SIMILARITIES – December 2002

Ginna Wilcoxen and Dana Terry

Nyssa stood outside of Alida's quarters, she hadn't had time to talk to the Jedi Master, wasn't even sure if she would want to talk to her.  Taking in a breath, she knocked and waited.

The door opened and Alida stood there.  "Lady C'rman?  Can I help you with something?"      

"I was wondering if you had a moment to talk." Nyssa stammered. "I wanted to make sure you were settling in all right."      

"Please, come in."  Alida stepped back.  "I am settling in well."     

Nyssa nodded. "I couldn't help but notice you seem uncomfortable, is there anything I can help with?" She kept her tone light and wasn't sure if she was doing the right thing, after all, what if she wanted to be left alone.

Alida smiled a little sadly.  "Yes, I am uncomfortable, but I don't know that there is any way to help that."  She motioned for Nyssa to have a seat.      

  "There's always a way to help it, after all your situation and mine aren't that different." Nyssa sat down. "If you really look at it, I mean."

     "Your situation?  I don't understand."     

"Your life was claimed by the Lady Alderson wasn't it?" Nyssa questioned, feeling the heat rise to her face. "I mean, you are bound to her."   

   She nodded.  "Yes, she lays claim to my life."  Alida looked at her, confused.   

"Like I said our positions aren't that different, Alida, the only difference is that it is Lord Alderson who lays claim to mine, and my crimes were worse than anything you feel guilty of." 

Alida thought back to their travel on the astral plane.  "Oh."  She nodded slowly.  "I was unaware that your life had been claimed."

Nyssa smiled, "It's nothing to be ashamed of ... not really.  If it hadn't been done I would be dead right now. This is something we know that can happen, it's our laws yet you ... you seem unsure or uncomfortable about it can I ask why?"

"It is not your laws I am uncomfortable with." 

"Then what is it that you are uncomfortable with?" Nyssa asked, confused.

Alida sat across from Nyssa.  "It is what I find myself doing, or being asked - or told - to do."

"But didn't you do things that you questioned while with the Jedi?" Nyssa asked confused. "Or is it that  ... because you were a Jedi you never questioned?"

"The things I questioned were not along these lines, Lady C'rman."  Alida stretched her legs out in front of her, crossing them at the ankles while she considered her next words.  "I questioned fairness, I questioned assisting those whose integrity we knew to be less than sterling.  I never questioned my duty or my dedication to the Force."

"And now you do?" Nyssa shook her head. "What could you possibly object to?"  Nyssa questioned.

"You truly don't see what troubles me," Alida said, tilting her head to the side.  "I have, in the short time that I left Yavin, participated in things no Jedi would ever take part in.  Your laws, your way of life, are very different from what I've known and how I have lived."

"I guess, I don't see what troubles you." Nyssa looked at Alida. "May I ask what you've done that no Jedi would do?"

Alida stared at her for a moment.  "The interrogations and how they proceeded are the first to come to mind."

Nyssa looked at her in surprise. "You've never done interrogations?"

"Not in such a manner."  Alida smiled wryly.  "And we called it questioning -- searching for the truth."

"Then, how do you know if you're being lied to?" Nyssa questioned. "I mean normal surface scans would have .... well, they would have never been effective on me."

"We used time and questioning."  Alida shrugs.  "I'm not denying that the method used is effective."

"So you resent Lady Alderson?"

"Resent her?  Why would I?"

"For putting you through this?" Nyssa questioned. "I mean, it's natural ... I know there was a time I would have laid in wait for an opportunity to kill Lord Alderson." Nyssa stated, thinking about the hatred she once held, only to discover that most of it had been a lie.

"Ah, but you misunderstand... she has not 'put' me through anything, at least I do not think anything too much different than she would to anyone else in my position.  And, resentment is a very draining emotion -- those energies are put to better use elsewhere."  Alida eyed Nyssa for a moment.  "Might I ask what lies you were told?"

Alida frowned slightly, picking up some of Nyssa's thoughts: plots of murder against Damien and Xanatos.  And she was hard pressed to forget the images she had seen when reaching back on the astral plane.

Nyssa blinked. "Lies, that were very well weaved, by my parents, by Emmaus by my own hatred. I had thought the Aldersons cruel and unfeeling people, bent on controlling their people as well as the ones that aligned themselves to them. And that they sent their own people to die needlessly."

Nyssa looked at Alida. "That is how I came to be in my position, by attempting to kill Lord Alderson and Lord Du'Cruet."

"Obviously, you were unsuccessful, yet your life was spared?"

"I was barely unsuccessful.  I didn't make it easy for them." Nyssa frowned at the memory of her past actions. "I don't know why Lord Alderson spared my life."  She paused. "I wasn't prepared for Lord Alderson."

"How so?"

Nyssa smiled. "I wasn't prepared for him to sacrifice his own life if he had to. It's hard to explain, you see I wanted death Master Alida, and was furious that he spared my life even after I had asked to be given another chance."

"I'm not sure I fully understand," Alida said, a frown tugging at her lips.  "You asked for another chance and were furious that you were given one?  How did this put Lord Alderson's life at risk?"

"Once your life is claimed, your actions reflect on that person, they are responsible for you. I believed that he would refuse to grant me a second chance, yet when he did then I planned a way to disgrace him and .." she lowered her voice "to kill him."

"And what happened?"  Alida found herself intrigued.

”The opportunity presented itself, I was given the chance to bring Elrod in.  You have a link with Lady Alderson?"

Alida shook her head.  "No, I do not."

Nyssa paused. "She has a way of keeping track of you, doesn't she? Tagged, that's the word."

"Yes, that she does."

"Lord Alderson did the same the tag, even with that I planned to try to escape, yet I was betrayed, Elrod attacked me." Her eyes flared a deep lavender, then quickly dissipated. "Lord Alderson put himself at risk to save my life."

"Against Elrod?"

Nyssa nodded. "And the poison. Those are not actions of one who does not care for their people even if they are traitors."

Alida nodded thoughtfully.  "No, they are not.  One thing I have learned not to doubt is how deeply the Aldersons care for their people."

"So how can you doubt what you are called upon to do is the right thing?"

She sighed.  "I have had many of my basic beliefs challenged over the course of a few days, Lady C'rman... I am trying to reconcile those with things as seen in a more practical application."

"I don't understand how you Jedi think?" Nyssa paused. "You still consider yourself a Jedi don't you?"

Alida stood and took a few steps away.  "Truthfully, I do not know any longer what I am."

"I can understand that, there were times I didn't know how or what to consider me to be either."

"And what do you consider yourself now?"

"A citizen of Shardakour, aunt to Dylan who will one day take over custody of Drysani for the crown, as well as Aide to Lord Alderson." Nyssa smiled. "but most of all I'm Nyssa, an individual whose decisions are made for herself, and hopefully they are the right ones."

"Then you have come a very long way from where you once stood."  Alida turned to face her.  "Yet you still... belong to Lord Alderson, do you not?  How does that affect the decisions you make?"

"The fact that my life is his will never change, but I do have a choice on how I behave and view it Master ... Alida.  I can either view it as slavery, or as a way to prove I was worth the risk." Nyssa looked at her. "How do you view yourself?"

"I am a student of the Force, regardless of my standing with the Jedi.  I am here of my own doing, how I view myself and the situation I find myself in…"  Alida frowned.  "When I figure that out, I will tell you."

"I didn't mean to pry, or make you feel uncomfortable." Nyssa rose. "I just thought it would be easier if you knew there was someone in the same situation as yourself, that you ...well, would feel comfortable to talk to."

Alida smiled.  "No, you have not made me uncomfortable and I thank you for coming to speak with me."

Nyssa nods. "Can I ask you a final question?"

"Of course."

"If you have problems on how you view yourself, then how do you view Miss Jinn and the way she has ... stepped into assist Lord Du'Cruet?"

"Octavia walks with the Light.  It is not for me to judge her actions.  I believe her connection with the Force is strong and that she will continue to let it guide her path."

"That doesn't mean much to me," Nyssa confessed.

"It doesn't?"

"I don't see things as you do. I do what duty requires of me, and what Lord Alderson requires of me. I feel anger, and displeasure, happiness and ... other emotions. I don't see what the big deal is about total light or dark."

"As one who has studied the Light, I strive to push my emotions aside, to deal with them in meditation.  One who walks with the Dark Side leaves themselves open to those emotions, allowing them to fuel their connection with the Force, making them very powerful.  But there is a price to pay for such power."

Nyssa smiled. "But to push or shut off their emotions, isn't that robbing you of what makes a life worthwhile, even if you feel pain at loss, or ..." Nyssa paused, "other situations?"

She shook her head.  "It's not allowing those emotions to control us that sets us apart.  I have felt great loss, Lady C'rman, but if I had acted upon it... I would have been lost to the Darkness."

"Then how do you view us?" Nyssa asked.  "Do you view us light or dark?"

"Grey, with leanings toward Darkness... yet.."  She trailed off.  "Most certainly unlike anyone I was prepared to deal with through my training."

"I see." Nyssa's voice is even. "Do you think you will ever trust us?"

"I've not been given reason to distrust any of you."

"Even if we are leaning toward the dark?"

"I may have phrased that incorrectly.  You ask how I view you.  I see a group of beings dedicated to their homeworld, dedicated to honor and willing to brush Darkness to ensure that these things are preserved."

"We only do our duty Alida, and I'm sure you will too." Nyssa bowed to her. "I should get to my quarters, thank you for your time."

Alida returned the gesture.  "And I thank you for your time," she said with a small smile.

Nyssa walked out of Alida's quarters and into the ships corridor. Light, Dark what difference did it make, as long as you did your duty and did it well.

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