Catalyst: Excerpt

Lyra regarded (Galen) as he spoke–more, it seemed, to the crystal than to her. He hadn’t been sleeping well for months, and he had that mad-scientist look in his weary eyes she’d seen before when he became obsessed with something. At the apartment he had left sketches and enigmatic doodles pinned up all over the place; eerie intertwinings of numerals and obscure figures and mathematical symbols.

“The Jedi’s relationship with the kybers–and I use the word deliberately–goes back tens of thousands of years,” Galen continued. “Long before that kybers were worshiped for their patterns, and the fact that they’re impervious to fire and resistant to hammering–outwardly eternal. Ancient beings associated them with wind, rain, and breath, but the Jedi may have seen them as embodying an aspect of the Force. It’s not known how the few extant museum pieces escaped the Order’s notice, or why the Jedi weren’t allowed to confiscate them.”

“Is that what this is?” Lyra asked. “A museum piece?”

Galen finally turned to her, shaking his head as he did. “This was on its way to the Separatists when the Jedi seized and sequestered it.”

Lyra frowned in misgiving. “Doesn’t the fact that the Jedi intervened say something about the potential power of the crystals?”

“Of course it does. Remember, Dooku was a Jedi. He knew all about the power of the kyber. From the start the Jedi were determined to keep that inherent power to themselves.”

Lyra made a face. “Then couldn’t it be that they were protecting the rest of us from that power? Even their lightsabers were just tools for keeping the peace.”

“Unfortunately the Jedi are gone,” Galen said. “But that shouldn’t mean we’re obliged to ignore the crystals out of respect for their centuries of service.”

Lyra held up her hands. “I only meant that the Jedi never would have wanted that energy to be turned to an evil purpose.”

“Of course they wouldn’t,” Galen said. “And I was concerned about that very thing happening during the war, but not now. This is the Emperor’s dream.”

Lyra wrinkled her nose. “Can’t we just call him Palpatine–in private, I mean?”

Galen ignored that. “For millennia the Jedi had what amounted to exclusive rights to the crystals, except for rare instances when they were discovered by outsiders and found their way onto the black market. I hate to say this, but there’s reason to believe that they refused to share the secrets of the crystals out of fear of surrendering some of the power they enjoyed.”

Lyra was taken aback. “I don’t believe that for a moment.”

“It’s in keeping with their actions at the conclusion of the war,” Galen said in a calmer voice. “Their attempt on the Emperor’s life might have been an effort to ensure their elite power and status.”

Galen’s words were familiar, and Lyra suddenly recalled when and where she had heard them: on Kanzi, shortly after Orson had displayed the kyber crystals and Galen had asked him outright if they had once been used to power lightsabers…

…And now here was Galen, all but mimicking Orson’s words when she knew he didn’t believe half of what he was saying.

Catalyst, pgs 210-213.

To read my review of Catalyst, go here.

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