Tython Part 1
“Only a couple parsecs left.” Coram Londra said as he walked into the small room in the Alderaan shuttle that doubled as both the ship’s eating area and meeting room.
“Thanks for the update,” Jalen Tor grumbled.
Coram chuckled as he said “Still not excited about our trip to Tython?”
“I still can’t believe you talked me into this.” Jalen finished his bowl of Alderaan stew. “I feel awful, like my insides are going to burst open.”
“Well I am sorry the shuttle doesn’t come equipped with a full service bar, these diplomatic ships just aren’t made to enjoy the finer things in life.” Coram was definitely teasing his old friend to try and make him feel better.
“This is the first time I’ve used space travel in quite a long time,” Jalen replied as he looked around at his current surroundings, “My body isn’t used to the high speed and artificial air.”
“Once we arrive on Tython you should be all better then,” a large smile crossed Coram’s face.
“Except for the fact I will have to tell the Jedi council, which I abandoned all those years ago, why the washed up ex-Jedi they brought all the way to Tython has about as good a chance of helping them as one of their younglings. I’m sure that will be just a trivial matter; that is news I’m sure the council will take very well.” Jalen’s sarcasm bleached through his words, he clearly felt a great a deal of stress.
“I see your outlook of the situation is unchanged from our first conversation on the subject,” Coram responded in a concerned tone. “I think you should try and relax so you don’t feel so gloomy when we land.”
“Sounds like a good idea, I’m going to go find a quiet spot for a few hours, so that when we arrive I can actually function.” Jalen got up and slowly moved out of the room and down the ship’s corridor. He found a small empty cargo hold, went in, and sat down in the center of the room.
Jalen closed his eyes, steadied his breathing, and opened his mind; it had been a long time since he had truly meditated. He reached out to take in the happenings of the ship around him. He could hear the slight hum of the engine, the pilots’ small talk in the cockpit, and Coram humming as he ate. He blocked it all out and focused on the encounter in front of him. He had feared the prospect of meeting with the Jedi council long before the Jedi had spoken to him in the bar back on Alderaan.
As a former council member, Jalen understood the gravity of the duty that came with charting a course to keep the Republic safe. He had left the Order a few years before the attack on Coruscant and the subsequent treaty, and could only imagine the pain it must have caused those council members to lose so many compatriots and friends. Putting himself in their place he considered what they must have gone through the past 10 years. After the destruction of the temple the Jedi relocated to Tython, their ancestral home. With the loss of so many Jedi, they would have been stretched the breaking point. The Order must simultaneously try to enforce the Treaty of Coruscant, watchful that the Empire did not launch another surprise attack on the Republic, and rebuild the Order’s future to insure the long term survival of the Republic.
Thinking about what all he had missed since he left the Order brought on a strong feeling of guilt. Jalen lamented for what those on the Council had endured, and felt a large degree of responsibility for not being there when the council needed guidance and leadership the most. During the attack on Coruscant and the years following it Jalen was drinking his way through Alderaan. How would the council members treat him after all that had happened? Would they judge him? Would he be forced to relive the events that caused him to leave the Order?
Jalen suddenly realized that his heart was beating incredibly fast and he was having difficulty breathing. He opened his eyes and took a quick look around the cargo hold, and seeing nothing he tried to relax. He looked at his sweat soaked hands and realized that they were shaking. This did not bode well for encounter he faced with Jedi Council. If Jalen couldn’t handle thinking about what was going to happen then what would happen when he actually met the council face to face?
“Well old friend we just came out of hyperspace.” Coram had entered the cargo hold just as Jalen was finishing his meditation, and thus was unnoticed until he spoke. Jalen stood up, walked over, and gave Coram a firm smack on the back. “I’m going to pack up my stuff in the room then and meet you in the cockpit.” Coram managed to squeak out an “Ok” as Jalen left the cockpit.
Jalen found his neat room as he left it, with only a few effects left on his bed. He quickly stowed the items in the cloth satchel he had taken with him for the journey and slung it over his shoulder. He headed out of the room and down the short corridor to the cockpit where Coram and the shuttle pilot sat. Immediately his eyes were drawn to the blue and green sphere that was steadily increasing in size as their ship approached.
“Wow, Tython is the spitting image of Alderaan, just with more swirling clouds and slightly darker oceans,” Coram blurted out. This was the first time any of them had seen the planet and its aesthetic charm was not lost as they stared at it in silence for a few minutes until a voice can from the ships comms system “This is the Tython spaceport. Please transmit your transponder codes and state your purpose for travel.”
The pilot hit a series of buttons and then spoke into the comms system “This is the Alderaan shuttle bound for Tython with passengers who are due to meet with the Jedi Council.”
After a few seconds the voice replied “You are free to land, coordinates are being uploaded to your navigational system.” As they flew through the planet’s atmosphere they gazed out of the windows with the enthusiasm of much younger men. Jalen was already beginning to feel better about the trip. The ship rapidly descended at landed in the middle of a forest clearing which had been made into a docking bay area for the smaller shuttles.
The group left the cockpit and made their way to ship’s exit. As they walked off the exit ramp Jalen noticed that the female Jedi from the Alderaan bar was standing there to meet them. As Coram and Jalen walked up to her she said “Good to see you both again, and welcome to Tython. Please follow me.”
Alderaan Part 2
A knock on the door woke Jalen Tor from his dream. He had experienced this particular dream many times before; it ended with him standing over the body of his padawan after the Battle of Alderaan.
Jalen got to his feet with great difficulty and moved to his small wash basin where he splashed water on his face several times. Looking into the mirror he saw an image that 15 years ago he would not have imagined could be his face. The years since his departure from the Jedi order had not been kind to his appearance. The once dark brown hair had faded to gray and the skin on his face bore many wrinkles. His green eyes appeared to be bloodshot almost constantly and seemed to fear the light.
He sensed the presence at the door. It seemed to mean no harm, so he staggered a few paces into the parlor and opened the front door. A man, roughly Jalen’s age, stood tall with brilliant white hair, a short beard and bright blue eyes. The man wore a dark, navy blue tunic that was common among the Alderaan nobility. The man bore a kind smile and in his left hand he carried a bag.
“Good morning old friend,” the man announced in a cheerful melodious voice. “Would you enjoy a bite to eat, it’s almost time for lunch?” the man lifted the bag slightly.
Jalen nodded his head and the man strode inside and over to the table. Jalen closed the door, walked to the table, and collapsed into the chair opposite the man. “Coram Londra this is certainly a welcome surprise.” As the man unpacked the food Jalen inhaled a pleasant aroma. “You know how much I enjoy your wife’s cooking.”
“It’s funny you should mention surprises,” Coram replied. “I got a surprise visit from a young Jedi yesterday; a Jedi looking for you.”
“Oh, so that’s how she found me.” Jalen groaned as he began to ingest his lunch. “I was hoping that what happened last night was just in my drunken imagination.”
“Sorry about that old friend, but she really wanted to speak with you, and after working with Jedi all these years I knew that she could make me tell her the location of your favorite watering hole whether I wanted to or not.”
Coram Londra could not have been speaking more truthfully; he had served for over 25 years in Alderaan’s diplomatic corps, many of those serving in the Republic Senate interacting with the Jedi on a whole range of different issues. It was when Jalen was just beginning his time as a young Jedi knight that he met Coram and they formed the lasting friendship.
“Coram, both you and I know that I am of no use to the Jedi in my current state,” Jalen leaned his head back so he was looking at the ceiling and then brought it back to its previous position staring at his friend. “I am not the man I used to be; if there really is something out there that they truly fear I doubt I would even survive long enough to help.”
Coram’s face lost a little bit of its luster; it pained him to see his friend like this. “You know Jalen you don’t even know what they need because you didn’t even give the young Jedi the time to explain herself. You just got up and left without even hearing her out, not that it would have been a constructive discussion anyway in the state you were in last night.”
“How is it that you know what happened last night at the cantina?” Jalen replied with a hint of defensiveness.
“Because I got another visit from the Jedi this morning,” Coram responded, “She was concerned that last night was probably a bad time to meet you, and that your initial encounter with her may have dampened future prospects for productive discussions, so she gave me this to give to you.” Coram pulled a datapad from his tunic and set it on the table.
“Coram, you of all people in the galaxy know why I am no longer a Jedi and why I am here living like I am.” Jalen replied with fatigue seeping into every word.
“Jalen, this planet will be forever grateful for all that you have done and all that you have sacrificed to protect the people here from the tyranny of the Sith Empire.” Coram’s visage took on a very serious tone. “But as your friend, it is painful for me to sit here and watch you spend what time you have left wasting away in the local cantina.”
Jalen said nothing but stared back at his friend while thinking deeply about what he had just said.
“I will spare you the trouble of actually reading the pad.” Coram sensed that he may be getting through to the once powerful Jedi and read aloud from the datapad. “All it says is that the Jedi council on Tython requests your presence to discuss the suspected murder of several members of the Jedi order, who have been attempting to track Sith attempts to recover some powerful artifacts that were lost after the Republic attacked Korriban in the Great Hyperspace War many years ago.”
Jalen rose from his chair and walked slowly to the window looking out over Alderaan’s countryside. The beauty of Alderaan’s forests and mountains had always been comforting to Jalen in difficult times. His friend had made some good points that deserved careful consideration.
Coram broke the silence after a few minutes, “The council may just want to talk and ask you questions, you were after all an expert on the force and how it interacts with people in different ways. If you can stop Jedi from dying just by answering a few questions then I don’t think there is any harm in going to Tython and ascertaining the situation.”
Jalen Tor turned to face his friend and said in a quiet yet heavy tone, “I cannot stand idly by while those in the order are threatened by a danger they do not understand. I will go to the council and answer their questions, though I doubt it will do any good.”
For the first time since he arrived, Coram Londra was quiet. After a few moments Jalen said “How should I go by traveling there? I haven’t owned a ship in many years and I would prefer not to waste time waiting days for a scheduled shuttle to Tython if the situation is as dire as I am to understand.”
“I can take you in an Alderaan diplomatic shuttle tomorrow morning. I hear Tython is beautiful and have always wanted to see it. Anyways I figure you might want some company on the voyage.” Coram replied with a bit of enthusiasm, “The datapad has the navigational route on it so it should be a simple journey.”
The two finished eating their lunch with just a few remarks about the past and funny stories about the times when the two were younger. When the meal was over Jalen thanked his friend for the meal and the conversation, and the two set a time to meet.
After Coram had departed, Jalen walked into the bedroom to pack what belongings he had, including his lightsaber. After everything had been packed, he grabbed his cloak and took one last walk on Alderaan before he left. He walked into the wooded hills where he knelt beside an old grave. After several minutes he stood up and whispered some words into the breeze. He hadn’t found peace yet, but maybe he was finally on a path that might lead him there.
Setting: ~10 ATC Alderaan
“Imma ready for ma next drin’,” Jalen Tor sloppily ordered from the bartender.
“Man, that’s your eighth one tonight, maybe you should take it easy for a little while,” Alderaan Bar owner Yan Norvus suggested.
“I got nothin’ better to do with ma time so I see no reason ter stop,” Jalen replied, with a low disgruntled murmur.
Norvus shook his head and went to grab another glass. Jalen took a long look into his empty glass and then at the front of his cloak. It was covered in so many stains and dirt, that the once-bright insignias had become indistinguishable. His face had not been shaved in well over two weeks and its hairs smelled of cheap whiskey. He let his head hang low for a second.
As the bartender returned with his order, Jalen sensed a new presence enter the bar and slowly walk up behind him.
A female voice said from behind him “Jalen Tor?”
Jalen rotated his head slightly to look at her. A young woman, dressed in immaculate white and brown Jedi robes, stood tall with a lightsaber hung at her hip, partially concealed. Her beautiful brown hair pulled into a ponytail, hung well past her shoulders. Jalen returned his head to its previous position and pretended that she was speaking to the man seated beside him, and took another sip from his glass. The woman was clearly not fooled by this move and maneuvered to his right side, so she could better see his face.
“Jedi Master Jalen Tor…”
Jalen rotated his entire body and stared at her, “No one has called me that in a very long time, and I prayed I would never hear it again.”
The woman clearly had not expected this response, but did her best not to show it. “Master Jalen, I am Jedi Knight Tali’Zen, there is a serious matter I need to discuss with you.”
“Miss, I have two things ter say to ya.”Jalen waved his hand in a motion that would normally look like a person confronting a stranger, but in his inebriated state it looked more like he was trying to keep himself from falling off his stool.
“First, I left the Jedi order many years ago so you can leave that off the front’a ma name.” In an attempt to look less pitiful, Jalen straightened himself and said, “Whatever you have to discuss with me should be handled by someone who isn’t me, because they may actually be able to help you.”
The expression on Tali’Zen’s face went from disgust; with a hint of pity, to rather worried. “Master Jalen, this is of great importance to the fate of the galaxy, and you are the Jedi who best knows the perils of the new Sith danger we are facing.”
“I don’t believe that is anywhere near the truth, because I have not been a Jedi in over 15 years, and most of that time I have been studyin’ the perils of Mr. Norvus’s barstools.”
This statement seemed to give Jalen enough energy to stand up. Tali’Zen looked unnerved and moved her hand towards him, unsure of whether or not he would be able to support his own weight.
“Easy now missy, I’m getting up to leave on my own,” he turned to the bartender and waved, “Yan, I’ll see ya tomorrow; same time, same place.”
With that Jalen Tor stumbled toward the door and left. His walk home wasn’t long, but he moved at a snail’s pace after hard nights like this one.
Part of living on Alderaan was that there were always emotions to feel and the force flowed strong throughout the planet. He had loved this planet ever since the battle 20 years earlier when Jalen, Satele Shan, and a handful of Havoc squad defeated the empire’s invasion force, led by Darth Malgus. He played a vital role in putting Alderaan back together again after the damage done by the Sith attack.
This particular night gave him a lot to think about while he walked. What could possibly be so important to the Jedi order that they would send an envoy out to Alderaan to bring him back into the order? Having known conflict most of his life, except the last 15 years on Alderaan; he had no desire to return to life in the Jedi Order. Ever since the Sith had returned from deep space, he had been traveling the galaxy fighting in many of the largest battles. Even when he served on the Jedi Council, he often found himself on the front lines due to his intense connection with the Force and his ability to sense the emotions and thoughts of his enemies. That life had taken its toll and soon after the Battle of Alderaan he was overwhelmed by a hurricane of emotion, but one stood out above all others, guilt.
He reached his small home and walked to his bed; he checked the top drawer of the bed stand and made sure the hilt of his double bladed lightsaber was in its proper place. Jalen Tor fell onto the bed, closed his eyes, and passed out; hoping tonight’s encounter had just been a bad dream.