Chapter Twenty-Three: Accepting The Call

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"No, that can't be true; how is it even possible?!"
At first Ishti had been confused, but now that he realised what Gan meant he was angry, dangerously so.
"Calm down, let me explain, please." Gan held out his hands to calm him, but Ishti wouldn't have it.
"No! Jedi scum! You tried to take me!"
The table pushed forwards, screeching loudly across the floor and almost knocking Gan back, but then it moved back untouched. The noise had risen above the ambient volume, hushing the bar into a conspicuous silence.
"Don't use your tricks! That isn't fair!" Ishti yelled, his voice reverberating throughout the noiseless room.
A queer expression came over Gan's face, like he was holding back a laugh, but it was gone in an instant.
"I'm going to trust you, Ishti. If I tell you my secret... will you let me tell you the rest?"
Ishti scowled. "Fine."
"First though, I need a drink; do you want one?"
Ishti only deepened his scowl, but the other patrons resumed their chattering, convinced, and perhaps a little disappointed, that the drama was over.
"I take it that's a no." Gan said, cocking his eyebrow, or at least the area where his eyebrow would be if he had one, in amusement.

Ishti waited a few seconds for Gan to come back with a mug of a thick, golden drink that smelt sickly sweet and alcoholic. Ishti's nose writhed as he realised that the smell had permiated throughout the whole bar. It must be popular for some inexplicable reason.
"Miruvor: one of the owners' signature drinks. Are you sure you don't want one?"
"Very." Ishti asserted.
"Fair enough, but it does bring me to my point. Gan Sendi is not my real name. I adopted it to avoid being recognised - took Gan from the Bith who made this delicious drink. No, my real name is Weon Jen."
"Why change it? Wait, never mind. Why does it even matter?"
"Well, what I'm doing isn't linked to the Jedi. In fact, it isn't permitted - by the Jedi. Anyway, I recently learned that Mandalore the Ultimate was approached by a Sith. I'm sure you can understand why I was alarmed."
"I wasn't able to prevent the meeting, but it later became apparent what it had been about, because Mandalore has started preparing for war: gathering ships and resources... and weapons.
"The Republic is yet to decide on how to act about this, as is painfully frequent, but most disappointingly of all: the Jedi Order is doing nothing. Still scared after the Sith War, they refuse to commit to anything in fear of -"
"Gan, I mean Weon, please just tell me what I need to know."

"Sorry, I - That box you stole - it's a Sith holocron that the Mandalorians wanted. I hired you to take it so the Jedi Order couldn't tell I'd done it... You can use this against me now - turn me in for a handsome reward. So please, listen to me."
Ishti nodded.
"Alright." Weon paused to prepare the story in his head. "I'll start at the beginning. You know how I came to your house and tried to bring you to be trained as a Jedi. I was a young man then. It was one of my first missions as a Jedi knight, and I failed it. I know, I know that sounds horribly self pitying. Maybe it is. Anyway, after that I decided that I'd check on you every once in a while, to make sure you hadn't discovered the Force unguided because of my failure. I did step in occasionally, although perhaps I shouldn't have; but I'll let you decide whether you'd have been better off as a Zygerrian slave."
"That was you?" Asked Ishti quietly. He was clearly overwhelmed.
Gan, or rather Weon, suddenly looked incredibly sad. "Yes" was all he said.
"I then found out you'd become a bounty hunter," Gan resumed after a short pause. "Finding your own path as your parents intended. How could a man with a name like Ishti do anything different?"
Ishti just grunted in acknowledgment, still trying to work out how to respond to all of these revelations.
"But I soon realised it wasn't about finding yourself: it was about proving your parents right. You wanted to honour them by doing a Jedi's job without the Force and without the "evil teachings" of the Jedi." Weon stopped, allowing Ishti mull everything over.

"Do I seem evil to you?" He said after Ishti had seemed to finish thinking.
"No." Ishti conceded. "But you're not like the other Jedi. You said it yourself: you don't follow their rules, you just do what's right. I'll accept the mission, if it's good, but no Nyron."
"Ah..." began Weon, "You may change your mind about Nyron when you see what the mission is."
He got out a small holoprojector and placed it on the table.
"These are the plans for the senate vault." He said, his voice now hushed.
Ishti's eyes bulged in disbelief. "The senate vault?" He hissed, "You're crazy!"
"No, but whoever breaks in will need to be. Even you have to admit that only Nyron can do it."
"Yes... but that's all I'm saying until you tell me the mission."
"The holocron you stole for me - the Republic has it now, and although I couldn't have it in Mandalore's hands, I'm afraid the Republic's aren't much better."
"And whose would be best? The Jedi?"
"The Jedi aren't perfect, but I trust the Grand Master to do the right thing. That doesn't matter though. If I give it back to them they'll turn me in - they're too scared to go against the Senate. No: I will destroy it myself, with the help of some likeminded friends.

"So," Weon continued, "Do you accept?"
"I do." Ishti nodded solemnly, realising his life was now drastically changed.
"And will you bring Nyron?"
"Fine." Ishti managed to say between his teeth.
"Now that you know what the Holocron is, I think I should warn you about what might happen if you touch it. It is likely that it will try to compel you to open it. Do not let it! This also makes it all the more important that you don't let Nyron get to it again. I'm sure you can imagine what would happen then. That's everything, so, let us call back your friends, and tell them their mission. But not anything about my being a Jedi, or my name. I'd rather that as few people knew that as possible. Oh, and take the plans; you'll need them."
"Thanks," said Ishti, sliding the projector across the table into his hand. "One more thing:" he said "Why did you hire me? I get that it couldn't be a Jedi, because the Mandalorians would think it was the Republic, but surely you could've chosen a better bounty hunter?"
"Jedi have advantages further than combat, so I chose the next best thing to a Jedi: someone particularly sensitive to the Force, albeit untrained. No other bounty hunter I knew of, no matter how proficient, could with any certainty have had any chance of surviving touching that holocron. Sith holocrons are often trapped to prevent those they deem unworthy from touching them."
"But Nyron touched it too! And I can't use the Force!"
"Well I suppose this holocron wasn't dangerous. Odd... As for your second point, I wouldn't be so sure. Anger can cloud the thoughts, but surely you realised you hadn't touched that table earlier?"
Ishti stared at his hands in shock, realising that Weon was right. He could use the Force! Excitedly, he tried to lift the holoprojector, but failed.
"You can use the Force to an extent, but there are varying degrees of strength. It also appears that you find it easier when angry. This is worrying, because that leads down a path difficult to come back from. For now, try not to get angry, but perhaps sometime I can teach you to control it - if you want."
"I'll think about it."
"Alright, come back here in two days. I'll be waiting - with your payment of course." Weon said as he stood up to leave.
"I'll see you then." Said Ishti with a smile.
Then Weon frowned as he realised Ishti hadn't got up.
"Aren't you coming?" He asked.
"No, I think I'm gonna have a drink."
"Good! Farewell, Ishti."
"Bye Gan - I mean Weon."
Weon smiled, and turned to leave.
"Wait!" Called Ishti almost immediately, and Weon turned back.
"Thank you." Said the bounty hunter.
"For what?"

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