When Universes Collide--PADAWAN RECRUIT:A Star Wars Fan Fiction Part3
NEW YORK CITY; THE UNITED NATIONS' OFFICE, PRESENT DAY...
"-Oh, Ms. Downstead, did you forget about that last meeting," Debby, the office secretary to Amy Downstead, called out. The Special Assistant to the US Secretary of State was virtually flying out of the office's doors before Debby got her in time!
It was as though Amy hit an invisible wall, as she stopped. Then she remembered the added appointment. "Guess I'll be having dinner at nine tonight..." She blew out a frustrated sigh as she turned around to return her coat and business-case back to her office.
"You know," Debby said from her desk; her voice on the furtive side, "I can always say that you're tide up in a conference call with the President."
"Debby," Amy said with a slightly exhorted tone as she disappeared into her office to drop her personal belongings there. But when she came out again, Debby could see that she was smiling at the suggestion.
"Well, I still don't understand who these guys are, anyway," Debby admitted as she began to clean up her desk for the end of the day. "Chlorian Watch...what kind of name is that? It sounds like they're on a watch for chlorophyll instead of human rights violations!"
The special assistant laughed at her secretary's comment. "Well, Fran said they checked out as a legitimate ngo."
"Yeah, she told me about that the other day. But, I mean, like, where? Usually these activists have a specific place or demographic that they represent...from what I read on their official website, they're pretty vague about whose rights they're fighting for."
Amy nodded as she thought on it and edged to the doors that went to the lobby. "Yeah, I looked at their site, too. Their name and mission statement actually implies they're on the watch for human rights violators."
Debby stopped her yet again. "Yeah, but on a watch for whom?"
That last question stuck in Amy's mind. Indeed, the special assistant seemed to go into a trance. When Amy woke from the odd state of mind, she saw how Debby was looking at her.
"That's been happening to you a lot lately, Amy," the younger woman stated with great concern.
Half embarrassed, Amy gathered herself. "Actually, Debby, I've always had these spells-ever since I was a toddler, according to my parents." She shook her head, as if in denial. "But you are right; they've been stronger than ever before!"
Debby was going to say more, but Amy insisted that she had to go to her meeting.
When she reached the visitors' area, she was surprised to see how clean-cut the two suited men looked. Usually, Amy's preconceived notion went, activists who fought for civil and human rights were usually more of the Hippie-type-long hair, beards, non-conformist clothes...in other words, exactly how Padawan Jacob Millstine and Jedi Salvitor normally dressed like.
Amy shook both of their hands upon reaching them. "Hi, I'm Amy Downstead; Special Assistant to the Secretary of State."
"Greetings, Ms. Downstead. I'm Salvitor, and this is my vice-president of the organization..." Salvitor let his padawan answer for himself at this point.
"Jacob," he said with a firm nod and bright smile.
Amy led them down the hall and to a room especially set aside for United Nations meetings for potential causes to go to the dockets. In other words, a small room that was not meant to impress the audience at hand, like one would find at the UN's great conference room; where all the television cameras and dignitaries converged.
There were a couple of rounds of small talk before Amy steered the conversation to its purpose.
"...well, I hate to tell you, gentlemen, but a friend of mine commented on not knowing what exactly your cause is about. I couldn't give her a good response, even after having read your mission statement on your official website! Now, as you know, with the backing of the president, the secretary of state is more than happy to look into any human rights issue that impacts Americans, wherever they may happen to be..."
Jedi Salvitor noted how the special assistant became a bit more rigid in her demeanor at that point. "But the secretary must be absolutely convinced that the problem presented rises to the level that the UN and the US deem actionable."
Jacob, understanding diplomatese well, looked upon Salvitor and gave him a knowing look...but it was not merely for the political jargon that Amy cited. Salvitor gave the slightest nod back to Jacob.
"In other words," Salvitor played off, responding to the special assistant's slight rebuff, "who, exactly, is it that Chlorian Watch is watching out for? Isn't that it, Ms. Downstead?"
Amy frowned upon Salvitor's response. She glanced at his younger companion, but he, too, seemed to have stiffened in attitude as Jacob looked upon her with an open stare; his body as still as a statue.
Then, with no warning, Amy stood up from her chair. "Gentlemen...I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm not quite feeling myself this evening. I-"
"We know about you, Ms. Downstead," Jedi Salvitor simply stated to her. At first, he kept his eyes down on the table, but then slowly lifted his eyes to meet those of the thirty-something professional.
Amy reacted as if she had been splashed with water. "Excuse me?"
"The precognitive visions," Jacob filled in, "that odd sense that someone else is behind you, then vanishes; objects jumping right into your hand when all you've done was think about them-"
"Or jumping twenty feet over your opponent's team on the soccer field," she, now, contributed to the list; her eyes deep in her experiences. "Or...accidentally lifting someone a couple of feet off the floor when you get into a heated argument!"
Now Jedi Salvitor and Jacob looked upon each other with concern. Both watched as she took out her smartphone and placed a call to her secretary; telling Debby that she was going to be a little longer and for her to go home. She, then, opened the door to the conference room and looked around the lobby; making sure no one else was around. Except for a couple of janitors, all was clear. She closed the door and locked it.
The Jedi and padawan remained silent as Amy reclaimed her seat. She kept her eyes off to a corner of the room as she slid into the chair. Salvitor sensed that she was troubled-making her ripe for recruitment from the Sith!
"I'm surprised you don't have a hundred questions for us," Jacob said with a bit of levity, remembering how he was a couple of years ago, now, when Darth Harest and Jedi Salvitor first encountered him!
"This is going to sound weird," she said after a long delay, "but I felt your presence here before. A few times, actually. So I knew I could trust you...I'm not sure why. Anyway, there's no sense in pretending I'm normal, is there?"
Salvitor was nodding; a smile finally gracing his face. "We call that the Force, Ms. Downstead."
"Amy, please," she said as she turned to fully face them.
Both men nodded in consent and waited for her to speak. For not only could they sense that she was, indeed, upset about something, but her demeanor said as much. "So, I take it you found me like those other people did?"
Salvitor's face dropped suddenly, and Jacob sat stone-faced.
"What other people, Amy," Salvitor asked.
"I don't know who they were. I kind of got the same feeling like I did with you two, but it was different..." She looked at Jacob, then back at Salvitor. "Kind of like you said, Jacob; that feeling like someone's behind you, but when they talked with me that feeling never left! Like something was-"
Salvitor grabbed her by the hand as he glanced at his padawan. "We must go-now! We will explain later."
Any other time in her life, any other situation, Amy would not have gone with two strangers she just met. But what she was feeling at that moment was far more threatening than anything she sensed from Salvitor or Jacob!
They did not even bother to shut the door to the conference room as they quietly trotted down the lofty halls of the United Nations edifice...and there; down the hallway, three Sith stood. One, dressed as a janitor, the other two in business suits-of which, they were taking their jackets off, making no pretence as to their intentions, nor a care about security cameras or the guards that would surly come upon seeing the spectacle from those cameras!
Jacob quickly fished for his smartphone and selected his contact. "Illitar, come get her; tenth floor!"
After replacing his phone, Jacob was, as gently as he could under the circumstances, pushing Amy down another hall while Salvitor was already running down the hall to engage the Sith; his lightsaber ignited and its droning sounds pulsating as he ran. Jacob took off to catch up so that his master would not face them alone.
The three male Sith already had their red sabers ignited and were right upon Salvitor! Jacob, a few yards away from the three-to-one fight, gestured for a nearby fire extinguisher to loosen from its perch and beamed it at one of the business-attired Sith.
It was now a two-to-one battle! For the time being.
When Jacob reached ground zero in the fight, it was the 'janitor' that had engaged him. He was probably about Jacob's age, hence, quicker! His style was such that he swiched his lightsaber between both hands and would often kick-much like a mixed martial arts athlete! Indeed, one of those kicks sent Jacob straight through a door to a conference room! The janitor-Sith showed no mercy and continued his assault while Jacob was on the floor...that is, until Jacob Force-pushed him directly up into the ceiling! And there he stayed, stuck within the cables and wiring for the building.
The janitor-Sith's hilt dropped from his grip during the push. Jacob picked it up, lightly tossed it in the air and sliced the hilt with his own blue, shimmering Force-blade. A small pop of an explosion-on the scale of a larger firecracker, was all that happened. But either way, that Sith was disarmed and would have to build a new lightsaber...for now, Jacob had to help Salvitor!
But by the time Jacob was back out in the hallway, Illitar, the middle-aged, female Jedi he called earlier, was already tasking the same Sith Jacob had struck with the fire extinguisher while Salvitor was still working on the same Sith from before!
"Masters," Jacob shouted over the thunder-cracks and hums of all the lightsabers, "we've got to go! Security will be here soon, and I'm sure they'll have backup after seeing this!"
Indeed, even the two Sith in the Oxford shirts and fancy ties began to pull back. One of the two gestured for them both to go, and their lightsabers were disengaged. They ran down a different hall than where they came from; leaving the janitor-Sith stuck in the ceiling...as did the Jedi. The Sith trapped among the conduit pipes and wires would have an interesting time explaining to the police what it was they would, surly, see in the security video to the United Nations' headquarters!
An Old, Refurbished Pier; New York City. The Next Day...
By the time Jacob came back with coffee for all four of them at the metallic, shack-like housing on the old pier, Amy was already up. If history were any indication, Jacob was sure Jedi Salvitor and Illitar had a long conversation with Amy about what it was to be a latent-Forcer! He remembered his introduction to that world two years ago, when he used to live in Chicago. Darth Harest, one of the leading Sith in North America, had nearly got to him before Salvitor came to the rescue. And, now, a couple of years, and many training sessions later, Jacob had basically just reached padawan-status!
Reached pupil stage, after two years! What do you expect from an Order that once measured time by the millions of years while on a generational starship, Jacob reasoned.
Jacob looked around the isolated pier area before he shut its door and locked it. It was a beat-up, rust-bucket of a pier on the outside-certainly not of the same grade as the piers in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. But the inside was far more civilized; a kind of Post-Modern layout with the technological emminities of the 21st century.
Jacob suspected Salvitor and Illitar sent him on that coffee run so the two of them could have time to talk with Amy about being a latent-Forcer, and some of the history of the Jedi and Sith Orders. All the same, all three were happy to see the coffee!
Jacob got his own coffee after handing out those of his compatriots and pulled up a chair at the table; took a gulp of his drink, and sat the styrofoam down on the table as he looked at Amy.
"So...what do you think?"
Amy, now in some comfortable clothes supplied by Jedi Illitar, blew out a sigh with a, yet, tired look. "I'm still trying to obsorb all this, but I tell you, it feels good to know that it's not just me out there with the Force!"
Jacob silently nodded as he looked up at his two Jedi masters. "Yeah, it sure does!"
"Of course," Illitar, the oldest in the group; having buttocks-length hair, said, "that also means the Sith knows we have, yet, another soldier added to our ranks!"
"One in a high political position, mind you," Salvitor reminded.
That caused Amy to glance back and forth between all three Forcers. "Are you expecting me to go back to work after that? They'll make the connection with you and Jacob back in Chicago from years ago and from that security feed they'll see that I'm with you guys! Plus..." She rubbed her face, still trying to wake up, "I'm sure the secretary of state will be wondering where I am!"
After taking a drink from her coffee, she noticed how quiet it was and looked up from her cup. All three were sharing a smile.
"Yeah, we've got that covered, too," Jacob said and got up to go to a laptop that was plugged in at a corner of the pier-housing.
Amy looked at the two older Jedi for understanding.
"Remember how you mentioned you had been getting those Force-presence feelings lately," Salvitor asked. Amy merely nodded. "Those were Jedi, but not us...up until yesterday, none of us here have ever been inside the United Nations building."
Amy froze. Then an understanding came on her face with a smile. "The Jedi Order has inside-people in the United Nations?"
"Indeed," Illitar confirmed. "And our compatriots have already taken care of those security videos from last night. That's part of how the Order scouts for latent-Forcers...there simply are too many on this planet, and too many scattered about for the Order to just send out Jedi with the hopes of running into Earthen Forcers. Government positions are relevant to all citizens. So, the Order learned many years ago to infiltrate governing bodies throughout the world!"
Amy had a big laugh, which was infectious and caused everyone else in the pier-housing to at least smirk.
"So, some of those alien-government conspiracies are true, then," Amy realized. "Only, it's not green men disguised as humans-it's humans from another galaxy! Whom we, on Earth, apparently are descendants of...after their generational starship crash-landed somewhere in our solar system...a few million years ago..." The more Amy heard herself say it out loud, the more she began to doubt it again! Much like Jacob, she would not have believed a single bit of the history told her by the two older Jedi, but for her own experience with her Force-abilities.
"Mind you," Salvitor said after taking a gulp of his coffee, "the Sith have also infiltrated government offices and corporate positions."
"Amy, think of it as a galactic Cold War," Jacob suggested while he worked on the laptop.
Salvitor nodded at Jacob's analogy. "And that point is the over-riding aspect to all that we do, Ms. Downstead. We are at war with the Sith...as Jedi, we must. Our Jedi library is full of historical accounts of what happens when the Sith are allowed to obtain power!"
"And what an honor it would be to have you, my Sister, written within the Jedi Annals, as one who has fought on the Bright Side of the Force," Jedi Illitar added; her eyes beginning to tear-up.
Jacob had been on the Path long enough, at that point, to understand the art of recruiting for the Jedi Order. And from what he saw, Jedi Salvitor and Illitar were painting a masterpiece with Amy Downstead!
"Ok, Amy," Jacob said after a moment of work on the laptop, "I just communicated cryptically with our people at the UN, and they affirmed that you're covered for yesterday...the cover story is after your secretary got your call yesterday, you met with two people from a non-profit outfit that were warning you about some terrorists about to attack you." He looked over at her from his monitor. "Don't worry about the details, they'll have it in an email to the secretary of state and the president by the time you get there today.
"Umm...our tech team cleaned up the video footage-since we have to have it. The alarms went off; it would be very strange if there was something like an eighteen-minute gap from the security footage and there still are scorch-marks from our saber battle in the hallway!"
Amy sat up as a thought came to her. "Well, what about the one Sith left-"
Amy froze again. Working at the United Nations, she was quite used to international politics, so she found herself at home with what the Jedi were scheming.
"Great work, my Padawan," Salvitor said proudly as he looked in Jacob's direction, then turned to face Amy. "You will be paired with Jedi Illitar for your training. But we'll give you a day to let this sink in...can we count on you, Sister?"
Amy looked upon Illitar and young Jacob, then back at Salvitor. Her senses felt a warm, yet strong, presence among them. "Yes, Master!"
The two older Jedi shared a smile between them just as Jacob called all three over to the corner of the pier-housing, where he was. He pointed at the monitor of the laptop when they got there.
"Look who just announced that he'll be running for president..."
Illitar sharply looked at Salvitor; his eyes stuck to the screen as the television news report showed an older man, well-dressed; waving from a podium to a large crowd somewhere in Washington, DC. The broadcast was a live feed. Amy, noticing this, edged her way closer to the laptop's monitor to see what it was that bothered the Jedi.
"Dr. Oscar Allensworth," she said with surprise and admiration.
The two Jedi and padawan turned to her, surprised. She obliged them.
"Well, there are some major players in the political field that say he would probably be the most educated president we'd ever have; if he were to become president. PhD in astrophysics; another doctorate in global business...he owns several highly successful corporate firms and is on the board-"
"-and is a Sith Lord," Jacob interjected with a look of warning to Amy.
She froze. Jacob noticed how she often did that when things surprised.
"Have you met Darth Uru-mon in all your political dealings," Salvitor asked, with the slightest of a grin; given her earlier accolades of the man.
She was already shaking her head. "No, but many of the conferences I've been to all over the world keep bringing his name up. From drafted plans to mine the moon for minerals so we can use them on Earth to..."
All three remained silent, but they all, now, had that same grin that Salvitor bore seconds ago. They already know about him; they're just educating me, Amy thought to herself.
"That you haven't met him personally would explain why you have not experienced a Dark Force-presence around him," Salvitor explained. "But, my Sister, think on it: how is it that a politician who wants to be president of the United States has such an agenda to exploit the only moon that this planet has, plans to place a nuclear national defense system into space, and has a, shall we say, marginal view of other people who are different from his demographic, how is it that such a politician can advance so highly in public office in this country?"
Illitar and Jacob gave a look to each other, for they knew when to remain silent when Jedi Salvitor was discussing politics. Indeed, it was the very reason for their mission, given to all Jedi and padawan alike from the Order itself, based within the eons ago-crashed Dreadnaught. Jacob, at that point in his official Padawan training after two years, still had not been to the Super-Dreadnaught starship that brought the Jedi and the Sith to the Milky Way galaxy. Several times he hinted to Salvitor his desire to go there, even if it were off-Earth-Jacob knew the Jedi on Earth still maintain several fleet of scout ships. He had actually seen one a year ago, after he and Salvitor moved to New York City and Salvitor had a conference with other Jedi.
Continuing with a determined shaking of his head, Salvitor added, "No, Ms. Downstead, this Dr. Allensworth is a classic Sith Lord, and it is beings like him who, sadly, are elected into office from the public and is the very reason why we need your connections at the United Nations!"
"Yes, Master," she dutifully said, but then asked, "If I may..." She looked, specifically, at the two Jedi. "What, exactly, is it that the Jedi Order plans to do with Sith who are in political office? Assassinate them?"
Both Jedi were already shaking their heads. Illitar, to this point, answered in her maternal way, given she was the elder of the Cell.
"No, my Sister, that would be the Dark ways of the Sith! We engage in battle to stop them, to defend others or ourselves...but we never instigate a murder."
They all could see and sense Amy feeling relieved.
"But we typically set them up to get caught by Earthen authorities," Salvitor added. "That way, the Earthen powers can incarcerate them. We have enough dealings with the Sith within the Dreadnaught. The Order thought it was a fair trade-off."
The others in the small dock-house nodded at Salvitor's point.
"Probably should get her ready to get back to the UN," Jacob now suggested. "Fake emails and hacked security videos won't do any good if she's not seen by the others there!"
"Agreed," Illitar stated and escorted Amy to a tiny room where she could change into some new clothes that the Cell bought for her. Showing up after an incident like the previous day in the same outfit would definitely look suspicious!
"And you, my Padawan," Salvitor started to say to Jacob.
"I know...training." He was still exhausted from the encounter with the three Sith last night!
But the Jedi gave a face. "In a way. You've really proven yourself as a Padawan this past year, Jacob. From our move from Chicago, those couple of situations with local humans not quite so kind to our philosophy, to how you've helped a new recruit get out of a very bad situation with the Sith last night...I think you deserve a vacation."
Jacob was absolutely stunned. Like Amy, he sat there, frozen with surprise. "I didn't realize that Jedi even take vacations, Master!"
"I have to admit, it will actually be a working trip, but the long flight to the Dreadnaught will give you time to relax...may be even do a little training on the side?" Salvitor was, now, looking at Jacob with a tilted head, curious if he even understood what he was saying to his padawan.
By the time Jacob snapped out of his shock, Jedi Illitar was standing at the other end of the pier-housing; beaming, as if she were his proud mother.
"Jedi Salvitor and I talked it over while you slept last night. We concur, as Jedi masters, that you have reached another level in your training...I'll be fine with Amy while you two are gone."
"There are several other Jedi within New York City that she can call on, should the need arise," Salvitor assured Jacob.
Now, Amy, finally dressed in her new business attire, had joined the crew in the main room of the housing. "Well, Jacob, I just met you, but I feel as though I'm going to miss you already!"
She walked up to him and embraced him in a compatriot way, and did the same with Jedi Salvitor.
"It'll probably take about a couple of months, or so," Salvitor said after the hug. "You are in trusted, and strong hands within the Force with Jedi Illitar, Amy. Remember, just let the Force flow through you-don't fight it! Don't see it as something that makes you a freak of humanity. Seeing us here, especially Jacob since he, too, is an Earth-native, should prove that to you."
She nodded; her eyes beginning to tear-up.
Jacob and Salvitor gathered their belongings and headed for the door to the small pier-house. Salvitor caught Jacob by the shoulder, indicating he wanted to say one last thing before their trip to the Super-Dreadnaught.
"Recently, I was doing more research into the ancient records of the Jedi Order. I ran across a small bit of information, but I found it-uplifting! I guess in the ancient days, when Jedi, or even non-Jedi, would go on an extended trip, they used to say to each other, May the Force be with you."
Illitar, Jacob, and Amy all glanced at one another for the curious little saying Salvitor shared. Amy, one of the newest member of that ancient Order by several eons, decided to pick up that lost tradition.
"And may the Force be with you, Jedi Salvitor..."