JEDI HoloNet

Luquiere Lemercier


Homeworld: Bonadan

Species: Mirialan


As the war against the Sith Imperium reached its close, there was a last desperate struggle over worlds on the verge of Imperium-held space as the Fel Empire and Republic tried to obtain staging points from which to launch strikes against key enemy planets. Located right on the verge of the Imperium’s territory, Mirial was one such planet. However, unlike other such planets, it hadn’t sided with any of the three main powers in the war, instead declaring its neutrality. This meant that all three powers had a keen interest in it. If it fell to the Imperium, it would deprive the Republic and Empire of a valuable staging area along the Hydian Way. On the other hand, if it joined one of the allied powers, then it would give them an idea means of striking against the Imperium.

Thus, although no invasions were directly launched against the planet, both sides declared their support of a specific faction on Mirial. Pro-Imperium radicals were mysteriously armed with military grade weaponry, while neutral government forces received shipments from other sources. Due to this, political divisions soon gave way to full scale civil war as a rebellious movement launched terrorist attacks against major city centers, aiming to topple the government and secede to the Imperium.

Even after the war’s close, the conflict raged on, the radicals changing their goal from joining the now-fallen Imperium to simply declaring independence and forming their own imperialist Principality of Mirial. To escape from this conflict, many Mirialans began an exodus away from their homeworld, dispersing across the Outer Rim.

Luquiere’s family was composed of such refugees. As her mother and father fled the planet during the height of the Imperium’s power, they resolved to get as far away from the war as possible, emigrating to the galactic northeast. They got as far as Bonadan before their money ran out, forcing them to settle down as best they could and work for a living under the controlling board of corporations.

As this was a time when many refugees were fleeing to the neutral world, conditions were bad. Most actual housing was already occupied, leaving the refugees with nowhere to go save rag-tag slums and shanty towns. The only other option was to sign a contract placing oneself in the protectorate of one of the many corporations that managed the planet’s government, working as a ward of the corporation in exchange for food and shelter. It was to this second fate that Luquiere’s father Lorian and mother Amalia resigned themselves.

However, although they were given a place to live in one of the corporate factories, conditions were nevertheless grim. Amalia soon became pregnant, and was unable to work, forcing Lorian to work double shifts in order to pay for her upkeep. Worse yet, she grew ill, a combination of viral infection and polluted air that left her perpetually gasping for breath. She barely survived giving birth to her daughter, and afterwards, wasn’t able to return to work.

For a while, they made the best of the situation, Amalia staying home to care for her daughter while Lorian did everything he could to provide for his family. It is this period that Luquiere remembers most when she looks back to her childhood: her mother reading books to her, teaching her how to cook, and tending to her whenever she fell ill. During these times of sickness, Amalia would teach her to think of nothing, not moving at all and entering a sort of blank state in which she wouldn’t feel pain from her sickness – a type of traditional Mirialan meditation that brought her a bit closer to the Force.

But soon, two further calamities hit the family. First, Luquiere’s health began to decline, showing signs that her immune system had been permanently damaged by the sickness suffered by her mother during her pregnancy. Then, the company fired Lorian, tired of spending insurance money to take care of his family’s medical problems when they couldn’t work.

With nowhere else to turn, her parents realized that they couldn’t hope to keep Luquiere. Caring for her would cost too much, and at this rate, the sickly, frail child – barely able to walk on her own even at the age of six due to her body’s weakness from constant sickness – would doubtless die.

So, they did the only thing they could. Signing a contract as her guarantors, they offered her to one of the governing companies to be tutored as a ward with the promise that she’d work for the company in exchange once she was capable. In the mean time, they would receive monetary support in exchange for their daughter’s life. It was a contract of servitude in all but name, but they knew it was a choice between that or death, and so did the only thing they could.

Finding a buyer for Luquiere’s talents was difficult. Given her condition, she would be useless when it came to manual labor. And, given her young age, raising her to serve in some administrative capacity was a risky wager, since she might die of her illness before then, or might prove inept in that time. However, despite all of these odds, an offer did come.

Luquiere was thus sold into the care of a minor company – barely a blip on the radar of the corporate board. This group, known as the Argiana Institute, styled themselves as talent scouts of a sort, taking in orphans, runaways, and the children of broken families, training them to become “competent workers and members of society,” and hiring them out to other companies in need of labor. They would take a part of the child’s sallary in exchange, using this to pay for room, board, and medical care. In most cases, this was all.

However, Luquiere’s situation was far from ordinary. Mirialans were fairly well-known to almost universally possess Force Sensitivity, and the executives of the Argiana Institute were gambling on the fact that Luquiere was no exception to this general rule. From the moment they took her in, they set to work on her. Between medical treatments to correct her immunodeficiency disorder, she was tested ceaselessly, being shown countless different people and asked to explain what they were feeling, or presented with different simulations of possible economic events and asked to explain what the outcome would be.

Their gamble paid off. Although she never fully awakened to the Force, having to rely so much on her instincts put her in the right frame of mind to use it without realizing. This, coupled with her mother’s meditation technique, gave her an uncanny talent for reading the emotions of those around her, and for predicting future events from a list of possibilities. Overjoyed at her ability to excel in simulation, her handlers put her to work on a new, harder task. Using her ability to foresee the future and read overall sentiment, she was to predict the rise and fall of prices on the Bonadan Stock Market.

Every day, she was taken to the Stock Exchange, surrounded by countless people each with their own lives, feelings, and plans. Then, she was asked to read a general sentiment from the collective mass of all those thousands of people. It was harder than anything she’d ever done before. Feeling so many different sensations that weren’t her own rushing into her head at once made her heart pound and her temples ache, as if her skull was going to burst. She could feel her heart racing with the anxiety of those who weren’t sure whether they were going to succeed or not, could feel the grief of those who bet on unsure stocks and lost everything. The first time she tried it, she broke down crying and had to be taken back to the Argiana Institute to recover. But she was still brought back the next day, and the day after that.

What did it concern her what people bought and sold? The voices in her head wouldn’t quiet down at all. It hurt. She was sad. No, she wasn’t sad, but rather, someone else was forcing that sadness upon her. So many voices, all around, screaming in her ears, drowning her until her own thoughts disappeared in an ocean of chaos. It hurt. She wanted out. But she couldn’t get out, had no right to make that decision. Were it made, others would make it for her. That was how it always was. That, to the young Luquiere, was the way the world worked.

Little by little, she gave up on resisting. It hurt, but the pain in her mind, the fear of the unknown, would only abate if she did as she was told. Only then would she be allowed to leave, to have a few moments of quiet before being thrown back into the sea of voices and fears once again. So, she set to work, and did as she was asked.

Even on her best days, she could only get vague answers. “People are afraid, so they probably won’t trade much today.” An answer like this meant that prices would soon fall, allowing the Institute to grab cheaply a few stocks which Luquiere predicted people would be confident in. Sure enough, those stocks would rise a few days later according to her instincts, allowing the Institute to resell them for a profit. And, with the interest gained from each sale, their profits grew on the next one that followed. Using Luquiere as their infallible calculator, the Argiana Institute began raking in money off the market, moreso than any of their other operations in renting out labor had ever accrued.

Her schedule became even more strict. She was thrown back into testing, even during what had once been her free time. They wanted to hone her powers of prediction, so that she’d never make any mistakes. The longer it went on, the better she became at reading people, and, in turn, the less she cared. She hated living this way, unable to so much as decide when she’d be able to eat or sleep. She remembered how things had been when she’d been bedridden, tended to by her mother. She’d been helpless and hurting then, too. Bit by bit, she came to realize that maybe, just maybe, this was the way her whole life would be: just following orders from above, doing her best to deal with the circumstances in which she was placed. And wasn’t it better this way? Even if she could leave, where would she go? She had nothing to her name but what she was given by the Institute. Surely, if she had tried to runaway, she’d only have ended up dying on the streets. Yet, somehow, that didn’t satisfy her. There was something that she wanted, but there wasn’t any way to obtain it, or even anyone to blame for the fact that it was out of her reach. So, she was left simmering in her discontent, just following orders.

This might have continued forever were it not for a coincidence that happened to drag her from this life and into a very different one. In the aftermath of the war, the Republic was scrambling to regain control of some of its holdings on the Outer Rim. To do this, however, they would need to be able to protect them. Thus, they aimed to contract out patrolling some of their more vulnerable territories to private military companies under the wing of some of Bondan’s weapons developers. Calling for the help of the Jedi, they sent Master Wrennin Vae to negotiate with the Corporate Board to ensure the success of the deal.

As the Argiana Institute’s standing had risen considerably due to its increased value, and since it often hired its wards’ talents out both to weapons manufacturers and private military companies, its representative was placed on the council to negotiate the deal. Having already seen what the Force could be used for in business, he thus was worried that the Jedi might be planning to read or manipulate the assembly. So, not wanting to get the worse end of the deal, he brought Luquiere in with him, asking her to read the Master’s intentions and determine what he was planning.

Predictably, this backfired for the chairman, since the Jedi Master immediately sensed the untrained girl’s attempts to probe his mind, repulsed them, and set about a different line of inquiry, asking why, precisely, the institute had propertied a Force-Sensitive child. This in turn raised questions from the other members of the board, since there were many who had suspected the Argiana Institute of foul play following its meteoric rise to prosperity. Facing charges of corruption and unethical dealings – as using the Force in any economic field was greatly despised – he had no option but to feign ignorance. The Master, sensing the girl’s discontent and seeing his opportunity, responded by asking if he could then take her back to the Jedi with him. The chairman, cowed into compliance by his colleagues, agreed to this, and was forced to surrender his greatest trump card.

The deal was soon concluded, and Luquiere was left sitting outside the dormitory that had been her home for five years, with no belongings to her name and no option but to wait for the Jedi and follow him, to do who knew what as a protector of the peace or something similar. It didn’t matter to her. This wasn’t anything different from what she was used to. So, when Master Vae arrived, she said her goodbyes to a life she detested, and followed compliantly up the boarding ramp of the shuttle, watching out the viewport as the desolate, smog-ridden planet that she’d spent her first eleven years on faded into just another pinprick of light amidst the vast blackness of space.

Just like that, with neither fanfare nor lamentation, Luquiere began the arduous life of a Jedi.