Coalescence, Chapter 5

The Jedi kept his hood up and his eyes down as he stepped off the bulk transport freighter with the other passengers. As was his custom in a new environment, he extended his senses to those around him, wary of ambush.

It was a nervous habit. But the ability to extend his senses in such a way was powered, in essence, by the paranoia behind the habit. It was a crutch, and he knew it, but he could not surrender it. He was in a warzone of sorts, after all.

Sensing no impending doom, he pushed back on his feelings of entrapment and shame and concentrated instead on the mission at hand. He was following the Jedi Sreya Alcyon per the Council’s orders. They apparently felt that Sreya was a loose cannon with Dark Side tendencies, and warranted close observation.

He chuckled wryly to himself at the irony of that. He had encountered Sreya a time or two at the temple on Tython, and was sure he had personally never met a more calm and peaceful Jedi. Meanwhile, his own emotions…

His thoughts were interrupted as he sensed an immediate and marked increase in tension in the nearby troopers garrisoned at the spaceport. Approaching the nearest trooper directly, he identified himself. “Trooper, I am Jedi Galo-ban Dulsaer, on a mission for the Jedi Council. What is the current situation?”

Immediately, Galo-ban regretted his decision to involve himself. It was probably some local trouble that did not concern him. The trooper would probably dismiss him with a polite “nothing we can’t handle, sir.” It was not like he was a legitimate Jedi, traipsing around saving whole planets from disaster.

“One moment, sir.” The trooper replied instead as he brought his index finger to a point on his helmet. “Sarge, there’s a Jedi here…” the trooper trailed off, evidently listening to instructions. He continued after a brief interval. “Acknowledged. Right away.”

The trooper returned his attention to Galo-ban. “Master Jedi, if you wouldn’t mind coming with me, the Captain would like to see you. Seems there’s a situation developing that you might be able to help with.”

Galo-ban’s heart raced at the request, but he maintained an outward appearance of calm as he answered the trooper. “Of course, lead on.”

The trooper led him out of the spaceport and across an open courtyard of sorts to a small barracks. The captain’s office was inside; it was cramped and smelled of mildew. The captain, bent over a command holo-table, appeared calm and collected despite the tension Galo-ban sensed off his subordinates in waves.

“Captain, the Jedi’s here,” his escort announced.

The Captain looked up and over towards Galo-ban. “Good. I’m going to get straight to the point, Master Jedi.”

Galo-ban nodded for the captain to continue. “Small mercenary groups have been popping up all over the sector, keeping my boys hopping. All the military instillations they’re hitting are handling things fine, for the most part, but I’ve got a small unit on a retrieval mission that’s been ambushed and needs help in a bad way.

“They’re pinned down by superior numbers and firepower, and their transport is down for the count. I can’t spare anyone to go get them because my reserves are all putting out fires at more strategically important locations.”

Without even thinking, Galo-ban responded. “Give me a speeder, and I’ll bring them back.”

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