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Vashlai

What's in a name....

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Vashlai    8

Vashlai sat down a few texts before her near a desk. She was more of a scholarly type than most and found herself comfortable sitting herself down reading what she could. She seemed to be molting more than usual lately. A minor annoyance to her but did not seem to bother Pet who sat on the desk with her and calmly played with the feathers that were molting from her master. Vashlai managed a light beakish smile at her pet. 

 

You really ought to name the thing....something other than Pet. But what? 
 

Naming something signified attachment and Vashlai knew that Darth Verrin had been right to be strong she needed to form attachments. Attachments create feelings and feelings create emotions and feeding off emotions gave you power. 

 

She looked at the Loth Cat with a thoughtful glance. "What should I name you Pet?" 

 

She looked at the Loth Cat and then at her texts trying to find a name that would suit the Loth Cat. "I wonder...." 

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Darth Verrin    2,201
Posted (edited)

Maggie - formally known as M1-A4 - was Verrin's protocol droid and personal assistant. She had many of the features of an advanced protocol unit, but also possessed prototype 'emotional replicators' - some new advancement in technology that allowed a unit to observe and simulate sentient-like behavior and expression despite not actually being able to feel 'real' emotion. She was quite the device - a gift from one of Verrin's apprentices who had a sly sense of humor, back when his human assistant had been killed in the line of duty.

 

The humorous part of that apprentice had the droid built with an exquisite, feminine figure, complete with curved hips, firm posterior, faux breasts, and even heeled 'feet', that caused the unit to have a hip-swaying gait.  The face, in particular, was modeled to be flawless - with articulated lips, cheeks, and eyes that allowed the unit to emulate a wide variety of facial expressions. When asked why the apprentice went to the trouble, she merely smiled, demurred, and offered that all of the physical, visual embellishments were to encourage others to interact with the droid socially, and not treat it solely as a machine. That would accelerate its ability to learn emotionally, and allow its artificial intelligence to push the prototype beyond expectations. Verrin had been cynical, but in time had accepted the 'gift' and put it... her, to work.

 

The tell-tale sound of Maggie's arrival was the click-clack of her heeled feet as she moved across the tiled floor of the Library towards the new guest - a Fosh with a passion for pets.

 

Upon entering Vashlai's sphere of awareness, Maggie first performed a curtsey, and then a formal Fosh greeting (she was a protocol droid, after all).  Then, emulating a dazzling smile, she offered more verbal communication.  Her voice came out sultry and smooth - perhaps to match her appearance.

 

"Good day to you, Miss Vashlai. I am protocol droid M1-A4, but am called simply, 'Maggie'. I serve Darth Verrin and this institution. Welcome to the Library.  If you require assistance in any way, please don't hesitate to ask.  And don't mind the shadowy figures moving about the perimeter. They are known as the Guardians, and their oath is to protect the Library and its contents. 

 

At times, over the years, the Library has been assaulted and the materials have been in danger - the Guardians eliminate that danger, whether its caused by invading forces, or - sadly - temperamental Sith... or their companions.  That is a LOVELY specimen you have there.  Have you named her yet?"

 

 

Edited by Darth Verrin

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Vashlai    8

Vashlai looked at the protocol droid as it squawked out a greeting. Vashlai cringed lightly, at the connotation of the greeting. Apparently, the droid needed an update in its language and vocabulary banks. Not surprising since Fosh were known to keep to themselves and very rarely sought out the rest of the galactic community. There were a few..but Vashlai could count that number on her taloned hands.  She had heard a rumor that there was another observer like her who had sought out the Jedi as she had sought out the Sith. 

 

There is always an equal to its opposite. I seek the Dark Side and another will seek out the light, Such seems to be the way of the Force.

 

She then chuckled. "You just requested to embrace me in your wings. That is more of a prelude to mating than....a customary greeting. But that I suppose is due to an incorrect phrase in your vocabulary. But my people are not known for conversation or for being very social to others. "

 

She pondered. "Guardians? Are they mechanical or biological in nature? " 

 

She looked at her Loth Cat. "Names...I was thinking perhaps naming her Kyber or perhaps after my mother, her name is Ezmai. But my mother and I have a passing relationship. But I am not particularly fond of or have any feeling for those names." 

 

 

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Darth Verrin    2,201

The droid's face 'flushed' - not with blood, but with very tiny LEDS that were incorporated throughout her structure, enabling her to emulate the expression. She even cupped a hand to her mouth in embarrassment.  All the while, her processors were rapidly absorbing the Library's content on the Fosh society.  Maggie didn't accept failure unless it led to more efficient programming.

 

"Apologies, Miss Vashlai!  I'll attempt to brush up on my Fosh etiquette immediately!"

 

Without skipping a beat, she addressed the question.

 

"The Guardians are a sub-order of Sith - so most are biological, yes. They train as any Sith might, but rather than pursue power throughout the galaxy like many of their brethren, they take an oath to protect the Library instead. They were created at a time when this Empire was young, and the Library was seen as an afterthought, more than an institution of learning and historical repository.  They seldom interact with others, choosing to observe from a distance instead.  But when the Library comes under threat... they act."

 

It seemed the Fosh moved from one topic to the next in rapid succession.  Maggie's processors hadn't come across that in the data thus far, so perhaps that was a feature of this individual, rather than the species as a whole.  Either way, Maggie had no trouble keeping up.

 

"Familial naming is a custom among many races, yes. However, the reason for that custom is to extend an attachment.  One connects emotionally to one's ancestors, and wishes to extend that connection to the young. However, others often give names to establish new connections and attachments. Some name children, others name their weapons, or their vehicles. The former Empire named its space-going vessels with familiar monikers, even though they were designated with registration and serial numbers. Even I was 'named' by our Lord Verrin, who insisted if I was to learn to be more emotive, that I needed a name other than my build number.

 

There is an ancient text in which the question is posed: What's in a name?  It's an interesting read, if you'd like me to locate it for you."

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Vashlai    8
Posted (edited)

 Vashlai chuckled slightly amused. "There will probably be very little to find. My people value their privacy and are not known for sharing the intimate details of our existence. Although...the closest people who have gotten to understand my people have said we are like Bothans. But I digress..."

 

Vashlai listened to the droid and said. "Attachments are hard for me. My people are a bit peculiar. All of our fledglings are raised together and we are raised with a Fosh who is raised to be a mother to all of us. I suppose knowing a being isn't your mother doesn't breed too much attachment to anyone or any of the other fledglings. Yet, motherly beings aside... I think the matron loved us and treated us as if we were her children. She had a big heart."

 

Vashlai sighed. "Perhaps I was fond of her after all and didn't realize it." 

 

Vashlai looked at the Loth Cat. "She is little but fierce. She fights against death so persistently. I suppose I love her for that...but anyway yes...read me the text. Perhaps I will be inspired."

Edited by Vashlai

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Darth Verrin    2,201

It might have seemed odd for a droid to show surprise and glee, but Maggie managed both, even clapping her hands in girlish delight. The Guardians had grown used to Maggie's eccentricities by now, and Darth Verrin certainly didn't seem bothered by them.  But there were sometimes Sith who felt it was 'wrong' for droids to emulate emotion. One of those, whose opinion was demonstrated too aggressively, was now missing one of his hands.

 

Maggie beamed, as such that she could, and her vocodor tone changed to that of an actor. She burst, "It was a play inspired by the Alderaanian houses Baliss and Syrush. The premise of the performance was that two young lovers struggled to be with one another, despite their family's differences.  The young man was of House Baliss, and the girl was daughter to the Lord of Syrush. The families banned them from seeing each other, but they tried to sneak off to be with one another when they could."

 

She quoted, "'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself though, not a Baliss.  What is Baliss? It is not hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.  Oh!  Be some other name!  What's in a name?! That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell just as sweet!  So Aramio would, were he not Aramio called!  Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title.  Aramio - doff thy name!  And for that name, which is no part of thee, take all myself!"

 

She added, "Later in the dialogue between the two lovers, the girl says, "With love's light wings did I o'perch these walls. For stony limits could not hold love out. And what love can do that love dares to attempt; therefore, they kinsmen are no stop to me.""

 

She thought the bird reference might appeal to Vashlai.

 

But then Maggie dropped the 'stage voice', and explained, "Darth Verrin once said that this was an example of being Sith.  He said that the two lover's needed to cast off the chains of their families in order to get what they wanted. Their love for one another was passion. He says it follows the Sith Code:

 

Peace is a Lie, there is only Passion.

Through Passion I gain Strength.

Through Strength, I gain Power.

Through Power, I gain Victory.

Through Victory, my Chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.

 

I have read much of the Sith philosophy, but while I can emulate passion, I cannot feel it. Sadly... I will likely never become Sith."  Maggie looked truly hurt at that prospect, though she brightened somewhat and added, "But Darth Verrin says my programming is growing every day. So I am welcome to try!"

 

It was true - Maggie didn't truly possess the Force, or even the real emotion needed to drive it. But there had been some late night discussions where Verrin proposed that if she truly wanted it, and kept enhancing her emotional processing, that perhaps one day she might transcend. Little did she know that he had a way to implant her electronic consciousness into a 'real' organic body, but if he was ever discovered, he would likely deny it as fantasy and that the likelihood of successfully teaching a droid the Force was about the same as bringing the dead back to life...

 

 

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Vashlai    8
Posted (edited)

Vashlai cocked her head curiously at Maggie. What a strange droid? A droid that longed to be a biological being.

 

"But from what I understand you have what a lot of Sith will never obtain and only a few will actually achieve...immortality. You could live for thousands of years while others will become dust. And that for many Sith is a hard goal to actually obtain. According to my own personal research....your various Emperors were able to obtain such either by transferring their essence to another body or becoming powerful enough to live for thousands of years. Yet such abilities require a great deal of power and also perhaps require a sacrifice of life. "

 

Her pet's ears perked up and suddenly pounced upon a mouse. The mouse squeaked in alarm. Vashlai watched as the Loth Cat bit down hard upon the mouse and killed it.

 

"You're such a wonderful predator...my pet."

Edited by Vashlai

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Darth Verrin    2,201
Posted (edited)

Maggie's 'face' remained as passive as ever.  But inside, her processors were heating up as she viciously worked to determine where the mouse had come from. There were no mice, nor rodents of any kind, within the confines of the Library proper. Her master wouldn't have it, and she was as diligent and complete as any machine could be. It shouldn't exist.  It couldn't exist. Its being there, for the cat to pounce upon, did not compute. The only logical explanation was that it had been brought it, or had somehow managed to get through the smallest of holes somewhere... somewhere near the ceiling? The walls were durasteel, the floors were fitted black marble.

 

Maggie issued orders to oversight cameras, running and re-running footage of the past few days, trying to determine when and where the offender had got in. Almost as quickly, electronic, infrared sweep-scans covered the place. If a mouse could get in, a Jedi could get in. If a Jedi got in...

 

Outwardly, Maggie smiled - though to be fair, it wasn't as animated as it had been at the start. She answered Vashlai's comments with, "You have done quite a bit of research before coming here then. Is immortality the focus of your research then?  Or is it merely survival?  And assuming you found immortality... what would you do with it?"

Edited by Darth Verrin

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Vashlai    8

The library did seem like a pretty clean place so where a mouse came from was a good question. But seeing how this was a jungle planet, vermin seemed a bit more likely after all there was the unorthodox way Vashlai had come to be among the Sith. 

 

Her pet dragged the mouse and laid it by Vashlai's feet and then meowed quite profusely, insisting that it's owner accept it's offering. Vashlai ruffled her feathers and picked up the dead mouse by a talon and not by her fingers. 

 

She looked around for a place to dispose of it. 

 

"You have done quite a bit of research before coming here then. Is immortality the focus of your research then?  Or is it merely survival?  And assuming you found immortality... what would you do with it?"

 

Vashlai wondered if this was a question to gauge her perspective. To see if she was a threat or a challenge to all the Sith that were here. If she answered that she wanted immortality she could be deemed a threat. However, if she answered she wasn't interested in immortality she could be considered weak.

 

Instead, Vashlai decided to be politically minded and skirt around the issue in a small way. "Power and strength are what interests me. If that leads to the path of immortality then so be it. But immortality is a power and whoever wields it must be strong. It made your Emperors strong and I am a prudent being. I will take strength and power wherever I can find it be it in the power of immortality or otherwise. I have also learned that there are some Sith that are stronger in death. Although that may sound unusual...but I know the dead Lords of Korriban are not truly dead nor are they truely alive. The Jedi fear such places but perhaps they fear the power that would inevitably change them." 

 

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Darth Verrin    2,201

Maggie merely smiled. She had read the Sith histories several times over - every volume the Library possessed, all the propaganda that roamed the galaxy, and she overheard many discussions in her time among these Sith. So while she understood the words that Vashlai spoke, she also understood that perspective had as much to do with a person's galactic viewpoint as any text. Why, even the Fosh's state of mind when she read something would affect her interpretation of the content.

 

In that way, Maggie understood the Jedi's point of view. Yes, she'd absorbed as much data about them as was allowed, and the propaganda that also roamed the galaxy. They worked hard to suppress emotion, to treat what they saw and heard with the objectivity of a machine. In that regard, perhaps Maggie had a leg up on them - as it were. She could terminate her emotional processors, and assess data as well as any machine - for content only. The problem was, the materials were not usually composed by a machine. They were written by people - emotional, sentient beings, who for all their efforts to remain objective, simply could not. Maggie's emotional triggers told her that was a 'sad' fact - that facts, by their very nature, were seldom written as such.

 

Aloud, she merely stated, "The Emperors of old seldom wrote their own autobiographies. Power and Strength are manipulated by perception. But as Darth Verrin would say - the fact that Power and Strength inspire you, means you are Passionate about them. It would appear you've found a well-suited nesting place.

 

My apologies for disturbing you in your studies. I'll leave you to them. But if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call out - I'll do my best to assist."

 

Again, she bowed her head slightly, and then click-clacked her way from the table. There was always work to do.

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Vashlai    8
Posted (edited)

"Passionate about power and strength is one thing....but...." 

 

Vashlai considered this. "But even the coldest glacier can burn and cause pain, as much as the heat of a blazing fire of emotion. If I can master my own cold nature and make it burn just as much and take delight in it....which I believe I can. I..." Vashlai chuckled in squawking amusement. "I have seen limbs and such frozen and deformed by the cold of ice. Perhaps the fire and burn of ice are my own power...but...." Vashlai sighed. "I need to make my weakness a strength...but that is a conversation I sense is for another time." 

 

She looked at her pet. "As for..." She smiled at her pet. "I will call you Ash. You are smoky colored like Ashes and if I find another name that suits you I will change your name yet again. But for now....Ash seems a particularly good name for you considering your coloring."

 

Ash merely let out a meow and Vashlai nodded. "Now....that is settled I can go back to my studies." 

Edited by Vashlai
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