll get through to one of them, and maybe that's enough. But for now, I must be Kyle Rayner. Halajiin Rabeak is dead, though I pray that someday he'll be brought back to life.

  8. #8
    Dear Aunt Sally,

    I feel like I've fallen for someone entirely, but they don't even seem to notice a connection at all. I've made every overture, sent all the right signals, but they're just not picking up. Should I keep trying, or is it time I give up and go find someone who can recognize me for the strong, beautiful, independent Nehantite I am?

    *snerk* Hee hee hee, couldn't resist.

    In all seriousness, things have been going fairly well. The Cadet program had gotten off to a rocky start, but that's to be expected with any new program. I'm seeing changes made from when I first "joined" the Imperial Knight Cadets as part of their first class, and it looks like everything's starting to shape up. Good for these kids, but bad for the galaxy, sadly. There are so many more than I thought there'd be, thanks to the Empire's new testing program, and compulsory inclusion if you test positive for the Force. Yeah, the Jedi would invite parents to send their children to the Jedi Order if they tested positive, but they wouldn't force them to do so if they didn't want to. A military academy is good for getting results, but some of these kids are so young that what they really need are parents and caretakers. People to nurture them and help them grow instead of strict discipline. I suppose it won't be long before what heart exists here is stamped out, and that'll be a shame.

    But for as long as I'm here, I'll be a smile, a laugh, and a good-natured reminder that there has to be joy and positivity in life, even deep in the heart of the Empire. We're to be elite soldiers, yes, but I want to show these cadets that you can still have a heart, have compassion and a conscience, while remaining within the letter of the law. I realize I may be doing more damage than good in the long run, as I know that rule by fear is often overthrown faster than anything else, but I also don't want normal people treated ruthlessly by my classmates if it can be avoided. For a while I was naive enough to believe that I might be able to sway some cadets my way, but now I'll settle for at least helping them to hurt people less, once they get out in the real galaxy.

    Food's better, thanks to about a thousand "annonymous" letters stuffed into the suggestion box (you're welcome, fellow cadets!), and there's even talk of us getting a weekend pass to go out of the Citadel, mostly unescorted, to do whatever we like. It'd be my best chance at escape, but I'm sure I'd be the one most watched, so I dare not. Besides, I have a plan, and I need to stick to it. Doesn't mean I can't try and get some tail, though.

    I hope those on Ossus haven't forgotten about me, and I hope Loki doesn't think I've abandoned him, as I haven't been able to send him any form of communication since before the mission that got me into this whole mess. I thought I could continue to get by without friends, as I've done in the past, but it's ever so much harder now that I know that those I befriend here will only turn against me when I make my escape. I wish there was a way I could make them understand.

  9. #9
    Dear Diary,

    It's going to happen. I received word today that I am going to be knighted tomorrow. I'm honestly not sure how to feel about this. On one paw, I should be proud that my hard work, my training, and most of all my acting, have not gone unnoticed, and that the Knights believe in me enough to become one of them, officially. But on the other paw, does it mean that I have become the embodiment of their fascist, evil, cruel philosophy and conduct?

    Have I changed, and not for the better? Have I become like them, without even knowing it? Have I become that which I despise? I don't believe so, but I can no longer be sure. I've done things I'm not proud of, but I've done them in the name of survival, and I've always chosen the path of least evil, least pain and least suffering of innocents. But has it been enough? I've killed. I've killed people who were trying to protect themselves, and those they care for. Yes, I've tried my best not to, but my paw was forced - at least that's what I tell myself. I tell myself that deep down I'm still good, that I'm still a Jedi, a force for freedom and hope, hidden away in dark times so that my light can't be snuffed out completely. But with this, becoming an official symbol of the Empire, an enforcer of their will, do I have any right to consider myself good at all, anymore?

    I don't like it. I've gone through deep cover before, but never like this. I've had to break the law, to hurt people, but in the end it was to take down those who are worse, to deliver justice. Even I, a high school failure, am not dumb enough to believe I'm delivering justice here, or even revenge. What sins can a man commit for the sake of survival that are forgivable, and what sins are beyond that realm? I don't know anymore. There are so many lies, I don't know what to believe; the lies I am told, the lies I tell them, or the lies I tell myself.

    But I am to be a Knight, with ceremony. It is ultimately petty selfishness that inspires some spark of joy within me at such a thought. To be granted a ceremony now, even if from the enemy, is more than the Jedi showed me. Perhaps I can just pretend it's a belated ceremony for my real knighting. I'm good at pretending. Sometimes too good, where I can become wrapped up in my own creation and have difficulty telling fact from fabrication.

    This is my greatest fear. In becoming Kyle Rayner, I have made a new life, made friends, allies, and enemies. How many of these relationships are real, and how many are just play-acting in order to protect my facade? I don't know, and that scares me. A Jedi is supposed to be honest, yet that is one thing I have almost never been, even with myself.

    Was I ever really a Jedi? Or have I been an Imperial Knight all along? Garfife knows I've been devious enough.

  10. #10
    Dear Diary,

    I can't sleep.

    There's nothing wrong with my bed; it's perfectly fine and honestly more comfortable than the ones most of the cadets get. I ate well enough, and I did get plenty of exercise, so it's nothing physical. I just don't know why I can't...

    No. I do know. I know perfectly well why I can't sleep.

    What if it hadn't been me on that mission? What if it had been some other Jedi that was captured on Phindar? Someone known to the Empire as an enemy would have likely just been killed. Had it been a Council member, what size of hole would that have left for the other Jedi? And what if... what if it had been Ndonsa?

    I guess that's what's running through my head right now. If she'd had a bit more training, had made it to Knight, she could have been sent on that mission, not me. Another Nehantite, flying under the radar for most of the work which needed to be done, Ndonsa would have been the likely choice if I hadn't been there, though she would have needed some more training up front. Training I had the luxury of getting from real Jedi, and real police units, real spies. I'd always thought that my undercover work was a way for the Jedi of my time to keep me out of the way and out of sight. Maybe it was, but that training and experience helped ground me, protect me, and keep me sharp. Without it, surely I would have cracked by now.

    Ndonsa doesn't have that training. She barely understands technology. I have so many advantages on her, even growing up a hundred years ago in the suburbs, and I have a lot better social skills from having to deal with so many cultures and races among the Jedi. Through tenacity, I have no doubt she could have held her ground, and fought the Empire every step of the way - her will is incredible - but I know they would have offered her something she would find difficult to resist.


    I don't know her as well as I should, and that's my fault. We've hung out a bit, and, um, enjoyed each other's company a fair amount, but I feel like I know her far less well than she seems to know me. Kind if weird, but maybe I'm just easy to read, or something? In any case, I get the sense that what she wants is to know her place, and how to control her position. To be the master of the energy which flows through her, an energy she still ascribes to mystical spirits, and bones - I ascribe it to Garfife, so maybe I'm no better?

    I've seen the Dark Side in her, and it worries me. I wish I was back there to help her, to guide her, and teach her all the good things that come with the Light. But the Empire? They would surely show her how to embrace the Dark Side, and teach her to command its power. Such a mindset would appeal to her, I'm sure, and once lost to it, I fear I could never bring her back. Ndonsa would be the Jedi the Empire would have loved to catch instead of me. Their next Alexia, or Vissica. A beast with power they could call their tool and enforcer. She would be lost forever, and that pains me deeply.

    Wherever she is, whatever she's doing, I hope she is not losing herself. I pray she remains strong, secure, and understands that the Jedi want to help, that the Light Side is where she should be, and that she is loved.

  11. #11
    Dear Diary,

    The time is coming soon. I feel an urgency which has been absent before. Perhaps I've become too complacent in my role here, and I fear I may have started to believe some of the Empire's lies as I am forced to repeat them, and make them part of the character I have played for them so long.

    I am to be knighted; a proper ceremony and all that. Long have I wondered if I would make it this far, if my charade could hold long enough to save my neck, yet here I am. I have become Kyle Rayner, and find him easier to be with each passing day. I have obeyed the laws of the Empire while still upholding the spirit of peace, goodness, and fair play which I personally hold dear. Being knighted gives me opportunity for escape, yet I know I will be watched just as diligently as I have been so far, if not more so. As a knight, I will be given missions, and a ship. But what will these missions be, and can I perform them without the cost of innocent lives? They know I do not desire to kill, and I fear they will give me such missions until I am broken. My plan is not yet ready, so I silently weep for those I may be forced to inflict evil upon, until I may make my move for the greater good.

    The greater good. I call it that, yet I know what I seek are weapons for war. Weapons which will cost countless lives, and endanger all those I hold dear and would want to protect. But without those weapons, the Jedi will perish, for good this time. They do not want a war, the Council is against becoming a militant wing of the Alliance, but they do not know what I know. They don't understand the horror that the Empire can inflict through the Knights and knight cadets. The Jedi were not meant to be an army, but now they must be, for the sake of the galaxy. There will be no corner left to hide in, no walls which can shield them, no moral high ground which will spare their lives. War is coming, and I must deliver the weapons which will allow the side of good to stand strong. I must become more than a knight, I must become a general, capable of leading others into battle, and fighting tooth and claw to protect the innocent.

    Is this being a Jedi? Perhaps not. But I will be a Jedi while doing it, for that is the only life I know, anymore. It is all which time has left me with. A singular identity, delivered to the very place the Empire would keep from me. I will be hated, I will be vilified and hunted, yet I will deliver hope and inspiration that I pray will save this galaxy from perishing beneath the iron heel of the Empire.

    At least I hope I can do that. I hope I'm strong enough. I hope my cunning will see me through.

    There is far too much riding on this to consider my own ego, anymore.

  12. #12
    Dear Diary,

    Now is not the time to run. It has been a year since my knighting, and still I exist under perpetual surveillance. If I linger too long, I feel the cameras turning. If I speak to a cadet, just casual conversation, I can sense doors opening, and boots heading in my direction. The hopes that knighthood would bring me trust, and a level of authority were fruitless, much like my love life these last two years.

    I begin to question if it was even right to comply in the first place. To stand down instead of being fired upon may have been a mistake, and a mistake born of arrogance - arrogance and the ignorance that I could control my own destiny. For so long Iíve spurned the thought that Master Yoda could be right when he said at my assessment that he saw no future in me. What manner of future is this, after all? One of deception, constant lies, and only self-preservation as a daily goal?

    That is no future, and it is not the way of a Jedi. If I even am a Jedi, anymore.

    We speak of the Force, not as a path of harmony, and an encompassing bond, but as a weapon. We wield it in anger, our instructors either those who hunted Jedi, or who were Sith themselves. I have learned things, terrible things, and I have done so willingly with a hunger for yet even more.

    At the table of the power which is offered to me, I consume all that I can, and yet I feel I am starving. These things that I know are becoming easier with each passing day, and worse, I consider using them. They know I have grown, and that I have learned, but they possess no clue of what I am truly capable of. They would fear me if they knew the truth.

    And I fear myself, because I know that truth.

    My life should have ended over a century ago. This I have come to terms with, here. I now serve my purgatory behind the transparisteel walls of a gilded prison, able to see all which I cannot have, all which I cannot change, and knowing how far it is beyond my reach.

    It is ironic, however, just how little is beyond my reach, these days.

    Before, Iíd need to spend an hour in a light spacecraft to feel it out, to know its full properties through the force. An apartment building could take a day of effort, while a frigate could take a few days.

    I have had two years here to learn the complete structure, and life pattern of the Citadel - not to mention the years I spent here when it was still the Jedi Temple. There is nothing I do not know of this building, or what connects to it. I know its security protocols, how they route, its defenses, secure areas, and every exit, even those which the Empire does not know about. I know of the shield generator deep in the sub-basement, of the oxygen production mechanisms, the gas filtration networks. All of the secure doors. They say that the Citadel is impossible to assault, and impossible to destroy. Ten neutron bombs would not be enough. Theyíre right. But you would only need one of me.

    I know how to do it. I figured it out a year ago. I know how to level this whole accursed structure, taking every man, woman, and child with it, as it tumbles in a twisted mass of durasteel and chunks of duracrete down to the very heart of Coruscant itself, crashing all in its path. I know exactly how to do it. And Garfife help me, I am so tempted. So very tempted.

    In one day, I could level this factory of hate. I could stop the horror of the Imperial Knights from ever seeing its true power. I could save so many innocent lives, and perhaps even open a door for the Alliance to seize control.

    All it would take is eighteen lives. Perhaps nineteen, depending on age and will. Lives which would be lost anyway in the downfall of this hell. Lives which thrive on hate, themselves.

    But itís eighteen lives. Perhaps nineteen.

    Lives I would have to take, myself, through such perversion of the Force that I could never show my face again, should I survive. And if I were to perish in the act, I know that the Doorman would see me to the Pit for such evil.

    Surely there must be a way out of this which will not require death. That will not require bloodshed, or harm of any kind. There must be. There simply must be. I will search for another year if that is what it takes. The children brought here by force for this program do not deserve to die, and I fear my heart may not be strong enough to make me their judge, jury, and executioner when they are just as much a prisoner as myself.

    And so I wait. Either until the day where I find my opportunity for escape, or until they day they have succeeded in driving the light out of me until I am become Death. I pray for one, yet I have accepted my role should it come to the other.
    Last edited by Halajiin Rabeak; Jul 25th, 2022 at 03:46:28 PM.

  13. #13
    Dear Diary,

    I have had an idea. It's a dumb idea. A very dumb idea which could get me in a lot of trouble.

    Or, it could finally gain me some trust.

    Baastian Cain, good ol' Captain Coruscant himself, might be my ticket to freedom. Well, at least freedom from relentless surveillance - not to mention it could get the Empire spending all sorts of money and manpower on a wild nerf chase, too.

    He's a clone. He's got to be. I knew him back in the day. I knew him here, in the Order, as a Jedi, but this isn't the same Baastian. For one thing, the one I knew spelled his name Bastian. For another this one isn't the same one I met when arriving here. This one is a few months younger, maybe even a year younger than he ought to be. Trust me, I should know; I studied every square millimeter of that hunk from the moment I arrived. He was starting to get a wrinkle at the edge of his right eye, when I got here, and it slowly developed. Now it's been gone for a few months, and it's starting to come back. Subtle thing, but I've noticed it. So he's a clone, from a series of them. Oh, and he's got a bomb inside him, too. Probably should have led with that bit.

    The facility must be off-site, as I haven't found it here, and I've found everything. I even found how I'm going to broach the subject: a holophoto of me and him from back in the day. Well, me and the real Bastian, anyway. That took some digging, as it was buried deep, and wasn't marked with his dataset at all - or mine, I might add. I seriously had to go through thousands upon thousands of archived images from back then which hadn't been tagged in any way, other than date. Lucky me, I remembered when we had attended the knighting of a padawan, and recalled speaking to him at the event. It's not the best photo, but it's still clearly us.

    "Now, how does this help me?" I hear you ask, dear Diary. That's where things get tricky.

    I need to find a way to get the image to him indirectly, with a message. What message? "Who are we?" That's the message.

    He'll know that I know he's not who he says, and at the same time he'll begin to wonder about who I could possibly be. They've had no luck on tracking down Kyle Rayner, thanks to steadfast Nehantite Bureau of Records stonewall bureaucracy, and honestly my cover story has held up. This'll break that, but might help me out in the process, if he thinks I must also be a clone. How is he going to think I'm a clone? I'm going to straight up ask him, "Are we clones? How else is this possible?" With luck I'll get him to spill the beans on his backstory, and also get him to looking into who might have cloned me, and why. After all, who would clone Halajiin Rabeak? He didn't even get a full paragraph in the records, including the bit about how he went missing. Why that guy? Who could possibly want that guy?

    So I'll get tested thoroughly, and they'll come to the conclusion that I'm a flawless clone, since I won't have actual evidence of being cloned. But what other answer could there be? I mean, time travel doesn't exist, and we Nehantites don't exactly have long lifespans. So I've got to be a clone, and that means they need to figure out where I came from. This'll put a task force on researching me, and any cloning sites both from back then, and now. And bingo, lots of money, manpower, and effort spent chasing down nothing at all, all while I get trusted more by bringing this up to Baastian in the first place, as if I'm concerned for Imperial safety.

    Hey, it's worth a shot, right?

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