Thanks to blaze1992 for some quests concepts and spitballing ideas.
To theshadowchaser and vargos for help with SW related issues
To WarriorsCre3d for creating a custom image for the story.
And theshadowchaser for betaing the chapter.
I felt the galactic liner we were travelling on come out of hyperspace with a gentle shudder and looked out the window at the stream of ships moving passed us as they headed to and from the Republic capital.
I was meant to have returned with Master Fay during the sixth month, but a crisis on the planet Omman Minor had taken longer than expected and we were returning to the Temple – so I could spend training time with Master Dooku – two months later than planned.
"Cameron," I turned as Fay entered our shared quarters and spoke. "We are needed in the hanger. A Republic cruiser in inbound to meet us."
"Has something happened?" I asked as I stood, made sure all my obvious things were in up my backpack and slung it over my shoulder.
The backpack contained a change of clothes for both of us and a few fruits from the ships' cafeteria. Another bag in my inventory held some of the food I had taken from the temple before we had left, which was still fresh. This exposed a major flaw in the Inventory system, but one I was not going to ignore as I had two more bags that were just able to fill a single slot full of more food.
I doubted I would ever need all that food, but with currently having twenty-six slots in my inventory – and more to come as I grew stronger – devoting some of the slots to emergency supplies was only prudent. A fourth slot contained another bag full of common electronic components and two spare communicators.
"Not that I am aware of, but I believe we will be leaving on the cruiser," Fay said we left the quarters.
As we walked through the corridors of the ship towards the hanger, I considered how the last few months had gone.
Our first stop after Coruscant had been Dantooine; I'd seen a ship heading there when we had arrived at the capital's spaceport and wanted to see if the old Jedi Temple where Revan had re-studied was still there.
It hadn't been, but the interface gave me a quest to re-discover the crystal cave before we left the planet, which I had done. Inside I'd discovered a half-dozen lightsaber crystals and a dozen Kinrath; just like in KOTOR.
Completing that quest and killing the Kinrath without using my lightsaber – Fay's idea of Force training – had helped me get to level 12.
A few more trips around the galaxy, one to Ryloth to deal with slavers – which had meant another quest and more combat XP, and maxing out the Force Power Cloak – took place before we ended up on Omman Minor.
About a week after arriving, I'd finished both lightsaber related quests, and the first bonus for each, which took me to level 13.
I now had three lightsaber quests; Expert Swordsman, Expert Defender and Legendary Duellist. The two expert quests were until my tenth birthday and offered 1500XP each as a base. That was half of what Expert Duellist had offered, but I had months to complete them compared to just the one I'd had for Expert Duellist. An exploit I planned to use the once those quests were finished.
Legendary Duellist was to get Makashi to Prodigy 1 by my eleventh birthday for 3000XP and had four bonuses attached to it. Given the difficulty and time needed to get to Savant 1, I suspected that getting it to Prodigy 1 in six months would've been extremely difficult so, having until my eleventh birthday was safer. Also, based on past quests, and after re-reading the help about skill strata, I was working on the assumption that the extra bonuses were to cover the skill up to where I maxed it out.
I'd taken the perk Eidetic Memory at level 12, but it had been more intensive than I had expected. I'd been unconscious for three days as my mind dealt with me recalling everything I had ever seen or learnt in my previous life and minor details in my new one.
Fay had been extremely worried about me collapsing and being unconscious for so long, but I had managed to reassure her that I'd been meditating on the Force before receiving glimpses of the future. To help with that, I had given her a few hints of what I had seen in my 'visions'.
I vaguely described events from the cartoon and prequel movies, and I'd been surprised when she said she'd also seen similar hints of an oncoming storm. She had also told me that just before I arrived in this time, the Force had screamed in pain and darkness had fallen over the Force. A vision she had not long after that happened was what had drawn her back to the Temple, and me.
Eidetic Memory was… strange. Having a now perfect recall of what I knew from my old life took some getting used to. The moment I thought about certain people, either real or fictional, I could instantly remember everything I'd seen, read or heard about them. I could also vividly remember every moment I had spent with them, which was unsettling at first, but I had learnt how to control the perk activating to avoid sensory overloads.
Thanks to the perk, I now saw a possible way to make money. If I could find a place to publish stories or sell movie scripts, I should be able to earn a decent amount of money to help fund future start-ups. And there was no issue with copyright as those stories/movies/songs didn't exist here.
Though I wished I couldn't remember every word of certain songs like 'Barbie Girl' or anything by the Spice Girls.
The most useful part of Eidetic Memory was that I could now remember everyone and everything that I had learnt about Star Wars. This had expanded my list of people that needed to be handled, but I had only taken one quest so far relating to those people.
Sister of the Night was an A-rated quest to stop Asajj Ventress from joining the Separatists. However, what had stopped me from quickly adding similar quests for other people were the options given for dealing with Ventress.
I could just kill her, which offered the lowest amount of XP reward, even when factoring the XP from combat, or I could convince her to remain with the Jedi until the beginning of the Clone Wars. But what had caught my eye, and was not something I had considered before, was the option to convince her to join me in a new faction.
Sure, I had contemplated the idea a little when drawing up my lists for the future, but I hadn't given it much thought until that option was stated in the quest. Seeing it listed as an option alongside the other objectives had somehow legitimized the idea in my head from a vague notion, into the beginnings of an actual plan.
Now, I was giving serious consideration to creating a third faction; but where to start and who to recruit?
"Lost in thought again?" Fay asked, drawing me out of my reminiscing and I looked up to see her smiling down at me.
"Sorry. Just thinking about some new songs," I replied with a half-truth.
She laughed softly, drawing the attention of most people in the corridor, and ruffled my hair.
"Then I look forward to hearing them." She stated, making me smile.
One of the more unexpected things I had discovered was that I could level up singing by doing so while showering, which I had only started doing on Dantooine when our quarters had a water shower. It made sense when I thought about it, but it was unexpected.
Fay had enjoyed hearing me 'create' new songs every few weeks; though I avoided singing any love song as I was far too young – physically – to be thinking about such things.
I'd also started cooking and cleaning every day to level up those skills.
I doubted they would be useful in my future, but every skill level helped as I gained an extra stat point with two thousand overall levels, and I currently had over eight thousand.
As we entered the hanger, I saw a shuttle painted in the red of the Republic come to a stop and the ramp lower as we approached.
"Master Dooku, to what do we owe your visit?" Fay asked as her fellow Jedi Master stepped out of the shuttle.
"The High Council have an assignment, for Cameron only." He said with a creased brow as he looked down at me.
"He is being assigned alone?" Fay queried as I wondered just what the council wished for me to do; and why Dooku was so unhappy about it.
"I have been assigned as his watcher, but this is an assignment where Cameron's young age is beneficial."
Fay sighed before turning to face me. "Come Cameron. Let us see what the Council wish for you to do. Though do remember that you do not have to take the mission if you do not wish to."
Dooku's brow smoothed a touch and his lip twitched at her words and I wondered if both Jedi Masters were less than happy about taking missions from the High Council as we boarded the shuttle.
We boarded the shuttle and it gently lifted off from the landing pad. As we exited the hanger, I glanced out of the window – and while a window in a starship was awesome, it also seemed like an obvious target – and noted the Republic cruiser we were heading for was aimed away from the planet.
It was the same type of ship as would be used by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan during the Naboo crisis and was decked out in the Republic red like the shuttle. My Eidetic Memory kicked in and informed me that this was, in fact, a Consular-class cruiser, of the kind typically used by Republic diplomats.
"May I ask as to what the delay was on Omman Minor?"
Fay sighed and shook her head. "The Trade Federation felt it was acceptable to change its negotiators every few weeks. While the traders and miners on the planet were clear in how far they were willing to go, and the local government was set it what it needed, the Federation seemed intent on dragging out the talks for as long as possible."
"It is a common tactic of corporations. They hope by drawing out a negotiation where they stand to lose, hoping to find a way to alter the outcome in their favour. Was that the case this time?"
Here Fay smiled and glanced my way. "No. Cameron here was able to, ah, borrow, a datapad and used it to access their computer systems. The files he found forced the Federation to acquiesce to the demands of the traders and miners."
I shrugged as Dooku fixed me with a gaze. "It's not my fault they left the pad lying around, nor that they didn't bother to install basic security on it to prevent anyone accessing their systems," I said with a smirk.
That wasn't the full story, as I had hacked through the pad's security in a few minutes. A browse of the more recent files accessed on it showed me that someone in the Trade Federation had attempted to kidnap the Prime Minister's children.
Having that come up in the talks had destroyed their position and earned Fay and I the gratitude of the other parties.
"Hmm. While it is not the way many Jedi would attempt to help proceedings, it was effective." He said to me slowly in his formal, clipped tone. "I would suggest that you avoid mentioning the exact details of how you found the information if asked by anyone else."
I nodded in acceptance. Clearly, he suspected that I had done more than said, but wasn't going to call me out on it.
The rest of the trip to the cruiser passed quickly as Fay and Dooku talked about what had happened with our exploring and his time at the Temple. I did note that he had a few more Initiates and Padawans training in the basics of Makashi, however, he did not sound impressed with most of them.
The shuttle docked with the cruiser and we walked quickly to the bridge where a holo-table was active.
"Ah. Good to see you once more it is, Master Fay, Padawan Shan," Yoda said from the hologram. Beside him stood Master Giiett.
"Likewise, Master Yoda, Master Giiett," Fay replied with a small bow which I copied. "What is this assignment you have for our Padawan?"
"Over the last year, a little shy of three dozen children of high-ranking members of the Republic have been kidnapped," Giiett explained slowly. "Some have been returned, ransomed or rescued, others have not, and the ones that were saved were, affected by their ordeal.
"Senate security and Coruscant police are doing what they can, but they are failing to find any leads and the Chancellor has asked if we could insert Padawans at schools that seem to be at the epicentre of this problem," Giiett explained, his brow having lowered when he spoke of those that returned from their kidnapping.
"Am I to assume that the children taken are around Cameron's age?"
Yoda's brow rose. I assumed it was at hearing Fay refer to me by my given name and not title within the Order. She had dropped my title the moment we had left Coruscant saying that as we would be spending so much time together, it was better to keep things informal unless needed.
"Yes. No older than thirteen cycles, no child taken has been. The youngest Padawan in the Order, Padawan Shan is. However, assigned to the mission alone he is not."
"We've already inserted four Padawans with another three, plus Padawan Shan, due to be inserted in the next week," Giiett added, trying to allay the concern that was creeping onto Fay's face. "However, all of them are at the upper range of the age group that has been kidnapped. Cameron here is the only one who is the same age as most kidnapped children."
"How would I be inserted into a school?" I asked, figuring that there was a high chance I will take the mission. It would give me time away from Jedi scrutiny. Time that I could use to being planning which events and people I needed to target to alter events to my benefit.
"Just having a bunch of new kids appear in a school would alert the kidnappers; as would any of us turning up in Jedi robes," I added, explaining my reasoning.
Giiett gave a wide smile. "I was certain you would be a good choice for this assignment." He said before glancing at Yoda. "Each Padawan is being assigned as a child, or relative, of certain individuals in power. These people are friends of the Jedi and trustworthy, and each has contacts with members of our Order. Master Dooku here is friends with the Senator we wish to place you with."
Dooku gave the slightest of nods at this, and since he was staying quiet, I suspected he had already been given the details of the operation. Though the crease in his brow that had been there aboard the liner was still present, suggesting a dislike for something about the mission.
"How long would the assignment last and what will happen with regards to his Jedi training?" Fey queried.
"We expect the assignment will take no longer than a year but hope it to be concluded within half that time. Arrangements have also been made for the Padawans to train in the evening at their temporary residences."
"An opinion on this assignment, you have, Padawan?" Yoda asked, having been watching me carefully as Fay had spoken with Giiett.
"Yes, sir. I think I am ok with doing this. However, I want to see all the files related to it. I'd like extensive files about the former victims and anything those saved or rescued have given to the police. And I'd also like to know what my cover will be."
Saying all that likely risked revealing I was far, far smarter than any of them – save Fay who I had spent the last eight months with – expected. However, there was no way I was going to walk into something like this missing information. Doing that had been drilled into me in my past life as how to get yourself killed.
Giiett's smile grew. "Master Dooku had already requested everything the Senate and Police have on the matter, but it is encouraging to hear one so young realise that what you don't know can get you into trouble."
I glanced at Dooku, whose brow had eased a little, and he gave me a small nod and the slightest of smiles, before turning back to the two council members.
"Very well, then. Provided that both my masters are ok with this, I accept." I said, spotting that a new quest alert notice had appeared in my log. It was nice to see that if I was given a mission by the High Council, it would generate a related quest if I accepted the mission. Otherwise, I felt I would be missing out on XP.
Fay and Dooku shared a glance. One that again suggested to me that Jedi had a way to communicate telepathically.
"Very well," Fay stated with a sigh and a frown of her own. "However, I request that Cameron is given an emergency beacon. There is no way for us to be certain how this will go, and I will not risk my Padawan without giving him the best chance to survive."
Giiett nodded and looked directly at Fay. "I understand your concerns, Master Fay. I have already made certain all Padawans assigned are given such beacons. Also, my Padawan is the eldest assigned to the mission and will be in the same school as Cameron."
"Thank you Master Giiett. Is anything else?" Fay asked, her face now relaxed back to its usual setting of serene calmness.
"Discussed here, nothing else needs to be," Yoda replied. "Hope you will stay in the Temple, for now, I do."
Fay closed the channel and then to Dooku.
"Senator Palpatine of Naboo," Dooku replied and I felt my heart sink. I activated Player's Mind with a thought to avoid either Jedi Master picking up on my distress as I realised that I was going to have to potentially spend a year in the presence of the future Emperor.
I could have used Empathic Shield, which was a power taught to me by Fay on Omman Minor that let me block my emotions from beings that could sense them. However, the power was only at Adept 75 and would only block my emotions from beings with Wisdom of less than fifteen. Given that mine was at thirteen, it was safe to assume that the Jedi Masters were all much wiser than that. Though I did wonder if there was a way for me to see stats for other beings. Perhaps a future perk would enhance Examine to allow this.
As my two masters moved away from me to talk, I wondered if this whole situation was drawn up by Sidious and his master to get close to me, to examine if I was the Chosen One. I had no idea who was Sidious' master. I knew it was someone called Darth Plagueis, as that had been confirmed in the series finale of The Clone Wars cartoon, but the problem was that Plagueis was the title given to him by his master. There was no way of telling what his real identity was at this point.
"Cameron?" I turned at hearing my name and saw the two Jedi Masters looking at me. "Is something the matter?"
"I was thinking about why someone would kidnap children," I replied, covering my reason for being lost in my thoughts with a half-truth.
"Sadly, there are many in the galaxy that would exploit any weakness for power," Fay replied with a sigh.
"That is true. However, this case is most peculiar," Dooku countered. "The children taken are all Human or near-Human, and most have been between one-thirty and one-fifty centimetres in height. They also have had brown or black hair. While some girls have been taken, most of the kidnapped have been male with short hair."
I frowned as that fit a very vague description of me. I was currently one-forty-five in height and had short, brown hair; though mine had a gentle wave to it that Fay enjoyed ruffling.
"Cameron certainly fits that criteria," Fay said, mirroring my thoughts. "What else have you discovered from the files?"
Dooku bowed a touch while extending his arm towards a nearby table. "There are a few things that I think are interesting. Perhaps we should all peruse them together?"
We settled down around the table as Dooku worked the console for the holographic display and began to discuss the mission.
I watched as the cruiser that had collected me when I had last been in-system began its descent into the clouds of Coruscant and wondered for the umpteenth time if I was walking into a trap.
I had travelled with Fay and Dooku to Naboo on the cruiser and stayed there for a few days as guests of King Veruna; the current ruler of Naboo. The king was aware of my mission and arranged for me to be 'discovered' in the village near another city where my 'parents' had died in a farming accident.
A routine blood check for relatives had shown a link to House Palpatine and I was brought to the palace to meet the King and Dooku; who would escort me to Coruscant to meet my long-lost uncle.
The time on Naboo had been boring but getting in several hours of training with Dooku each day for the trip was useful as it lifted my Makashi skill to Savant 49. I planned to spend my time at Palpatine's just levelling up Shii-Cho and Soresu so long as Dooku wasn't present as it was a perfect time to train those up without worrying about being seen by Jedi masters.
Additionally, Soresu was more defensive in nature and I suspected that Palpatine would look down on it, which I could use to remove some of his interest in me or exploit to increase it. I still wasn't certain about how to play this, but I knew that both he and his master were watching me. I just needed them to not be too interested as I had no desire to join them or have Maul come after me before I was ready.
I was thinking about taking out the Zabrak Sith before the Invasion of Naboo, but nothing concrete or in the form of a quest yet.
"Padawan, are you prepared?" Dooku asked as he stepped beside me.
"Yes, sir," I replied as I unclipped my lightsaber and handed it to him. I couldn't take it with me, but Dooku would return it to me in a few days when he came to check on how I was settling in with my 'uncle'.
Dooku slid my lightsaber into his robes, making sure it wasn't as visible as his own, before turning to watch our descent.
"This mission is dangerous Padawan, but it does have a few benefits. You will be able to observe how the Galactic Senate works. Also, you have the chance to learn from one of the few Senators I feel has the interests of the people at heart and not their own personal greed."
"I am not sure Master Fay would be so keen on me learning about the Senate," I replied. This earned me a single chuckle from Dooku.
"Yes. Master Fay has an even lower opinion of the Senate, and most of the planet, than I do. Still, even she agreed that being able to watch how the Senate works would help you see some of the issues facing the Republic."
I nodded and silently wondered where Fay was. She had left the cruiser discreetly once we had landed on Naboo and would go back to following the will of the Force until the mission was completed and Dooku contacted her.
I had gotten very used to be around the elf-like alien and not seeing her smile, or hearing her gentle laughter was strange.
"You remember your role?" he asked, and I nodded.
"Cameron Shan. Born one, fifteen, nine-five-one ARR in a village on the outskirts of Keren. When my parents died, a blood test showed I was related to House Palpatine, so I'm being brought to Coruscant to meet my uncle." I replied without any real care as this was the three-hundredth and eighty-seventh time Dooku had probed me on the basic details. Eidetic Memory had its drawbacks.
"Try to be more convincing when asked about your past by your new teachers and fellow students," Dooku warned, though he failed to comment on how uninterested I was in repeating the details to him.
"Master Dooku, we will be arriving at the landing pad in a few minutes." A crewmember stated as he appeared behind us in the doorway. "The Captain says to use the hatch three to exit."
We moved quickly to the hatch and felt the ship come to a stop with a gentle thud as it touched down.
"Stay behind me and remember to look in awe. This is your first time on Coruscant."
"Yes sir," I replied as the hatch opened quickly with a hiss.
I followed Dooku out, taking an apparent tentative step out, only to stop and gaze up at the buildings that surrounded the landing site.
Honestly, I had expected us to land on a platform like the one seen at the beginning of Episode II, but we had, in fact, landed somewhere near the Senate, as the large, mushroom-like building dominated my sight. It wasn't hard to appear in awe as the building was impressive, even if I had no desire to set foot inside the building.
"Mister Shan!" I spun at Dooku's sharp tone and saw he was standing a few meters away with Palpatine and, in an unexpected twist, the newly elected Chancellor Valorum.
That meant the trio were surrounded by a group of Senate guards while I could see a throng of media further back; camera droids floating around.
I scampered over to where they were, trying my best to ignore the flashing lights from the media while activating Player's Mind.
"Senator, may I present Cameron Shan," Dooku stated a little louder than normal, as he placed his hand on my shoulder.
"Ah, my long-lost nephew. It's a pleasure to finally have a family again." Palpatine said with a smile that matched the one he used around Anakin. "I had honestly given up hope of ever having anyone to continue my family's name and legacy after I was gone."
I ignored the retort bouncing around my head about him wanting to become an Emperor, and probably find a way to rule forever, and shook his hand slowly. "Hello, Senator."
His smile slipped a touch and he placed his other hand on the shoulder that Dooku had just touched. "There is no need for that Cameron. To you, and only you, I am Uncle Sheev."
I nodded and gave him a small smile. "Ok, Uncle." Man, this was going to be a weird mission.
Palpatine's smile grew into a grin and he pulled me gently into a hug. I returned it slowly, both playing the role of a confused child and trying to ignore the insanity of hugging a Sith Lord while ignoring the massive increase in flashing from the media.
Give the man his credit, he knew how to use the media to his advantage.
"Ah, where are my manners. Cameron, may I introduce Chancellor Finis Valorum." Palpatine said as he broke the hug, having milked the moment enough for his liking.
"Um, I… Do I bow or something?" I asked slowly to Palpatine and Dooku after seeming to stammer over what to do.
This earned laughter from all three men and Valorum shook his head.
"No, no. There is no need for that. Your uncle is a friend, and when I heard about him discovering a lost relative, I wanted to meet you." Valorum stated, again loudly enough for the nearby media to hear.
"Perhaps we might move to a more reserved area," Dooku said slowly, glancing over at the media and I wondered if he was thinking like me in sending them all away with a blast of TK like I wanted to do.
"Yes, yes. You are quite right Master Dooku," Palpatine agreed giving the Jedi a wide smile. "I was hoping we might also talk in private. I wish to hear how you are doing as well as get to know my nephew here."
He turned to Valorum and lowered his head a touch. "Thank you, Chancellor, for coming with me to meet young Cameron. It was an unexpected delight to be able to introduce my nephew to the most powerful man in the Republic."
I had to resist rolling my eyes at Palpatine's words. However, they seemed to work as Valorum stood a little straighter and smiled.
"It was my pleasure Senator. Perhaps, once your nephew has settled in, you might bring him to the Senate. I'm sure the boy would love to see where you work."
"An excellent idea Chancellor. Would you like that Cameron?"
"I wouldn't want to be a problem," I replied, dearly hoping to avoid spending any time surrounded by a bunch of self-serving politicians. Honestly, spending time alone with a Sith Lord sounded more appealing.
"Nonsense. We regularly have children in the building, whether on school tours or training with the Republic Legislative Branch." Valorum said, killing my hopes to avoid the place. "I am sure your uncle cannot wait to show you around where he works."
"Then I am honoured to accept Chancellor," I stated, giving him a very slight bow. This made the man preen a bit more and earned me a smirk from my new uncle. I did though wonder if Palpatine wasn't planning to use having a nephew for some political gain. If he did, I would have to try my best to fuck things up.
"Excellent. Sheev, when you do bring him in, inform my office and we will see about getting him arranging a special tour."
"Of course, Chancellor. Thank you."
We took our leave of the Chancellor and all three of us boarded a shuttle that quickly banked away from the landing pad and the Senate.
"I must say, I am impressed with how you handled your role young Padawan," Palpatine said as the shuttle slipped into the commuter traffic and we were away from everyone else. "I was unaware that Jedi children were trained in the art of deception."
"They are not. Padawan Shan, however, has very quickly shown himself to be a cut above your average Jedi child." Dooku explained slowly and I worried about how much about me he would reveal to the Senator. "He is far more intelligent than others his age and has shown an aptitude for knowing how to adapt to a situation, even if his methods are still rudimentary."
"Indeed. Then I look forward to helping him grow over the next few months." Palpatine turned his attention to me. "I am curious as to what you think of the Chancellor?"
"I wouldn't wish to talk about someone I've only met twice," I replied attempting to avoid the question.
Palpatine chuckled softly. "Yes, I see what you mean Master Dooku. A very wise answer young one. It is never smart to make full judgements regarding someone without first observing them carefully through both their words and deeds."
I nodded once, accepting the praise. Though mentally I was now certain that, even if the disappearing children was not the result of his actions, getting me to be assigned to him was.
The rest of the trip was short, Palpatine and Dooku conversing about seemingly random things though I did wonder if Palpatine asking about these topics in a way to influence Dooku. He would have needed at least a decade to convince Dooku to turn to the Sith – and get Sifo-Dyas to order the clone army – and each step would have needed to be small, almost inconsequential in nature.
The pair didn't speak to me again, which left me free to watch a master orator work. Just twenty minutes resulted in a level up to Persuasion and had me in something of a bind.
Speaking with and watching Palpatine would be a certain way to improve my charisma-based skills. But doing so risked increasing his interest in me and inadvertently helping him turn Dooku to his side. I was going to have to be very careful about how I behaved the next few months and find a balance between learning from the Senator without being drawn into his web with Dooku.
I was drawn from my thoughts as the shuttle touched down.
"It seems we have arrived. Perhaps, we could continue this in my apartment?" Palpatine asked Dooku.
"Sadly, I must return to the Temple. Several of Padawan Shan's old clanmates have shown an interest in Makashi. Even if they are not remotely near his level, I would be remiss in not ensuring their training is handled competently." Dooku replied, which had me both happy and worried.
Dooku would now get away from Palpatine, but that left me all alone with a Sith Lord. What fun.
"Ah, well then I shall not keep you. The training of the future of your Order is of the utmost importance."
The fact he could say that and appear so genuine was impressive.
"Indeed." Dooku turned to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. "Cameron, the Senator has converted one of the rooms in his suite into a private area for you. You are free to train there but do not disturb him unless you must. I will communicate with you this evening to ensure you have settled in."
Dooku said his goodbye to Palpatine and stayed on the shuttle as we stepped off.
Once inside the impressive building, and after having had me logged in as a resident, we stepped into a very luxurious elevator which had its outer wall replaced by plexiglass to allow anyone inside a view of the surrounding buildings.
"I noticed you did not refer to your master by his rank. I was under the impression that all Jedi were required to do so."
Not wanting to look at him, I kept my eyes focused on the cityscape outside the elevator as I answered.
"We are required to show respect to those above us, but to me, I find the usage of the term master could easily suggest submission and servitude to others. Thankfully, my Masters Dooku and Fay are willing to allow me this leeway."
"Hmm, I had not considered that before." A glance via his reflection in the plexiglass showed me that he was rubbing his chin in apparent thought. "Yes, I can see how calling someone 'master' could be misconstrued. With slavery still rampant in areas of the galaxy, using such a term could indeed suggest ownership of one being over another. I must say, I am surprised that one so young would see such an issue where even the Jedi High Council seem blind."
"Less blind than more stuck in their ways," I found myself responding. "The Order has stood for a thousand years without threat. It, they, have possibly become somewhat complacent, which can be seen as the shadow of arrogance."
I managed to avoid frowning at how open I was suddenly being as I noted that Player's Mind had stopped as my PP had run out. I engaged Empathic Shield, which now stood at Professional 15, and knew it would be about an hour without meditation until my PP was fully restored. I was beginning to dislike using Player's Mind so much, but around someone as manipulative as Palpatine, I knew I was going to need it. A lot.
"You feel the Jedi have lost their way?"
"Yes and no." I paused to consider how to answer this. My feelings on the Jedi and their methods are coloured by my opinions about why they fell and then having to spend a year plus dealing with their indoctrination.
"I think the Jedi have become…complacent, and in ways, stagnant. They believe the Sith are gone, that nothing stands against them."
"And you feel otherwise?" he probed gently as the air seemingly got colder.
"Maybe. I… I don't know. But there cannot be light without darkness, nor darkness without the light. The two define each other. Perhaps the Sith are long gone, but that does not mean the dark side is gone. It is still a part of the Force and that, from what I have been told and learnt myself, is always there."
That was a mix of my own opinion on the Force from my previous life, what the Jedi had taught, and what I had taken from my talk with Revan on Ilum. Whether it was accurate or not, I knew that revealing it to the High Council would result in me being labelled as 'Grey'. And that was a term I felt was impossible with the way the Jedi, and possibly the Sith, saw the Force.
"Hmm. A most intriguing theory Cameron. I can see why Master Dooku speaks so highly of you."
Any further discussion was thankfully cut off as the doors opened and Palpatine stepped forward to access a console next to a door.
As it slid open, he turned back to me and smiled. "Later I will have one of my assistants assign an entry code for you."
I nodded and followed him inside, seeing an older man of average height with thinning black hair waiting.
"Ah Sate, this is Cameron. He will be staying with me for the next few months. Cameron, this is my most trusted adjunct, Sate Pestage. If you need anything, either to help with your Jedi studies or to maintain your cover, do not hesitate to ask Sate."
"Greetings Padawan," Sate said with a slight narrowing of his eyes. "Please come this way so I may show you to your room."
"Go with him, Cameron. I have work to attend too but we can speak more over dinner."
"This is your assigned area. Be sure to stay here outside of mealtimes. The Senator is a very busy man and will not be able to hold your hand as your Jedi Master would." Sate said in a voice that was barely better than a sneer.
"So I should bother you instead?" I asked, taking the chance to needle the man who I was already starting to dislike.
His face twisted in annoyance. "If you must. But I will often be occupied with work for the Senator."
"Ah, then thank you in advance," I said, extending my hand.
Sate was slow to shake my hand, but the moment he did, I used Examine.
Sate PestageRace: HumanLevel: 26Health: 100%Age: 52Force Potential: AverageThreat Potential: MediumEmotional State: Calm/AgitatedSate has served Senator Palpatine for nearly a decade.He is concerned you may learn the truth about his master.And feels you being here is nothing but a threat.However, he will obey his master's wishes to observe and mould you.But will not hesitate to remove you if you become a threat.…
I waited until the man left the room to consider what the power had revealed.
I now knew that Palpatine was using the kidnappings to observe me and with Sate seemingly knowing that Palpatine was Sidious, it earned him a spot on my kill list alongside people like Pre Vizsla and Mas Amedda.
Around Sate I was going to be even more careful than with Palpatine as I did not want to tip my hand before I was old/strong enough to stand on my own before dealing with Palpatine's helpers.
"Well this is going to be an interesting few months," I muttered as I opened the wardrobe and saw an array of clothing for me to wear. All of it looked to be expensive and in my size.
I understood the need for the clothes as I was now family of a very powerful man, and I was looking forward to not having to wear Jedi robes for the first time in nearly two years. Brown and beige just weren't my colours.
As I examined the clothes, I cast Detection but narrowed it to only cover the room. I didn't want the power to ping Palpatine was Force-sensitive and hoped it would detect any surveillance equipment in the room.
Sadly, it did not. Whether that was because the power was only at Adept 15 or because it just wasn't designed to do so, I didn't know.
Now I was going to have to search the room for hidden recording devices without letting on that I was doing so. Whether they were present or not was going to affect my nightly training sessions, and possibly how openly I spoke with Dooku when he visited.
"This one," I muttered as I pulled out an olive-green shirt. One of my exes had said the colour went well with my old emerald green eyes, so I curious if that was still true for my new amber-green ones.
However, this mission played out, I was certainly going to borrow a few of the clothes. They could be sold for some cash and would help me find colours and styles to wear once I could stop wearing standard Jedi robes.
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