Nineteen-year-old Ben Solo stood at one of the recruitment kiosks in the university student center watching an unending stream of job postings flash by. He didn’t like the idea of getting a job. There were far too many fascinating ideas to explore — arcane and secret knowledge — places to see, skills to acquire and sharpen. But his path was not the Jedi path. He believed in balance and tapping into all aspects of the Force. He believed he could gain focus through passion, through knowledge he would gain power, and through serenity would come strength. This ideology put him at odds with the Jedi code and his uncle and master.
Ben recalled the heated words of their last argument, the muscles tightening in his jaw. There are other things a Force-sensitive can do besides be a Jedi, he told himself, but he would have to be careful. Although the nascent New Jedi Order was respected and supported by the New Republic, there were bounty hunters who sold Force-sensitives to slavers for huge profits. Jobs that were seemingly on the up-and-up sometimes turned out to be the linchpin in a crime syndicate. There were devices, Ben knew, that restrained or limited a Force-user’s abilities.
A slight shudder ran through him as he cued up a different job code and scanned the postings from every sector of the galaxy. Throughout the hall, more than a hundred students of every race and creed did the same. One had to be quick in submitting a request to apply. Desirable jobs fell off the posting nets within seconds and positions filled seconds later. To protect the applicant, Force-sensitivity was never listed as a preferred skill, but one could always read between the lines. He paused the scroll on one particular posting that caught his eye.
Assesses and interrogates enemy prisoners of war and deserters through approved means (including telepathy) to obtain military intelligence. Prepares interrogation reports and translations of enemy documents not rendered in Galactic Basic. Ensures the accurate exchange of statements, ideas, and intent. Applicant must possess a physical profile of 213679 and a security clearance of SECRET. Fluency in Mando’a, Olys Corellisi, Teedospeak, Shryriiwook, Jawaese, and Sith preferred.
“Well,” Ben muttered to himself, “I’ve got five out of six under my belt…plus a few more.”
He read on.
To qualify for consideration, the applicant must first pass the following psychological evaluation. Touch “I agree” to begin or “Quit” to exit without applying.
Ben touched the I agree button on the screen.
When responding to these statements, choose the one you agree with most.
- It is difficult to get you excited.
He winced. Already he didn’t like where this was going. Closing his eyes, he reconfirmed his own mantra: I harness my serenity while I set loose my passion. He touched No.
- When making a decision, you rely more on your feelings than analysis of the situation.
Luke had always said, “Trust your feelings.” A Force-sensitive could live no other way. He touched Yes.
- You often contemplate the complexity of life. Yes.
- After prolonged socializing, you feel you need to get away and be alone. Yes.
- You willingly involve yourself in matters which engage your sympathies. If I say, “yes,” Ben thought, they’ll never consider me. No.
And so it went for another 59 questions. Finally, he touched the submit button and filled in his username. The screen reverted to the posting section. Ben scrolled through a few more job descriptions and read a couple semi-interesting ones…until he was distracted by the student next to him. The young human male was clearly annoyed with the same set of questions put to him.
“I am never late for my appointments,” the young man grumbled to himself. “Strict observance of rules is necessary! Always trust reason over feelings.” This last statement sounded as if it came through gritted teeth. Then in a more reasonable tone, he admonished: “Always consider the rational approach….Submit.”
Ben stole a glance around the partition and saw a shock of ginger hair. He watched the young man gather up his attache case and stride off as if he were keeping pace to a parade march. Ben started to shake his head in disgust but turned when he sensed a familiar presence behind him.
Amanda Snoke gave him a quick squeeze. “Having any luck?”
“Maybe.” He turned back to the display screen. I just submitted an….” His voice trailed off as the face of a young human woman with short blond hair appeared onscreen.
“Thank you for your application, user 01999URF. My name is Captain Phasma. We request that you take the next step and schedule a time to complete the general aptitude test at your earliest convenience.”
The woman’s image was quickly replaced with a scheduling form. Ben keyed in a date and was rewarded with the words, “Date verified and reserved. Please report 15 minutes early to the training center listed on your screen.”
He logged out of his account and gave Amanda a quizzical look. “Is that woman your twin or something? She looks exactly like you.”
Amanda gave him a little wrinkle-nosed smirk. “Curious.”
@MyKyloRen 2 February 2017