It is now time. In the center of the conference room, the hologram projector will display the visage of a lady. The speaker for this improvised session. The speaker would be nicely dressed, but her face projects strength and determination. As does everyone else here need to project as well. These are dire times, nothing like this has happened in recent history...
The speaker would then scan the room, nodding her head after seeing almost all the factions in the galaxy here in one building, physically or in holograpic-form it didn't matter. Jedi, Sith, ISC, Republic, Free Worlds, and others.
Without further to do, the Speaker would kick this session off. "Thank you all for attending this emergency meeting. As you know, the Killiks are invading. They have razed Ruusan, they are battling at Corellia and Thyferra as we speak. Jedi, Sith, Mandalorians, the ISC, the Hapans and many others are valiantly fighting against them right now. The Killiks have already killed many and have brainwashed many others to follow along with them. The Killiks haven't been seen in this galaxy in many, many years and we don't know the full scope of their plans for us."
"We will all hold the line against the Killiks together. But to end this crisis we need to find where they are coming from. Now then assembly, let us think. Does anyone have any insight on the Killik threat?" Knowledge of the Killiks isn't really common in the galaxy. They might be in obscure lore, maybe there have been some sightings from time to time prior to all this. Or something else. Someone may know more... "Where they might be striking from? Any weaknesses they might have? What their plan might be?" those were some questions that need to be answered. The united galaxy can throw fleets around, but throwing ships in a random direction won't solve this crisis. "I open the floor to the assembly now" then the Speaker's hologram will disappear, but she will be listening in still to moderate the discussions.
Trini listened attentively to the the Speaker as she formally began the proceedings, nervously checking the notes she had assembled on her datapad. The Killiks, to all those present, were a mystery; aside from what had happened on Ruusan, and what continued to happen on Corellia and Thyferra, none of those present were likely to know anything about their enemy. Trini, meanwhile, had worked burned a lot of hours in hyperwave comm time with colleagues back on Rudrig - and in a few other centers of learning across the Galaxy - to create a clearer picture.
She cleared her throat nervously, and motioned that she would like to speak.
"Gathered sentients, firstly I would like to thank you for asking me to attend once more. I'll cut to the chase, however. Before we begin, and before any potential prejudices are formed as to the nature of our collective enemy in the absence of facts, I would like to present a collection of information that myself and my colleagues have managed to assemble. It gives some insight as to the nature of the Killiks, their capabilities, and perhaps their motivation, although this last is still not entirely clear."
The little Amaran keyed her datapad, and brushed a strand of dyed hair away from her face.
"Some of us present, myself included, have fairly direct experience with the Killiks; they tried to kill me, or at least convert me to their service. With luck and a great deal of help, I am here to relate what I know now. Others were not so fortunate."
She tapped a button on her pad, and it connected to the large central holoprojector. Immediately, an image sprang into three-dimensional life above those assembled; it was an insectoid form, although even in the hologram it did not quite resemble the creatures that had attacked Ruusan. The chitin was dull, the eyes empty.
"For the benefit of those who may not be aware, this is a Killik. Rather, these are the preserved remains of a Killik, discovered on Alderaan approximately 2,000 years ago by Old Republic archaeologists excavating the Castle Lands. As you can see, they are an insectoid species, and they can range in size from a few centimeters to tens of meters in length."
The hologram flickered, and a range of different creatures appeared, lined up. They differed wildly in size and shape, but if one looked closely, they could see the essential similarities between all of them; the number of limbs, the shape and placement of the eyes, and other aspects.
"Killiks were - are, I suppose - extremely diverse. For a very long time, academics believed the species bred different body types to perform specific tasks. This theory seems to have been proven."
The hologram changed again, this time showing a pastoral landscape, dotted with huge, rounded mounds rising out of tall grass.
"These are the Castle Lands of old Alderaan, some of the best preserved Killik ruins in the Galaxy, or at least they were before the Death Star destroyed the planet they stood on. Unfortunately, Alderaan had the largest body of research on Killiks in the known Galaxy, and what is available in the present day is... incomplete. However, this is what we know of the Killiks and their history."
Trini gestured to the ruins.
"Killik structures exist on many planets, primarily scattered across the Core and Inner Rim. They are without exception abandoned in the present day, and they are ancient almost beyond belief. Alderaan, one of the oldest settled worlds in its region of space, has a recorded history stretching back tens of millennia, and as far as we can determine, the Killik ruins there were ancient when the first colonists arrived. The story is the same wherever Killik ruins are to be found; it appears the species settled across a vast region of space, built extensive habitations, and then for some reason, vanished. Until recently, most of my colleagues with any opinion on the matter believed they were extinct, or at least that they had migrated to somewhere beyond known space."
The image changed again. This time, a blurry image of a Killik asteroid ship rotated slowly.
"Killik technology, for how old the species is, is not extremely sophisticated. The ruins we know of were mostly constructed using a kind of cement composed of local materials and hardened Killik excretions. There is little evidence of advanced instrumentation. However, what the Killiks have, they use well; their spacecraft appear crude, but I can speak from experience in saying that they should not be underestimated. Unfortunately, there is little information I can give on how their spacecraft actually work, as no-one has ever found an abandoned Killik ship that was not thoroughly stripped."
She shook her head.
"Unfortunately, what the Killiks may or may not lack in technical sophistication, they make up for in other ways. According to existing theories, and to data which has been gathered during the attacks, the Killiks have a true hive-mind. They are able to communicate with one-another instantaneously, and can coordinate their actions to a frightening degree. More, they seem to have little regard for individual survival; they will throw bodies at a problem until it is solved to their satisfaction. More disturbing, they seem to have the ability to induct individuals of other species into their collective; the 'drinks' they attempted to push on us at the conference, I believe, were intended to cause this."
Trini spread her hands.
"At this point, their motivations for their attacks are a mystery. According to what we have learned from ancient Killik sites, their civilization was not warlike; indeed, there is evidence of them cooperating with other, similarly archaic species on worlds where they settled. The reason for their current aggression, as much as where they actually came from, is not clear at this time."
Listening with a moderate degree of impatience, concern mounted across Julia's face as she heard the speaker and then Trini, lay their points out. If she was honest with herself, Julia had somewhat dismissed the Killik threat, a problem far away from her concern. However, with what was being reported on in the news, and from her corporate contacts, partnered with the corroberation of the speakers here, she was growing quite worried indeed.
"The potential impact a more wide-spanning infestation by the Killik could bring is vast and something we need to take seriously. With Corellia having been subjected to a considerable amount of disruption, supply lines in certain key industries are finding themselves under increased pressure, which can, and will, have knock-on effects to the broader galaxy." Julia began, refocusing her attention on the topic Trini had spoken on. "We will, subject to the proper informational safeguards, share what data we have on their movements as well." Julia added, speaking on behalf of the commercial consortium she represented.
"However information gathering is only useful in so long as it can directly or indirectly support us in our efforts to combat this mounting threat. Various members of the Corporate Sector have considerable research and development capacity, which combined with our manufacturing output, can mean the rapid development and rollout of countermeasures to this threat. This can only be expedited if the economic conditions remain as stable as they can be, not just in the Corporate Sector space, but also across our commercial partners."
Julia laid the groundwork for her fellow Corporate Sector representatives to address the need for business continuity if they wished to, as well as to mention the importance of ensuring the profits of their clients were maintained and, enhanced before she moved on.
"Finally, you mentioned that many worlds could have dormant Killik beneath their planetary crust. Perhaps it is wise for an astrographic mapping service to be rolled out across likely habitable planets. I am sure this is something the Corporate Sector can provide."
Trina listened to the very helpful and thorough analysis presented by Miss Halrixien. Truthfully, she only knew the Killik to be an extinct and ancient species like the Rakata. She was thankful others had far more knowledge of the creatures than she did. However, Trina had other concerns than just the ‘why’ of the Killik and their invasion.
“Thank you for the additional context,” She said after a moment, offering Trini a polite smile, “I believe it’s critical to understand exactly how the Killik spread their hivemind influence. We’ve seen it with the drinks, but does that also apply for the auxiliary fleet on Thyferra? Reports are coming in that the fleet turned on the ISC forces and the only explanation can be that they became a part of this..hive mind. I can’t imagine all of those pilots were ever in a room to accept a drink of any sort?”
She looked around the room at everyone, “This is not AMS. We have no idea when someone has been influenced or has become a puppet of the Killik because they can look and act like normal individuals. Our immediate focus should be to understand how this influence spreads and how to resist it. There is panic among the citizens and all over social media so we need to provide answers to our people at once and stop the influence from spreading.”
Victoria took time to carefully listen to the speakers that came before her, of particular interest was the long and exceptionally detailed scientific report from Trini. There did seem to be an exceptional amount of data missing on this old arch nemesis of the galaxy, but if it could be collected once, then it could be again.
The Killiks seemed to respond to normal arms like one might expect, but then again she hadn't actually faced one directly herself and therefore decided against speaking on the topic directly.
There were two areas that Victoria wanted to raise before the body, one that might uncover some material secrets, or maybe nothing, and the other was something that she would need help with in order for it to be of any use. Starting slowly and choosing her words carefully, she spoke softly when the opportunity arose.
"The FWA is currently organising a scientific expedition to Geonosis in an attempt to learn more lost information about this threat. Supposedly a long abandoned hive existed on the world, but it does not appear to be currently active."
Victoria paused for a few seconds before continuing with the second item. "On Ruusan there was a great panic and mass exodus from the summit chamber, but before this, as we know, the hosts attempted to unite the attendees with their joined brethren by offering goblets filled with bubbling liquid. "
"I have in my possession one of these goblets and trace amounts of the liquid it once contained. Gannaria does not have the facilities required to properly examine its properties, but we are willing to provide it to an appropriate laboratory in the interests of us all learning its connection to the hive mind."
Muting herself on the holosuite, she had done her part for now and would await to see where the conversation would wander next.
Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl reacted in shock as the Senator from Anaxes mentioned the ISC Core Defense Fleet turning on its own forces. The Wookiee was no scientist, and he was certain that there were better places than Kashyyyk to examine the goblet and its contents. However, while the indoctrination to the kilik hive mind via the drinking of something made sense, there was absolutely no way the CDF had all been acclimated in such a manner. Unless there were kiliks in all of the ISC's mess halls, their acclamation had likely happened in a slower, more subtle manner.
For once, Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl decided to wait to raise his concerns, as he didn't want to induce mass panic without more information. But his faint memories of kiliks possibly being able to Join others over time through the use of airborne pheromones worried him.
Instead, Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl found himself bringing forth a suggestion for a research firm to look into the contents of the cup. "Might I recommend that Korre Belasi's laboratory look into it?" he said. The former FWA Prime Minister had been out of politics for some time, and had been widely respected during her tenure in office. Moreover, she was an acclaimed microbiologist and biochemist. MorataCorp was the first thing that had popped into his head, but they were likely more focused on medicine and treatment than biochemical investigation.
She smiled as Lon’s shimmering blue form appeared. (@Phoenix) “But you are recovering.” Alex inclined her head slightly. “Which is no small feat.” She had seen greater warriors than Lon succumb to such injuries. The Neidodian appearing at the hearing spoke of a strong will. Suddenly, she understood why he was so effective. No all wars were fought on the battlefield. The Morellian Jedi mused silently while the meeting spun into high gear. For once, the beings in the room seemed dedicated to achieving the same goal. The history explained by Trini went far beyond even the deepest sources in the archives. She shuddered at just how little they knew. More reports flashed across her screen. Time was slipping away.
“Or Dr. Morata” If she was willing. “There may be a way to find the Killik home world if we can take one alive.” Her eyes quickly fell on the known Force sensitives in the room. “Those of us you can use the Force may be able to swim through the hive mind. It would be dangerous and with unknown consequences…but to touch one mind would be to touch them all which may reveal their home.” She did not relish such a task. In fact, she was certain only 3 beings in the galaxy would survive such an attempt. One was a monster…the other Queen of Dathomir. Alex wondered, not for the first time, if Andruil would answer her call.
The Grandmaster had another suggestion on her tongue but that would have to wait. They needed a plan first…a start to working together and then perhaps the bloodshed could be ended. A cease fire. Not forever, but at least for now. As long as they had a common enemy there was little reason to rip themselves apart.
Celeste attentively listened to the various speakers and representatives, holding back herself for now because due to her recovery she hadn't been super active in that matter herself. She was overly happy that professor Halrixien was present again and she was hoping that her findings and general research could potentially shed light on the surprising emergence of the Killiks.
Her speech was indeed insightful and informative, yet of course she couldn't answer all questions. The Killiks and their ultimate goals were still a mystery, yet this didn't make them any less frightening at all. She was certain they would continue to tyrannize the galaxy, but like seen on Ruusan, this brought the galaxy closer at least.
She internally sighed, knowing that the Killiks would surely keep them busy for a while, but it was also refreshingly nice to see so many diverse faces in this not necessarily political, emergency galactic assembly. As Victoria took the stage, she nodded, not yet sharing the information that she herself planned on joining the venture as she was finally cleared by the doctors now.
The revelation of the goblet was not surprising to her, since Victoria had entrusted her with that fact once she had reached Gannaria, but she had waited for her to bring it up in front of everyone. In the panic on Ruusan, Celeste had not managed to grab a souvenir herself, but she was more than grateful that her friend had managed to take one with her. She didn't care whether Korre or Dr. Morata would take a look, perhaps even both, but some brilliant mind definitely had to figure something out, or else there were no many silver linings...
The Grandmaster's suggestion was interesting and dangerous indeed, yet Celeste had had that thought herself when she had been attacked by the Trandoshan back on Ruusan. She wondered whether capturing one alive was a good thing though, because thanks to their hive mind, the rest of the Killiks would immediately know where the captured one was and they would sent reinforcements - no doubts on that.
"If possible, samples should be sent to all our leading research facilities. If this threat is indeed as grave as it seems," he paused, giving Trini and the Senator from Gannaria a nod, "and all accounts do seem to point in that direction, then we need to be careful in how we respond. As the Senator from Anaxes stated," he nodded in agreement at his fellow Republic senator, "this is not like the AMS virus, we cannot tell when someone has been infected. And we do not know enough about these killiks outside of their military capabilities, what about their intelligence capabilities? What if they have infiltrated this very body? I fear placing all our eggs in one basket is not a luxury we can afford."
He had been a soldier once, and he knew that the wars were won as much by intelligence as by brute force. If he had been the enemy then he would have at the very least explored the possibility of infiltrating the ranks of those he sought to beat. And he had no reason to believe these killiks had not already had the thought.
"We need to distribute this sample, parallelize our research with redundancies in place in case any facility falls.....or turns and attempts sabotage."
Although Firrerre and the Pacanth Reach were somewhat isolated from the greater galaxy, especially after leaving the Free Worlds Alliance, their representative still chose to arrive. What better pivotal moment to assert oneself than a growing galactic crisis?
She'd stepped in amongst others at the beginning, dressed in a sharp suit and short, heeled black boots. Her greetings were small nods of the head as she found her spot, golden eyes moving between the many different representatives of many different cultures and governments. Anger subtly colored her walk, tightly controlled; escaping Ruusan had nearly cost her life with others falling in her stead. Her people had fury to spare these days.
A part of no government beyond her own, she offered little comment before the proceeding officially began. Others spoke with good points, her eyes landing on Senator Kallist and then Victoria. They quickly gave Ceridwen the impression of cleverness and foresight. The Firrerreon governor folded one leg over the other, hands neatly laid in her lap.
"On the matter of weakness," she spoke up in smooth contralto, accent finely clipped with the hint of something wilder beneath the words, "Collated data from Ruusan suggests two." Sharp, simply glossed claws rapped briefly against her chair's arm, as if in thought. "Time stamps between confirmed Killik or Joiner ship destruction and events on the ground show their soldiers faltering. They also possess a likely sensitivity to bright flashes of light." Ceridwen stuck to the point in a tone of calm confidence. Every culture in the Reach had been warriors since before the Republic existed and placed a high value on tactical assessment.
"The Reach believes these can be used to plan countermeasures going forward." She took a moment's pause, glancing down toward a datapad. "Their swarms of fighter craft also appear unshielded. They'd be vulnerable to older anti-fighter flak weaponry."
Alexander smiled as the Anaxes senator greeted him, Miss Kalist was a newcomer to their ranks but had already made a pleasant name for herself in the upper echelons of the Republic Senate. Her ties to the prestigious Anaxes Naval Academy had given the Supreme Chancellor the idea of potentially adding her to the New Age Naval Committee. “These weeks have been harrowing to say the least. But we must strive forward, not only for ourselves but for everyone we serve.” He replied, before they could continue their conversation however the speaker for today’s meeting rose and the conversations began.
Although he wished to speak early, if not first, the headaches returned. The almost blinding pain forced him to keep himself firmly in his seat as the conversation’s around the Killik’s motive and the stolen goblet gathered pace. Finally the pain began to pass, shifting from behind the Supreme Chancellor’s eyes and in the deep confines of the back of his skull. It still hurt, but he could and would push through.
“I second Senator Drast’s statement, that we must share this information out. All our Governments have outstanding facilities and scientists, it would be foolish to not leverage the scientific might of the galaxy, when faced with a Galactic sized threat.”
“Grandmaster, you mention that we may find out more if we capture one of the Killik’s and allow you to use The Force to peer into this ‘Hive Mind’. Although I know little of The Force and its way’s, I trust your desire to help this galaxy and agree that the capture of one of these creatures is of paramount success.”
Alexander paused for a moment, leaning on the pedestal before him. The pain spiking for a moment, the bright lights of the chamber forcing him to squint, the headache increasing his sensitivity to light.
“It is then of great fortune that shortly before I arrived here, I received information from a combined New Republic Intelligence Service and Naval operation of the location of a current live Hive World, yet to show itself to the Galaxy. Iridonia.”
Aezzairrfhowrrhudrrl wasn't certain what to think of Xeres' presence at this meeting. On one hand, it was good to see that the Supreme Chancellor had made it off Ruusan alive, in the sense that it saved him from attending another Supreme Chancellor's funeral. On the other hand, the Wookiee was very much looking forward to dealing with the man's eventual successor and a small part of him had hoped that day had come sooner rather than later.
At least the New Republic's intelligence arm had come through.
"How did NRIS determine the location of the Kilik hive world?" he asked, genuinely curious. "Their process must be shared with the galaxy immediately. The more we know about the kilik's locations, the better we can gauge the extent of their threat to the galaxy." The Wookiee gestured to the updates were flooding in from Thyferra; too early to tell the outcome just yet. "And the better we can respond to their surprise attacks. Not every planet has the capacity that the ISC has to fight back" he said, noting that the mighty ISC was pulling out all the stops- including Jedi, Sith, Mandalorians, some random old guy, and even Emryc himself- in the desperate fight to save the galaxy's supply of Bacta, while a similar scene was playing out on Correllia as fighting intensified around a nuclear power plant. "And the kilik's numbers could snowball if they're allowed to spread unchallenged to independent planets."
Alex quickly concealed her surprise. A flicker barely passed across her face when the Supreme Chancellor announced his news. She trusted Xerxes almost as little as the Empire. The Grandmaster would never forget the political leader of the Republic trying to convince her the Order would be gifted ships if they merely stole them. He had been suspiciously uninvolved in the chaos of Ruusan. One moment he stood addressing the crowd and the next was simply gone. Meanwhile, the rest of them had battled for their very lives. No…something was very wrong…but she kept her face a still mask. These thoughts for her alone.
Her comments would be of a different color. “Senator Drast and Aezz have the right of it. We must diversify our investigation and share all information we can.” She turned towards the other Alex. “How certain of this are you?” Her voice was perfectly polite. “Althoug...I fear attacking a Hive world directly would be little more than a suicide mission. We know too little of our enemy and they grow stronger by the day.” Alex leaned back in her chair, pondering her next words carefully.
“The powers of the galaxy are represented in this room. We are all clearly united in working towards stopping the Killik incursion. We all recognize the danger…but such unity is based on trust. Trust we are unlikely to ever share. So, I would propose a different solution.” She leaned forward now. Her hands slipping across the table. “A formal temporary cease fire among all of us here. Regardless of affiliation…until the Killik threat is no more.” Alex let the words hang in the air for a moment. She knew what she was doing. “That may give us a chance at working together.” It not a real bond. Not true trust. For she would never place her faith in the Republic or Empire…rather this would be a Band-Aid until the greater threat passed.
He observed the major players of the galactic stage discussing this grave threat to their very way of life, and took note of everything he saw. Despite the detailed report he would file once this meeting reached its conclusion, he was sure he would be fielding calls from more than one member of the Aristocra, and they would be most disappointed if his observations did not answer every one of their queries.
The Chancellor's declaration was an eye-opener, such intel could indeed be valuable, provided it was reliable. He was glad to see that he was not the only one who thought to raise that concern. "I agree," he spoke up after the Jedi Grand-master was done speaking, "rushing in head-first is more likely to hurt us than bear any fruitful results. First and foremost this report must be thoroughly vetted, and we must know what we are walking into before taking any action, lest we risk accomplishing little more than feeding into the killik war machine." He paused, eyeing the Jedi for a moment, and wondering how committed she was to her own suggestion of cooperation. "A covert operation, infiltrating this hub and gathering information on which future actions could be based, that would be something a joint operation of Jedi and Sith could accomplish, yes? We cannot risk an all-out attack, but a small task force, with a very specific goal could accomplish much."
There were no Sith present there, but he was sure word would reach them, and if the Jedi's proposal of cooperation was one that everyone signed on to, then the Sith would surely become part of this effort. A strike force made of only Jedi would also do, but from what he knew about them he knew there were things the Jedi were not good at, situations were a Sith might succeed where a Jedi might not. A joint force, despite the risks of strife, had the best chance of succeeding.
Iridonia? Interesting. Sith intelligence didn't turn up anything there. Interesting still though. Arcturus heard the others speak. After the blue-skinned alien spoke, it was time for the Governor to address them. "A temporary cease-fire is agreeable." he said. The Sith further proving to the body that they are reasonable government.
And unto the joint operation for Iridonia "The Sith Empire is more than capable of doing a joint operation with the Jedi to gather information on Iridonia." To be frank, the Sith Empire is secure in it's capabilities that it needs not fear betrayal on the Jedi's part. "Although our Sith, as shown by Ruusan, are capable of working with Jedi or FWA side-by-side if need be; perhaps would be best if during this investigation, that the Sith and Jedi keep their distance from each other to minimize chances of accidents happening" he gave a rational proposal. "Or if Jedi or Sith need to work closely, the Sith can work with this" he said.
Arcturus would look around and see how the others react.
Vetra heard Julia speak, the other Corporate Sector representative. She has quite the reputation and Vetra isn't stranger to that. She spoke very well and like a true professional. In regards to the Goblet from the Killiks that the Senator of Gannaria had, Vetra would contribute as well. "Blackwell Technologies is also willing to examine the substance" she said. Dr. Morata is brilliant and has a great company behind her, and Korre Belasi has quite the reputation. But the galaxy's premier mega-corporation also has much to offer. "This could be be a great collaborative effort." she added.
Now onto the topic of Iridonia, Vetra listened to the men speak. The Chiss spoek of a joint effort between the Sith and Jedi. Even if there are Killiks, she wondered if such a joint venture between Sith and Jedi of that nature can go. Their religions have been enemies for centuries and destroyed each others a number of times in the past have they not? Oh well. "If need be, Blackwell Technologies has an assortment of droids that can help for Iridonia. We can dispatch scout droids, and we have a brand new model of probe droid on the market." Vetra would then display a holoscreen of it and a readout of it "This new droid can move swiftly, gather information, record and share it's findings via datalink. And if equipped with one of our stygium cloaking devices, will make the probe droids undetectable. This way the planet can be surveyed without risking any lives." she said and smirked. Vetra didn't offer this to be helpful or to be nice in this crisis, she offered to talk up Blackwell and push the new product. She would end on that.