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Escalation of Commitment

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#1
Jessica Med-Beq

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Now that it was clear to her that, in the long run, the average learning speed with the instructor using Force-mind (as she called the suspect power) was largely the same as Memory Rub, and the main reason was: while Memory Rub could achieve higher instant learning speeds, the pain level of students could slow them down, which would, and Force-mind did not cause direct pains to the student(s) as far as she could tell. Maybe it could cause them headaches if they ran low on Force-energy, maybe if they learned so much stuff that they physical energy reserves were exhausted could Force-mind cause headaches to the student. Once again, she was happy to be with students, such as Upari, and Ultimatum was probably back despite having some misgivings about the other Jedi he might have encountered thus far. Certainly Jessica was not a Jedi that was going around battlefields and fight Sith and their lackeys head-on, but today's field trip would be about finishing an unfinished business for Upari. Jessica would meet with Ultimatum at Silver Rest once again, also realizing that her lightsaber crystal has cracked.

 

"Hi Upari. I trust you have recovered enough from the last training session to undertake a new one? Today, if you can actually find a suitable crystal in the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan, you'll finally assemble the lightsaber. Then again, my lightsaber crystal has cracked so I'll need to get it replaced, too"



#2
Ultimatum

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They were to travel to the Valley of the Jedi. Ultimatum had heard many things about that place, yet the data on the HoloNet was surprisingly scarce. A place of power in the Force, and a location that had been protected by the Jedi on several occasions. This was one of the many sacred sites to the Jedi, and the droid wondered if this were some sort of test. Why would he, a relatively new learner be trusted to enter such a place?

 

Upari shared these fears to some degree, though the Shard was more open to the belief that Jessica Med-Beq trusted them and was teaching them about the construction of a lightsaber, a critical tool to a Force user. Upari recalled that he already owned a crystal, three in fact but only one was ready for lightsaber use. He had secured it on Ilum and knew that it was likely a relative of the Adegan crystal, though what exactly was a mystery to both Upari and Ultimatum. Neither had the experience in identifying crystals to be able to definitely tell what it was.

 

"Thank you; we look forward to what may be taught. I would hazard to guess that lightsabers are capable of utilizing more than crystal at a time?"

 

The Shard further believed that it was likely there would be more learned today than the construction of lightsabers, though what that may be was beyond his sight.



#3
Jessica Med-Beq

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In fact there are two crystals total: the primary crystal and the focusing crystal. Usually it's the primary crystal that is the most significant of the two, the one people talk about when they say that a lightsaber crystal chooses a person, she thought, while showing a schematic of what a typical lightsaber's inner workings would look like. And also a bag filled with all the other, non-crystal components; he may wish to personalize the outer casing of the hilt if so Ultimatum desired. In the end, Jessica took out the cracked crystal that she would go to Ruusan to have replaced, using it as an exhibit for the first lesson of the day that she would want him to perform. Psychometry. What she would like to know out of psychometry is when and how the crystal cracked. He will probably realize that Jessica isn't one to use her lightsaber overly often. But before she could deliver the instructions for performing psychometry as well as points to watch out for when psychometry is in use, she made sure the cracked crystal was secured on the table, next to all these lightsaber components:

 

"With psychometry, you have to realize that you are, in fact, reading the object's usage history using the Force, and that the Force-history of an item is stored in tactile imprints, with the more recent events usually coming first, but if the last significant event was much older than any subsequent use, it's possible the more significant event comes out first in a psychometric scan. The more skilled you are at psychometry, the deeper you can dig and the more information you can get. If something happened to the item, or its user thereof, that was charged with negative emotions, may taint you with the dark side. For this reason, using it on dead bodies, while useful for policing purposes, is to be done at your own risk, and not the least because psychometric evidence is treated the same as one would any other forensic evidence"



#4
Ultimatum

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Upari was beginning to get a better understanding of the mind of Jessica Med-Beq. He found her thoughts easier to read now. He responded in a thought, "I recall the adventure being rather unique to find the crystal we have. Is there a difference in the type of crystal that can be primary as compared to secondary? Or is it merely the preference of the user?"

 

Ultimatum was surprised to see the cracked crystal. He had not expected Jessica to have a damaged gem like this. The droid was interested in the history of this crystal. "Do Jedi often have to replace the crystals of their blades? Is this a more common occurrence than most would believe?"

 

As she explained, the psychometry Ultimatum became intrigued. This power was unlike anything he had heard of or seen before. It sounded like an ability that had little combat use, most of the time anyways. A power that had several applications as far as Ultimatum was concerned. Archeological, Forensic, Educational, just to name a few. These interested the droid, mainly because he hoped this would help in the identification of his past to some degree. Ultimatum was concerned about the concept of dark tainting. He did not know what kind of sentient he had been before and feared that it might have been a darker past. "Is there a way to purify the darkness? To cleanse a person of the influence if needed after such a use?"



#5
Jessica Med-Beq

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The reason why the primary one is the most important for the lightsaber's connection to the user is because there are some lightsaber variants that only have one crystal. Once the primary is selected, there are restrictions on the secondary crystal: it must either be a translucid crystal of a very similar color to the primary crystal or transparentshe thought. She would probably think lightsaber crystals would differ in a number of properties: Bravais lattices, refraction indices, density, X-ray diffraction, chemical composition, which would require a spectrometric analysis to get to the bottom of the matter with certainty. Or at least for a NFU. Meanwhile, she was wondering what could have exacerbated the wear and tear endured from the lightsaber's fall from the VIP box of the Stalgasin Memorial Stadium; while its previous owner was killed in the stadium at the onset of the Clone Wars, on Geonosis, it laid dormant for centuries, among the sand. She didn't use it that often... which would probably leave Ultimatum perplexed somewhat if and when he actually attempted to use psychometry on the cracked crystal.

 

"I don't think it happens very often, which is why I'm surprised to find my lightsaber crystal cracked. Most people that had to replace their lightsaber crystals usually are heavy lightsaber users or use lightsabers under rough conditions. As for the darkness incurred when using psychometry, it's usually temporary and insufficient to make someone fall to the dark side on its own"



#6
Ultimatum

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Upari was somewhat confounded by this necessity for color coordination, not that it mattered too much to the Shard. "Wouldn't different colors simply lead to different colors in the saber's blade?" There were other factors involved, he knew, but the color focus was meaningless to him. It was unimportant what the color was, only that the blade worked and the person who wielded was skilled. The color could not indicate a person's alignment, at least it was unlikely to.

 

"How does one go about using Psychometry? It sounds quite unlike calling upon the Force to sense others, or to exert efforts." It struck Ultimatum as a most interesting concept. It suggested that a person's actions left a form of echo or ripple in the world that could then be read, like a recording on the ancient discs. But, what form did this take, how was the Force able to see into the past in such a way? It brought Ultimatum to the concepts of future sight. How could the Force see the future, unless the future was a single path that was already predetermined. It was a maddening line of thought that could never be answered and it bore Ultimatum to no end to think about it.

 

Jessica Med-Beq



#7
Jessica Med-Beq

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It is true that colors are in no way a reflection of the user. From my recollections, the need for color coordination is due to the lasing process that generates the plasma in the blade: one wants as narrow a spectrum band as possible, and you will lose plasma coherence if the spectral band is too wide. Transparent crystals don't change the laser's spectral band but translucid crystals do, she thought, realizing that few Jedi even knew anything about the physics of the laser that made their lightsabers even able to produce the plasma in the first place. She could also feel that Ultimatum had some thoughts related to precognition: however, since the will of the Force was, to her, a perfect RNG, there were limits as to how reliable precognition can be, especially the longer one tried to see in the future. Much how like a tiny change in the initial conditions of a differential equation can make forecasts, including but not limited to, weather forecasts, quite different with the differences growing the longer they have been running. She never put much stock in long-range forecasting for this reason.

 

"Since the Force-history is stored in tactile imprints, you have to physically touch the object before you can start reading the item's history, and then you can touch those tactile imprints the uses leave behind in the Force. Brand-new items don't usually have tactile imprints in the Force, however"



#8
Ultimatum

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The Shard began to understand the concept. He realized that there were parts of these teachings that he would need to accept without questioning overly much. Upari knew that his knowledge was finite, that he would never be able to understand everything about the Force in such detail as to satisfy his curiosity. There were too many mysteries and secrets and too much to learn. The Force was a repository for infinite possibilities, but he was limited by his finite capabilities. This limitation would always be a disappointing factor to Upari, but it was something that he could come to terms with.

 

Ultimatum wondered about what Jessica Med-Beq had said. "Wouldn't a 'new item' have imprints from the process of being constructed. Those elements it is made up of would have imprints from their history correct?" Ultimatum processed the commands and sent them to Upari for the Shard to try and figure it out.



#9
Jessica Med-Beq

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"I would probably have to say that it, well, depends. For mundane objects there would be very faint, if any, imprints, but the rarity or complexity level of the object definitely has an impact on how much the creation process makes imprints, with the rarer or more complex items having more of a history behind their creation, and also sometimes if the object was built using reconditioned parts, the history of what the reconditioned parts were used in may show up, too"

 

And yet she was used in knowing what caused the lightsaber crystal to crack; the prime suspect being something that happened on Barataria, even though she didn't actually ignite her lightsaber in that engagement. Yet she couldn't be fully certain until Ultimatum at least tried to use psychometry onto the cracked crystal. Sure, she knew that lightsaber jockeys tended to take more care in maintaining their lightsabers, but she wasn't one, even though she was part of the ISAF's topmost levels of ground command. Which made her facial expression much more perplex as she was nervously watching as Upari got ready try to touch the crystal using the Force, hoping not to break the already cracked crystal into more pieces. True, what she knew about the lightsaber's past history didn't help things in the slightest, especially not after the fall from the VIP box the lightsaber endured when Jango Fett killed him: was the lightsaber crystal that fragile that a new Ruusan crystal would be more durable? And why didn't Ultimatum start assembling the lightsaber? Was there a missing component to it? 

 

"Now that I went over the caveats of psychometry, you may attempt using it on the cracked lightsaber crystal"



#10
Ultimatum

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Upari took the information on Psychometry, and he began to stretch out with the Force. The Force filled the area, as with anywhere in the galaxy. Looking through the currents and passings of the Force. The lightsaber and its crystal lay before him as brighter spots in the world, being so steeped in the Force as to be readily visible to him. Now it was a matter of discerning that part of the Force that Jessica Med-Beq wanted Upari to see. With Ultimatum's hand lightly touching the saber and crystal, Upari felt through the arm into the very being of those objects. It was interesting to say the least. The Shard had a sudden feeling of time passing and the impact that it had on this little saber. Every change and turn in the Force left a reflection on this object. Upari wondered if all places and objects had such memories of those that passed through.

 

There was a quiet time as the Shard tried to find a way to understand these little changes in the Force within the crystal to see its past. He could feel them, and he knew what they were, but he could not understand yet what they told. The story of this saber was still a mystery, and Upari had to unravel it through translation.

 

Ultimatum, just watching the lightsaber as he lightly touched it, almost expected there to be some sort of physical manifestation of the intrusion into the crystals history. He had never built a lightsaber, not because of a lack of parts, for indeed the galaxy had so many lightsabers that finding the parts for them would be a trivial task. He, of course, had a crystal, which was carefully locked away for safe keeping in his body. The issue was one of knowledge. Ultimatum could recite the steps, outline the procedure, but he did not know the process. He had never experienced it, and thus he did not know how to build one. That was the reason Ultimatum was looking forward to this day, experiencing the construction of a lightsaber.



#11
Jessica Med-Beq

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Was it the cleanser that I used to remove the sand off the inner workings of the lightsaber when I first found it? Could that cleanser have rendered the crystal more brittle, either on its own or by interacting with the Geonosian sand? she thought, while Ultimatum seemed to be having a hard time translating those Force-imprints into something... more intelligible. Perhaps Upari was having trouble performing psychometry on the crystal because she didn't ignite the lightsaber in years, unlike the lightsaber jockeys she knew would draw theirs on a weekly basis or so. Meanhwile, Jessica would disassemble her lightsaber, a relic, in hopes that other clues could be found inside the rest of the lightsaber that may explain why its crystal cracked. She ought to make sure that the stuff used for cleansing the components wouldn't leave traces that could compromise the crystal, and maybe damotite was the stuff that she should use. That, even though she knew damotite was an industrial-grade solvent, it definitely was different from the cleanser she used back then, which was more of a window washer used for domestic purposes.

 

"May be best to re-assemble my lightsaber once I have my replacement crystal, and I'll do it in front of you. I understand that translation of objects' past Force-memories may be difficult at first, so take your time to translate those Force-memories into a format that may suit how your mind operates"



#12
Ultimatum

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There was a plethora of information, it cascaded from the small weapon and Upari realized that this saber and its crystal were far older than he had anticipated. So many memories that flooded him in their nonsense. It was as if the world was filled with nothing more than static, the random cosmological transmissions that had no origin and no end. Without being able to translate these memories, Upari felt that it was meaningless gibberish. Yet the knowledge was there, the ability to understand these strange thoughts and information. He just had to find the frequency.

 

Ultimatum was most intrigued by Jessica Med-Beq's lightsaber. "I understand that sabers occasionally require recharging. Do their parts require replacing? What kind of maintenance is common for these?"



#13
Jessica Med-Beq

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"Usually the need to recharge is the sign of heavy usage or of a faulty/absent dimetris circuit, but a properly maintained lightsaber's battery can last for decades. Yes I'm aware of people who remove dimetris circuits off their lightsabers, in which case it gives a lightsaber immunity to cortosis, but at the cost of a much shorter battery lifespan, since the dimetris circuit allows near-perfect recycling of plasma energy: without the dimetris circuit, a lightsaber can only sustain a blade for about an hour or two, even less if they actually had to cut through objects with it. It's usually what's above the crystal(s) that require the maintenance in a lightsaber, what generates the plasma based on the laser, as well as the containment fields"

 

Jessica watched as Ultimatum struggled to read the Force-histories, understanding that a centuries-old item was much harder to use psychometry on than a much newer item. And now Jessica would delicately touch the cracked crystal herself, hoping to understand what caused it to crack; the picture was not pretty. It was the previous owner of the lightsaber that just didn't have a clue: the Geonosian was using a solvent that was appropriate to clean metal, such as durasteel, but the solvent was inappropriate for cleaning lightsaber crystals. I knew NFUs could use lightsabers, and that, to species such as Geonosians, they were considered exotic, hence making their maintenance poorly understood, she thought, while realizing that the lightsaber had many different owners over the course of its history and that this particular Geonosian died in a petranaki bout held in the Stalgasin Memorial Arena with the lightsaber in hand. And then she picked up the lightsaber where it remained, when she began to learn more powers than Force-sense or mechu-deru.

 

"As for the psychometric Force-frequencies of items, each category of objects tend to operate on narrow bands: that might account, in part, for why you seem to be struggling to translate the psychometic signal. I now understand that a previous owner used an inappropriate cleanser on the crystal when I used psychometry on it myself. Or perhaps I ought to use another object for you to practice on if you believe it would help, a more recent one"



#14
Ultimatum

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Ultimatum responded for Upari, the Shard's focus so definite that he spared no moment to answer Jessica Med-Beq. "I believe that Upari wishes to accomplish this task on the crystal. He believes that if he can successfully do this here then he would be able to do it on easier peices."

 

The Shard believed that he began to understand the strange language that flowed from the crystal. As the Shard began to narrow his focus, the information became more defined. With calm and a break down of the language, it became more recognizable. It was evident that the concepts were not a basic language, in the sense of verbal communication. Rather, it was a transfer of images, of information that translated visually rather than verbally. A definite difference that would take some adjusting to.

 

Ultimatum waited for a few moments, half-expecting Upari to come to the answer then and there. When the silence continued and the Shard's mental waves continued in their extreme patterns of thought, Ultimatum decided to ask, "Why is it that the blade from a lightsaber does not destroy itself with the plasma and energy it puts out? If it could cut through Durasteel and stronger metals, how come the small lens and crystal are capable of handling it?"



#15
Jessica Med-Beq

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"The lasing involved means that the laser used to ignite the plasma is flowing away from the crystal, and, even more importantly, the magnetic field that keeps the blade in place also keeps plasma out of the crystal and, in fact, out of the hilt. For this reason, the electromagnetic bottle in the upper part of the hilt is the most maintenance-intensive part of a lightsaber. That is why the plasma isn't flying all over the place until some stuff hits that can cause magnetic recombination, and then the lightsaber's plasma will fly indiscriminately"

 

Said magnetic recombination was what made electromagnetic plasma weapons a good bet to use against lightsaber users: that's why she'd rather issue a Chalacta, a Ventooine or a Balamak for sniping, and suppressive fire respectively, when fighting Sith. Ultimatum's questions were worth answering, although she knew from experience few Jedi would even stop to ask exactly what made the lightsaber work. Oh and Upari was in fact making some progress, just that it was uncomfortable. She also knew a few Jedi could hardly do that sort of stuff; one Honoko came to mind in that respect. But one thing was for sure: they won't be getting out of the ship, and much less into the Valley, until Upari has made a successful attempt at using psychometry. Then and only then could she attempt to fetch a Ruusan crystal in the valley. Although given just how many people would be in the Valley, it was not a given that she would be able to get the crystal without having to cross through throngs of tourists, and maybe, with some luck, there could be another one with some scrapes and bruises or with food poisoning in there...



#16
Ultimatum

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"If the blade is made of plasma, and is held in place by a magnetic field, how does it deflect blaster bolts?" The concept of plasma deflecting plasma struck Ultimatum as most strange.

 

Upari was on the verge of success. The Shard could sense it. The memories were becoming apparent, and he began to pull them together. The images were visible and definite. A lightsaber as old as this would undoubtedly have many tales to tell. The moment that stood beyond the rest was the death of its original owner. The scene unfolded most suddenly. Upari was caught off guard by seemingly finding himself in a Geonosian arena. An intent for finishing a battle quickly filled the Shard's mind as the man who held this lightsaber jumped into the balcony. A flurry of motion followed as the sentient defended himself against a surprise assailant before falling off the balcony. Upari did not expect a Jedi to fall so easily. With their propensity to foresight, it surprised the Shard that death could so quickly befall them. Particularly from something as innocuous as a drop from a height.

 

"Who made this lightsaber?" Upari was impressed the lightsaber had survived the fall, and then the subsequent years.

 

Jessica Med-Beq



#17
Jessica Med-Beq

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"The magnetic bottle keeps the plasma in place inside the bottle, but plasma outside of the bottle would be reflected by the magnetic bottle once it hits, like a mirror. Electromagnetic plasma is different from normal blaster plasma because it can cause magnetic recombination to the bottle and hence cause it to destabilize, and the plasma within it would then fly all over the place"

 

So Ultimatum found that the most significant event was happening long before there were any Geonosians to use it. Although considering who built it, it came to no surprise that the death of its crafter was significant enough to appear first, much like even a psychometric beginner would sense, if it was using it in the Valley of the Jedi, the detonation of the thought bomb. Coleman Trebor made this lightsaber; it was he who fell from the balcony and died after taking a blaster hit. From what I've read about him, he was more about diplomacy than he was a lightsaber jockey. Even then, fighting Jango Fett in the VIP box of the Stalgasin Memorial Stadium was no joke, and even he could give Obi-Wan a run for his money. Probably the added wear and tear of that fall might have contributed to the lightsaber's woes over the centuries, she thought, while realizing the past owners of the lightsaber after that were all Geonosians who typically never wielded it more than a handful of times. In fact, the lightsaber never left the Stadium's premises after Trebor died. Meanwhile, the shuttle taking the two of them to Ruusan began its landing sequence after reverting to realspace in Ruusan's orbit.

 

"We have now arrived on Ruusan" the pilot of the shuttle announced.



#18
Ultimatum

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"Wouldn't magnetic interference from outside sources cause the field holding the plasma in to deteriorate?"

 

Ultimatum was excited to see this world that had been such a critical point in galactic history. He mused on what they would find there. The droid wondered if it was more populated than it had once been. It struck him as likely after all sentients were often drawn to the power. Those that used the Force would come to find solace in the strength perhaps, while others would come for the opportunity to visit or live in such a place.

 

Upari could not yet see beyond that initial event, but Trebor's history with the lightsaber began to unfold to the Shard. Such an important person in the lightsaber's past had undoubtedly left the largest Force mark on it thus far. Upari pondered whether some future owner would feel Jessica Med-Beq's presence on the saber, or even his. The sense of immortality struck the Shard; that one could leave a permanent mark on the physical world through the Force. Would it ever lose those memories? Until the end of the saber and its crystal, would any person with proper training be able to look back and see those who had interacted with it?



#19
Jessica Med-Beq

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"Magnetic interference is a thing, but it would take high current densities at close range to actually cause problems to a lightsaber, even for a fraction of a second. Blaster plasma does not have sufficient current density to cause more than a small, temporary deformation in the magnetic field"

 

And now the waiting line of the Valley of the Jedi, which was the planet's main tourist trap. It was pretty long, and yet most people in that line were NFUs. So while they are waiting in line, Jessica could tell Ultimatum everything Upari would like to know about psychometry. Upari's question was a good one: the memories' lifespan. You seemed intrigued by psychometric immortality. So long as the object is not destroyed, the memories remain, even if the damage incurred can often leave memory imprints. So, in fact, anyone with proper training can look back and see the significant uses and/or owners of a given itemshe thought, while the only Geonosian that left Force-imprints on the lightsaber as significant as Jessica's would be more about how said Geonosian used a cleanser that was not appropriate for kyber crystals. In fact, she could feel that the replacement crystal would be in there somewhere in this valley, and especially in the caves. Plus she hoped that she wouldn't have to turn herself into a light bulb while in the cave: in fact, she'd rather have Upari do so before it came to that.



#20
Ultimatum

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That was logical, though it led Ultimatum to wonder if it were possible to create a tool for that purpose. A device that could intentionally cause a lightsaber's magnetic field to fail. That would create all sorts of havoc for those that Jessica Med-Beq called lightsaber-jockeys. It probably would not take too much, the mechanics of a lightsaber could be manipulated to work for him in such a case.

 

The droid's thoughts quickly moved to the situation. It was akin to the lines he would have expected at a pleasure world. So many people were coming to this one place. What were they looking for? Healing? Guidance? Just to see the sights? "Why do the people come here? Is there anything for them."

 

Upari realized the implications of this ability. Many organics yearned for immortality and this was perhaps the most definite form of immortality. If one did something great enough, the object or site would remember it for as long as it existed and that anyone with the training could then learn of them. It would also be a useful teaching technique, one could learn by looking back and seeing what others had done. What then had stopped the Jedi from using it as such a tool? It would have made sense and would have at the very least aided in learning the history of the Jedi.