Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jan 3, 2017.
Somehow, I don't think talking to Mara is going to make matters better. Mara may actually kill him.
Awww. Poor mooka-pup Luke.
In this update our mooka-pub shows a dark side that he has inherited from his dad: obsession. I hope he will get that one under control, because if he does NOT talk to Mara about his feelings personally, he cannot know that they are DESTINED together and soul mates. Writing messages and leaving presents is too vague.
First of all - that Manfred Mann cover...BWAHAHAHAHAHA. It needs to be written. IT MUST EXIST BECAUSE I SAYS SO.
Now, I don't have much time on my hands, given how I fell behind during this turbulent week of WTF, but I have this:
ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL? I mean, FABULOUS? SPARKLY, TOO.
This deserves a DEGREE in teenage ANGST, complete with UNNECESSARY capitalisation. Perfect. Perfect. 10/10.
I can see why Yoda thought Luke wasn't ready. He kind of fails at logic.
And I wouldn't feel weird talking about something like that in front of Chewie. *shrug*
Sometimes, one has to wonder if Aunt Beru was saying that because she wanted him to GO AWAY, too.
OK, just kidding. But this whole deal with Ezra...I'd say that Luke needs to tap into his intuition more. SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS AND YOU'LL KNOW IT'S TRUE.
ohkriffohkriffohkriff!!1!!!!1!! Wait, Luke won't say the K-word, he's not ANGRY MACE.
Apparently. EVERYBODY'S OUT TO GET MY BABY.
This was literally....the funniest thing ever. Two characters in an exchange that just simply *works* because their thought processes work in the exact opposite ways.
Schadenfreude for Hobbie is the best schadenfreude EVARR. While I will always feel a bit sad for the wide-eyed mookie-Lukie, I won't feel sad for Hobbie for one single second. His criteria for a girl default to a single criterion: a girl.
Poor, silly, infatuated Luke... just listen to him! "How could she NOT know?" Well, because you didn't sign your name, doofus! And it's not like you've poured your heart in these mooka-like terms to anyone but your Dear Diary—was she supposed to just SENSE in the FORCE or SOMETHING? (Oh wait, in your mind, yes she was—because, as we all know, THAT'S HOW THE FORCE WORKS, riiight?) I will be curious to see if he goes through with his plan to recruit Threepio in producing further amorous doggerel about "star-as."
But as we see from the banter with the other pilots here, he is about to have the scales RIPPED AWAY from those wide, bright blue eyes. I love how he's the only one of the whole bunch who regards his sappy, gooey love note-plus-rock as the MOST ROMANTIC GESTURE ever, and how he immediately rationalizes the fact that she didn't say anything about it, "because of Ezra"—without quite making the connection. The message isn't gotten until Wedge's "Mara's his girlfriend" falls like a ton of bricks... and even then, there's an awful lot of that famous River In Egypt. Oh man, oh man... as others have said, I do almost feel sorry for him—but I also totally don't blame Ezra for wanting him to just GO AWAY and stop sticking closer than a brother. (And I do wonder if that pantsplit will happen. )
And yes, Luke, by all means, find Mara and TALK TO HER. Just you try tickling that sleeping nexu and see what happens. (Actually, she'd probably be mostly pretty civil toward him, in the way one is civil toward a mooka pup, but I could see that conversation becoming very awkward very quickly.)
As always throughout this story, you've done a great job with the characterization and voices, from the smirking pilots to the incorrigible Messrs. Klivian and Janson to the thoroughly fed-up Ezra to Mr. Mooka Pup himself.
He is such a sad little mooka, isn't he? But cute in a sad- mooka kind of way
She might just, particularly if he confesses to sending that AWESOME NOTE and gift. At the very least, that chat is not not going to end the way Luke hopes it will...
Yes, Luke is making some awfully big assumptions about Mara on the basis of his of his crush. Talking to her may not turn out exactly the way he planned, but pining in silence and sending notes isn't helping either. Maybe if he actually talked to her, he could see the real Mara and not Sparkly Dream Girl.
I defer to the Mistress of Crazy Lyrics on this
OH. MY. FORCE. It's the ROCK. It's AMAZING. It's PERFECT. It's the most ROMANTIC GIFT EVER
Yeah, Chewie would probably be very sympathetic.
Oh, poor Aunt Beru....between whiny Luke and cranky Owen, she had her hands full with impossible men. I think she meant it kindly, in a kind of "stop playing with your toy spaceships and talk to some actual people" way, but then again, who could blame her for needing a break? He should have listened to her, because all those social cues are whooshing right over his head like a T-16 Skyhopper...
Wait, didn't someone else just ask the same question?
Yeah, Luke has some actual feelings for Mara (irrational as they may be), while Hobbie is just looking for any girl. It's amazing Sabine hasn't kicked his shebs from Yavin to Coruscant. (He might enjoy that, though...)
But...but...they're perfect together! They're soul mates! Therefore, she must be able to sense (and reciprocate) all his amorous feelings. Oh, you want him to talk to her? But that would be HARD compared to sending anonymous notes, that she must surely know are from him.
Love poetry written by Threepio is bound to be very...inspiring (of course, it may inspire its recipient to throw a sparkly green rock at the poet).
Luke's just not ready to give up on this sinking 'ship, even when he's confronted with the truth. I think this is a very teen-aged mindset (and I am totally not thinking of myself when I say that ). Just think of all the sappy "love" songs that essentially say "you can't possibly love that other person, because you were clearly meant for me--despite all evidence to the contrary."
Those kinds of conversations are never fun, and though, I think you're right that Mara would try to be nice about it--no one wants to hurt a mooka pup--his insistence on soul mates and destinies would move things from "we can still be friends" to "GO AWAY" in short order.
Thank you so much
To my sparkly betas,
@Ewok Poet and
@Findswoman. You two ROCK
I made up my mind that Mara and I needed to get away from the mess hall and all the interruptions, so I raided the Ghost’s galley and packed a lunch-- nothing fancy, just some sandwiches, dried jogan fruit and a couple bottles of water--and grabbed a tarp from the cargo hold for a picnic. I had the perfect place for it--a clearing just far enough off the main path to be secluded. There’s an outcropping of the same black rock the temples are built out of and when it’s been raining--which is pretty much all the time on Yavin--a stream cascades down it in a waterfall. It’s one of those places that just glows with life...and between the waterfall and the orchids blooming, I’d even say it’s kind of romantic.
Mara seemed to like it, too. She sat on the tarp, leaning back against one of the fallen tree trunks with her eyes closed. “This is perfect. It’s so peaceful here, and I need this after this morning. Prisk would not leave me alone about that note and Hobbie…” She sighed and opened her eyes. “No. I’m not going to think about that. It’s just you and me now.”
I opened the satchel I’d packed lunch in. “Tok nut butter with or without beebleberry jam?”
“I had no idea you were such a gourmet cook. You’re going to spoil me. With jam, please. Why are you looking at me like that?,” she asked as I handed her her sandwich.
“You know, your eyes really are as green as all the leaves on Yavin.”
Mara’s eyes narrowed and her mouth curved into a wicked grin.“Oh, I’ll give you all the leaves on Yavin…” She grabbed a double handful of leaves off the ground and started pelting me with them.
“Kidding, just kidding!” I protested, fending them off. She laughed, and dumped the rest of the leaves over my head. I shook them out of my hair, laughing, too, and raised my water bottle to Mara. “Cheers, Ace.”
She clinked hers against it. “Cheers, Spectre.”
“So,” I said around a mouthful of sandwich. “Last night, you were going to tell me why you left Merkesh, when we were interrupted.” She’d started to tell me then what was going on with her family, how the Café was nearly empty all the time now and how her mom had been disciplined by the Moff for being too soft (has he actually met her mother?), but before she could tell me why she was here, we were joined by a certain nerf-herding pilot.
She lowered her water bottle and shrugged. “Well, there’s the official cover story, the rumors and then there’s the truth.”
“Okay, what’s the cover?”
“The official story is that I went to Corellia to help my poor, frail grandmother.”
“Frail? I thought your grandmother ran a cantina in Coronet City?”
“She does, but no one in Merkesh City knows that.” Mara took another drink, and then her smile curled into a too-sweet sarcastic grin. “Then there’s the story my dear friend Rominaria, the barve, is telling everyone--that my mother decided to ship me off to the Imperial Academy to keep me away from my criminal street-rat boyfriend after we were caught... ahem…consorting in an alley by the spaceport.”
I almost had to laugh. I guess the story of what happened in that alley--one kiss!--gets better all the time. This Rominaria really did sound like a barve. “Well, you know, I am a dangerous man,” I said, raising my eyebrows.
“Oh, I know,” she agreed. “I have your wanted poster from the Imperial database.”
“Is it a good picture? Do you keep it in your satchel, so you can show all your friends your criminal boyfriend?”
Mara smirked. “Under my pillow, actually, so I can dream of him.”
“No, not really, you moof-milker!”
“So those are the stories...what’s the truth?”
Mara sighed and licked some jam off her fingers. “The truth is the Force wants me here. When Uncle Dev told us about the Battle of Yavin and how Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star, Dad had a premonition.”
“What?” Skywalker….That was not a name I wanted to hear, and suddenly I had a really bad feeling about where this was going.
“Yeah, he used to know a powerful Jedi named Anakin Skywalker who turned to the Dark Side and betrayed the Jedi,” Mara said. “Dad thinks Luke could be related to this Anakin...that he might be Force-sensitive, maybe stronger than any of us. That someone needs to keep an eye on Luke so he doesn’t go to the Dark Side, too.”
“What’s that got to do with you?” The bad feeling was intensifying. Skywalker, a Jedi? I knew even before she answered who the Force had sent to mind him, and I definitely didn’t like it.
“The Force decided I needed to be the one to look after him,” Mara continued, not noticing the way I’d just turned into a duracrete statue. “but honestly, I haven’t seen anything to make me think….what’s wrong?”
“The Force sent you here for Skywalker?” I tried not to sound as bitter as I felt. Mara always says the Force has a perverse sense of humor and I think this just about proves it. “You know he has a thing for you, right?”
She blinked at me, frowning. “Luke? No, he’s just…”
“A harmless mooka pup?” I snorted, and this time, I definitely sounded bitter. More bitter than a Jedi should, but…Really, I wanted to ask the Force. You send my girlfriend to watch over another guy? And not just any guy, but a lovesick mooka who thinks she's really great? Where does that leave me? “I saw the way he was looking at you this morning. Trust me, the mooka pup wants to be more than your friend.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter what he wants.” Mara scowled, shaking her head emphatically. “The Force sent me to be his babysitter, not his girlfriend!”
I wish I could be so sure... but the Force sent her after me that day on Merkesh. I always thought that it had meant us to be together, but now it’s sent her after Skywalker…. Did it change its mind? Did it only send Mara so those bounty hunters wouldn’t kill me, and the rest of it was all some sort of...mistake as far as the Force was concerned?
Mara must have sensed my thoughts. Her expression softened and she put her hands on my shoulders. “Luke is a friend, that’s all,” she said. “And even if I’m here because of him, I’m here with you.” She reached out in the Force, her presence like a warm glow around me, and then pulled me into a kiss that made the glow in the Force spark like lightning. And that kiss melted into another. And another. “I love you, Ezra.” Mara finally whispered. “That’s not going to change.”
We kind of forgot about the picnic--and everything else--for awhile...at least until a strangled screeching noise and the sound of something huge crashing through the undergrowth ruined the moment.
So now apparently even the wildlife’s joined in the conspiracy to keep us from being together. Fine. Bring it on. Because I love Mara, and I’m not letting anything come between us. I’m not going to lose her...not to girl-crazy pilots or mysterious writers and especially not to Skywalker.
AND THE LOVE TRIANGLE INTENSIFIES!
Bah! I love how Ezra is so nonchalant about the note - even bugging Mara about it, but when it comes to the real reason why Mara is on Yavin, Ezra feel so unsure about their relationship. Shows you how much Ezra trusts in the force, and not people.
ALSO, THERE'S A GRANNY? I want to meet Mara Jade's grandmother.
I love how this is a source of pride and bragging rights for them.
“I love you, Ezra.” Mara finally whispered. “That’s not going to change.”
I feel like singing a certain song from "The Nightmare before Christmas": "I sense there's something in the wind
That feels like tragedy's at hand..."
Mara wants to protect Luke. Luke just wants Mara and Ezra is with Mara. The plot thickens and I hope nobody will go dark side here.
That's some romantic picnic we have here, all right! 10/10 would not mind one.
Oh wait, Yavin IV is full of scary creatures, if one is to judge from, say, @Kahara's Our Situations Must Be Dire. Make that 9/10.
Ezra's "cooking" "skills" here are clearly epic and I love how Mara is snarky about it, yet she's not snarky to the extent that would rip him apart. They have perfect chemistry and they can tease each other without that turning into pain and hurt for any of them. Same for the thing with the wanted poster. Now, that was dead funny! And so, so, so Mara!
Love it how their romantic drink of choice is water, too! Because in a way, their love is simple, but pure, the mover and the Force in both of them and they don't need anything more than that. OK, I have gone too far here, this is probably not a symbol to begin with.
I always thought that Mara shares a lot in common with Latara, and here she is, literally doing what Latara does in Rampage of the Phlogs. Sure, the way they think are different, much different, but when they're playful, there are many similarities in the ways they act.
Somebody do what Bastila Shan did to Mission Vao here. With one difference - Rominaria totally deserves it. What a bovine eejit she is...and sorry to bovids for offending them.
Dolan, you had something to do with this, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU? You, bitter loser.
Now, I am not sure how well Ezra took this whole big reveal. Sure, they had some time for smooching and he loves Mara and Skywalker won't be standing in the way, but since Mara HAS to look after that mooka pup who just won't understand reality as it is, things will definitely get weird. Let's hope that all these kids are mature enough to understand each others' quirks OR that they will mature and learn through all this.
Nice to see Ezra get all emotional, too.
And I agree with
@Briannakin - I want to meet Granny!Blayne.
Dun dun DUN.....
It's easier for him to be blasé about the note, even if he doesn't like it. Mara's already expressed her displeasure about it and put the smackdown on Hobbie for possibly writing it. But Mara's not on Yavin because Ezra's there, and it's got to be unsettling for him to think that the power that binds the universe together is throwing her together with Luke, who's already got designs on her. (And he's a cute mooka pup instead of an obnoxiously girl-crazy pilot).
Yep, this grandma is Doran's Corellian mother, so you know she's not just baking cookies. (she appears briefly in "Proud of Your Boy" and she's based loosely on Lauren Bacall). I'll have to see if I can find a way to bring her into the story.
This is a nod to the Disney version of Robin Hood (yes, another Disney reference), where Maid Marian keeps Robin's wanted poster hidden in her wardrobe to swoon over, the way you would over a rock star's poster. Not that Mara is necessarily swooning over Ezra's poster, but I like the idea that instead of the totally non-threatening Boyz of the New Order, her poster of choice is her "criminal" boyfriend.
Without going into spoilers, I will say that I mean the story to be more angsty/comic than tragic. It's not going to be easy for any of them, though, since they're stuck with each other thanks to the Force's rather odd sense of humor.
Well, animal friendship is one of Ezra's specialties, so he could probably handle any critters who would try to crash the picnic...even if that would kill the romance.
Nothing says "romance" like the GFFA version of the PB&J! Of course, it really doesn't matter what's on the menu as long as they're together. For Mara and Ezra, the lighthearted teasing and laughter is a more natural way of expressing their feelings for each other than sappy declarations of love a la Mooka Pup.
I hadn't meant it as a symbol, but it's a lovely interpretation
I always thought that Mara shares a lot in common with Latara, and here she is, literally doing what Latara does in Rampage of the Phlogs. Sure, the way they think are different, much different, but when they're playful, there are many similarities in the ways they act.[/quote]
Interesting comparison; I hadn't thought of it before, but I can similarities now. They're both very sure of themselves and what they want, and they're not afraid to go for it!
She totally deserves it. Rominaria is that "friend" who's always ready to believe the worst of you--and then tell everybody else. And yes, Donal is at the root of all this. He, too, is ready to spread vile rumors about Mara, because of his animosity towards Raissa, and of course, people will believe him since he's the one who apprehended Mara and Ezra in that alley.
Things getting weird is a safe bet. Ezra probably took things about as well as can be expected, but he is a little hot-headed and fiercely protective of those he cares about...and, as you note, Luke is remarkably slow to get a clue. And Mara's stuck with both of them...
He is definitely capable of it, and he does love his Ace
I don't think she's the kind of cuddly grandmother you call "Granny"
As always, thank you to my betas,
@Ewok Poet and
THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!!!1! IT CAN’T… Mara’s my SOUL MATE…We’re PERFECT TOGETHER… How…???
I went to Intel to talk to her after Wedge said…what he said… I couldn’t believe it; he had to be wrong. She couldn’t be in love with that NERF-HERDER, Ezra. I mean, he’s so unfriendly, so annoying! What could she possibly see in HIM? Hobbie even said he was probably lying when he said Mara was his girlfriend!
But when I got there, she was already gone and the dark-furred Bothan said she’d gone off with HIM. :-( :-( :-( I guess I shouldn’t have tried to follow but I HAD TO TALK TO HER. I didn’t know which way she’d gone, so…. I used the Force. I concentrated on Mara--on her beautiful eyes, and her sparkly laugh and her smile, everything I love about her--and I could almost sense her! I could almost hear her voice! I followed that feeling down the main path around the base and then onto a smaller path that branched off it. And I felt Mara’s presence getting closer….
The path lead to a little clearing in the jungle. There were lots of flowers there, and a waterfall… It was just like the one in my dream, except…
HE was kissing Mara…REALLY kissing her…
I thought I was going to be sick. I didn’t even bother staying on the path when I ran off, and I got pretty scratched up by the vines and the thorns, but I didn’t care because it was nothing compared to the PAIN OF MY HEART BREAKING :-(
This can’t be true… I LOVE Mara……How can she not see that we’re MEANT FOR EACH OTHER?
Ohh. I'm torn between feeling sorry for Luke and being mildly disturbed by his obsession. He is his father's son.
Catch-up time... sorry to have gotten behind on this!
Ezra, 2/28: So nice to see our two lovebirds finally able to enjoy some time together without any busybody fellow Rebels poking their noses into things. They've waited a long time for this moment, and this beautiful, idyllic spot by the waterfall—with orchids! —is the absolutely perfect setting. And as always, don't by any means sell yourself short on the "romantic stuff": once again the romantic dialogue is spot on here, and I love their cheerful, lighthearted, and yet very sincere way of expressing their love for each other (the poster exchange is especially priceless . Even Ezra's one momentary "bad feeling about this" fits in well and is very believably handled—as is the way Mara reassures him, with that sweet kiss with the Force glowing and sparking all around. Did I already say "?" (And yes, please, do introduce us sometime to Mara's very cool and determined-sounding grandmother! )
Luke, 3/4: NOOOOOOOOOOO! Exclamation point exclamation point one one exclamation point one exclamation point! So I guess this tells us what—or, rather, who—that huge crash in the undergrowth was during Ezra and Mara's kiss: they had a rather distraught, mooka-like eavesdropper who still seems pretty waterlogged by that Certain River in Egypt, even when CONCRETE VISUAL EVIDENCE is taking place RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE. Yeah, Ezra's "annoying," because he's annoyed; who wouldn't be by Luke's sticketh-closer-than-a-brother type behavior in the last few chapters (even if it really is ultimately harmless)? And of course the next step in the process is AAAANGSSSSST... "I didn’t care because it was nothing compared to the PAIN OF MY HEART BREAKING"—yeah, Skywalker, the Galaxy's tiniest violin is playing that ESB love theme for you, right now.
Wonderful as always, and I can't wait to see what the fallout will be (and to hear Mara's account of the experience)!
THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!!!1! IT CAN’T… Mara’s my SOUL MATE…We’re PERFECT TOGETHER… How…???
This is really a moment of angst here. But I hope you´ll manage to let the story still stay fun.
Luke, you would fit perfectly with me of fifteen years ago. We'd be BFFs and we'd angst together over pretty much everything and everybody! Oh wait, chances are we'd argue with each other for no apparent reason, too.
The idea of him using the Force to connect to Mara is so.cleverly.subverted.here. I know that it was beaten to death and back in Legends and seeing it work in a non-romantic way (well, from Mara's side ) and it got cheesy at some point; so this was a cool different take on it. Let's hope that Luke understands that his connection to Mara IS there, and has been there all along, albeit not in the way he thinks. And, well, let's hope he can make peace with that fact!
And theeeen...there comes that thing called "alternative character interpretation"...
Great point. Frighteningly great point.
Hadn't thought of it quite that way, but the Skywalker men do have a way of throwing themselves headfirst into relationships. At least Luke doesn't have a maniacal Sith lord advising him that the path to true love can be achieved by KILLING EVERYONE
Thank you At least Mara and Ezra have some time to themselves in the lovely romantic setting before trouble creeps into paradise. Ezra's bad feeling is probably not going to completely go away, despite Mara's best efforts to dispel it. It may not be completely unjustified, given the clueless determination of mookas.
Luke is in deep denial; even after seeing Mara living out his G-rated daydreams--complete with waterfall!--with another guy, she's still his soul mate. (because she was totally not kissing Ezra back). But now our Mooka Pup has his hackles up against this unfriendly "interloper", who's just gone from Luke's new bestest best friend to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and more denial, Luke is blissfully unaware he's responsible for that unfriendliness in any way.
TEH ANNNNNGGGGGGSSSTTTTT!11!!! Keep the tiny violin handy; you're sure to need it in future installments
Skywalker angst at its purest... The next couple of chapters will have a lighter tone, and I promise that whatever happens, Luke's efforts to prove his love to Mara will not involve villainous politicians, ominous dreams of Mara dying, or killing younglings.
Yep, Luke would have fit in with the me of...er, slightly more than fifteen years ago. We could have sympathized with each other over our love interests and their TOTALLY UNWORTHY significant others. Until our whiny poodoo grated on the other one's nerves...
That mystical Force-bond did get a bit overused, and I'm not sure it would always have been as romantic as it's made out. Of course, it's possible to bond with people in a non-romantic way as well, and having that connection doesn't equate to being "soul mates" or "destinies".
My interpretation of Luke or Luke's of Ezra and/or Mara? Because he certainly has his own take on their characters that doesn't quite line up with reality.
Thanks as always to my sparkly beta readers,
@Ewok Poet and
Isn’t being a Jedi supposed to give you great insight? Because as long as I live, I’m never going to figure out men.
After following me around since I got here, Luke has suddenly disappeared. I haven’t seen a hair of his shaggy blond head for the past three days. Ezra, of course, couldn’t be happier about this development. And, though I admit it has been nice having time with just the two of us, the Force has been nagging at me that it’s not done with me and Luke just yet. I don’t know what it wants me to do; I still don’t see that he’s some powerful Force-user who needs me to keep him on track. I wish I had Mom and Dad here to talk to about this. I wish I could talk to Ezra about it, but whenever I mention Luke and the Force, I can sense him getting uneasy. I know he thinks Luke is interested in me, but I don’t see that, either. He’s just a nice guy who’s a little too enthusiastic. Even if he is interested in me, it doesn’t matter. That’s not going to change the way I feel about Ezra; I don’t understand why he’s so worried. I suppose I could always ask Kanan for advice, but somehow that just seems like I’d be going behind Ezra's back.
One thing I did not expect coming to Yavin was that I’d find actual girl friends--you know, the kind who have something in common with you besides the fact that you live near each other. The kind who are interested in something besides reading Empress! magazine and figuring out which brainless nerf-herding cadet at the garrison is the dreamiest. And I definitely never expected the friends that I’ve found--a Mandalorian and a princess.
First of all there’s Sabine…and that almost surprises me more than Leia. I’ve always felt kind of awkward around her. She’s built like a model from Empress!, she blows things up for fun, she’s around Ezra more than I am...and though he’s never come right out and said it, I know he was interested in her for a while before he met me. So, yeah, a little awkward…
We finally finished decrypting that file for Cracken--fleet deployments in the Outer Rim; I knew it had to be something good!--on Primeday. Prisk, Malta and I knocked off work a little early to celebrate, so I headed over to the Ghost to find Ezra. When I got there, Sabine was in the middle of her blaster practice. She had music playing, something loud with lots of quetarra and kloo-horn riffs, and I swear she was shooting the training remote in rhythm with the music. She saw me when she ducked behind the Ghost’s landing gear to evade the remote’s shots. She shut down the remote and took off her helmet. “Hey, Mara. Ezra and Kanan went off in the forest for lightsaber practice; they should be back pretty soon. Want to join me until then?” she asked, tossing me one of her pistols.
I hesitated. I do have an aurodium medal in marksmanship, but that’s just the Merkesh Junior Division. I’m no Mandalorian. But Sabine’s WESTAR-35 pistol was awesome...a lot more powerful than my little hold-out blaster…and I couldn’t say no to the chance to use it. “I like your music,” I told Sabine as I lined up my shot. “It kind of reminds me of what Sem and his band play at the Café Alderaan.” It had the same sort of swing to it, only a little harder and edgier.
Her blaster bolt sizzled through the air and hit the remote right after mine. “Thanks. It’s Kain Apollyon; he has the one of the best quenk jazz bands out there. This is real music...real emotions. Not like that Steamy Wasaka Stew poodoo the pilots listen to.”
“Ugh! Tell me about it!” When she started reading Empress!, Rominaria moved from the totally non-threatening Boyz of the New Order to SWS and its sexy (and by sexy, I mean “not at all sexy” ) lead singer Antonio Nokaarbe, who likes to prance around stage shirtless on any possible occasion. Holo-flash: just because you can go shirtless does not mean you should. “Cinda and Sera play that all the time in the women’s barracks. The music isn’t bad, but the lyrics! Not that they’re actually listening to the words, they just like to gawk at shirtless Antonio.”
“He’s such a barve!” Sabine agreed. “That song about being stunned by a female trooper? I’d oblige him, but he’d probably like it.”
“Still better than their new one--’Funk My Bit.’ How did that one make it past the Imperial censors? If Cinda plays it one more time, I’m going to gouge my eardrums out with my own multi-tool.”
The music ended and the training remote stopped with it. I handed the WESTAR back to Sabine. “Thanks. I wish my blaster was this good.”
“What do you have again?” she asked, holstering her pistols.
“A Czerka 411; it’s got better range than most hold-out blasters, but the emitter muzzle cuts into its power.”
“Hmm,” Sabine considered this. “You should get a Blurrg-1120, like Hera’s. Now that one’s got some kick! And nine different firing modes.” She cocked her head to the side and smiled. “You want to come in and have a cup of caf? Don’t tell Zeb, but I know where he hides his cache of Kamino salted macchiato.”
“Are you kidding? Some days I’d sell my lightsaber for a decent cup of caf!”
We were still sipping caf and trading notes on the best kinds of blasters when Ezra finally came back. He did a double take when he walked into the galley and saw me sitting there with Sabine. “You guys weren’t talking about me, were you?” he asked with a smirk that suggested he kind of liked that idea.
Sabine and I traded glances. “You don’t think,” she said in a voice as sweet as a Zelosian zherry bomb and as dangerous as her WESTAR, “that Mara and I could possibly find anything to discuss besides you?”
Ezra’s eyes darted between the two of us, not sure what the answer was to that question, but aware he’d better not get it wrong. “No?…I mean, yes?”
See what I mean about men?
So, now things are a lot less strange with Sabine and me, and I’m also on a first-name basis with the Princess of Alderaan. (You can squeal now, Annina.)
I bumped into Leia in the base’s common area yesterday. We were both there to get tea--even though it’s hot and humid outside, it’s always damp and cool inside the temples. The tea may taste like thin dishwater, but at least you can hold the flimsi-plast cups to warm up your hands. We exchanged the usual small talk about the weather (rainy as usual) and Dex’s cooking (porridge as usual) and then she asked me, “Have you talked to Luke lately?”
“No, I haven’t even seen him since Benduday, which is odd, because normally, he’s everywhere.” Leia’s dark eyes were appraising and I could tell this was more than just chit-chat. “Why? What’s wrong?”
“You didn’t know? He’s been in the infirmary since then; he ran into a patch of touch-not bushes and has blisters all over his hands and face.” Now that really was strange, because Luke was the one who told me which plants to avoid and I know he mentioned that one. There was something not quite right here; I could feel Leia’s concern and I shared it. “I’ve visited him a couple of times, but he’s been, well, frankly a little mopey and whiny--more than I would expect over a rash. I wondered if perhaps he’d...spoken to you?”
“No,” I said slowly. What did Leia know that I didn’t? “Should he have?”
She hesitated. “No, I suppose not.”
“Maybe I should go visit him, too,” I suggested. “I might be able to figure out what’s wrong with him.”
Leia pursed her lips, and now I was sure there was something she wasn’t telling me. “You might want to give him a little space for a while.”
“I wish I could, but…” I bit my lip, realizing how close I come to saying “the Force won’t let me.” Claiming that the power that binds the universe together is sending you on its personal errands is a great way to impress your friends…
“But?” She cocked her head to one side and regarded me with those dark, searching eyes again. She cared...and that surprised me. A princess, a leader in the Alliance, and yet she cared how I felt, cared more than some of my friends on Merkesh would have (looking at you here, Rominaria).
I sighed. “You’ll think I’m crazy.”
“I won’t.” Suddenly, I believed her. A nudge from the Force, maybe? I guess when you face Darth Vader himself, when you stand and watch your homeworld be destroyed, it's easier to believe in things that seem impossible. Leia gestured toward one of the lumpy, second-hand couches in the makeshift conversation area. We sat down, and I told her the truth--the absolute truth--about why I was on Yavin. She listened, taking in every word I said, but I never felt disbelief or scorn cloud the openness of her presence.
“So…” I finished. “Now that you think I’m a lunatic.…”
“I don’t,” Leia answered. “I said I wouldn’t. I believe you; my father worked with the Jedi before and during the Clone Wars. I know they’re real and I know they weren’t traitors. And I know they didn’t all die.” She paused, drumming her fingers against her tea cup. “As for Luke...you definitely need to talk to him.”
“You know something you’re not saying, don’t you?” I pressed.
She gave me rueful smile. “A few things, actually, but they’re Luke’s to tell you, not mine.”
I sighed again as I rose from the couch. “Then I should probably make that visit to the infirmary sooner rather later.”
“Probably,” Leia agreed. “And, Mara…may the Force be with you.”
Quenk jazz and Kain Apollyon: this is actually established as the type of music that Sabine likes to listen to. There really isn’t a description of what quenk jazz is, so I imagine it as kind of fusion or modern jazz. It seems like the kind of music Sabine might enjoy.
Steamy Wasaka Stew and Antonio Nokaarbe: are the fanon creation of
@Ewok Poet. Antonio is a notorious womanizer who likes to go shirtless on stage. He is mentioned in several of Ewok Poet’s stories, including her DDC, [DDC 2017] Doaba Ke'demii - The Diary of a Young Comradette.
Their song “Funk My Bit” is a result of me badly misreading the URL funkymbti (a site the does personality typing on pop culture characters). Lyrics provided upon request.
The WESTAR-35 pistol and theBlurrg 1120 hold-out blaster are Sabine and Hera’s weapons of choice, respectively.
Zeb’s hidden cache of caramel macchiato is a reference to his gift from the Blayne family in Not Your Mother's Life Day
Awwww. Poor little Luke. It's hard not to feel bad for him, even if he was being a creeper peeper.
And I liked seeing Mara become friends with Sabine, because of course those two would become best of friends.
Alas, Mara, I'm afraid not even the Force can help you there!
The dynamic here with Ezra's suspicion of Luke and Mara's guarded tolerance (as I think it can be called) is an interesting one. One sees very much where Ezra is coming from, of course, though part of me wonders if he's being a touch harsh. One can also see where Mara is coming from, because her promptings from the Force about Luke are indeed real (and I am curious to see how they will play out in the course of this story, given the way things are going). But then she says things like "He’s just a nice guy who’s a little too enthusiastic," which sounds a bit like the trap a lot of women in this galaxy (and probably that one too) fall into when it comes to dealing with the more annoying members of what one of my high school PE teachers called the "male species." Thankfully Mara is levelheaded and perspicacious enough that there likely won't be any real problems—I just hope Ezra will trust her levelheadedness!
Meanwhile, it's absolutely fantastic to see Mara making some new female friends—and so refreshing to see that not all the women on the base are like those annoying giggly pilots who first gave Mara all that grief about Luke's love note. Sabine and Leia are so different from each other, but both in their ways will make Ideal friends for Mara—because, in a way, Mara is somewhat of a (red-)golden mean between them. With Sabine she has the common interest in marksmanship, small arms, and good caf (though if Zeb catches them sneaking his capsules... ), and it looks like some new and interesting musical interests will come out this friendship too (I can't blame Mara for wanting a break from the infamous Antonio N.—a familiar name from
@Ewok Poet 's oeuvre And of course I love Sabine's comeback to Ezra about talking about him—news flash, Ezzie-pie, we pass the Bechdel test, thank you very much! (Showing, perhaps, that Ezra still has a few of his own points of cluelessness to work on.)
And then there is Leia, who will be an invaluable ally to Mara in this Entire Force Business as well as this Entire Luke Business. As we've seen from her chats with Luke in earlier chapters, she definitely is privy to Luke's crush on Mara, and I can imagine she (Leia) might be feeling a bit of awkwardness here in this conversation with Mara because of it. But her caring and concern are absolutely sincere. The Great Big Awkward Chat between Mara and Luke is no doubt right around the corner at this point, but no matter how awkwardly that may go, Mara will have an understanding and sympathetic listener in Leia afterward.
Mara, Mara, Mara...you, girl, remind me of your mother sometimes. There is nothing to worry about - no matter what happens, Ezra chose you and you chose him. While this mooka pup incident and the challenges of never having enough time to yourselves are real, your doubts are not. Doubt leads to fear and fear...well, blah, blah, yakkity schmachity.
Antonio is about the worst thong...I mean thing...that happened to the Galaxy after the Emperor himself. OK, joking here, but anybody who takes his lyrics as a guide is dangerous. I bet Hobbie and Wes are huge fans. They would subscribe to the stunned by female Stormtrooper in space fantasy...
..and Wes should never EVER know that Latara exists.
Loved the inclusion of Cracken.
The girl friendship, however, stole the story here. Passed the Bechdel test. And it's about pistols (OMG casual target practice!) and music. Sabine's recommendation of a pistol made me smile just about wide enough for the ends of my lips to meet on the back of my head.
And Kamino salted machiatto and voice as sweet as a zherry bomb are some GR9 metaphors.
Sent from my SM-T310 using Tapatalk
On one level Luke kind of deserves it for following Mara...on another, he's such a sad mooka pup. [puppy_dog_eyes]
Now that the initial awkwardness is past, Sabine and Mara can kick shebs and blow things up together. Watch out, boys!
Ezra's probably overreacting just a bit, though it's understandable given the circumstances. But his overprotectiveness may get a little old if he doesn't take Mara's reassurances to heart. And on the other hand, Mara is just a bit clueless herself when it comes to Luke. Having the "romance! Ha!" attitude for so long may have made her overlook signals that another girl might have picked up on.
Now that she's moved past her backrocket hometown, Mara's found friends she really has things in common with, both small things like music and their larger goals in the Rebellion. I think that these three together would make an absolutely unstoppable team. If you were putting together an RPG game, you couldn't assemble a better group in terms of skills: Leia, the noble diplomat, Mara the Jedi slicer, and Sabine the Mandalorian soldier/demolitions expert. I really would like to send them on a mission together...like I need more plot bunnies.
Ezra may come to regret hoping that Sabine and Mara were talking about him, because there must be any number of mortifying Ezra stories that Sabine would be more than happy to share with Mara!
Leia is in a bit of an awkward situation being friends with both Luke and Mara. She cares about both of them, but, being a good friend, she's not going to betray Luke's confidences, even if it would make life easier for Mara if she did. Of course, the same diplomacy makes her a good confidant to Mara, too, and a voice of reason to the players in this drama.
Oh, definitely her mother's daughter...and her father's, too! They both spent far too long overlooking each other's (and their own) feelings for each other. Now that Mara and Sabine have bonded over caf and target practice, it should be easier for her to allay any doubts on that front...someone just needs to remind Ezra of what you said about them choosing each other. (And +1000 bonus points for working in the Taz-Mania quote; that's an under appreciated cartoon!)
A slip worthy of Dr. Seeg-mon D'fraud there... Hobbie and Janson just might be among the pilots who listen to "that Steamy Wasaka Stew poodoo." (And yes, let us never speak of her to Janson…)
He is canon according to the Wook!
Thank you It was definitely my intent to have them talk about something besides men. They're both strong women with plenty of interests besides romance, including good music and sweet weapons! There's plenty of time for talking about men later....or not
I love the name of Hera's blaster, too. It's even funnier once you see a blurrg
Thank you . Plenty of sea-salt on Kamino!
To my AMAZING, INCREDIBLE beta-readers,
@Ewok Poet and
It’s not FAIR! Why does EVERYTHING happen to ME?
On Benduday, when I crashed through forest after...well, after I saw Mara with HIM...I must have run straight into a bunch of touch-not bushes. There’s a REALLY GOOD REASON they’re called that. If you get the sap on your skin, you break out in these HUGE, ITCHY BLISTERS. Or if you have the sap on your hands and you touch your skin...more blisters. So I wound up with blisters EVERYWHERE and I had to spend THREE DAYS in the infirmary with NOTHING to do except try to ignore the AGONY of the BLISTERS and the PAIN of my BROKEN HEART.
The guys from Rogue Squadron came to see me once, but Janson and Hobbie brought me a bouquet of touch-not leaves (very funny guys ) and the medic threw them out and wouldn't let them come back--the Rogues, not the leaves. Well, she threw the leaves out, too… And Leia visited me a couple of times, but I just didn’t feel like talking much. She brought me a datapad so I could catch up on the podracing news or watch a holo, but NOTHING HELPED. I just can’t stop thinking of MARA. Everything makes me think of her! I really LOVE her! But every time I close my eyes, I see...the two of them together :-( :-( :-(
I just don’t understand it…What does she see in HIM? WHY NOT ME? I’m a NICE GUY!… Aunt Beru always said, “Luke, you’re such a nice boy”…okay, maybe that’s not the same, but still…
Han and Chewie came by this afternoon. “Hey, kid,” Han said as he pulled up a stool next to my bed. “Her Worshipfulness told me you’d been moping in here for the past couple of days. What’s going on?”
“I’m not moping.” I scowled at him, crossing my arms over my chest, and slumped down in my blankets.
“Rrrrrruhhh.” Chewie exchanged a glance with Han.
“Yeah, me neither,” Han told him. “Leia said you’ve hardly gotten out of bed since you came here and you only grunt at visitors. You’re scruffier than a bantha with its winter coat and you kinda smell like one. And,” he added, picking the datapad up off of my bedside tray, “You’re watching Ryloth Place. Looks an awful lot like moping to me.”
I just glared at them both. Because they could NEVER UNDERSTAND. What do those two know about LOVE or what it's like to find your SOUL MATE, only to LOSE HER? What do they know about what it's like to have a BROKEN HEART?
Han flipped Ryloth Place off, and looked at the datapad’s main screen. “Hmm...recently watched Ryloth Place, Rodian Kisses…. Recently read The Holo-Notebook….Recent searches… Hoo, boy. You, my friend, have all the symptoms of a man with woman trouble. So, let’s have it, kid. What happened with Red?”
Well, maybe he could understand…a little bit. “She’s got another boyfriend.”
Chewie whined something sympathetic. “Aw, that’s a rough break.” Han scrubbed a hand through his hair and blew out a gusty breath. “Luckily, I have just what you need.” He pulled a silver flask out of his belt pouch, unscrewed the top and handed it to me.
“Grrrnnnhuuuh rrurgh!” Chewie put one hairy paw...hand…on mine before I could take a drink.
“What?” Han objected. “He’s not sick; he’s got a rash! Anyway, it’s practically medicinal.”
Chewie sighed and rolled his eyes...I think. Sometimes it's hard to tell with all that fur. He grumphed something at me, waving a hand…paw…whatever, at me, I guess to tell me it was up to me.
“Bottom’s up, kid,” Han urged. “Trust me; it’s good for what ails you!.”
I took a long drink from the flask…and choked. That stuff BURNED! And it tasted like the time I accidentally swallowed droid cleaner. “What is that?” I gasped when I could breathe again.
He grinned. “Whyren’s Reserve. Finest Corellian whiskey there is. Just the thing to ease the pain of a broken heart.”
Huh. Maybe I misjudged Han. Maybe he DOES KNOW what it's like…maybe even a smuggler can find LOVE…it happens a lot in holo-roms. And…the Whyren’s wasn’t so bad, either. After my throat stopped burning, I felt kind of warm and fuzzy.... Han took a drink from the flask. “So, tell me what happened with Red. You two seemed to be hitting it off all right last time I saw you.”
“We were! We were great, until HE came!” Chewbacca gave an interrogatory huff, so I continued. “Ezra...Ezra Bridger.” My hands knotted themselves into my blankets and all the thoughts that had been running around in my brain like Jawas at a half-price droid sale came tumbling out before I could stop them. “He’s so...ugh!...such a nerf-herding laserbrain! He’s really unfriendly...antisocial, even…he always makes Mara sit way off in the corner of the mess hall where I could hardly find her! I don’t think he’s very smart, either, it’s like all he can say is ‘huh,’ ‘no,’ ‘uh-huh’.” I imitated his monosyllabic grunts. “I don’t know what Mara sees in him! She deserves so much better! Hobbie says Ezra's a lying punk and Janson says he stole some girl named Sabine from Hobbie and he SHOT LEIA!”
“WHAT?” The four-legged stool scraped against the stone as Han jumped to his feet. Behind him, Chewbacca growled.
“Yeah, there was some big story behind it, but still, what kind of barve would shoot Leia?”
Han sat down slowly, and took another long pull of the Whyren’s Reserve. He had a strange glint in his eye when he finished and a muscle twitched in his cheek. “You’re right, this guy sounds like a real son of a murglak. The question is: what are you going to about it?”
“Do?” What could I possibly do? Besides SUFFER ENDLESSLY…
Han leaned forward and fixed me with this serious look, man-to-man, eye-to-eye. “You say you love this girl, right?”
“Of course I love Mara!” How could he DOUBT it? How could anyone THINK OTHERWISE? My love for her is as strong as...as...as a TEAM OF BANTHAS! As ENDLESS as the Dune Sea! As DEEP as Beggar’s Canyon! “She’s my DESTINY! She’s my SOUL…”
“Right.” He tapped me on the chest with one finger. “So get out there and fight for her.”
“Fight?” That didn’t sound like such a good idea. I mean...Ezra looks like he’s been in a fight or two--probably a lot of them, the princess-shooting jerk--whereas the only time I got into a fight, I got a chipped tooth, a black eye, and I was coughing up sand for a week--and that was with Deak.
Han looked exasperated; he poked me in the chest again. “Show her you’re the better man. You’re the Hero of Yavin!” Poke. “A Jedi!” Poke, poke. “What’s this Bridger got going for him? Nothing!” Poke, poke, poke. “Get out there and make Red see that!”
The more I thought about it, the more I thought HAN’S RIGHT! I’m a NICE GUY...even A HERO…A JEDI! I can’t wait to get out of this infirmary so I can get back to flight sims with the Rogues. This time I’m not getting killed because I’m going to pretend ALL THE TIE FIGHTERS are HIM. I’ll be the best pilot in Rogue Squadron! I’ll borrow that training remote from Han and PRACTICE WITH MY LIGHTSABER. I’ll write her ANOTHER LETTER…A POEM…and send flowers this time…maybe some of those orchids! Once Mara sees all that, she’ll know that I am the BETTER MAN…the guy she DESERVES! She’ll see that I am BETTER THAN EZRA1!!!
Luke is just so melodramatic! I love it.
And taking relationship advice from Han? This should end well (NOT!)
I'm dying here.
This is just such GOLD. All the little things here that make this story so amazing! Like
@Ewok Poet, I too caught the Bechdel Test here:
Also love how Luke is TOTALLY NOT MOPING HERE:
Of course you aren't. And those things he's reading.. Pure Nicholas Sparks.
But the best is how you ended it with Luke determined to be BETTER THAN EZRA!!!
You go, Luke. You go.
Now that I have gotten that out of my system, just wanted to say how wonderful this story is and how you are creating such a vivid world for Mara. Her friendships with Leia and Sabine, her "boy troubles," all set against the background of the Rebellion is a great story. I am really looking forward to the next installment. You are on a real creative tear around here, lady!