"Jinn is easily rattled, I know that much, and she is not so sure of her place or what is expected of her."
"The Force is strong with her," Alida came back with.
"Oh yes, that it is, but that will not be enough."
"And what do you think would be enough?"
Xanatos shrugged, "I do not know, I only know of what Mira had told me of the Emperor, I do not see him being a kindly teacher."
"There is nothing about him that is kind." Alida leaned back. "But I know those two Jedi will act as Jedi, even against him."
"Ah yes, the nobility of Jinn." Xanatos shook his head. "She will discover it brings more problems than solutions. Look at Qui-Gon."
"Master Jinn was a great Jedi."
"In his eyes," Xanatos states.
"What he did during his lifetime was far more than you could ever hope to achieve."
"So now you judge me?" Xanatos questioned. "He kept his life with Tahl a secret, it was not openly known they had a child."
"I am not judging you, simply stating a fact. You do not live as your Master did."
"Of course not, I live a freer life. I have a family, my business, friends, and a future family. Most of all I'm happy, a word I thought I would never use in my life."
"With your allegiance sworn to Lady Alderson. I thought Xanatos DuCruet swore allegiance to none?"
"I find the situation with Lady Alderson ... profitable, as for swearing allegiance, things .. change as well as do people."
"I am glad you seem to have found happiness."
"Are you, Master D'med?" Xanatos questioned. "Or would you be happier to hear that one has killed me out of revenge?"
"I told you before, I would not wish for the death of any being."
"Ah, but do you consider me a being, or a rabid animal that caused injury to your precious Padawans?"
"You are a being. One who has caused hurt to many, but one who is still capable of changing his ways."
"I doubt if an old friend of mine would see it that way," he chuckled.
"And who would that be?"
Xanatos' face grew dark. "Ask Daroa, she knew her well."
Xanatos watched her. "She never mentioned Mikala?" p> "The name is more than vaguely familiar."
"Well, a bit of advice, if you care to take it. Watch out for her, she has more than a few surprises for you. Especially with your young one there, and with Daroa."
"What are you talking about?" A small spike of alarm ran through Alida, which she quickly brought under control. She sent a wave of reassurance to her Padawan, letting her know that all was well and Medenna should continue with her mingling.
Xanatos studied her briefly, then stared in his glass. "What I'm about to tell you, do not mistake as friendship or me wanting to change my ways. KNOW I do this only because I've been betrayed, and my ship has been attacked and something of mine has been taken." He looked at her. "You understand this, Master D'med?"
"Your students have been compromised, with listening devices. Undetectable, but they are there. Mikala can hear everything they hear, and in time she can and will trigger them to do whatever she wants. They aren't yours anymore."
"Undetectable? How do I know you're not conjuring up fanciful devices out of thin air if they are undetectable?"
Xanatos smiled. "Believe me or don't it's up to you. You have to be looking for it, check with your people on Langley, they found one me while I was their guest. She will strike using those you hold dear. I know, I was there."
Xanatos took a sandwich from a waiter. "She's angry because of my ... involvement here, and the betrayal she believes I've done to her."
Alida's eyes went toward Medenna, where the girl stood talking with a few others. Her Padawan? Her Padawans? "I thank you for the information."
Xanatos bit into the sandwich. "Also, " Xanatos paused, "you might wish to find her for yourself. She holds something you might find interesting, since it is useless to me now."
"What would that be?"
Xanatos leaned closer. "She holds the bodies of Stratus Jinn and the old Jedi Master Tahl, they have been perfectly preserved.... Make no assumptions, I planned on using them against Jinn, but they were for me to use, not her." Xanatos frowned, unsure why was he telling her this. "I expect to be put in a bad light and take the blame of her actions the same as Arridor was put on mine and Mira's shoulders. I'm prepared to deal with that. But like you said, I have a future to think about."
Alida appeared to be thinking calmly. In reality, she was holding back a wave of emotions. Stratus Jinn and Master Tahl. In the hands of the woman who had done so much harm. "How did you take possession of the bodies of two Jedi?"
"They were captured on Telos and imprisoned in a coffin and left to die." Xanatos stated. "The government handed them over to the Lexors for experimentation. Yet, they were kept perfectly preserved."
Buried alive, as the voices Alida had heard had told her. "Where is this Mikala now?"
"If I knew I'd tell you." Xanatos shook his head, "I'm looking. All of Off World is looking. That bitch is responsible for the death of 15 crewmembers on the Crion. Don't you think I want her to pay?"
"How did she kill them?"
"She attacked the Crion, it was a surprise attack and when the cryo tubes jettison, the damage almost destroyed all of the cargo bay. You see they weren't designed to be jettison unless the ship was in danger of breaking apart."
Xanatos sat down. "She believes I chose Christine over her, so she'll harm any she wishes."
"I am sorry for the loss of your crew."
"They died protecting what I wanted. It was in the line of duty, and their families will be taken care of." Xanatos rose and walked over to the foliage. "Don't you think it funny, Master D'med? Me, concerned over someone's family. I remember when I attacked the Jedi temple. I almost killed 15 children that day. And did watch one student die then laid the blame at Obi-Wan's feet." He turned to look at her.
She stayed seated, watching him. "The death of Bruck Chun. A subject that was well covered in our classes afterwards. Why are you concerned for their families, Xanatos? Is it out of concern for them or is it just good business?"
"Both," Xanatos gave a half grin. "No, it's more that that, they are my people and I'm responsible for them. Sith listen to me, I'm sounding like a responsible person."
"I thought you said you and I would never see eye to eye on anything?"
He looked at her sharply. "And just what do we see eye to eye on, Jedi?"
"You're beginning to see the importance of caring for others. You called them 'your people'. The Xanatos I studied would not have cared one way or the other."
Xanatos chuckled. "So, we do." He let out a sigh. "Perhaps, I've gotten old."
"Think on this, Lord DuCruet: ask yourself how much of what you told me tonight was based in more than just a desire for revenge against the woman."
He looked at her. "She will pay for attacking me, if she continues on this path. I'm not concerned with the credits she took. I can replace money. I've even seen to the replacement of the crew of the Crion with the Lady Alderson's help..." His voice trailed off. "I am concerned only for my people and my family. I have seen too much death these past weeks. It is time to go forward."
She waiting, feeling that there was more he wanted to say.
He crossed his arms as his eyes hardened. "Maybe, I've come to value life a small bit more, I know that there have been more than one to show me the value of life, by willing to sacrifice theirs, but if it is pushed by her it will come down to her and me in the end. I will not let her harm those I call mine."
Then again, maybe it was more about possessions than anything else. But, there was a glimmer of hope. "And she feels the same?"
"I don't know she feels." he spat. "She made her choice when she attacked me, and the fact I didn't' kill her then will haunt me. It's my fault those people died on the Crion."
She got to her feet and approached him. "Guilt?"
"Misjudgment, Master D'med," he said, his voice dropping. "I allowed my feelings for her to stop me from what I knew was right,"
"Are you sure what you did was so wrong? You said people change. Does that apply to others or just to yourself?"
Xanatos shook his head. "Depends on the person." He gave a boyish grin. "Depends on the person."
Alida found herself giving him a small smile in return. "Then you might be surprised."
"Perhaps." Xanatos looked over at Medenna, where she was talking with someone. "She is a fine choice for a Padawan, she has strength."
"Yes. Yes, she does."
"I knew you had chosen her," he bowed to Alida. "I have kept you away from the others, we should rejoin them." he offered his arm.
"You knew? How?".
"The time on Arridor, she thought of you, and the way you two sat at dinner, the bond is there. I remember the one I ...anyway I've seen it before."
"The one you. . .?" Alida kept her distance and doesn't take the offered arm. He's changed, but how much, she doesn't know.
Xanatos laughed. "Still mistrusting, I don't blame you. Shall we return?"
She nodded. "That might be a good idea. Thank you for a very enlightening conversation."
"Of course, and you will have your Padawan checked once you return?" he pauses. "I would offer doctors here, but I don't think you'd trust them."
"I will do what needs to be done."
As they rejoined the others, Xanatos suggested, "Then check with the Alliance doctors, see how they found my tag, and until you clear her, be careful of what you tell her. For she won't be the only one listening."
Alida looked over at her Padawan and then back at Xanatos. She nodded.
He bowed to Alida, "A pleasure, Master D'med." he turns to join Christine, stopped when he saw Tory and was reminded of their earlier conversation. "Master D'med, before we rejoin the other guests, I have a favor to ask."
"Yes?" she asked, looking up at him.
"I wish to speak to your ... Padawan." He stumbled at the request, why was he doing this?
"Regarding, my treatment of her." Xanatos shifted slightly. "I request to ask her ... forgiveness."
Alida nodded slowly. "Then yes, you may speak with her. My only request is that you do not speak of the listening device."
"I will observe your request."
They headed toward Medenna, Xanatos walking behind Alida.
"Padawan," Alida called to get Medenna's attention.
Medenna turned and looked at them "Yes, Master?"
Medenna looked at Xanatos and then to her Master. *Why*
She gave her Padawan a reassuring feeling along their bond. *Listen to him for a moment, Padawan.*
*If you say so, Master.* She turned to look at Xanatos. "Yes, Lord DuCruet?"
Xanatos stepped a little closer. "I wish to speak to you, about the treatment you received on Arridor."
Xanatos cleared his throat, he was never one to ask forgiveness of anyone, especially Jedi. "I was responsible for what happened to you and I wish ... I wish to seek your forgiveness."
Medenna searched for the truthfulness of his words and was surprised that he was in fact being truthful
*Padawan, you will need to give the man some kind of response,* Alida nudged her Padawan..
"If ... if it's forgiveness you seek, then I forgive." Medenna paused. "I believe that anyone, even a man such as yourself that can show change." Again she paused.
Alida smiled ever so slightly.
Xanatos nodded. "You need not be distressed over my .. comfort. I have a great deal of crimes that I will be paying for in the future over my past actions."
"I'm not distressed over your comfort." Medenna tried to explain softly. "It's justŠ Everyone has a right to make amends." She smiled after finding the right words to speak
Xanatos reaches for her hand, noting that Alida kept a careful eye on him. She appeared relaxed, but was, he was certain, ready to take him on if he should attempt to do anything to Medenna.
Medenna allowed him to take her hand. Xanatos kissed the back of it. "One day you will be a ... a wise ..." he paused. "Jedi." He released Medenna's hand, then turned to Alida. "I hope you both enjoy the rest of the evening."
She inclined her head at him. "You, as well, Lord DuCruet."
Xanatos turned and walked away, unaware that Victoria Alderson had been watching his every move. She excused herself from the group she was talking to and walked over to him. Placing her hands behind her back she stopped in front of him.
Xanatos nodded to her, noticing the grin she was wearing. "Lady Alderson."
"Some act that was ..." she let her words trail off. "You have a heart." she snorted quietly. Her voice dropped. "You big softie you."
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