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"Perfect Square Act II" Pt. 3


An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...

 

"That's why we're in deep space, doctor. Nothing much to rampage on," Kelly smirked before looking back to Laesa, "I can also brief you on what we know about Beta after her escape to get you the full picture. We have to to find the agent as soon as possible, in case they're finished with her or realize they have the wrong person and plan to execute her. But if you want to get some rest first, go ahead. We need you at your best for this as you're our only lead."


Laesa allowed herself a soft chuckle, glancing down to the floor briefly as she relaxed her posture once more before looking back up to Kelly, "I think I've rested for quite long enough, agent. Thank you though. As you say; time is of the essence here, so let us get to work"


"Dr. Silvestrie, send these logs to the computer terminal in my room," Kelly ordered before waving Laesa along. She climbed up ladder to the crew deck before taking the stairs down towards the lounge, giving their newly awakened visitor an unintended tour of the ship due to the layout of the vessel. Once they reached the entrance to Kelly's luxury chamber, she unlocked the door and waited for Laesa to enter first before walking in so the room was sealed behind her, leaving them in privacy. "All yours," Kelly smiled as she approached the terminal, pressing a few buttons on the terminal to pull up the logs.


"Thank you" Laesa smiled sweetly as she passed by Kelly to enter the room, "It's a beautiful ship, I can understand your pride in it" she continued as she found her way to the terminal and began studying the logs. The more she read, the more her body language slumped with disappointment until she finally pushed back from the console with a heavy sigh, "Well I appreciate you allowing me to see this - though part of me wishes you hadn't..." she scoffs lightly under her breath as she turns to face kelly, "How ironic that I should mention pride before..."


While Laesa read through the logs, she could also sense a faint pulse somewhere in the room, something connected to the Force but not quite alive. It was as if a memory or engram of a person was here, calling out to her with a quiet, distant voice... "I'm sorry, I should've realized how difficult these logs would be for you to read," apologized Kelly. "I was just thinking about the mission, and well...I hope it helps you in some-" "Ma'am?" ADIN's voice interrupted over the ship's communications. "Do you have a moment?" "This is not good timing ADIN," Kelly muttered but complied nonetheless as she glanced to Laesa. "I'll just be a second. Don't touch anything."


"Of course" Laesa bowed her head respectfully and watched as Kelly left. As the door closed once more behind her, Laesa looked around the room with an unsure curiosity about her - that sensation was still present. Having already read all she bare to face of the logs she opted to indulge her natural curiosity; she had just started to view the world through her own eyes after all, she felt she had a right - a responsibility - to learn of it. Standing up from the console she walked the room trying to focus in on the sensation. Though her hand idly glided across objects - tracing lines over them with an open palm - she stayed true to her word of not actually touching anything - I said I wouldn't touch, but I said nothing about feeling - eventually she allowed the Force to guide to her a relatively central spot - slightly off centre - where she knelt down. Folding her hands neatly in her lap as she focused on her breathing, Laesa began to meditate and reach out through the Force towards the unknown sensation.


The sensation seemed to be coming in the direction of Kelly's wardrobe. It was a calm and serene presence, and it indeed called to Laesa through the Force, but it did not tempt her. It simply...offered.


Opening her eyes and turning her focus on the source of the sensation, Laesa stood and approached the wardrobe - I know I agreed not to touch, but who am I to deny the will of the Force... surely it has led me here for some purpose....? - Approaching, she stood with a hand hovering over the wardrobe's lock - no, this is wrong... - she wanted to step away, she knew it was the right thing to do, but curiosity was a powerful temptation to a newly born clone with such an inquisitive mind - No... I will not betray her trust!


As her hand hovered over the wardrobe the hiss of a door sliding open could be heard, but it was not the wardrobe. The large entrance leading into the room had slid open and Kelly returned, wandering casually into the room. Her gaze immediately turned to Laesa as she examined the position of her visitor. "Curious about my clothing collection?" she smirked. "You're welcome to try some if you want, you know. Thanks for not barging in, you're always free to ask if you need more clothes, though."


Laesa turned back with a slight startle having been overly focused on the unusual sensation calling to her, "I... was curious, admittedly. And... now that you mention it; I suspect this default laboratory garb probably isn't the most inconspicuous attire one could wander the galaxy in now, is it. If you are sure it would not be an intrusion at all, perhaps I could find something more... appropriate?"


Kelly tapped the panel and the door to the wardrobe slid open to reveal a small room filled with rows of clothing. On the far wall, another panel allowed control of the rack systems, including the ability to part the garments in the centre to clear a path for easier access. This was also the trigger for the armoury hidden behind the collection of everyday clothes, but that function was not apparent. "Let me know if you find anything you like," Kelly took a step to the side of the door to let Laesa enter.


"You are too kind, agent" Laesa smiled, bowing her head to Kelly respectfully. As she looked back up to see inside the wardrobe her eyes grew wide with wonder as she took in the sight and stepped forwards in awe. Laesa took her time browsing through the seemingly endless collection of clothing, working from front to back as she pulled random garments catching her attention. Seeing the panel at the opposite end and figuring it's purpose for aiding the perusal of items she activated the panel - an impressed smile forming across her lips as she watched the racks part. Then she noticed the revealed hatch that led through to the armoury and looked back to Kelly with one brow raised inquisitively.


Laesa could sense that the presence calling to her was somewhere beyond the hatch... "Very observative," Kelly smiled, seemingly impressed with Laesa's discovery of the hidden compartment but could she know something about the mystery within...? "That's where I store all the...protective equipment. If we head into somewhere dangerous I'll supply you with something."


"Of course" Laesa smiled politely as she leaned away from the hatch, but she paused midway, "Though... I may be misinterpreting these new sensations the Force is flooding me with just now; but I feel it only right to tell you that I do sense... something, beyond this door..." She trailed off, glancing idly back towards the armoury hatch, "...I can not explain what it is, but there is definitely a disturbance in the Force on the other side of this hatch, and without knowing anything to the contrary then for all I know; that in itself is something dangerous."


"You can sense that?" Kelly gave another impressed smile, but shook her head. "It's nothing to be afraid of, unless you're one of those very traditional Sith. Or at least, I'm not aware that it poses any danger..."


"Truth be told I sensed it quite some time ago. But it is a very alien sensation to me - like nothing my genetic memory has prepared me for. It is true that the mitichlorian side of my heritage comes from a Sith, so perhaps that is why this sensation makes me feel uneasy... I prefer to think it simply as the unknown element that generates the discomfort. Still... if you say it is nothing to be afraid of, am I permitted know... to learn of it?"


"Go ahead, it hasn't proven to be of any use to me," Kelly led the way into the armoury, where the racks now contained blaster rifles and vibroblades instead of clothing. Several wearable pieces were still present around the room, all armoured or useful for personal protection in some manner. All this was ignored by Kelly as she made for one of the storage lockers attached to the wall, typing in a passcode and then bending over to line her eye with the lock, matching her retina to the one on record. Finally, with the press of a thumb to verify the fingerprint, a drawer slid open to reveal an apex-truncated square pyramid. It was clear that this was where the presence came from. The object was a holocron, similar to those of the Jedi it was six-sided, but not a cube; the triangular shape made it more similar to the devices crafted by the Sith when viewed from the side. It radiated of light, of calmness and of serenity, though not passiveness. There was great strength in it as well, and great emotion.


Laesa watched with an acute fascination the whole time; her eyes growing wider than before as the drawer slid open to reveal the holocron, "Where did you get that...?" she asked in an almost hushed tone, sounding as though she was humbled in it's presence. As she spoke she tentatively reached forward with

"That's a long story, one for another day I think," replied Kelly. "It doesn't do anything though, either it's broken or it's waiting for-" As Laesa reached out, the holocron began to illuminate until the smallest side on the very top folded open to reveal a circle of light. The entirety of the small armoury appeared brighter as it bathed in the glow, but it was not so intense that it was blinding to look at. In fact, there was no corresponding circle on the ceiling; it was as if the light had coalesced above the hexahedron. "Well, for you it seems," Kelly finished her sentence.

The light swirled around as it began to form a shape like that of a holoprojection. It quickly became distinguishable as a humanoid figure before more detailed features were sculpted as it dimmed slightly, making these features visible. Waves of light rippled over and over again across its surface, smoothing it out until it faded down to a faint aura that surrounded the miniature, three dimensional representation of a person. When it finally settled, the image was that of a woman, mature but not exactly elderly. She was wrapped in a long robe typical of the Jedi and sported greying hair kept at neck-height. The lines on her face spoke of a lifetime of experience, the furrowed brows gave her a confident and powerful gaze, but at the same time her visage could be seen as caring and loving.


"Hello," the voice that emanated was fine and elegant, and like the holocron that contained her, there was a strength that resonated from it as well, and a sureness uncharacteristic of Jedi. "I sense you are strong in the Force, yet pure. Not pure as the Order deems it, narrow-minded and stoic. You do not deny who you are nor try to be what you are not. You are untouched by the teachings of the Jedi or the corruption of the Sith, and that makes you valuable. To me, however, you are not a potential resource of the dark or a servant of the light, but one who can see the true nature of the Force."


"Allow me to introduce myself," the figure continued after a brief pause. "I was once Jedi Master and Sith apprentice, but more importantly, I was wife and mother. My name is Bastila Shan, and I will show you life as the Jedi and Sith can never comprehend."


Holding the holocron out, sat gently in the palm of both hands cupped beneath its form; Laesa watched and listened as the figure introduced herself, "This is quite remarkable. I... I do not know of these 'Jedi' and 'Sith' as you describe them, only that one called a Sith was used as the template for some of my genetics - I was only first awakened a short time ago." She paused and considered the representation in front of her, "But I do know the Force; it is in my genes and I suppose that my recently being awakened does make me pure of influence... for want of a better way to put it. You... you are a holocron, correct? I am... aware of such devices, I think... But I do not understand; you claim to value the fact that I am free of influence, yet you seek to influence me through your own teachings, if I understand correctly?" She glanced to Kelly with a look of slight perplexity in the vain hope of seeing some visual cue of guidance or reassurance as to what was happening.


"I seek to guide you," the holocron's avatar replied, "to provide you with the knowledge of the Force that I have obtained over my years. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. While I urge you not to use your powers carelessly, I am but an imprint of the one who created this device, and I can hold no influence over you, only warn you of potential dangers." "Maybe you could learn a thing or two from it," Kelly glanced back at Laesa. "But let's focus on the objective for now, the agent is running out of time. Once we have an idea of where to go, I'll let you play around with the holocron while we're on our way there."


"Of course" Laesa nodded as she glanced back over her shoulder to Kelly before addressing the avatar once again, "I am sorry but have very urgent business at this moment - we have to find the agents missing friend, and my sister - but I promise I will return and listen to your teachings"


"Very well," the projection of Bastila Shan nodded. "Remember that the Force has a will of its own. It may not always lead you to what you seek, but it will always lead you to what it desires you to find." The image condensed once again into an unrecognizable beam of light which was then extinguished as the top of the holocron folded into its dormant state. Pushing the drawer shut, Kelly locked away the device once more and led Laesa back into the main room of her private chambers. She motioned for her guest to take a seat in the chair beside the terminal as she began to give further information in addition to the logs displayed on the computer. "The Warden believes that the Republic may have played a role in your sister's escape. She took your identity because it was apparently more favourable to revive you than her. After that, there's been no word on her whereabouts, only rumours of activities that may have been related to her on places such as Tython. If the account of her escape is true, it's likely the Jedi know about her by now."


"Agreed" Laesa nodded, "As to her reasons for assuming my identity; my best guess would be that the whoever did help her escape viewed these logs - or was at least presumed to have done so - and they do not make favourable reading towards Beta's condition. This is why I mentioned about the ironic reference to pride earlier; I believe Beta's pride is her weakness - a sore point she feels so utterly bitter about that she could not bring herself to even go by her given identify; instead taking mine" She takes a deep breath and eases back into the chair some as she considers, "It would seem we have two options as for how to proceed; first, we can attempt to retrace Beta's steps and hope that leads us along the same path - but consider it is one she has a head start along counting in years. Alternatively, I... I think I can attempt to reach out to her through the Force, if I meditate on it enough" Looking up she turned her eyes to Kelly almost as though awaiting instructions, or permission to act.


"That's why we brought you along," Kelly gave her permission. "I'll have ADIN see if he can find any trace of where Beta went after leaving the Black Site, but if there was something I'd have imagined Intelligence would've picked it up long ago. We'll try as a backup measure in case we come across something, but I won't count on it, so go ahead and do your thing."


"Very well" Laesa nodded as she stood up from the chair and moved over towards the centre of the room. There she knelt and gently lay her hands palms up in her lap, "I do not know how long this will take... or if it will even work." she smiled up at Kelly, "I mean, I think I'm doing it right but this is all on pure instinct still." she closed her eyes and began taking deep and controlled breaths, "Rest assured; I will inform you immediately if I sense anything" Several hours passed on board the ship while Laesa meditated, leaving Kelly ample opportunity to investigate Beta's movement with ADIN. While this time does not yield anything conclusive for them, the additional insights gained after viewing the Black Site logs and learning more of Beta's motives through Laesa, they were able to place her first on Tython - linking her to reports of a corrupt padawan who manipulated her fellow students and tutors alike throughout a number of incidents. Their research also linked her to later activity on Coruscant, though this is still a long time prior to her present day activities. Back in Kelly's chambers, Laesa's continued meditation also yielded results as she was granted a vision; Laesa found herself walking through a dark forest. It was a deathly quiet night and difficult to see where she was going, but she pushed her way through the dense forest undergrowth with a steadfast determination - am I running away from something, or to something? - Seeing the thick forest canvas begin to thin out ahead, she increased her pace. Looking skyward as she cleared the forest she could see it was in fact daylight, but the dim light was almost faded to nothing within the dense forest. Now however she could clearly make out the distant bodies of twin suns sitting high overhead - the larger with a deep blueish hue while the smaller was a brilliant white. Looking further around the skyline she could see that this world on which she stood had a ring of asteroids around it, which cast an unusual linear band of shadowing across the distant landscape which was now visible - maybe that's why it seemed so dark before, I must have passed under that band of darkness before emerging into this light... - she cast her gaze down from the sky and over a large mountainous outcropping which jutted up from the landscape. She could not see the top but felt driven to climb; moving closer and circling around the base of the ominous structure, she found a discreet stairway which appeared to wind it's way up one side. Working her way slowly up the mountain staircase she felt like she circled the entire structure at least twice as she spiraled upwards until the path cut through a narrow valley in the rockface. It could almost be mistaken for a cave entrance, but she was near the top now and looking up, she could see that the narrow slit in the vertical rock face had no top - this must be it - palming her hands against either side of the rock wall as she ascended the final staircase she emerged on top of the mountain, or what she thought would be the top. Ahead she could see the rock continued to climb further skywards and hear distant waterfalls running down it's face, though it mattered not; for she had found what she had been driven towards. Looking straight ahead she found herself flanked by two large braziers burning brightly and in the distance ahead was an ancient structure built into the landscape. But something was drawing her focus back; she looked over her shoulder but could not see anything, yet she still felt like she could feel the presence of something unseen in her wake. Narrowing her eyes in focus back towards the structure, she could see a figure atop it's central peak; as she focused on the figure she saw two deep purple lightsabers power up - one in each of the figures hand - as the figure stood prone, staring back at Laesa as though taunting her, baiting her to come closer - Lizbeth...! - As the realization hit her, Laesa panicked and her eyes shot open. Sitting back in Kelly's chamber her chest heaved as she breathed heavily. Once she had regained her composure, Laesa calmly stood and exited the chamber to find Kelly back in the central area of the ship where she was still busy researching, "I have seen... something" she began. Sitting down with Kelly she proceeded to talk her through every detail of her vision before finishing, "...I do not know the significance - or purpose - of the place in my vision. Nor do I know where it is. I felt it prudent to let you know what I have learned so far, but now that I know the technique, I can attempt to meditate further and find out more if you wish it. Unless your research has yielded any results you would prefer to investigate first?"


Kelly shook her head, "Nothing conclusive as we expected, only a few bits confirming that she was with the Jedi. This world you saw though...ADIN, search for planets matching the following criteria: mountain ranges, surface forests and water, ringed, orbiting twin suns, possibly inhabited or formerly occupied."


"Right away ma'am" ADIN acknowledged before his holographic brain representation faded from the display projection. A few moments passed before he returned, "No exact matches in the Imperial records. Yavin Four matches the planetary conditions but is not ringed - it is technically a moon. I also have two unconfirmed possibilities which match the star configuration. All three possibilities are within our reach" Laesa watched Kelly consider her options, "I may be wrong, but the Jedi archives should include more detailed system mapping. Given that you m


"An operation on Tython will take weeks if not months to plan," ADIN discouraged. "While it could be a significant lead, it may be simpler to investigate the matching planets individually." "It's lucky that I've got an idea already, then," Kelly smirked. "And one that won't take long to execute either. I need information about ships en route to Tython. Supply freighters, Jedi, new initiate batches, anything and everything you can get."


"Yes ma'am" Adin responded once more before fading away as he gathered the data. It was not long before he reappeared along with a list of information which scrolled across a screen on the main console, "There is a regular scheduled supply shipment from Coruscant due to arrive in three days, I also have a transport carrying a group of Padawans from the Outer Rim which is presently en route and due to arrive tomorrow. Jedi movements are not so well documented and more intermittent" As ADIN delivered his findings, Laesa looked over the listed information, "According to this data; the supply ship is completely automated. If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, that would the less conspicuous option. Though it depends if you believe we can afford the delay or not" she said turning to Kelly.


"The cargo will certainly be easier to board and take over," Kelly agreed. "But we want it to attract attention, and if a group of Force-sensitive younglings isn't initiative for the Jedi to send a rescue, nothing is. ADIN, are there any fully trained Jedi aboard the transport, according to crew listings or postulating from previous such encounters with these vessels? And are there any droid crew on board?"


"According to the manifest; they are newly identified force-sensitives to begin training. No Jedi escort and no droids listed. Though most standard transports of this nature would at least have an astromech on board for maintanence" ADIN replied.


Kelly nodded, "We'll take the risk with the transport, then. Tell Yatuni to take us near Tython and intercept the ship once it's close enough that they won't send a rescue party from any other planet. Let me know when we're about to strike." She turned her attention to Laesa, "It's going to be a while before we reach Tython. Crew quarters are open if you need some rest. So are mine, actually, and there's also the holocron if you want to study it some more."


"I think I shall return my attention to the holocron." Laesa nodded. I have after slept for long enough already I think!" She added with a gentle smile. Her imited Imperial accent sounding much more natural now. She turned to find her way back to the armoury but paused and looked back to Kelly, "This strike you are planning; will you be wanting my assistance at all? Only if so I should probably focus my studies with the holocron on relevant aspects."


"If there are Jedi on board, between HK, ADIN and I, we should be able to take on them," Kelly replied. "There's an emergency blaster in the cockpit, Yatuni, our Weequay pilot, knows where it is but you're probably a better shot than him with your Force connection. If it comes to it we may need you to help protect the ship, but I don't think it'll be necessary. Study what you want to; I must admit I'm quite curious to see what's in that holocron as well, but if you want privacy or quiet, you'll have it."


"I believe it would be most fruitful if I were without distraction" she smiled sympathetically, not wanted to offend her host, "But I promise you I will tell you all about it afterwards" With that she headed back to find the holocron and begin her learning. The time passed peacefully until they came upon the transport, Yatuni called down to Kelly over the internal comms, "We found your transport, boss. Showtime!"


Quickly filling the last of her pouches with the selected equipment, Kelly left a few pieces on the table as she wrapped the belt around her waist. The accessory was worn solely for the purpose of storing extra tools and weapons as it was not needed to hold up her clothing.

A one-piece suit made from heavy duty steelcloth reinforced with military grade thermoweave around the torso to protect vital organs, the underarmour was already capable of decent protection on its own; indeed, Kelly occasionally opted to wear just this for situations that required more mobility or less conspicuous attire. Today, however, she wore the durasteel plating that covered her chest, legs and a part of her boots- they were a lighter grade than those used for heavy armours, but more than enough to stop a blaster bolt from hitting crucial areas of the body. Plastisteel pauldrons covered her shoulder, the flexible material offering limited additional defense for one of the most vital joints while still making it easy to move.


The lack of armour on the rest of the arm was amended by the two vambraces on either wrist, which appeared to be simple durasteel upon first glance. They did contain an amount of durasteel as well as ciridium, though most of the density was Mandalorian iron, a rare and extremely tough metal found in the Mandalore system and used by the warriors who originated there. The material was heavy (hence the arm being left relatively bare to lower the burden) but the reduced mobility was well worth the benefit, as Mandalorian iron was capable of withstanding blasters, vibroblades and even lightsabers. These bracers were a last resort against melee attacks, something Kelly was likely to come across should there be trained Jedi on board the transport.


On her back, Kelly carried a blaster with the same stock and stunner device as her sniper but meant for closer range engagements, as a sniper rifle would not be viable for combat aboard starships. It was still equipped with a scope and possessed a burst-fire option so it could be used accurately, but it was far from being as precise as her weapon of choice. Hooked onto her belt were additional armaments- a vibroblade and a personally modified D-406 Marksman Interceptor, a pistol favoured by the Imperial Army. In her hand she held an undone head-wrap, a rudimentary but effective method of masking her identity.


"I'll be there in a minute!" Kelly called back. "Engage once I give the command."


Stepping out of her room, she made her way to the round holoterminal in the centre of the lounge, "ADIN, broadcast the jamming signal and prepare for hard transfer."


"Done, ma'am," came the droid's reply. "I'm all ready to be disembodied again. You should really try it sometime, it's a great feeling."


"And this is where HK would join in with a comment about how bad 'meatbag' designs are," Kelly smirked as she retrieved the large datachip containing ADIN's core programming, causing the image of the brain to disappear from the display.


"Correction: Disembodiment is actually quite uncomfortable," HK-X1 indeed joined in, having heard the conversation from across the vessel. "Imagine being completely powerless, unable to move or touch anything around you. Oh, I do wish meatbags could experience it, but paralysis is an equally effective means of psychological torture."


"HK, you just...wait by the airlock," she instructed him. "There'll be plenty of people for you to disembody soon."


"I look forward to it, master."


Climbing first up the stairs to the crew deck, Kelly told Yatuni to begin their approach to the transport while she headed down the ladder into the engineering compartment. She bypassed the weapons and the engines, heading to the cargo bay where the stasis tank that contained Laesa still stood. Beside it were the various droid shells serving as bodies for ADIN, which HK had moved back into the storage room after the awakening of the subject. Choosing the Imperial battle droid model, Kelly inserted the chip into its head and its eyes flickered to life immediately.


"You take right and I'll take left?" ADIN asked, taking on the voice of the host body, but still bearing the distinguishable tone of its personality as a disguise was not currently necessary.


She nodded in response, "Aim to disable. Target engines and weapons first."


Kelly entered the gun well, slipping into the seat and setting her hands on the weapon controls. She shifted it around, moving the cannon back and forth to get comfortable with its size and bulk while she waited for her prey to come into her sights...


Between Yatuni's piloting and ADIN's vector mapping; they were easily able to catch the unremarkable transport unawares. It was only a small ship with no armaments so as soon as their engines were disabled they were sitting ducks. Shortly after Kelly's shot took out their engines, a general distress call was intercepted by Yatuni; apparently the transport pilot believed they had suffered a catastrophic engine failure rather than an attack and was signalling for aid from any nearby ships. The message also stated that the pilot was preparing an astromech to go out onto the hull and assess the damage. Of course they did not know that this signal was being jammed