Victoria took time to carefully listen to the speakers that came before her, of particular interest was the long and exceptionally detailed scientific report from Trini. There did seem to be an exceptional amount of data missing on this old arch nemesis of the galaxy, but if it could be collected once, then it could be again.
The Killiks seemed to respond to normal arms like one might expect, but then again she hadn't actually faced one directly herself and therefore decided against speaking on the topic directly.
There were two areas that Victoria wanted to raise before the body, one that might uncover some material secrets, or maybe nothing, and the other was something that she would need help with in order for it to be of any use. Starting slowly and choosing her words carefully, she spoke softly when the opportunity arose.
"The FWA is currently organising a scientific expedition to Geonosis in an attempt to learn more lost information about this threat. Supposedly a long abandoned hive existed on the world, but it does not appear to be currently active."
Victoria paused for a few seconds before continuing with the second item. "On Ruusan there was a great panic and mass exodus from the summit chamber, but before this, as we know, the hosts attempted to unite the attendees with their joined brethren by offering goblets filled with bubbling liquid. "
"I have in my possession one of these goblets and trace amounts of the liquid it once contained. Gannaria does not have the facilities required to properly examine its properties, but we are willing to provide it to an appropriate laboratory in the interests of us all learning its connection to the hive mind."
Muting herself on the holosuite, she had done her part for now and would await to see where the conversation would wander next.
Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl reacted in shock as the Senator from Anaxes mentioned the ISC Core Defense Fleet turning on its own forces. The Wookiee was no scientist, and he was certain that there were better places than Kashyyyk to examine the goblet and its contents. However, while the indoctrination to the kilik hive mind via the drinking of something made sense, there was absolutely no way the CDF had all been acclimated in such a manner. Unless there were kiliks in all of the ISC's mess halls, their acclamation had likely happened in a slower, more subtle manner.
For once, Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl decided to wait to raise his concerns, as he didn't want to induce mass panic without more information. But his faint memories of kiliks possibly being able to Join others over time through the use of airborne pheromones worried him.
Instead, Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl found himself bringing forth a suggestion for a research firm to look into the contents of the cup. "Might I recommend that Korre Belasi's laboratory look into it?" he said. The former FWA Prime Minister had been out of politics for some time, and had been widely respected during her tenure in office. Moreover, she was an acclaimed microbiologist and biochemist. MorataCorp was the first thing that had popped into his head, but they were likely more focused on medicine and treatment than biochemical investigation.
She smiled as Lon’s shimmering blue form appeared. (@Phoenix) “But you are recovering.” Alex inclined her head slightly. “Which is no small feat.” She had seen greater warriors than Lon succumb to such injuries. The Neidodian appearing at the hearing spoke of a strong will. Suddenly, she understood why he was so effective. No all wars were fought on the battlefield. The Morellian Jedi mused silently while the meeting spun into high gear. For once, the beings in the room seemed dedicated to achieving the same goal. The history explained by Trini went far beyond even the deepest sources in the archives. She shuddered at just how little they knew. More reports flashed across her screen. Time was slipping away.
“Or Dr. Morata” If she was willing. “There may be a way to find the Killik home world if we can take one alive.” Her eyes quickly fell on the known Force sensitives in the room. “Those of us you can use the Force may be able to swim through the hive mind. It would be dangerous and with unknown consequences…but to touch one mind would be to touch them all which may reveal their home.” She did not relish such a task. In fact, she was certain only 3 beings in the galaxy would survive such an attempt. One was a monster…the other Queen of Dathomir. Alex wondered, not for the first time, if Andruil would answer her call.
The Grandmaster had another suggestion on her tongue but that would have to wait. They needed a plan first…a start to working together and then perhaps the bloodshed could be ended. A cease fire. Not forever, but at least for now. As long as they had a common enemy there was little reason to rip themselves apart.
Celeste attentively listened to the various speakers and representatives, holding back herself for now because due to her recovery she hadn't been super active in that matter herself. She was overly happy that professor Halrixien was present again and she was hoping that her findings and general research could potentially shed light on the surprising emergence of the Killiks.
Her speech was indeed insightful and informative, yet of course she couldn't answer all questions. The Killiks and their ultimate goals were still a mystery, yet this didn't make them any less frightening at all. She was certain they would continue to tyrannize the galaxy, but like seen on Ruusan, this brought the galaxy closer at least.
She internally sighed, knowing that the Killiks would surely keep them busy for a while, but it was also refreshingly nice to see so many diverse faces in this not necessarily political, emergency galactic assembly. As Victoria took the stage, she nodded, not yet sharing the information that she herself planned on joining the venture as she was finally cleared by the doctors now.
The revelation of the goblet was not surprising to her, since Victoria had entrusted her with that fact once she had reached Gannaria, but she had waited for her to bring it up in front of everyone. In the panic on Ruusan, Celeste had not managed to grab a souvenir herself, but she was more than grateful that her friend had managed to take one with her. She didn't care whether Korre or Dr. Morata would take a look, perhaps even both, but some brilliant mind definitely had to figure something out, or else there were no many silver linings...
The Grandmaster's suggestion was interesting and dangerous indeed, yet Celeste had had that thought herself when she had been attacked by the Trandoshan back on Ruusan. She wondered whether capturing one alive was a good thing though, because thanks to their hive mind, the rest of the Killiks would immediately know where the captured one was and they would sent reinforcements - no doubts on that.
"If possible, samples should be sent to all our leading research facilities. If this threat is indeed as grave as it seems," he paused, giving Trini and the Senator from Gannaria a nod, "and all accounts do seem to point in that direction, then we need to be careful in how we respond. As the Senator from Anaxes stated," he nodded in agreement at his fellow Republic senator, "this is not like the AMS virus, we cannot tell when someone has been infected. And we do not know enough about these killiks outside of their military capabilities, what about their intelligence capabilities? What if they have infiltrated this very body? I fear placing all our eggs in one basket is not a luxury we can afford."
He had been a soldier once, and he knew that the wars were won as much by intelligence as by brute force. If he had been the enemy then he would have at the very least explored the possibility of infiltrating the ranks of those he sought to beat. And he had no reason to believe these killiks had not already had the thought.
"We need to distribute this sample, parallelize our research with redundancies in place in case any facility falls.....or turns and attempts sabotage."
Although Firrerre and the Pacanth Reach were somewhat isolated from the greater galaxy, especially after leaving the Free Worlds Alliance, their representative still chose to arrive. What better pivotal moment to assert oneself than a growing galactic crisis?
She'd stepped in amongst others at the beginning, dressed in a sharp suit and short, heeled black boots. Her greetings were small nods of the head as she found her spot, golden eyes moving between the many different representatives of many different cultures and governments. Anger subtly colored her walk, tightly controlled; escaping Ruusan had nearly cost her life with others falling in her stead. Her people had fury to spare these days.
A part of no government beyond her own, she offered little comment before the proceeding officially began. Others spoke with good points, her eyes landing on Senator Kallist and then Victoria. They quickly gave Ceridwen the impression of cleverness and foresight. The Firrerreon governor folded one leg over the other, hands neatly laid in her lap.
"On the matter of weakness," she spoke up in smooth contralto, accent finely clipped with the hint of something wilder beneath the words, "Collated data from Ruusan suggests two." Sharp, simply glossed claws rapped briefly against her chair's arm, as if in thought. "Time stamps between confirmed Killik or Joiner ship destruction and events on the ground show their soldiers faltering. They also possess a likely sensitivity to bright flashes of light." Ceridwen stuck to the point in a tone of calm confidence. Every culture in the Reach had been warriors since before the Republic existed and placed a high value on tactical assessment.
"The Reach believes these can be used to plan countermeasures going forward." She took a moment's pause, glancing down toward a datapad. "Their swarms of fighter craft also appear unshielded. They'd be vulnerable to older anti-fighter flak weaponry."
Alexander smiled as the Anaxes senator greeted him, Miss Kalist was a newcomer to their ranks but had already made a pleasant name for herself in the upper echelons of the Republic Senate. Her ties to the prestigious Anaxes Naval Academy had given the Supreme Chancellor the idea of potentially adding her to the New Age Naval Committee. “These weeks have been harrowing to say the least. But we must strive forward, not only for ourselves but for everyone we serve.” He replied, before they could continue their conversation however the speaker for today’s meeting rose and the conversations began.
Although he wished to speak early, if not first, the headaches returned. The almost blinding pain forced him to keep himself firmly in his seat as the conversation’s around the Killik’s motive and the stolen goblet gathered pace. Finally the pain began to pass, shifting from behind the Supreme Chancellor’s eyes and in the deep confines of the back of his skull. It still hurt, but he could and would push through.
“I second Senator Drast’s statement, that we must share this information out. All our Governments have outstanding facilities and scientists, it would be foolish to not leverage the scientific might of the galaxy, when faced with a Galactic sized threat.”
“Grandmaster, you mention that we may find out more if we capture one of the Killik’s and allow you to use The Force to peer into this ‘Hive Mind’. Although I know little of The Force and its way’s, I trust your desire to help this galaxy and agree that the capture of one of these creatures is of paramount success.”
Alexander paused for a moment, leaning on the pedestal before him. The pain spiking for a moment, the bright lights of the chamber forcing him to squint, the headache increasing his sensitivity to light.
“It is then of great fortune that shortly before I arrived here, I received information from a combined New Republic Intelligence Service and Naval operation of the location of a current live Hive World, yet to show itself to the Galaxy. Iridonia.”
Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl wasn't certain what to think of Xeres' presence at this meeting. On one hand, it was good to see that the Supreme Chancellor had made it off Ruusan alive, in the sense that it saved him from attending another Supreme Chancellor's funeral. On the other hand, the Wookiee was very much looking forward to dealing with the man's eventual successor and a small part of him had hoped that day had come sooner rather than later.
At least the New Republic's intelligence arm had come through.
"How did NRIS determine the location of the Kilik hive world?" he asked, genuinely curious. "Their process must be shared with the galaxy immediately. The more we know about the kilik's locations, the better we can gauge the extent of their threat to the galaxy." The Wookiee gestured to the updates were flooding in from Thyferra; too early to tell the outcome just yet. "And the better we can respond to their surprise attacks. Not every planet has the capacity that the ISC has to fight back" he said, noting that the mighty ISC was pulling out all the stops- including Jedi, Sith, Mandalorians, some random old guy, and even Emryc himself- in the desperate fight to save the galaxy's supply of Bacta, while a similar scene was playing out on Correllia as fighting intensified around a nuclear power plant. "And the kilik's numbers could snowball if they're allowed to spread unchallenged to independent planets."
Alex quickly concealed her surprise. A flicker barely passed across her face when the Supreme Chancellor announced his news. She trusted Xerxes almost as little as the Empire. The Grandmaster would never forget the political leader of the Republic trying to convince her the Order would be gifted ships if they merely stole them. He had been suspiciously uninvolved in the chaos of Ruusan. One moment he stood addressing the crowd and the next was simply gone. Meanwhile, the rest of them had battled for their very lives. No…something was very wrong…but she kept her face a still mask. These thoughts for her alone.
Her comments would be of a different color. “Senator Drast and Aezz have the right of it. We must diversify our investigation and share all information we can.” She turned towards the other Alex. “How certain of this are you?” Her voice was perfectly polite. “Althoug...I fear attacking a Hive world directly would be little more than a suicide mission. We know too little of our enemy and they grow stronger by the day.” Alex leaned back in her chair, pondering her next words carefully.
“The powers of the galaxy are represented in this room. We are all clearly united in working towards stopping the Killik incursion. We all recognize the danger…but such unity is based on trust. Trust we are unlikely to ever share. So, I would propose a different solution.” She leaned forward now. Her hands slipping across the table. “A formal temporary cease fire among all of us here. Regardless of affiliation…until the Killik threat is no more.” Alex let the words hang in the air for a moment. She knew what she was doing. “That may give us a chance at working together.” It not a real bond. Not true trust. For she would never place her faith in the Republic or Empire…rather this would be a Band-Aid until the greater threat passed.
He observed the major players of the galactic stage discussing this grave threat to their very way of life, and took note of everything he saw. Despite the detailed report he would file once this meeting reached its conclusion, he was sure he would be fielding calls from more than one member of the Aristocra, and they would be most disappointed if his observations did not answer every one of their queries.
The Chancellor's declaration was an eye-opener, such intel could indeed be valuable, provided it was reliable. He was glad to see that he was not the only one who thought to raise that concern. "I agree," he spoke up after the Jedi Grand-master was done speaking, "rushing in head-first is more likely to hurt us than bear any fruitful results. First and foremost this report must be thoroughly vetted, and we must know what we are walking into before taking any action, lest we risk accomplishing little more than feeding into the killik war machine." He paused, eyeing the Jedi for a moment, and wondering how committed she was to her own suggestion of cooperation. "A covert operation, infiltrating this hub and gathering information on which future actions could be based, that would be something a joint operation of Jedi and Sith could accomplish, yes? We cannot risk an all-out attack, but a small task force, with a very specific goal could accomplish much."
There were no Sith present there, but he was sure word would reach them, and if the Jedi's proposal of cooperation was one that everyone signed on to, then the Sith would surely become part of this effort. A strike force made of only Jedi would also do, but from what he knew about them he knew there were things the Jedi were not good at, situations were a Sith might succeed where a Jedi might not. A joint force, despite the risks of strife, had the best chance of succeeding.
Iridonia? Interesting. Sith intelligence didn't turn up anything there. Interesting still though. Arcturus heard the others speak. After the blue-skinned alien spoke, it was time for the Governor to address them. "A temporary cease-fire is agreeable." he said. The Sith further proving to the body that they are reasonable government.
And unto the joint operation for Iridonia "The Sith Empire is more than capable of doing a joint operation with the Jedi to gather information on Iridonia." To be frank, the Sith Empire is secure in it's capabilities that it needs not fear betrayal on the Jedi's part. "Although our Sith, as shown by Ruusan, are capable of working with Jedi or FWA side-by-side if need be; perhaps would be best if during this investigation, that the Sith and Jedi keep their distance from each other to minimize chances of accidents happening" he gave a rational proposal. "Or if Jedi or Sith need to work closely, the Sith can work with this" he said.
Arcturus would look around and see how the others react.
Vetra heard Julia speak, the other Corporate Sector representative. She has quite the reputation and Vetra isn't stranger to that. She spoke very well and like a true professional. In regards to the Goblet from the Killiks that the Senator of Gannaria had, Vetra would contribute as well. "Blackwell Technologies is also willing to examine the substance" she said. Dr. Morata is brilliant and has a great company behind her, and Korre Belasi has quite the reputation. But the galaxy's premier mega-corporation also has much to offer. "This could be be a great collaborative effort." she added.
Now onto the topic of Iridonia, Vetra listened to the men speak. The Chiss spoek of a joint effort between the Sith and Jedi. Even if there are Killiks, she wondered if such a joint venture between Sith and Jedi of that nature can go. Their religions have been enemies for centuries and destroyed each others a number of times in the past have they not? Oh well. "If need be, Blackwell Technologies has an assortment of droids that can help for Iridonia. We can dispatch scout droids, and we have a brand new model of probe droid on the market." Vetra would then display a holoscreen of it and a readout of it "This new droid can move swiftly, gather information, record and share it's findings via datalink. And if equipped with one of our stygium cloaking devices, will make the probe droids undetectable. This way the planet can be surveyed without risking any lives." she said and smirked. Vetra didn't offer this to be helpful or to be nice in this crisis, she offered to talk up Blackwell and push the new product. She would end on that.
A suspicion gnawed at Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl that the Sith were behind the emergence of the kiliks; they'd not sent any leaders to the meeting on Ruusan, and the introduction of a new galactic threat was practically forcing the FWA to consider peace without any further negotiations; negotiations that the Wookiee had hoped might open the door for conquered FWA planets to choose their government.
The hardly-veiled threat from the Sith representative (@The Good Doctor) did little to assuage Senator's cautious acceptance that the FWA and the Sith might have to work together against the kiliks, which thus far only had appeared outside of Sith space.
"Accidents?" Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl asked, a clarification that was hardly necessary. The Sith's admission that Jedi/FWA working with Sith might be subject to accidents did not sit well with the Wookiee. "Since Representative Alkaios does not appear convinced that Sith operatives can work safely in conjunction with other factions, then I suggest that we eliminate that risk by sending in scout droids." (@The Good Doctor) His comments could hardly draw criticism as the Sith had made no attempts to hide their villainy to the galaxy at large, and the Governor of New Alderaan had just signaled that the Sith might try to backstab FWA/Jedi operatives; hardly the sign of a government to be trusted. "Droids also have a major advantage in that, as far as we know, they cannot be Joined; and they may even be able to capture a kilik for us to study." It was the lowest-risk option, as far as he was concerned.
Sandé had kept herself to herself since the commencement of the extraordinary meeting, preferring to watch the great men and women of state get their initial posturing out of the way before she proffered her own views. Since the withdrawal of her brother from public life, for reasons he had yet to share with her, Sandé had taken up the mantle as representative for her world, one of the multitudinous facets of her position as its Queen. Stoically, she had listened as the various members of the galaxies political elite had commented on the shared calamity which now struck them all.
Naboo was not a world that, to her knowledge, had ever been visited by these exotic alien creatures. Indeed, her own understanding of the structure of her home planet was that vast underwater caverns, all of which teem with aquatic life, would make it next to impossible for an insectivorous race to exist there. However, the more she listened to the concerning analysis of the gathered representatives, the more worried she grew that maybe, just maybe, another scan of the subterranean levels might be a good idea.
"Distinguished representatives, it is pleasing to hear such a broad cross-section of the galaxy coming together to face this common foe. I extend my thanks to the Jedi, and the Sith, for being willing to enter into these discussions with a shared hope of working something out, which could save the lives of millions across our galaxy. Senator Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl," she said the Wookies name with almost perfect pronunciation, the by-product of a combination of excellent schooling, and far too much free time as a young girl " - let us give Representative Alkaios credit for the foresight to place measures in place to ensure better cooperation and stronger outcomes in our shared endeavors." she added diplomatically, doing her best to move the discussion to a more optimistic area, rather than spark yet another argument between the Sith and the Alliance.
"When any two peoples have been at war, the wounds of conflict exist for long after a ceasefire is called. It is only wise to do what we can to prevent such grievances from arising at this time. If the Sith and the Jedi wish to commit to sending force users to the location of Killik activities, then I believe we should do what we can to facilitate such a measure - droids can do much, but the force can do much more, and those proficient in its use will aid our investigations enormously." the Queen inclined her head to the Sith and Jedi speakers, indicating that Naboo supported their renewed efforts to support the work of the assembly, together.
"Indeed, Naboo is also eager to do what we can to support the work of our intergalactic companions. Whilst we cannot do as much as pan-galactic governments can, we shall of course support the work of the Consortium, of which we are proud to be a part. On top of this, we can provide the use of the NSC Emilia, a corvette in the Nabooian Navy. It is not much, but it is a capable vessel, which can serve as a fast-moving and effective hub of operations for this research, if the assembly wishes for it."
The meeting was drawing to a close. There was truly little left to discuss. “I will instruct the Order to abide by the cease-fire.” She placed her hands on the table one last time. “We will share all that we learn about the Killik threat, and my hope is all of you will do the same.” Alex slowly pushed herself from the table to stand. “We will need time to prepare for any action against the Hive world. I suggest we all speak internally before presenting plans of action. If we can break the Hive mind, we may win the war.” She needed to further investigate the working of the Killik. Alex was still convinced a joining of powerful Force users could shatter the Killik…but that would be difficult to gather.
“We are all aware of the fighting on Thyferra and Corellia. I must tend to that and prepare to send what resources we can when the fighting stops.” She nodded to each member present. “Thank you…I do mean that…truly. This was not easy for any of us and that should not be lost.” With that the Grandmaster made her way back to the Aurora. The galaxy was on uneven footing. The Killik were a united threat unlike anything any of them had faced. The meeting gave her some small hope they could defeat that threat.
There had been significant discussion since the last time that she had spoken up, the senator was more than happy to listen as each side added their contribution or statement of intent towards their galactic efforts against the Killik threat. There was still some hope that they would be able to set aside their differences and work together toward the common goal.
"I shall make available the goblet for all parties that wish to take samples, I do agree that the more eyes we have on this project the better. As for the FWA-Sith question, I concur with Senator Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl (@SlagathorTheUnknown) that a formal ceasefire is both warranted and wanted in this situation and perhaps in time, more negotiations can be brought forth to end the war between our peoples."
Victoria held steadfast in her belief that the senseless violence did nothing good for the FWA, its worlds lost were regretful, but they also retained a responsibility to the billions still within their care. If the meeting didn't seem to pick up steam and continue, she would consider their business done for the day.
Julia's eyes practically lit up with delight when the Alliance Senator, Victoria, offered to share a sample of the Killiks 'substance'. There was a great deal the Blackwell Corporation and Systech could do with that particular substance, not just proofing against the Killik. Already she was postulating about the various additional uses such a potent substance could have as she activated her microphone to express her thanks.
"That is a most generous offer, Senator. I can assure you, we shall make full use of it. I am confident of compelling results to aid our collective efforts against this rising threat." she replied, signalling her apparent interest in securing a sample for those whom she represented.
Jasnah had been sitting quietly in the back, listening in on the conversation, not really having any authority to speak up in the proceedings. She wasn't a governor or held a position on any committee that allowed her to speak, she was just another cog in the Imperial bureaucracy, here to observe, record, and report.
As the meeting wound to a close, she stopped typing on the datapad placed on her lap, having recorded everything she needed to, and sent a copy to the Governor from New Alderaan (@The Good Doctor) for review, he was the ranking officer there and she wasn't going to risk a pointless reprimand for ignoring the chain of command.
Turning to the droid besides her, she handed over the datapad along with another command. "Reach out to Senator Victoria's aide, arrange to pick up a sample." (@Xorism) The droid nodded and left, as Jasnah sat back and continued observing the proceedings.