Knights of the New Republic

Q'Aelane Interlude

(Q’Aleane sits on her bed dressed only in her ooglith cloaker. In front of her is arrayed her communication device, lightsabers and the master holocron. She almost absently activates it and the image of Vegere appears.)

Q’Aleane:
Good evening, Vegere…. that reminds me… do you sense time passing?

Holocron:
Greetings, Q’aleane. No, not as you do. There is an internal chronometer that is part of the holocron, and whenever you activate it for interactions, I am aware of how much time has passed. But when the holocron is not actively engaged, there is no consciousness for myself, or any of the other imprints stored within.

Q’Aleane:
That must make for a rather surreal chain of consciousness. But that isn’t really why I wanted to talk to you. A lot has happened since we last talked and I need some help figuring it all out.

Holocron:
We do not truly HAVE consciousness, as you understand it, of course. We are only simulations. Very good simulations, certainly, and there is continuity of memory, but still, we are not truly alive. In any case, I am here to help. Tell me what has transpired.

Q’Aleane:
Well when last we spoke I think I was talking to you about Dathomir and trying to get up to speed on the politics and culture. When we arrived, the Jedi we were to help were in a neighboring clan. Later that night the Padawan came stumbling into town…

(She continues to recout the broad strokes of the last week, about the attacks, etc… not yet breaching the subject of the nightly excursion nor any information about the mental contact with Master Durach.)

… and so basically I have managed to do something that isn’t supposed to be doable and only started one civil war in the process.

Holocron:
Impressive, from what little I know of the Dathomiri culture. You seem to be doing well, especially without the assistance of a more experienced diplomat. I take it you believe Master Darach is still alive?

Q’Aleane:
Well that brings me to the complicated part. As if the whole thing isn’t complicated. The force on this planet is very very strange. And Master Darach is stuck in the middle of it and I am not sure what to make of it all. What do you know about Dathomiri Shaman?

(Q’Aleane fidgits a little as if distracted.)

Holocron:
Hmm. Very little. There is…some information contained within the Sith teachings that Vergere sealed away when she reprogramed this device. As I’ve said before, I am not permitted to release that data until there is a quorum of other imprints uploaded. I can tell you it is limited. The ancient Sith never knew of Dathomir, and even Palpatine had only limited contact with the denizens.

Q’Aleane:
Well… does it at least contain a primer on how the Dathomir view the force?

Holocron:
In part. The Emperor was collating a collection of key writings by powerful dark-side Force practictioners into a single volume. It was never completed, but it does include some writings by a Nightsister of Dathomir.

Q’Aleane:
Ok so you understand the basics of their world view. So basically a Shaman is someone who not only interacts with their spirit realm, but has walked in it and has been tested by the spirits that live there. They apparently come out extremely powerful, able to do things others cannot and have a few odd physical peculiarities. They speak with many voices at the same time when they talk, or at least the one our host knew about did, they seem to have a phantom wind around them at all times and something about green eyes.

(Q’Aleane pauses to collect her thoughts before continuing.)

Holocron:
Save for the green eyes, yes, these are all characteristics consistent with what is contained in Mother Talzin’s words. She makes no mention of eye color specifically in the partial text Palpatine acquired.

Q’Aleane:
And right now the Mother Talzin’s words are locked away right?

Holocron:
Yes. Her writings are included with all the other Sith teachings behind Vergere’s seal.

Q’Aleane:
That is awfully inconvenient, but there is little that can be done about it now. But it does remind me of another question, how much can you sense the force? I know there seems to be a mechanism for some form of sensory force input based on how you detect for lack of a better word personality archtypes and people and datacrons matching that archtype, how extensive is it?

Holocron:
Sharply limited. While active, I can detect the…color, if you will, of the Force auras in the holocron’s immediate vicinity. Upon request, again while active, I can reach out for the specifically keyed signature Vergere programmed in. But this is only effective, to my knowledge, towards other holocrons. And I cannot sense the existence of all holocrons, only those that match the predetermined signature range.

Q’Aleane:
Can you detect the force aura of the area you are in or objects, or is it just people and …. force imbued objects I guess…?

Holocron:
I can really only detect the strong concentrations consistent with Force-sensitives and holocrons. The sensors that are part of this device are not sensitive enough for ordinary life forms or ambient concentrations.

Q’Aleane:
Ok. You can at least sense what I do when drawing on our connection to detect holocrons right? Like if you reach out to detect that aura signature what do you sense right now?

Holocron:
I can only actually perceive anything while the holocron is active. However, much like my sense of time, when it is activated after you have drawn on the link you established with it, I am made aware of anything you may have sensed through the holocron. I presume you are asking about the diffuse sensation you have detected while on this world?

Q’Aleane:
Yes… Actually I wasn’t asking about it per se more referencing it, but now that you mention it do you have any idea what that is?

Holocron:
I…do not. It is an unexpected circumstance. I can only speculate as to what it might mean.

Q’Aleane:
Please do.

Holocron:
It…could be a holocron within the requisite signature range. Perhaps someone is attempting to conceal it, and doing so imperfectly? Vergere was not aware of anyone else having come to understand this particular aspect of holocrons when she reprogrammed this device, but it is possible.

It may also be an…exceptionally powerful Force adept. One powerful enough to seem to have a presence everywhere is nearly inconcievable, especially when considering that the detection of living Force auras is far more limited for the Master Holocron’s sensors. It is keyed primarily for the signatures emitted by other holocrons, which it can sense across a stellar distances, but detection of living auras is generally only possible in close proximity.

And it could also be something else, which my stored data has no referent for, but which my sensors can nevertheless detect. The nature of such a thing would, of course, be entirely beyond my ability to ascertain without much more information.

Q’Aleane:
Ok, actually the second one is a good reference point to go off of… Lets say as a mental exercise that what we see as Miraluka as colors and shapes correspond to particular signatures. Now I have spent a lot of time and have a knack for distinguishing the minutua of patterns in these signatures. Some times too much time. Now since arriving here the signature of the place has shifted. I had mental contact with Master Durach and the signature I sensed from his mind is echoed over the pattern all over this section of the planet. Let me back up a bit.

(Q’Aleane pauses for a bit to breathe and collect her thoughts again.)

Holocron:
My understanding of the perceptions of a Miraluka is only theoretical, I must warn you. Very few Jedi – and even fewer Sith – have learned to see the way your species does naturally. As fair warning, I am uncertain how much I will be able to help you in this comparison.

Q’Aleane:
That’s ok, I am using it more as a frame of reference and comparison to help you understand what I am sensing.

While chasing after the night sisters after the invasion, I was able to detect some gestalt manipulation they were doing to some of the local fauna. I was able to follow that thread in the patterns I saw around me and use it. Using it I was able to make contact with Master Durach. He seemed quite different than how he was described to me, he had glowing green eyes and was very powerful, far more powerful than any other master I had sensed. And that pattern I sensed from him is what the environment is shifting towards.

He was also able to choke me strongly enough at that distance that it left a mark. Which circles back around to the concept of the Shaman. Our hostess latched onto the stories of the shaman when I described to her what I sensed.

Holocron:
So you believe these new Nightsisters have somehow adapted the experience in their lore of becoming a shaman into some sort of binding or channel, and used it on Master Darach?

How does this relate to the diffuse sense of a gray holocron?

Q’Aleane:
It is a leap, sort of a gut feeling that the two are somehow related.

On the one hand we have a patern I have sensed from a person that is permating the local force so strongly that it can be detected everywhere.

On the other we have a signature from either a holocron or person that is somehow permating the local space so strongly that it is creating something of an interference pattern so to speak.

Holocron:
It is possible they are the same. You were not drawing on the holocron link at the time that Master Darach attacked you, so I cannot verify if the signatures match. And I am fairly sure that your senses cannot normally feel the aura of a holocron, so there is now way for you to empirically compare it.

However, did you not describe the aural shift of the Force of Dathomir as distinctly hostile? That is not consistent with a gray signature.

Q’Aleane:
That raises another possibility I need to look for… thank you… its possible that there is more than one of these repeating patterns/signatures and I am missing due to the noise of the other… but anyway I am getting a bit tangental.

Really the problem I am trying to relate is that I am having difficulty conceptualizing what could cause such an event and how to deal with it. In addition, well let me play this and then give you the context….

(Q’Aleane plays the full recording of her walk in the wild (so to speak), as well as the full recording of her recollecting of it… and then describes the events surrounding it.)

… Which is bothering me on several levels, not the least of which is that our hostess’ interpretation and the gut feeling I got when she was describing shaman was that I was walking in the spirit world and was tested by the spirits.

Which is curious on several levels not the least of which is what is what the Dathomir refer to as the spirit world. There seems to be an assumption among some Jedi that it is just how they perceive the force but I am starting to wonder if there isn’t more to it than that… that maybe something else is being expressed here that isn’t expressed elsewhere and that expression happens to be perceived through the force…. so yea, a bit confused.

Holocron:
Well, whatever it is you experienced, while it might have been loosely analogous to what a Dathomiri shaman endures, it doesn’t appear to be precisely consistent. And not least, of course, because you display none of the apparent physical side-effects of such an experience.

The first recording, the one created by your wrist computer, clearly shows that you were navigating the physical world. Mother Talzin seems to suggest that a shaman enters bodily into the spirit world, leaving the physical realm behind. It is surviving that sojourn, and bringing back a connection to that other realm, that the Nightsisters believe creates a shaman.

I am sorry to say this, but given the fairly significant disparity between what your device recorded and what you apparently experienced, the simplest explanation for this sequence of events is a psychotic break, not a shamanic journey into another plane of existence.

Q’Aleane:
That thought had occurred to me as well. Not the least reason of which being, definitely not a shaman. Although I feel different from the experience and in a few ways stronger, no earth shattering powers or the like.

I guess the question is how often to psychotic breaks manifest and then heal themselves? If it was a psychotic break it seems awfully strange that an actual rancor was involved and I didn’t get eaten… usually things like psychotic breaks cause a lack of focus making it difficult to manipulate the force to an end…. and yea, why am I not get wrenchingly insane right now.

Holocron:
Examples are indeed limited. Particularly with respect to Force-adepts suffering such episodes. Generally when it does happen it results in the subject falling to the Dark Side. Perhaps your earlier inability to directly remember the experience, or any of the events immediately preceding it, was a defense mechanism of your mind to wall off the damage. Do you now recall the experience directly, or do you only remember the hypnotic retelling?

Q’Aleane:
I remember parts of the experience. But not all of it. And perhaps my knoweldge of psychotic breaks is lacking, but how often do people who have undergone them maintain their sanity afterwards and perhaps more importantly retain the mental strength to do self hypnosis to recount the event?

Holocron:
It is not a field I have thoroughly studied, either, nor is there a great deal of data on it contained in the Sith lore within. But from what I understand psychotic breaks are not necessarily permanent. The sufferer can be…snapped back sometimes. Perhaps the death of the rancor you had gained control over precipitated such an event.

Q’Aleane:
Ok, well its definitely worth keeping that probability in mind, although I am not sure how to verify it without causing a further loss of sanity. … However that being said, the problem still remains, whatever happened to Master Durach how do we seek to understand and deal with it?

Holocron:
Indeed. I fear I can be of little direct assistance on that matter. I cannot share the little direct information I have on Nightsister practices with you. I can say that Mother Barukka’s theory is not contradicted by what I have under seal. That being said, neither is it confirmed – they could have done something else to Master Darach. It is even possible that they have simply found a way to possess him, as some Force users, and particularly the Dathomiri, do animals, and you were actually contacting a true shaman THROUGH Master Darach.

Q’Aleane:
Ok… well I think I have enough to think on and some external perspective on some of it. I just wish I knew what we were getting into.

Holocron:
As do I. You are not in an enviable position, I fear. If there is nothing further for now, may the Force be with you, Knight Ren.

Q’Aleane:
May the force be with you…

Q’Aleane shuts down the holocron and meditates on what was said for a short time.

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