Chapter 45, Part 3

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Jerod


"If you really wanted to materially improve the lives of Rodians on this planet," Krul spat at Jerod, "you would put an end to this paper lung disease, instead of allowing it to claim more miners' lives."

"So you blame their deaths on us?" Jerod replied angrily. "There's no way we could afford to develop quadanium dust-resistant equipment. We could never justify the investment on our own. The Rodian government would have to come to the table."

"And the Rodian municipates will not come to the table, because they treat Rodia like a harlot, sating their lust and buying us off with a few credits - donated by you, I might add," Krul paced, his voice slowly rising in a crescendo. "And you will not come to the table, because there is no profit in it. And the people of Rodia do not come to the table, because we have been deprived so long we accept privation as our birthright. That is what we have come to put an end to today, this culture of excuses for a resounding lack of social justice."

"Galactic society has a lot of warts, Krul," Jerod countered. "It's easy to poke holes in what we've done, but compare the fruits of our labors. We built a company from the ground up. We gave people jobs. We set up charities to teach Rodians skills. Bettering all of Rodian society is beyond us - so we started where we could make a difference. What have you given Rodia? How many mouths have you fed? Better yet, how many people have you helped provide for themselves? All I see is death and empty rhetoric."

"My contribution will be far more meaningful than a pair of destroyed lungs," Krul replied sardonically. "I give voice to what the Rodian people have known but are unable to realize. That our government must answer to us. That we must be better. That our moral character can be superior."

"You, mass murderer, cannot lecture anyone on morality," Lucinda said acidly.

Krul pointed at Lucinda accusingly, stabbing the air. "You, cajala chupa, and the ruling families you keep in power have taken us to a place where moral choices are impossible. Which is why, for our children and our children's children, we must burn down this system of iniquity! We must destroy society and rebuild it from the ashes. And we Rodians will find the strength to do so from that place you most trod on, from that place you most despise, from that place you laugh at with scorn. We will find the strength in our souls."

"You seem determined not to see things as they are," Krul continued. "You praise the dung heap that is passed down from day to day. It appears you require a change in perspective."

Jerod tensed, as Krul motioned to an armored Rodian in the crowd wearing the mask of a Sith overlord. He didn't recall seeing a miner outfitted look this. Jerod sucked in a deep breath. So this is it -- our punishment. I hope some of our words helped our audience cut through this man's madness. It was the best he could hope for. The armored Rodian ignited a jetpack, flying across the atrium and dropping near where Krul stood.

 "Saboo here will help you with that needed perspective," explained Krul, "rising you far above your precious SKYE, to see the cancer infecting--"

The floor erupted in an explosion of concrete and flying debris. Jerod attempted to protect his face, but his arms strained uselessly at his bonds as shards of concrete cut at his face. Smoke billowed around him, enveloping him in a milky gray darkness.

"Lucinda! Lucinda!" He called out in desperation, hoping against hope to hear her voice.

"Jerod!" He heard her call back, still alive as blaster fire erupted around them. A shadowy figure approached through the gray mist holding a weapon. Please, he begged with the Force, please spare my family.


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