The sound of sharp heels clicking against the granite floor filled the wide, encompassing halls of the senate building. The building felt ancient, despite having been damaged, war ravaged, and rebuilt at least half a dozen times in its life. Kira wasn't focused on the architectural wonder of the building, but rather on navigating the halls to once specific office—that of the Chief of State. There were four other Jedi with her, two flanking her on either side, and each equally displeased with the Chief of State as Kira.
Jedi weren't often supposed to get entangled with politics, but in the last decades they had seen an increasing shift from that. Kira, especially, had grievances with Atina Kryze. The entry to her office was a spacious antechamber, wardened off from the rest of the building with sparkling glass walls. There was a receptionist, likely one of Kryze's chief aides, that managed entry to the Chief of State's office. Kira brushed through the antechamber, and was already pushing into the Chief of State's office when her aide managed to sputter something out. "Ma'am, wait—" That was all Kira heard, the rest muffled by distance and the walls between them.
Kryze's office was what Kira had expected from her. An aged public servant, from the Outer Rim on her way out of office. There were pictures of different men and women, all young and bearing a striking familiarity to Atina. She imagined they were pictures of kids and grandkids. Alongside them were aged holos and images of Atina herself, dressed in pilots garb, alongside sterling medals for her service. Despite being warphobic and tired now, the Chief of State hadn't always been so dovish.
"Chief of State Kryze," Kira greeted her, trying to inject some of the owed deference into her tone. Suddenly, she realized their sight could be taken very threateningly. Five experienced and skilled Knights, each visibly displeased, fanned across the Chief of State's doorway. Instinctively, Kira let her posture relax some, so that she wouldn't look so much a combatant.
Atina was quite busy when the young Jedi Knight burst into her office a small flicker of displeasure came into her face as she flicked her eyes to the Jedi Knights gathered around her and she simply held up a single finger and pointed it to the couches and chairs a few meters away. Now turning her attention to her parliamentary aides and caucus members she cuts them off.
"I sympathise with you all, but the fact remains- this bill must be tabled and passed within the week's end. I do not care for your excuses, this bill is important because it will give necessary funding to Outer Rim schools and see funding for them extended for another decade. Offer the opposition equal payment to Kuat, Anaxes, and Corellia's schools. That should split them up enough to allow the bill to pass. Now, I'd like to have a report on the results of your consultation and negotiations on my desk by the end of the day."
With that clear dismissal she waits for them to file out of the room before striding over to the Jedi seated at the couches and chairs and has an aide bring in tea and light snacks. She fixed each Jedi with a firm stare, a hard look, one showing a strength that they clearly did not anticipate.
"Jedi Knight Kira Elan. I assume you are here to demand that I mobilize the Alliance for War? That I demand that the Remnant return to the Alliance's authority and disband the majority of their fleets and demobilize their armies? I presume to imagine that you think I am weak for not doing so, timid for not forcing these matters through by strength of arms, and for not allowing the Jedi to launch operations into the Remnant itself?
Now that I've set the table for why you think I am an inadequate leader allow me to elucidate you on my thinking. The force I used to drive them back two months ago was the best fleet that we have. The other fleets are currently being refit, refurbished, and retrained. While they can certainly hold systems and defend the Alliance, offensive operations are not on the table. Not to mention, in order to launch these offensives I will be required to have my General Staff, Admiralty, the Jedi Order, and my intelligence services all begin war planning. This will require logistics, I have been rapidly expanding the military yes- but with this comes the simple fact that our officers, nco, and common soldiery need to catch up. Does this make us weak? No. What it does do though is make offensives risky, what happens if I cannot set up an adequate logistical base and our best soldiers get cut off and cannot be supplied? We will take catastrophic losses, for- while we won a victory. It was mostly by virtue of surprise. Where were the guard formations? Where were the elite infantry? They did not anticipate me to do this and thus they are now thinking things over. Which was the intent, we need another four years to finally be ready to effectively take the fight to the Imperials.
Which leads to my final reasoning. I am retiring- I will not be able to prosecute this conflict that you want. Instead I will have to turn over the conflict to my successor. Now if you want me to stay on, wage a war, and then retire- you'll need to convince the majority of the Alliance that I am not what you see me as, a weak, tired, doddering fool who is too war-phobic to bring about final victory. Which I doubt will happen, since people always like to parse through my decisions at a superficial level and not see the broad strokes.
I appreciate your concern- but trust me. If I could fight and win a war I would. If I had four more years..."
With that she takes a sigh but shakes her head.
"All we can do now is wait for the elections and see how my successor will take up the reigns. Is there anything else? But, do not take this as me getting on your case. I have set the table for you and your generation to do what ours couldn't. The torch will now pass on to you and I hope that you can carry it to galactic peace."
It truly is amazing how people forget the fact that she might seem old that there is still a fire in her. It's not Kira's fault, it's simply that she doesn't know the Chief. If she did, she wouldn't doubt her willingness to crush the Remnant. But, they just aren't ready it's that simple. And if there is a reason to get on her, it is for that. However, her model was always a twenty year plan that way a fresh new generation of officers can take the reigns and bring about the Alliance's victory. Young, bold, and ambitious people like Kira. If only she can harness this impetuous personality into something more productive...
Kira was caught off guard to see other politicians in the Chief of State's office. It was a perfectly normal thing, she was the head of their government, and the Jedi visit had been unexpected. Still, the picture Kira saw in her mind's eye didn't include this delay. Her momentum was halted, and awkwardly the five Jedi migrated to the sitting area.
Atina was a skilled diplomat, and Kira noted how neatly she closed the meeting without saying as much. Some of the politicians kept mumbling, but most got the picture and began packing their things. Jedi barging into the Chief of State's office was not something one expected, and they didn't want to be in the way if it went awry.
Kira wasn't able to say a word, for Chief of State Kryze came out of the gate swinging. She surmised the reason for their visit, based on Kira's past opinions and their obvious mood. She detailed very nice sounding reasons for their inaction, and reasons that Kira entirely didn't care about, were she being honest. "I understand that it's a complex issue," Kira bit back, measuring her words, or at least trying to.
She stood and paced toward the woman's desk, looking off into the distance before focusing on Kryze. "Adumar, give us Adumar." She nodded, agreeing with her sudden solution. "Let us set up operations on Adumar, and bring it in the fold. It would let us get a better listen, and if they are out there." Kira's hand, which she'd been waving about and talking with, suddenly clenched. Unintentionally, with it went two of the closest framed pictures on the desk. They crumpled and shattered under the fierce clutch of the Force. Kira saw the damage, and immediately recoiled, releasing them to clatter back on the desk. One of them fell over, the other remained teeteringly upright.
One of the hardest things for Atina is keeping her temper on a leash. When her portraits shattered, her brows furrowed in annoyance before she took a small sip of tea. "Master Jedi, my own son is one of you. A Knight of the Order as well- allow me to give you the same advice I gave him. Be wary of doing the wrong thing for the right reason. Simply put, imagine if you did not have the Force and a woman is drowning in front of you. Your instincts tell you that you must jump in and try to save her. However, most people when they are drowning are not in a rational frame of mind and tragically they will drown you in your attempt to rescue them. You tried your best to do right by them, but carried it out poorly. From what I understand, this is why Jedi, while they must always maintain their compassion- they must also act with a certain aloofness. Emotions are the death of reason. The way to rescue that woman is to indeed jump in. But, you must restrain them from yourself first until they realize you are here to help them. Until they calm down and their rational thoughts come into the fore. By acting and then thinking logically you will be able to save this woman with no harm to yourself. In this vein, there is a reason why I have indeed used Adumar as a base to set up a listening post, outpost, and plan to expand it into a forward deployment zone. However, I will not allow for it to be used as a means for Jedi to investigate. Instead, there is something that I have asked the Council to look into."
With that she hands her a datapad that is encrypted.
"I can tell you the basic details, but of course, the Jedi Council will determine who answers. My intelligence sources have told me that there is a sizeable dark side cult in the Unknown Regions. The details of this mission will be decided by the Council and I will supply resources they deem appropriate. I also want you to relay to them that I would appreciate if they send me another team of Jedi to participate in the Fleet Review and War Games so we can better coordinate in case of incidents."
With this final statement she stands up and smiles at Kira.
"I appreciate you for coming in and voicing your concerns. Do you have any questions that I can answer, please be candid and I'll do my best to answer them earnestly."
Immediately after the frames began to shatter in her mind's grip, Kira regretted her actions. She tried to focus as little on them as possible, and remarkably so did the Chief of State. Whether it was to pocket a later political favor, our out of mercy, Kira was unsure. The Chief of State was a typical politician, and saw Kira's complaints with a monologue about the merits of patience. Patience has seen to your complacence, Kira mentally fumed, but didn't dare speak aloud.
Instead of permitting Kira to charge in with an attack, the Chief of State moved in a direction Kira hadn't expected. She whipped out a datapad meant to sidetrack Kira on another job—still, Kira would be a fool not to hear her out. The Chief also had a message for the Council about fleet movements and war games.
"With all due respect, Chief, what is this mission?"
"I believe it is quite simple Master Jedi, I would be much obliged if you find these, so called Sith and deal with them as you deem fit. Take them back to the Temple for interrogation, kill them on the spot, or just turn them over to us. Any one of these works depending on what the Council decides. I'm not particularly picky. The major problem is that Sith want power and they always seem to want to destroy the Republic. You must do your utmost to preserve her. That is all."
Kira Elan, for all her problems is one of the top Jedi of her generation. It's important to ensure that the next generations understand and appreciate the struggle. That they also leave something behind for those that follow. She hopes that by giving her such a task, she will be able to understand the role of the Jedi. To be a pillar of the Alliance, their champions, and above all- guard it against the Sith.