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Private When Stars Collide 1x1 (private w/nx9100)


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 Lt. Cmd Shantra walked towards the Observation Lounge on Deck 3 (port side).  Two crewers tried to enter, but left quickly after seeing objects floating around.  They reported it to engineering, and since their guest's quarters were on that deck she figured she'd check it out personally.  

  Stepping out of the turbolift, she approached the lounge...and paused as a tricorder floated past her face.  Antennae twitching, she walked past, and near the windows she noticed Senotho sitting on the floor facing the windows.  Beyond one could see the other catamaran hull, with the bridge between them, stars streaking past in the background.  Studying him, she realized he appeared to be meditating.  Not wanting to disturb him, she slowly walked past to the far wall to inspect the room's gravity controls.  "Hmmmm," she muttered, tapping the screen, "everything looks normal...."

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“Commander Shantra.” Senotho spoke. His concentration unbroken. “I hope you’re well. I’m not in the way of anything am I?” His tone was even and polite even as he remained sitting, eyes closed. Clearly an advanced meditator if he was able to keep his trance without being distracted by conversation. Not to mention knowing it was Shantra just by the low tone of her voice. If that’s how he knew.

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His voice had startled her, and after a moment she regained her composer.  "Not at all, Master Senotho," she replied, still studying the controls.  "Just checking on a minor system glitch in the gravity controls."  As if to punctuate her statement, a coffee cup floated between them.  "I should be the one asking if you're having any difficulty with the gravity here.  Should have it cleared up in a few minutes."  She glared at the panel.  "As soon as I find the problem...that is...."

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As this conversation was going on, Jeeg walked by the lounge and saw Shantra and his master in deep meditation.

“No problem with the gravity here Lt. Commander. I can assure you of that.” Jeeg walked over and tried to silently urge the engineer away. “Jeeg. Glad to know you’re enjoying yourself.” He spoke, knowing Jeeg’s emotional state.

“Apologies for the intrusion Master Senotho.”

“It’s no intrusion. We’re all Star Fleet’s guests in their home as they are guests in ours. Though your respect for my concentration is appreciated. Commander, with all due respect, Jeeg will have to provide with the answers to your questions of what you’re seeing. I must concentrate.”

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Shantra looked between them, then shrugged and tapped the controls once more to return them to default status.  "Suit yourself," she said, "I can't find anything wrong here anyway.  But if it gets worse," she pointed at the ceiling, "just ask the computer to call me.  I can send someone over."  She plucked a tricorder from the air as it floated past, unfolded it and stepped back out into the corridor.  There, she started to scan around the area.  "Still a bit strange," she muttered to herself, "no gravity anomalies or power fluctuations...." She tapped away at the tricorder....

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“It’s not the gravity,” Jeeg said. “. . . It’s the Force.” Jeeg was one of the Antarian Rangers’ biggest proselytizers. With the Empire actively quashing the reputation of the Jedi as anything but traitors, it had become likewise easier for people to forget or be “made” to forget any knowledge of the Force. So Jeeg made it his job to pass on what Master Senotho had taught him. “The Force is everything created and uncreated. It’s life, the laws of nature, it is wisdom, and compassion. Those who truly understand it, train to join with it,” his head turned back towards the lounge and then back to her. “Can perform works with it.”

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He was met with a blank stare from Shantra.  "The 'force'?" she asked, antennae twitching.  "Never heard of it."  Her eyes drifted towards the lounge entrance.  "Some sort of telekinesis, I assume?  There are a few species that have those kind of abilities....but not many."  She scratched her chin.  "Can't think of anyone in Fleet that does, either.  There was an incident a hundred years ago with a small group of aliens....something Captain Kirk encountered, if I remember correctly."  She shrugged.  "But that's old history.  I guess its more common in this galaxy than ours..."

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“You misunderstand,” Jeeg said shaking his head. “What you’re seeing isn’t a gift of his kind, although his people are known to be quite connected to the Force. The Force is beyond any of us. A Jedi as trained as Master Senotho has unparalleled wisdom and skill because he can commune with it as few can.”

 

As Jeeg spoke Senotho’s consciousness floated away from the crude matter he inhabited. The Force was beyond such material. Next went his mind, the person who’s desires kept one from true wisdom. He felt the Force take him into itself like a leaf falling into a mighty river, taking him wherever he was meant to go.

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Shantra crossed her arms and gave him a skeptical look.  "You mean anyone here can develop powers like that?  No specific race or energy fields or anything?"  She frowned.  "That's something I've never heard of.  We may not have explored our entire galaxy yet, but I'm pretty sure there isn't a large race or group with abilities like that back home anywhere."

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Jeeg didn’t nod as it wasn’t exactly that. He explained it as best he could.

“For most, it takes a lifetime.” He looked at Senotho’s back in sadness. “There once were many like Master Senotho. Trained since childhood in the ways of the Force. They were the Jedi Knights, guardians of peace and justice, servants of the Republic. More than protectors of people’s lives and homes, they were our connection to something . . . beyond ourselves.”

Jeeg was trying to convey something to Shantra. Something that even those against the Empire mocked and dismissed, even hated and feared.

Meanwhile . . .

The Thirteenth Sister sat in her almost pitch black chambers in deep meditation. Or at least that’s what it looked like. In truth her mind was a storm that wouldn’t calm. A cylinder of carbonite slowly began to rise in front of her. She began to grimace, her teeth grinding. The cylinder shook and dipped before collapsing back to the ground as her eyes shot open. She growled and kicked the cylinder away, getting to her feet and pacing in frustration. 

Her door opened. There stood Moff Caprid.

“I requested seclusion.” She said. Her back to the Moff.

“A privilege your superior can ignore if they so choose.” She drew her lightsaber on him, the blade extending right up to his chin. The Moff was unmoved and unintimidated.

“I answer to Lord Vader.”

“As do I, at the Emperor’s discretion. Whom we all serve. While I do not fully trust your methods, I’ve exhausted all other avenues of finding that vessel. Something we both want.” The Inquisitor glared but didn’t protest as he was correct in their mutual interest. “Thus, I’ve brought you something that might aid you.” He stepped aside as three stormtroopers entered. One had a blaster aimed at a prisoner’s back, two carried said prisoner by the arms.

Torah. Master Senotho’s droid companion. He was dropped to his metallic knees on the floor. He looked up at the Inquisitor, her helmet opened with her face exposed.

“Yral Tel.” He said. She ignited the other end of her lightsaber and held it above his head.

“Silence droid!” She looked to the Moff. “This droid. He . . .”

“Is the personal droid of the Jedi. His confidante. Who knows his secrets.” The Inquisitor smiled at the Moff.

“I accept this gift.”

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Shantra frowned, antennae twitching.  "Sounds almost....religious," she said at last.  "'Guardians of peace and justice', we could sure use someone like that back home.  Maybe they could help end the war before it gets even worse..."

---------

Meanwhile, Captain Jellico was in his ready room just off the bridge reading various Star Fleet regulations and Federation laws, trying to get some clue as to how he should proceed in this new galaxy.  He was well aware of the Prime Directive, but still new interaction, possibly hostile, was unavoidable.  Giving up for the moment, he sat back and rotated his chair to view a model of an Excelsior-class starship sitting on the shelf.  "What would you do, Admiral?" he asked the model.  His uncle was a former captain of an Excelsior-class ship, and now serves as an admiral at command.  "They did attack us, but does that give me the right to get involved?"  He turned to star out the window, still pondering....

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Just as he spoke an communication was coming through, from Antar 4.

“This is Pendrew Layton attempting to contact the Righteous Indignation. Master Jedi, Captain Jellico, anyone, come in!”

> > > > > > > >

That same vision. The one from the Catacombs. The twin archers. One ornate and robed the other armored and stern. Their arrows meeting. He saw this same vision but its meaning still alluded him.

He saw himself. His body in relaxed meditation. Floating in the void. It was warped and hard to decipher though. Around him the Force warped and bended as it shouldn’t.

The warp drive!

He sat there, as space was wounded around him, but the vessel . . . wasn’t there.

It doesn’t exist in the Force. Or . . . they removed themselves from it!

Senotho’s mind came crashing back into him, it felt like he was dropped a great distance. The previously floating items likewise dropped to the floor. 

To be so hyper aware and then snap back to the limited senses was always jarring. Now though, the previously comfortable and luxurious surroundings seemed sterile and decedent. He pulled a small metal tube from his tunic.

“Rangers,” he spoke into it. “Drop what you’re doing and converge on my position.”

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The doors to the ready room slid closed behind him, as Jellico stepped onto the bridge.  "Report," he said.

Jenna stood from the center chair.  "The signal's not on one of our usual channels," she said.  "Luckily, Mr. Faron was monitoring all frequencies he could detect, as part of his study on this galaxy."

"Smart man," Jellico said with a smile.  "Let's hear it."  Jenna nodded at the ensign sitting at the ops station, who pressed a control.

“This is Pendrew Layton attempting to contact the Righteous Indignation. Master Jedi, Captain Jellico, anyone, come in!”

"Layton?" Jellico said in surprise.  "What could he want?"  Jenna shrugged, unable to offer any suggestions.  "Very well," Jellico sighed, "match the frequency and open a channel."  he caught Jenna's eye.  "And better notify Master Senotho."

"Aye, sir," she said, and headed to the turbolift.

 

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"Minister Layton, this is Captain Jellico.  What can I do for you?"

 

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“Captain! I can’t speak for long. They’re watching me.” Layton took a moment, looking behind him to make sure he wasn’t being observed. “The Antarian Rangers were attacked. Their base was raided. Master Senotho’s droid companion was taken to the Excursion, they’re going to get information out of him to find him and you.”

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Jellico waved a hand across his throat in a slashing motion.  The ops officer tapped the controls to mute the comm channel.  "Get Master Senotho up here on the double!" he ordered a security officer standing at the back of the bridge.  With a nod, the man entered the turbolift.  Jellico waved at the ops officer, who tapped the comm channel again. 

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"Message understood, Minister.  I'll tell Senotho.  Is there any other information you can give me?"

 

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The Minister sighed and was about to speak again.

"Minister. What are you doing at the console?" The Stormtrooper from behind asked. Layton panicked and fired his blaster behind him but missed wildly. His cover blown, he blasted the console so they couldn't trace the signal to the Righteous Indignation. The signal terminated violently, leaving the Minister's fate in question. It was only a second later that Master Senotho came in with his entire Rangers crew in close following although they had the decency to wait outside the office aside from Grid, loyally at the Jedi's side.

"You wanted to see me Captain?"

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Jellico looked at the ops officer.  "The channel's been cut off sir," the officer said, tapping at his controls.  "I'm not receiving any signal."  Just then, the turbolift doors opened, and Master Senotho and most of his party entered the bridge.  A moment later, the other turbolift also opened, revealing Jenna and the rest of the Rangers.

"You wanted to see me Captain?" Senotho asked.

"We just had a call from Minister Layton," Jellico told him while sitting in the captain's chair.  "The Rangers' base was attacked, and your droid was seized.  He said it was taken to that large ship we encountered, the Excursion I believe."  He frowned.  "The message was cut off at the source before he could say any more.  We're just a few minutes out from Arrgar, but how would you like to proceed?"

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“Oh Pendrew.” Immanuel said to himself.

“The Combs,” Jeeg said.

“The other Rangers,” Phi said as the two held hands.

“Lock it up!” Grid ordered. “This is exactly what we trained for. The Rangers will retreat to the fallback positions and wait for further orders.” He turned back to the Jedi. “It’s the clanker I’m worried about.”

“Agreed. Regardless of how strong Torah’s will is, a droid’s mind can be easily reached. Worse is he’s . . .” Senotho took stock of his company, especially the captain and seemed to become more guarded with his words. “Torah must be freed from the Excursion lest what he has fall into the hands of our true enemies.” He turned back to the Captain. “For now Captain, I suggest we resupply with haste. All the better to return you all home more quickly.”

When the starship could at least see Arrgaw, it was a planet orbited by massive rings. Only these rings were not of rock and ice, but metal. The rings orbiting the trade planet was where the major business transactions take place, while the surface was dedicated to industry.

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