He awoke with a start. Sashar shook his head as he rose, the quarters of the Quaestor still unfamiliar to him. Nevertheless, he waved a hand at the light controls, telekinetically tapping the switch to give him some muted illumination. He hadn’t been sleeping well now for some months – the galaxy was in a state of unrest – distress. The war raging throughout it was like an aberration in the force, and as embedded in a nest of darkness as he was, the Mandalorian was not used to such a feeling of sheer pain constantly pouring from the Force. He knew his brethren in the Dark Brotherhood, scattered throughout the office as they were, could also feel it. He also knew that some would revel in that pain. It was useless trying to speak about it – The Brotherhood would not intervene until the Dark Council commanded them to.
Running a hand through his hair, he sat up and steadied his breathing. The memories of his earlier activities in the evening came back – that familiar urging coming from the tomes on his desk detailing some of the more advanced techniques of Shadowcrafting beckoning him to delve further into that perversion of the force. Only the Consul knew of his secretive practicing. He was almost ashamed of embracing the dishonourable practice; there was no glory in striking from the shadows, no peace of mind knowing that his opponent stood a fair chance, yet he continued, spending hours late at night practicing the damned act in solitude.
However, it wasn’t just the tempestuous nature of the Force that had roused him, no, it was a chilling vision. Even now the images which had been just moments ago clear as cut crystal were fading into nothing as he struggled to retain them.
Etah crumpling to the floor, his armor pierced by a fateful flow from a blaster, Malidir standing before the downed Aedile and danger – Sashar too far to help and busy deflecting countless bolts…too many…
Even with the aid of a force memory technique, he was unable to glean more than that from his subconscious. Fortunately, he was spared the effort by a chime coming from the comm. console. He sat down before the Holonet screen and pressed the icon representing an incoming external line. Before him materialised a harassed-looking human female. He didn’t bother to apologise for his own dishevelled appearance – the caller would have been told local time by the communications officer before the transmission was put through to him.
The Mandalorian nodded, still too tired to formulate a more cogent response.
“I am Jean Dinzler. I’m calling on behalf of the Krantian Regional Governor’s office. As you know, times are a trial at the moment, and the plant Krant is feeling the effects more than others.”
“I wasn’t aware Krant had been invaded. The Bothans have lost their sector already?” Sashar asked mildly, as if he were discussing the weather.
“No no, but that’s the problem. Most of the Bothan Military is on the front lines, repelling the invaders in the Outer Rim. The home front is suffering in their absence. The Peace Brigade are tearing apart refugee convys and any military aid the Republic can afford to send. Even the Jedi haven’t responded to our pleas for aid.”
Sashar grimaced. His house wasn’t a charity. “You are aware that we don’t work for free?”
“Yes, we are quite willing to pay you for your efforts, if you’ll just remove the Peace Brigade threat from our system.”
“Very well. I will consider your offer and get back to you presently.”
“Thank you, I-“ Sashar cut off the transmission and leaned back in the comfortable chair, now completely awake. Cabal Cronal did need a proper test, and Soulfire were always ready for some action. He tapped in another series of commands and summoned the House Summit to the Grand Arena. They would accept the contract – the only question was how they’d do it.