Beyond CAoS: The Caped Crusader Rides Again (OCs)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi Gunny, Apr 11, 2013.

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  1. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Next Installment

    TAGS to @jcgoble3, @Tim Battershell, @Trieste

    A week had passed since the crash, and Galin was patched up nicely. His nose was back in its proper shape, and blood no longer ran from it. Mykal was also improving; his broken arm was improving rapidly every day, and with proper care he could use it again to full capacity it two or three days. Me’lin had stayed home from work the entire week to care for the boys. But she could tell that Mykal was still depressed about the whole incident. So she had to know more about him.

    “Mykal, when we were at the hospital, you said that you protected your friends. In that instance you meant us. Do you consider us friends?”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Mykal said.

    “I feel like we’ve barely gotten to know you. Tell me a little more about yourself.”

    “There isn’t much to tell.”

    “Come on, there must be something you can tell me.”

    Mykal then bore a stare with his hollow eyes at Me’lin. But it wasn’t a malicious glare; it was just a look of a teenager who had been through hell. “For the longest time . . .” he said, “ . . . I’ve been the best at forgetting where I come from.”

    “With your unstable family situation?”

    Mykal nodded. “My momma . . . she always wants me back . . . but I don’t know if I want to return there. There is nothing for me at home.”

    “Because of the gangs?”

    Mykal nodded again. “All they do are drugs. I don’t want no part in that, ma’am. But I have nowhere to go.”

    “Can I talk to your mother?” Me’lin asked.

    Mykal gave her the look again. “She won’t say nothing you want to hear.”

    “Mykal, please. I need to do this, as one mother to another.”

    “It won’t help,” Mykal said, downcast.

    “Please go with me, though,” Me’lin said.

    Not too long after, Me’lin pulled the replacement speeder up to a run-down apartment complex. It was two stories tall, and looked like it had seen better days. In fact, that condition was too generous . . . it had gone beyond the point of once having had glory days. It just looked old, rickety, and dangerous. Two rough-looking humans in muscle shirts sat on the curb, and looked up at the speeder as it pulled it. One was smoking a cigar, the other holding a bottle of cheap beer.

    Me’lin cut the ignition. “Now Mykal, I want you to cover my back. If things get dangerous . . . please let me know.” Then she got out of the vehicle and went to the apartment where Mykal said his mother lived. On the way, the rough humans taunted her.

    “Hey, Tailhead, where do you think you’re going?” one crowed.

    “Wanna have a threesome, gorgeous?” the other one cat-called.

    “Shut up,” Me’lin said to them forcefully.
    “Ooh, now we’re scared! Yes, ma’am, we’ll shut up if you spank us!”

    “Yeah, spank us!” the other said.

    Me’lin rolled her eyes and knocked on the door. It took a while for the door to open, and then a hollow-faced woman appeared on the other side of the door. “Mrs. Oha?” Me’lin asked.

    “What do you want?” the other woman asked.

    “It’s about Mykal,” Me’lin said.

    “Mykal. That boy’s gonna come back at some point, mark my words,” the woman said.

    “Can I come in and talk to you about him?” Me’lin asked.

    “Sure,” the woman said. She opened the door and let Me’lin enter. Then the door shut behind them. In the speeder, Mykal watched nervously. Me’lin had decided to go where he knew she wouldn’t want to. She would be disappointed, most likely.

    Me’lin took a seat on a dusty old sofa that she was offered, and turned down an offer of cheap beer from the fridge.

    “So, about Mykal. How do you know him?” Mrs. Oha asked.

    “He saved my son’s life in a speeder crash,” Me’lin replied.

    “Mykal’s always a protective one. Boys likes to forget, doesn’t keep no useless information in his head, I tell ya!” Mrs. Oha said. “I just wish I still had him around. He’ll come back.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Child custody services came to get him years ago. I no longer have custody of him.”

    “Then who does?”

    “Who cares? He’s not exactly living a life of luxury,” Mrs. Oha said, motioning to her home. “Why? You with the custody agency?”

    “No. We’ve let Mykal stay at our place for a few nights while he heals up from his injuries from the crash,” Me’lin said.

    “Must be a nice place. You’re a fancy woman . . . I bet you can treat him like a king.” Mrs. Oha almost spit when she said this.

    “We can treat him well enough,” Me’lin commented. “But this is not about me. This is about Mykal. Who has his custody rights?”

    “No one does,” Mrs. Oha said bluntly. “The agency, probably, but who knows what kinds of sithspit they’re up to there. They don’t give anyone no respect. Mykal’s father was a good man . . . but now he dead. His brother? In jail. Mykal knows how to forget where he came from, but it’s still a part of him. He knows when to come back home.”

    “Even though he’s not supposed to.”

    “Live on the streets like he does, and laws don’t apply to you. You do what you can to survive. It’s what I do now,” she said, lighting a cigarette and taking a long puff on it. “And you see where that’s gotten me.”

    “I was thinking of taking custody rights for him,” Me’lin finally said.

    “You one crazy woman, you know that?” Mrs. Oha said with a snort. “Mykal will come back no matter what. I’m his momma . . . and he won’t turn me down.”

    “Mykal deserves a chance to make his own decisions,” Me’lin said.

    “Well, that’s up to him. And I wouldn’t go trying to please him with fast speeders, loose women, and clothes, because he’s just gonna come on back home like he always does. Can’t stay away, even if he doesn’t want in the gang scene.”

    Me’lin then stood up. “Then we’ll see what he says.” With that, she walked out the door and back to the speeder. The cat calls started again, but she didn’t care. She opened the door to the speeder and got in. Mykal was still sitting in the passenger’s seat.

    “How’d it go?” he asked.

    “I have some things to discuss with you,” she said before starting the ignition and driving away.



    Two Weeks Later

    “You want to do what?” Gark exclaimed. The two of them were standing in the master bathroom, Me’lin by the mirror taking off her makeup and Gark by his own sink.

    “You heard me,” Me’lin said.

    “Shouldn’t we at least talk about this?” Gark asked.

    “What do you think we’re doing?” his wife replied.

    “Look, just because we got him enrolled in school and being listed as his medical contacts doesn’t mean much. There’s a big difference between paying for a broken arm, and being financially responsible for a boy we barely know,” Gark said, gesturing with his hands as he spoke to add emphasis.

    “He saved Galin’s life. Doesn’t that count for something?” Me’lin asked.

    “It does . . . but I don’t know if it’s smart to be his legal guardians. From what you’ve told me, he’s probably just going to run away at some point because he tries to forget his past.”

    “We have to give him a chance,” Me’lin said. “I cleared out the visitor’s bedroom for him.”

    “That explains why you were so busy cleaning this past week,” Gark commented.

    “And it’s something he’s never had before,” Me’lin said. “Give him a chance.”



    Earlier

    Me’lin was carrying a few towels, and Mykal stood in the doorway of the visitor’s bedroom. “I know it’s not much, since it’s meant for short-term visitors,” the Twi’lek said. “But it’s a room. It’s got a bed . . . comfortable one, from what I’ve heard . . . a closet, a desk here for schoolwork . . . a working light . . . a window for fresh air. And you know what, Mykal?” she asked as she put the towels in the closet. “It’s all yours.”

    “All mine?” he asked.

    “All yours,” Me’lin said with a smile. “If we’re going to let you spend some time with us until we can find you a new home, then you deserve a place that’s stable, and that you can call your own.”

    Mykal went over and poked the bed. It sprung back from where he poked it. “It’s soft,” he said.

    “Yep. We wouldn’t let you sleep on the floor, now would we?” Me’lin said.

    Mykal then checked out the closet. Inside were a few shirts and a pair of clean pants. “I hope you don’t mind that I bought you a few new clothing options,” the Twi’lek said.

    Mykal then looked at the desk. It was clean, and he ran his hand over the smooth surface. He didn’t like school one bit, but this was nice.

    “Well, if you need me for anything, just holler,” Me’lin said. But Mykal didn’t say anything. He just came over to her side.

    “It’s all mine?” he asked again.

    “All yours,” Me’lin said with a nod.

    A few seconds passed as she watched Mykal’s face. The youth seemed to understand what she was talking about, and then he looked back at her. Then he extended his arms around her and gave her a huge hug. “Thank you,” he said.

    “No problem, Mykal. That’s what we do in this house; we make sure that everyone is well cared for,” Me’lin said. “I’ll leave you alone now.”




    “You did a good job, then,” Gark said as the couple made their way into the bedroom.

    “I may not be his mother, but I can still treat him like one of my own,” Me’lin said as she settled herself into bed and pulled up the covers. “I doubt he’s ever had that.”

    “But are you serious about becoming his legal guardian?” Gark asked.

    “Dead serious,” Me’lin said. “He deserves a stable home life. We can provide him one.”

    “But that can wait for another day,” Gark said as he settled in. “Right now, I could use some sleep.” He quickly fell asleep.

    In the other room, Mykal listened to the silence that echoed through his new room. And the best part was that it was all his.
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  2. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    Interesting. So Galin may soon have an older brother. :D
  3. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    Mykal got off the bus and walked to the S’rily house, backpack slung over his back and datapad in hand. He knew he wouldn’t be very proud of what was on it, but the S’rilys needed to know. They had invested so much in him over the past two months that they deserved to know how he was doing in school.

    When he entered the house, he found Me’lin sitting at the kitchen table. She was going through some documents on the table, likely scouting reports for the upcoming Elite League Draft. It was only a week away, and the Twi’lek was likely helping her husband get ready. Gark was probably at Team HQ going over things with his scouting department. Mykal didn’t know much about Limmie, but he knew that his legal guardians cared a ton about it, so he just figured it was something he would understand eventually.

    “Hi,” he said as he came closer.

    “Mykal! How was school today?” Me’lin asked.

    “Hard. I got my report card,” the teen said, holding out the datapad. Me’lin took hold of it and turned it on. “I don’t think I did that well, ma’am.”

    Me’lin looked at the grades. Mykal had received a D+ this semester in Math, C- in Biology, D’s in both History and General Science, and . . . an A in Physical Education. She was greatly disappointed in him for not doing well in the major subjects, but he was making progress. His GPA beforehand had been dreadful, so this was improvement.

    “Mykal, your grades still aren’t good enough to pass right now. I know there’s time left in the semester, though, so don’t worry too badly yet.”

    “Sorry, ma’am. School is hard,” Mykal said as he sat down at the table.

    Me’lin put a reassuring hand on Mykal’s shoulder. “It’s all right. I’ll keep tutoring you. You’ll get there someday, and then things will be easier, I promise.” She then looked back at the grades. “You got amazing marks in P.E. You must really be an athlete, Mykal.”

    “I like to use my size when it means something positive,” Mykal said with a sheepish grin. “I can run over the other kids easily.”

    Me’lin knew immediately that if Gark caught wind of this, he might choose to indoctrinate Mykal in the Limmie world. She wasn’t sure if that was a good idea just yet, if ever. Mykal was their legal charge, but she wouldn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want to.

    “That’s a great start. Find what you enjoy, and stick with it. But don’t pass up on the other subjects. You can do it; I know you can. You’re a smart kid, Mykal. Don’t let a good opportunity pass you by.”

    “All right, ma’am,” he said before standing up.

    “You have homework to do?”

    “I have a biology test in tomorrow.”

    “And I take it that you’ve studied?” Me’lin asked hopefully.

    Mykal shook his head. “I don’t understand half of it,” he said. “My favorite part is dissecting dead things. Always work better with my hands than my head.”

    “Then we need to start studying immediately,” Me’lin said. “Do you have your textbook?” Mykal pulled out his book for his bag, and Me’lin opened it. Inside the margins were images that he had scribbled on. Me’lin shook her head. “Are you paying attention in class?”

    “Sometimes I daydream,” Mykal said, looking downcast. “I find it hard to focus. I don’t like Biology.”

    “But you need to know it. Here, let’s get started,” Me’lin said. She ran her finger on the page until she found a subject heading. “Osmosis. Can you tell me what that is, Mykal?”

    “Um . . .” the youth began. “Is that where . . . liquid . . . passes through a barrier?”

    “That’s correct, Mykal. You could be a bit more specific on the test, but that’s a great start. Can you give me an example of osmosis?”

    “Your skin, when you swim,” Mykal said.

    “Very good,” Me’lin said. The next two hours were spent tutoring, and by the end of it Me’lin realized that Mykal wasn’t getting bad grades because he didn’t understand concepts. He just needed incentive.

    “Tell you what,” Me’lin finally said. “The Elite League Draft is next week. Gark and I need to attend so that we can find a new crop of talent for the team, but if you get a B on this test, we’ll take you with us. Sound fair?”

    Mykal thought for a moment. “What’s a Draft?” he asked.

    “It’s picking up players from college teams who then get to play professional sports. We could get you a seat in the audience, or even have you behind the scenes if you want.”

    “Get a B on the test? And is this Draft thing fun?”

    “I’m sure if Gark has his way, you’ll be dying to go again next year,” Me’lin said.

    “OK. A B?”

    “A B, Mykal.”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Mykal said with a nod. He returned to his book.

    Soon after, Gark got home, and dinner was served. Mykal ate quickly and then retreated to his room, hopefully for more studying. Gark inquired about this, and Me’lin explained her offer to the teen.

    “Hard bargain,” Gark said. “If he’s struggling in the subject, a B is probably a little difficult right now.”

    “Mykal’s a smart kid, he can do it,” Me’lin said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to use the ‘fresher.”

    Gark eventually cleaned up the table and started to watch a HoloNet show with Galin. The young boy looked tired, and eventually Gark put him to bed. Me’lin decided to hit the sack early as well, leaving the Bothan alone in the house. Or he would have been back in the day, except Mykal was now living with them.

    Gark poked his head into Mykal’s room. The boy had finally fallen asleep, his head against the desk with his open book. Gark just sighed and turned the lamp on the desk off and the room light off so that Mykal could sleep. Then he too went to bed.




    Three days later, Mykal came home with his graded test. Me’lin looked at it, and to her surprise Mykal had earned the promised B. Now she knew that she had to hold up her end of the bargain.

    “Good job, Mykal,” she said.

    “I did what you told me, ma’am,” he said.

    “Then this is a day for good news,” Me’lin replied. “Mykal . . . I know for the past few months we’ve been your legal guardians . . . and things have gone well. Gark and I talked this over . . . and we came to the conclusion that it was time.”

    Mykal was confused. What did the Twi’lek mean?

    “We’ve adopted you into our family,” Me’lin said. “You are now a full resident in this house. Signed the papers two days ago, and they were approved this morning.”

    “Does this mean I can stay here?”

    “Of course, Mykal. You’re one of us now,” Me’lin said with a smile.

    “I don’t know what to say, ma’am,” he said cautiously. “No one wanted to ever adopt me.”

    “Well, you’re truly home now,” the Twi’lek said. “And you don’t have to call me ‘ma’am’ anymore. You can call me ‘Mom’ if you want, since I am legally your mother now.”

    “But my momma ain’t here . . .”

    “Mykal, it’s a long story, but trust me on this, we wanted you as a full part of this family, so we signed the papers. You are officially our son, like Galin is.”

    Mykal was silent for several seconds. Then he finally opened up a smile. “Does that mean I can stay here?” he asked again. Obviously he was starting to figure it out.

    “You can stay here as long as you want, yes. Our house is your house.”

    “Thank you,” Mykal said, and he embraced his new mom. It was a rough hug, and Me’lin could feel herself being squeezed too tightly here by the teen’s embrace. That did not feel comfortable in the slightest.

    “That’s enough, Mykal,” she said, trying to squirm free. Mykal did so.

    “Sorry . . . mom,” he said.

    “You still have homework to do, right?” Me’lin asked. “You’ll have to do that on the ride to the Draft.”

    “I can do it,” Mykal said. “My P.E. teacher told me I could do anything I want to if I put my mind to it.”

    “That’s right, Mykal, you can,” Me’lin said. “Now go have a cookie, or something like that from the pantry. You deserve a reward after this good test.”

    Mykal just smiled. He had accomplished something monumentous.
    Last edited by Jedi Gunny, Jul 21, 2014
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  4. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    Progress often comes one small step at a time.

    And yay for being officially adopted! :D
  5. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    The Draft Hall on Agamar was ready for the Limmie Draft in a few hours. Gark was walking around the place with his family, checking out the hall that would soon be the home to one of the most exciting events on the Elite League calendar. He loved the Draft, even if it didn’t always love him. He had made his fair share of bust draft picks, which made this Draft especially crucial. The Senators needed good players and fast.

    Mykal was in awe of the whole experience. He had never been off-world before this trip, and had been rather apprehensive about coming in the first place due to space travel. Gark had assured his new son that it was OK to be frightened; it was how one learned and grew. The teenager was nervous on takeoff, but when the ship was in hyperspace, he calmed down.

    “So, Mykal, what do you think?” Gark asked. “Quite a venue, isn’t it?”

    “Yep,” Mykal said. “What’s a Draft like?”

    “It’s organized chaos,” Gark replied. “Lots of rumors flying around, lots of people thinking they know what’s going to happen ahead of time before it does. Basically a lot of energy put in one place.”

    Mykal didn’t understand what the Bothan meant, but he was sure that he would soon find out what this whole Draft thing was like. “So where are you going to be?” he asked.

    “Back in what we call the ‘War Room’,” Gark said. “It’s kind of an odd name, to be honest, but it harkens back to an older time. It’s where the personnel for each team that is participating in the draft stays for the entire event. We coordinate our plans there and make decisions on who to take and who to pass on. We also conduct trades there, both for picks and for players. Sometimes picks for future drafts are moved, and I’m sure some of that will happen today.”

    “Where do I stay?” Mykal asked.

    “You’re going to be at the team table,” Gark said. He walked over to a table that had a dark Holo screen on it. “When the Draft goes live, this screen,” he said, rapping the screen with a knuckle, “will show the team name and logo. I want you and Galin to stay here with one of our staffers and greet our new players whom we have drafted.”

    “That simple?” Mykal asked.

    “Well, it is in terms of the job I need you two to do,” Gark said. “But I want both of you on your best behavior. This is a serious event, and I don’t want people getting ideas that my family is dysfunctional. That means,” he said, looking to Galin, “no playing around. I want both of you sitting down for the entire event unless I say so from the War Room. If you don’t, you will be grounded. Understood?”

    “Yeah,” the young Bothan said.

    “We’ll see if you do,” Gark muttered under his breath.

    “So what do I say to the new players?” Mykal asked.

    “Welcome them to the team. I’m going to give you some info to say to them,” Gark said. “It will be attached to a datapad message. Make sure to study it a little before the Draft so that you’re ready. Got that, Mykal?”

    “Understood, sir,” Mykal said.

    “Let’s hope this is a good draft,” Gark said.




    Mykal’s back stiffened as he saw Leia Adama approach the team table. She was rather pretty; he didn’t know who she was, but her attractive figure was nice to look at. When the rookie was at the table, Mykal cleared his throat. “Um . . . hi,” he said. “Welcome to the Coruscant Senators.”

    “Why thank you,” Adama said. “Who are you, if I may ask?”

    “My name’s Mykal, and this is my younger brother Galin,” Mykal said. “We’re with Mr. S’rily.”

    “Aren’t you a cute little guy?” Adama asked, bending over a little to look at Galin. The young boy loved the attention. “So, do you want me to stick around here at the table, or go back into the crowd? Don’t worry, I’ll still sign with the team; I’m not leaving,” she said with a smile.

    “Um . . .” Mykal said, looking to the team staffer for help. The woman spoke up. “Mr. S’rily expressly asked us that all draft picks stay at the team table so that he can greet them all after the event in person, along with his staff members.”

    “Understood,” Adama replied. “Do you have a spare chair?” Mykal pulled a chair forward, and the draft pick sat down.

    “So, tell me a bit about yourselves,” she said to Mykal. “I’m Leia, by the way. Grown up on Bakura. My father was a captain for the Miners; won a Galactic Cup with them way back.”

    “Boo,” Galin said. “My dad doesn’t like the Miners.”

    “Let’s just say I grew up with them,” Adama said. “But I’ll be a Senator from the looks of it, and that’s fine with me. I entered the Draft to have a chance to maybe make a team other than the Miners; if they wanted to sign me out of college, they already would have offered me a contract. But they didn’t, so here I am, a draft pick. So, Mykal, is it?” Mykal silently nodded. “Tell me, how’d you land the lucky job of getting to be here at the team table?”

    “Mr. S’rily is my adoptive father,” Mykal said.

    “Really?” Adama asked. “That’s really cool, ya know? Must be a nice guy, because not everyone is cut out to be an adoptive parent, I’ve heard.”

    “I’m just glad they did,” Mykal said, his voice now trailing off. “I’m happy to be here.”

    “That makes two of us,” Adama said.

    Mykal wasn’t sure how to read the rookie, but at least she wasn’t mean or rude. That was a plus in his book.
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  6. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    Skipping ahead here. Don't worry; I have plenty of material coming after this. ;)

    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @jcgoble3, @Trieste

    Three months had passed since the Draft, and Gark wasn’t sure what to make of his new Senators squad. They certainly were a motley bunch; rookies, journeymen veterans, and a few faded stars made up the team right now. He didn’t like how things looked thus far, but the rebuild was on in full force, and he knew he had to make something of this team, no matter how bad it looked on paper.


    Re’lia Horstse, Me’lin’s younger sister, had reached a little over eight months on her pregnancy. The doctors had confirmed it as a girl, a fully-Twi’lek girl due to the fertilization process and the male Twi’lek Re’lia had never met whose genetic material now made up half of her new daughter. She had been excited for the possibilities, and they spent several days together swapping pregnancy stories, Me’lin from her one with Galin, and Re’lia going on about her current one. Her stomach was now massive, and she could barely get off the sofa. Dirxx had to help her get up and down. At least, Gark thought, he was the biological father of his unborn child at that time; Dirxx couldn’t say the same.

    Me’lin had for the most part ceased with the talk of having another child, which Gark appreciated. However, he could tell that his wife still had an inner yearning for another baby. He wasn’t sure how to approach that subject, but figured that at some point things would take their course. If she wanted another child, he would provide. If she didn’t, and he secretly hoped she wouldn’t, he would be fine with the decision. It was all on her.

    In other news, Mykal had been persuaded to try out for the school Limmie team. His P.E. coach had recommended him to the Limmie coaches because of his size and strength, and they had brought him in for a workout. As Wylsonridge High School was a public school, and the local high school in the district, this wasn’t much more than just to look at what he could do, and to talk with the teens parents. Having volunteered a few times for the local school district, Me’lin was known by the school, and when the head coach, a Kiffar man named Bert Kammell, came over, he quickly realized that he was dealing with the adopted son of potentially the most famous Limmie personality on the planet. However, he had bad news.

    “Mr. S’rily,” he said when sitting in the home of the famed Bothan. “Mykal looks to be a special athlete. He’s got size, speed, and can hit like a tank. There is no doubt about that. But I can see many red flags with his game, if he wants to do this. First off, he doesn’t know much about the game. Can’t have that. Second, he seems to be a dreamer; I need doers, not idealists on this team. We’ve struggled too long, and my job is to get a good team out there this year. I have some good system seniors rolling through right now, and they want to win. The school is breathing down my neck to at least be competitive.” The Kell Dragons had been a doormat program in their league for over a decade.

    “He can work on those things,” Gark said. He knew that Mykal could be a good player if he picked things up.

    “And then there are his grades, which I am afraid are not enough to make him academically eligible to play for us. As much as I would like to get him on the team to see if we could mold him into a solid player, I just don’t see him suiting up for us in the near future.”

    “Mykal’s working very hard on his grades, Bert,” Me’lin commented. She was sitting on the sofa with her husband. “He’s doing fine in summer school.”

    “I’m afraid that unless he picks things up, he won’t be able to dress for camp starting next month,” Bert said. “I’ve been told that he needs at least three B’s to get in, and right now I hear that’s not happening . . .”

    “Mykal will do it,” Me’lin said bluntly. “He’s a good kid. He’ll pick it up.”

    “I hope you’re right, Mrs. S’rily,” Bert said. “I certainly hope you’re right.”

    When the Kiffar left, Gark was left alone with Me’lin. Mykal had been in his room so that his adoptive parents could talk with the coach, and Galin was off in the other room playing video games. “Do you think he’ll be able to pick up his grades? Camp isn’t that far away, and summer school isn’t going to get any easier when he has that and Limmie practice in,” Gark asked.

    “Gark, don’t question Mykal’s abilities,” Me’lin replied in that same blunt tone. “He’ll get it on straight.”

    “I certainly hope you’re right,” Gark answered.

    “Why do you and everyone else think that he can’t do it?”

    “Because he doesn’t have the track record of it, that’s why,” Gark commented. “He's a terrible student, and no quick changes like this are going to demonstrate anything. Until he proves them wrong by keeping this progress up, he will still have the stigma of being a bad student.”

    “I don’t care what happened in the past. He will pull through. Now, enough talk about Mykal’s grades.”

    “Fine, then,” Gark said. “Why are you so feisty about it, though?”

    “I’m only that way when I have to be. Otherwise I’m a very mellow woman. Motherly instincts sometimes flare up when I get annoyed and want to protect my children.”

    “I’m still getting used to Mykal being our adopted son,” Gark admitted. “It just feels weird, because I never thought we would ever gain another child at any age. And now Mykal is part of the family . . . it’s just something I need to get used to.”

    “But one thing stays constant,” Me’lin said gently. “We’re still together, and we’ve got a good family. I think that’s pretty special.”

    “I do too,” Gark said with a nod.

    “I’m just worried about Mykal, though,” the Twi’lek said.

    “How so? You’ve been sticking up for him the whole time.”

    “It’s the same anxiety I have for Galin when he grows up. What happens if he gets injured playing Limmie? I don’t want any child of mine, biological or not, getting injured and then moaning that they shouldn’t have played. I’ve always had some doubts about player safety in the game.”

    “Then we have to trust that the coaches know what to do, if Mykal can qualify academically,” Gark replied. “Besides, if Mykal needs it, we can get him into the training facilities we have with the Senators. Hopefully they can patch him up as best they can, and he’ll be back out there.”

    “I just hope you’re right,” Me’lin said.
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  7. Trieste Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    You know, if I was a high school coach and the general manager of a professional team that plays my sport says, "This kid can improve in the areas he needs to so as to become a good player," I might listen a little more than Mr. Kammell does.
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  8. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    I know it seemingly has nothing to do with anything, but it ties up a loose end or two, so that's something, right? :D

    TAGS to @jcgoble3 @Tim Battershell @Trieste

    The call came when Me’lin was in the kitchen, cooking dinner for her family. She had to stop tending to the roast for a moment while she grabbed the handset from the wall and started to talk. Dirxx was on the other end of the line.

    “We’re at the hospital right now,” he said. “Lia’s about to burst.”

    “Is she doing alright?” Me’lin asked. She had been wondering how long it was before her sister was due.

    “As much as you can be when you have a living thing coming out of your gut,” Dirxx commented.

    “All I can say is that it hurts. A lot,” Me’lin replied. She had almost died after her childbirth process.

    “But other than that she’s looking fine. I take it sweating is perfectly normal?”

    “When your stomach is splitting open, a little sweat is rather normal,” the Twi’lek commented.

    “Geez, details I didn’t need,” Dirxx said. Some noises came from the background, of a woman screaming her head off in pain. “I’ll call back when the kid’s out.”

    Almost an hour passed before the communicator rang again. Dirxx was on again. “Well, it’s all over now. We’ve got a new family member.”

    “How is her mother doing?”

    “Exhausted,” Dirxx said. “I don’t blame her; that was rather traumatic, to say the least. I never had to deal with anything like that in my playing career, that’s for sure.”

    “Just be happy you didn’t have to go through all that,” Me’lin said.

    “Hence why I’m happy to be a guy, and the one who gets to make this call instead of almost passing out,” the Besalisk said.

    “You have a name yet?”

    “No, not yet. Lia’s too tired to make a decision on that front right now, so we’ll wait a few hours before she is able to speak again.”

    “That bad?”

    “Let’s just say that it was a little rough. Luckily, I think this will dissuade her from ever wanting to go through with this again.”

    “It’s not all bad. I was happy to be pregnant.”

    “As long as you enjoyed the process of making one, then that’s up to you. I’m sure Gark loved it.”

    “I’m sure he did. You men are all alike, enjoying your little bit of pleasure in the process at the beginning and then standing back for the rest of the agony that your wives have to endure.”

    “Hey now, I was replaced by genetic material in a can. I didn’t even initiate the process. Some luck I have,” Dirxx said. “Anyways, we’ll be at the hospital for a while longer, so if you want to come down and join us, you’re more than welcome to.”

    “I will be right down after dinner,” Me’lin said. She hung up and finished cooking the roast. Dinner was on, and afterwards she and Gark headed down to the hospital. They got to see the new child; the little girl was starting to look around with bulbous eyes, trying to soak in all this new information. Re’lia was still gassed, but she was excited to share her new baby with her sister.

    “She’s beautiful,” Me’lin said as she looked over the tiny Twi’lek. “Do you have a name for her?”

    “Nadine,” Re’lia said. “I thought it was the best name I could come up with.”

    “That’s nice,” Me’lin said.

    “Have fun,” Gark commented to his former team captain.

    “Trust me, I’m not looking forward to the next few months,” Dirxx said glumly. “I won’t get any sleep, that’s for sure.”

    “Being a parent is a pain in the ass,” Gark commented.

    “In either case, both of us are going to be tired soon. You with the team, me with the baby. Very tired,” Dirxx said.

    “Yep. And I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing,” Gark said. Hopefully the team wouldn’t be that bad to get back on track. If it was, he wasn’t sure how he’d handle it. So many things were uncertain, and that only bred issues.
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  9. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    It was the first day of training camp for the Wylsonridge Kell Dragon Limmie team, and Mykal Oha was suiting up for the first time. He had worked his ass off the past month in summer school and was now eligible to play sports at the school. But he didn’t seem to be liked much by the other kids. They looked at him and were probably bad-mouthing him behind his back. But the teen had been used to that growing up, so it didn’t faze him much. Nothing more than ordinary in his topsy-turvy life.

    Over on the five-level bleachers that sat near the school practice field sat the S’rilys, Galin holding a holo recorder, Gark trying to read through a few things on his datapad before practice began, and Me’lin trying to just watch the action. She was curious to see how her adopted son would do.

    Coach Bert Kammel blew his whistle, and the practice began. The Kiffar had Mykal lined up at full back, which Gark agreed with. He had his share of solid full backs with the Senators in Team HoFer Shev Fil’yer and Cup-winning Doon’sun. So he knew the value of size at that position.

    The offense, wearing red jerseys over their practice uniforms, came down the field. Mykal stood near the goal, not moving. “I can’t see!” the goalie complained to him.

    Mykal tried to move over, but then a forward came in and caught a long pass. Mykal was out of position, and the forward quickly put in a goal.

    “Come on, man, you have to be on your toes!” the goalie, a scrawny human named Tony, said. “I can’t see through you!”

    “Sorry,” Mykal mumbled as he turned around for the next rep.

    Three more times the ball came into Mykal’s airspace, and he was easily fooled all three times. Four tries, four goals for the offense against the big man in his first practice.

    “What the hell are you doing, Oha?” Kammel asked as he came up to the big teen. He then grabbed Mykal’s uniform and got his face closer. “You aren’t even trying!”

    “Sorry,” Mykal said again, looking down at the ground.

    “Limmie isn’t about standing around, it’s about action!” the Kiffar said.

    “Bert!” Me’lin yelled. She had been standing on the sidelines, and now walked over to the head coach. “Let me handle this,” she said as she walked up to the two.

    “Fine,” Bert said before walking away.

    “Mykal, you’re not doing well,” the Twi’lek said.

    “I know,” Mykal replied sullenly.

    “And I know it’s hard for you in your first practice. But you can do it. I believe in you.”

    “Coach doesn’t,” Mykal said.

    “He’s under a lot of stress. Things will mellow out, I promise.”

    “And the other players think I’m worthless. If Coach doesn’t like me, I’ll never make it.”

    “Forget what he thinks. Forget what the other players think. You can show them. I’ll give you an analogy.” She went over and pulled Tony over, the goalie surprised to be pulled along so easily. She brought the kid in front of Mykal. “This is Tony. He’s your goalkeeper. Now, your job is to protect him so that he doesn’t let any points go in. You got that? You are a full back, so your task is to keep Tony upright and to help him do his job. When you look at him, think of Galin. In the crash, you protected him by blocking the airbag. You have to do that for Tony every time an opponent comes into your area.”

    She then shooed the goalie away, and got another kid to come forward. “This is Doog. He’s your center half back. You have to have his back when he needs help. When you look at him, think of me. You had my back when I went to your old home; I felt safe there, Mykal, because you were there to protect me in case things went wrong. Now I need you to treat Doog the same way. When he needs help, you have to be there for him, just like you were with me.”

    “Can Mr. S’rily be on the team too?” Mykal asked.

    “Sure, why not?” Me’lin replied. “Point is, Mykal, this team is your family. As much as you have one in us at home, these players are your second family. Protect them when they need it, and help them when they struggle. Don’t be afraid to stick up for your teammates. Got that?”

    “Yeah,” Mykal said.

    “Good. Now go and get them,” Me’lin said with a slap on her adopted son’s shoulder. As she walked away, the boys on the team stared as she went. Either they were admiring her rump, or they were stunned to see how she had just drilled such pointers into the new kid’s head.

    “Start ‘em up again, Bert,” Me’lin said as she waddled past the Kiffar. The man had an odd look on his face, but then he looked back at his players, who were still staring in his direction.

    “Wanna run a play?” he asked, half-exasperated.

    The teams lined up once more, and Mykal got into his stance. The offense came down the field, the center half forward passing it off to the right corner forward, who then looped around. Doog got burned slightly and had to give chase. The full forward came in on the play and tried to post Mykal up. However, as he tried to make a run to the opposite side of the box, Mykal blasted him. The kid tumbled down to the ground. When the center half forward beat out Doog for the spot he wanted, he set up for the shot. However, Mykal took a quick glance at the goalie.

    When you look at Tony, think of Galin.

    Mykal focused back on the forward and shoved him out of the way with a rough push. The boy fell to the ground and fumbled the ball. Doog picked it up, and the whistle blew.

    Bert was shocked to see what had happened to his new full back. On the next few repetitions, he had done his job time and again, protecting Tony in goal. Not a single shot that went into his area had even left the hands of the forwards after fifteen reps.

    Finally, Bert had to know what was going on. The players were taking a water break, and he went over to the sidelines. Me’lin didn’t even turn when the Kiffar approached. “What did you tell him?” Bert asked after a momentary pause.

    “You really need to get to know your players, Bert,” the Twi’lek commented in an off-hand manner. “He scored a 98 on protective instincts. Sometimes a little research goes a long way.”

    At the cooler, Tony approached Mykal. “I don’t know what she told you, but you were killing it out there,” the boy said.

    “Thanks,” Mykal said.

    “What did she say?”


    Mykal just grinned. “Exactly what I needed to hear,” he replied. Those words spoke volumes.
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  10. Trieste Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Me'lin should consider going back to work with the Senators, but this time as a sports psychologist.

    Also, I can't wait to hear who she tells Mykal Alana Glencross is in this analogy. I'm betting "air bag." :p
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  11. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    You all remember that vote I gave out a few weeks ago with Options A and B? Now you're going to find out what you voted for. ;)

    TAGS to @Tim Battershell @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    Gark sat at the kitchen table, going over some things on his datapad. The Limmie season wasn’t too far away, and he was making sure that everything was in working order before the season opener against Euceron. It was going to be a major year for the Senators, and thus everything had to be perfect. Fans needed to come to the game, refreshments needed to be served, and all overhead costs needed to be covered. It was a complex operation, a Limmie game, and Gark was a man of numbers. He knew how important having the correct figures was to the profitability of a team. Although the Senators weren’t a perfect money-making machine like the Bakura Miners, he liked to turn a profit if at all possible. Even if they broke even, at least they wouldn’t lose money, like happened the prior year. He was still miffed at that.

    Mykal was finishing up his last practice of the preseason at Wylsonridge, and the Kell Dragons were going to soon be in action on the field. Gark was unsure of how the teenager would be when the real games began, but he had three years to work on it, at least, so there was time to develop. He had been in the game long enough to know that sometimes it took a player a few years to finally pan out. Many of his former stars had been like that, players in need of the right situation to bloom into great Limmie players. His brother Galin was at a preview event at the local school for kindergarten with his mother; it was hard to believe the boy was ready to go to school for the first time. Where had the last five years gone, anyways?

    Gark put his datapad down and got lost in thought. He hoped Galin well when he finally attended his first day of school, but he knew that the boy would have some issues to overcome. First of all, he was the son of a very famous personality. That would likely get him into trouble if he developed an ego, or if other kids wanted to press the issue. Second, the mental trauma of the Binn Kinshry torture might still be fresh in the mind of the child. He had seen his mother raped in front of his very eyes, and it had taken Me’lin a long time to get over that calamity. Could a young child who didn’t understand but was still emotionally upset about it forget those bad memories? What about the time he was locked in the cellar on Trimfi, crying out for his parents in longing although they were off saving the Trimfians from certain doom? Galin seemed to be in the wrong place growing up, and his father hoped it wouldn’t scar his son to have experienced such pain. Third, would he be an excellent student like his parents had both been, diligent and studious? Or would he struggle with school like Mykal was? It wasn’t Mykal’s fault, of course, but Galin didn’t have the rough upbringing that the teenager did, at least not in the same fashion. These thoughts continued to swirl in his mind.

    Finally Mykal showed up on the doorstep, his uniform covered in grass stains. Gark asked the teen how practice had gone, and Mykal replied this he was tired but feeling uplifted. “Coach has me starting at full back,” he said, grinning.

    “Great job!” Gark said, slapping Mykal on the back. “You’re making us proud, Mykal, very proud.”

    The teen smiled and went to his room, where he likely crashed onto his bed and recovered from the exertions of practice. Gark went back to looking at his datapad, but it wasn’t long before another speeder pulled up and Me’lin and Galin walked in the door.

    “How was the preview event?” Gark asked his wife.

    “They have a nice facility at the school for that grade level. Galin should fit right in,” the Twi’lek said.

    “I made a new friend!” Galin said excitedly.

    “Galin, run along and take a break. Your father and I need to discuss some things,” Me’lin said. Galin happily ran off into the other room, and Gark followed his wife into their bedroom, confused. Me’lin shut the door behind them.

    “Was it so good of an event that now you feel the need to make out?” Gark asked, still not understanding what was going on.

    “No, it’s not that . . .” Me’lin said. “I’m just worried about Galin. It’s going to be rough for him to be away from us. He’s had a hard life thus far.”

    “I know,” Gark replied. He had gone over these same thoughts an hour earlier.

    “But it’s the only way he’s going to grow,” Me’lin said with a sigh. “I guess I’m just afraid to let go.”

    “He’s still going to be living with us, you know. Just has school instead of being home all the time.”

    “He’s growing so fast,” the Twi’lek said.

    “I know,” Gark replied. “It doesn’t seem that long ago when you were carrying him, and we were as reluctant parents as could possibly be. But that’s in the past. Galin’s no longer a baby, and we don’t have to worry about caring to all his needs anymore. That was tough, and I would never want to go through all of that again. He was a fun boy to play with at that age, but it was a long slog at times.”

    “Gark . . . that reminds me. I need to tell you something else, about that,” Me’lin said.

    “What’s that?”

    “About what you just said . . . it’s not over for us, not for a long time.”

    “What are you talking about?” Gark asked.

    Me’lin paused for a few seconds, and then took a deep breath. “I’m pregnant,” she finally said.

    Gark blinked hard. This couldn’t possibly be; Me’lin was pregnant again? How could that have happened? They were always so careful to avoid that . . . and then it hit him. The night of deep passion they had shared a month and a half earlier replayed itself quickly in his mind, and he immediately knew that they had conceived that night.

    Me’lin grabbed Gark’s hand. “I know we didn’t try for another baby, but now that it’s happened . . . I want to have the child.”

    “But you almost died the last time,” Gark said. He could still vividly remember the ugly scene that had been Galin’s birth. The boy had a rough entrance into life, and his mother had come very close to perishing.

    “I know. But I’m willing to go through with this pregnancy,” his wife said softly. “For both of us. We can be new parents again. And having another child with you is something I am OK with,” she said, now squeezing her husband’s hand a little bit. “But I need to know . . . are you fine with it?”

    Gark had to think on this. Galin had been an accidental baby, and now they had another child on the way in the same fashion. Could the young boy be relegated to second-best in the family when the new baby was born? What about Mykal? The adoption process had been meant to prevent Me’lin from wanting another child, but now they had little choice. Biology had decided that this was to be so.

    “Yes,” he finally said. “Although it’s going to be a lot of work, I promised you after Galin was born that if you truly wanted another baby, I would provide for you. So it may not be my preferred option, but as long as you’re happy with it . . .”

    Me’lin smiled. “I am. Because my loving husband and I will have another child to care for and call our own.”

    “What about Mykal? We can’t forget about him. Or about Galin,” Gark said.

    “I’ve been thinking . . .” Me’lin said. “I should probably quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom when the baby is born.”

    “Please don’t,” Gark urged his wife. “I need you as the team secretary. You remember how bad the temps were when you missed time with Galin. I can’t let that happen again.”

    “But Gark, it’s something I may want in the future,” Me’lin said. “Staying at home with a baby is something a mother loves most. And I want to show this child that I deeply care for them. If that means quitting my job, so be it. Besides, we have enough income as it is.”

    “Is there anything I can say to prevent you from doing that?” Gark inquired.

    “Maybe provide me enough incentive,” Me’lin said. She gave Gark a sly grin.

    “OK. Here goes,” Gark said. He pulled his wife towards him and the two shared a very passionate kiss before they disrobed. They then spent the next hour enjoying each other’s company in bed, Gark appreciating the passion he was able to share with his now-pregnant wife. They wouldn’t be able to have times like this often in the future, so hopefully this was enough incentive to stop Me’lin from quitting her job.

    The future was always in motion, they said, but Gark hoped that the future of his family was going to be positive with the new addition.
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  12. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    TAGS to @jcgoble3, @Trieste, @Tim Battershell

    High School Limmie.

    What was basically a religion in some star systems was a major facet of the curricular calendar of Coruscant high schools. Tonight was the first game of the season for Wylsonridge High, facing off against league rival Vendenbirt. The Commodores had advanced to the classification semifinals the prior year, and featured a star in full forward Keison Heroon. Heroon had been given a four-star prospect rating by the major scouting agencies, was ranked as the fourth-best full forward prospect on the planet, and had at least fifteen D-I scholarship offers from various institutions as the University of Coruscant, the University of Corellia, Bella Vistal, Druckenwell Technical University, and college darlings Republican University. He was going to prove to be an impossible task for Mykal Oha as he readied himself for his first-ever Limmie game.

    “No pressure, Mike,” Tony said to him in the locker room. “If you can’t stop Heroon, don’t feel too bad. I hear that no one stops him.”

    “I’ll do what I can,” Mykal said.

    “All right, listen up!” Bert Kammel said to his team. “This is the beginning of another season of Kell Dragon Limmie. And it’s not going to be easy. Vendenbirt is a great program, with great coaching and players. We can win tonight, but that will require us to not play just ordinary Limmie. We have to dominate out there. The home crowd will give us some advantage, but that won’t be enough. Stay on your matchups, and be smart out there.”

    When the team assembled behind the big banner that said “Go Team! Raise Hell!”, Mykal looked at one of the cheerleaders in the line. The tall girl had a huge smile on her face . . . he liked her hair.

    “Hey, Mike, you checkin’ out the cheer squad already?” Doog asked.

    “Yeah.”

    “Who you got your eyes on?”

    “That one,” Mykal said, pointing to the girl.

    “Geez, Mike, you might as well have chosen any other one,” the junior said.

    “Why?”

    “That’s Kortney Stammish. She’s the school body president, and she’s just a junior! Got elected her freshman year, and has been on various other committees. Always gets the best grades. Top cheerleader on the squad, too. Team captain.”

    “I don’t see . . .”

    “She’s a hard one to snag. A boy on our team last year was her boyfriend for a while, but she ate him up.”

    “Ate him up?”

    “Let’s just say that he wasn’t exactly the kindest guy,” Doog said. “And she let him have it after he did something really stupid. She can be a real firecracker, from what I hear.”

    Now Mykal was very nervous. He liked Stammish’ hair, but if she was more trouble than it was worth . . .”

    “Oha, you ready for this?” said the senior team captain.

    “I’ll do what I can,” Mykal said.

    “I just hope that’s good enough,” the captain said. “Now, let’s do this!” The team rushed through the banner, breaking it on impact. The band began to play, and the fans in the stands went wild to see their home team come out. They were dressed in their green uniforms with black pants and orange trim, contrasting against the white and gold of the Commodores.

    Mykal settled into position at full back. Heroon just flipped his locks and gave Mykal an amused look. “You may look big, tough guy, but I bet you’re just a momma’s boy,” he said, taunting the sophomore.

    “Shut up,” Mykal said.

    “Ooh, now I’m frightened,” Heroon mocked. “Let’s settle this little dispute on the pitch. Don’t be surprised if I put up ten today; that was my average last season. But you wouldn’t be the first, so take heart in it, big guy. When I put up twenty, then you should hang your head in shame.”

    Mykal didn’t say anything. He closed his eyes and went back to the thoughts in his head. He remembered the hard practices, the words Coach Kammel had said to him before he had been sent away by his adoptive mother. All the schoolwork, the summer school, the elation of passing the test to get to see the Elite League Draft in person . . . the words Me’lin had told him.

    This team is your family.

    The whistle blew, and Mykal opened his eyes. It was game time.

    In the crowded stands sat the S’rilys. Galin was struggling to see over the person in front of him, so he was constantly fidgeting. The holo recorder was in his hand, ready to use in case something awesome happened. Gark sat there stoically, hoping that no one would recognize him and ask for his autograph. Either that, or try to kill him for the terrible season his team had turned in the prior year. Me’lin was silently hoping that this game wouldn’t be a disaster.

    “There’s Mykal,” she said to Galin, pointing to the teen.

    “He’s gonna win, right?” the boy asked.

    “We’ll see, baby. We’ll see,” the Twi’lek said.

    When the game began, the Commodores took quick charge. Heroon took a pass on a fly pattern from the right half forward, and then came up to face Mykal. The sophomore stood his ground, but a nice pick from one of Heroon’s teammates stunned him momentarily. Then Heroon blasted around him and punched in the first score of the game as Mykal struggled to get his hands out to stop the star.

    “That’s my boy!” yelled an obnoxious man in the stands, obviously the elder Heroon. “You losers don’t stand a chance when he scores! This one is all over!”

    “You’ll be eating your words soon enough,” Me’lin muttered under her breath. Mykal just needed time to get acclimated, that was all. He was a smart kid; he’d get into the groove soon enough.

    But the problem was that he didn’t. Heroon went and picked up another two goals on the new full back, and the obnoxious fan in the stands was getting louder.

    “Who in the hell do these losers have playing full back? They might as well have a statue out there!”

    Me’lin’s anger was building. She wanted to pop the self-righteous idiot in the face for insulting her son, but she was too nice to do that sort of thing. So she sat there and stewed as the Commodores came down the field again.

    Mykal tried to get on Heroon, but the senior was too smart. When the ball came his way, he forced contact with the full back and flopped onto the ground. “Agh! Penalty!” he yelled. “He pushed me!”

    “Foul!” the referee yelled. “Free kick, white!”

    “What?” Bert Kammel yelled on the sidelines. “He flopped!”

    “That was a foul, so deal with it,” the ref on his side of the field said.

    Heroon didn’t convert the penalty kick, but on the next round got Mykal, once again playing aggressive, to “foul” him.

    “Foul!” the ref yelled again. He threw his yellow flag to signal that something had been done that incurred a penalty.

    “What the hell? He’s faking the fouls!” Kammel said. Mykal was coming over to the sideline to talk to his coach, but now he could see that the Kiffar was going to potentially go too far.

    “Stand down, Kammel, or you’re going to get tossed!” the referee, who also happened to be a neighborhood barber, said in a threatening tone.

    “This is crap!” Kammel yelled, but Mykal grabbed onto him.

    “Coach, let it go,” the sophomore said.

    “I won’t!” the Kiffar complained.

    “I’m warning you, Kammel!” the referee said again.

    “Coach, I can handle this,” Mykal said.

    “You know what?” Kammel said to the ref. “This kid right here is on my team. And that means that I’m going to stand up for him, you got that? If that means I get tossed, so be it. He’s my player, and I’ve got his back!”

    Mykal stood there for a few seconds, completely stunned by what he had just heard. Kammel had just stated that Mykal was one of the team, and that he as coach would protect them. Finally the big teen smiled.

    “It’s OK, coach. I got your back,” he said. He then went over and picked up the flag off the field and handed it back to the referee without saying a word. His team was huddling up, so he went to join them. But he noticed that Stammish was looking at him. He flashed her a quick smile before going into the huddle.

    “Reverse field rush, gap play,” he said.

    “What?” the team captain asked.

    “Just run the gap play again,” Mykal said. He had a fire in his eyes that his teammates had never seen before.

    “OK, whatever, gap play on three. We have the penalty, and then we can make the play,” the captain said. “One, two, three! Break!”

    The Commodores had a bad angle from which to play the ball, so Heroon passed it off to a teammate. When the pretty boy came up, he taunted Mykal. “Coach ain’t here to protect you now,” he said.

    As Mykal stood his ground, Me'lin's words flashed through his mind. This team is your family, Mykal. He then opened his eyes, knowing exactly what he had to do.

    The ball started in play once again, and the Commodores were on the attack. Heroon tried to fall down, but Mykal stepped back to avoid being called again. Heroon was undeterred and got back up again, now posting Mykal up near the goal.

    “Mike! Keep him away! Give us space!” Tony yelled from the goal.

    Then the right corner back made an interception. The gap reverse play was on. Heroon had turned around, but ran straight into Mykal. The big man then started to push Heroon along, the senior unable to get away from the teen’s grasp.

    Over on the sidelines, Coach Kammel watched his corner back run up the field with the ball. “Go! Cut! Go left! Cut it there!” he shouted. The fans were on their feet; this was an awesome trick play.

    Mykal kept pushing Heroon into Commodore defensive territory, and everyone got out of his way as he came plowing through. The corner back made a nice play on the ball and dodged a defender on his way towards the goal.

    But Galin was watching his brother. Filming the entire scene, he stood up and followed the action as best he could.

    The corner back then passed it off to a waiting full forward, who deposited the ball into the back of the net for three points. But Mykal wasn’t done. He pushed Heroon off the field, and finally dumped him over the advertising boards surrounding the field. This brought a gasp from the crowd; they had just seen the tail end of that play.

    The referee blew his whistle and threw the penalty flag. He conferred with the side ref, and Kammel was close enough to talk to them about it.

    “What was it? Interference?” the Kiffar asked.

    “No,” the referee said.

    “Illegal formation?” Kammel asked again.

    “Not quite.”

    “Holding?”

    “Well . . . by definition, no.”

    “Then what was the foul?” Kammel inquired.

    “I don’t even know,” the head ref said, shaking his head. “We’ll call it ‘excessive blocking’.”

    When Mykal returned to the sidelines, the crowd cheered for him. He came up to Kammel. "Sorry, coach. I played until I heard the whistle."

    “Where were you taking him?” the Kiffar asked his big man.

    “To the bus. It was time for him to go home,” Mykal said, a big grin on his face.

    Kammel’s face brightened as he figured out what that meant. “Good job, Oha! Great going!” he said, slapping Mykal on the shoulder. The crowd cheered again. “Now take a few seconds of rest and get back out there! We’re not done yet!”

    Heroon’s teammates were helping the senior off the field. He had obviously been injured on the play, and they had to partially carry him off. Either that or he was just stunned. This caused the obnoxious fan in the stands to quiet down. Me’lin took this opportunity to stick it in the man’s face. She turned around to face him. “Hey, self-righteous!” she yelled. He turned to look at her. “That amazing job of blocking just now? Number 74? That’s my son,” she said, a wry grin on her face. Some of the other Wylsonridge fans went “ooh” and “aah” at the insult, and the man stayed quiet.

    Play resumed, and Mykal found himself up against a complete weakling at full forward. The kid couldn’t have weighed more than 140 pounds, and he was scrawny as all get out. He looked up at Mykal, who had a good four inches on him, and he looked terrified. When the Commodores came into the offensive zone once more, Mykal gave the kid a hit as he tried to make a play. The kid went down easily, and was taken out of the play. Doog made a diving interception, and the ball went the other way. Mykal reached down and offered his hand to the kid, who grabbed hold and got pulled back to his feet. He was afraid of the giant who he had to play against.

    The Kell Dragons began to pull back into the game, but they had some help. Without Heroon, the Commodores fell apart. Mykal was playing lockdown defense, and the lead began to shrink. Finally they tied it up, and then quickly took the lead after an interception that led to three points. Mykal made another stop, and a bar point went up. He looked to the sideline; Heroon was done for the game, and a smile came to the teen’s face. He had certainly taken the senior star to the bus.

    When the game was over, the Kell Dragons walked out with a six-point win. Coach Kammel was given the Gundarkade bath, and he shivered as the cold liquid poured over his shoulders. But he instantly went to Mykal to congratulate him.

    “Well played, Mykal!” he said. “You keep playing like that, and you’re going to be All-League someday!”

    “Thanks, Coach,” Mykal said. He looked over to the sidelines; Stammish was there packing up her things. He had to talk to her, had to introduce himself. But his teammates wouldn’t let him get that far, so he had to watch from a distance. Stammish turned around and then flashed him a smile before walking off with a teenage boy, obviously her current boyfriend. That disheartened Mykal a little, but he didn’t care too much about it. His team had won the game, and it was time to be happy.

    “Mykal! Mykal!” a familiar voice came. The teen turned around to see his family come towards him. He got a big hug from Me’lin,got to high-five Galin, and Gark gave him some words of encouragement. It was a win all around.

    The next day, Blockin’ Mykal Oha was the talk of the whole school. A lot of people he didn’t know, and who would have once made fun of him, came up to him. But this time they congratulated him. In the cafeteria, instead of shunning him to the side like they had the prior year, the jocks allowed him to sit with them. Mykal took all this in stride, but inside he was happy to finally be accepted.

    In the hallway, he saw Stammish at one point after third period. She was with her boyfriend, but she waved to him. Mykal nodded back as she walked past. At least he was getting recognized. Things were looking up already.


    OOC: If it hasn't already become obvious where I'm getting this from, I'll give you a hint.





    Start about 2:20 or so

    jcgoble3 likes this.
  13. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    Wonderful! Now, he can play limmie, but can he get the girl, too? :D
  14. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    Kind of a silly post, but I can easily say none of you will expect what's coming. :D

    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    Gark sat on the sofa watching HoloNet, completely bored. The Limmie season didn’t start for another week and a half, and he was getting antsy. The season was so close, yet so far away, he couldn’t stand it. The itch to finally win a game was constantly nagging at him, and he just wished the Euceron game would finally get here so that he could see his team in action. Mykal’s Limmie game two nights earlier had been a success, and the teen was excited about his future in the game. It was a good influence for him, the Bothan GM thought to himself. For a boy who had likely never won anything in his life, such a victory on the Limmie field, with his performance, was a huge accomplishment.

    Mykal was in his room studying, or supposedly studying. Gark wasn’t sure how difficult the homework was in the first few weeks of school at Wlysonridge High, but it likely wasn’t too bad just yet. Galin had spent his first week in school, and had been positive about it. Me’lin had her first ultrasound, and according to the doctors the pregnancy was going along fine. So all was good.

    The comlink on the table buzzed, and Gark lazily picked it up. “Hello?” he said into it.

    “Hey, old buddy, what’s up?” came the unmistakable voice of Ondal Nalcrissan. “Haven’t called you in a long time! How are things?”

    “Hey,” Gark said to his old college buddy. It had been years since he had seen Ondal, and that had been during the heat of the Ciscerian Barbosa crisis. Surely things had changed with the human since then. “A lot has changed. It would be a long story.”

    “Hey, I’d like to listen to your story and all, but how about you and me go on a little trip? Ya know, a road trip for a few days. I know your team plays at home in a week and a half, so why not get out for a few days before that?”

    “I don’t know,” Gark said. “Got kids in school right now. Wife may not want me gone.”

    “Eh, try anyways. If you’re willing, I’ll stop by. Got my ship packed and everything, and I’d be to your place by tomorrow.”

    Gark had to stop and think. He still had a little resentment with Ondal for sleeping with Me’lin while he was stuck in carbonite, but then the man had helped them stop Barbosa. He had since forgiven his old friend. But what would Me’lin say? After all, she was pregnant, and had two boys to keep track of plus the forming child in her stomach. Would she let him go?

    “Where did you have in mind?” the Bothan asked.

    “I was gonna swing by Balfron and get in some casino time. I’ve been itching to play some high-level sabaac for quite a while, and figured it would be a great place to hang out for a few days. I hear the High Stakes Casino is a glitzy joint.”

    “So a good old-fashioned gambling trip, eh?” Gark asked. He hadn’t played sabaac in a long time; he had learned the game from Ondal in college, and then had played in a rec league at the school. No money had been exchanged, but his skills had grown. After graduation, he had played a few small tournaments, making a bit of money to supplement his income at Andromeda. But he hadn’t played a real game of sabaac in at least a decade; Me’lin didn’t like gambling, and he was busy with other things anyways.

    “Come on, man. A few games of sabaac won’t kill you,” Ondal urged.

    “OK. I’ll see if the wife will let me go,” Gark said. He figured that he needed a break from life, anyways.

    “That’s the spirit!” Ondal said. “Call back when you find out.”

    Gark cut the connection and then walked into the kitchen. Me’lin was cooking lunch, and she looked up at her husband as he approached from her crouch by the oven. “It won’t be ready for another twenty minutes, at least,” she said.

    “Ondal just called.”

    “Ondal? Nalcrissan?” Me’lin asked. Gark nodded. “What did he want?”

    “Wanted to take a guy trip for a few days.”

    “But the season starts in about . . .”

    “Ten days, I know. We’ll be back in four days or so,” Gark said.

    “Where are you going?”

    “Erm . . . a bunch of places . . .”

    “Where are you going?” Me’lin asked again, a trace of annoyance in her voice.

    “We’re going to stop by Balfron, OK?” Gark said.

    “Balfron? You’re going gambling?”

    “Eh, Ondal was going anyways, so I figured I would tag along.”

    “Gark, you know how I hate gambling. It’s a despicable habit,” Me’lin said. Gark bit his lip; she was going to tell him no. He had been gambling under her nose already with Rossum Bookmakers, and now might do some more while she was here on Coruscant. Apparently he was a high-rolling guy without really trying. “But it’s obvious to me that you’re stressed sitting around the house. I can tell when you’re uptight,” she said. “So I think getting out for a few days and forgetting about Limmie is the wise option. Even to Balfron.”

    “So that’s a yes?” Gark asked, hoping that it was.

    “I guess so,” Me’lin said. “I can handle the fort for a few days. Just don’t stay too long, though, honey, because I do miss you after a while.”

    “I’ll make sure to be back here with time to spare before the season begins,” Gark said. “That’s a promise.”

    “Make sure to tell the boys that you’re going,” Me’lin said. “They’ll want to know where you are.”

    “Not sure if telling Galin that I’m gambling is a good idea, or that I’m somewhere where people lose all their life savings in one game,” Gark commented.

    “Just tell him you’re going out for a few days. He’ll understand.”

    “I hope you’re right,” Gark said. He called Ondal back and confirmed the trip, and then went into Galin’s room. The boy was playing with some action figures on his bed. Gark could see a few battle droids being wiped out by Republican troopers, Galin making sure the troopers won the battle easily over their lead-footed opponents. Gark softly knocked on the door, and Galin looked up.

    “Hi dad!” he said with a big smile.

    “Hey champ,” Gark said. He went over to Galin’s bed and sat down on it. “I’m going to leave tomorrow for a few days on vacation.”

    “Where you going?” the boy asked.

    “A planet called Balfron. They have a casino there.”

    “What’s that?”

    “It’s where people . . . play games,” Gark said, trying not to mention the prospect of losing money to the boy. He wouldn’t understand anyways, but Gark wanted to make sure.

    “Can I come?” Galin asked hopefully.

    “Sorry, sport, but you can’t,” Gark said. “Your job is to be ready for school tomorrow. I need a few days to myself before the game in two weeks.”

    “OK, dad,” Galin said. He looked disappointed, but Gark made sure to ruffle the boy’s head fur a little bit with his hand.

    “It’s probably not going to be that great,” Gark said. “I have an old school friend I’m going to be hanging out with. Just like you, I had friends in school. You just need to make sure you are in contact with yours more than I am with mine.”

    The two played with the action figures until lunch, after which Gark broke the news to Mykal. The teen seemed indifferent about it, so Gark knew that he was good on that front. That night, he packed his bags, taking everything he knew he might need with him.



    Next Day

    “Look at that place!” Ondal commented as they pulled up to the casino in their rented speeder. The High Stakes Casino was a giant place; Gark had heard that there were several casinos inside, almost like a resort. A large hotel was also inside, where the two would be staying for the three nights they would be here.

    “It’s huge, just like the stadium,” Gark added.

    “Wonder if we’ll find the front door,” Ondal said. He parked the speeder on the curb, and a valet came over.

    “Can I take your vehicle, sir?” the man asked.

    “Sure,” Ondal said. “You have a garage around here somewhere?”

    “Around back,” the valet said.

    “Don’t worry, I’ve got the cash to pay for it,” Gark said. He paid the valet, and the speeder pulled away from the curb towards where the garage was. A minute later, the valet came back and gave them a receipt.

    “Thank you for coming, gentlemen, and enjoy your experience,” the valet said with a nod.

    The two men walked in the front door, and were suddenly immersed in the sounds of money won and lost, of yelling, screaming, groaning, groveling, and the sounds of credits being transferred in all directions. “You know, I think I’m gonna like this place,” Ondal said.

    They went to the front desk and checked in. Ondal gave his usual smile to the attractive woman working the desk, but she paid him no mind. They got their room keys and then went to the lift. They got off at the fourth floor and went to their room.

    “I think this is the first time we’ve shared a room since college,” Ondal said as he slid his card through the slot. The light blinked green, and he went inside and flipped on the lights. Gark followed him inside and set his bags down on the far-side bed. Ondal flopped onto the closer bed to the door. “That was a long time ago, over twenty-five years ago.”

    “Almost thirty years ago,” Gark corrected his friend. “Where has the time gone?”

    “Geez, thirty? I guess I’ve lost track of time,” Ondal said. “So, how’s life treating you?”

    “Fine. Adopted a teenager, and now he’s playing full back on the varsity Limmie team at the local high school,” Gark said.

    “Found a natural talent, eh?” Ondal asked. “That school is damn lucky you found this kid.”

    “And Lin’s, well, you remember my wife . . . she’s pregnant with our second child,” Gark said.

    “She’s a mighty fine woman, as I recall,” Ondal said. “How long ‘til she’s due?”

    “We figure another five or six months,” Gark said. “Plenty of time to prepare for another child. That’ll give us three kids to keep track of.”

    “Hey, good luck with that,” Ondal said.

    “You ever find a woman?” Gark asked.

    “Yeah, as a matter of fact I am now happily married,” Ondal said.

    “Great going,” Gark said, nodding. “What’s her name?”

    “Ber’nice,” Ondal said. “Man, she’s got everything I could want. She’s smart, funny, and is great in bed. We’ve got a baby on the way too; we figure about two months until she pops.”

    “Why didn’t I get an invitation to the wedding?” Gark asked. “I would’ve been your Best Man for you.”

    “We wanted to keep it on the down low,” Ondal said. “I’m not much for a fancy party.”

    “Says the playboy,” Gark said with a smirk.

    “Hey, I’m trying not to do that anymore,” Ondal commented. “Ber’nice has tamed me some. Not fully, but I’m a lot less crazy now that I have her.”

    “So here we are, two soon-to-be dads on a buddy trip,” Gark said. He looked up at the ceiling for a moment before turning his attention back to Ondal.

    “Maybe we’ll find some nice women here. You know, win some credits, drink some booze, and have a fling or two while we’re here,” the human said.

    “You haven’t changed,” Gark replied.

    “I have. You just fail to notice it.”

    The two of them had some dinner at one of the many restaurants in the casino, and then went back to the room. Gark decided that he would get some sleep, and Ondal figured it would be a good idea. Had to start early on the casino games, he said. Gark just rolled his eyes at this and fell asleep.





    A full day of playing casino games and just lounging around had now brought the two buddies to the night slot, when the real games began. The casual gamers had retired to their rooms, and the serious junkies were starting to appear. The high-stakes sabaac games were set up, and Ondal made sure to get in on one. “They say you can win an entire planet here,” he said.

    “I wonder where they find them,” Gark said.

    “Who cares?” Ondal asked. “I’ll take a planet if I can get it. The wife might like a private resort planet.”

    Gark snorted. If he came home with the title deed to an entire planet, Me’lin would probably have a conniption. “You’re not going to go after one, are you?”

    “Nah, I’m not going to be at the high roller table yet,” Ondal said. “I’ll be at the second one, but I hear the real ringers are the ones at the other table. That’s where the serious deals go down, when it’s no holds barred.” He sat down at the table, and Gark watched him play. Ondal masterfully destroyed his opponents, winning the hand pot and finally the game with skill. That netted him a good million and a half credits, which he decided to keep.

    Then the game at the high roller table finished, with the victor holding the true sabaac. A few players decided to leave, and Ondal shot a look at the table.

    “I feel like I should go over there,” he said.

    “Stick to this table,” Gark warned him. “That guy means business. He won that round way too easily.”

    “But this is sabaac. Anything can happen,” Ondal said with a sly grin. He moved over to the other table and placed his bet, one million credits.

    Gark watched the game unfold, as Ondal ended up folding and losing his money. The ringer winner decided that he had enough and left, which opened up a new seat. A rough-looking human sat down quickly there, and Ondal ceded his spot to Gark.

    “What?” Gark asked when he was shoved towards the seat. “I haven’t played in years.”

    “Time to win some stuff for that lady of yours,” Ondal said. Gark was down in the seat, and the dealer saw him. Now he had to play, or appear a coward. Sighing, he thought about his bet.

    “Hey, aren’t you S’rily?” one of the other players asked him.

    “Um . . .” Gark said.

    “It is!” the man next to him said. “Hey, playing sabaac with Gark S’rily is a huge honor. I’m gonna wager more on this game. Dealer, no holds barred on this game. Minimum wager of eight million? Make this one hell of a game, one round, winner takes all.”

    “As you wish, sir,” the droid said.

    Gark rolled his eyes and put in his wager, which was exactly eight million credits. The rough-looking human on the other side of the table put in the same amount, a Selkath tossed in nine million. But then things took off. The obese Twi’lek male to Gark’s left looked at Gark and then put in a holding. “Since we are dealing with a Limmie man, I will wager my pro Limmie team on this game.”

    “Trying to cover your payroll for this year?” the human asked gruffly.

    “Perhaps,” was all the Twi’lek said. A hologram of a title deed chip floated in front of his space at the table.

    “Upping the ante, eh?” the player to Gark’s right asked. “Well, then I’ll toss this in,” he finished. The outline of a planet popped up on the hologram. Gark raised an eyebrow; Ondal hadn’t been kidding, a planet was now on the block.

    The game began, and things weren’t looking good for Gark. He had to acquire new cards every round. This was easily the most intense sabaac game he had ever played in, because so much was at stake. He looked around at his opponents; they all shot stares back and forth at each other. The pressure was on at the high roller table, and the Bothan started to sweat it out. His hand wasn’t all that great; he had a 2, but that was about it.

    The next card he got was the Idiot. This shook the cobwebs from Gark’s mind; the Idiot! He looked at the human across the table from him. The man got a new card and then busted. Four more players. The new card was a 3 . . . right suit! Gark checked his other cards.

    The Selkath said something and put down the cards. The man laid down a 23.

    “Frak!” the Twi’lek said. “21 is all I have,” he said.

    “20,” the man to Gark’s right said.

    All eyes turned to Gark. He looked down at his hand . . . and then laid his hand down.

    “Idiot’s Array,” the dealer droid said. “We have a winner!”

    Ondal slapped Gark on the back, and the Bothan took a sigh of relief. He had won the game with all the high stakes attached to it. Now it was time to collect his prizes.

    The Twi’lek to his left grunted and handed Gark a chip with the deed to the team. He was obviously upset with the result, and then got up and left the table in a huff. The man to Gark’s other side sighed and put his head down on the table.

    “Sir, relinquish your ante to the winner,” the droid said.

    “Fine,” the man said. He handed Gark another chip. “That’s the deed for the planet,” he said. “Now get out of my face.”

    “Fine,” Gark said. He got up from the table and walked away, Ondal in tow. He didn’t want to get the man even more upset to the point where he might pull something.

    Over dinner that night, the two of them went over Gark’s winnings. Ondal activated the team deed on the small device on the table.

    “Hm, Bessimir,” Gark said. That wasn’t too far from Coruscant, but that was a subjective opinion. “The Velocity? Odd team name.”

    [IMG]

    “Not really. There apparently used to be a hypervelocity gun there at one time. Got destroyed in a massive fleet training exercise,” Ondal explained. “You want the team?”

    “I’ll take it,” Gark said. “Won it, so I’ll keep it for a while until I either sell it . . .”

    “Could you incorporate it into your franchise?” Ondal asked.

    “I don’t know,” Gark said. “They look to be just above semi-pro ball, so these guys aren’t any good compared to what I deal with.”

    “Hey, a team is a team. I’d take it, if I were you,” Ondal said. “Maybe work with them a bit and build something there.”

    “What about this planet?” Gark asked. The chips were swapped, and the planet popped up on the screen. It looked interesting.

    “Kamados,” Ondal read. “Says here that it’s terrestrial . . . plains . . . some standing water . . . beaches . . . nice . . . population is . . . 1. The man you probably wrested it from.”

    “Where is it?”

    “On the edges of the Unknown Space, on the Core side. Looks like it’s not too far from Coruscant, really. There’s not much out there.”

    “I might have to pay a visit sometime,” Gark said. Hm, a private vacation world where he could take his family . . . that would be nice.

    “You’ll need to find it, first,” Ondal pointed out. “The Wild Space and Unknown Regions are hard to navigate sometimes.”

    “That’s what a good navicomputer is for,” Gark said.

    “Well, enjoy your new possessions. As for me, I still need to win something of substance,” Ondal said. “You’re embarrassing me with your winnings.”

    “You still have a few days,” Gark admitted.

    “Exactly. And I intend to make a splash,” Ondal said.

    Later on, Ondal was at a game table and winning game after game. Martini in hand, and two beautiful women on his shoulders, he threw the dice and won yet another prize. Gark just smirked and walked off. He was going to call home. The call required him to help Galin with his math homework, and by the time he was done, Ondal had gone from the table.

    He caught up with his friend at the bar, where Ondal was chatting it up with the bartender and a few others. They were laughing at all of the man’s jokes, and Gark had to admit that Ondal just had an infectious personality. He left the crowd alone, deciding to wander the casino a little bit. It took about an hour for him to eventually find his way back to the bar, weaving through the maze of games and eager players, the sounds of slots being pulled filling his ears and the screams of excitement over winning anything usually coming in sporadic bursts over the din of the whole place. Flashing lights were everywhere, no doubt to attract the curious passerby like a fly to a trap. He knew that this was why Me’lin didn’t like gambling, and frankly he wasn’t too privy to it either. But his gamble had paid off today, and that was what mattered. He probably would just hang out the next two days and keep his winnings.

    When he finally returned to the room, Ondal was already there.

    “You should’ve been there at the bar,” he said. “I told one hell of a story.

    “And I take it you came out on top?” Gark asked.

    “Of course. When have I ever not come out first?”

    “That first sabaac game,” Gark pointed out.

    “Eh, I won afterwards. Gotta play until you win,” Ondal claimed. “And this was just the first day. Damn I love it here!” Ondal said. Gark rolled his eyes.

    The next two days were spent playing some games, and then it was time to go home. Gark won one last small sabaac game before they packed up and left the resort. By the next day, Gark was home with his family.

    “I won a Limmie team,” he told his wife after she welcomed him home and gave him a big kiss.

    “A team? Must have been some high stakes,” Me’lin said.

    “And that’s not all. Got about twenty million credits, all things considered,” Gark said.

    “Twenty million? Gark, you were lucky not to lose that many,” Me’lin said, scolding her husband.

    “It’s OK. I also won a planet,” Gark said sheepishly.

    “A planet? What kind of casino were you at?” the Twi’lek asked.

    “A major one,” Gark offered. “I figured that we could check this new planet out after the season, before the baby is due.”

    “Speaking of baby, they missed you while you were gone,” Me’lin said. “I missed you.”

    “And I missed you too,” Gark said. He hugged his wife. “But it was something I needed, since I’m ready for Limmie season now.”

    “I baked a cake for you when you returned,” Me’lin said. “Galin helped me decorate it. You want some now?”

    “Not until I’ve had one more kiss,” Gark said. The couple kissed once more. “Now I’ve been welcomed home properly. How’s the little one?”

    “I feel a little bit weighed down, but it’s not bad yet,” Me’lin said. “In a few months, I’ll be slowed down considerably. But don’t feel bad for me, honey. I’m happy to be carrying our child, so it could be a lot worse.”

    “So, cake?” Gark asked eagerly.

    Me’lin just shook her head and sighed. “Always thinking about your stomach.”

    “That was true at our wedding, and it still is now,” Gark said with a wry grin.

    “OK, then,” Me’lin said with a nice smile. “I’ll get the cake for you. Welcome home,” she said, and they kissed one last time.

    Now Gark felt ready for the season. He had a refreshing break from the daily grind, had a beautiful and loving wife bake a cake for him, a new child on the way, a privately-owned planet, and a new Limmie team. Bring it on, Elite League, he thought to himself.
    jcgoble3 and Tim Battershell like this.
  15. Trieste Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Will there be rancors on Kamados? :p
    Jedi Gunny likes this.
  16. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    A planet and a Limmie team? Nice winnings. Now we wait for the Velocity to get mentioned in the game. :p
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  17. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    I know it's been a blizzard of posts recently, but that will probably change when the season starts.

    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @Trieste, @jcgoble3

    It had been two weeks since the season-opening victory, and Mykal was still the talk of the school. His excellent defense had paid off the prior two weeks in picking up wins over other schools, and the Kell Dragons were now 3-0 on the season for the first time in a dozen years. Even his teachers seemed to understand what he was doing, and at least once he got extra help on his homework that he never would have received before. Things were definitely going well.

    It was after lunch, and the students were going to their classrooms for the beginning of fifth period. He was walking along by himself when he heard a commotion down a side hall. He looked down it to see if two freshmen were getting into trouble again. There were always some bad apples in every bucket, he knew, especially in a well-to-do public school like this where affluence was much higher than the average Coruscanti high school. He still didn’t feel completely comfortable here, but the Limmie fame was improving his disposition to his surroundings.

    But he didn’t see freshmen. Instead, he saw something he didn’t think he would see. Kortney Stammish, the cheerleader he had a crush on, was fighting with her boyfriend in front of a row of lockers. Several students had stopped to watch, as did Mykal.

    “What the hell did you mean you sent those images? I asked you never to do such a thing!” the junior cheerleader said angrily.

    “Oh come on, you’ll understand,” the boy said nonchalantly. “Besides, no one’s going to see them.”

    “It’s not funny, Ralf!” Kortney said. “You’re such a jerk!”

    “Hey, it’s me. You like it when I’m a jerk,” the boy said. He then got a little closer to his girlfriend, who obviously didn’t like this advance.

    “Get away!” she exclaimed.

    “Nah. I think we should just make up, quickly,” he said.

    “Get away from me, jerk!”

    “Leave her alone,” Mykal stated from the background. He was sick of seeing this; no one deserved to be pressured like this. Ralf turned around to look at who had said those words.

    “Well, if it’s not the big Limmie hero everyone’s talking about,” he said with a snide smile. “You can move along, ya know. We’re fine here.”

    “No you aren’t,” Mykal said. “I said leave her alone.”

    “And what are you going to do, big man? Sit on me?” Ralf asked. Some of his friends laughed; it was obvious the boy loved the attention. “This isn’t the Limmie field. Things are different in the real world. Of course, you wouldn’t know that since you’re adopted. And that’s sad, ya know? I mean, what kind of dirt track home were you born in, anyways? You don’t belong here . . .”

    “Shut up,” Mykal said. He was angry now, but he knew that snapping here wouldn’t be of any use to anyone except to vilify him.

    “I’m so scared,” Ralf said with a wry grin. “Come at me. Let’s fight this out like real men.”

    “Ralf, you don’t have to do this!” Kortney said.

    “Fatty’s gonna get what’s comin’ to him,” Ralf commented. “Come on! Show me what ya got!”

    Mykal just stood there. “I won’t fight you,” he said.

    “What? Don’t tell me you’re scared, too,” Ralf said. “Look at this guy. He’s not even willing to conduct a proper fight over an issue. Wimp.”

    “I will not fight you,” Mykal said.

    “Very well, then,” Ralf said. His friends started to converge on Mykal, partially surrounding him. Now he was cut off except for the lockers. Ralf then charged him and punched the teen in the gut. Mykal bent over as the pain shot through his head, but he wasn’t going to take action. He couldn’t hurt this boy; he wasn’t a bully. He hated bullies, and didn’t want to be construed as one.

    “Fight back!” Ralf yelled at him. He socked Mykal in the chest once more, and then went for Mykal’s face. Mykal dodged the blow, but Ralf’s friends pushed him into the lockers and proceeded to punch him. While he took the blows, he could hear Kortney yelling at Ralf to stop the madness.

    But Ralf didn’t stop. He went up and socked Mykal in the nose, and a spurt of blood came from Mykal’s nostril.

    “See, it’s easy to break you,” the boy say. “You’re nothing but a huge softy.”

    “Take that back,” Mykal said.

    “Oh, now you don’t want me calling you soft? Gee, ain’t that nice?”

    “I won’t let you hurt her anymore,” Mykal said.

    “You aren’t in any position to do so,” Ralf said confidently.

    Now a large crowd of students had come to see what was going on. They say Mykal Oha being pummeled by a bunch of goons.

    “Hey, lay off him!” one student yelled.

    “Yeah! He’s not going to fight you!”

    “Ralf! This is going too far!” Kortney screeched.

    All the while, Mykal’s mind was churning. He had to make a move here. No one deserved the fate the junior girl was in for here if he didn’t help her out. Letting out a huge roar, he pushed the cronies off him. This set off Ralf, who punched Mykal in the face again. But the big teen kept going, and even took another shot to the midsection. He staggered, but kept at it.

    “Give it up!” Ralf said.

    “Not until you leave her alone,” Mykal said. Ralf moved to punch him again, but Mykal was ready. He grabbed Ralf’s arm and gave it a twist. The boy yelped out in pain, and then Mykal slammed him into the lockers. Ralf got up and charged again, but Mykal shoved him down to the floor.

    “We don’t have to do this,” Mykal said, pointing to the downed enemy.

    “Get him!” Ralf yelled at his friends. They charged Mykal, and some got through, but quickly enough Mykal had whipped each one of them. The crescendo of students got louder with each takedown the sophomore made, and finally Ralf was standing alone. His friends tried to get away, but didn’t make it far before the other students captured them and started to beat them up.

    “Leave her alone,” Mykal said. His nose was still bleeding, but he was still ready to fight. Ralf charged one more time, but got smashed into the lockers again. This one rattled his cage a little more, and he fell to the floor on his hands and knees.

    “I don’t want to see you messing with her, or me, again,” Mykal stated. The crowd cheered.

    But Ralf had other plans. He pulled out a knife and held it at Mykal’s face. “Stay back, you freak!” he yelled.

    “Don’t hurt him!” Kortney screamed.

    Mykal stared down the blade. It wasn’t the worst knife he had seen in his old neighborhood, but it could easily slice off some skin if he wasn’t careful. Still, he wasn’t worried. He had to protect the innocent here, and that meant taking action.

    “Well, what’re you waiting for?” Ralf roared. “Fight me, coward!”

    “Put down the blade and fight me like a man,” Mykal said.

    “Hell no. You have more power than me.”

    “Fight me like equals. No blade, just fists.”

    “Fine,” Ralf said. But he threw the knife at Mykal, and it embedded itself in his shoulder. He yelled out in pain, but then destroyed Ralf when he steamrolled the boy.

    Finally a teacher came to break it up. “What the hell is going on here?”

    “This guy beat me up!” Ralf said, staggering around.

    “Not true!” Kortney said. “He was protecting me, Mr. Carswell,’ she said, motioning to Mykal. “And now he’s been hurt.”

    “Ralf, how many times do you need to get in trouble before you truly get it?” Carswell asked. “You’re going to be suspended for this.”

    “And then he pulled a knife and stabbed him!” Kortney said. Carswell looked to Mykal’s stab wound. He then looked back at Ralf. “Did you stab him?” he asked firmly.

    Ralf shook his head no, but the students behind him started to shout that he had. “Well, sounds like assault with a deadly weapon. You’re going to be expelled this time, Ralf. No more second chances,” Carswell said in a disapproving manner.

    “You’ve got this all wrong!” Ralf said. “Believe me, Mr. Carswell. It’s me! I wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone! I was just . . . was just . . .” Then he took off into the crowd, trying to escape. But he didn’t get far before the students tackled him. The crowd cheered.

    “Are you alright?” Carswell asked Mykal. The teen nodded.

    “We need to get him to the office,” Kortney said urgently. “Have to stop the bleeding.”

    Minutes later, Mykal had to deal with the pain of having an embedded knife taken out of his shoulder. When he heard the news, Bert Kammel, who taught Health at the school, came in to check on his full back.

    “You doing fine, Oha?” he asked.

    “Yes sir,” Mykal said. “My shoulder hurts, though.”

    “Too much to be able to play this week?”

    “I don’t know,” Mykal said, staring down at the floor.

    Kammel came over and touched Mykal on his good shoulder. “Well, take your time. We need you out there, Mykal. Get in some proper rest and rehab the shoulder.” He then turned to the school nurse. “How long will he be injured?” he asked.

    “About two weeks,” the nurse said. “The stab wound was deep enough to cause some damage to the muscle. A good regimen of bacta should clear it up.”

    “Frak,” Kammel said as he turned back to Mykal. “Sorry, kid. You’re going to be out a few weeks.”

    “I’ll get better, Coach. I will.”

    After fifth period was over, Mykal’s shoulder was patched up. Then the nurse came in and told him he had a visitor. Kortney Stammish came into the office.

    “How are you feeling?” she asked.

    “It hurts,” Mykal said.

    “I know it does. Ralf was a real jerk today, and I’m sorry that he hurt you. I never thought he would do that, but . . . I’m just glad to be rid of him. I was afraid that he was going to hurt me, and if you hadn’t stepped in . . . he had a knife . . .”

    “I did my job. Nothing more,” Mykal said.

    “Well, I want to thank you for what you did,” the junior said. “Most people wouldn’t have had that sort of courage.”

    “I protect people. It’s what I do,” Mykal stated.

    “Thanks,” Kortney said. “I’m Kortney, by the way.”

    “Mykal. Mykal Oha,” he said.

    “Well, Mykal, thanks for keeping me safe,” Kortney said. “I’ll see you at the next game, then?”

    “Yeah. Just wish I could play.”

    “You’ll be fine. Rest it up. I have to get to class. Bye!” And with that she was gone again. Mykal knew that he had done all he could for her. She was probably going to forget him soon, anyways.

    Two days later, Mykal was going in between classes and stopped by his locker. He turned the combination and opened the door. Grabbing his Chemistry textbook, he was surprised to see a small piece of flimsy come out with it. It was folded over, so he opened it up.

    I didn’t get to tell you in person, but here’s my number. Call me! – Kortney

    Her comlink number was scrawled at the bottom of the flimsy. Mykal just smirked and closed his locker. He must have made progress after all.
    jcgoble3 likes this.
  18. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    So he is going to get the girl after all. :D
  19. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    We'll see about that. ;)

    TAGS to @Trieste, @jcgoble3, @Tim Battershell

    Mykal stood his ground for the oncoming onslaught by the opposing team. Three weeks had passed since the stabbing, and he was back on the field. The Kell Dragons had lost their past two games, and were now struggling to find their rudder once again. Somehow, his absence had taken quite a bit out of the team, because they missed their behemoth full back to clog the lane and keep full forwards out of the zone. His replacement was no good to help Tony out in goal, and thus the entire defense had suffered. Tonight was Homecoming, so the stands were extra-packed for this game.

    He shifted over to keep on his matchup, and then had to converge when the opposing forward caught the ball. He lifted his hands into the air to complete the trap, and then forced a pass out of his matchup. But it was a quick give-and-go, and he found himself on his heels. Still, he was able to clip the forward as she streaked past, and the ball dropped out of her hand. Tony scooped it up and kicked it downfield.

    Later on, he pushed down the girl when she tried to get around him. This caused a fumble, and he picked up the bolo-ball. It felt strange to have it in his hands, but then when he got hit by an opposing player, then he realized that he needed to get rid of it. So out the ball went to a waiting midfielder, who took it up the field.

    At the half, the Kell Dragons were up by ten points. Mykal had done his job, harassing opposing forwards and keeping his defense upright. They were a different unit with him out there, a much better one than in the past two weeks. “Don’t let up,” was all Coach Kammel had told his defense in the locker room.

    And they didn’t. With Mykal leading the way, Wylsonridge rode the hot hand and coasted to victory. It took them to 4-2 on the season and promised to give them a berth in the league playoffs. The team that everyone wrote off was now resurgent, and they had a chance to break their streak of losing seasons with another win in one of their last three games.

    Mykal walked off the field with his teammates, but he decided to walk over to the area where the cheer squad had been set up. Kortney Stammish was packing up her things in her bag, and didn’t look up when Mykal approached.

    “You did good tonight,” the sophomore said.

    “Hi Mykal!” Kortney said as she looked up from her crouch. “You did great tonight!”

    “Thanks,” Mykal said, blushing a little. “At least we won.”

    “Hey, I’m all for winning a few more games,” the junior replied. “So the team really did miss you the last two weeks.”

    “Yeah, they certainly did. I’ll catch you later,” Mykal said as he walked off the field and to the locker room. He took a quick shower and then went out to the speeder he had parked near the stadium. It was a cheap speeder that the S’rilys had gotten for him to practice with, and he was excited to finally have a vehicle that he could drive.

    As he crossed the parking lot, he could see a girl standing underneath a lot light. It was Kortney. She was standing there waiting for something. Mykal shrugged and got into his speeder; he had to talk to her. So he drove up next to the cheerleader and rolled down his window. “Still out here?” he asked.

    “Yeah. My parents are supposed to come and pick me up, but they haven’t. Probably still out on date night or something,” the junior said.

    “You don’t drive yet?” Mykal asked.

    “I love to drive, but unfortunately Ralf must have gotten to my speeder and wrecked it pretty badly as revenge for you helping me out a few weeks ago. The thing was dented all over, and it looked horrible. So it’s in the shop right now . . . I may need to get a new one at some point if they can’t fix it.”

    “Need a lift?” Mykal asked.

    “Sure! I don’t want to be stuck out here all night,” Kortney said. She went around the back of the speeder and then hopped into the passenger’s seat. Her bag now sat in the middle between the two of them. Mykal drove off the school grounds and onto the street.

    “Tell me a little about yourself,” Kortney said. “I don’t know much about you.”

    “Not much to tell,” Mykal said. “I’m just a poor boy who got lucky.”

    “How so?”

    “I . . . didn’t grow up in this neighborhood. I was adopted.”

    “Do you know where your original home was?”

    “A place that was not very nice. Lots of rough people there. Fighting. Binge drinking. Gang violence. Shootings all the time. Drugs.”

    “That’s awful!” Kortney exclaimed. “You’re, like, in a better situation now, though, right?”

    “Yeah, much better,” Mykal said. “My adoptive parents are good folks. They take care of me real nice.”

    “Sounds like how I wish my parents were.”

    “You don’t like yours?” Mykal asked.

    “They’re nice people, but they push me too hard,” Kortney said. “I know that I’m smart enough to get into a good college, but they keep wanting me to do more things than I can keep on my plate. So demanding of me. Say I’m going to fail if I don’t keep pushing myself.”

    “Sometimes a good nudge in the back is what we need,” Mykal said, offering a slightly better evaluation.

    “Not like them, sometimes. Nothing is ever good enough for them I got an A on a project last year, and I was excited. I worked so hard on it. But they said that I didn’t get an A+, and they grounded me for a week. A week! And I didn’t do badly; still had the top grade in the class. I’m student body president because I like it, but at some point they keep pushing me to do more and more duties on top of that. I can barely keep up with that, school, and cheer squad.”

    “That’s rough,” Mykal admitted. The S’rilys wouldn’t do that to him.

    “Tell me about it,” the junior commented disparagingly. “If my parents were like yours, I’d be a lot happier. I fear that frustration over them spills into my personality. It makes me want to rebel. It’s why I had Ralf; he was a bad boy, and I wanted that. I wanted a way to stick it back in their faces, to let me live the life I want. But then he got too bad for my tastes, and you know what happened then. Speaking of that, how’s your shoulder?”

    “Still a little sore,” Mykal said. “I’ve been putting ice on it every night since.”

    “Rough,” Kortney said. “You’re brave, Mykal. And a sweet guy. I like that.”

    Mykal blushed again. Kortney was certainly making him feel good for his deeds.

    Finally they pulled up in front of Kortney’s home, and Mykal killed the engine. “We’re here,” he said.

    “Thanks,” Kortney said. She reached over to grab her bag, but found that Mykal wasn’t in the driver’s seat anymore. Then the door on her side of the speeder opened, and she looked up at Mykal. He was holding the door open for her. “Oh Mykal, don’t be so silly and formal. We didn’t exactly go out on a date. You just drove me home,” she said, chuckling.

    “I do what I can,” Mykal said with a small grin on his face.

    “Well I appreciate it,” Kortney said as she got out of the speeder, duffel bag in hand. “Well, I’ll see you again next week.”

    “Um . . . yeah . . .” Mykal said. He had to confess something. “Um . . . I hope your parents won’t be angry at you for getting a ride home with me.”

    “I doubt they’ll remember, anyways. It’s dark in the house. They’re always up late. If I know anything about date nights, they go out, have one too many drinks, and then come home and make love. It’s why I have four younger siblings; each one came out as a result of a date night. Who knows, they might be working on another one right now.”

    “You really think so?” Mykal asked.

    “With my luck, they would.”

    “That bad?”

    “Yeah, but I guess it can’t be all bad. Tell you the truth, I want to be a mom someday. I like having children around me, and having a few of my own would be nice.”

    “My mom said that it’s a lot of work having and raising children,” Mykal commented. “She’s pregnant right now.”

    “Really? Congrats!” Kortney said.

    “She says it’s gonna be a hard time.”

    “I know, but it’s gotta be rewarding. You don’t have a kid if you don’t want it. How many other siblings do you have?”

    “I have a younger brother. He’s five,” Mykal said.

    “Sounds like my brother. He’s eight,” Kortney said. “Probably a ball of energy.”

    “Yeah,” Mykal replied. Galin was a sparkplug, that was for sure.

    “Your family sounds like a nice group of people. Maybe I’ll get to meet them someday.”

    “Same with yours,” Mykal blurted out, but then he wished he hadn’t said that. “Um . . . well, just as friends . . .” Now he was sounding awkward. But Kortney just chuckled.

    “Oh Mykal, you’re such a sweetie,” she said. “I wish there were more guys like you out there. Then no girl would ever be wanting.”

    “Thanks,” Mykal said. At least she hadn’t taken it wrong.

    “Anyways, I have to get in and get some sleep. Got a project to work on this weekend.”

    “OK,” Mykal said. “Um . . . before you go . . . thanks for giving me your number. I really appreciate it.”

    “No problem. Good night, Mykal,” Kortney said. She flashed the ‘call me’ sign and went inside her house. Mykal just smiled and got back in his speeder. He drove home and entered the house. It was quiet inside, because the rest of the family was on their way to Ylesia for the Week Two game against the Lightning. So he had the house all to himself. He quickly made himself a sandwich and ate it before turning in for the night.
    Trieste, Tim Battershell and jcgoble3 like this.
  20. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
  21. Trieste Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    It is. But I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking of Mykal crushing Morgan Alesh with a huge hit and then I can't sleep for an hour. And yet I want Mykal to do it because he deserves success! I'm torn!
    Jedi Gunny likes this.
  22. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 9
    You have waited for a long time, and now it is here.

    TAGS to @Tim Battershell, @jcgoble3, @Trieste


    Gark sifted through some items on his datapad, trying to wrap up all loose ends from the season. It had only been two weeks since the Galactic Cup Final, and the team staff was working to get everything resolved for the season so that they could all take a break for a while. As GM, Gark had a lot on his plate, and with work becoming more hectic all the time, it seemed like he had little time to get stuff done in.

    The sound of feet came to his ears, and he looked up to see Galin walk into the kitchen. The young boy went to the pantry, grabbed a handful of crackers, and then walked out of the room. “Hey, kid,” Gark said, but Galin ignored him. Rolling his eyes, Gark finished what he was looking at and then turned off the datapad.

    He found Galin in his room, playing with his action figures on the floor. The boy had an elaborate set-up; the Republic troopers, of which there were five, were going to fight in the citadel against the battle droid army consisting of ten units, the wastebasket and an empty box providing walls, a smaller box being the floor, and an empty tube serving as the lookout tower or turret, he wasn’t sure which. Galin had set up a small barricade of foil wrappers from Tepps trading card Company, of which he had received several packs of Holo cards for the Elite League for his birthday during the season, for the Republican troopers, behind which they had a makeshift “cannon”. Galin ate his crackers and then got behind the troopers’ lines. “Ready to fire, sir,” he said, moving one figure with his hand.

    “Fire!” he then said with a slightly different voice, touching the officer figure as he spoke. The “cannon” was fired up, and a small projectile, a rubber ball, was rocketed at the citadel only two feet away. But the ball missed and bounced on the soft carpet until it came to rest near the room wall. Galin sighed; he had missed his target.

    “Hey sport, what’re you up to?” Gark asked as he entered his son’s room.

    “Nothing much,” Galin said, not even looking at his father.

    “Storming the castle again?” Gark asked, amused.

    “I guess,” Galin said.

    But Gark could tell that the boy wasn’t happy about something, and it likely had nothing to do with the missed shot on the makeshift fort. “There something wrong, bud?” he asked.

    Galin looked up at him, a bit of disappointment in his expression. “Daddy’s not around much,” he said before looking back at his toys.

    “I know,” Gark said as he sat down on Galin’s bed. “Sometimes work and the team get in the way.”

    “What about Mykal? You have time for him,” Galin said. For a five-year old in kindergarten, he had a rather large vocabulary; it impressed his parents greatly that he was so gifted with words.

    “Kiddo, Mykal’s needed a lot of help with schoolwork. Your brother just needs extra time to make sure he stays eligible for the school team,” Gark said. “It’s not intended to make you second-best in this house.”

    Galin looked back up from his place behind the Republican trooper lines. “Mommy’s not around much either. When she is, she’s always busy. Mykal is busy. Dad is busy all the time. I get lonely,” he said.

    And Gark knew the boy was right. He wasn’t around as much as he used to be. Mykal’s homework took some time, since the teen needed to be helped on subjects he struggled with. Playing Limmie and going to school was hard for him to juggle, and his adoptive parents were doing what they could for him. Me’lin had been busy with team stuff all season and over the last two weeks, and when she was home, her pregnancy had sapped her energy to the point where she didn’t have the drive to play with Galin. He himself wasn’t around all that much with free time. Galin went back to his mock battle.

    “Hey sport, you want me to join in?” Gark asked. Galin nodded. “Ok, then. Do I get to be on your side, or theirs?” he asked, pointing to the droids.

    “What you want to. I don’t mind,” Galin said.

    Gark went down on the floor next to his son. “OK. You want to smash that place?” he asked, pointing to the citadel.

    “Yeah,” Galin replied.

    “Well, then aye aye, commander,” Gark said with a wink.

    For the next hour, the two of them played with the action figures, Galin cheering up considerably given how down he had been earlier. For Gark, he realized that he had missed out on so much with his son over the years. And it nagged at him. He had to do more. This had to just be the beginning.




    Two Days Later

    Gark opened his eyes groggily and stretched his arms out. Soft light filtered into the room through the shades, proving a nice backlight for him to see after snapping out of sleep. He looked at the chrono on the nightstand; it read 0632. Perfect timing, he thought. Slipping out of bed, he got up and stretched out again. Me’lin stirred in the bed.

    “Morning,” she said quietly.

    “Morning to you,” Gark said. He had hoped to let her sleep, but obviously he had failed.

    “Any plans for the day?” Me’lin asked.

    “Yeah. I’ve promised Galin that I’d take hang out with him today,” Gark said.

    “Where are you thinking of taking him?” Me’lin asked. She propped herself up on her elbow, her pregnant belly big enough of a bulge to touch the surface of the bed.

    “I don’t really know, to be honest,” Gark admitted. “Whatever looks good, I guess.”

    “Don’t take him anywhere sketchy. The last thing I need is to have to bail you out of a dangerous situation because you wanted to impress your son,” Me’lin said with a slight frown.

    “Didn’t think of going that far, but thanks for the idea,” Gark said with a mischievous grin.

    “Oh stop it,” his wife reprimanded him. “It’s not funny.”

    “Don’t worry, I won’t take him into the lower depths,” Gark reassured her. “I wouldn’t go there without a good reason, a real good reason.”

    “I hope not,” Me’lin said. She collapsed back onto the bed, still tired. “I want to make sure that both of you come home safe and sound when all this is over, OK? As a wife and a mother, I get worried, OK?”

    “Galin’s safe with me,” Gark said. “I won’t put him in harm’s way. I’ve had enough brushes with danger to know when to avoid a place.”

    “OK, honey. When can I expect you two to get back?”

    “Dunno. Could be late.”

    “Do you want me to fix you dinner? I can hold two plates,” the Twi’lek said.

    “Nah, I think we’ll get something on the way home,” Gark said.

    “One more thing,” Me’lin said. “I really appreciate it when you take the time to be with our son. But at some point I think it’s long overdue to spend some quality time with your overworked yet loving wife, especially since she’s busy carrying your child all day every day.”

    “Don’t worry, I know I need to be around more,” Gark said. He had to make sure work didn’t get in the way of family time. “I will make time. If I don’t, remind me.”

    “Will do,” Me’lin said. “Now, if you don’t need me for anything right now, I’ll go back to sleep. Baby is taking up all my energy.”

    “All right,” Gark said. The Twi’lek drifted back off to sleep, and the Bothan got dressed for the day. He then shut his bedroom door quietly, checked on Mykal, who was still sound asleep, and then went into Galin’s bedroom. The boy woke up and looked at his father when he entered.

    “OK, sport. Time to get going. We’ve got a full day ahead, just the two of us.”

    “Where’re we going?” Galin asked.

    “No idea. But a good breakfast sounds like just the right way to start the day,” Gark said.

    Twenty minutes later, the two of them were in the speeder and headed out. Gark drove through the now-crowded hyperlanes, likely filled with commuters trying to get to work. Galin was in the back seat in his safety seat, and he looked out the window as the buildings and other vehicles passed by. He was always amazed by this planet he called home, and he didn’t say much during the drive.

    The speeder pulled into the parking lot, and Gark got his son unbuckled from the seat. They walked inside the diner, where a sign said to sit anywhere. Gark looked over at the empty booth in the corner, and then at the lunch counter. There were three spots next to the wall that were open, the rest filled with hungry customers of various species and dress.

    “Hey sport, want to sit at the counter today?” Gark asked.


    “Sure!” Galin said. Me’lin never let him sit at the counter, because she said that was for grown-ups. Well Gark didn’t believe in that; if Galin wanted to sit there, he should be able to. Since the Twi’lek wasn’t here, Galin would be given the opportunity.

    “Just don’t tell mom I let you,” Gark said. He took the seat next to the open one, and Galin sat down next to the window. Now he could stare out at the passerby from the safety of the diner.

    “Can I take your order?” a server droid asked as it wheeled up to them.

    “I’ll take the House Breakfast, the lite version” Gark said.

    “I want the toast and eggs,” Galin said.

    “Full size or half-order?” the droid asked.

    “Eh, we’ve got places to be after this. Half-order,” Gark said. He turned to his son. “Don’t want to be too full today,” he said.

    The droid wheeled away, and the two S’rily boys sat there at the counter.

    “Look at all the people, dad,” Galin said, looking out the window. “Where do they all come from?”

    “All over the galaxy,” Gark said. “They might even be our neighbors, for all we know. That’s what I like about this place. So much more diversity than Bothawui.”

    “Where’s that?”

    “Out in Bothan Space,” Gark explained.

    “Where’s that?” Galin asked again.

    “Long way from here, don’t worry too much about it,” Gark said with a shrug. “Basically it’s a cluster of planets where most of the inhabitants look like you and me.”

    “Would someone like mommy be found there?” Galin asked.

    “Not really,” Gark explained. “It’s a Bothan world. You and I are Bothans, so we’d fit right in. But mom isn’t, as you know. Same with Mykal. It’s called a homeworld for a reason.”

    “What’s that?”

    “It’s a planet where a lot of individuals of one species originate from . . . come from . . . of course, my mom and dad were from there. I grew up here on Coruscant like you are now. So I’ve never had any other home,” the elder S’rily said.

    “Then how come I would fit in? Mommy says I’m part her and part you. She always says I have her eyes,” Galin inquired.

    “Trust me, Galin, you’d fit right in,” Gark said. “What mom says is true, but you look a lot more like me than her.”

    “I guess so.”

    “And I like it that way,” Gark said. Their food soon came, and they chowed down.

    Then they heard a very familiar voice. “Hey!” came the unmistakable voice of Tex, the diner owner. “If it isn’t the Magic Bothan. And hey, you brought the kiddo! Haven’t seen you in a few weeks,” the Besalisk said as he came over.

    “Hey Tex,” Gark said. “It has been a while.”

    “Hi Tex,” Galin said.

    “What’re you two party animals up to today without mom and older brother?” Tex asked.

    “No idea, to be honest,” Gark explained. “Figured I’d take the day off and hang out with Junior.”

    “Not a bad idea, especially with mom having another kiddo soon, eh?” Tex asked.

    “She’s got a few more months left ‘til she’s due,” Gark said. “But that’s partially why I’m doing this. Just hanging out today before the new kid takes up more of my time.”

    “Just getting out of the house? I can understand that. I’d take a few days off myself, but I’d miss the diner,” Tex said. “So I end up not taking much time off because I love my job. Keeps me coming back to work every day with no complaints.”

    “You have the biggest sense of optimism I’ve ever seen, Tex,” Gark admitted.

    “You know it,” the Besalisk replied. “So, can I get you two gents anything else, or are you good?”

    “I think we’re good for today,” Gark said, looking at Galin’s empty plate and then his own.

    “OK. Say hi to the wife for me,” Tex said before walking away.

    The two S’rilys soon left the diner and went back to the speeder. “So, where do you want to go?” Gark asked his son. “The park?”

    “Been there,” Galin said.

    “Children’s museum?”

    “Went last week with Mommy.”

    “Theater?”

    “No good Holos out,” Galin said again. This made Gark think. What else could he come up with?

    “The mall? Toy store?”

    Galin just shook his head. With everything that was turned down, Gark became increasingly unsure of what his son wanted to do today. They had all day, yet it had been just breakfast thus far.

    “Then what do you want to do?” Gark asked.

    “Mommy never lets me see the streets. I wanna see what goes on during the day,” Galin finally said. “I wanna go on an adventure. Something cool.”

    It wasn’t long before they pulled into Midtown, and Gark pulled off on the curb to park. He got out of the front seat, and Galin needed to be helped out of his safety seat before they could proceed. The two walked across several busy streets and then were in a large plaza.

    “What’s that?” Galin asked, pointing to the domed building in the distance.

    “Something you need to see,” Gark said. The two of them made their way across the plaza, Gark keeping his hands in his pockets as he went and Galin watching the small birds that flittered in and out of the plaza looking for morsels to peck at. At one point he even chased the birds around, making them flutter to another location in fear.

    Now they were encountering statues of famous personalities from throughout the ages. Galin stared up at the giant figures. “Who’s that?” he asked.

    “No idea,” Gark said, also looking up. He wasn’t much for statues. Sometimes a good Holo was better than an artists’ rendition. “Come along.”

    “So where’re we going?” Galin then asked as they kept walking.

    “I want to give you a better view of that building right up there,” Gark said. Now they were getting closer, and the structure seemed to become more endless as they approached.

    “What is it?” Galin asked, wide-eyed.

    “That’s the Galactic Senate building,” Gark explained.


    “What’s a Senate?” Galin asked.

    “It’s a group of individuals from all over the galaxy who get together on issues and try to come to a resolution.”

    “Where do they all come from?” Galin asked.

    “All over,” Gark said again. “All over the Core, the Colonies, the Inner and Mid Rims . . . hundreds of planets, billions of people . . . that’s a lot of representation in that one building.”

    “Cool,” Galin said, still wide-eyed. “You’ve been inside, dad?”

    Now Gark knew he was caught in a trap. He had indeed been inside this building before, but it was not something he wanted to speak of lightly. Galin probably wouldn’t understand; it was before his time, and besides, it wasn’t something Gark wanted to tell his son. Because the Senate chambers brought back memories, things he would rather forget. They went beyond his enmity for former Chancellor Trieste, the Limmie rivalry between the two pressing the issue to his attention. They stemmed back to the Siege of the Senate in 272, back before he had a son to take around on adventure trips. Back then, he didn’t know if he would have a life afterwards. He had nearly died, and had come close again on several occasions. What could he say here?

    “Once or twice,” he finally said. That sounded like an ambiguous-enough answer to satisfy the child’s curiosity.

    “What’s it like inside?” Galin pestered.

    “Fancy place,” Gark said. “We can’t go in unless we have official Senate business, but it’s just a bunch of offices. I could show you the main chamber on the Holo; undoubtedly they have some saved meetings out there to be viewed.”

    “Sounds boring,” Galin said. Obviously he didn’t like watching old Senate cases.

    “Don’t like watching how government works?” Gark asked him.

    “Nope. I don’t trust politics,” Galin said with a frown. Gark was shocked to hear the five-year old have such a strong opinion on public policy. Obviously he had seen the news too often and started to dislike politics.

    “Well, I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Gark said. “But one thing I think you’ll want to know. The team I have is named after this place.” Galin looked up at him, confused. “It’s a Senate house, so there are many Senators. So we’re the Senators because of this place.”

    “Cool,” Galin said. Obviously he liked the team a lot more than the people it was named after.

    “We should keep moving,” Gark said after he let that point sink in. He led his son away from the Senate building and across the plaza once more. There were some other buildings to look at, but they couldn’t go in. So they stayed outside and just stared at the structures, wondering what kind of business was going on in there at this very moment.

    Eventually they got back into the speeder. Then Gark had an idea. “Promise me you won’t tell mom what we’re doing or where we’re going, OK?”

    “Sure,” Galin said. He seemed intrigued by the prospect.

    “OK, then, let’s have a little fun,” Gark said. If his wife found out what he was about to do, she would probably bite his head off for endangering both himself and their son. He put the speeder in reverse, and quickly they were off the curb and on the hyperlane once more.

    “Where’re we going, dad?” Galin asked as the speeder hummed along.

    “To have a little bit of fun,” Gark said. And he intended to.




    “What’s that?” Galin asked as they walked up to a sign. It was out in the middle of nowhere, and most people just walked by without giving any pause.

    “This sign is supposedly a treasure map . . . or, let me rephrase that, leads you to the map,” Gark said.

    “Treasure? Where?” Galin asked.

    “Well, that’s just it. You have to find it,” Gark said. “That’s the fun in a hunt.”

    “Where is the map?” Galin asked.

    “This way,” Gark said. He walked further down the block, and went down into an alley. It wasn’t far before they found a grimy old city map, or what looked like a city map. “Now, this is a little old, but from what I’ve heard, this is our map to find the lost treasure.”

    “Lost?”

    “Supposedly set out for anyone to find by treasure seekers before us,” Gark explained. He pulled out his datapad.

    “What’s that for?” Galin asked.

    “Finding our coordinates,” Gark said. He opened an application on his datapad. “The whole goal here is to use the clues on the map to find the treasure. Now, you have the item I told you to bring, right?”

    “I guess so,” Galin said, reaching into his pocket. He finally pulled out a Holo card, with Chenkabukk on it. He already had three copies of the card, so he had brought this one along when his father had asked. “Why do I need it?” he asked.

    “You’ll find out soon. Put it back in your pocket and keep it secure,” Gark said. He looked to the map. “Ok. So we need to go to these,” he said, pointing to the numbers on the sign, “coordinates. That should roughly get us to treasure.”

    The two of them began to walk down the street, looking nonchalant as they went. Galin watched all the people go by, and Gark just stayed calm. He hoped no one would recognize him and pester him for his autograph.

    Ten minutes later, Galin finally spoke up. “We there yet?” he asked.

    Gark looked down at the datapad. “Not yet,” he said. “We’re not even halfway there.”

    Galin just sighed and kept on walking.

    “You want it to get over soon?” Gark asked.

    “I want to find it, dad,” the young boy said. “I wanna find it and see the treasure!”

    “Patience, young one,” Gark said. “We’ll get there soon enough. And you’ll have stories to take home to mom about how you found buried treasure.”

    “I thought I wasn’t supposed to tell Mom,” Galin said.

    “Then don’t tell her,” Gark said, backtracking.

    “Dad?”

    “Yeah?” Gark asked.

    “Why are you doing this for me?” Galin asked with a quizzical expression on his face. They were stopped at an intersection, and Gark looked down to make sure his son wasn’t in danger from the passing speeders.

    “What do you mean?” Gark asked.

    “You never spend time with me other days,” Galin said.

    “I do what I can, sport,” Gark said. “Sometimes work and other duties get in the way.”

    “They always do,” Galin said, pouting a little bit.

    “I’m taking this day off to try and make up for those times, OK?” Gark asked. “I know I’m not around a lot,” he said. Now the light turned green, and they started walking again. “It’s something your mother and I have been discussing a lot lately. It’s just with the season and the job, I’m always busy with something. And then your mother being pregnant forces me to take on extra tasks around the house. She can’t move as easily as she usually can with the baby in her stomach, and she needs extra help, especially when she’s not feeling well. It’s a rough life for her right now, and I’m doing what I can to make sure she’s comfortable before she has your new sibling in a few months.”

    “And take more of your time,” Galin said, frowning.

    Now Gark knew that Galin was smarter than he gave the boy credit for. Obviously Me’lin had talked to him about this prior to today, and the boy had an entrenched opinion on the subject.

    “It’s not that . . . but the baby will take some of my time,” Gark said. “Because that’s what parents do, kid. They try to spend time with their children.”

    “So I’m not good enough to get more time?” Galin asked.

    “That’s not what I’m saying,” Gark said. “You’re just as important to me as Mykal or the new child are, perhaps even more. You’re my son, Galin, and I want to make sure that you grow up well. And I’m doing what I can so that I’m around when you need me.”

    “Sure, whatever,” Galin said.

    Gark knew that this was starting to go in a direction he didn’t want it to go in. If Galin got more down about his father not spending much time with him, then there was no point to this exercise. They would just go home and Galin would likely sit in his room and play with his toys alone again. He had to keep working at it. This was important to the elder S’rily; he wanted his son to like him.

    “What do you want me to say?” Gark finally asked.

    Galin stopped, and he stared down his father. “I want mommy and daddy to spend more time with me,” he said. “I feel alone. Mykal gets everything, and I get nothing.”

    “That’s not true,” Gark said. “Mykal needs more attention for school purposes.”


    “Then come home earlier.”

    “I’m working on it. With the season over, I have more time,” Gark explained. “I just need a few more days to get everything all sorted out.”

    “A few days?” Galin asked. “Why not now?”

    “Because when you get to have a job, Galin, you can’t just leave it a mess and take a day of vacation off. Things are different at my age than in yours. Your job is to grow up and learn. My job is to take care of you. Right now I’ve got you out on a treasure hunt, and we’ve got other stuff to do today. That’s what today is for, to get you out of the house and into the real world. All I’m asking for is some patience from you, kid. You need to trust me that I’ll find more time to be with you in the future. Got that?”

    “Promise?” Galin asked.

    “Promise,” Gark said.

    “OK,” Galin finally said after a few seconds’ pause. “Are we there yet?”

    Gark looked down at his datapad. “Almost,” he said. “We just need to go this way,” he said, pointing to the right. They turned right and walked down another street, then hung a few more corners before they were in between buildings in some open space. The datapad was pinging like crazy on the screen.

    “It’s around here somewhere,” Gark remarked.

    Galin started to poke around, checking all spots in the ground. Nothing was there, so Gark moved closer to a wall where he could prop himself. However, the pinging got even more extreme as he reached the wall, and he looked down. There was a small carving in the base of the wall, with a brick that looked like it didn’t fit. He didn’t want to “find” it first, so he tried to get his son’s attention. Galin was twenty feet away looking.

    “Hey, kid, try this way. It’s obviously not out there,” Gark said. Galin tottered over and started to search. Five more feet.

    “A little closer,” Gark said. Galin moved in more. Two feet. “We’re almost there,” Gark commented.

    Galin reached out and touched the wall. He kept moving up, but when he couldn’t go any higher, he started to descend down the wall. Finally he got a finger on the fake brick. “Dad! I got something!” he said excitedly.

    “What’d you find?” Gark asked in a mock surprise voice. He had seen that long before Galin had.

    Galin pulled out the brick with some effort and then stuck his hand into the hole. Out came a small tote box, compete with lid. He set it down on the ground and opened the lid. Inside were various small items, such as plastic army men, vouchers for meal coupons, and even some pocket lint.

    “Here’s the deal, kid,” Gark said as Galin pawed through the box. “You can take only one item out.”

    “Only one?” Galin asked.

    “Only one. And in return you need to put something in the box for someone else to find,” Gark said. “That’s how it works, a trade. Give something in order to get something. Just like in Limmie.”

    Galin finally decided to grab a toy speeder out of the box, and then got the card out of his pocket.

    “Put that in on top,” Gark instructed him. Galin placed the card down on the top of the heap. “Now close the lid and put the box back where you found it.” Galin did so, and soon the box and fake brick were back in place. “See, not so hard, eh?”

    “Now what?” Galin asked.

    “Oh, I have a few ideas. Your breakfast go down well?”

    “I think so.”

    “Good, because you’ll need the space,” Gark said.




    “I’m scared,” Galin said, looking down at the dizzying fall they were about to take towards the depths of the planet.

    “Don’t worry about it, sport. I’ve got you,” Gark said. They were in a harness together, Galin lashed to his father’s chest to make sure that he was in tight for the parachute. They were about to base jump off the tallest building on Coruscant, which went hundreds of floors up into the sky. It was a popular tourist trap, and vehicles were prohibited from going anywhere near the building’s jump zone in case someone accidentally veered off course.

    “Your parachute is locked and loaded,” said an attendant.

    “Got it. We’ll see you on the flip side,” Gark said before jumping off the ledge. Instantly he and Galin’s faces were awash with the roaring energy of wind, and for a few moments Gark felt tense. He had gotten himself and his son into this, so he would have to get them back out of it. As Superbothan, he had earned enough certification on jumping like this with (or sometimes without) parachutes, and thus he was able to take a solo jump, or in this case with a passenger attached.

    Then he finally let all the anxiety go and just let the jump take him for a ride. They fell down gracefully, catching and riding the wind as they descended. The floors of buildings streaked past as they went, almost becoming a blur. Gark kept his eye on the landing zone below, but tried to gauge Galin’s reaction. The young boy still felt tense, and he had probably shut his eyes. But then the boy raised his arms a bit and let out a huge yell of what Gark guessed was excitement. Nothing like a little risk to keep a young boy entertained, he figured.

    Eventually he pulled the rip cord and the parachute popped out of the pack on his back. They slowly glided to a stop on the platform, only ten feet away from the bulls-eye spot. “Not a bad landing,” said the attendant as Gark stood up from the landing. “You looked like a pro out there.”

    Gark just smirked. This guy had no idea. “I was a little off, but I’ll take it,” he said, removing his jump helmet. “You OK?” he asked his son.

    “Whoa,” Galin said, his eyes gigantic now.

    “Did you have fun?” Gark asked. That was the whole point of this exercise.

    “Yeah,” Galin said. “That was tense!”

    “It sure was,” Gark said, ruffling the fur on his son’s head with his hand. “But you took it like a champ.”

    “Don’t tell Mom?” Galin asked.

    “Don’t tell mom,” Gark replied with a nod. The attendant just laughed.

    “I have a feeling she didn’t know you two were here?” he asked.

    “Officially, we were never here at all,” Gark said. “Just the way I like it.”





    The fun center was laid out in front of them, and Galin ran over to the first booth he saw. It was a shooting gallery game; the object was to take out the Vong figures using blasts of air from the play pistol. Galin grabbed the object and pretended to aim it at the figures. “Pew pew!” he said with a laugh.

    “OK. Insert a credit,” Gark said. Galin slipped in one of the tokens, and the game came to life. “Now, aim your shot. Be careful, take a deep breath, and then shoot straight,” Gark said. Galin hit the trigger too early and missed by a mile, or at least they assumed he missed by a lot. “OK, that’s out of the way. Focus.” Galin hit the trigger again, and missed. A third shot, however, found its target and knocked a figure over. Two more shots equaled two more kills. “There you go,” Gark said.

    Galin took out four figures in ten shots. The game ended, and a few tickets came out of the machine.

    “What are those?” Galin asked.

    “Tickets you can take to the counter for prizes,” Gark explained.

    “What kind of prizes?” Galin asked.

    “Usually cheap trinkets. I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Gark said.

    “Could I win a speeder here, one that I could drive like you?” Galin asked.

    Gark just chuckled and ruffled his son’s head fur again. “I’m afraid not. But I like your imagination.”

    They played the game again. Galin lined up his shots and exhaled as he took each one. Now he scored 7 out of ten on the gallery, and more tickets came out than in the first go-around. One more turn around netted him another seven, and by this point he decided he would move on to another game.

    They soon found themselves at the bumper speeders. Galin looked a little nervous as he climbed into the vehicle, and Gark hoped that he would figure out what to do just by looking at the controls. When the game began Galin looked apprehensive as he struggled to get things right. Some kid bumped into him hard, and he veered off course into the wall. “Come on,” Gark said to himself.

    Galin turned the vehicle around and then promptly rammed another kid. He then went on a spree of knocking around the other kids, including the one who had hit him first. Some of the other parents noticed the kid doing really well in the ring, and Gark had to stifle a laugh. Galin would probably make a good stunt driver, he figured. He had little fear, or at least here in a controlled environment.

    More games later, Galin finally hit the jackpot. He inserted a credit token into a game and then proceeded to hit the slot just right. 200 tickets poured out, and the boy ran to the slot to look at them all. “Dad, look at me!” he said, moving the tickets over his face and head. “They’ve got me!”

    “They sure did,” Gark said. He ripped off the end of the tickets and then bundled them up neatly in his hand. “So, how many more things do you want to do?” he asked.

    “Everything,” Galin said with a grin.

    An hour later, the two of them emerged from the center with the spoils of victory, an item that Galin liked at the ticket counter. They walked back to the speeder, and Gark checked his chrono. 1430, it said. “Want to get some lunch?” he asked.

    They were soon at a fast food restaurant eating more greasy food. But Galin loved it. He didn’t feel like going into the play pen, but he had already had his fun for now. They soon left and went back to the speeder.

    “Kid, back at the bumper speeders, you were tearing it up. Where did you ever learn that?”

    “I felt it,” Galin said with a shrug.

    “You don’t have the Force, kid,” Gark said. “We’ve already had you tested for that. It’s most likely a knack more than anything else, an instinct.”

    “That kid who bumped me was a bully,” Galin said.

    “A bully?”

    “I don’t like bullies,” Galin said.

    “So you showed them,” Gark surmised. “Galin, I know bullies aren’t good people. Lots of them are just insecure. But you should never lash out at them. That makes you a bully.”

    “Really?” Galin asked.

    “Really,” Gark said. “Whenever you encounter a bully, wherever they’re from, don’t fight them. That just makes them even madder and more likely to want to hurt you. So don’t give them that chance. Walk away or tell a teacher. Stick up for your friends.”

    “What if I have to fight?” Galin asked.

    “Don’t fight unless it’s a last resort,” Gark said. “I can teach you how to do some simple self-defense techniques, but if I find that you’re causing trouble at school, then you are beyond grounded. Understand me?”

    “Yeah,” Galin said.

    “Good.”

    “Now what?” Galin inquired.

    “We have to go to the store,” Gark said. “Your mother wanted me to pick up a few things for the new baby.”

    They went to a baby and toddler store. Galin followed his father through the aisles, seeing all sorts of bright colors and shapes. They seemed familiar to him somehow, like he had seen such items before in his life. But he couldn’t remember anything more.

    Gark picked up a few items on the shelves that Me’lin had asked him to purchase. They had sold the crib that Galin had used because they hadn’t planned on having another child, and some of the baby supplies they had had been discarded or given away to friends with smaller children. Of course they couldn’t buy clothes for the baby without knowing the gender or size, but they could at least be ready with the house infrastructure. One of them items was a replacement piece for the play pen that Galin once had roamed around; one of the side pieces had broken free, and needed to be replaced before another occupant would be inside its confines.

    As they wandered through the store, Galin had a question. He saw a young couple cooing over their tiny baby, probably only two weeks old and sitting in a stroller. “Dad, I have a question,” he said.

    “Go for it,” Gark said.

    “Where do babies come from?” Galin asked.

    “That’s a question I can’t answer right now. You’ll find out when the time is right,” Gark said. It took him a little while to come up with this canned answer.

    “But I don’t know when that will be,” Galin said.

    “Someday you’ll find out. Someday you’ll find yourself a girl . . . one who you really like. And then the answer will come to you.”

    “A girl? Ew, cooties,” Galin said, making a sour face as he said that.

    “Hey, you like Anya, from the house next door,” Gark said. It was true, Galin had grown up with the Chambers-Vayne kids next door, Anya and Buck. They were a year younger than the Bothan, but he had spent a lot of time playing with them. “And I hear you have a few friends at school. They can’t all be boys.”

    “No, but . . . cooties!” Galin said.

    “You’ll get over that someday,” Gark replied. “Trust me. I was in the same boat, but then I met your mother, and . . . well, you came into our lives. That’s all I can say.”

    “I don’t think I want a baby when I’m grown up,” Galin said.

    “Well, that’s up to you when you get there,” Gark commented. He was going to cut this off, because he didn’t want Galin asking him further questions about having children. Gark knew full well what made babies, and he had been successful twice in that endeavor. But now was not the time for Galin to understand, so he moved on. They went to the counter to check out before going back to the speeder.

    “Now where?” Galin asked as he was buckled into his safety seat.

    “Well, I don’t have any ideas,” Gark said. “We could go home if we run out of ideas.”

    “No!” Galin said quickly. “Stay out.”

    “OK, sport. Where do you want to go?”


    “To the Bricks store!” Galin said.

    “At the mall, or the large retail outlet?” Gark asked.

    “The big one that Mommy doesn’t let me go to because she’s afraid I would break something,” Galin said with a shrug. That was good enough for Gark; he knew where to go. Alle’s Toy Barn had a shop at the mall, but a large store downtown that apparently had millions upon millions of small building blocks and bricks. That was their specialty item, although they sold pre-made kits as well as loose pieces.

    The place was busy, but Gark made sure that his son got in. There was a large shop, and behind it was the play place with all sorts of loose pieces sitting around to be played with. The two of them went into the back, and Gark noticed that several other parents were also back there, so he wasn’t alone. They began to build some structures, and then Galin took them apart like a rampaging monster. This went on for a while, during which they experimented with all the bricks and pieces they could find. Eventually, Gark bought his son a small set of figures to go along with the bricks the boy already had in his room, and they headed back out. 1700 the chrono read.

    “What do you say we get some ice cream?” Gark asked. Galin agreed, and they soon were enjoying ice cream at an outside table by a corner shop. Galin was trying to keep the dessert from getting into his fur, because he knew his mother would freak out if it dried in there and would need to be washed out.

    “Not a bad day, hm?” Gark asked.

    “Nope,” Galin said.

    “Look, kid, if you feel like I’m abandoning you, I just want you to tell me, OK? Gark asked. “Because I want to make sure that you feel that I’m around and available to hang out with you. I know I’m not always around, and I get that it’s affecting you. You’re a lot closer to your mother than you are to me. But I want to make sure that you don’t feel left out.”

    “Are you going to be home more often?” Galin asked.

    “Every night, unless we’re on the road for any reason. But I’ll tell you ahead of time if I’m coming home late or not at all for a night or two. If something comes up, you’ll know. Got it?”

    “I think so,” Galin said, eating his ice cream.

    “I know things are going to get more hectic soon with the baby,” Gark said. “But I want you to think of me as your best buddy. Because we really are pals. Today is proof of that.”

    “Is Mommy going to pay attention to me?” Galin asked.

    “When the baby comes, probably not as much as she or I would like her to. But I want to be there for you anyways, despite the baby taking up some of my spare time. I want to make sure that all my kids get attention. You’re no exception.”

    “Can we spend more days like this?”

    “It might be difficult, but we can try,” Gark said optimistically. He remembered that he had missed quite a bit of Galin’s first few years due to work and various other crime-fighting endeavors, and he didn’t want to miss the new baby’s first few years as a result. But Galin needed his father around too, and that meant paying a lot more attention to a son that he really didn’t know as well as he felt he should have. This was a boy who had seen many things he shouldn’t have had to in his young life, and who needed a steadying fatherly presence around. Gark wanted to be that for the kid. It was his duty as a dad to be there for his child.

    To wrap up the night, Gark took his son to a local alley for bilwo-ball, which required the player to throw a zero-gravity ball towards a group of stationary targets. The more you knocked down, the higher your score. Gark wasn’t good at the game, and he let Galin win both games they played. The boy got a kick out of seeing the ball float through the air and then destroy its target.

    By 1900, Gark had stopped by a local sandwich shop and got two sandwiches for his son and for himself. They ate at the restaurant and then went home, Galin now tired out. When they got home, Gark made sure that his son got ready for bed by 2030. “We had a lot of fun today, eh, sport?” Gark asked.

    “Yeah,” Galin said. He crawled into bed, and Gark helped him pull up the sheets.

    “And remember, Galin. I’ll try to be around more. Just you wait and see,” Gark said. “Good night,” he then said before shutting off the light and closing the door behind him.

    Mykal was still up, and Gark helped him finish his homework. Mykal then turned in for the night, leaving Gark in the kitchen at 2200. He heard soft footsteps on the wood paneling and turned to see his wife approach. She was already dressed for bed in her gown, slippers keeping her feet warm and comfortable on the floor. Her protruding belly was easily evident in the gown, bulging out because a sizeable being was inside her. Gark often forgot that the baby was there and had accidentally bumped into his wife’s stomach during the night. He missed her nice figure, but she was still an attractive woman even with the baby.

    “Hi,” she said. Gark got up and hugged her, followed by a kiss. “How was your day? I tried to stay out of your way when you got home.”

    “It went great.”

    “Where did you go with him?” Me’lin asked.

    “Took him to a few stores, the park, and got some ice cream. We basically just hung out for the day,” Gark said.

    “Good to know, honey,” Me’lin said with a smile. “I know you two needed the day to yourselves. Get in some father-son bonding time.”


    “Is it true that I’m not around here enough?” Gark asked.

    “I think Galin’s overreacting a bit, but yes, you’re not around enough,” his wife explained. “You’re home every night, yes, like I asked, but that shouldn’t always include extra work time. I’ve caught you doing work or team stuff so many times while you’re supposed to be off the clock. Take some time in your life to be with your children.”

    “What about Mykal and his schoolwork?” Gark asked.

    “I’ll work with him on it until the baby comes. Then you might have to help out more,” the Twi’lek said. “But don’t worry about me. Galin has been around me enough. He needed to have his father around some more, and today was a good step towards achieving that end.”

    “What happens when the baby comes? I won’t be able to spend as much time with him as I would like,” Gark admitted. “Because the baby needs my time too.”

    “And that’s why I want to quit my job,” Me’lin said. “I want to make sure the baby is well-cared for, and being a stay-at-home mom is my only option to do that.”

    “We have the daycare center at HQ,” Gark said. “That isn’t good enough?”



    “As much as that one works, I’d like to be here for all our kids,” Me’lin countered. “Galin obviously wants me around more, the baby will need me for everything, and Mykal . . . well, I have to help him with his homework when he needs it.”

    “Is there any way I can convince you to stay on with the job?” Gark asked. “Because we need you at HQ. The temps are never any good . . . you’ll be impossible to replace.”

    “Gark, I know it sounds odd, but right now all I want is to be a housewife,” Me’lin said after a slight pause. “That will allow me more freedom to raise the family and get household chores done, while also affording you more time to get work done during the day. That way you can spend more time with the kids when you’re home.”

    “And you’re willing to give up your independence as a working woman?” Gark asked.

    Me’lin nodded. “If it’s the best for our family, then it’s best for me. This is my decision, and I’ll take it on if it means you are home more.”

    “If I agree to this, will you ever return to the front office?”

    “Maybe in a year or two, perhaps three. I want to make sure the baby gets my full attention in those formative years, and then I can consider returning to work when they grow a little older and Galin is seven or eight and can fend for himself better.”

    “And Mykal will be off in college, I assume,” Gark said.

    “I hope he can make it,” Me’lin said. “His grades are still scuffling.”

    “I thought you had great faith in him,” Gark replied.

    “I do, but the reality of the situation is that he will need a lot of prodding over the next few years if he’s to make it to college. He can finish high school, but I don’t know what’s in store for him after that. I’d like to help him get to college.”

    “So you’re willing to give up your job, cook all the meals, do all the cleaning in the house, do all daycare services, go to the grocery store? You’re going to make me breakfast in the morning and then see me off to work with a kiss before starting in on your house chores for the day?” Gark asked.

    “If that’s what it takes to have an excellent family, yes,” Me’lin said. “I’m doing this not just for the children, but also for you. Please respect my willingness to sacrifice personal freedoms for family.”

    “OK,” Gark said. “When do you want to quit?”

    “When the team stuff is wrapped up,” Me’lin said. “So any day now.”

    “We’ll miss you at the office,” Gark said.

    “And I’ll miss it. But this is where my life has taken me, and I want to make sure it’s as good an experience as I can make it.”

    “Now that it’s settled, I think I’ll turn in for the night,” Gark said. He turned to leave.

    “Wait,” his wife said, touching his shoulder. “I wanted to spend a few minutes going over a list of baby names I thought of today.”

    “OK,” Gark said. The two sat down on the sofa and discussed names. They had possibilities for both genders, and then finally got down to one for a boy and one for a girl. After that, he helped Me’lin get to bed, and then tried to fall asleep himself. But before he nodded off, he knew that this might finally allow him more time to hang out with Galin. He respected his wife’s sacrifice, and hoped that she wouldn’t regret it. As far as his day was concerned, his only hope was that Galin found it entertaining, and that he felt more attached to his father than he had before.
    Trieste, Tim Battershell and jcgoble3 like this.
  23. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    Love it! Geocaching, BASE jumping, arcade, bumper cars, the whole nine yards. Great father-son bonding time.
  24. Trieste Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    You took the words right out of my mouth. A great day for Gark and son.

    Except now I'm thinking about his eventual teen romance with Anya Chambers-Vayne. :p They'll probably create the Chosen One to bring balance to the limmie pitch if they ever got married and had a kid...in 20 years or so. [face_laugh]
    jcgoble3 likes this.
  25. jcgoble3 Tiemaster

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    I think we've got about a decade of real time before we have to worry about Galin and Anya's kids in the game. Thankfully. :p
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