Coruscant was not as it once was, Ky reflected as the diplomatic barge containing him and his delegation of Jedi veered down towars the landing pad below. Once, it had been the bustling center of the galaxy. The center of government, religion, news... Now, stained by the reputation of Emperor Palpatine's regime, the planet looked more like a global slum than a proud ecumenopolis. If he squinted, Ky could just barely make out the Imperial Palace—once the Jedi Temple—scraping the horizon. A tower of smog rose behind it from the nearby Works.
But Ky was not here on a religious pilgrimage. His shuttle was bound for the Sector Ranger's headquarters. The news that Jedi Master Oren Zapan had been arrested had wrenched Ky from his own investigations. And while it was important to get to the bottom of the mysterious Knights of Ren, Ky felt some obligation to go and represent the Jedi on Oren's behalf. After all, Oren had been one of the few Jedi Masters to agree with him that these incidents needed to be taken more seriously. He could hardly let an ally rot in prison while the Outer Rim burned.
All the same, Ky had enormous respect for the Sector Rangers. Prior to uncovering his Force affinity, he had wanted to become one. No doubt, the rangers were just as confused by all that was happening as he was, which was important if this situation was going to be solved amicably. Both sides just wanted the truth; and Ky was going to see to it that the Sector Ranger and the public got that truth.
Their ship set down on the assigned landing pad. Ky had brought two other Jedi with him to represent the Order alongside him. Both were under strict orders to follow his lead. And, so, when the landing ramp swished down from the ship's belly, he led the other two forward to meet the waiting Sector Ranger delegation. Ky had the foresight to leave his lightsaber onboard. There was no need to be armed, as they were not going out to meet enemies, and he instructed the others to do the same.
To this meeting, Ky wore simple clothes. A thin brown vest over the top of black under-robe. His hair was tied back in a ponytail and he wore a thin smile in the hopes of easing some of the tension.
When he came to stand in front of the Ranger delegation, he bowed deeply. "Greetings, friends. I am Jedi Knight Ky Maryk. These are Knights Nashyr Ris and Valya Mirana. We are here representing the Jedi Order. Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, though I sorely wish it were on better terms."
Nashyr had been uncharacteristically silent the entirety of the trip from Ajan Kloss to Coruscant. Though she often responded when talked to, and nodded along with what was needed to be said, she hardly went beyond anything else, and as such kept mostly to herself. The last time she had been anywhere remotely close to Coruscant, she had been on business... and hardly pleasant business either.
She stared wordlessly out a viewport as they landed... and could feel a remote numbness taking over. No anger, nothing but calm. Since leaving Ajan Kloss, she felt nothing but unease; when the call came out for two others to join Ky to a mission to speak to Rangers, she volunteered without any hesitation, and here she was.
She dressed simply, in a sleeveless black tunic top over dark grey leggings, sturdy boots, and a robelike jacket of black material. It was the closest she was willing to go as a Jedi... any more and she felt overdressed. Her weapons were stashed on board... and she already missed their comforting weight. The robe was already enough as it was, but it was no blaster vest. Black hair was kept softly curled and brushed away from her face; as they left their ship she stared across the landing pad to the two Rangers.
Assessing the face of the woman... then the man. Calmly, coolly. She nodded her head once out of respect, but knew there was nothing she could say at the moment. This was Ky's area of expertise for now; she would simply sit back, and observe.
Ever since that first broadcast had taken to the holonet, Vayla had expected the aftermath to be severe, and she was by no means alone. From meetings to meditations, she had positioned herself as a proponent for ensuring that the Jedi continued to be exactly what they had become, by helping each other and others, cooperating with authorities as best as able while running their own investigations, and doing nothing to earn the kind of publicity that they did not need.
From Ajan Kloss to Coruscant, there was no denying that at least one of them had done the opposite, but the circumstances of the matter were nothing if not unclear. Vayla was more concerned for Oren Zapan than she was for any consequences that his actions had cost, but as much as she had come on this delegation for her brother she had come no less for the Jedi overall. It was both Oren and the Order that she was here to represent, and while she did not know Knight Zapan very well, he had graced her memory as a man of reasoning and wisdom; a true agent for the Force. May it be with you and us.
Vayla thought toward such hope as she exited the barge with her fellow delegates. Beside them, she was attired all in black save for a white robe streaked in blue. While such a garment was certainly associated with Jedi, it wasn’t as if they were the only ones to don robes, and she had seen no reason to play down her own membership. The hood was down, though, so there was that. It would be easy enough for the Sector Rangers to search her but they would find no weapon, no gun or sword, only a pen, and there was a saying for that somewhere.
As Ky Maryk approached the other party, Vayla kept back beside Nashyr, capitalizing on the moment to scrutinize the Sector Rangers above a smile that was yet sincere. Times were tense amid the Jedi Order and the Sector Rangers, but fear was the true enemy—not each other.
Ever since she had arrested Oren Zapa, Trys had been thrust into all sorts of meetings and delegations. She had taken part in several interviews, and it was getting to be exhausting. The media attention pushed her to move out of her usual apartment and into a different district. This was both out of a need for privacy and also protection. She knew she would have the terrorist organization’s eyes on her, and more importantly those eyes could fall on her son. The thought weighed heavily in her mind at all times.
Externally she was as calm and cool as ever, having just finished a cigarra to ease the nerves. Trys had invited both Duke and Roland to this as they had been involved in the Hutt palace incidents. She was ready to meet the Jedi by the time they arrived, always wearing her uniform and a jacket over it.
She took in sight of the man that spoke, moving forward to shake his hand, “Good to meet you, I am Lieutenant Trys Aran,” Trys made a point to shake each of their hands, always believing in common courtesies regardless of her opinions or fears. She gestured to her fellow Rangers, “Joining us are Rangers Duke Winters and Roland Rook,” Trys paused there for a moment to allow them a chance to say more if they wished. Her gaze returned to Ky, “Please follow me,” She would lead them to a meeting room that had been arranged for the group. It was a simple conference room with seats for them all, and Trys gave everyone a chance to settle in.
“I understand we are meeting under some less than pleasant circumstances,” Trys said as she looked at each of them, “But hopefully after today we can come to a better understanding between one another.”
She would turn the floor over to the Jedi, letting them explain what they wished to bring up. Trys observed them quietly, taking in their mannerisms and whether or not they used little tricks like she had seen Talak do.
After the situation with Oren, the Jedi had asked for a meeting between the Rangers and them in order to clear the air. Trys was leading it and asked Duke to back it up with her along with Roland. He had been in the palace when the Jedi's weapons were used and most likely the reason he was invited to this event. It was slightly confusing as to who's was the Ranger's enemies and who was their allies. Hopefully, the meeting would clear it up well enough what everyone's intentions were.
Duke wore standard attire for him, just normal civilian clothing with a jacket and his badge displayed outwardly for proof that he actually was a Ranger. As he spotted Trys, it was hard believing that one of them just started as simple office solving cases and now led the delegation between them and the Jedi. He was proud of how far she had come. When Trys introduced him, he gave the Jedi a simple nod as an introduction and would shake anyone's hand if they insisted. With the introductions out of the way after that, they quickly entered the meeting room and took their seats.
He decided to keep his mouth shut for the time being, it was the Jedi's turn to speak and he was willing to hear them out first. Who knew what that they would start with but Duke would wait patiently until he saw an opportunity to speak or if he was asked to.
Roland had spent most of his time on Coruscant either in the office or in solitude. The numerous people, the large buildings and busy skyways felt almost claustrophobic to him. Ironic considering he was always wearing his Mandalorian armor but none the less it made him look forward to seeing some wide open spaces of the outer rim. According to the history books Coruscant was rumored to be the original home world of all humans. But Roland could never imagine himself calling it home. At least he had been kept busy with the work all of this force sensitive hub-ub was causing. He couldn't complain about job security even though he despised criminals.
He wondered what his family would think of him now. He was an officer of the law and walking in broad daylight with his family's heraldry on his cloak heading to meet with Jedi. If I can find them I'll guess I can ask them myself. He thought to himself as he flanked the recently promoted Lieutenant.
When he was interoduced he stepped forward and like Trys he extended a gauntleted hand to shake their's. He understood if they had reservations against shaking his. It would not be the first time someone preferred to keep their distance from him but while his people's reputation had some affect it did not decide his own manners and etiquette. "Thanks for making the trip."
After initial greetings and pleasantries were done the Ranger would follow Trys to the conference room. When going inside he pulled back his hood. There was no need to wear it in doors.
As they went Roland kept an eye on the the Jedi representatives, occasionally glancing over to them. Not because of suspicion, but rather he and apparently the rest of the galaxy did not know enough about the Jedi Order and their tendencies. Oren, the Arcanist, reports of lightsabers and wizards had sprung up in numbers unheard of for decades and it had all happened quickly together. The galaxy was changing but Roland wanted to make sure that it did so for the better.
"That's my hope as well," Ky replied sincerely when he was seated around the table.
When he could see that everyone was settled (and when it was apparent that Trys was waiting for him to speak), he went on. "I'm going to be frank with all of you, if that's alright. I don't know what happened with Master Oren beyond the details of the HoloNet report. I'm just like the three of you—your whole organization, really. In the dark and looking for answers." Ky folded his arms across his chest and settled his elbows down on the conference table. He was looking at Trys, but he was talking to everyone. "So, I've asked for this meeting to extend my support. My help in your investigation."
He waited a beat to make sure everyone was on the same page; but mostly because he hoped his fellow Jedi heard him and followed his lead.
"I'm willing to bet no one in this room had seen a Jedi before Master Oren was arrested. I'll bet even higher you'd never heard of one either; or, if you had, it was in children's stories about Luke Skywalker and the Clone Wars. And I get it. It's scary. We have powers you can't comprehend and we wield swords that can deflect blaster bolts and cut through titanium." He reached for his utility belt and retrieved a circular holoprojector. He slapped it down on the table where everyone could see and hit a knob that triggered a hologram.
They were the same holograms he had shown a gathering of Jedi a standard week before all this shit happened. A village of corpses on Mimban, and masked marauders attacking Ukio in strange-looking TIEs. His dark eyes carefully watched the expressions of the Sector Rangers for signs of reactions, but he was careful to keep his own expression guarded for the time being. He needed to know if he could trust them first, and he was sure they were thinking the same thing.
"But believe me when I say there are worse things in the galaxy with lightsabers, and it was no Jedi that cut down those people on Nar Shaddaa," Ky said darkly. "So—" He switched off the hologram and slid the projector across the table until it settled in front of Trys. "—that footage there is my first gift to you. Proof, I hope, that I'm here to help and not just to save my skin or Master Oren's or the whole Jedi Order's for that matter. Something dark is at work in the galaxy, my friends, and I sense we may need each other if we're going to stop it before more people get hurt."
Now, his facade slipped and there was real concern written there. But it wasn't concern for Master Oren. It was concern born out of the bodies he'd seen on Mimban, and what he knew about their killer.
"My two companions and I," he gestured to them to make his point, "we are at your disposal. You want to know about the Jedi? Who we are — what we've been up to? You've got us. Ask us anything and we'll tell you as much as we know. We owe you that much, at least."
She made sure that when she shook Sector Ranger Trys' hand, she met the woman's gaze squarely, and gave a nod in greeting. "Nashyr Ris," she replied in greeting, then a return nod to both the other two Rangers present, shaking Roland's hand as well, and making sure to make as approximate of eye contact as she could manage, but spoke of little else. Ky was leader in this meeting, she would defer and let him speak, and when they settled she absently glanced about the room they were led to.
Tension ran about the room, and it was probably for the better. This wasn't a social courtesy run, this was going to affect the Order as she knew it, and she was keen to be a part of it as much as possible. As first Trys, then Ky began to speak, she would listen along, head tilted slightly and gaze kept carefully veiled.
This was as much for Oren's sake as for anyone else... but she couldn't even explain to herself why a mission like this became personal. At least... not yet.
When the hologram switched on, she forced herself to look at it, and then back to her companions. She wanted nothing more than to erase this filth from the galaxy... but she also wished to know the truth. But with the presence affecting her old home planet, it went beyond business to something extremely personal. Vayla would no doubt speak, but there were a few things she was curious about the Rangers as well.
She itched to joke and tell them to ask everything except her favorite drink, but she wasn't certain if these guys were up to alleviate the mood just yet. "Nar Shaddaa was once my home, quite some time ago," she spoke up, head tilted slightly to glance at her companions. "Hearing the news of events that transpired there, and on other planets of other Force users, are very important to clear up. Anyway we can help--within certain parameters, I'm sure-- we would wish to. But I agree with Knight Ky; feel free to ask anything, and we'll answer. At least anything you may be curious about the Jedi."
Trys listened to this ‘Ky’ speak, and he started off well enough. However, midway through, she couldn’t help but notice how cocky he came across. ‘Never seen a Jedi before’ and ‘powers beyond you can imagine’ sounded like he didn’t have a humble bone in his body, which was a direct contradiction to how he ended his little speech with saying they were at the Rangers’ disposal. Trys blankly stared at Ky, not even looking at the Cathar when she spoke. Even now her words were kinder than how her comrade had come across, and Trys had to wonder why they chose him as the spokesperson.
She viewed the footage, the only thing new to her being the TIE fighter bit. Trys remained silent for a moment, taking it all in and formulating her thoughts. It was unclear what was going through her mind, but it would be obvious she wasn’t entirely convinced of things one way or another. She finally glanced up at Ky.
“First and foremost, you’d lose that bet because you are not the first Jedi we’ve come across,” Trys began at last, “One had offered to come aid myself and Ranger Winters on Dathomir. He proved himself to be Jedi by performing healing techniques with the Force,” The man had been odd, but he seemed well meaning enough, “Your footage of Mimban tells me nothing. The Rangers were aware of it, and we had already profiled the culprit there. Contrary to what you appear to believe, there were survivors at the village. There were reports of a Jedi also being present – “ She offered Ky a faint smile, “-which is the very reason the entire village wasn’t wiped. However, I must ask why this Jedi was spotted simply letting the culprit leave? He stood by and watched the red saber wielder kill a woman, engaged him in brief combat and simply told him to leave. Why not capture or apprehend the man when he was blatantly a criminal?” Trys let the question hang for a moment, “Or perhaps this Jedi can explain that to the husband of the wife he watched senselessly die and returned the body of?”
Trys took over the footages and went back to the ones that were broadcasted by Durr. The first one showed Talak slicing through slavers and killing Vargo. The other footages were of the Arcanist. Of course, Trys didn’t know that Talak was the same man. Trys looked up at Ky, “This first footage is interesting," They would quickly realize Trys had a more complete view of the footage than Durr - on account of having been there herself. "This is where you have a red saber wielding man with yellow eyes slicing up people that were moments prior violating girls they had drugged up,” She rolled back the feed a bit to where one of the slave girls actually stood up to help Talak stab the Hutt that had enslaved her, “Oh look, here he even appears to be a hero to the women he has saved,” She blankly stared at Ky after that, “This sounds very familiar…where have we heard about this before? Oh right, your Jedi Master Oren Zapan. He too was acting in defense of a young lady. He too mutilated and dismembered people in the name of justice, and he too left these men in the streets to die, another in a coma, while he carried on with the woman he saved. He too operated outside of the law and used his powers to play judge, jury and executioner,” Trys paused there, “Please tell me, Knight Ky, how one man is so much more noble and protective than the other. Please tell me how one of these stands out as someone I should absolutely work with, while the other is a definite criminal. Please tell me why one is justified to use the Force to operate outside of the law, but the other should be condemned.”
Trys chuckled softly, shaking her head, “Your proposal is for us to see that there is evil in the galaxy and you’re doing that by presenting to me ‘gifts’ and ‘facts’ that we not only were aware of but, in the case of Mimban, actually had more knowledge. You are essentially saying that you, the Jedi, just happen to be the lesser evil, and that’s why we should join hands with you and believe that you are the defenders of peace and good,” She looked at all the footages and thought back to her own investigations, “It seems to me we’ve been getting work done just fine without your help so far. Can you offer any more on this red saber terrorist group? Have you found their base? Have you captured any of them? Have you done anything to stop them from spreading? I mean… you have ‘powers beyond our imaginations’ after all. I’m shocked you haven’t been able to do more about this supposed ‘more evil than Jedi’ in the galaxy.”
She chuckled, which may have been odd considering the circumstances. She glanced towards Ky, cocking a brow and sitting further up. "Well now. She knows us better than even most in our Order do." Her tone was mildly amused, but the look in her eyes was anything but. She leaned forward, fingers interlaced on the table before her as she calmly listened to what the Lieutenant had to say.
"It pleases me you've already met one of our Order willing to help."
She eyed her companions, then the other two present, features losing their amusement once more. "Unfortunately, our Order in the eyes of the law are little more than religious zealots with different colored light blades."
She leaned back slightly, eyes settling on Winters next. "I can't speak on behalf of Master Oren Zapan myself; I know him fairly well," a minor understatement, "and I cannot excuse nor condone what he's done in abuse of the law. However, we function by a strict code, which I'm certain you know about, as you seem to have had personal experience with at least one Jedi."
She spread her hands out, showing ragged palms. An effect of working in a mission with Max, she could reason with. "Unfortunate also, that many of our members come from lawless civilizations, and the Code is the closest brand that they have been raised with. There are exceptions, of course," she tilted her head briefly. "But in regards to not being able to find out more of these others that wear masks or do things in our name, from what I have been apprised we have been conducting our own research. Not a satisfactory answer for myself, either... but have you met one of this mysterious membership willing to work with the Rangers, within the extent of the law?"
She spread her hand out to gesture to Ky and Vayla, her tone calm. "I do not speak for the rest of my companions, but after living in law that followed under the function of the Hutts, I anticipate working with the Rangers to get to the bottom of these attackers and their... what do you call it?" She tilted her head quizzically, "Their... M.O.? Our is a fledgling search, but I anticipate working under the same laws that civilians do."
She gazed back at Trys levelly, but a faint smile touched her lips. "There is one advantage to using us within certain restrictions; tracking down those that are not one of us. They are not bound by the need to save others, though the one concerning the Hutt seems an exception; there is no justification in taking lives, certainly, but those within this different Order seem unwilling to abide by any rules but their own. We are here; perhaps, no lesser of the two evils in your eyes, but more willing to cooperate, to adapt and abide by your regulations. What Master Zapan has done, and others, does not justify the loss you Rangers have had to investigate."
"We haven't captured any... yet." Her eyes met hers squarely, the smile gone. "But when we do, you'll have first claim on interrogation and interment. However, unlike perhaps Master Zapan has been, I think they will be less than persuaded to talk to any brand of law other than their own."
If Ky was the least bit perturbed by what he saw, it was hidden behind an immutable expression. But he was perturbed, internally, at least. Mostly because Trys was right. He just wished the Jedi Council was hear it instead of him. He looked over what holo-recordings Trys had presented, taking particular note of the red-saber wielding fiend. That was an observation to file away for later. A lead, perhaps, and one Ky would certainly make known to the rest of the Jedi in his network once he got back to the ship. For now, though...
Ky steepled his fingers and gave Trys and even look. The small but nagging voice of his old Master Har whispered to him to remind her of what happened the last time a "yellow-eyed, red-saber-wielding menace" was at large in the galaxy. The First Order wasn't a distant memory. There were people still alive who remembered it, and Kylo Ren, and the Free Worlds' Alliance flying out to battle Palpatine, who was in reality the now-known Master of Darth Vader himself, the most notorious user of a red lightsaber in galactic history.
The past is the past, he reminded himself. But she's here now, and she's very much right. For all Grand Master Rey did to right the wrongs of the Jedi Order's past crimes, we are well on our way to repeating them.
"With all due respect, ma'am," Ky said. Should he have called her ma'm? Trys? Trys seemed to informal for the setting, but ma'm felt awkward on his lips. "I am not here to convince you of anything. I'm here to help because, whether you believe me or not, there is a far worse danger lurking out there, and when it finally reveals itself, I would rather have you and your organization as my friends than as my enemies."
"All the same—" He sighed deeply and leaned back in his chair. The recordings Trys showed him were on loop and reflected in his eyes. "—you ask good questions. Questions I've asked myself and others since coming into the Order. From what I have gleaned from my admittedly limited investigation, the red saber-wielding group is calling themselves the 'Knights of Ren.' From the histories in the library on Ajan Kloss, all I've been able to glean is that they're marauders who worship the dark side of the Force — they call it 'the Shadow' — by spreading fear and panic, and causing as much death as they can before moving on."
"The Jedi Council, our governing body, very recently authorized me to undertake an investigation to start piecing together some of the very things you asked about. Who they are, where they went. The Council moves slowly and some of us—" Here his eye twitched "—appear to be more concerned with our culinary skills than being useful." Did that sound bitter? That definitely sounded bitter. "And all that is to say that we haven't done much, ma'm. To stop them. Not very much at all."
He hoped on some small level she could see how frustrated he was. She was in law-enforcement. She had to know how bureaucracies and oversight councils worked. Good as you wanted to be, you were only as good as they let you be—and that was something he loathed.
"There's no excuse for it. I won't try to make any, and I won't blow smoke up your ass about why you should trust the Jedi any more than—" He waved to the hologram of the red-saber fiend carving up bodies "—that fine gentleman there." He shrugged. Then, more sincerely, he said, "I want to know the truth. I want to prevent anymore good people from getting killed, if I can. And, if I can do those things while assisting the Rangers in their jobs, well, mores the better."
"If that means Master Oren stays in jail and faces criminal charges for violating your laws, then that's what it means," Ky added, and he meant it. "I am not here to exonerate criminals or to tell you that, just because we have the Force, we're allowed to come into your communities and take the law into our own hands. I don't think anyone had made that argument, and they'd be wrong if they had."
Vayla sat in silence as she listened to the discussions unfold. Like Ky and so many others, she was not entirely privy to the scope of events that included one Oren Zapan. However, besides the one whose crossed face was of ornamented metal, the two other faces of the Rangers in the room suggested that they were nothing if not convinced that the man in their custody was in the right place—for now, anyway. The woman who took their lead, Lieutenant Trys Aran, had all but said as much.
Hers was sound reasoning, wherein one who wielded a red lightsaber or a blue lightsaber still wielded a lightsaber, a strange and powerful blade that could cut through flesh and bone the same way. So far, the colors did not quite discriminate on how the blades swung. If the Sector Rangers were an organization of individuals set on serving the law and protecting their neighbors then this was one woman who appeared to embody the creed. She did not see Jedi and Sith or light and dark—she saw death and destruction and the power responsible for both. But she clearly wants to end it as much as we do.
Vayla had viewed the footage for yet another time and saw the same black shades and red hue more than anything else. A red blade of hate. The Rangers, though, seemed to see black and white while at the same time searching for gray. Lieutenant Trys had earlier mentioned the fine work of the Sector Rangers without the aid of the Jedi, and she had the results to show it, but what Vayla heard was the sound of someone who was no less open for any help that she could get. She just had to first be convinced that it was actually help, not hindrance.
The delegation before her had to prove their worth in that regard, that in spite of one of their brothers' crimes the Jedi were different than those whom they pursued, while yet similar to the others who also pursued them. Vayla might have spoken toward that evident connection, that the lightsaber did not determine the hand that held it, but her fellow delegates had given ample words to steer the meeting in that very direction. So, for now, Vayla was content with sitting in silence and listening.
The head Jedi, or whatever title he might have, spoke about being ignorant of the events that had transpired. Roland's eyes stared at him from behind the visor. A murmur of skepticism coming forth for a moment from the Ranger.
His fingers tapped absent mindedly on the table in a calm and patient manner. Roland had his confidence in the Sector Rangers and himself. So as Ky did his best to try and seem empathetic to the skepticism and confusion most ordinary citizens had, Roland only felt indifference. It almost sounded like the Jedi was trying to 'jedi-splain' things but he had heard the same sort of reaction from families of convicts trying to be friendly. They were a religious group as far as he was concerned and their strange ways did not matter to him as long as they abided by the law. The galaxy held stranger things than hermits with energy weapons after all.
As the man continued to present some clips from a holoprojector Roland spoke up. The way he spoke made it seem like he wanted to be out on the streets alongside Rangers trying to apprehend those responsible. But that just made the Mandalorian wonder if every jedi had a tendency to vigilantism. It was not a comforting thought.
"WITH...all due respect Master Jedi Maryk..." His head tilted a little to the side, intentionally abruptly changing his volume to get the man's attention. Unlike Nashyr, Roland was the type of man who believed there was a point when taking a life was validated. A part of him hoped that Ky could feel that in the force. "...good intentions aren't good justification for breaking the law." His posture would return to normal after a moment, letting Ky continue, all the same.
When the cathar mentioned continuing to pursue the darksiders and red saber jockies he felt the need to speak again. First nodding his head towards Ky . "So you admit to independently investigating criminal acts before first reporting it to us. Master Jedi, you realize that you have essentially admitted to tampering with evidence, crime scenes and pursuing justice in the same manner as your imprisoned cohort? The only difference is you haven't hurt anybody...yet. At least as far as we know."
His head turned to look at the Cathar "And you are blatantly stating you are going to continue to pursue these criminals on your own and interfere with an ongoing investigation." They needed to understand that at best the Jedi Order were on neutral ground with the authority at best right now. Roland was not a man that easily trusted and while the law said 'innocent until proven guilty', the Jedi seemed to have a knack of self incrimination. He just shook his head and sighed slightly, as if he had expected more.
The Knights of Ren, it was definitely a subject he did not know a great deal about either. It was enough to know to arrest one on sight though. Roland did not know the Jedi Order nor the people he had met just minutes earlier. The Jedi historically had been keepers of the peace and had been unified with the Galactic Republic and look where that ended up. Roland respect his separation of church and state. The ranger academy is taking recruits A moment later he was really glad he did not say that out loud. The Jedi at least had plenty of fervor. Then again that was possibly the problem. If Oren had a little less fervor maybe there would be a man with his legs still.
Duke just sat through the entire exchange with a shut mouth. Anything he wanted to say or thought about had been brought up already by the other two and his comments would just meddle the discussion up when there was no point. When Master Maryk first spoke, it was like he was extending out a subtle duel with Trys took and completely disarmed him. It was an interesting watch to witness all of the Jedi's reactions. But Duke did agree with the Jedi about a few things, especially that there was a greater danger out there.
While the Jedi they already had in custody would pay for his crimes and the need for validation for the Jedi to make sure laws were upheld, Duke still had a feeling that something was out there that worse than just the Jedi. It would most likely require both of their people's efforts but that would take time before that happened. Maryk gave his speech a heartfelt ending and the Ranger believed him actually but was still concerned about these powers they had and what kind of damage they could really cause after what he saw about the amulet.
Duke sat back in his chair and crossed his arms, letting the other Rangers continue the flow of conversation unless he saw a point where he should interject.
Trys remained silent as the Jedi answered. She was never the type to interject, and she always weighed everything before offering her own answers. After the Jedi spoke, Roland spoke up. With him as well, she weighed the words and opinions carefully. Duke had nothing to add, and she decided it was finally time for her to speak up again.
She first turned to Roland and smiled, “I hardly think the Jedi can tamper with evidence when thus far we’ve been a step ahead of them. Furthermore, we as Rangers have limitations on where our jurisdiction lies. This is precisely why we can’t exactly go out and charge the Arcanist for crimes on Nar Shaddaa - we aren’t recognized as any sort of authority there,” She turned back to look at Ky, “If the Jedi want to conduct investigations outside of Deep Core worlds or other regulated planets with Ranger authority, there’s not much we can do to stop them.”
“However, Ranger Rook brings up a fair point on the matter of trust,” Trys looked each of the Jedi in the eye, “It is true that we will get a lot more done working together instead of against one another, but the basis of trust needs to be established. The Rangers’ reach is limited, but yours is not,” Most of the Outer Rim operated by its own set of rules, and Rangers had many more hoops to jump through, “We can begin to form a trust by simply learning more about you. You know where our HQ is, you’ve waltzed right in. Take us to your base, let us meet your leaders, allow us to see that Oren and his misguided actions do not define and profile you as a group,” It was the same courtesy she had extended Talak, after all.
She tilted her head Roland's way, listening to him calmly stepping in like the good ranger he was. She honestly expected nothing less, but pushed away the smile that threatened to touch up with a listening expression."From what I recall, the jurisdiction territory you hold is limited; from the possibility of things, this group prefers to work where Rangers' reach is limited, in some cases, in places controlled by gangsters such as in the Outer Rim. Granted, my initial statement was as a citizen of the galaxy, not a member of an enforced policing body, nor with intent to interfere upon any grounds you consider Ranger territory."She met his gaze squarely, or where his gaze might be through that T-visor, her own expression one of calm.
"If I was wrong in the assumptions that citizens' arrests were outside of legal jurisdiction, I do apologize." Her features remained impassive, but she tilted her head slightly to acknowledge him. "However, I agree with Lieutenant Trys; we are here to hopefully build trust between the two factions. What you believe to build that bridge I leave for you to find on your own, however if establishing rapport between our respected groups means meeting our leaders... I would agree, but leave it up to my companions as the final decision."
She glanced to Ky and Vayla, however she herself couldn't believe the kark that came out of her mouth.
Maybe she had been watching too many drama and police holovids recently...
Ky rolled the suggestion around his head for a moment. Inwardly, he couldn't help but feel concerned. The Jedi Council was full of wise Masters who were all genuinely good beings. However, they were slow to act, almost maddeningly. Ky had only gone through one conversation with Trys, but he could already tell she wouldn't care much for the Council or their methods. Still, even that might prove useful. If she was able to see how the Jedi functioned, she might understand why they—whether they wanted to or not—were forced to react so slowly to the unfolding matter at hand.
The internal debate only took a moment. Then he was nodding. "I agree," he said. "I think that would be a fine step in the right direction. I will transmit a message to the Jedi Council and our Grand Master asking them to grant you an audience at the Jedi library on Ajan Kloss. I will also leave you the coordinates, so that you can find your way. Ajan Kloss isn't particularly pretty, but it's off the beaten path in the Outer Rim Territories, so, what can you expect?"
"I will also transmit to them my recommendation that we provide our resources—including our archives, which I think will prove useful to your search for Force-sensitive criminals—to assist in your investigations." Ky was suddenly very, very tired. Thank the Force he wasn't a politician. These sorts of meetings were taxing on the body as much as they were the mind. "As a Knight, that is the extent of my authority in these matters. But, moving forward, if you or your organization ever needs a Jedi contact, I will always be a friend of the Sector Rangers. You have my word, for whatever its worth, on that."
But they didn't know that until just now and it was kind of funny to see their faces. He thought to himself with a smug grin underneath his helmet. Trys had good points. As usual The gloved fingers of the Ranger stopped their tapping and settled.
Even with the Free World Alliance's added funding the Sector Rangers had their limitations. They weren't like the romanticized Clone Army of the Galactic Republic or the CIS where new soldiers could be ordered up like a new batch of manufactured workers. Combating the criminals of the galaxy would be a much slower and arduous process without assistance. Roland recognized that and silently agreed with what Nashyr said about their limitations. But it still did not make him eager to trust the mystics across the table any more than before.
"Wooo" He said In mild excitment. "Who doesn't love a field trip?" Not only would he get to see how the Jedi Order acted in their own environment but he would be able to get out of the city and back in the field.
"We have to keep in mind that these Force Sensitives may be working with those that aren't privileged with an affinity for the force." He said it to everyone in the room as more of a reminder than anything. Force sensitives were not the only people capable of terrorism. There was more than one suspect confirmed as participating in the witnessed acts and while some of them exhibited abilities the Arcanist might be working with normal criminals to achieve his goal.
Lieutenant Aran was right that her Jedi guests were sitting here in the home of their hosts, so why not return the gesture? If the Sector Rangers wanted to shackle every wielder of the bright blade then knowing where the Jedi lived would be a sure start for them, but such was not the sense of this conference. Those sitting on one side of the table wanted justice for the dead, protection for the living, answers for the many questions, and the other side wanted the same thing. We are all caught in the same shadow, trying to work our way into the light.
The cross-visored Roland touched upon criminal collaborations just then, but Vayla was not quite ready to go down that path. She looked between the two Jedi beside her, individuals whom she did not know personally but who fused with her to become a threefold cord, and then she spoke to the Rangers before her, namely Trys.
“These are uncertain times,” she hesitated, breathing in what air of confidence she could find. “Though, we might say that for time itself. I can yet say with certainty that it is my hope that the Jedi Order and the Sector Rangers come to trust one another, if not rely upon each other, for the sake of relations and to deal with whatever threat that we are faced with.”A red blade of hate. “So, now you have heard it from all three of us.”
She paused, drumming her fingers while gears turned in her head like clockwork, but time did not stop for thoughts. Faith, not fear.“I have seen the faces of those who watch and wonder, waiting for a beam of light to split the air and tear through those caught in its path. The social temperature of this galaxy is analyzed by you Rangers, while we Jedi can sense it. As well, a number of us are no less on edge than you or anyone else. You may find a measure of such apprehension in our own…’HQ’...”
Vayla hoped the term had been properly used and waved a hand to dismiss her own musings.
“That is the cold consequence of this mistrust and I want it to end. Red blade, blue blade—the Jedi are not your enemy or the galaxy’s, and I trust that those of my Order are united in our desire to prove this.”Not even the one whom you keep captive is your enemy. They had come here to correlate as two groups, but what of the individual? A guilty man was a guilty man, but Oren Zapan was no mere man; he was a member of the Order, a member of their family, was he not? Yet, Oren’s story and his current chapter were on the record of a separate delegation, while this meeting involved more than just one man, so Vayla checked her tongue.
“If you do see our library,” she smiled. “You will not see the book that is still being written: the one about the Rangers who met the Jedi and the two became allies, almost like the days of old…” She shrugged as though to excuse herself. “The wistful musings of a young woman, I fear, but from fear we may yet have hope. While the work will cost, some would say that there is no price on hope.”
Vayla tasted her own words to sense if they might turn sour, but in the end it wasn’t the Sector Rangers’ badge on the video feeds but the lightsaber—the badge of the Jedi. Names had to be cleared up, and if one party had to yield to the other for the sake of trust and faith, right now it would be the Jedi Order.