“I have to say your security is abysmal I literally just walked in here.″
There was a human, of male appearance, beard and hair grizzled and greying, slightly unkempt, as if he’d just woken up, walked through an airfield, and hastily brushed on the way with his fingers. He wore… robes, but not quite, or at least not of any fashion Mace Windu had witnessed in the temple, to date. There was a fold and cut to them, something that spoke of a ruthless practicality, something that faintly reminded him of archive images of the Ruusan Reformation. His brow was slightly furrowed, concerned, worried perhaps, though his blue-grey eyes betrayed no surprise, no emotion.
He absolutely had not been here thirty seconds ago.
“The council is in session, Kn… Master…″ Mace started. What master would disregard protocol so casually, so rudely? It had to be, despite his apparent age, some kind of impetuous knight, or perhaps some acquaintance of Ser Jinn? Oh Force, please not another one.
“Skywalker. I’ve been called a Master, but you are no student of mine,″ the man added.
Skywalker. A slave name in the tradition of Hutt captives in the outer rim, if he recalled. From the posture, the sheer gall, and the general attitude, this was a Freeborn, though. So why keep the name? Attachment?
“Do you know Master Jinn, by any chance,″ he ventured.
The rest council watched, keeping silent, though he could feel the disbelief, the outrage in some, the bewilderment in most. Mace refrained from sighing but resolved to be polite, but firm. He’d learned long ago that it was the most effective way to deal with a Qui-Gon on a mission, and this looked, despairingly, similar.
Skywalker looked amused for an instant.
“We’ve met. In a manner of speaking. Anyway, I’ve come here to take care of your Sith problem.″
“The Sith have been extinct for a thousand years!″ And there was Piell.
“Our Sith, you say?″ Even Yoda had woken up, at that.
The strange master gestured in a vague direction.
“Wasn’t very hard to find, pit of darkness that large, you can feel it across the galaxy. Speaking of,″
He paused, as if he hadn’t just implied that their legendary enemy was not only alive, but on the planet, and switched topic completely:
“Couldn’t help but notice that none of the other temples I passed are uninhabited, I didn’t really want to come all the way to Imperial Centre to talk to a Jedi.″
“Only this temple, on Coruscant, in use remains,″ Yoda nodded sadly; “our numbers, dwindled, they have.″
The man blinked, seemingly stunned.
“There are several thousand in here right now.″
“Many have we lost, yes, millions we used to be.″
“Oh? And from when, Master Skywalker, for such a number to still be a surprise, do you come?″
When. When. Yoda could not be implying… that this man came from another time?!
There was a clatter, and a thump. At the shocked look on Adi’s face, Mace turned, and found Yoda had fallen off his hoverchair, gimmer stick rolling away.
“The future?″ the aged being croaked. “Never, in all my time, and those before, has there been…″
“Yes, well, the Force wasn’t terribly forthcoming either.″ His eyes took on a teasing slant: “You were a lot more spry on Dagoba, Master Yoda, though it might have been all the times I dropped you while you kept insisting to use me as a pack bantha during training.″
Mace could practically feel his brain imploding.
“At a disadvantage, you have me, as none of these adventures I remember, yet. Dagoba, hrmmmm?″
Mace chanced a peek at the shatterpoints, and found nothing. The future had been, in a word, erased by this… Jedi, or whoever or whatever he was. He felt faint.
“If we may come back to Dagoban… adventures… at some later point, perhaps you could explain why the Force sent you back?″ He couldn't believe this was a thing. This council session had promised to be a mere three hours long, a walk in the park, routine as can be, and now… now he needed a drink. Several drinks. Possibly an entire bar.
“In a minute.″
“First, explain to me how there are several thousand of you and you’re all in the same temple? That’s an incredible risk. Who is in charge of operational security, even a first rank cadet would do better, and they can’t shoot straight on a clear day.″
Risk? Nevermind all these other words, what risk?
But the time-traveller wasn’t finished:
“What if the planet explodes? What if″
“Is… is this something we should be worried about? The planet exploding?″ Is this what you’re here to warn us about?
“It happened. Not here, but why take the risk? Why focus your entire population in a single location, much less a single planet, when you have tens of thousands of temples all around the galaxy? I should know, I visited them all.″
“Well, most of them. Some I assumed were slag with the rest of the world’s surface, and some were on exploded planets.″ he added pointedly.
Slag? On exploded planets plural?!
“Really? Nothing? Okay, well, definitely change that. Moving on.″
“The Sith?″ Mace asked with dread.
“No, no, something a tad more urgent.″
More urgent than Sith? Mace regretted getting up in the morning.
“What kind of nightmare is this ,only use lightsabers’ doctrine bullshit″
“And why are you teaching the kids your own propaganda? The whole ,there is no death there is the force’ thing. It’s nice mumbo jumbo, could rhyme a little better, perhaps change it a bit to fit Huttese adjectives in automated translations, and it does its job beautifully, really leans into the whole mystical cryptic wizard theme. But like, the lesson I audited was very earnest about it. Creepily so. Did I look in the wrong class? Was that roleplay or something?″
“You observed a youngling class?″
“Its teacher didn’t even notice me. As I said, your security is abysmal.″
He frowned as he parsed the question a bit.
“,Youngling’?″ he questioned.
“That is what beings not yet initiates we call, yes. Kids, baby goats, they are.″
“And younglings are murdered children. You can understand my distaste. Though I guess that hasn’t happened yet…″
The council was a lot paler than it had just been. Plo, febrile, hit his antiox’s mask refilter trigger several times to clear the rebreather, perhaps hoping it was an oxygen leak giving him hallucinations. Yoda looked like he wished he’d stayed on the floor rather than climbing back.
“So? Are you actually, and I cannot believe I’m asking this, I must have not come back to the right universe, teaching your own propaganda to your own, how was it, Initiates?″
Ki Adi cleared his throat and tried:
“The Jedi Code is not propaganda, it represents the tenets of the philosophical values of the Order, and has done so for over a thousand years.″
“Okay… well, a little philosophy never hurt anyone, but how does that apply for practical objectives? Death is, ah, more or less permanent, for most people. And emotion, passion, chaos? These are required to do any good, surely. How can you feel for and with those you ally with during combat and conflict?″
“We are not allied with any one side, we are a peacekeeping force″
“—did you seriously both-sides me—″
“dedicated to preserving the balance in the Force, and. Where’d he go?″
The being had raised his arms in exasperated defeat and disappeared. Simply. Gone. Saesee walked to the doors and inspected the corridor, surprising the knights standing guard and not expecting to be roused from their half somnolence. When questioned, they were adamant no one had come in, or come out, or even approached.
The council convened, still frazzled from the experience, to puzzle this out. All other business had been forgotten.
“A powerful vision, this must have been.″
“A vision, not so sure this was,″ opined Yaddle.
“It did feel incredibly real.″
“Incredible, yes, that is the word. Impossible.″
“Nothing in the Force impossible is,″ cautioned Yoda.
“The shatterpoints are still… vanished. I have never…″ Windu trailed off.
“Real or not, we must discuss what it meant, if it was a vision.″
And on they went. An hour later, they were still sat in a semi circle, arguing over the wording of one of the phrases the… apparition, they’d tentatively decided… had uttered, when a messenger Knight hurried in.
“Masters! The Senate has been attacked!″
“What?!″ Could this day have any more surprises?
“There was… Master Nu said it was called Force lightning, but it looked more like a storm—″ he looked harried and shocked, as they all were, and jumped out of his skin when slapped on the shoulder by a bearded, even more unkempt Master with singe marks on his strange robes.
“A Force storm, indeed, and fierce at that. The Sith put up quite a fight, but with a bit of luck, this time he should stay dead. Sith problem, done with.″
“I’m sorry, Master,″ asked the poor Knight, “did you say Sith?″
“I did. Now, councilbeings, on the topic of this bullshit Code you have,″
Mace had had too much. His eyes rolled back, and, performing excellent evasive manœuvres, he exited this enormous headache by suddenly fainting.