It was a quiet day at the Jedi Temple. Anakin had just finished a sparring session with Obi-Wan when they were summoned to the Jedi Council chamber. Over the last seven years, the place had become a home to him. While it was hard being separated from his mother, the revelation he had a brother, Chad, had certainly helped him cope. When Anakin and Obi-Wan walked into the Council chamber, he was much more confident than when he first stood in front of them. Most of the council members were present, except Mace Windu, who was on a mission with Chad, his apprentice.
"A mission we have for you, Obi-Wan," said Yoda.
"What is the mission?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Mediation, Master Kenobi," said Adi Gallia. Then the room darkened and a hologram showing two systems popped up. "This is Vekta, in the Centauri system, neighboring Helghan, in the system of the same name. They are located in the Mandalore sector and apart from Kalevala, they are the most technologically advanced worlds in the sector. Unfortunately, they also hate each other."
"Why, Master Gallia?" asked Anakin.
"Vekta was originally colonized by a group of Mandalorians called Ordo's Knights," she answered. "They were forced off the planet a hundred years ago by the current Vektan population, political dissidents who had left Kalevala over a disagreement over an argument regarding militarism and defense. Ordo's Knights traveled to Helghan and now call themselves the Helghast. They still consider Vekta as their property."
"That is rather unfortunate," said Obi-Wan. "Are the Helghast threatening to invade Vekta?"
"The Vektans colonized a planet called Gyre at the edge of the Helghan system," said Ki-Adi-Mundi, sitting in his chair with a hoverchair by his side. He had been seriously injured in a speeder accident several days earlier and had been confined to the temple for the next month in order to heal. "The Helghast took exception to it and they have been fighting over it for decades."
"So we are to mediate a civil war?" asked Obi-Wan.
"Ten years ago, the Vektans were on the verge of defeat," said Adi. "They signed a treaty with Chancellor Valorum where they joined the Senate on a provisional basis in exchange for embargoing the Helghast. The Helghast stopped their advance but they refused to leave the half of Gyre they had already conquered. Even with repeated sanctions, they have refused to leave. Now the Helghast are threatening to go on the offensive again unless the two of you mediate."
"They asked for us specifically?" asked Obi-Wan.
"Apparently, they were impressed by your performance during the Battle of Naboo," said Mundi. "They think that an ambassador should be a proven warrior. All of their ambassadors are active officers in their military."
"What can you tell us about the Vektans and the Helghast?" asked Obi-Wan.
"The Vektans are a splinter group of New Mandalorians who want to be democratic but have built an organized military called the Independent System Army to defend their home," answered Adi. "The Helghast, having settled on a planet rather hostile to human life before terraforming, have evolved to be stronger and larger than the average human. They were originally five consuls but when they voted to disband their military and withdraw from Gyre to repeal the sanctions, they were overthrown and killed by the senator of their capital city, Pyrrhus, a Scolar Visari, with the support of the local garrison. Visari appointed himself Autarch of the newly proclaimed Helghan Imperium and went to business finding ways around the sanctions. Under his leadership, most of the GDP of Helghan goes into their military. He promotes the view that without such massive spending, the Vektans would overrun them. Those who oppose his leadership are often killed by his elite guard. He is also very nationalistic, saying the Helghast are stronger than others for having mastered such a harsh world, turning the masks they once wore in order to breathe into a symbol of their strength. The average Helghast seem to support his rule and despise offworlders as people out to oppress them."
"Do you think Visari has some other agenda now that he is calling for negotiation?" asked Obi-Wan.
"Not always as they seem, things are," said Yoda. "Be on your guard, you must. Prejudiced, both sides are. Eager for war, both Vektans and Helghast. Mindful of the situation, you must be."
"Where are the negotiations being held?" asked Obi-Wan.
"A town on the line that divides Gyre," said Adi. "There are two things before you depart: both the Vektans and the Helghast, on account of their relative isolation, largely use slugthrowers, so you will need to get fitted for ballistic vests. In addition, Chancellor Palpatine thinks that, with their xenophobia, the Helghast would take it personally if you met the Vektans first but the Vektan delegation has demanded to fly you there."
"Are they trying to sabotage negotiations before they start?" asked Anakin.
"Believe that, the Chancellor does," said Yoda. "Tried to dissuade us from accepting the Autarch's offer, they did."
"As such, the two of you will be flying separately," said Adi. "Obi-Wan will fly with the Vektan delegation, and Anakin will meet the Helghast delegation." Anakin was pleased to learn this, he was considered capable of carrying out a mission alone.
"Master Gallia, are you sure that is wise?" Obi-Wan asked. "We could easily be flying into a trap."
"Anakin will not be traveling alone," said Mundi. "My apprentice Cole Oling will be flying with him. I would come myself but Master Che won't let me." Anakin immediately felt disappointed. Cole Oling was a pompous older apprentice who would likely be taking the trials soon. He and Anakin had disliked each other since they had met, Cole thinking Anakin had no business joining the Jedi so late and Anakin thinking Cole was too full of himself to be counted on. After walking out of the council chamber, Obi-Wan talked to Anakin.
"I know you have problems with Cole but Chad isn't here, nor is Serra, and going to this meeting alone is just asking for trouble," said Obi-Wan.
"I understand that Master, but Cole is the one with the problem," said Anakin. "We go down to the Underlevels to arrest a Death Stick dealer, the dealer runs and when I take off in a nearby speeder to get the creep, successfully I might add, he tries to have me arrested for stealing it rather than use our own speeder, even when I point out it wasn't fast enough to get the guy."
"I admit that was shortsighted of him," said Obi-Wan. "But Master Mundi explained to him that you were right to do so and he has succeeded on several missions. This will likely be his final mission before the trials. He won't screw it up."
"I'm just hoping he doesn't do something we will all regret," said Anakin.
Pyrrhus City, Helghan…
Scolar Visari had just seen his daughter after she got back from her tutor. She would soon be leaving for a bunker, so she would be safe if things went to war. He, however, would not be joining her, as his people would need him where he could lead. Since overthrowing those traitors, he had his armies stay on the unofficial border on Gyre, not advancing. Recently, however, a strange man had contacted him and given him evidence that made war almost certain. He was talking to that man by hologram, who had hidden his face and disguised his voice. If it wasn't for how this mystery man had given him evidence of his predecessors plans to surrender Helghan to their sworn enemies, he would have felt rather distrustful of this offworlder. But the fact this man had found ways for the Helghast military to dodge the sanctions the former chancellor Valorum had put in place had cemented Visari's trust in this man.
"The Jedi have left Coruscant," said the man who called himself Lord Sidious. "One of them will soon arrive to meet with your agent in orbit of your world."
"You believe this will work?" asked Visari. "The Jedi are delusional enough to believe Democracy can work and they always believe the worst about us."
"The Jedi coming to Helghan is the younger of the two," Sidious replied. "He is unconvinced of Democracy's value. He will come to realize you are justified in your actions. I have no doubt he will side with you."
"The fact they didn't get to him as a baby gives me hope they didn't brainwash him yet," said Visari. "If you hadn't been such a good friend to the Helghast, I would be more skeptical."
"As long as you hold up your part of the bargain, you have nothing to fear," said the hologram as it dissipated. As soon as the communication had turned off, Visari summoned his best soldier.
"Major Radec," he said as the rising star of his personal guard walked in. Mael Radec had been repeatedly decorated for bravery on Gyre, rising from the slums of Pyrrhus to the government district as a result.
"Yes, Your Excellency?" asked the officer.
"Assemble your team," he ordered. "The Jedi will soon arrive."
"Are you sure that we should ask them for help?" asked Radec. "The Jedi and our ancestors rarely got along, why would it be different for us?"
"You will never reach the target without a Jedi," Visari said. "Besides, Mael, you told me all about him when you returned from Tatooine. I didn't ask for just any Jedi."
I'm back and I decided to write a fanfic for my good friend, 1-1 Marines.