Alida closed her eyes a moment and then gathered herself before going to the door. She would find Xanatos and see what was to be done. Sitting in this room while they orbited the planet... wasn't being at all helpful.
She walked through the hall until she located a crew member. She asked the young man where she might find Lord Du'Cruet and was directed to Xanatos' temporary office. She thanked him and headed in that direction.
Reaching the door, she raised her fist to knock.
Xanatos looked up from the communications he had received from Telos, there were some things he just didn't trust Jinn in handling. "Come in."
Alida opened the door and stepped inside. She gave him a small bow. "Lord Du'Cruet." She straightened. "I would like to know how I might be of assistance." Her bearing was stiff as she stood there.
"Assistance?" Du'Cruet questioned looking at her, his surprise was clearly visible. "What were you interested in doing?"
"Whatever needs to be done to benefit the people of Arridor," she said evenly.
"The Governor is on Arridor right now, assessing the damage, we hopefully will know more shortly." he looked at her evenly. "I am curious why you are here and not in your quarters, to be honest I didn't think I'd see you until we returned."
"Somehow, I don't think sitting in my quarters, meditating or staring at the wall will benefit anyone."
"No, it won't. You can help me coordinate the names as they are sent up, also some freighters should be arriving to handle the dead, the Governor wishes them taken to the moon and ... buried there. You can work with the Captain. There is an extra terminal there you can use."
Alida nodded and moved to the extra terminal. "How do you propose placing the bodies on the moon?" she asked. "Arridor's moon has no natural gravity - are there caverns large enough to place them into or is there another way of leaving them there?"
"That will be left to the captains. I believe they will find an appropriate way of disposing of them."
She activated the terminal, closing her eyes for a moment. Disposing of them. So cold, but… there really was no other way to describe what had to be done, not on such a large scale. "How are you organizing the names so far?"
"Referencing the database we have from Arridor and if they have no family they are top priority to be disposed of. The ones with families or no information of surviving family members are to be left on the freighters until more information is discovered." Xanatos' tone was even and cool.
Alida pulled up the appropriate database. "Understood." She turned in her seat. "How is the governor dealing with this?"
"He's ... he's learning to deal with it. Arridor hasn't known this type of destruction."
"It's not an easy thing to learn to deal with," she commented, turning to the work set before her.
"No it's not." Xanatos turned back to his terminal. *Not everyone is used to seeing their world attacked,* he thinks.
She looked back at him. "No, it's not an easy thing to see. You may want to see that he speaks with whatever your equivalent of a Mind Healer is."
"I will see he talks to someone. All of Arridor will need help."
"They'll rebuild," she said, her voice soft as names scrolled across the terminal in front of her. "But they'll never be the same."
"When one is attacked and betrayed, they are never the same, they can never be the same." Xanatos stated "But they will have help and they will recover."
"They were attacked, but betrayed? Were there Arridorians involved in the attack?"
Xanatos looked at her. "No, their trust in me and their alliance with me, I didn't see that they could be a target, didn't take precautions."
Alida shook her head slightly. This version of Xanatos Du'Cruet would take some getting used to. "There was no indication of the possibility they could become a target was there?"
Xanatos' eyes narrowed. "No, but the pattern was there, and I didn't see it!"
"Then what do you do from here?" she questioned. "Do you believe all of the terrorists are in custody? Do you see anything beyond Arridor; any other potential targets?"
His smile was predatorial, "That depends on what we find out from the Youngs. A single isolated event as exploded into a network of revenge. I would worry about Drysani, Master ... Alida." Xanatos corrected himself. "It all has stemmed from there."
His smile sent a shiver through her, but she nodded.
"You don't like me do you, Alida?"
"Is that relevant?"
"No, I guess not, but it is true isn't it, you don't like me, and like Miss Jinn you don't trust me, though I think I'm winning her over."
"Trust is not something to be won, it is something to be earned." She looked at him. "And no, I would not say I'm particularly fond of you."
"Where Jedi are concerned, it is a contest at times. Though besides the time I held you on Arridor, what have I done to you?"
"Octavia. Medenna. Kaliandra. Zuren. Do those names ring any bells, Lord Du'Cruet?" Alida shook her head. "And yes, I do believe you have changed, before you ask... however, I also believe you will do whatever is necessary to protect your planet and your people, regardless of how ethical it may be considered."
Xanatos rose and smiled. "But you left out a name didn't you? What of the late Master Rionni, what of Mira Lexor?" He shook his head. "As for ethics, I do not consider them when people I care about are in danger."
"I don't need to name them when you're already more than aware of them." She looked up at him. "And what happens when that leads to other things?"
"You said you do not consider ethics when the people you care about are in danger. What happens when the actions you take to protect provoke further attacks?"
"But to refrain from action, shows weakness."
"Does it?" she asked thoughtfully. "Sometimes the hardest action to take is inaction."
"And what of the Jedi and their inactions?" Xanatos questioned. "What happens when people exploit it, your own Jedi - three of them if I recall - lived among your ranks, and no one knew they would murder ... in the name of revenge." His tone was sharp. Xanatos took a breath. "That was uncalled for."
"No, they hid their darkness well," she admitted, sorrow shooting through her. She raised her eyebrow. "Was it? What you said was true, Lord Du'Cruet."
"It is still not a reason to use it as an attack."
"There is a balance," she said, returning to the discussion. "It's a matter of finding it."
He laughed. "It's good to see you haven't lost any of your Jedi philosophy."
"Did you expect me to overnight?"
"You misunderstand me, I think it would be a shame should you lose that. You are a Jedi and you always will be."
"Some part of me will always be," she said quietly, turning her back on him to continue through the names.
"I hope one day you will find it easier to talk to me. Octavia has and it has helped our relationship greatly."
"What is there to talk about, Lord Du'Cruet?" she asked, trying to imagine Octavia opening up to talk to this man.
"That is usually up to the person holding the conversation. Octavia and I have discussed her grandfather, her life on Mykyr and her future."
"Her future, hm?" Master Jinn she could see being a topic of conversation between the two.
"You find that odd?"
"No, just -- interesting."
"It ... has been." he turned as his comlink went off. "Yes, Captain."
"All branches of Off World report they are at the highest alert, anyone suspect is being questioned." Silo reported.
"Good, and I expect reports from those questioned."
"Thank you Captain Matthews, you are as efficient as ever."
"Thank you, Lord Du'Cruet."
Alida stiffened in her seat.
"One more thing, make sure all the reports come directly to me, I do not wish my ... assistant to see them."
Xanatos turned to Alida. "As you said, I will disregard ethics."
She shook her head at him. "And you leave yourself open for further attacks."
"What would you do, in my place?" he challenged.
"What is it you're afraid for Octavia to see?" she questioned in return.
"She is very impressionable, Alida, would you have me shock her senses, expose her to ... our methods of interrogation?"
"Break her in slowly, is that it?" she asked.
"If that is the way you view it. Yes." Xanatos stated evenly. "I prefer to look at it protecting her, at least until she can make a decision for herself."
"And the interrogations -- anyone who looks suspicious?"
"We have operations in very undesirable places, a good place for sabotage, and many other ... events."
"Gambling, smuggling. And at times slavery, though we've stopped that any of that."
"You've had your hands in quite a bit, haven't you?" She said it without rancor. "How are you interrogating these people?" Alida's thoughts were filled with images of people unfortunate enough to simply look suspicious.
"I leave that up to the people I place in charge." Xanatos answered.
"As you said, ethics don't come into play for you."
"Confound it, woman, what would you have me do?"
She sighed. "I don't know, but so many -- out of those, how many do you think will be truly guilty of anything at all, much less in connection with this?"
Xanatos shrugged. "I don't know, but they will not be forced to admit to something that they are innocent of. I'm not looking for a head count, Alida."
She looked at him, gauging his truthfulness. "What do you think Master Jinn would have done?" she finally asked.
"I don't know." Xanatos looked at her. "Why would I care?" he moved toward the door. "I'm not a Jedi, Alida D'med, never will be. If you will excuse me." He walked out before she could say anything to stop him, he was shaking with fury.
Alida shook her head and went back to the work set before her as Xanatos headed to the gym. He'd been ready to strangle the woman.
Dio's eyes widened just slightly as Xanatos stormed past her into the gym.
Xanatos headed toward an area of the gym and stared at the equipment
Dio sighed. This looked not good.
He reached out with the Force and crushed one of the weights.
"Do you want a punching bag or a live opponent?"
Xanatos turned and looked at Dio then the weight. "I don't think a live opponent would survive."
She raised an eyebrow. "Really. So what lit your fuse?"
Xanatos nodded. "I need to get myself under control. JEDI," he hissed the name. "One in particular."
"Yes, I had almost forgotten how infuriating they can be."
"What precisely did Alida say?"
"Simple action versus reaction, isn't there another way." Xanatos' eyes narrowed. "Questioning my methods, Off World's methods!" he hissed.
"Jedi do tend to question." Her tone was neutral.
Xanatos nodded slowly, pulling his emotions under control. "Yes, they do."
She thought a moment, then asked anyway. "Why do you care what she thinks?"
"I don't!" he hissed.
"Awfully angry for someone who doesn't care."
Xanatos looked at her, then slowly smiled. "Yes, I am, aren't I?"
"Yep." She watched him carefully, despite her casual tone.
Xanatos leaned against the wall. "I was fine until she mentioned him."
"Qui-Gon Jinn, my former Master." Xanatos' blue eyes clouded over. "He is still a sore spot with me."
"I can understand that."
"You can?" he questioned.
"I'm not saying I lived it. But it isn't hard to understand why that would be a sore spot. I'm surprised Alida mentioned him."
"She asked a question … What would Master Jinn do?" Xanatos repeated. "Sith, how do I know what he would think, let alone do?"
"So she asked how your old Master would have judged your actions? Effectively?" She shook her head. "Not fair."
"Alida overheard me talking to Captain Matthews about some of Off World's locations." he looked at Dio. "And ordering questioning if the need rises, she also heard me making sure that Miss Jinn didn't receive any of these reports."
"Ohhhh. I assume you didn't order questioning on a whim. But you can't expect a Jedi to understand necessity. I am curious as to why you want one for an assistant. She's going to require a lot of care."
Xanatos nodded. "I never order questioning on a whim, and I trust those I place in those positions. They are what makes Off World." he looks at her. "I see Octavia Jinn as more than just a Jedi, but you are right she does require a lot of care, thus the reason to keep some reports from her."
"More than just a Jedi?"
He rose and walked over to some of the equipment. "Yes, she is the granddaughter of my former Master, and I'm hoping to have her see that the Jedi way of thinking is not the only option she has."
She nodded. Her voice was soft on the next question. "Vindication from a later generation?"
"Perhaps." Xanatos smiled. "Though I also see it as saving her from the fate of being nothing more but a Jedi."
"You can offer choices, but you can't save another person from their fate." Dio's voice carried compassion and regret.
"Now you sound like Tara and Damien."
"We had some of the same teachers. We all tended to remember them when they were right." She half-grinned. "Sort of. My memory might be less than perfect."
"Your memory is fine." Xanatos chuckled. "Then I will show her other ways of thinking."
"Mm hm. And if she doesn't agree with them?"
"Then she will have to face the consequences of that action." Xanatos looked at Dio, relaxing as his anger subsided. "I don't see ever agreeing totally with me. But she has made the first step, she has asked to be part of the morning practices as you know, you've been there. And she has taken the enhancers."
"She may yet return to the Jedi, given the option."
Xanatos nodded. "If she does, then she does." he stated. "Then again who knows where her heart lays."
"As long as you know that it is her decision."
Xanatos smiled. "Of course, I would not have her any other way. After all it's useless if she's forced."
"You see, Dio, the question is not if I will allow her decision to stand, but will the Jedi?" Xanatos looked at her. "Care for a work out?"
"If you like. Weapons?"
Xanatos nodded. "Yes, need to keep ourselves prepared for anything."
"Lightsaber." Xanatos stated.
She nodded and moved to a clear area, assuming a ready stance, saber in hand but not ignited.
Xanatos reached for his and took his stance. Igniting his saber, he moved in to attack Dio from the side.
Her 'blade' met his, blocking. She counterattacked, angling.
Xanatos was quite relaxed, more so than when he had first entered the gym.
She tried for a touch on the right thigh, which he avoided as he moved rather easily, reaching for her shoulder with the lightsaber.
She twisted away, rather than parrying, then moved back in to try a foot sweep. Xanatos jumped over it and her and landed on his feet, smiling.
Dio grinned as she faced him. She tilted her head, still smiling, then pressed a flurry of attacks.
He moved to defend himself using his TK to toss her backward, but she caught herself, retaliating with her own TK behind his knees. Xanatos fell forward, rolling with the blow. He caught sight of a shadow at the entrance to the gym as he rolled, but Dio was pressing the attack while he was still slightly off balance.
Xanatos moved to find his focus, and his balance, using the Force to add pressure to Dio, weight on her mind.
"Uh huh." She narrowed her eyes, still smiling, and shoved back hard. She was right there, as fast as she could be, trying to keep him down. He struggled to rise, only to find a lightsaber blade at his throat.
He smiled. "You win." He turns to look at the shadow in the doorway, but it was gone.
Xanatos rose to his feet. "I needed that."
"Good." She grinned. "Anytime."
He chuckled. "Back to work."
"Oh, durance vile!" She gestured dramatically. "A statement of intention or an order, My Lord? It's my off shift."
"I was thinking of me, I never have an off shift."
She sobered. "You should. You'll lose reaction time if you don't."
Xanatos bows, "I will make a point to get time away, after all I do not intend to always have a saber at my throat."
She snorted. "I meant an actual break." She bowed in return.
"I know Dio, and I will, right now there are things to be done, and I have a Jedi to check on."
"Later then." She bowed again.
Xanatos bowed and left and Dio headed for the showers, shaking her head.
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