Desperate Negotiations

“Take one step closer and the hammer-head dies!” Kal-faj said.

Jin Tai Lo deactivated his lightsaber and laid it on the ground.

“I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here because you have a friend of mine in your ship and I would like him released,” Jin Tai Lo calmly answered.

The Falleen bounty hunter laughed derisively. “Friend? What does a high-and-mighty Jedi want with a Hutt slave? Do you want him so you can practice your mind powers on him?”

Jin Tai shook his head slowly. “I call him ‘friend’ because he, like all sentient beings, is worthy of respect and should be free to choose his or her own path, not be controlled by others.”

Kal-faj sneered. “Mighty strong words for someone who controls other people’s minds!”

Jin Tai nodded solemnly, “Only when there is no other alternative. The Jedi Code is based on helping others, serving them, and helping to lighten their burdens and ease their pain.”

“Ease their pain?” she screamed, pressing the knife ever closer to the Ithorian’s throat. “The only Jedi I ever knew murdered my parents and left me an orphan. How is that ‘easing pain’?”

“I’m sorry,” Jin Tai Lo said quietly. “How did your parents die?”

“One of your so-called ‘Guardians of Peace’ was chasing a criminal through my city and was very careless as to who got in the way. After the building crushed my parents, he never even came back to see what he had done. Not only that, but he was made into a hero because of it. You Jedi are all hypocrites! You talk of peace but only cause division and strife!”

“You are correct,” Jin Tai Lo said softly, causing Kal-faj to startle in surprise. “There are many Jedi who are careless, reckless, and irresponsible. But you should not judge the entire order by the actions of one person. Look to the teachings of the Jedi to see if the actions of the person in question fits with the philosophy of the Order. Many claim to serve the Jedi Code, but only those who truly follow the teachings of peace and service to all beings are true Jedi.

“Furthermore,” Jin Tai continued, “don’t you see that the evil that caused the pain in your life is being continued in you? You have become a criminal…”

“What? I’ve become a criminal because of you Jedi. If my parents hadn’t been killed, then I wouldn’t have become an orphan. My parents didn’t mid my birthmark, but everyone else in my life has made me an outcast because of it. I had to learn to fight and steal just to live. If I’m a criminal now, it is the Jedi who made me so!”

“No. You are wrong. Every choice you make takes you one step closer to either the light side or the dark side. What you become in the future is a direct result of the choices you make today. To which side is your current choice leading you? The careless Jedi and the criminal he was chasing were responsible for setting your feet upon the wrong path. However, you are the one who has chosen to continue on that path. Evil is circular. It continues to perpetuate itself. Your parents were killed because of a careless Jedi chasing a criminal through the streets of your city. Yet here, once again, an innocent being,” he gestured to the captive Ithorian, “is in danger because of a Jedi chasing a criminal. The same evil that made you an orphan is once again trying to make orphans of this Ithorian’s children. Only you can stop this cycle of evil.”

The Falleen bounty hunter’s face showed the conflict in her soul. Then, slowly, she began lowering her knife. She looked up at Jin Tai Lo, but before she could speak, a look of intense pain crossed her face and her body fell to the ground with a thud. Standing behind her, laser pistol drawn, was Houk-qal.

The End

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