Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Jan 3, 2012.
Great chapter. I loved hearing Luke's memories of Owen.
This is a really great chapter, from the confrontation with Palps to the exchange with Luke.
@Hazel Thank you for reading. I have been working hard to get this story to a good place to end. I am doing the NaNo next month so I want to get as much done as possible before November. I will definitely have enough entries to post one or two a week until the end of the year. "Ohh Raah!", as Mark would say.
Thanks for reading.
ENTRY 76: Eye of Palpatine
A few hours later we got in communication with old Jedi Callista. Callista corrected me when she heard what I called her. 'The correct term is 'Old Republic Jedi', not 'old Jedi'. (Since she didn't like it when I made that mistake…I made a point of doing it…often.) Hey, she shouldn't have been acting all flirty with Luke. And what is it with Luke and the ladies? He even has dead women drooling over him.
Anyway, we got back in contact with her and asked if it was possible to discuss something without Palpatine overhearing our plans. I could swear I felt amusement within the Force as her response scrolled over the computer monitor.
*** It's probably safe to talk now," she wrote. "The Emperor Reborn is currently distracted and highly irate with the Gamorreans. I don't think he'll be interested in your small group for a while."***
Luke and I looked at each other confused, but when Callista explained the situation I just about died laughing. Even Luke had tears rolling down his cheeks from laughing so hard.
According to Callista, Palpatine discovered that the Gamorreans recently made his beautiful Eye of Palpatine throne room with its Fijisi wood paneling, granite floors and custom-made bantha-leather upholstered throne into a makeshift lavatory. The aliens were actually using his expensive throne seat as a urinal.
The thought of dozens of portly Gamorreans making a toilet out of the Emperor's symbol of authority was hilarious.
After we caught our breath Luke asked Callista if she knew a way to trap the Emperor reborn and she had a suggestion.
***The spirit of a Sith can be captured and imprisoned in a location by something called the Wall of Light. I know how to do it, but it usually takes more than three Jedi to succeed*** Callista wrote.
Luke looked crestfallen. "I guess that's out unless help shows up. I wish I had the Jedi Holocron. Jedi Master Bodo Baas might have known another way."
I snorted. "That holocron never has been much help to me."
Luke turned and gave me an exasperated look. "Mark I think Master Baas might have been more helpful to you if you actually learned his name and didn't call him Bolo Balls all the time."
I shrugged. "So what, I'm not good at names."
"You also said, 'In bed' after every one of his prophesies," Luke said indignantly.
I had to chuckle. "I'm sorry, but I didn't find his prophesies very helpful." I broke out in laughter. "Come on Luke you have to admit it was funny." I then did my best Bodo Baas impersonation. "The Jedi will rise again." I then switched back to my voice. "IN BED."
Luke rolled his eyes.
"Expect great things and great things will come…IN BED. Never underestimate the power of the Force…IN BED. There is no passion, there is serenity…IN BED." I stopped and thought about that last quote. "Okay, that last one wasn't very good."
***I like the second one*** Callista responded.
"He's a Jedi, he should be serious." Luke remarked sounding frustrated.
***No, it's good that he enjoys witticisms. It's the Sith who are serious and don't enjoy joviality. And this puts them at a disadvantage because there is one secret the Masters don't reveal about the inner nature of the universe. The deepest and darkest secret of all …is that the universe has a sense of humor***
Luke moaned. "Tell me about it. I rescue a princess and she turns out to my long lost twin sister. The Sith Lord trying to kill me turns out to be our father and later the Empire is destroyed with the help of Ewoks with stone tipped spears."
My chuckle was interrupted when we heard a groan coming from where Cray lay. Nichos looked up to us. "She's coming around," he said.
Luke and I crowded around the young doctor. Slowly she opened her eyes and blinked at the overhead lights. "Where am I?"
"We're still on the Eye of Palpatine, but we got you away from the Gamorreans," Luke explained. "Do you remember who you are?"
Cray stared at Luke and then turned to Nichos. She then closed her eyes as in deep concentration. "I'm Cray Mingla," she finally replied. Luke let out a sigh of relief. I knew what he was thinking, if Cray was still brainwashed into believing she was a Stormtrooper it would make our escape that much more difficult.
She gazed at Nichos who knelt next to her. I could tell he was hesitant to do or say anything not knowing how Cray would respond to him. Cray smiled and reached out to the Nichos droid, her hand lightly caressing his cheek. "Nichos, thank the Force you're not hurt." He gave her the most genuine smile I have seen on him to date as he grabbed her up into a tender embrace before they kissed. I have to hand it to Nichos, he did his best to make it look real, but it still appeared awkward to me. Cray, on the other hand, looked like a woman deeply in love.
I turned toward the desk as I noticed words scrolling across the computer monitor.
***I am sorry to interrupt this touching, and somewhat bizarre, scene but there are two ships approaching***
Luke gave me a hopeful smile. "Can you give us a visual?"
An image popped onto the screen and I gave a whoop of delight. It was the Millennium Falcon and the Jade Shadow.
"Mark, can you use your computer skills to give them landing instructions?" Luke asked.
"Sure." I dropped down into the quartermaster's chair and start typing information and transmitted it to the two ships.
Luke turned to me. "Do you still have your datapad?"
"Yes," I said as I pulled it out of storage compartment of my armor.
"Ask Callista to download the instructions on doing a Wall of Light onto it. And see if we can get an uplink so we can communicate with her through your datapad."
"Okay." I performed a wireless link up with the mainframe computer. I looked up to the ceiling…why, I'm not sure. "If you would be so kind Callista."
Words scrolled over my datapad quickly until 'Download Complete' appeared. I turned off the datapad and returned it to my armor. "Thanks, Callista."
***Good Luck***appeared across the computer monitor.
I turned in my seat. "Is Cray ready to move?"
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be," she said as she struggled to her feet with Nichos' help.
Luke and I pulled out our blasters. "Let's go then."
Uh, oh Luke! Your wife sensed you were talking with another woman and now she's here to kick your butt!
The deepest and darkest secret of all …is that the universe has a sense of humor***
It does, especially when Luke is around. The Force is a comedian performing for an audience too afraid to laugh
Loved Mark's additions to Baas' prophecies. They ring so true.
@Hazel -- Thanks. I just got a drawing done of Mark in battle armor. You know how much he hates those Jedi robes. I wish I was good enough to draw this, but I'm not, so it was done by my friend VagabondX
Mark sure is BIG!
Your friend does some great drawings.
You know if Mark heard you say that he would respond with, "That's what she said." Kira likes him big.
And so do I. Mark is my 2.1 meter Gary Stu! And I am totally unrepentant about that. But he is not a Gary Stu in the normal way. He is not better in the Force than Luke, he gets his butt kicked in Lightsaber practice by Mara, he is pretty much whipped by his lady...but he doesn't have negative characteristics like greed, envy & hate.
He does an AMAZING job and he charges such low commissions. It is $10 for the first person and $5 for each additional person. I would highly recommend him to anybody wanting a drawing done of your OC or anybody else (he did a beautiful drawing of my son). He is the fellow that made up my "It was just a dream" drawing of Luke and Mara.
Wow. That is a great drawing! And I second Hazel's statement. Mark is huge!
@Hazel for being my two loyal readers. I want to get as far as I can with this because I am probably going to be busy next month with NaNo. For the first time in my life I am trying to come up with a fanfic outline...which I am finding impossible. I may just have to go with the flow of the story like I always do.
Thanks for reading!
ENTRY 77: Eye of Palpatine
I stood next to Luke as the two ships landed in the space station's massive docking bay. The Falcon was the first to land. As soon as the boarding ramp opened Leia came running out and snatched Luke up into a big hug. Han and Chewie came down the ramp moments later. They gave our group a wave and started looking around the space station, probably doing a security check.
Leia was admonishing Luke for always getting in dangerous situations as the Shadow finished powering down and the boarding ramp slowly lowered. Kam, Kyle and Corran exited followed a few minutes later by Mara.
Luke frowned at the group of men. "You brought my pregnant wife?"
Kam just shook his head. "Mark's message said immediate help was needed. The Jade Shadow is the fastest ship we had available. Did you really think Mara would let anybody else fly her ship? "
Luke sighed. "Point taken."
Corran leaned in close to Luke. "And just a heads up…she is in a foul mood. It has something to do about discovering there were other Emperor's Hands."
Luke's eyes widened. "Thanks for the information," he whispered back to Corran as Mara walked up to the men. Luke pulled Mara into a loving embrace and kissed her. When they broke apart he rested his forehead against hers. "You're not supposed to be here."
Mara smirked. "You're not supposed to be here either, Farmboy," she replied matter-of-factly.
Luke gave her a look of chagrin. "You're right, trouble does follow me," he admitted. "And the problem is bigger than just an out-of-control space station." He paused. "Palpatine's spirit is here."
Mara didn't look surprised. "I thought I felt his presence," she whispered. Her face hardened. "And I am royally peeved with him. He's a lying sack of bantha poodoo. If he weren't already dead I would make him wish he were! He told me I was the only Emperor's Hand! That kriff'n liar! I want to make his sorry Force-spirit as miserable as possible. "
"You may get your wish," Luke said with a slight grin. "We may not be able to kill his spirit, but Mark has instructions on his datapad that might help us trap the Emperor here," he motioned over to where I stood a few feet away.
Mara looked at me and grimaced. "What happened…never mind. You just need to grow that beard out again."
I rubbed my hand over the stubble. "I'm trying."
Corran looked at me, perplexed. "Did you know you look a little like Luke?"
I gave him a mock look of surprise. "You know, I have been told that a number of times, but I don't see the resemblance."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Pull out that datapad Mark. We've got work to do."
Lol! Ever oblivious Corran. Almost as nieve as farmboy.
Great update, as always.
Very nice chapter.
I love that drawing of Mark! The colored version is terffic!!
@Hazel , &
@ginchy Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. I am freaking out about NaNo. I have a story idea but I have no clue as to how to end the story. I am probably going to go nuts next month and totally disappear from the boards. LOL! This should be fun though. I am ready to start writing.
This chapter will be the last you will see of Callista and the Eye of Palpatine...I hope.
ENTRY 78: Eye of Palpatine orbiting Belsavis
It took us some time to prepare. It's not wise to engage a Sith Lord without some planning. Palpatine probably was in the weakest state he had ever been—so weak that he couldn't forcibly take over another sentient without their consent. But no matter how weak he was, a Sith is not someone to trifle with. This immediately made me worry about the child within Mara's womb. Luke and I didn't want Mara around during the Wall of Light ritual, but Mara was not going to listen to reason when it came to fighting Palpatine.
And there was a real danger. Callista said that Palpatine's spirit was very faint, but once the ceremony began he could grow stronger. Not that the light side of the Force would help him at all, but he could taunt and threaten us in the hopes of making us angry. Once that happened the Wall of Light would be corrupted by dark side energy. If there was enough he could Force his way into one of the Force-users. We would have to maintain our Jedi calm…all of us.
Once we all understood how to do the procedure we needed to locate Palpatine. Callista told us the spirit of the Emperor Reborn was still in his once majestic throne room and was currently making a vain attempt to manipulate the Gamorreans into leaving his once private domain.
We quickly made our way to the throne room. As soon as the doors opened we were immediately hit with the foul stench of defecate and urine.
Corran buckled over and dry gagged. "Force! What's that smell?!"
Luke chuckled. "That, my friend, is the smell of a fouled symbol of power."
"Along with lots and lots of urine," I laughed.
Mara turned a pale color and I thought she was going to vomit, but she somehow held down the contents of her stomach. I was struggling with the same problem. I could feel saliva filling my mouth, a sure sign that upchuck would soon follow. I spit on the floor and squared my shoulders. "Let's get this over with."
We marched into the room and startled a couple Gamorreans who we ushered out once they were finished relieving themselves. We could sense the Emperor's presence, but we couldn't see him directly. The Jedi moved around the exterior walls until we had the chamber surrounded.
With a total of eight Jedi we were able to follow Callista's instructions and create the Wall of Light. We held up our arms, palms out so that we directed the Force around us until it formed a glowing orb surrounding the entire room. We then focused and condensed the orb of light until it became smaller and smaller. I was worried that we didn't have Palpatine's spirit trapped within the Force orb…until his furor hit me like a physical punch to the gut. I saw the other Jedi flinch, but it soon became apparent that the Emperor decided to focus his attention on me. I think he saw me as the weakest link. I was new to the Force and he had already touched my soul. He knew I understood the power of the darkside and the power I could wield with it. I think he believed that no man could resist such power once they had a taste of it.
I struggled as I tried to stay calm. I may have been a weak link due to my inexperience with the Force, but Palpatine had underestimated one thing about me. I didn't carry the pain, hurt, humiliation and sorrow that most people do. Most humans have people that made them miserable in their lifetime. There were bullies, cruel teachers, molesters, broken hearts and heartache in almost every adult's life—life experiences that made them want to exact revenge or at least show the girl that dumped them that she made a big mistake. Those were some of the big motivations that drove men and women toward obtaining power, prestige, money and celebrity…but I didn't have a childhood full of torment or unrequited love. With the exception of my run in with Palpatine, I've been happy and content. I had everything I needed or ever wanted.
That is not to say that I wasn't susceptible to temptation in the future. Things change, but right now there was nothing that the darkside could give me that I didn't already have. Palpatine had picked the wrong person to concentrate on.
Once the Emperor realized his taunts and threats were not working on me he became furious, but once he recognized that we specifically intended to imprison him within the throne room itself he became livid. I think I heard every swear word imaginable on that day.
As the Wall of Light confined the Emperor into a smaller and smaller area, he cursed Luke and his Jedi, swearing revenge. Finally I felt a strange feeling in the Force. It was almost like the sound of a prison cell slamming shut.
I looked around to the Jedi surrounding me. All looked exhausted as sweat beaded on their brows.
Luke lowered his arms. "I think it's done," he said quietly. I reached out with the Force and tried to sense Palpatine. He was there, fuming from within the confines of his new make shift prison—a leather upholstered and urine-encrusted throne.
I let out a breath I was holding. I really hope this is the last I have to deal with Palpatine.
"Let's go home," Luke said as he motioned every body to leave. I stayed behind for a moment, afraid that Palpatine would suddenly break his bonds.
Mara looked over her shoulder as she was leaving. "You coming Mark?"
I gave her a smile. "I'll be a minute. There's something I need to do." I walked around the throne so it was between the door and me. I looked up at the ceiling. "Callista, can you not look for a minute." I then disengaged the codpiece part of my armor. Damn it, going against Palpatine again scared the piss out of me, so I thought he deserved what came next. I sighed as I finally was able to empty the contents of my bladder over the leather-cushioned chair. "Just a little something to remember me by," I commented to Palpatine as I finished and readjusted my gear.
As I moved toward the exit I saw my datapad light flickering informing me I had a message. It was from Callista.
***You are a bad boy, Mark***
I frowned. "You weren't supposed to look."
I felt amusement surround me. ***And miss that sight? No way***
I grinned as I shook my head. "I think I got him mad and wanting revenge on me, more so than ever."
***Who knows, he's twisted. Some of the things he said to me in the two years we were trapped together made me wonder if the most powerful man in the galaxy was a submissive that enjoyed watersports***
I asked Callista what she meant by that, but she wouldn't explain further. 'Stang', I thought, 'That's another thing I needed to look up on the HoloNet when we got back to Coruscant'.
Once I was out of the room I took a deep breath, pulling fresh air back into my lungs. Kam and Kyle closed the doors and disabled the locking mechanism so nobody could accidently wander in.
As we prepared to leave we asked Callista what she was going to do, now that the Eye of Palpatine no longer posed a danger. Cray offered to design a droid similar to Nichos (but female) for Callista to reside.
***What! Trap myself in another machine? Thirty years is enough. I have been waiting for this day for decades,*** As her words scrolled across my datapad as a shimmering blue image of a woman appeared before us wearing Jedi robes and a wide smile.
"I'm going back to the flow of the Force. I have been away from my one true love Geith Eris for a very long time. I have thought about him every day for the last thirty years." She looked at Luke. "This is not my era. My time has passed. I know you will do well reestablishing the Jedi Order. The men and women you trained so far are excellent examples of Jedi already," she said while motioning to the group of Jedi.
Her spirit then gradually got more transparent until she disappeared.
Although I found the idea of a ghost in a computer unsettling, she really wasn't a bad person. I truly hope she found Geith on the other side.
After her departure, I programmed in an evacuation announcement to get the brainwashed aliens off the station and once the last shuttle departed the Eye of Palpatine it was programmed to make a hyperspace jump to the Maw. There we hoped it would remain undiscovered and Palpatine trapped for the next millennium.
As the Jade Shadow made the jump to hyperspace I smiled. I was going home to Kira. I was really glad our ordeal was over.
Ewww! Mark! Then again if I were a guy, I'd be tempted to do the same thing.
Good choice Callista. Why didn't she do that in the book?
Stupid double post.
This Callista is far more sensible than in the official version
I get why Mark wanted to do that.
@Briannakin --Mark is still young in mind...like a mischievous teenage boy. And I also agree that Callista should have done that in the book. The book said she was in love with Geith. If I was madly in love with somebody and then I got stuck in a mind-numbingly boring computer I probably would be thinking about my lost love everyday for decades. It just seems odd that she wouldn't want to join him in the Force. Unless the Jedi of Old didn't believe they could reunite. Maybe they thought their Force energy dissipated and merged with the living force and there is a loss of identity.
@Hazel -- thank you. I like this version better. It puts Callista in a heroic light instead of being a creepy bodysnatcher.
Thanks for reading!
ENTRY 79: Coruscant
Homecoming was sweet, although Kira didn't like my facial stubble. She said it's like sandpaper against her skin. I can't wait until my beard grows out completely, then she just complains about it tickling her.
Cray and Nichos returned to the Magrody Institute of Programmable Intelligence to work. The last I heard their engagement was temporarily called off, but they remained co-workers and friends. (Friends without benefits I assume…but those two have such ingenuity…I may be wrong about that).
Luke managed to get Triv Pothman a job with the New Republic military as an outdoor survival instructor. We figured any man who could survive on a planet full of murderous Gamorreans probably had a thing or two to teach young recruits.
The various species that were evacuated from the Eye of Palpatine were deprogrammed by NR scientists and returned to their home planets.
I was surprised at how much work was done on the construction of the Jedi Temple while I was gone. It should be finished in a month or so. I look forward to living and working there. We are still running operations out of the Imperial Palace, which is also being rebuilt. Soon the construction droids will want to get into the area we are using.
Corran and I went out to the courtyard a few days after our return from the Eye of Palpatine to practice our lightsaber techniques. Corran is extremely good with the lightsaber, but he can't do telekinesis. So whenever it looks like he is going to beat me in a match I just do a Force shove to knock him away. He HATES it when I do that because he can't respond in kind. So I do it to him…a lot. Boy does he get hot under the collar. I'm surprised he still talks to me.
While sparring, Corran asked me if I was going to the Racy Rascal nightclub that coming weekend.
I looked at him confused. "Aren't the ladies going to see that Hapan all-male dance troupe? I thought it was going to be a 'girl's night out'."
"Sure, but you don't want them there alone. Guys come in after the show just to pick up all the hot-and-bothered ladies. You don't want a bunch of guys hitting on Kira." Corran grinned. "I'm going with Mirax and Luke's going with Mara. Don't you want to be around your girlfriend when she is in the mood for romance?"
I called a halt to the sparring and shut down my saber. "Are you sure Luke is going?"
"Yes, and if you don't go then we'll have nothing better to do than talk about you behind your back." He chuckled as he hooked his saber to his belt. "Are you going?"
I shrugged. "I guess, but I still think it's strange for guys to watch other guys dance."
"Come on," Corran said as he slapped me on the back. "A big guy like you should be secure enough in his masculinity to accompany his girl to a male burlesque show."
I frowned. I didn't want to go, but I didn't want Kira sitting there without me if Corran and Luke were actually going. "Sure, I'll go."
Corran grinned. "Great, you can pick us up at 1900 hours."
"Hey why do I have to drive?"
"You don't drink so we voted you as designated driver." Corran said with a smirk.
"Mara's not drinking because of the baby," I pointed out.
"Yeah," Corran said slowly. "Have you seen how cranky she's been lately since she found out about the other Emperor's Hands? If you want her to drive go ahead and ask her…but I wouldn't if I were you. Anyway, you're the only guy I know who owns a 'family' speeder. What does that monster seat…ten?"
I shook my head. "No, only seven. And I bought it because the back seats fold down for storage…sometimes Kira caters parties." I sighed in defeat. "Okay, fine. I'll be the driver." Corran gave me a broad grin that almost looked conspiratorial, but maybe I'm just a paranoid person. I said my goodbyes and then made my way back to my speeder.
'Why do I have a bad feeling about this?' I thought to myself as I drove back to my apartment.
maybe I'm just a paranoid person
No one can be too careful when friends with Corran Horn. I smell trouble.
Hehehe!!! I love this part.
@Hazel Thanks for reading. You can't trust those sneaking Corellians.
ENTRY 80: Racy Rascal, Coruscant
Wow! What a night I had. I don't know whether to laugh or cry…or kill somebody.
Kira and I picked up Corran, Mirax, Luke and Mara and made our way to the nightclub. The place was packed with women…a whole lot of women and very, very few men, just like I thought. Well, at least I have Luke and Corran with me, so I didn't feel too awkward.
Kira knows the headwaiter (his brother works at our restaurant) and he reserved great seats for us up near the stage. There was a three-drink minimum. Mara and I asked for fizzy non-alcoholic drinks, but everybody else was imbibing an assortment of mixed alcoholic beverages. I guess they decided to take advantage of the designated driver situation because they all were fairly tipsy by the time the show started.
A wild cheer went up when the Master of Ceremonies came out on stage to begin the show. Gods, these women were practically drooling over the dancers. To my great relief the men in the troupe never stripped down farther than a short, short swimsuit. I would have walked out if they got butt-naked.
The guys were well-toned and good dancers, but I don't see why Kira was screaming like a schoolgirl at the sight of them. I mean, I take good care of myself and I was bigger and more muscular than most of those guys.
Unfortunately, I made the big mistake of saying something to that effect near the end of the show. "I don't see why you three are all excited," I said to the ladies at my table. "I think we're in better shape than those guys." I motioned toward Corran, Luke and myself.
"Are you getting jealous, Mark?" Kira teased me.
"No, I just don't see the attraction." I muttered.
"He's jealous," Mara said, grinning widely.
"I'm not jealous," I defended myself. "I'm just saying I am a lot more muscular than that guy." I pointed to the man currently dancing on stage.
"Some women are not into muscle-bound men," Mara said as she turned to Luke and gave him a sensual kiss.
"Yeah…obviously, you're one of them," I joked.
Mara glared back at me. "Luke is in great shape and he's just the right size."
Mirax snickered and then started coughing when some of her drink went down the wrong way. Mara gave her a hard gaze. "I didn't mean it that way, Mirax."
Mirax put her drink down and grabbed a napkin to wipe some of the alcoholic drink that splattered on her blouse. "If you say so," she said with a laugh.
Kira guffawed. "You should see Luke in his skimpy square cut swimsuit with lift-pouch. I'd say he's more than the right size."
"Kira!" Mara and I shouted at the same time.
Kira rolled her eyes. "Hey I didn't force him to wear a swimsuit designed to put his best assets front and center."
Mirax gave out a hoot. "That is something I would love to see!"
Luke's face flushed with embarrassment. "Can we not talk about my swimsuit?"
"I agree," I responded through clenched teeth. Stang! What was it with Luke and the ladies?
Kira gave me a sincere smile. "Mark I only have eyes for you." She then turned her attention back to the stage and gave out a loud cheer when the male dancer pulled off his shirt.
'Well, that's reassuring,' I thought.
I let out a sigh of relief as the last man came out on stage. The women squealed in delight as he tore off his pants in one swift move and then did a dance that involved a lot of hip gyrations and pelvic thrusts. Gods, I was just glad it was almost over.
As the dancer left the stage I started to pull out credit chips to pay for the drinks, but Kira put her hand over mine, halting my movement. "It's not over yet, Mark."
I moaned. "How much longer?"
The Master of Ceremonies came back out to the stage. "I hope you enjoyed the show. As you all know tonight is amateur night and the winner will get four free tickets to the smashball championship next month. And to sweeten the pot, for each dancer we get on stage the club will make a sizable charitable donation in your name to the Imperial City Children's Hospital here on Coruscant. There are a lot of sick youngsters counting on you. So gentlemen come on up…we need some volunteers!"
To my horror Corran stood up. "Come on Mark. There aren't many guys here. I wouldn't be surprised if we're the only volunteers. One of us is bound to win those tickets…and it's for charity."
"No way," I sputtered in shock.
"Mark, I think they need at least two volunteers to do the contest," Corran gave me a pleading look. "I really want to get those tickets. The game is sold out…and it's for charity!"
"You should help him, Mark," Kira encouraged me. "And you're right, you are better looking than all those other dancers. You should do it."
"No!" I said.
"What's wrong Mark? Are you scared?" Mirax taunted me. "I thought you said any man at this table was better looking than those dancers."
I blushed. "I did say that, but that doesn't mean I'm going up to dance."
"You talk a good talk, but you don't walk the walk," Luke said with a lopsided grin that looked very much like the expression Han would give right before he puts down the winning hand in a sabaac game…except when Luke makes that face it usually means he had one too many drinks. "I think you'll do great. And it will help the Children's Hospital. You should do it." I couldn't believe Luke Skywalker was cajoling me to dance in a male revue.
"Why don't you go up?" I shot back.
Luke shook his head. "I'm the head of the Jedi order. The paparazzi would be all over that, but nobody knows you. I'll make a personal donation to help the kids."
"Oh so, I should do it because I'm a nobody?" I responded sarcastically. "I'll give the hospital a private donation also. If you don't need to dance then I don't need to dance either."
Mara smirked. "Mark, Luke can't go up and dance. It would be too dangerous."
"And why is that?" I asked as I folded my arms across my chest and gave her a stubborn look.
"Because once he took his shirt off it would cause a stampede of women towards him and I would have no choice but to beat them away with my lightsaber," Mara said while desperately trying not to laugh.
I snorted. "Well, maybe Kira doesn't want to have to fight the women off of me either."
Kira chuckled. "No, I'm okay with it. Go!"
Before I could argue more Corran came up to me and yanked me out of my seat by the collar of my tunic. "We have two volunteers!" he screamed out to the M.C.
"Ladies, it looks like we have a couple brave gentlemen to dance for you!" The man on stage called out. There was a huge cheer from the women in the room.
Stang. I was so ready to kill Corran when we got out of there. I reluctantly followed him up onto stage where we were ushered to a backroom dressing area.
The M.C. called over a group of men and women. "Hurry, we have to get these guys in outfits. Have them put on some shorts over their underwear and get them into the quick-release clothing."
Corran was shuffled off in one direction and me in another.
"Mark!" I heard an overly enthusiastic voice call out. I turned to see my Davaronian hairstylist Erico. The red skinned alien stopped in front of me with his hands on his hips. "What have you done with your beard? It looks like you have the mange!"
"I know," I said self-consciously as I rubbed my hand over the short beard that was growing back way too slowly for my taste. "I had to shave it for a job." I definitely didn't want to get into the details on how I ended up a stormtrooper on the Eye of Palpatine. "What are you doing here?"
He smiled. "I volunteered my services for the night. It allows me to see the dancers up-close and personal." Erico winked.. "We have to see if we have anything in your size." He turned to a young man who I assumed was his assistant. "See if 'Big D' left any of his costumes in the trunks."
The young man ran off. Erico followed his movements for a second and then turned his attention back to me. "'Big D' was their largest dancer, still he's not as big as you." He looked me up and down. "Have you gotten bigger since your last hair appointment?"
I shrugged. "A little…maybe."
The young assistant came running up with clothing. "I couldn't find a bathing suit, but here are some gym shorts that might work." The man handed me some extra-large loose nylon shorts, which were definitely more modest than the suits that the dancers were wearing.
"Hurry," Erico urged me. "Strip down to your underwear and put the shorts on and we will attach the pull-away clothing."
I looked around to the multitude of men and women in the backstage area. "Here?"
Erico rolled his eyes. "They are performers, they dress and undress backstage. Nobody is going to be looking at you."
I reluctantly stripped off my tunic and pants and quickly pulled on the shorts. I noticed that Erico was looking at me…along with his assistant. I always suspected that Erico might not be attracted to women…but now I am pretty sure I'm right…not that there is anything wrong with that.
As soon as the shorts were on the two men attached the pants. The trousers were designed in two parts with snap closures holding the two pieces together at the side seams. I was also given a white shirt with snaps in front.
"You go out dance a little, the music will build up, you grab these belt loops on the front of your pants and pull up. That will remove the trousers in one shot. Just dance around for a few more minutes and you're done," Erico said.
I was so nervous that I started to feel nauseous. Erico gave me a worried look. "Don't worry Mark, they've had prominent business men, military officers and even politicians volunteer to do this…mainly for charity, but it's fun. Nobody will remember this after today. And if they do, you just say, 'It was for charity.'"
I took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Okay," I said with a nod. Erico grabbed my arm and dragged me up to the curtains where I saw Corran standing with the same exact outfit…except he was sporting a wide grin. It looked like he was enjoying this. "Are you ready Mark?" he asked.
I shook my head slowly. "As ready as I'll ever be. But more ready to kill you when this is over."
The curtain opened and the floodlights temporarily blinded me so I couldn't see if Corran responded to my threat or not. I can hear the women screaming hysterically. I can also hear Mara laughing. Gods! How did I get lassoed into this?
The M.C. came out. "I want to thank my two volunteers." He pushed a microphone into my face. "And what is your name?"
I slowly bent my head down and talked into the microphone. "Mark. Mark Tantiss."
The M.C. smiled brightly. "Thank you Mark for playing our game. My, you are a big boy. How tall are you?"
"Umm…just under 2.1 meters."
The M.C. gave a low whistle. "Wow, and what is your profession?"
There was no way I was going to say Jedi. "I'm a… a trader."
"A trader…did you hear that ladies." He turned back to me. "I bet there are a few ladies who would like to make a trade with you after the show." The women howled their approval. The M.C. turned to Corran. "And what is your name?"
Corran gave a toothy smile. "Keiran Halcyon," he said.
DAMN! I should have given an alias. I am so stupid!
"And what is your profession?"
Corran gave a wink out to the audience. "I'm the husband to the most beautiful woman in the galaxy who I love more than anything." He then blew a kiss in Mirax's direction. The women in the audience responded with an "Awwww."
I glared at Corran. That sounded rehearsed. Of course, he had worked for Corsec, so maybe he is just really good at acting…you know for undercover jobs.
"Great," the M.C shouted. "Let's get started!"
The music began and I started to…well I call it dancing, but anybody with any rhythm would call it standing in place and swaying. I'm a terrible dancer. When I was at Mara and Luke's wedding Mara commented that I danced like a constipated Gamorrean with jock itch…and I am pretty sure that was not meant to be a compliment.
Corran can definitely dance. I wonder if all Corellians are this wild and light on their feet. The music was a bawdy jazz tune and Corran broke out into a dance sequence that looked like it was almost choreographed. It fact it definitely looked preplanned.
Corran tore off his shirt to the hoots and hollers of the ladies and threw the tunic out to the audience. He then looked to me with his palms out inviting me to do the same. I sighed and took off my shirt like a normal person and tossed it on the ground. I know my performance is lack luster, but my bare chest got some cheers.
Corran turned to me and smirked. He grabbed the loops on the front of his pants and pulls them off. Then he threw the garment out toward Mirax, but a heavyset woman, moving at a speed I didn't think was possible for a person of her stature, was able to snatch the pants midair before they got to their intended recipient. The woman screamed happily and then to my horror brought the clothing to her face and sniffed them.
Ugh! I didn't need to see that.
I was feeling a little sick to my stomach. I had a raging case of stage fright and was afraid I might vomit. Stang! I just want to get this over with. I pulled off my pants to the sound of screaming women and tossed them on the stage. And then I was standing in front of a roomful of women wearing only baggy gym shorts. I look over to Corran who was wearing a very tight brief-cut swimsuit. He smiled at me and gave a slight wink before he did a backflip and landed into a front split. He then eased himself into a standing position and performed a handstand. He slowly spread his legs to gain balance and went into a one-handed pose. That got the women shrieking.
What a show-off. There was no way I was going to attempt to duplicate that feat without sport-performance underwear or a jock. With my luck I'd end up twisting something that I definitely didn't want twisted.
I instead did the only thing I could think of. I went into a bodybuilder double bicep pose. To my surprise the ladies cheered. That got my confidence up a little. I then went into a side triceps pose and followed up by turning around and going into a back-spread stance.
There was another wild cheer go up. I thought it might be for me, but I looked over and saw Corran is hanging upside down on a pole. He then slid down the pole and into a handstand, before he jumped back to his feet.
I just shook my head. I think I have been had! His routine looked way too perfect to be improvised.
As the music started to wind down, Corran waved at the ladies and then came up to me and shook my hand before bowing to the audience.
The music ended and the M.C. came back on the stage. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't think we've ever seen such a great performance in our amateur contest. Please give a big hand for Mark Tantiss and Keiran Halcyon!"
The ladies shouted and applauded wildly.
"Okay now for the vote. Clap for the man you think should get the free tickets." The M.C. put his hand over Corran's head and there is a huge uproar of the crowd. The M.C. then turned to me and tried to put his hand over my head but couldn't. I oblige him by dropping down on a knee so he could reach over my head. That got a chuckle from the crowd. "How about for Mark?"
The women screamed and hooted, but not as much as for Corran. The M.C. grabbed Corran's hand and held it up above his head. "We have a winner!"
I give Corran a knowing look and then walked off back stage to retrieve my clothing. Corran followed behind me. "That was fun!" he said while laughing.
I turn and pushed a finger into his chest. "Maybe for you. My fun will come when I knock you into next week!" I raised a clenched fist for emphasis. "This was planned, wasn't it? That danced was choreographed. Who else was in on this joke?" I wasn't as mad as I was embarrassed.
Corran gave me his most innocent look. "What? You think I would pull this type of prank on you…just because you Force shove me non-stop during saber practice?"
"I should have Force shoved you off that pole!" I was now highly irritated.
"Mark, remember what Master Skywalker taught us: 'Jedi use the Force to defend and protect'".
I move closer to Corran. "What if I don't use the Force, but just beat you with my fists?"
Corran stepped back but his smile didn't falter. "I'm pretty sure there is something in the code about that covers that, 'Guardians of peace and justice, respect all life, don't kill a friend over a harmless practical joke.'"
I turned away in disgust and retrieved my clothing.
"Come on Mark. It was just for fun. Nobody you know is going to find out."
I shoved my legs into my pants. "They better not!"
"Don't worry about it, I won't tell a soul," Corran assured me.
I just glared at him. How come I don't believe him? I definitely have a bad feeling about this.
Now this is a great chapter to visualize in your head.
Oh god! I have a sinus cold and here I am peeing myself laughing!
Poor Mark. This is one of my favorite chapters. LOL!!!
"I agree," I responded through clenched teeth. Stang! What was it with Luke and the ladies?
Well, Mark, all I can tell you is:
@Hazel , &
@ginchy thank you for reading. Poor Mark is just so new at life that he gets tricked a lot. But I guess he shouldn't be a jerk to Corran while at lightsaber practice.
ENTRY 81: Holonet Remix, Coruscant.
A few days after that horrible night at the club I arrived at my apartment to find Kira in front of the HoloNet projector and laughing so hysterically she had tears rolling down her face. She motioned me over to her. "Oh Gods, this is so funny!" she gasped. "Let me start it over."
She pushed a few buttons on the projector. There was static above the holo-projection base for a few seconds but eventually the static coalesced into an image of me bare-chested and wearing baggy shorts. The first thing I heard was that music. That horrible music Corran and I danced to that awful night. "What is this?" I ask Kira.
She is still laughing while trying to talk. "Somebody in the audience filmed your and Corran's dance and put it on the HoloNet site YouHolo. Somebody did a remix of your dance."
I dropped down on my couch wide-eyed and slack jawed. The person who took the holo edited it so that at one point you see me say my name 'I'm Mark Tantiss' and then put that last part into a loop so the holo repeats that scene about five time 'Tantiss, Tantiss, Tantiss, Tantiss, Tantiss', then they took a different song and put their own lyrics to it so it said. "Do the Tantiss! Do the Tantiss." Each time that phrase played you saw me going into a double biceps pose.
I can feel the blood rush to my head and I was sure I was falling to the darkside. "I am going to kill Corran for sure now," I growled as I rose off the couch. Kira came up to me and pushed me back down into my seat.
"Mark, I talked to Mirax about this and she says it wasn't Corran. She assured me he wouldn't know how to edit a music remix holo if his life depended on it. We believe it was one of the women in the audience. I think you have a groupie," she chuckled.
I got up again. "I'm still going to kill him for getting me into this situation."
I started moving to the door but Kira grabbed my hand and gave me an imploring look. "Mark, please don't do anything. I really like Mirax. I have been so busy with my studies and internship and then my job that I haven't made many friends. I really enjoy having another woman to talk to and I'm pretty sure if you kill her husband that might put a strain on our friendship."
I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose in frustration. I then looked up at the holoprojector. "Does that thing say how many hits it received?" By the look on Kira's face I have the answer. "How many people have viewed it?" I asked.
She gave me a sheepish look. "Four-hundred and fifty…million."
I slap my palm to my forehead.
"It's really not that bad, Mark. There is over a billion- trillion sentient beings in the galaxy so the number of views is actually small when compared to the total population."
"That's comforting." I said sarcastically.
"Please, calm down Mark," Kira said as she wrapped her arms around me. She gazed up to me and smiled. "If I made your favorite dessert, would that make you feel better?"
I was still mad, but I'm not turning down chocolate. "It would help," I said reluctantly.
She smiled and walked to the kitchen. "Oh, by the way, you have a message from the Wild Karrde. It's marked 'private' so I'm not sure what it's about."
I nodded and went to the holo-projector and punched in the proper codes to retrieve the message. Immediately I see Chin's smiling face. "Hey Mark, I just wanted to let you know about this new mission I am embarking on." He then turned to somebody off screen. "Hit it," he said and then grinned evilly at the holocamera. Music starts in the background and I immediately recognized it as the remix tune.
Chin started dancing around in front of the holocamera while unbuttoning his shirt. "Do the Tantiss!" He laughed as he pulls his shirt off.
I groaned in both embarrassment and disgust as the camera operator zoomed out and I got to see a shirtless Chin dancing around in his boxer shorts. He reached down to his impressive beer gut and jiggled the fat around. He then went into the double biceps pose and sang out "Do the Tantiss!" again. I can hear Karrde laughing uncontrollably off camera. A young shapely woman moves into the shot. I recognize her as Zara Maru, Talon's new employee, and if the rumors are true, his new girlfriend.
She was holding out a credit chip as if she wanted to shove it into Chin's boxer shorts, but his stomach overlaps his elastic waistband so she gives the camera an overly dramatic 'what should I do?' puzzled look. Chin then spun around and went into a back pose shaking his butt at the camera. Zara gave the camera a look of disgust and dropped the credit on the ground before walking away. Chin danced around some more and ended his little skit by going back into the double biceps pose and yelling "Do the Tantiss"!
The music stopped and I saw Chin laughing. Aves must have been filming because Karrde walked into the shot. "I guess Jedi pay must be low when you have to moonlight as a stripper."
With that I'd had enough. I punched off the projector. I turned and saw Kira in the kitchen trying to maintain a straight face, but she was having a hard time doing so. "Should I make that a double batch of chocolate truffles?"
"I think you may need to make a triple batch," I said while rubbing my temples.
I still think I'm going to kill Corran. Or at least Force shove him though a wall the next time I see him.