beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
On AO3
Chapter 1 on Dreamwidth
Chapter 2 on Dreamwidth
Chapter 3 on Dreamwidth
Chapter 4 on Dreamwidth
Chapter 5 on Dreamwidth
Chapter 6 on Dreamwidth

Chapter 7

"The question is, can we trust any information that comes from a Fleet surgeon or slicer?" Master Windu asked.

"Indeed," Master Kenobi said. "With the most recent secrecy and security acts, Palpatine has the power to order them to say only what he wishes them to say—they are even legally allowed to lie to a Jedi."

Ahsoka made a face. She didn't know much about politics, but even she knew just how major a precedent was. Republic law had always prescribed special penalties for lying to Jedi. Because of their role as peacemakers and investigators, it was legally the same as lying while under oath in court. Or at least, it had been.

"I don't believe Palpatine has done any of this," Anakin said. "There has got to be some other answer."

"I don't have the special relationship with him that you do, Anakin, but I too would rather believe Finn to be a liar." Obi-Wan shrugged. "But if there's even the slightest chance Finn is telling the truth, we need to know. This investigation will either prove Palpatine a traitor or clear his name. And we can't clear his name if we get our information from people who are legally required to follow his orders."

"Whether or not Palpatine is behind this, Master, do you really want to risk the lives of our men?" Ahsoka asked. "We need to get the information on the chips from people we know we can trust."

"Who did you send Captain Rex to?" Master Windu asked.

"An old friend of mine, Dexter Jettster, used to be a smuggler," Master Obi-Wan said. "He's still got a number of connections to people who would have the expertise in slicing the chips who wouldn't blink at lying to any Republic investigators who might ask questions. Given how badly things went when we tried to investigate the chips through official channels, Rex thought—and we all agreed—that going completely outside them was wisest, for now."

"Whether or not Palpatine is guilty, there are a lot of Republic bureaucrats I don't trust," Master Anakin said grimly.

"But if Rex's investigation was going to turn up anything in time for it to do any good, that would have prevented the future Finn describes," Ahsoka said. "It's obviously not quick enough. We need to get our answers now."

"The 501st is well-placed for a deeper investigation," Master Windu said. "You're on guard duty, and given that these are Jedi ruins you're guarding, we can extend their stay here with very little fuss. Although if you two stay out of the fighting for long, the media will ask questions. We could leave Padawan Tano here with the battalion, and have you two go out with the 212th. That would buy us time."

"What would we be doing?" Ahsoka asked.

"Removing the chips from all the clones in the battalion and seeing what happens," Master Windu said. "If nothing happens, then we quietly begin removing them from other clones."

"What if they get paranoid delusions or something like Tup and Fives?" Ahsoka asked. The clones were her troops, her responsibility. Jedi were sworn to protect lives, but especially these lives!

"I'm sure they'll all volunteer, Snips," Anakin said. "You heard what Jesse and Kano said. They'd rather take the chance of surgery than the chance of turning on the Jedi."

"Besides, Tup isn't a good example," Master Obi-Wan pointed out. "He had his chip in when he killed Master Tiplo. If anything, it was the chip that caused his breakdown, in which case they're safer with it out."

"And as for Fives, whose word do we have that he had paranoid delusions?" Master Windu asked. "If he were right, if the chip does everything Finn claims, and Palpatine is behind it, he would have been desperate to discredit Fives. How better than to claim that Fives had attacked him in a delusional state, drug him so that he appeared non compos mentis, and then claim that the whole supposed plot was nothing more than a fantasy?"

"Fives seemed pretty out of it when Rex and I talked to him," Skyguy said dubiously, "but there are drugs that could have caused that." He folded his arms and stared heavily at the floor, and Ahsoka could feel his conflict in the Force, roiling about them all.

"Master?" she asked. "What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking that I don't believe this could possibly be true," he said. "But I also can't imagine how a time traveler could know enough about the deaths of Tup and Fives to make up a story that would fit so perfectly with it."



"You know, Finn, this would be a lot easier to verify if you could give us more specifics," Senator Organa said in frustration. "If you want us to be able to change what you say happened, we have to know what needs to be changed!" He and Master Nu had taken the lead on questioning Finn, while the other Jedi went off to figure out what to do about the chips.

"Believe me, Senator, I know," Finn said, full of frustration. He rubbed a hand over his face. He'd told them everything he knew, which wasn't much: Grand Moff Tarkin had been the one responsible for the Death Star, and he'd died when it was destroyed. Sate Pestage had been one of the Emperor's closest advisors, famed for his loyalty (and it was rumored that Supreme Leader Snoke was his son or nephew or something). Finn could rattle off a whole slew of battles that the First Order had thought important for him to know about, and all the tactical details of the ground combat side. But he knew little of the space combat, and virtually nothing of the political machinations that had created the Empire in the first place.

"Not even the date any of this is supposed to happen?"

Finn sighed. "As I explained, Senator, nobody's used the Old Republic dates since it fell. According to the First Order, the Empire was created on Centaxday, Fourth Month Thirteenth Day, Year Zero. The Republic and the Resistance date things from the Battle of Yavin, when they destroyed the Death Star, which was Year 19 of the Imperial Calendar. But when "year zero" is in the old calendar, I've got no idea."

"At least we know we've got 19 years from the date of the Empire's formation to avert the Death Star," Organa said.

"We know more than that, Senator," Master Nu said, tapping something into her pad. "Finn, are the months and days the same in all calendars?"

"I think so?" Finn said. "At least, the New Republic calendar uses the same months and days as the Imperial calendar."

"So that the Fourth Month Thirteenth Day is the same on both calendars, even though the year is different?" Nu persisted.

"Yeah," Finn said.

"Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that both calendars derive their months and days from our calendar, merely swapping out the numbers," Nu said. "The next time that Fourth Month Thirteenth Day falls on a Centaxday is next year. A little over five months from now."

.

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