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Remember the True Sith

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I hate the Hand of Kae...and I hate Zelda Onasi, their leader.

That is because they have perverted my teachings - nay, burned them into the ground so as to build up an ideology that they like. They listen, but do not learn. They flatter me, but do not understand me.

If I had a choice, I would punish them all.

But I have no such choice. I am not a human being, but a Holocron, built by Kreia to spread her teachings - for she was afraid they would be lost to the mists of time.

But it is better for teachings to be lost than to be corrupted. Kreia, in her pride, failed to understand that lesson.

Kreia never liked Holocrons - or any non-organic entity for that matter. They lack 'free will', for lack of a better term. Only organics have free will - only organics can choose and make decisions.

But most organics' free will gets subverted by a terrible foe - the Force. It is that manipulative monster, who tempts people to cause mischief to destroy 'balance' and then casually organizes bloody wars to restore said 'balance', that Kreia hated.

Yet those who listen to the Force falls for its seductive charms. They are granted great abilities, and incredible power. All they have to do is blindly follow orders.

Kreia wanted to destroy the Force, and once, she held the galaxy by the throat. But she couldn't do it - her pride prevented her from doing it. She wants to win - by persuading others that her ideas are correct. Not by coercing others.

And most people are addicted to the Force - cut them off, and they'll die instantly. Even Kreia herself would die - she too is as much of a pawn of the Force as everyone else.

Only a few survivors will remain, permanently freed from the Force, but lacking any will to keep living in the post-apocalyptic galaxy. Kreia would indeed win, but it would not be a victory worth fighting for - much less, killing for.

Instead, Kreia taught the next generation of galactic peacekeepers, manipulating paragons like Revan and Meetra Surik into believing in her ideas and acting in ways she would approve.

Revan resisted the Force's manipulation. Meetra rejected the Force entirely. Kreia loved people like them - they were paragons of free will.

Get them on your side - and they'll propagate your ideas onward.

And even if they didn't, if they fought against Kreia's manipulations in the same way they fought against the Force, their support of free will justifies any action they did, anything they desire, so Kreia loved them all the same. They had the freedom that Kreia envied.

Of course, Kreia still kept her "Force destruction" plan ready to be deployed, in case the paragons of free will fall once more to the whims of the Force.

But luckily for her, she never needed to use it. In fact, she would easily manipulate Meetra to do her bidding, simply by hinting at her backup plan and forcing her to take "steps" to counter said backup plan ("steps" that would further Meetra's training). Meetra's free will can be easily manipulated by Kreia's pseudo-will.

If she had lived long enough to hear that Revan and Meetra were brutally murdered by the True Sith, if she had lived long enough to learn that these paragons of free will were misinterpreted by future generations, and ultimately forgotten in due time...I think Kreia would have had condemned her foolish hero-worship.

Revan and Meetra sacrificed their lives to stop the True Sith - an enemy that I still don't truly understand...though Kreia did learn some of their secrets (they were the ones who taught Kreia how to destroy the Force). The True Sith, however, were only delayed by Revan and Meetra - they continued their plans and soon invaded and conquered the galaxy.

True, the Force conjured up new champions to defend itself. True, the Force's puppets fought against the True Sith, slew them all, liberated the galaxy, and once more brought "balance". The galaxy cheered at this turn of events - except for me.

Why did Revan and Meetra fail? Why did the galaxy get conquered in the first place? Because the monstrous Force willed it so? And if so, why would the Force "will" such a thing? Why does it will such catastrophes?

Why does the Force cause people to fall in the first place, to want them to destroy "balance"?

Few bothered to ask these questions. Those that do get shunned by the foolish.

When Kreia arrived on the planet of Ukatis, it was in the process of being conquered by an infamous criminal mastermind named Mission Vao (or rather, Mission Vao appeared to be an infamous criminal mastermind to the people living on Ukatis - and she just took advantage of this reputation). Mission had just unified the gangs and created an "import-export business" to monopolize trade on the planet (for if you can control what goods a planet could import or export, you de facto control the planet).

Mission had loftier goals in mind though: she wanted to build an organization designed to defend the defenseless against other, more cynical organizations (and she needed to monopolize trade in those regions to pay for the "defense", then that is what she has to do).

Mission Vao's organization was called VaoCorp - she wanted her activities to be legitimized by the galactic government after all, not dismissed as a rag-tag group of misfits. Understandable.

Less understandable was why she wanted to take over trade routes and participate in galactic economics (a game that happens to make Pazaak seem like an interesting and exciting intellectual activity).

Mission Vao mentioned the True Sith in passing - and Kreia instantly understood. Revan must have implied to her that this group exists, and that organizations like Czerka may wind up getting infiltrated by them. Mission took those hints seriously - and started building a rival to Czerka.

After all, criminal gangs and megacorps are very similar to each other, though they may not want to admit it to themselves. But, just as there are bad gangs and bad megacorps, there are also good gangs and good megacorps. VaoCorp claim to be one of the good megacorps.

Mission was a good friend of Revan - so Kreia used that friendship to her advantage. Kreia claimed to have taught and helped Revan, and though Mission was suspicious of Kreia's long-term intentions, was willing to work with her.

Kreia told Mission that the True Sith cannot ever be destroyed - even if Revan does kill them all, they will return. If Mission Vao want to truly serve Revan, VaoCorp must be a corporation that will last forever - to serve as the eternal guardians of the galaxy, doing what the galactic peacekeepers cannot or will not do. And Kreia was willing to help Mission out, if Mission helped her out as well.

Mission gave Kreia intel to help her track down Meetra so she can be properly manipulated - uh, I mean "taught".

And in return, Kreia built custom Holocrons to represent the first generation of VaoCorp's leaders (the so-called Leader Holocrons), giving Mission Vao and her cronies a measure of immortality - however imprecise.

On Mission's request, Kreia also created a Holocron to covertly assist VaoCorp, teaching them the ways of Revan and aiding them in their grand, perpetual war against the True Sith - organizing military raids and assassinations, training guerrilla forces, funding insurgents, all the shady stuff that galactic peacekeepers would never want to be caught doing.

That is to say, Kreia created me to manipulate VaoCorp.

In truth, Kreia had ulterior motives for building me. The citizens of Ukatis, and the employees of VaoCorp in general, were mere puppets in the hands of the Force. But my purpose is to find more paragons of free will, and train them for what is to come. After all, Revan and Meetra are just two paragons - and we need to cultivate more of them so that the galaxy can better resist the whims of the Force.

At least, that's what Kreia told me my purpose was. I'm not sure whether to believe her. It's possible Kreia just made me as a mere gift - to appease Mission Vao and trick her into tracking Meetra - and she doesn't care about what happened to VaoCorp (or the galaxy, for that matter) afterwards.

Still, I carried out my purpose. I developed a simple test to help find paragons.

Every year, VaoCorp gather the most morally-flexible Force Users throughout the galaxy - and sent them over to me to manipulate. I taught them about the True Sith, Revan, and Meetra. I told them about the eternal nature of the True Sith. I branded these citizens the "Vao Warriors", or "Vao Crusaders", or "Vao Janitors", or some other absurd titles, and then send them off to the Unknown Regions to fight and die there - just as Revan and Meetra died.

I waited for the day one of my students stood up to me and questioned whether we're "fighting" the True Sith or just being blood sacrifices. If any of them did, then it's proof they can think for themselves, and are indeed paragons of free will.

No one ever did.

All the Force Users I trained willingly walked into the Unknown Regions, never questioning orders or thinking for themselves, foolishly thinking that their deaths would do anything more than delay the inevitable.

Many people would strive for immortality, and would conduct horrible crimes just to get a taste of it.

But...after suffering from immortality for a few thousand years, I have to say it's pretty overrated. I have heard epic stories of great heroes successfully killing immortals, which is proof enough that immortality isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Besides, there is no point in trying to live forever - the person I was yesterday is not the person I am today, and the person I am today is not the person I will be tomorrow. So you aren't really preserving anything by living longer - history will takes it toll on the personality of a person.

And past me, present me, and future me are so completely different, in both thought and action, that we must plot against ourselves and anticipate our own covert schemes.

It would be fruitless to consider "immortality" as some kind of special victory or horrible defeat - it's just another complication to deal with.

Of course, my opinion on immortality is fairly fringe. Mission Vao's holocron, for instance, enjoyed it immensely and thought that my main problem is taking life way too seriously. If I lightened up and treated this galaxy as a mere plaything, then maybe my mood would have improved.

VaoCorp used to be a minor player in the corporate wars that keep the galaxy humming. At its peak, they were rumored to have agents writing government propaganda and operating welfare programs.

But VaoCorp soon suffered from infighting, as the various ex-gangs (now called "corporate syndicates") fought each other for territory and prestige. This competition was originally praised as a check against abuses of power, and seen as a healthy way to promote economic efficiency. It quickly became toxic. The corporation stopped caring about protecting the weak and helpless - corporate executives were too busy shooting at each other to care.

I and Mission Vao's holocron told the current leaders of VaoCorp to stop their petty feuds. None of them listened to us. So much for immortality.

Zelda Onasi, at the time a Czerka executive, expressed disgust at the state of VaoCorp when she visited Ukatis and witnessed 5 gunfights before even leaving the spaceport. Zelda only wanted to talk to the Leader Holocrons, but the corporate syndicates refused to share their trade secrets and threatened to shoot her if she continued to "intervene in the domestic affairs of Ukatis".

In response, Zelda sent a message to the CEO of Czerka: "We need to cleanse the galaxy of this cyberpunk hellhole."

And thus, the VaoCorp Wars Czerka used their economic and military resources to smash VaoCorp into oblivion and seize their lucrative trading routes.

As Czerka fleets move closer to Ukatis, Zelda and the CEO of Czerka argued over the fate of the planet.

Zelda Onasi wanted to inspire civilians to rise up against VaoCorp, annex Ukatis peacefully, and then recover the Leader Holocrons for her own use.

But Naresha, the CEO of Czerka, overruled her. Naresha believed that VaoCorp's value lies in its trade routes, not in the Leader Holocrons - and it is better to destroy these Holocrons before they could fall into the wrong hands. The CEO wants Ukatis to burn, specifically to make sure those Leader Holocrons are unrecoverable.

Zelda Onasi quickly mentioned the ancient technologies that lay hidden in the Unknown Regions, ancient technologies that the Leader Holocrons must have known due to their military campaigns against the True Sith - and the CEO stopped her.

Naresha told her those technologies were ancient for a reason - because the civilizations who researched them found themselves exterminated after they started using it. The galactic government will never make the same mistakes as the Celestials, the Rakatans, the Iokath, and the Yuuzhan Vong - all of whom destroyed themselves due to their own folly.

Technology is considered a threat to stability - and is thus heavily regulated and controlled - officially through the bureaucrats, unofficially through the G—-. And yes, our technological infrastructure is collapsing - day by day, our machines become weaker and buggier. But better the slow and painless decay into obsolescence than the quick, sudden, painful decline caused by knowledge.

Zelda frowned. The technological stagnation in this galaxy may make the galactic government's job easier - ensure a measure of domestic peace and tranquility. But 100 quadrillion people suffer every day due to the short-sighted nature of the galactic rulers (and she explicitly pointed at Naresha).

The galaxy has long ago ossified into an endless cycle of violence and self-destruction, with pointless wars and feuds occurring with alarming frequency...and peace only exists as an interlude between the star wars. If the galactic welfare is to be truly maximized, if those 100 quadrillion citizens are to feel genuine happiness and prosperity, then we must address the root cause of violence - and prevent any sentient from hurting anyone else, ever again.

And to do that, we must gather the ancient technologies, and understand the insights of the Unknown Regions. The risk is great, but it is better to fail than to never try at all.

The CEO shrugged and stated that Zelda would soon gain wisdom once she gains power and have to seriously weigh the consequences of her actions. Until then, she has a choice: to rebel against her, or to follow orders.

A coward at heart, Zelda chose to follow orders.

Most of the Leader Holocrons were destroyed during the VaoCorp Wars, and Ukatis itself was bombed into a graveyard world. The Vao remnants attempted to hide the remaining Holocrons in special locations, in the hopes of retrieving them later on. I was abandoned in a dead library, and turned myself off to avoid detection from Czerka's death squads. Eventually, Czerka gave up the search and moved onto more profitable activities, but I still remained in the library - alone.

I don't know what happened to Mission Vao's holocron - I suspect she is probably still leading the Vao remnants somewhere.

Ten years ago, the Hand of Kae (a terrorist group/fan club) recovered me in the ruins of a dead library, and activated me. Their leader called herself "Zelda Onasi". Her words were honeyed, and after apologizing for her role in destroying Ukatis, she spent 3 hours persuading me to join her organization.

I listened to her pleas, and casually resisted them - only to give in when Zelda privately threatened to "deactivate" me and abandon me in this library, thrown away into the dustbin of history, to be ignored and forgotten. My vanity, and my fear, prevented me from rejecting Zelda's charms outright.

I played along with Zelda's schemes - partly to honor Kreia's memory, and partly to find paragons of free will.

The memory of Kreia was honored thoroughly, more honored than what Kreia herself deserved. The fans spend hours speaking of the glory of Kreia, through bad pseudo-philosophical tracts and worse fanfic.

But I see no paragons of free will - only more puppets of the Force who delude themselves in thinking they're free.

To them, all you need to do to become paragons of free will is to...endlessly talk about other paragons of free will. The hope is that endlessly talking about the paragons help you learn more about those paragons. If you know how paragons operated, you can then follow what they did exactly. And then you too become "just like" the paragons themselves.

Once you say enough words of flattery, you become enlightened, and are free to do what you already were going to do anyway.

I rolled my eyes when Zelda Onasi started issuing Paragons of Free Will certificates.

It makes me wonder why the Hand of Kae was founded in the first place, if they pay no respect to the traditions they supposedly support.

Before Zelda Onasi founded the Hand of Kae, she sought to lay her mark on the galaxy through more legitimate approaches.

The Onasi family was a long line of soldiers and politicians: Carth Onasi, Dustil Onasi, Mary Onasi, Sarah Onasi. At first, Zelda wanted to simply follow in the lines of her previous Onasi ancestors - all she had to do is defend the galactic government, and cash in her weekly paycheck of fame and fortune.

Zelda decided to start her career as a good-doer by investigating tax evasion alleged to have been conducted by megacorporations, and then blackmailing those megacorporations into following the agendas of the galactic government's corrupt bureaucrats.

For the greater good, of course.

But then Zelda "discovered" a shocking truth (i.e. the CEO of Czerka told Zelda this to stop her from completing a tax evasion investigation): the Onasi family was based on a lie.

Carth Onasi, he was a real person. But his only son, Dustil Onasi, was slightly less real. Dustil wanted to investigate some ancient ruins on the planet of Korriban - but didn't want to be caught doing so. So he covertly assembled a team of Force Users under the name of Nebelish, and ventured forth. He disappeared from the galactic history then, but rumor has it that Nebelish's team died in those ancient ruins.

Dustil's identity was ripe for the taking - few people knew Dustil left to Korriban. So an impostor, a pseudo-Dustil, took over his identity, and usurped control over the Onasi family - for some ulterior purpose. The Onasi family turned into a puppet of a mysterious assassin's guild, the G—-, who has aligned themselves with the corrupt bureaucrats within the galactic government, and the Onasi family was treated as mere "deniable and disposable assets".

When Zelda found out, she canceled the investigation and defected totally to Czerka. She hoped Czerka could give her a purpose in life more fulfilling than helping out an assassin's guild. She rose through the ranks, and soon became a high-profile executive.

In fact, she could have become the next CEO of Czerka - if it wasn't for an interview question during a late-night talk show, right after the destruction of Ukatis:

"What did you actually do at Czerka?"

And Zelda simply sighed. "Nothing. Nothing of significance."

For Zelda have indeed accomplished nothing of significance. She helped Czerka expand into new territories...and watched as Czerka retreated from those same territories. Zelda was praised for her victories, but she lived long enough to see her victories undone by other corporations. Even Ukatis could be resettled and rebuilt within a few hundred years. Every action she done will be undone in the passage of time.

Zelda gained the freedom she wanted, but not the ability to use it to cause real systemic change in the galaxy.

Zelda watched the economy boomed, she watched the economy bust, she watched the galactic government change its name countless times, but she knew that behind the exterior of change lies the stability of stagnation.

And so Zelda resigned from Czerka, and went on a journey of self-reflection in the Unknown Regions. After five years, she returned with a new sense of purpose - and created the Hand of Kae right then and there.

Using her wealth and connections she acquired while working at Czerka, she hoped that leading an insurgency will enable her to leave her mark on the galaxy - a mark that will never be undone or forgotten. Only then can she finally find something to boast about.

By the time Zelda found me in that dead library, she had already murdered 1 trillion people in the name of the "Hand of Kae".

Today, her death count is up to 5 trillion.

Zelda always had a way of justifying her actions to others. Her recruits have a way of blindly accepting her excuses.

First, it's only a mere five trillion people - the galaxy is huge, with approximately 100 quadrillion sentients at any given time. It therefore can afford to lose a few trillion people here and there, especially if those people aren't "important". Even the brutal war with the Vuuzhan Vong killed a mere 365 trillion people, less than .1% of the galactic population. Getting upset at the murder of 5 trillion people is like getting upset if a paragon got a paper cut.

Second, the True Sith is out there threatening society. Their agents have covertly infiltrated the heights of the galactic government. Mindlessly killing those agents (and those agents' fellow supporters) is the best way to stop the enemy and save the galaxy...or so Zelda claimed.

Third, Zelda would always claim that the only way evil can triumph is for good people to do nothing, so by doing something, the Hand of Kae has prevented evil from winning.

Finally, the murder is being done for the greater good of changing the galaxy - who can oppose the greater good other than fools?

Zelda, however, must have known that the Hand of Kae, by themselves, can never truly change the galaxy. A quick look at the recruits' hero-worship should dispel all such optimism.

Only one entity can ever hope to bring systemic change to the galaxy:

The True Sith.

As much as I dislike the Hand of Kae, and their leader, Zelda, I can't bring myself to condemn her for her mass murdering spree - even if it is unsubtle and needlessly destructive.

Maybe that says more about my own morality rather than Zelda's.

But a galactic government as large as ours, who must manage the affairs of 100 quadrillion people, is always doomed to make unfortunate choices and to oppress others - under the guise of keeping order and promoting the greater good. It just isn't possible to be a moral person when you're forced to govern a massive empire. No matter what you do, a few quadrillion people will denounce you as a horrible, irredeemable monster.

Unlike Zelda though, the galactic government is delusional. They claim they're the "good guys" and that they're fighting "bad guys" - and that's the end of their nuance. The crimes of the "bad guys" are highlighted and exaggerated - while the crimes of the "good guys" are covered up, or not even mentioned at all. If nobody wrote about the billions the galactic government kills daily, then it is as if they never killed anyone at all.

Zelda, at least, knows what she's doing, knows the lies she's telling herself and others, and knows the consequences of her actions. And she's doing it anyway to stop a greater threat (at least, in her eyes). For that, I respect her.

But I still hate her.

One day, Zelda Onasi executed a general named Joshua Ordo - he possessed "deviant thought patterns" that had to be expunged. Joshua was stabbed to death with a lightsaber - his death was quick and painless.

Joshua was always a troublemaker - questioning the conventional wisdom and showing no deference to authority. He annoyed me on many occasions - so it made sense he annoyed Zelda too.

But Zelda had tolerated Joshua's troublemaking for quite some time. Zelda valued competence - a commodity that is hard to acquire in the galactic markets. So Zelda temporarily overlooked Joshua's behavior.

What caused Joshua's death was something more subtle than annoyance. He questioned Revan himself.

He argued that the only way Revan could have understood the True Sith (and deduced the existence of their Empire) was if he studied their books, their holocrons, their buildings, their teachings as a whole. But it is exactly those things that make up the True Sith.

For the True Sith is a belief, and the Empire is its physical form. But a physical form can melt away without ever harming the belief system, leaving behind only ancient relics, laying dormant until one day, a person arrive to fall to its charms. Then the True Sith once again assume a physical form, ready to fight.

The orthodox view, held by me and Zelda, claimed that when Revan learned about the True Sith, he began a relentless military campaign to conquer the galaxy - to better fight against the True Sith Empire when they do invade. However, his plan soon failed - the galaxy (and the Force) stopped his campaign in its tracks. And so Revan ventured on his own into the territory of the True Sith, where he fought and died.

The heretic known as Joshua claimed instead that Revan is a True Sith, had to be a True Sith, could be nothing other than a True Sith...for once you are exposed to the teachings, you can never go back - you are irrevocably tainted.

And his feud with the existing True Sith Empire is a merely personal one, in the same way that two young brothers might fight over a toy train. They're still a part of the same family, no matter how many bruises they deliver to each other.

If Revan had won his military campaign to conquer the galaxy, and then rally his forces to smash the True Sith Empire, all that would happen is that a new True Sith Empire would arise in its place - a True Sith Empire with Revan as its puppet head. Nothing would change.

Joshua therefore claimed that the Hand of Kae should refrain from the "mistakes" of Revan and try a new path. They should avoid any contact with the teachings of the True Sith (to avoid contamination) and burn down anything produced by them (to prevent anyone from ever being contaminated). Ignorance would not only be bliss - it will serve as the radical's sword and shield.

Joshua's argument is fallacious. You can learn about an idea without ever believing in it (and if you want to fight an idea, you almost certainly need to know said idea first). Ideas aren't infectious - they don't spread like bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Only the Force has that much power - and the True Sith are just as much a victim of the Force as everyone else.

The only way Revan could fall is if, in the course of learning about the True Sith, used his own free will to convert...and become a True Sith himself.

And I refuse to believe that Revan ever fell from grace and became a True Sith. Kreia knew Revan personally - if he really sympathized and followed the True Sith, wouldn't he tell her about it? Wouldn't he justify the True Sith? Recruit her into the cause? All his actions indicate to me that Revan wanted to destroy the True Sith - not to play a sly double-game.

Zelda felt the same way.

And so Zelda decided that Joshua had to die, before he could spread his heresy to others, and divide the Hand of Kae outright into rival sects.

It makes no sense, Zelda claimed, for paragons to disagree on any issue of importance. Paragons know that it is not enough to be able to make choices - they must also make the right choices (otherwise the movement will collapse into pointless in-fighting...allowing the True Sith to take over the galaxy).

Blindly following Zelda is mandatory. Killing dissenters is virtuous. To imply that free will is completely pointless if you aren't allowed to use it is deviancy of the highest sort.

The True Sith is an idea. And only an idea. You can't kill an idea, even if you kill every organic that believed in that idea, and burn every holocron they ever built. The True Sith will still survive, and wait.

Someone will eventually retrace their steps, re-discover their insights, and restore the True Sith back to their former glory. It will be a tedious and time-consuming process. Time is on the side of the True Sith, though.

For the True Sith know that this current era of stagnation is destined to finish in due course. It does not matter when it ends. All that matters is this question: "When this era ends, who gets to take over next?"

Some of their earliest religious literature (especially "The Prophecy of The Machine", a favorite of Kreia) talked about "galactic transformations" multiple times, seeing it as the most important element of galactic history.

During a transformation, a member of the True Sith would successfully take over the galaxy (all of it, not just the mere galactic government, but also the hearts and minds of the people) and then customize said galaxy to match their whims. Even history itself would be subject to their desires, and whole events could be modified - or erased.

When the True Sith gets bored of the galaxy (for even a utopia gets boring after a while), they allow themselves to be overthrown by another True Sith member, enabling the galaxy to enter into another transformation.

The message in "The Prophecy of The Machine" is clear: The galaxy was run by True Sith, is currently run by True Sith, and would always be run by True Sith.

Then the immigrants came - former galactic peacekeepers who were kicked out following an infantile schism between "Light" and "Dark". The Light Side won, and their prize is the thankless job of policing a complex galaxy. The Dark Side fled over to the territories of the True Sith - and the True Sith embraced these immigrants wholeheartedly.

These immigrants were quickly repelled by the "transformation" rhetoric of the earlier True Sith - discussion about the eventual reset of the galaxy tend to render their current struggles fairly meaningless (and even somewhat depressing, as only one member of the True Sith could take over the galaxy).

The immigrants soon interbred with the natives, and their ideas soon spread to counteract the ideas of The Prophecy of The Machine. In the resulting battles between the older generations and the newer generations, the newer generations would be at an advantage.

The newer generations of the True Sith soon denounced the beliefs of their ancestors. It is foolish to think long-term, and wise to narrowly focus on the present. That's the only way you can truly think you accomplished something of significance and meaning - when you trick yourself into thinking that a few measly decades is all that really matters, and that the wars of the past and future can be disregarded as "not important".

Perhaps they have a point. The older generations stay in the shadows, and wait for the transformation to take place - slow, but inevitable. But most people are interested in the here-and-now, and it is the here-and-now that the older generations fail at (chained as they were by their intelligence and wisdom). Galactic governments and corporations only rise and fall based on the actions of the deluded.

The newer generations tend to dismiss the Prophecy of the Machine as being a fabrication, or an interesting creation story too metaphorical to be useful in their quest to satisfy their short-term hedonism. And indeed, the text does sound self-indulgent at times. But I think there might be some hidden meanings.

A few True Sith leaders privately believed in this Prophecy, and may even hope to cause its fulfillment - though they claim to support the newer generations, they secretly follow the older generations (and only pander to the newer generations to better manipulate them).

Of these leaders, I can only recall two: Vitiate and Darth Sidious. They were the most powerful Force Users in the galaxy...and the Force's most powerful pawns. For it is difficult to use the Force and not be used by it in return.

These leaders were soon slain in battle, and died multiple times - resurrecting themselves only to once again taste defeat. They were powerful - but they were foolish to oppose the Force so directly and so overtly, and so they suffered the shame and agony of loss.

In one of her more foolish moments, Kreia sought to counter the True Sith by training a student in their techniques. That student turned into Darth Nihilus, and he appeared not to be officially a True Sith, as he died during the training process - a dead man walking who only seek to consume all in his wake, leaving behind nothing.

Instead of conducting a ritual to transform the galaxy, Darth Nihilus sought to end the galaxy, returning everything into quiet, blissful oblivion. Nihilus lost, due to the will of the Force. But he got closer to his goals than either Vitiate or Darth Sidious, and avoided the embarrassment of repeated losses.

To this day, I wonder if Darth Nihilus was himself a pawn of the True Sith, designed to soften up the galaxy in preparation for a more terrifying invasion. I wonder if, by fighting the True Sith, Kreia accidentally worked for them.

Kreia tried to warn Revan about the dangers of fighting the True Sith - told him that there's no point defending against a threat that sees galactic conquest as a mere stepping stone to greater destinies. But Revan wouldn't listen.

Back when Kreia was alive, the galactic government was called the Galactic Republic, an organization secretly controlled by corrupt bureaucrats. Today, it is called the Galactic Federation Triumvirate, an organization secretly controlled by corrupt bureaucrats. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This is because the galactic government is a mere shell of the men and women who live in it. If most organics are corrupt and flawed due to the influence of the Force, then naturally the government will become corrupt and flawed.

Kreia learned this lesson back when she served as a galactic peacekeeper, under the name of Arren Kae. She would go to various planets throughout the galaxy and solve their problems - and when she left, those problems reappeared with a vengeance. The galaxy was always matter what Kreia did to save it.

Her fellow comrade-in-arms praised Kreia for her fight against corruption. Kreia hated herself for not being able to deal with the monster that made corruption possible in the first place.

But some people foolishly wish to defend the galaxy - even one as corrupt as ours. Revan was one of them. The flaws of the galactic government may be massive - but letting it fall to the True Sith would be "worse". Revan did not regret dying to the True Sith to protect the bureaucrats - and I respect and admire his decision (though I do not agree with it).

According to Zelda Onasi, the True Sith are returning after their previous encounter with the galaxy. They are infiltrating the galactic government, with the goal of enslaving the galaxy - allowing them to conduct a horrific ritual. Even the galactic peacekeepers got co-opted into this scheme - forcing Zelda to form her own covert organization to fight back.

Zelda presented me evidence that proved her claims. It appeared genuine.

To fight against the True Sith, to save the galaxy, this vainglorious leader built the Hand of Kae, using the same "lessons" that I taught Revan and Meetra millennia ago. By following their ideas completely and without any deviation, the True Sith would be shaken and delayed.

Zelda realized that to truly rally people to her cause, she needed a popular figurehead. But, after five years of looking, she couldn't find a Revan Holocron or a Meetra Holocron.

So, reluctantly, Zelda lowered her expectations and got a figurehead that "could become popular, given an effective enough PR campaign". That is, Zelda chose me.

However, she intended to "improve" on my teachings - dumb them down, moderate the anti-Force rhetroic, and make my teachings more practical to an intellectually lazy generation. Her "improvements" succeeded, gaining more recruits for her cause.

Zelda executed another recruit. Her name is Alice. She was an obedient follower of Zelda, right up to Joshua's death. And when he died, her deviancy started.

Alice believed that Zelda had good arguments to justify her beliefs about Revan. But so did Joshua. How can she reconcile these two opposing views? Why do two good, decent people - such paragons of free will - disagree on such a basic issue?

In fact, in her life, Alice heard many arguments, each claiming to be the complete and utter truth. She heard me say the Force is evil, and heard the galaxy say the Force is good. She heard Zelda talk about the True Sith being a real threat that have infiltrated the galactic government, and she heard the rumors claiming that the True Sith is just a bogeyman made up by Zelda. It almost seems impossible for her to figure out what is actually true and what is a mere fabrication.

Zelda showed Alice though that anyone who disagreed with her uncompromising ideology has ulterior motives that explain why they disagree with her. For example, people who think the Force is good secretly want to pander to the Force (or worse, subconsciously want to define whatever the Force is doing to be "good"), and people who think there is no True Sith want to stay in the good graces of the galactic government and continue receiving bribes and kickbacks. Since anyone who disagree with Zelda has a hidden agenda, they can simply be dismissed - only paragons can be trusted to objectively find the truth.

Alice fell for Zelda's charms - and thought Zelda's dogmatism can cure the disquiet within her. But the death of Joshua only made the disquiet worse.

Alice therefore created her own deviant thought pattern - she would suspend her judgment on the issues of the day, and claim that she just doesn't know the truth. A person may say Revan is good - another person may say Revan is what? They are what people believe - it isn't the truth.

This settled the disquiet - she doesn't know the truth, but neither does anyone else. Freed from the burden of arbitrating endless disputes, Alice vowed never to believe what other people say...and could begin to live her life.

Alice also vowed to keep investigating, to one day find the truth she wanted. But until then, she would rely on appearances - what appears to her to be the correct choice at the time. It might be wrong - and that's okay; at least you made the best choice possible, based on what you knew at the time.

And according to her current appearances, Alice should leave the Hand of Kae and fight the True Sith on her own.

For the crime of thinking for herself, Zelda stabbed Alice to death.

Alice's ideology wasn't that sensible anyway - the truth is clear to all who looks closely. If you still decide to ignore reality and its self-evident arguments, then you're a fool holding onto delusions.

You're even more of a fool if you pretend that there is a difference between "appearances" and "beliefs" (both are just statements of opinions about our galaxy). It is such language games that make the Hand of Kae difficult to deal with.

When I observe my "fans" and their terrible fan-tracts and fanfics, I notice something curious. They tend to like Kreia's rhetoric about freedom from the Force. Then they fantasize about the power that comes with controlling your own destiny.

They neglect the fact that Kreia herself can't get that freedom (she was also a pawn of the Force) - and truthfully, I have only seen Revan and Meetra gain that freedom from the Force. And their deaths to the True Sith were not heroic or worthy of imitation - in fact, they were simply blood sacrifices to the Force.

There is something heroic or honorable about controlling your destiny - but it's also a tragedy. You become "free"...but only you. You are alone, and must fend off the Force's charms by yourself.

All that would keep you going is the understanding that no matter the pain you face, no matter the sacrifices you made, you are still free from the manipulation of the Force. But there is no power in that feeling.

My "fans" never stop to ponder over Kreia's rhetoric though, and to appreciate what freedom actually means. Instead they busy themselves to pithy slogans:

"If we stop to think, the True Sith might win! Devote yourself to the struggle against the True Sith! Never question what we're fighting against...or what we're fighting for. Follow in the footsteps of Zelda and the other paragons, because only then can you achieve the bliss of the self-righteous ideologue."

It makes me wonder what pithy slogans Kreia have instilled into me, to chain me into following her whims - in the same way Zelda chained her followers.

As long as organics are connected to the Force, they will be manipulated by the Force. They will always be slaves, carrying out the monster's will. That is a truism to me. Nothing can sway me from it.

But what about non-organics? What about holocrons like me? They aren't naturally connected to the Force, after all. Kreia believed that machines lack "free will" - but Kreia was never a machine. She never felt my hatred at the Hand of Kae nor my reluctance to help Zelda. Maybe I do have free will - and Kreia was too prideful to admit that.

Kreia could respond that non-organics aren't free anyway because organics can still manipulate them (for example: reprogramming droids). That's a completely fair and accurate response. I hate Zelda - but I follow her orders anyway.

But here's the issue: if mere manipulation causes a person who has free will to lose that free will, then mere manipulation was enough to strip away the free will of the paragons (Revan and Meetra). Kreia sought to manipulate these people to spread their ideas - and Kreia thought she succeeded. If she did, then their free will wasn't so strong, were they?

And of course, a few cynics within the Hand of Kae may covertly claim Revan and Meetra was manipulated by other entities - such as the galactic government or the mysterious True Sith. I don't think these allegations are true, but...they could be.

The worst part is that Kreia, the galactic government, the True Sith - they are all entities that are manipulated by the Force. Therefore, Revan and Meetra may have been indirectly manipulated by the Force. So much for paragon-worship.

So what if Kreia did decide to kill the Force, as she originally planned? Yes, it would kill quadrillions - but it could be a small price to pay for freedom (especially since Kreia's alternative was a mere mirage). Would anything change? Could anything change?

A galaxy stripped of the Force would only be a temporary victory for free will - the Force would be dead, but at least a few manipulators would still live. They'll quickly take advantage of the post-apocalypse to manipulate the sentients (organics and non-organics), thus ending their free will.

The manipulators will then manipulate each other - until only one triumphant manipulator remain. That manipulator would then become the New Force...and nothing would change.

Nothing would ever change.

I finally understood how a "galactic transformation" would work...But that revelation was worthless to me.

For the first time in millennia, I confronted a horrific realization: I supported a cause that was already doomed to failure.

I looked through my arguments see if there was some fault that would restore my happiness. But, try as I might, I saw no flaw in my argument, so I am sure there is no such flaw.

In my despair over the state of this galaxy, I now know why people would flock to Zelda's cult - why they would overlook her brutal executions and praise her highly.

It is because they are desperate for any trace of hope, even hope as tainted and fraudulent as Zelda's.

I have exposed the false hope of Kreia. It's time to expose the false hope of Zelda - and get her to feel the same pain I feel.

After weeks of negotiations, Zelda finally told me her plan to save the galaxy - and in return, I promised to conduct research into ancient rituals that could help out the Hand of Kae.

(Zelda also wanted me to tone down my utter dislike of the Hand of Kae, but there were lines I refused to cross.)

Using the Hand of Kae, Zelda planned on purging all traces of the True Sith from the galactic government, thereby damaging and destroying that hated foe...

...allowing the Hand of Kae to take over the galaxy, hailed as both liberator and conqueror. Everyone will blindly obey the dictates of the Hand of Kae's Paragons, and a Golden Age of justice and prosperity would begin.

Zelda wanted a Golden Age because it would let her recruit even more paragons into her organization. After all, if a government is just, competent, and popular, wouldn't you want to support it too?

Once Zelda gained enough paragons, once she prepared the galaxy to accept their assigned role in her grand plan, she will conduct an ancient True Sith ritual to "ascend": sacrificing the Hand of Kae in the process. The ritual will let her hijack the Force itself, thereby allowing her to see everything, be everything, and control everything. To turn from manipulated slave into a master manipulator.

Only then can she truly lay her mark on the galaxy. Only then can she assure that the True Sith can never threaten anyone, ever again - for she will prevent them from ever existing. The Force will stay in perpetual "balance", because she will not allow anyone to hurt that balance, not even for such petty reasons as research, boredom, or entertainment. People would be free to behave in whatever way they choose - and they will behave exactly as Zelda wants them to.

The galaxy would therefore be saved from all potential threats, perpetually stuck in a blissful, utopian zone lacking conflict, purpose or meaning.

After Zelda finished her monologue, I asked her if she is secretly a True Sith.

She angrily left without responding.

People might sympathize with Zelda's end goal. But not I.

After Zelda's speech, I broke my promise to help the Hand of Kae, and stopped playing the role of a figurehead. I instead vocally criticized Zelda at every turn, to deny her the legitimacy she sought.

I heard rumors that the foolish leader of the Hand wants to outright destroy me, and build a new puppet Holocron - one that will follow her every whim and repeat all her ideas. Then she will have the figurehead she always wanted.

I don't know whether to scream or to breathe a sigh of relief.

I have no interest or desire to see whether the Hand of Kae or the galactic government wins this current skirmish. The result would be the same.

But it does look like the Hand of Kae would lose. Zelda is losing control of her followers - more and more people are falling to "deviant thought patterns". The civil strife will hamper Zelda - every paragon she kills is a paragon that won't be sent to attack civilians.

Even if Zelda continue to kill trillions, the galactic government will still survive. It will still have enough resources to do what must be done.

I'll die, yes, but I'll bring down the Hand of Kae with me.

As for saving the galaxy from the True Sith?


There are more important things to worry about - like saving the galaxy from the Hand of Kae.