JT leads the way down corridor after corridor to another meeting room that is next to where the criminals have holed up. Along the way, Tcho and the captain fill her in on what they know so far about who they are facing and what actions they have already taken aboard the Dame. The three of them enter the room cautiously, since only a fabric partition separates it from the adjoining room. It is made of a thick canvas material, one that can dull sound, but fortunately a vibroknife should be sufficient to get through it. JT can cut through many things, but she is not doing this job alone, so it is best to keep her hydrospanner extinguished.
JT and Tcho stick close together as they cross quietly to the divider. The captain comes along too—this is his ship they need to reclaim, after all—but he stays in the rear. The room shudders, and JT mutters, “I hope we’re not under attack.” Once they are at the partition, she presents her plan. “That room is under a lot of renovation. You’re only going to be able to see so much from down here. I can go up to the top. They’re not going to be looking ten meters up.”
“Yeah, but how loud is that jetpack?” Tcho asks. “When you had all your blue smoke coming out and were making a big show it was rather noisy. Can you run it in a less flashy fashion?”
“Can I or will I?” JT replies playfully.
Tcho takes the suggestion seriously. He does not really want to go in as a sneaky assassin, but if that is what the situation calls for, he will do it. After all, that is what Zann was training me to be, he reflects sourly. What he says to JT though is, “If you want to draw their attention while I go around and deal with people, we can do that…”
There is a hanging but in the air, suggesting a certain uneasiness with this plan. “Why don’t I see how quiet I can make it first,” JT offers. She starts fiddling with her helmet as well as the jetpack, mumbling, “I can turn off various sound systems. The speakers probably don’t need the reverb… Could turn on the baffle…” She ends up piping the sound back into her internal speakers, so that when she whispers, “Stay safe, citizen,” it comes back to her as a reassuring message. When she is all set, she borrows the captain’s vibroknife. Tcho has already slipped across the room to the opposite end of the partition. If she inadvertently draws attention, he will enter the other room at a different location than she does.
The room continues to shake a little unnervingly around her as JT launches herself upwards. The Blue Streak whacks into the ceiling and then levels out. Hovering is a lot harder than flying, though, and she needs to be steady to cut through the wall. JT grabs at one of the rafters. The Force can be her ally in these situations; Elaiza is always having her do workouts during their training sessions. It is harder to get in the zone though when dangling ten meters up and in the Blue Streak suit. Unable to find that meditative center, JT decides to just muscle through. She brachiates across the ceiling beams to a secure position near the partition, pleased to arrive without falling. I guess I didn’t need the Force for that after all, JT reflects. I’ve got to get better at judging that. I should not over-rely on it. The Force is my ally, not my crutch. Turning her attention to the task at hand, she slices through the fabric without trouble. When she peels it back, though, she is surprised by what she sees.
The well-lit and tall-ceilinged room is made of dark stone, with a raised dais of similar material in the middle. Winding walkways and platforms are scattered about, providing varied surfaces for combat training. The walls are decorated with banners emblazoned with Jedi symbols. On the dais stands Val Isa clad in the brown robes that JT found in a wrecked and battle-scarred version of this room two years ago. The elderly human woman, calmer than Elaiza normally presents, has her arms folded in her sleeves and is talking with several other sentients in similar attire, though their demeanors vary.
“We don’t like you talking with our padawans behind our backs,” a Nautolan says. “Our padawans will not be joining you on the Sanctuary. There is a war going on, and we need to restore peace and order to this galaxy.”
Ah, right, Val Isa was taking the Sanctuary to be a medical haven, JT recalls. She does not know much about the time period of the Mandalorian Wars, but she remembers that much from her experiences with Val Isa’s talisman.
Another Jedi speaks up, a Bothan who claims that he has foreseen what is to come. “I sought counsel from the Force, and it has guided my vision. The Jedi are the only thing that can bring peace to the galaxy. We have to fight if we want that peace to come.”
I bet that’s not what the vision was! JT thinks. Her friend Cal has had some crazy visions over the past couple years, and none of them were ever straightforward.
Val Isa cautions the group, “The Force provides us with our abilities and trusts us to use them in the ways that we see fit. We have to hold to a moral compass when we interpret the will of the Force; we cannot push responsibility for decision-making off onto it. When we try to use the Force as a divining rod, we do it from a place of fear. We’re afraid of the future; we want something else to make the decision for us. That road leads to a dark place. It is one thing to try to determine the will of the Force from what is around us, the movements of the universe. But it is another thing to give into the fear of pain and loss. That is what prompts your actions: fear of pain and loss. Remember the code! Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force.”
Elaiza is going to be so pissed to hear that! JT thinks, eyes wide with shock. Her mentor—though not exactly a model of peaceful lack of emotion—is adamant that the only way to meditate is the version of the Jedi code that she teaches: There is no emotion; there is peace. There is no ignorance; there is knowledge. There is no passion; there is serenity. There is no chaos; there is harmony. There is no death; there is only the Force.
The Bothan Jedi spins away from Val Isa to frustratedly stride from the room. His cape floats up blocking JT’s sight. When it settles back down, the vision is over, and the actual adjacent room reveals itself. JT mulls over her recent experience, trying to draw meaning from it. The Force is a guide, but it doesn’t tell you what to do. The Force can give you hints, but it does not give you answers. And if you demand something of the Force, you will get more than you bargained for. Right! So, use the tools that I have, that have been given to me. What do I see in this room?