‹ Prequel: The Hidden Truth
Sequel: A Last Good Bye

Reaching Through Darkness

The Plan


We entered the dingy, small apartment and everyone settled into the living room/kitchen area. Nea got out his com link and ordered the midday meal for us, I suspected something as costly as the steaks we had the night before were. I did not approve of him spending so much money on just a meal, but I remained silent. Perhaps Karen would cheer up with some good food. She certainly needed something. I asked Nea to make some more Fallen Bark tea. As Nea got busy with finding a clean pot that was not stinking of old spice, I looked over to the tired, unhappy figure of my apprentice. I asked her if she was OK.

“Yeah, I am.”

Her easy sounding word did not convince me of the truth. I narrowed my eyes at her, determined to real answer out of her. She shifted in her seat as if trying to decide if she wanted to talk to me or not. I waited her decision making out, which did not take long. She finally sat up with a typical sigh of hers and looked past me, at the peeling walls.

“It’s about that group back there. I don’t want to be their leader. I’m a Jedi, not a leader of a gang of dirty, starving, useless thieves, and drug dealers.”

Nea made a sound of protest. Both of us ignore this and Karen continued.

“I saw the look in Ven’s eyes. I know who he is, Master. He’s a desperate man in a desperate situation. You heard him talk about how his men were about to revolt on him and how he was so happy when you showed up. What do you think he’s going to do? He’s trapping you, enlisting you to his job, a job that has lost all its glory, the dirty work he didn’t want to sign up for. But he’s wrong isn’t he? I mean, you’re not going to lead them are you? You’re a Jedi. No offense to you, but you can do better than that group. There are people, millions of people, who need your help who are far better than that group.”

I smiled and held up hand to signal for her to let me explain. She clearly came from an upper class society despite some of her barbarous eating habits and fierily, explosive temper. It didn’t help that at the temple, no class system existed. Everyone was equal in the Force. Money did not factor into light-saber battles. In fact, Jedi were taught to let go of their habits of buying material goods for the sake of having them. Yet, there was a whole galaxy that did not believe in this.

Sometimes, the best way to understand society is to study the lower classes that are faced with the most serious problems such as find the next meal, taking care of a sick child, or dealing with the lost of a job that was supporting the whole family. If the government is doing well, the lower classes will have fewer problems. If the upper class has given in to corruption, basic needs for the lower classes become scarce and poverty takes place. If this is the case, as it was on my home planet, it is import to look for the root cause. It all cases, one then look up to the government and high classes to see what they are doing or not doing. When that answer has been obtained, one goes back to the lower classes and educates them about the problem and possible solutions. The process is long, but if the lower classes can work together, then society can fix itself.

I could tell Karen was slightly uninterested in my lecture. She never had been one for economics or government. She once told me she saw government as a group of over-sized kids arguing over who was the most popular and seeing who could come up with the most impressive sounding word to gain more popularity and power. I laughed when she said that, but told her government was far more complex that than. She shook her head and changed topics.

“OK, so how bad are the lower classes?”

I told her it was hard for me to tell. One group, a new group at that, should not be used when judging a whole planet. This up coming meeting should give me a better idea of what they were facing. It did bother me that a group of experienced thieves could not find enough food to feed themselves. I also had to wonder what was the real reason behind Nea’s faked retirement. He was not that old and the fact he was hiding his wealth made me feel uneasy. Nea was the type of guy who liked to show off what he want and liked to share his wealth when he could afford it. It looked although he had not had anyone to share with for quite some time. There was definitely something up.

“The food is here. Hey, Mir, mind coming out of your Force trance there and give me a hand with the food?”

I shook my head and helped Nea with the carry out while he rummaged through his apartment for credits to pay the delivery droid. Nea handed out a hot bag to each of us. By the waffling smell coming from the steam, Nea had ordered us some Cor’ lobs, which was grilled strips of nerf meat, smothered in melted green nerf cheese, between two home baked slices of puffy bread. A sparkling spring flower water was included. I had begun to unwrap my sandwich, when I looked over to see Karen a quarter through her meal. That girl could eat an entire Hutt in an hour if she wanted. I asked her once if her father ever withheld meals as a form of punishment, but she said no. She ate so fast and so much, it seemed like she was scared all the food would be gone if she did not fast enough. She said that food was never hogged and there was plenty, but I still wondered. I knew there were still things in her past she had not told me about. Yet, from personal experience, I knew if I gave her time, she would eventually tell me.

“I’m done. What’s next?”

Nea chuckled and nearly caused me to spill my water on me. He looked at his chronometer and got up from his seat on the counter. This time my water spilled down my shirt from the vibrations in the room.

“Well, my dear, we have a bit of time before the meeting . Why not change into something more suitable for such an occasion.”

Nea held out a brown lumpy clothe package towards my apprentice. She hesitated and took it.

“Go open it in your room, and try it on.”

Oh great, more clothing. I wondered what skimpy outfit Nea had gotten for her this time. Karen walked off to her room with a doubtful look on her face. I took this time to interview Nea on the meaning of his retirement.

“Oh that? Come on, now. Look at me Mirmo. I am not young anymore. I can not go running around in the thick of things. Besides, I am tired of you gangs, next fighting over the latest drug run and who’s fault was it when they got busted.”

Ah, so there was a problem with the police. Usually, the planet’s police system did not bother with the gangs as long as they kept their illegal activities to themselves and did not get involved with the upper classes and the government. This was not a problem. Usually, the upper classes would have little to do with the black market, unless there was corruption as hand. I asked him what was the latest law that had just been passed.

“Ah Mirmo, you are a smart one. There is a new act on illegal drugs. Apparently, a couple of senators were caught with some drugs, sold by some new gang. Not our gang, we are too smart for that, but it does not matter. So the senate turned around and voted on a new anti drug act. The police are hammering down on the black market, trying to clean up the lower levels of the city. But you know as well as I do, that is not a smart idea. Never try to get rid of the black market and drugs are what I have always said. Weather those air head rich brats like it or not, society needs its drugs and needs a way to get them cheap. Well, anyway, the police are making people nervous so there are less venders to find food and prices are skyrocketing. No one trusts anyone, not like they did before, but it is worse now. There have been more shootings because each group blames the next. Really, it is a mess.”

Interesting, but not unusual. The rich, like the poor, need drugs as Nea said. Maybe the presence of the Jedi could help smooth things over and organize people.

“A Jedi would be nice, but I am not sure how you and Karen will go over. We will just have to find out at the meeting tonight.”

Before I could speak again, Karen came out and stood next to the doorway of the living room. She was dressed in a pale green skirt that was cut very short at the front, coming to about the middle of her thighs, but lengthened at the back. The light weight cloth trailed down to heels of her tight, dark green boots. Her top was dark green like her boots and tied around her neck in a long, draping bow, leaving her slim shoulders bare. I could see the scars of her horrible acme from the days with her parents shining a bit on her arms and back. A sense of guilt and compassion went for her. The top part of her hair had been gathered and tied. She came off as a gentle girl, soft and innocent. She was beautiful.

“Oh my sweet dear. That outfit is lovely.”

Karen blushed silently. I could see a peek of girly-girl glow from her. For once she was not all muscle and hardness, but sweet and caring. Nea looked at the time and got up once again.

“Let us take my car and go on a bit of a drive before the meeting.”

He went over to Karen and offered his thick arm.

“Shall we, M’Lady?”

That got a giggle out of my pink-faced apprentice. She slipped a thin arm through his and they proceeded through the door. I smiled a bit, watching the back of the skirt swish back and forth, dusting the dirty floor. Karen really was something when she wanted to be.