Name: Cidan Himmibi (Cidanhi’mmibi)
Profession: Cultural anthropologist
Height: 1.7 meters tall
Weight: 80 kg.
Physical Description: Lean in good shape, with light green skin, his tchun (left lekku) is noticeably longer than his tchin (right lekku)
Vehicles: Currently None
Weapons: Currently None
Cidan Himmibi is the son of banished Twi’leki politician Horahi’mmibi, who lost his official Twi’lek name after a political scandal involving helping a friend of his in a bit of art fraud—to secure a 4,000,000CR personal loan, he and his friend, working as a fence, used pieces of art owned by others as security by providing phony documents to make it appear as though he and his family owned the art. As was typical in shamed Twi’lek culture, his father lost the “connectivity” of his name, and was henceforth called “Hora Himmibi.”
Cidan’s father opened a few businesses outside of Ryloth, all of which failed, but managed to get Cidan through school. Cidan never knew a life where his name possessed the connectivity to his Twi’lek heritage. Forced into the usual subservient roles of his people, Cidan and his family did whatever it took to stay afloat—his mother’s beauty helped out as she became a dancer, much to the shame of Cidan’s father.
As servants to various officials, the family got around the galaxy, and the constant travel sparked Cidan’s interest in the sharp contrasts between cultures, and yet at the same time he began to notice the similarities that kept them all working, a certain level of cooperation that was necessary for cohesion. Before he ever knew what the words meant, he was on his way to becoming a cultural anthropologist.
At the age of 15, Cidan’s IQ was tested at 167, and he had already shown a terrific ability for the mastering of many languages—by the time he reached college age, Cidan was already a polyglot, and, in fact, at times it seemed that it wasn’t so much that he learned the languages fast as it was he sensed what the intended meaning was behind even the most convoluted of foreign accents. This aided him immensely in his grasping of the languages, somehow being able to connect with foreigners in ways that few others could. Not only that, but Cidan seemed to inherit his father’s ability to coerce many people to a more satisfying resolution when he wasn’t even sure exactly what was being said—his linguistic instructors told Cidan that he had “uncanny ability.”
In typical Twi'lek fashion, to master one thing, such as communication, meant he must at least master a few others, no matter how irrelevant. His mother had placed him in tea ceremony classes, while his father enrolled him in Feyn-Juk classes, which focused on grappling between creature of various sizes. It was all meant to cultivate a better personality for him, to make him a highly sought-after servant, efficient and in control of himself, so as to fetch a higher price and aid the family further.
His parents saw enough potential in him that they encouraged his interests, and they had pushed him to be a better communicator so as to rise into the higher paid positions of servant work—however, numerous conversations with his father, who had once been a politician, had made him far better at negotiation and communication than any of them had imagined, and, much to their disapproval, he did not immediately enter the workforce to help the family fund. Instead, Cidan pursued anthropology.
Anthropology, a word in Basic that had once meant only the study of humanity, had its origins in natural science, the humanities, and social science. Cidan’s travels with his parents and their employers had made him keenly aware of this study, even if he hadn’t known he was doing it all along. He studied day and night for six years, and took in the four major fields in anthropology: archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical (or biological) anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Of those fields, the one he chose to specialize in was cultural.
Cultural anthropology is more of a holistic study of cultures. It examines culture as a meaningful scientific concept. Cidan studied the many serious cultures throughout history, from the culture of his own people to the cultures of recluse Wookiee tribes on Kashyyyk. He studied their economies (and was astonished to discover that, yes, even Wookiees have economies of their own). Cidan studied at the University of Ketaris, which had been recovering from the outbreak of the Clone Wars and the recession caused by that area, because that particular university had been renowned for its courses in xenoarchaeology, geology, and anthropology. For his major thesis, Cidan collected data about the impact of global economic and political processes on Naboo with the local cultural realities during the last days of the Old Republic.
The opening lines of his thesis were eventually etched in stone above a greeting sign at the university’s new entrance. It reads: “Culture, indeed civilization itself, must be taken with a wide, ethnographic sense of community and importance. It is an intricate structure, built on morals, knowledge, belief, art, tradition, customs, and all the myriad habits collected by a creature as a member of its society. We must respect that intricate structure, and never be afraid to pick it apart, study it, and see ourselves within it.”
Cidan was already considered a master ahead of his peers when he wrote this piece, and it even attracted the attention of Nulla, his soon-to-be wife, who was an archaeologist at the University of Coruscant. But it wasn’t until his analytical study of the Jedi and Sith cultures that he drew his greatest audience.
The essay he wrote was lengthy, and centered in on the role of Jedi Masters as parental figures over their Padawan learners, and how a family system had seemed to emerge from that practice that created such fierce loyalty that a Jedi could remain “away from home,” and without any contact to his/her masters, and with no fear of them going rogue, running away, or vanishing to the dark side. The complete trust that the Jedi had in one another, he felt, had been their undoing. Conversely, the competiveness that was bred into the apprentices of the Sith showed great tenacity for the perpetuation of their culture, and these apprentices (children) had obviously proven far more resourceful, and considerably more patient down through the centuries.
Cidan’s essay ultimately showed that, no matter what sort of society you were looking at, they did in fact pass through all the same stages of development. Ethnologists always argued about this, because they have always had a special interest in why people living in different parts of a planet (or many times in different parts of the galaxy) often had similar beliefs and practices, but ethnologists often differed on why exactly that was. Cidan’s explanation for this consistency was simple: the Force.
The Force explained everything. Whatever it was, however it existed, the Force had obviously brought great life to the galaxy, making it teem with life—and if the Force could be agreed to be the essential component to all thought (which was up for debate, of course, but Cidan believed it was true), then the Force as the only constant between sentient creatures was the most likely candidate for the source of uniformity, or at least near uniformity in all cultures, no matter how far apart. Like the principle known as “Jikki’s Razor”—the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
The Force could be both a scientific and metaphysical study, not to mention psychological and philosophical studies. But few now would refute that it existed—holo-recordings of Jedi and Sith clearly demonstrated feats far beyond the capacity of the known races. So, since the Force seemed to be everywhere, in every culture, permeating everything, Cidan argued that it must be the cohesion that “spawns” all the creatures in question, the Force itself being residual in the blood, in the very atoms of the body, thus the uniformity of all life, no matter how diverse it appeared outwardly.
This would also explain the fact that so many groups appeared to pass through the exact same stages of cultural evolution. And, nowhere was a study of the Force so closely attached to a society more evident than in Jedi and Sith culture. Any “balance” or “imbalance” in the Force, as described in old texts and so-called prophecies given by the masters seemed to portend a coming shift in the balance (in one direction or another) for the galaxy at large. So, using them as an obvious tool for showing the relationship between all cultures, Cidan identified the defining features of the Jedi and Sith cultures, twins and yet opposites, to reveal the adequacies and inadequacies of our approach to understanding the galaxy, and indeed, the universe beyond our galaxy.
In his essay, Cidan demonstrated that, since the Sith were said to have once been a race (the word “Sith” being the name of that race), their society must have been a fierce and competitive one, as opposed to the society that the Jedi emerged from. After all, the cornerstone of cultural anthropology was that creatures always acquired a culture through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization, revealing why it was that people living in different places and/or different circumstances developed different cultures. However, since history had shown time and again that cultures tended to explode once a powerful new concept (especially a religious one) came onto the scene, only to diffuse with time in the wake of rebellion against it, bringing a kind of period that Cidan described as a “self-parody” period before reaching equilibrium, Cidan believed that the Sith race had been far more violent than any other historian had ever imagined.
To support his claim that the Sith had once been uncomprehendingly vicious, Cidan pointed to ancient scrolls and holocrons that seemed to discuss in bits and pieces practices of forced service that the Sith race favored, and hints of planetary destruction that, if true, would put the Death Star’s brief exploits to shame. Cidan went further, discussing Emperor Palpatine in his essay, saying that this “endpoint” in the Sith’s “near resurgence” demonstrated what happened after the diffusing of an established cultural idea. To the utter disbelief of many, Cidan put Palpatine as the “final straw” of the Sith self-parody period, and what followed next, he argued, was the time of equilibrium.
The Jedi had returned, and at the time that he wrote his essay, a handful of reports had come in about so-called “Dark Jedi” spotted throughout the galaxy. Cidan predicted this as a time for “burying the hatchet” between Sith and Jedi alike, saying that it was time, whether they wanted it or not, whether they knew it or not, that this “force” behind the universe would call for equilibrium. It was time for peace at last. Self-parody was over for both, and Cidan predicted a final and long-lasting armistice, saying that the bloody conflicts of old between the two great cultures would never again arise—he predicted there would be conflicts, but nothing the likes of which had been seen before.
It was said that Emperor Kane himself had read that piece, and found it so fascinating that he requested an audience with Cidan. Cidan wasn’t sure if the emperor had truly read that piece or not, or if someone else had brought the topic to his attention, but he knew that his parents had gotten to be respected servants to numerous Moffs in their time—their work had taken them all over NIF space. Combined with his father’s political savvy and old political contacts, Cidan was found whilst out in the field studying ancient Sith artifacts on Korriban, years after he had written that essay and had it published, and a meeting with Kane was arranged.
* * *
The interview was held aboard the ESD Nemesis, and it was short, consisting of barely more than a bow to Emperor Kane and a quick question-and-answer session where Cidan was put on the spot, feeling awkward as he was asked to describe what he would do if he were to ever encounter a completely new and intelligent species that had never been recorded in galactic history. One question at a time, he made his case, describing the great care that would be necessary for such an encounter.
“The psychology of the people would have to be ascertained, of course,” he said. “For that, you would need an incredibly sophisticated xenobiologist and xenopsychologist. But psychology is and always has been notoriously prone to intellectual fashions, so there would need to be a bit of brainstorming beforehand, to design the optimal composition of a first-encounter team that would help the xenopsychologist make appropriate contact with this alien person or race, just so there were no misunderstandings about the goals of the first-encounter team. You’d need particularly stable individuals to be on such a team. A xenopsychologist as leader, as I said, and one who has had experience with indigenous Level 5 civilizations on places like Endor or Myrkr—Level 5 civilizations being those that reap no benefits, and suffer no drawbacks, from their disconnect from greater society, and typically don’t even know it exists.
“You would also need an astrophysicist with focus on planetary geology, a mathematician and/or logician, a zoologist with a hefty background in biochemistry, and a Jedi or Sith. The primary contact team would need to be five or less, since any more than that usually creates panic, malcontent, and lack of clearly defined leadership in such a group—certainly armed guards could go with them, but they must possess no speaking roles, and be prepared to take orders from academics and not army lieutenants or generals. You would need the team to be cohesive, communicative, and willing to bend to others when it comes to matters outside of their expertise.”
The emperor had given a moment of pause before asking one last question. “You said a Sith or Jedi should go along with such a team. Why?”
Cidan licked his lips and said, “Well, just about any and all contingencies will need to be planned on, and a plan will need to be sussed out to deal with each one as they emerge. A xenopsychologist should be on-site, for instance, because of the trauma that would likely befall this alien people if we are the first aliens they’ve ever seen, or if we are only the first of our kind that they’ve ever seen. Stress and anxiety are now popularly held as a purely biochemical disorder, which would mean it could be treated by drug therapy alone—I think we need someone more sophisticated than a psychologist who just wants to give the aliens a pill. We would need a xenopsychologist who could think on their feet, negotiate, and meet the aliens halfway. Mass panic on their population’s behalf could not be solved with pills. You see? A specialist there to solve the problem. Same thing with a Force-user, Your Highness, except this person would be there for our protection as much as theirs.”
“Explain more plainly, professor,” Kane said.
Cidan nodded. “Certainly, Your Highness. In short, what if these aliens can read our minds?” He shrugged. “Not very likely, I know, but what if they could? What if they have developed sensitivity to the Force, as well? How could we prepare a successful negotiating posture if they could read our minds? Or what if they possess the ability to control normal sentient beings with powerful pheromones, such as the Falleen species could do? We would need a person trained to be outside of such influences, would we not?”
Emperor Kane looked at him at length, and then looked slightly off to his left, pondering. “Would you have any in mind for such an expedition?” he asked, looking back at Cidan.
“Jedi?” Cidan asked. He shrugged. “I’ve only met a handful of adepts in my life, Your Highness. No masters of considerable power. Associates of mine have interviewed numerous Jedi during their tenure at the University of Coruscant, but the interviews are always short and, quite frankly, enigmatic. Nothing is concrete with the Force, but, then, from what I've seen, that appears to be the nature of the Force itself.”
“Have you ever noted any sensitivity within yourself?”
“For the Force?” Cidan chuckled. “No, Your Highness.” He looked at the emperor for a moment, total silence passing between them. Should I have? Cidan thought to himself. What exactly is he asking me?
The emperor had made a slight wince. Was he almost smiling, or was he offended by something that the doctor had said. “Very good, Professor Himmibi,” he said. “Your knowledge and opinions have been greatly appreciated here. I have enjoyed our discussion, but I have other matters attend to.”
Getting passed the awkwardness, Cidan bowed. “Of course, Your Excellency. I thank you.”
Cidan, not understanding what any of this had been about, bowed and turned away, led by Royal Guards until he reached the turbolift. Inside, a man in a gray Moff’s uniform was waiting. He turned and smiled pleasantly to Cidan, and said, “The emperor must have been very impressed with you. He sent me.”
Cidan turned and looked at the man, not knowing what to say to that. “Well…that’s good. I’m glad he took the time to take such an interest in something so far beneath him at the moment.”
“Oh, it’s not beneath him at all, Professor Himmibi,” the Moff had said. “Indeed, there is a special project launching in a year’s time that has brought matters such as this to his attention. A kind of exploration endeavor, one for which the emperor now feels you would be perfectly suited.”
“Yes?” he said, now quite pleased with himself and feeling his spirits reverse.
“Yes. However, between now and then, there are would be some level of preparation. To get your mind into the right kind of headspace. That is, if you’re interested in it at all. There aren’t many Force adepts around anymore, and all of them that are extremely powerful are of better use elsewhere.” The Moff shrugged. “You might be in a position to be prepared for such an endeavor, if you were up to the training, of course. We would have to test you, put you through a series of trials, physical training to test your heart rate, stamina—you’re in very good shape for a professor.”
Cidan smirked. “All those years digging in the desert for artifacts cannot leave you fat.”
“That’s good. You also train in Feyn-Juk, right? That's a grappling art."
The Moff seemed to be moving at a pace that assumed Cidan knew where he was going with this. "I've trained it on and off, to keep in shape when I'm not on-site at a dig, or when I've spent long weeks just culling research and writing up my summary reports to send back to the university."
"And your file says you've received some degree of firearms training," the Moff went on.
Cidan thought, File? They've got a file on me? What for? Who the blazes am I to them? "I own a DH-17, and I'm not very good with it."
"You're familiar with which end to point where, though, and that's a better start than most academics. You've got a bit of experience in topology, and you wrote a great deal in your early years about modern understanding of Voor space conjecture and developable regular space."
"It was an experimental dissertation," Cidan had told him, shrugging. "I never followed through with it. I only ever studied it because it is disputably a great focus of ancient Rakatan theorems, and I was only interested in their culture. So, I had to dedicate a little time to understand topology a bit more. The Rakatan supposedly proved that Voor space was matrisable, that they inherit all topological properties from metric spaces. They did a lot of research in paracompact spaces and first-countable space, which of course satisfied the first axiom of countability, which I believe Rakatans viewed philosophically as a major point in their development of astro...I'm sorry, am I losing you, sir?" Cidan had chuckled. "I'm very sorry, but I do go on sometimes."
"You are a unique case," the Moff said, not answering his question. "You're an academic with some guts and physical skill, making you one of a select few potentials. I understand that you are soon to be married, yes?” He shrugged. "We can work that out. Plenty of room aboard the ship we're taking. Although, that might be the only thing holding you back among the rest of the potentials. Attachments, you know."
Cidan, with his academic curiosity now piqued, said, “Potentials for what? What would these tests be for? Which expedition are you talking about, anyway? I read all the journals and keep track of just about all the ones that matter, so which one is this?”
The Moff gave him a sidelong glance. "It's right up your alley."
"Is that all you can tell me?"
"That is all until we attend the briefing."
(OOC: This is me, Jubar! My ICE guy)
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