- Posted On: Sep 30 2018 2:09am
The words were like a pouring of cool water over a burning injury and Chris, the clone of Christine Thorn, finally let out a sigh of release.
How many years of intense control has she maintained, her mind stretched to the limit? She had worried about how her pregnancy would be affected in the few spare moments she had to herself but circumstances really had not allowed her to dwell on it.
And as the tale of the combined woes and actions of both Coalition and Confederation people were relayed, she closed her eyes.
“We didn’t stop a damned thing,” she whispered.
The others turned to her in surprise but she merely shook her head. “There were things I could never say, let alone think, for fear of dying. Korah never let on as to the specifics of the trigger in our heads so we developed a plan of isolate and obfuscate when it came to our actions against him.”
She sat forward, “You have to understand, the Confederation’s development of the Genetic Renovation Program had its genesis with both Ahnk Rashanogok and a particular New Republic research and development initiative to use the Force as a type of “looking glass” into the future.”
“The New Republic?” Portland frowned. “That’s a name I have not heard in quite a long time.”
“Whatever was left of it eventually was incorporated into the Galactic Coalition,” Rane comented.
“Cloning has been around for quite a long time, perfected by Kaminoans but it was Ahnk Rashanagok who seemed to ‘crack the code’. You see, he made many clones of himself. Clones that were imbued with the Force. Whether they were as powerful or not compared to Ahnk himself, we did not know. But we had the information that it was possible and if it was possible for a Sith, for Ahnk was a Sith at the time, our own scientists felt they could do it as well. It was wrapped up under national security umbrella for the Coalition had the Jedi Enclave, the Republic their Jedi and the Empire the Sith. We felt ill-prepared to face off against such Force-bearing groups with only conventional measures. We were a smaller galactic power compared to others and our own Jensaari Order was just in its infancy. For a while, we only had one. The strategic importance of increasing our force-user numbers was just too great to ignore.”
“I never volunteered for this,” Pro-Consul Thorn stated quietly.
“And now the flaws in our logic become obvious,” the clone smiled grimly. “We had only one force user so, obviously, the scientists working on the project were not force users. They had no idea what it meant to hold that type of power. Oh sure, they could measure the power somewhat, determine if a subject could be imbued with it or not but to actually hold it? Understand it? It is not like increasing a powerpack to your armor or blaster. A person with force powers became super-human without an accompanying experience or maturity to handle it! It is like giving a child a blaster! A poor sod access to unlimited credits! We did not respect the power and we were in over heads.”
“It worked for Ahnk,” Rane pointed out.
“He already had the power. Our subjects did not. So after one of the first successful creation, one of our great technological minds, he thinking became shaped by what the force showed him. Now, I am not a philosopher or any expert on the light-side or dark-side of the force. We continued on as if the force were just any power and yet we were ill-prepared by how seductive that power could be. How, despite good intentions, it could be used to murder on a massive scale.
Korah is acting on a vision the force showed him and the fear of that vision has compelled his actions from the beginning. He subverted the entire purpose of the GR program and the Origin 6, of which myself an the Corise-clone were a part, to become his minions working on his plan to save the galaxy from itself. He is no Palpatine. Or, at least, he did not start out that way. What we are facing is a plan developed by a righteous believer that he his efforts will ultimately subvert a darkness that is coming.”
“He sees himself as the good guy?” Thorn asked incredulously.
“His vision was compelling,” the clone admitted.
“What was the nature of this darkness?” Ambassador Nova asked curiously.
“One of the central tenets of Force existence is that it comes from biological life. The Jedi of old identified midichlorians as the conduit by which this power is wielded. It was rumored that a Sith named Dacian Palestar had an idea of obliterating the Force and started a crusade with this as its aim. Unfortunately, to destroy the force, one would have to destroy all biological life in the galaxy, for as such life spreads, so spreads the force. But there is another power growing in the galaxy. A sort of anti-life where the force cannot hold sway. Where its influence cannot be felt.”
She stared at the others’ blank looks. “Artificial intelligence or, put another way, recognized life that is not biological in nature. An AI or a droid does not feel emotions as we do. When has a droid ever been motivated by simply the crass emotion of greed? An independent AI or droid can give themselves purpose and act accordingly but it is without an emotional context. They have their own rules of existence.”
“I still don’t see how..” Rane started.
“There are three great AI groups sweeping the galaxy right now. The Cree Ar society at its technological core is governed by something they refer to as the Nexus. We do not have much information on it but part AI, part independent or if it has fully taken control of their society, the end result is that they are using force users as batteries and it will use its terrible influence to carry out the systematic eradication of independent force users to fully utilize this power. Hence their attack on Kashan. Then there are the Reavers. That remnant of the Dragon Imperium that seems to have disappeared. Where did they go? The Reavers are a mechanical plague, an anti-panacea if you will, that is spreading by blind opportunity and chance but we all know how fast artificial cultures can advance and evolve. Look at the 3rd power; the AI power of the Cooperative, now the most powerful entity within the Coalition.”
“Our AI are not trying to kill force users!” Rane exclaimed.
“What if the AI decides that doing so is necessary to save the Coalition? What if it runs a calculation that concludes the Cree’Ar can be staved off by removing that which the Cree’Ar want? By it enough time to complete some other plan they are cooking up in yet another hidden production facilty?”
“The Coalition people will never allow it!” Nova stated firmly.
“Your AI production facilities are impressive. The best we have seen,” the Pro-Consul interjected. “With your AI Sapient Act granting AI equal rights, with those facilities they can increase their numbers a million-fold faster than any biological could keep up. All that is required is the resources. And the voting bloc of the AI would be able to overwhelm any other species in your federation. Remember Vahaba? The Guardian Protocols where the AI deemed it necessary to sacrifice all those lives? It happened once and it could happen again. It is a problem that your government will have to face in the future. Perhaps this may not happen willingly by your AI but remember, a force user’s mind influence does not work with AI, androids, crystalline or other similar lifeforms. As a force uers, I cannot wave my hand and an AI do my bidding. It does not always work with biologics either. An external catalyst is needed which is why Korah created the implant. If Korah’s implant can subvert an existing AI (as seen in our Paladin droids), how much more damage can one AI doe to another. What if the Nexus or Reavers take control of the Coalition AI systems, corrupt your production facilities? The Republic has their own AI but they are not quite as far along as the Cooperative. The same thing can happen there too. And then our hope would be with the Empire?”
“There’s irony for you,” Portland commented.
“Galactic life will be dominated by the artificial.”
“Korah’s efforts all these years has been to isolate the Confederation and ensure it remains uncontaminated by Coaliton AI, Reavers and the Cree’Ar Nexus. He does not want the Confederation to fall but he also does not want the current leadership to come to an agreement or alliance giving AI an easy access to us. These attacks are designed to keep our governments at odds while his plans move forward.”
“What are his plans? What does he plan to do with the New Oceanus Fleet?”
“I am not quite sure but I know this,” Chris answered seriously, “All players are on the move. The Reavers have expanded farther than we ever thought initially possible but the Regrad’s Expeditionary Force and the Coalition initiatives have halted a majority of the that expansion. Your Panacea hybrid is promising in halting and perhaps destroying the Reaver virus. The Cree’Ar are on the move. First the Empire and now us. Korah cannot hit the Coalition too hard for fear of having the Reavers fully break their containment. He cannot afford to attack the Reavers before the Coalition impliments their plan lest the Reavers react in an unexpected manner and break containment. Can he attack the Cree’Ar Fleet juggernaught? Would doing so put the Confederation higher on the Cree’Ar conquest list by doing so? In his mind, if either the Coalition, Cree’Ar or Reaver overcome then all is lost.”
“If he conquers the Confederation, then we probably will all be at war and then all really is lost!” Nova quipped.
“So, whatever resources he has now, that is all he is likely to get. If the Cree’Ar take Kashan then doesn’t that bring about the Armageddon his fears?” the Pro-Consul asked. “So he will defend Kashan against the Cree’Ar attack. Perhaps they are doing so already?”
“No. Such an action wouldn’t work,” Chris stated flatly.”
“Why not?” demanded Thorn
.”Because the Genetic Renovation Program does not work.” Christ answered. “Not really.”
“What are you saying?” Thorn asked looking at her clone concerned.
“Haven’t you ever wondered why after meticulous patience over the years in steering the Confederation that now everything seems to be escalating so quickly? A biological body that is cloned with a low midichlorian count and then has that count artificially augmented creates instability. The more the power is used, the greater the instability. Our bodies will break down and begin to die.”
“You are going to die!?” the Pro-Consul shouted horrified.
“If I do not use my power, I may have a full life. The more I do use it, however, the greater that expectancy is cut short.”
Portland saw the issue immediately. “Korah cut corners to speed up his plans and to have the technological edge against either the Cooperative, Cree’Ar or Reavers, he used repurposed or remanufactured Rakatan technology which, to power, requires one to use the force. His time is limited.”
“He can possibly use his resources for one critical strike. One move. One roll of the dice,” agreed Admiral Neychev. “Then the Cree’Ar offensive against the Confederation is doomed to fail.”
“How do you figure?” Rane asked.
“Even if the Cree’Ar take Kashan they will realize the reason for their attack, the prospect of infinite force user ource for their war machine, will not be a reality. What would be the point to continue from their perspective snce there are greater threats or much juicier rewards elsewhere? They can always mop up the Confederation after they taken the others. Maybe they will withdraw in hopes that the Confederation will continue the program and perfect the system or fix the problems.”
“Callous sons of bitches,” Portland whispered.
“They are going to go after the Jedi?”
Admiral Neychev snorted, “The Jedi have a habit of scattering. Chasing them individually all over the galaxy is not practical.”
“No,” Chris answered, “If the GR program doesn’t work then they will go somewhere else where they hope to capture a large group of force users in one place. And aside from the Jedi Corps of the Empire I only know of one other population center.”
“Where?” Rane asked.
Ambassador Nova’s eyes shot up, “Oh shit!”