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Force a wit y’ (Under-represented mod challenge)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by GregMcP, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Title: Force a wit y’

    Author: gregmcph

    Length: Three parts.

    Summary: On the streets of Coruscant, some scrape a living however they can.

    Time frame: Perhaps close to 0BBY.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One.

    “Force a wit y’”
    “Spare a credit for an old soldjer ma’am.”
    *clink*
    “Thank eh ma’am. Force a wit’ y’”

    The woman dressed in purple high formal business costume, with a glorious spire of a hat half her height and wearing thick white negotiation face paint, dropped a tenth of a credit in the old man’s bowl. She barely realised she had done so as she trotted along the Coruscant walkway towards her meeting.

    “Thank eh. Thank eh”
    Against the wall of an old warehouse, a spindly old man sat on a mat that was once some childs bed sheet, decorated with images of cartoon droids and the stains of many a dropped food scrap. Beside him was an old bottle of water, his grubby grey-green sleeping bag rolled up and tied with rope, and a shopping bag of little personal trinkets. On the blanket off to the side was a food bowl with the remains of vegetables drying on the edges, and before him sat a simple metal bowl containing a nice little collection of tenths and fifths. Small change Credit chips dropped by passing pedestrians.

    “Sir. Good sir. A chip for a soldjer, would y’?”

    If there were chips jangling in their pockets, they might drop one without even realising they had done so, gently swayed by his endless begging patter. In the old days, well, once he could bend a will in much grander ways. In the old days.

    He sat in his dirty old brown robe, his spindly sun leathered legs and bare feet poking out. Accepting the pain in his back and in his knees without complaint. He generally kept the robe’s hood over his wild grey uncut hair and beard. Better to keep his face in shadows. Better to be nobody.

    An endless stream of legs walked past his seated, ragged form. Human, reptile, insectoid, robotic. When things grew quiet, he would fall into muttering the old mantras.
    theforceiswithmeandIamonewiththeforce theforceiswithme and and theforceiswith. Me. And. I. amonewiththe…” over and over, missing pieces. It kept his mind from fading and reminded him of who he was.

    “Hey-dee old man.” A tough looking little street lad, and squatted down beside him. The old man was shaken out of his meditation. “My name be Kaspar. How should I call ye?” but the old man just eyed him warily. After a second of awkward silence, Kaspar picked up his begging bowl. “Not a bad take. Not bad at all.”
    On Kaspar’s shoulder sat a little grey pebble of a spider-droid. With a little jumps and skitters it ran down his arm and hopped into the begging bowl. It flipped around the chips with it’s wire thin legs, examining their value.

    “See you here every day. Bones and rags and old man smells. Doin’ your little beg and taking the credits in. I don’t know how you do it. These people,“ Kaspar pointed his chin at the passersby, “They’re a stingy lot. Coruscant money huggers. You have to suck the credits out of ‘em”. The spiderdroid picked up particularly large chip. “Ooh. 10 credits. Impressed I am. Well, you don’t need that, do ya? What you gonna spend it on anyways?” and Kaspar plucked the chip off the droid and tucked into his shirt pocket.

    “That’s for Mister Jettster. Give it back!” the old man’s creaky voice barked and reached out an achingly thin hand, shaking fingers spread wide. Kaspar reached into his pocket and fished out the chip, but then stopped and smiled.
    “Huh. Was almost gonna hand it back. Going soft I am.”
    “Give it!” the old man’s angry eyes stared, and the smile dropped from Kaspars face.
    “Now why ya gotta make it all unpleasant like?”, and gave the old man a soft slap on the cheek.
    He quickly eyed the old man’s messy collection of bags and bowls. Nothing worth the trouble.

    “See you ‘round oldster. I got business to attend.” He nodded at a well dressed gentleman looking up and down the walkway in puzzlement. “He’s got lovely pockets don’t you think?”
    Kaspar gave a little whistle and placed his left arm on the ground, “Up, Pip”, and the spider-droid crawled into his sleeve. He stood up, dusted off the seat of his pants and combed his hair with his fingers.

    Quickly, quietly Kaspar stepped up beside the man. “Hey-de. You need of help sir?”
    The man, already looking flustered, now eyed this unsavoury youth with wariness.
    “No. Thank you. Uh. My taxi dropped me at the wrong corner. I just need another.”
    “I get you a cab. Yes.” and slapped the man on the shoulder. “Follow me. My brother’s a driver. Good rates. Clean seats.” The little droid crawled out of Kaspar’s sleeve and onto the lost man’s back and then proceeded downwards.
    The gentleman looked at Kaspar with some fear. “No no. I can find my own. Thank-you”, and tried to walk away. Meanwhile, little spiderwire legs fished into his trouser pocket and hooked out his wallet, then quickly sprung back onto Kaspars arm.

    “Sorry for the troubles sir. Didn’t mean to alarm ye.” said Kaspar. With his fingers he blew a loud whistle and yelled “HEY! Speeder!” and speeder taxi swooped down. “There you be. Have a good day sir”, and Kaspar walked off into the street crowd.

    ----

    When the sun set behind the endlessly high scrapers, and the street lighting changed to a more relaxed evening hue, the crowds changed from workers to players. The old man rolled up his mat and bowls, tying them all with rope. He slung them over his shoulder and shuffled down the street. Three young Twi’lek girls ran past him, laughing. An open top speeder rumbled along, low and slow, thumping music blaring. “Hey girls!” someone yelled. Evening life. Time to get off the streets, if he wanted to avoid troubles.

    An old grey-green Rodian dressed in layers of discarded robes and shirts was head down and digging about in a bin. She pulled out a half eaten lunch roll. “Ooh. Fresh.” she muttered.
    “Ev’nin Lolo.” the old man croaked. She held up her prize for admiration.
    “Ahh. tasty.” He said and pulled a few tenths from his robes.
    She smiled and nodded. “Good man. Good man. Ta.”, and took the credits and shoved them into the depths of her rags.
    “You good to me, General” and gave him a light smooch on the cheek with her long green proboscis. Then it was back to digging in her bin.

    He shuffled on, ignored by the evening crowd which wasn’t unpleasantly inebriated yet, until he reached the glowing lights of a diner. From inside came a rumble of chatter and laughter, the clatter of plates and the *ding* of orders being ready. He walked around to the back, where a young cook sat on the doorstep and having a puff. “Hey old fella”, the cook said, relaxed. “You hungry?”
    “Yuh.” was all the old man could reply. He dug into his pockets and pulled out a hand full of tenths.

    “Hey Dex!” the cook called back into the doorway, “The General’s here! Just a tic old man.”
    After a few moments a fat old lizard wearing a greasy apron came wandering out.
    “Well hey there General”, Dexter’s deep bemused voice greeted the old man. “How has ya day been?”
    The old man proudly presented his cupped hands of credits.
    “Ahhh. A good day indeed. Heh heh.” Dex gave a huge teethy smile and put out his own large hands into which the old man dropped the chips. He didn’t want or need the money, but the old man would insist. It was a matter of pride. “And thank you.”
    Dexter handed the old man a bag. A few eats. A bottle of juice.
    This was a little ritual the two of them performed each evening.
    “Take care of yourself General Tomas. It ain’t right what they did to you. Ain’t right.”
    “Thank ‘e sir.”, and he shuffled off into the dark.

    ---

    Down an alley, away from the crowds and out of the worst of the wind and rain, and he settled down in a hidden corner against his favorite trash compactor. He picked at Dexter’s fried tentacle delicacies. His rewards for a days work.
    From over lip of the trash compactor peaked a couple of rodent heads. Two furry little Ickets with large shiny black eyes. “Ititititititititit” they chattered expectantly.
    “Here little ones”, Tomas croaked back. “Here. Here.”
    He pulled apart his bag of food into a messy placemat covered in seafood and bread and sauces.
    “It! Itititit!”, they leaped down and snuffled at the scraps enthusiastically.
    “Good boys. You eat.” Thomas smiled.

    Once the Ickets had eaten every scrap and had scampered off, he settled down against the wall and wrapped himself in the sleeping bag as comfortably as he could. His bones always sore from lying on the hard pavement.
    For a while he muttered his mantras. “theforceiswithmeandIamone…”. They helped him forget his aches, and eventually he slept.

    He dreamed of the Old Masters. Plo Koon. Ki Adi Mundi. They were all gone. Betrayed. Murdered. But in his dreams they were more than alive. They were endlessly powerful. They glowed, luminous beings who watched over him and talked wordlessly to him. They were warning him of something, even though they knew their warnings would be forgotten when the morning came.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  2. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Wow.

    What a good story.

    Great inventiveness with the spider droid and the crim'; and some heartwarming exchanges with the rodian femme, and Dextter.
     
  3. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    I now realise that with a little bit of modification, the story could have ended there.

    Ahh well. Part 2 soon.
     
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  4. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Most of the Star Wars characters I can think of that were homeless at some point were more "street urchin" aged, so this is really nifty in exploring what's going on with an older person on the streets. I like that the Jedi in disguise here isn't a ruse; he's really and truly in dire straits and the fact that he's not entirely as he appears (but then, who is?) doesn't change that.

    The way that the neighborhood and bustle around Tomas is used to kind of frame and separate parts of this chapter works really well; it gives us a really crisp picture of his surroundings but also of the kind of monotony and hardship of his routine. Things are pretty similar every day, and when they're not -- say, when interrupted by Kaspar and his spider-droid accomplice -- it isn't a good thing.

    I really liked the choice of this particular Force-related saying as his mantra. It seems like one that would make an easier focus for a distracted mind. The way the speech pattern is written shows Tomas has some difficulty and hesitation in even concentrating on that, but still continues on with determination.

    After following him through the harshness of the day, it was good to see that he does have someone looking out for him in the form of Dex. :) (I should not be surprised that he would pop up here; it is Coruscant after all and he's exactly the type to make sure someone in need gets fed.) Also good to see that he has some furry friends that seem to know him and provide a little stability in a way. Being able to help another living being is something that would give comfort to almost anyone and probably more so to a Jedi.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  5. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Two


    A bright crisp morning. Everyone briskly walking by, full of plans for the day. Business meetings to be attended. Rituals to be performed. Sometimes someone would absentmindedly drop a credit into General Tomas’ bowl.

    “Force a’ wit’ y’”

    A squad of five Stormtroopers were patrolling the area today, as happened now and again. Just reminding the good folk to stay on the straight and narrow. At one point they were hassling an old cloneboy who was also begging nearby. Private Crasher, another honorable veteran of the Separatist Crisis.

    “He done harm no one”, old Tomas muttered.

    The Clones shouldered much of the public’s the blame for the wars and the harsh world that had come into being afterwards. Unemployable and abused, unnaturally aging and dying.
    “Come on, get up.” the Stormtrooper squad leader was pulling at the old Clone’s shoulder. “We don’t need your kind here.” Another trooper gave him a bit of a kick to hurry him up, and so Private Crasher, a hero of the assault on Geonosis, awkwardly collected up as much of his bits as pieces as he could into his arms and shuffled hunched over off down the street.

    The squad strode right past General Tomas. A few special words now again had trained them to ignore him.

    “Hey-dee hey-dee”, and that street-rat Kaspar was back. He sat down on the mat beside Tomas and immediately his little spider hopped off his shoulder into the begging bowl. It shuffled about, flipping chips. Rubbish, rubbish. Nothing worth bothering with.
    “Bad day for business, eh? The Boys in White ruinin’ our fun.”
    “Leave me be. I got nothing for you.” muttered Tomas, but Kaspar pretended he heard nothing.
    The little spider-droid skittered around the blanket, tapping on bottles, being curious. Tomas watched it with some unease.

    “Look at her.”, Kaspar nodded his head at a particularly extravagant long necked creature strolling by. Highly polished bangles of mythra and gold clinked around her neck and wrists. Delicate translucent white cloth lightly flowed around her long blue limbs.
    “See her so high and proud. She like she owns it all.”
    The spider picked at the opening of Tomas’ cloth bag.
    “Just a one of those gold rings. So much deathstik with that, ahh.” His imagination sent him dreaming.

    The spider-droid let out a little electronic “iii” alert sound, getting Kaspar’s attention. It’s little legs drummed the blanket with excitement, then it scuttled into the bag.
    Tomas jumped at it. “Get out!” he yelled, and grabbed the shopping bag up.
    Kaspar in turn grabbed the bag too. “Give it here old man!”
    They tugged it between them for a moment and then the bag’s contents spilled out. The spider droid, some old military medals, pieces of rubbish.
    And with a clank, a metal tube.

    Kaspar stared. What is that? Then his face filled with the shock of realisation, and he let go of the bag.
    “Lightsaber.”
    He grabbed it.
    “Put That Down!” Tomas commanded with a shake of panic in his voice, and Kaspar dropped the Lightsaber.
    “Oh. You. I know what you are doing old man! In my head.” said Kaspar, “I know… I know what you are!”
    He grabbed at the Lightsaber again, but the air seemed to pushed him over onto his back, hitting his head.
    “Troopers! Troopers! Thief! Help!” Tomas was yelling.
    People and creatures turned to see the scuffle. Down the street the Stormtrooper squad began jogging towards them, blasters drawn.

    “I need that!” Kaspar eyed the Troopers and got to his feet. His spider jumped on his leg and crawled upwards. He bent to grab at the lightsaber again. Tomas raised a bony hand and pushed at the air again, and Kaspar staggered backwards. Then the lightsaber seemed to leap into the old man’s grip, and then it quickly disappeared into his robes.

    “Hey! You boy! Stop!” called the Squad Leader.
    Kaspar looked at the troopers and at Tomas. “Jedi man I find you! When you sleep man. I find you!”. And he ran.

    ---

    Dexter Jettser’s diner was having a quiet evening. The cook was sitting out the back on a step, puffing on a stick, as he always was. “Hey General” he said casually.
    The old man looked rather upset. “Can.. can I talk with mister Jettser?”
    “He’s left you a few eats.” said the cook and tapped on a takeaway bag sitting on the step beside him.
    “Can I see him? I need to see.”
    “Ahh. Well, he left early tonight. Slow business.”
    “I need… a place to sleep. Just tonight. I need…” the General seemed quite distressed.
    “Ah.”
    The cook looked at the old man, in his filthy robes and unwashed hair. He smelled bad.
    “I can get you a blanket, maybe.” the cook said, feeling a knot of guilt in his stomach.
    “Just tonight. I be quiet. I no thief.”
    “Ahh General.” The cook was unsure how to phase his answer. “We’ve got nowhere to put you. Just the kitchen and the diners. We’re a business, ya know? We got customers.”
    Was this the right answer? Was that what Dex would want him to say?
    The cook got up, and dropped his stick on the step and crushed it with his foot.
    He turned, unable to face the old man’s pleading eyes.
    “I’m sorry”, and he walked inside and closed the door.

    ........ one more to go.
     
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You take us into the bowels of Coruscant, yet this feels like Charles Dickens at his best, @GregMcP. The good, the bad and ugly surprises. Well done! ^:)^
     
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  7. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Thanks @azureangel. That's a pretty kind comparison.

    And to @Kahara earlier for that wonderful pull apart of the story.

    And, and, and, @Sith-I-5, thanks for the "wow". I love a wow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  8. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Okay let's do this.
     
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  9. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Three.

    It was cold behind his trash compactor. A light shower had left the ground and his sleeping bag damp. The little Ickets had been company for a while as they ate, but now they were gone.
    He muttered his mantras and vaguely remembered the feeling of wordless warnings from the Great Masters in his dreams the night before.
    Out on the road, the occasional speeder buzzed by. Footsteps echoed of lone late journeys. Gradually he faded into sleep.

    Ki Adi Mundi was there. His high intelligent forehead. His wispy silver eyebrows and flowing beard, all full of wisdom. The Grand Master looked directly at Tomas.
    His deep calm voice said calmly, “You have one last battle to fight, Master Tomas. Be strong. Remember who you are.”

    “Wake up.”

    Tomas opened his eyes to find Kaspar kneeling over him, one hand in the folds of his cloak.
    He shook and let out a yell.
    “Whoa! Old man!” Kaspar jumped up, with the lightsaber gripped in his hand.
    “You! Thief! Give it back!” he growled and shook.
    Then loud and clear, “Give. It. Back.”

    “Ha! You think that works on me head?”, Kaspar yelled back, despite having an urge to to exactly what he had been told. “I knows you tricks, Jedi man. It don’t work when I knows.”

    Tomas struggled to his feet, and reached out a hand. “Give me what is mine”.
    Kaspar felt the tug, both on the lightsaber and in his head. “Ho ho, no. I ain't lettin’ go old man. No no,”

    His finger found a button on the lightsaber.
    Kh-shhhhh.
    “Oohhh”
    A deep blue blade of light unfolded from the lightsaber hilt in his hands.
    It hummed and flickered in the darkness.
    “There we go. That’s how it does it.”
    Kaspar held the glowing blade up at his face, and waved a hand around it.
    He grinned with glee and wonder.
    “It’s so pretty.” He gave the blade a good solid swing in the air. Vvvvwhumm.
    “Yeah”.
    He struck the blade at a pipe snaking down a wall, with satisfying sparks and crackles. The pipe split open, spraying rain water all over.

    “Oh I don’t think I be hocking this. I got debts to pay sure. Angry people want their credits. But they don’t know how I be payin’.”
    Smash smash. Kaspar struck at trash bins, sending rubbish flying about. The Ickets squealed fear from their vantage point up on the lip of the trash compactor.
    “I gets this buzz, you know. In me arm. All over.”
    He felt a rush of power through his body. A wicked joy.
    He smashed at the trash compactor with more sparks, sending the Ickets scampering.
    “Oh I be payin’ them back hard.”

    He staggered back a few steps, barely keeping balance.
    “Hey. Stop that Jedi man.”
    The air seemed to give him another solid push, but he braced for it and held his ground.
    “Old Man! Why ya gotta make things all complicated? Jus’ let me walk away, and we can all live happy like. I go fix my problems.” He gave the saber a good dramatic swish. Vvvwwoomm. “And you can drop pretendin’ your some super magic Jedi. Jus’ be the smelly old beggar man that youse are.”

    Again, Tomas, shaking, tried to pull the lightsaber from Kaspar’s hands, but he held tight.
    “Yer not gonna let me just walk away, are ya?”

    Tomas stretched his bones to stand as tall as he was able. He was a Jedi. He still was a Jedi, even if no one else cared. He pulled back his hood back. The street light shone through his wild grey hair.

    With his right hand, Tomas made an uplifting motion, and the trash behind Kaspar floated into the air. He closed his eyes.
    “I surrender myself into your hands.” and he let The Force flow through him.

    “Let’s go, Jedi”, grinned Kaspar. He ran at Tomas, the lightsaber gripped in both hands to his side, ready to strike.

    Kaspar swung the saber with all the strength in his arms but, with eyes still closed, the Jedi took a careful step back and a bend to the side, and the lightsaber sliced harmlessly by.
    Another swing, a random stab but each seemed to miss its mark by the smallest degree.

    Then perhaps under the guidance of Tomas, but perhaps more at his humble request to the greater power, the floating bottles and cans and broken household appliances flew past Kaspar. The Force chose from amongst them a single item. An empty Old Rancor’s Brown Ale bottle with a thick glass base. It struck Kaspar neatly and solidly in the back of his head, with a hollow “doonk”. The lightsaber flew from his hand, spinning. Kaspar’s body crashed into Tomas, along with much of the trash, and they both fell to the pavement.

    The lightsaber clattered to the ground, and immediately an abandoned speeder engine block turned an unnatural arc in the air to smash down directly on top of it.

    Both men lay there, side by side. Still. Dazed.
    The little spider droid skittered about them. It jabbed at Kaspar’s cheek with a spindly leg.
    The two Ickets made little “ititit” sounds of concern from their safe viewpoint.

    Old Tomas opened his eyes, sort of, his body full of pain, to see the street-rat beside him slowly regaining his senses.
    He reached out an arm and shakily dropped outstretched fingers on Kaspar’s face. The boy struggled a bit, but Tomas held fast.

    “Go home”, Master Tomas said quietly, but with command. “Ya gotta stop pickin’ on old men.”
    “Gotta stop”, Kaspar said quietly, not entirely aware of what was happening.
    “Just go home.” said Tomas again, letting go. He sagged down onto the alleyway stones.

    “Where’s home?” asked Kaspar.
    The little droid hopped on his hand, making its high pitched electric “iii” noises. Lightly it stabbed the back of his hand with its legs to get him alert. Gradually, with pains and cuts all over, he regained his wits and pushed himself upright.

    He looked and the man lying at his feet, not entirely sure who it was.
    “Home.” he muttered.
    Slowly Kaspar got to his feet and walked down the alleyway, unsteady, and more than a little confused. His spider-droid sat on his shoulder and he reached up to pat it.
    Who knows if they ever found their way home.

    Tomas lay still, exhausted, fading. The little Ickets, hopped down and nuzzled his chin, hoping to wake him up. Eventually they curled in little balls on his cloak. Warmth against his heart.

    And there was the Grand Master before him.
    As always, luminous, regal. Serious and awe inspiring.
    Master Ki Adi Mundi bowed his head in approval. Tomas waited for him to hold out his hand and take him home.

    “Not today Master Jedi.”

    ---

    A first ray of sunshine creaked into the alleyway, the sounds of early risers preparing their days in the distance. And Tomas woke up. Sore, so sore.
    “Mornin’ boys”
    “It. Itit. scrtch” a rodent nose snuffled at his face. He give it a little head scratch.
    It took him a while, but eventually he managed to push himself up into a seated position.
    Around him, the alleyway was a shambles of trash thrown all over. Like midnight party boys had gotten enthusiastically destructive.

    A big old lizard waddled up the alleyway, with slow lumbering steps. A takeaway bag in one hand, a big java juice in another. The look of concern in his face was a rare departure from his usual easy joviality.
    “Ahh my General. I heard you wanted a bit of a talk.” Dexter bent down. He could see cuts and bruises on the General’s face. Were they there before?
    “Here’s a bit of breakfast. You sleep here every night? Wow.” and Dex pondered how he could get a roof over the General’s head.

    “Thank ‘e, Mister Jettser. I jus’ wanted to say hello.”

    Dex was about to say goodbye and leave. Leave this old battered man in a wet filthy alleyway.
    “General….”, Dex was unsure how to proceed, “General, you know what I think? I think you need a good shower. Yes. If you are going to have a feed in my diner tonight, we’ve got to clean you up sir. And maybe a new outfit. That bathrobe you are wearing is long overdue for the trash compactor. Come home with me. For today at least.”
    He looked at Tomas to see if he had offended him.

    “Yuh.” Tomas nodded, and smiled. “Thank ‘e”.

    Dexter held out two huge paws and pulled the old man to his feet.

    As the two old warriors walked out into the Coruscant streets, Tomas remembered an old Cloneboy battle song, and in his gravelly, wavering voice he sang.

    When the Clankers march,
    In their thousands and their millions,
    And Bugs rain down from the sky.
    Will you stand by me, my brothers?
    While our comrades die?
    If the battle is lost,
    The army in disarray.
    Will we fail and fall,
    All our deeds forgotten?
    Will our bravery and honour,
    Be sand blown away?
    Not today, my brothers.
    Not today.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
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