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The Avalan Crisis: Yesterday's News

Posted on Tue Jul 30th, 2019 @ 10:18pm by Thane & Bomoor Thort
Edited on on Wed Jun 8th, 2022 @ 2:01pm

Chapter: Additional Stories
Location: Common Area, Reborn Jedi Temple, Coruscant
Timeline: One month after The Thirteenth Battle of Onderon

And now, the conclusion of The Avalan Crisis series of posts, chronicling an early mission for the young Padawans, Thane and Bomoor Thort.

“If you’re only just joining us here on HNN, we are looking back at the crisis that engulfed Onderon culminating in open warfare on the streets of the capital city Iziz exactly one standard month ago today.”

The graphical display in the temple common area transitioned from displaying the standard HoloNet logo into the high definition face of Charin Dalta, the Balosar news anchor for the weekday broadcast. His naturally pale face had been powdered by the studio’s makeup department to give it more life and his thick dark hair was slicked over with copious amounts of gel so that his antennapalps were protruding prominently.

With a flash of his glistening teeth to the camera that greeted him, he continued his piece, “Before the break, we looked at the timeline of events starting with the formation of a breakaway terrorist faction of the Royal family, calling themselves the Avalans. This radical group militarised themselves against off-world support, right up until the Queen’s drastic decision to postpone all GalactaWerks outreach projects on the planet.”

Dalta took one hand off the datapad he was holding and clasped his chin, while squinting in an exaggerated fashion, “So, did terror win out against reason? Or is there more to the story than meets the eye?”

The camera switched focus to incorporate both the Balosar and his co-host, the latest in a long line of so-called Anchordroids that had become commonplace during HNN broadcasts. For a time, there had been talk of having purely-droid presented newsfeeds, but that had been met with substantial hostility from most quarters within the Third Republic. Even the droid's appearance, being lithely feminine and sporting a metallic artificial bob cut atop its narrow cranium, was deceptively un-droid-like.

Like Dalta, Chora-5 clasped a redundant datapad between her thin metal fingers, and made a deliberate show of examining its contents before facing the camera on cue. "Quite right, Charin; what exactly has been happening on the fabled world of the ancient Beast Riders? Renowned for its storied past and recent battlefields during the Second Outer Rim Conflict, it has been no secret that the rebellious world has suffered numerous internal conflicts since its defeat during the war."

An image of the planet appeared above and between the two anchors, spinning lazily for all viewers to see. The droid tapped the datapad on the desk, as if she were realigning paperwork. "As part of their government-backed policy of unconditional repatriation following the Conflict, GalactaWerks has been at the forefront of rebuilding Onderon's shattered infrastructure - the legacy of Queen Avala, the sovereign that stepped down following her crushing defeat by the Republic and now-Queen Mother to the reigning Queen Omina."

An image of the elder monarch wearing a deathly serious expression replaced the Onderonian globe, and this was soon followed an equally stony-faced view of Omina. "And, it seems, that legacy of separatism has continued during the reign of Queen Omina, whose reign has permitted terrible acts of terrorism be committed against both her own people and Republic citizens in the name of her royal house." Chora-5's head twisted sharply on its axis to face her companion. "Charin?"

“Thanks Chora,” Dalta smiled to the camera, abbreviating the droid’s designation, “Yes, during this period of crisis, several GalactaWerks support outposts were targeted with explosives, resulting in countless civilian casualties.”

Images of smoking cobblestone buildings and stretchers with bandaged Onderonians flashed up behind him. The worst of the injuries were censored from the viewers but just enough was shown to indicate the ruthlessness of the attacks.

“In a surprising twist, we have since learned that members of the Rift Jedi were also invited by the Queen, seemingly in response to our own Reborn Jedi Knights that were dispatched to assist. However, it was confirmed that the senior Rift Jedi was killed in a bombing at the historic Regal Hotel and that her student has returned to Rift Jedi, who have refused to release him for questioning. Despite the success of the Reborn Jedi members, working alongside GalactaWerks, who apprehended those behind these gruesome attacks, it seems that lingering ORA resentment still taints diplomatic relationships on this world.”

He shook his head disappointedly, allowing his antennapalps to gently sway, “Truly terrible how these old grudges still costs lives to this day. Don’t you think Chora?”

“Truly terrible,” Chora-5 repeated, her head sliding either way on its pivot, simulating a peculiar shake of the head. "So deep do these divisions run, people have even levied claims against the Queen Omina as being a sponsor of terrorism; a member of her own royal court, who unfortunately died whilst within royal custody prior to GalactaWerks involvement, is accused as collaborating with the Avalans - even behind the backs of the valiant Jedi Knights working to preserve the peace!"

The symbol of the Reborn Jedi Order replaced the image on the screen. After a few seconds, this too was replaced by an image of Grand Master Jundal Quellus, a reassuring - or perhaps foreboding - arm around the well-manicured Onderonian senator.

Chora continued. "The Reborn Jedi are well-known to be vilified by the Alliance bloc planets, and HoloNet News has insider knowledge that the two Jedi Masters leading the Reborn delegation were in fact captured by Prince Garius' forces shortly after their arrival on the planet. One independent bystander had this to say. HNN apologises in advance for any offensive language heard."

Once more, the displayed image was subsumed by a new one. This time, it was a shabby-looking tanned Human, but he wore an aggressive expression on his sharp, narrow features. "Yeah, one of them masters taken was one of the fishfolk, a Selkath! They knew what they were doing. This isn't anything to do with hating on the Jedi, Force bless them. His religious association is just a bonus, I say. Nah, they're trying to drum up support from the old Alliance lovers. Manaan and its kolto was a big player during the war, and Ruusan isn't that far from here. Those guys don't forget. They don't forgive."

"And that from just one of many victims still suffering from the excesses of a brutal rebellion many of the embittered cannot let go of," Chora said as the recording faded away. The anchordroid then twisted her head sharply and placed a metal hand up against where her ear would have been, had she been an organic Humanoid. "Viewers, we have just been informed that GalactaWerks' Onderon address has just been made publicly available. In the interest of transparency, the GalactaWerks Board has permitted us to broadcast their transmission regarding the recent conflict. This follows recent accusations from the past week regarding the illegal offworld shipping of exotic animals by the corporation from Onderon and its jungle moon, Dxun - an accusation the corporation vehemently denies."

The two anchors disappeared from view, to be replaced with a recording of a podium with several news camera droids hovering around it. From off-screen, an Arconan, dressed in a dark black suit accented with a striped orange and yellow GalactaWerks tie, stepped into view and approached the podium. Aurebesh subtitles on the screen identified the individual as Malut Droll, GW press correspondent, a familiar face on the HoloNet News.

After a brief sweep of his large golden eyes over the assembled press and a short cough, Droll began the prepared statement, "It is with great disappointment that I must announce the cessation of all GalactaWerks outreach work on the Inner Rim planet of Onderon and the immediate removal of our staff members posted to the world. Despite recent political unrest on the planet, GalactaWerks had hoped to be a stable presence for the monarchy to rely on where their own powers were stretched thin. However, we respect queen Omina's decision to discontinue our partnership and want it to be known that we are open to future co-operation."

He paused to add greater emphasis to his next words, "We only hope that our absence does not leave the people of Onderon vulnerable to exploitation from criminal syndicates."

There seemed to be a slight stir within the unseen crowd and a quieter voice could be heard on the recording, "What do you have to say about claims that GalactaWerks itself has been exploiting its position on Onderon by poaching many of the exotic species on the planet?"

Drell was not phased by the interruption and provided a standard response, "GalactaWerks does not comment on speculation. Our role on Onderon was purely in a supporting capacity as part of its contract with the Republic."

Looking back to his prompt, he continued with his statement, "GalactaWerks takes no political stance on the recent crisis, but firmly disagrees with the terrorist activity undertaken by the so-called Avalans. Our own facilities were the target of many of these attacks and there were casualties among our own members of staff along with Iziz civilians. Terrorism is never acceptable and this is why GalactaWerks is proud to continue working with the Republic to provide stable governance and safer living across the Galaxy. Thank you for your time."

With a brief nod, he stepped away from the podium, just as voices became raised with a variety of questions. This was cut short, however, as the screen returned to the face of Charin Dalta in the studio.

"Words of support there from GW representative Malut Droll, which really do raise questions about the future of Onderon," Dalta's face was a portrait of faux concern.

"The most recent reports from Onderon confirm that the trial of Prince Garius will be an internal affair, handled independently of any Republic oversight, which the Galactic Senate has agreed in light of the circumstances," Chora-5 continued, pretending to read over the datapad she held. "With aid from the departing GalactaWerks Marines, all mercenary agencies not employed by the Unifar Temple have all been dismissed from the ancient world and have forcibly been made to depart with the GW flotilla."

"We will, of course," Dalta chipped in, "continue bringing you the latest news and updates from Onderon, as well as the wider galaxy."

And, continuing the seamless double-act that had typified their prime time HoloNet broadcasts, Chora-5 spoke up. As she had at the commencement of the announcement, the droid made a mock show of gathering her datapad in a document-esque fashion, and directly faced the unseen camera facing her. "In other news: just how young is too young to be a swoop racer? Thirteen-year-old Pantoran darling of the Core Worlds Annual Swoop Bike Championship, Peo Chinu, will be joining us shortly to fill us in on her latest stunning victory over Dug old-timers, the Hibulda Twins. Before that, however, is Chora-7 with your local sector news..."

"They got away with it!" Thane complained, standing abruptly from his seat within one of the common areas of the Coruscant Jedi Temple, throwing a loosely-robed arm up in a frustrated gesture at the looming graphical display before him and Bomoor. "They got away starting a civil war - and with kidnapping Jedi Masters!"

A few other Jedi, mostly novices and padawans, were scattered about the room, either engaging in polite conversation with one another, or studying dutifully by the various water features that decorated the open-plan chamber. The gentle tricking of the fountains against the polished masonry and assorted pebbles was comforting, accompanied as it was by the overwhelming aura of the gathered Knights within the Reborn Order's capital headquarters.

Thane's outburst, however, had drawn the attention of a few of their fellow Jedi. Of note, the slightly older Padawan Illyvar, a prominent and well-respected Mikkian student within the Temple, seen by most as a rising star of the Order - often touted as the 'next Gira Veldryl', although Illyvar always maintained her modest disposition - frowned at the Human and his Ithorian companion from her cross-legged meditative pose nearby. As the talents of the younger Thane and Bomoor were often compared to her own, along with their slightly maverick tendencies, she always seemed to take a dim view of the pair.

As usual, Thane made a point of ignoring the purple-skinned girl.

Popping down the partially disassembled pieces of his lightsaber and the rare viridian crystal he had obtained on their excursion to Onderon, Bomoor rose up and placed his ebony hand on his friend’s shoulder, halting him from pacing back and forth in his frustration.

“I know,” Bomoor kept his naturally-echoic voice subdued so as not to further disturb the peace, “You know I would only admit it to you, but I hate all the people who have been suppressing and twisting this story. The whole crisis has somehow left GalactaWerks looking like the heroes; how is that fair in our just and golden Republic.”

Admitting feelings of ‘hate’ was the Jedi equivalent of a freighter captain dropping an entire shipment while in hyperspace: career suicide. But he had always known that his fellow maverick padawan, Thane, was of a similar mind and trusted that such admissions would not affect their abilities.

“Of course, we know what really happened,” the older Ithorian continued, “And I keep myself composed thinking of all the good that we did do out there: earning the Queen’s trust, protecting the people, Maireen…”

The mention of the young girl’s name gave the pair of them an emotional tug; they had finally met the young girl after the death of her aunt Octavia had been revealed. She was such a sweet young girl with rosy cheeks and strawberry blonde hair that were in sharp contrast to her teary eyes as she faced not only the loss of her aunt, but also her impending exodus from her homeworld. The two young Jedi had promised to see her again someday, feeling somewhat responsible for her fate.

"Yeah, that was good," Thane admitted, his tone quieter and words simple as he conceded the point, his mind wondering over the series of events that culminated in the young girl's escape and survival, of the life she would now lead within the Third Republic away from Onderon. It was a bittersweet feeling for the young Jedi, however, to have the crimes of the foremost enterprise within the galaxy brushed away, like the whole affair had been a trivial footnote, and instead viewed as the respectable corporation that continued to respect worlds' liberties and interests.

GalactaWerks: the stalwart ally of the Third Republic, bastion of civility and free markets. Thane managed to keep his righteous anger contained, but the judgemental glances from the nearby Illyvar were not helping that.

Stepping away from Bomoor to the table the Ithorian had been sat at, Thane looked over the half-reconstructed lightsaber of his friend. "The crystal from Onderon," he observed, as if only really noticing it for the first time. With all that had happened and their subsequent reunion with Masters Sotah and Thurius, there had been little time for conversation between the two apprentices, and even less for actually discussing the viridian jewel properly, barring the fact it was gifted to him during the crisis at the Regal Hotel. "Strange, that a random dying woman would give this to you."

“She was not some random woman, Thane!” Bomoor corrected defensively, louder than he intended. He thought he heard an exasperated sigh from Padawan Illyvar behind him but, like his friend, he ignored it and continued, “Her name was Malin. Omina said she was a trusted advisor and seer to the throne; she seemed to think our coming to that planet was predestined. That we were meant to do something important.”

Bomoor neglected to admit that it was only he Malin had spoken about; he felt somewhat embarrassed as he was not used to considering himself of particular importance to the Jedi, despite his obvious potential as a consular. The ‘Grey Sage’ she had called him; she said he would play some greater role in a conflict that was yet to come. It seemed like fantasy but, as he picked up the silvery-green crystal and twisted it in his hands, it gave him a sense of self-worth that he had not felt prior to their trip to Onderon.

“Even if it doesn’t feel like it, I know we made lasting difference while in Iziz and we will continue to make a difference,” he gave a wry squint at Thane while tilting his neck back just enough that his next words were clearly audible to their ‘meditating’ Mikkian colleague, “I mean, not every padawan can say they stopped a civil war, held a monarchy together and uncovered a conspiracy while their Masters were tied up.”

"Ha! I suppose not, no," Thane agreed with some amusement, noticing the additional benefit of Bomoor's loud declaration. "Nor can they say they went saber-to-saber with a fully-fledged Rift Jedi, and ended up making a pen friend out of it! Although Master Sotah says the Grand Master and some of the other Council masters might not be too crazy about it, he says there's nothing from stopping us staying in touch with Theon. With all that happened with his own master, Sotah thinks it would be good for the man to have some friends right now. Ones that he doesn't work with, that is."

The young Jedi Guardian stepped away the table and gathered himself up in his robes, with that manner of sureness and finality that made clear he was about to leave. "As ever, Bomoor Thort, you are a kind and calm guiding light for me, all without being a patronising bastard. I am fortunate that, in a galaxy of idiots and crazies, I have the likes of you, Master Sotah and Loren as my guides - my friends. Truly, I hope that never changes."

It was now Thane's turn to place a hand on Bomoor's shoulder, only it was more a grateful gesture. As so often happened, Bomoor's gentle wisdom had cooled his temper, reminding him of the futility of his, albeit still justified, frustrations. With their own Trials now closer than further away, the young Human was enthused about his future with the Order, when the independent decisions he and Bomoor would make, like on Onderon, could have some positive impact on the galaxy around them, even with the buffoonish sentiments of Quellus and the Council overshadowing all else.

"May the Force be with you, Bomoor," Thane said by way of a farewell, smiling.

Smiling and shaking his head as he absorbed the warmth Thane was projecting, Bomoor watched the young human stroll off. A fire had been lit deep within the Ithorian’s soul, fuelled partly by the righteous anger his friend had been feeling, but also by the tempering thought of the part he was meant to play in a better tomorrow.

He decided, in that moment, to take a trip down to the lower city and see what good he could do so much closer to home. As usual, he was sure Master Thurius would not approve, but it seemed wrong to waste such good spirits dawdling in the common room. He twisted his long fingers and the remaining unassembled components of his lightsaber, including the budding viridian crystal, drifted upwards into the air before converging together in an elegant dance of mechanical construction.

He noticed that Illyvar still had half an eye on him as he demonstrated his talents. He smiled at her, grasping the completed hilt as he did so. He paced past her towards the other common room exit, “Cheerio Illyvar,” he hummed with the utmost friendliness as he disappeared, You just wait and see what I make of myself



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