Saga - ST Keeping Up with the Calrissians --Yes, finally! 11/5

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, May 17, 2017.

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  1. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    Title: Keeping Up with the Calrissians
    Era: Saga, 29 ABY (mostly New Canon with some Legends thrown in as an AU mashup)
    Genre: humor, drama, adventure, etc.

    This is a series of shorts, vignettes, mosh ups, etc. about the lives and loves of the Calrissian girls as they try to recoup their father’s finances

    I was thinking about Mel after the Fan Fic Awards thread, and this title jumped into my head; I just couldn't resist!

    Author's Note (open)
    I broke down and watched an episode --well, half an episode-- of the TV series that inspired this. Periodically, the camera cuts away to one of the girls addressing the camera directly, like a kind of video diary. When Mel is talking in italics, that's what we're trying to convey.

    MAIN CAST:
    General Lando Calrissian,hero of the Rebellion, destroyer of Death Stars, gambler, ladies' man and devoted Dad

    His daughters:
    1. Valissa (25, the smart one, daughter of ex-girlfriend Morning, the bounty hunter)
    2. Azra (21, the angry one, daughter of wife #1, Tendra Risant, the true love, deceased)
    3. Shami (20, the scary one, twin of Sarai, second daughter of Tendra)
    4. Sarai (20, the adventurous one, twin of Shami, third daughter of Tendra)
    5. Ginevra (19, the shy one, daughter of (ex) wife #2, Loranis)
    6. Tessira (19, the cheerful one, probably the daughter of the exotic dancer in that club on Antooine, but no one’s quite sure)
    7. Melvina (16, the irresponsible one, daughter of Jianne, wife #3, the nice one, deceased)
    * * *
    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… a medical emergency causes an upheaval in the Calrissian family.

    MEL: So, I was just finishing up in class when I called down to the Rector’s office. My sister Ginni was there, pulling me out for early dismissal, which was kind of weird.

    Mel looked from her sister to the Rector, Dr. Adeus. “So, what’s up?” she asked.

    Ginni was very pale. “Daddy’s in the hospital.” Mel gasped, and sat down abruptly.

    “Wh-what happened?” she asked.

    “They think it’s a heart attack.” She looked at the Rector. “I’m sorry, we need to go.”

    “Of course,” he said. “Please keep us informed. Miss Calrissian, you can take the rest of the week, but you will be required to keep up with the classwork from home.” Mel nodded. It was easy to log into class from a dataterminal, and many kids did. She enjoyed the socialization, though, and preferred to attend school in person. She enjoyed it a bit too much, and her father had often threatened to keep her at home, where there would be fewer distractions. He thought.

    Ginni hailed an airtaxi, and they raced through the skies to the unimaginatively named City Medical Center.

    “What happened exactly?” asked Mel.

    “Daddy was in a meeting with his lawyer this morning, and just suddenly collapsed. They brought him here. The lawyer called Azra, who called everyone else.”

    Mel frowned. “She didn’t call me!” she said.

    “She called the school and sent me to get you.”

    In the waiting area, she saw Azra and her other sister, Tessira, sitting next to each other on a couch, looking tense. A tall man with gray hair was bending over talking to them.

    “What’s happening?” she asked.

    Azra looked up. “Daddy had some type of heart attack,” she said. “He’s in the ICU. The doctor is in with him now.” Two young women hurried up, pale skinned, with dark brown eyes. Apart from their haircuts, they were identical.

    MEL: Dad married Tendra Risant, this really rich lady, and Azra is their oldest daughter. Then they had the twins, Shami and Sarai. Unfortunately, Tendra died in childbirth and he married Loranis. We try not to talk about her. Ginni—Ginevra—is their daughter. Tess was left on the doorstep. Like, literally, left in a basket. Anyway… I’m the last one.

    “What’s happened to Daddy?” asked Shami.

    The gray haired man turned to them. “A heart attack. He was in my office, discussing some legal issues related to the business, and suddenly he keeled over.”

    “This is Mr. Bayron, Daddy’s lawyer,” explained Azra.

    A man came in, human and bald, with a golden skin tone and green eyes, wearing a healer’s tunic. “You’re General Calrissian’s daughters?”

    “Yes,” said Azra, “I’m the eldest, Azra.” The doctor looked down at his datapad.

    “I’ve got Valissa Calrissian as the eldest,” he said.

    Azra frowned. “She doesn’t actually live with us. What about Dad? How is he?”

    “Will he be okay?” asked Tess. The ends of her lekku were twitching restlessly. Tessira’s mother had been Twi’lek, but no one knew her name. She had the lekku of her mother, with her father’s warm brown skin and dark eyes. An unusual combination, and the natives of Ryloth didn’t warm up to cross-mixing with other species. It was better, really, that she had been raised under her father’s roof.

    “It’s a heart attack, although he didn’t go into full cardiac arrest. He needs to rest for a few days, while we monitor him to see how much damage may have been done.”

    “What about bacta?” asked Ginni. Bacta was the miracle drug of the universe. The doctor shook his head.

    “We can do a bacta treatment, but only after we’ve assessed the full extent of his condition. We need to make sure he’s stable, first.”

    “Can we see him?”begged Tess.

    The doctor hesitated. “He’s pretty fragile right now,” he said.

    “Please, Doctor, uh…”

    “Oh, sorry. I’m Dr. Okan. Well…” he looked at the ring of anxious faces. “I suppose so. Two at a time, five minutes only. He really needs rest, and your sister is in with him now.” The girls stared at him in shock.

    “What do you mean our sister is in with him?” demanded Azra.

    Dr. Okan looked at his datapad. “Valissa Calrissian. She’s in with him now. Her time’s about up, I’ll go send her out.”

    Azra glared at Bayron. “She can’t be in there!” she said.

    “She can,” he responded calmly. “Your father has acknowledged her as his child and she is listed as next of kin in all necessary legal documentation.”

    “She may be his child, but she’s not one of us!”

    MEL: Okay, that’s not true, and it’s not fair. Val didn’t actually live with us growing up, she was mostly raised by her mom. But she did come and spend a lot of time with us, came on some vacations and everything. I dunno, I’ve never had a problem with her, but I think Azra is sort of jealous, because she feels like she’s the oldest, and technically she’s not.

    The doctor emerged with their eldest sister behind him. “Okay,” he said, “two of you at a time. And I don’t want any commotion or upset to him, understand?” This he directed at Azra, who shot dagger looks at Val then turned away. Shami quickly got up and pushed her way through the door, with her twin dogging behind her. Mel made a face. She’d be the last one to get to see him. As the youngest, she was always the last in line.

    Bayron turned to the girls. “I’ve got to be going, but please keep me posted on his condition.”

    “We will,” Azra assured him. He looked at Val.

    “Er, what we discussed…” he said.

    “I’ll tell them,” she said. Mel could see Azra bristling. Val ignored her. “I’ll be right back,” she said, “I have to make some calls.”

    “What will we do if…if…” Ginni said.

    “Daddy will be fine,” Azra said firmly. “No matter what, we will get through this!”

    “But what about Mel? She’s only 16!”

    Mel bridled. “Ex-cuse me,” she said, “I am of legal age in at least twelve systems! I’m older than the Queen of Naboo, and I’m doing my service year next year. I can take care of myself, if I have to.”

    “Take care of yourself?” Tess rolled her eyes. “Girl, please, you don’t even do your own laundry! I can’t imagine how you’ll survive next year!”

    “I can take care of myself,” said Mel, “I just choose not to.” She hadn’t really thought about next year. On turning 17, everyone on her homeworld of Dubrillon owed the government a year of mandatory service. Most went into the Defense Forces. Some people delayed it until after they finished university and used it to gain experience in their field, like a sort of internship. Mel had figured she’d be an aide in a government office somewhere, making caff or monitoring the comm networks. The military was out. They didn’t understand the concept of ‘sleeping in.’

    “Well, choose to,” said Ginni. “I’m tired of living in a snorg barn!” Mel stuck her tongue out at her sister. Ginni and Tess had finished their duty year. Ginni had worked in a soup kitchen and Tess had done something with Customs that was really boring. Next year they’d be at University, and she’d have the room to herself. She couldn’t wait.

    Shami and Sarai came out of Dad’s room, looking subdued. Azra nodded. “You two go on,” she said, “I’ll stay with Mel.”

    Mel looked over at the twins. They had gone to sit on a nearby couch. She could see Shami reach for her sister’s hand, as they stared straight ahead, mutely. This frightened her.

    “How is he?” she whispered. They exchanged a glance.

    “He’s very tired,” said Sarai. “I think he’s going to be here a while.”

    They heard the tap-tap of high heels on the polished floor and looked up as Valissa walked back over to them. “Ginni and Tess in with Daddy?” she asked.

    “Yes,” said Sarai.

    “Okay. When they’re done, we’ll go back to the house. We have a lot to talk about.”

    Azra scowled at her. “We?” she demanded. “Um, yeah, excuse ME, but Mel and I haven’t seen him yet and we aren’t going anywhere until we do!”

    Val shrugged. “Fine,” she said, looking up at the chronometer, “but make it fast.”

    “The doctor is only giving us five minutes anyway,” said Mel. Ginni and Tess emerged into the corridor, pale and upset. Mel could see Ginni swipe a tear from the corner of her eyes. She took a deep breath, feeling her own chest clench with tension.

    Azra gave Val a last dirty look, then slipped her arm around Mel’s shoulders. “Come on,” she said gently.

    MEL: Oh, god. I was so afraid to go in there! The last time I was in a hospital room, it was to see my mother. She was lying in there, hooked up to all the monitors and tubes…it was the last time I ever saw her alive. I was just dreading this.

    General Lando Calrissian was lying very still in the hospital bed, hooked up to various machines, as Mel had feared. Beneath his skin, he looked gray and his face was drawn. A medical droid was stationed nearby, visual scanners fixed on her father. Lando opened his eyes and smiled when he saw them, but that dazzling inner light wasn’t there. Mel swallowed hard.

    “The last of my lovely ladies,” he murmured. Azra went over to the side of the bed to kiss his cheek, and Mel followed suit.

    “You’re gonna be okay, Daddy,” said Azra, squeezing his hand gently. Mel couldn’t reach his hand unless she went to the other side of the bed, so she reached out and touched his knee through the thin blanket.

    “Of course I am,” he replied. “You know doctors; they overreact to everything.” He smiled directly at Mel. “I’ll be out of here in a day or two, don’t look so scared, Babygirl.”

    Mel forced a smile. “You better promise!” she said.

    “Hey, I survived a Death Star! A little dizzy spell isn’t going to stop me.” His smile faded a bit, and Mel saw something flicker in his eyes. Azra bent over and kissed him again.

    “We’re gonna hold you to that promise, Daddy,” she said. “Now you get some rest. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

    Mel moved past Azra to bestow her own kiss on his cheek. “I love you Daddy,” she said. “You remember that!”

    “I love you, too,” he said hoarsely, closing his eyes. “You’re my treasures. Luckiest break I ever had.”

    They slipped out of the room, closing the door behind them quietly, and went back to the rest of their sisters, assembled silently outside. No one said anything, they just looked at each other, in complete understanding, all seven sharing the same fears. Their father was alive, but the shadow of death was hanging over his room and there was no way to know if he was going to escape it this time, as he had so many times in the past.

    Val exhaled heavily. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s go back to the house. We have a lot to talk about. I’ve got more bad news.”
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, Nov 6, 2017
  2. Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2014
    star 1
    Haha! Hilarious that you chose this particular family to use as a template for such a tale. Keep up the good work.
  3. The Ascendant Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2014
    I don't know why, but something about Lando having 7 daughters just seems to fit his character. He's the kind of guy that was just born to be surrounded by women one way or another. lol Great idea.
  4. Ewok Poet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 5
    Well, I knew this would be quite something from the title. And I wasn't disappointed. This kind of reality show, with Mel breaking the fourth wall, is a good, good idea for some fun. Now, the bittersweet thought that Tendra is dead and Mel's mom, too; and Lando being in hospital...is that how reality shows create drama or was that completely random?

    Hope this goes slow and fun, whenever I need something to cheer me up. :D But knowing you, it will be extremely hard to keep up.
  5. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Wow, great and groundbreaking work.

    There should be far more families with kids of differing genetics, either through relations with compatible species, or even just the adoption of war orphans.

    I liked the rivalries, and that inherent distrust between the child who thought she should be the oldest, and who was.
  6. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    The title made me laugh really hard! I can see the children of Lando totally leading this type of life.

    I loved your description of Tess and how her mother is twi'lek. That was an excelent detail. I also really liked how you put in the reality show interview parts.

    But... you killed Tendra?? :_|

    Great story! =D= I look forward to more!
  7. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    “Hey, I survived a Death Star! A little dizzy spell isn’t going to stop me.” His smile faded a bit, and Mel saw something flicker in his eyes. Azra bent over and kissed him again.

    Lando may have survived the Death Star, but ending up with so many children is a totally different matter. I talk to out-stressed parents 5 days per week. Most have just one child and are worn out.

    But on the other side I can say that Lando is the only scoundrel whom I can imagine to survive so many daughters and wearing a big smile. He seems to genuinely care about them and has more attachment to them than to his ex wives.
    Kahara and Mistress_Renata like this.
  8. Kahara Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Sad to see that Lando has been through so much heartbreak here (poor Tendra, and I'm sure Mel's mom was as awesome as she is :( ), but the big whacky family dynamic of the sisters is really entertaining. I'm a youngest sibling, but I can hardly imagine having six older sisters! :p It looks like this latest crisis might be cause for a bit of reevaluation and strengthening the bonds between sisters... or some sibling rivalry boiling over. Maybe both of the above. (I felt bad for Val, though it looks like Azra is the one who feels competitive with her and the others are more welcoming.)
    Mistress_Renata likes this.
  9. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    All right, yes, I know, it's only been (counts on fingers) 4 days. But I've decided to move this to Sundays exclusively. After this, Sundays only. I promise ( @Ewok Poet, I am crossing my heart in your direction!) Unless I'm on vacation, in which case I'll post when I come back. But I'm also writing this as I go along, breaking my own rule, so it will probably be a lot slower, anyway...
    And you just know that all of them have him wrapped around their little finger!
    Well, it's a bit drama-y and angsty to start with, but I've got plans for massive silliness later. I hope.
    I mean, it could be that cross-species births are tricky, just because the 'parts' may be compatible but the underlying medical issues make things impossible. Or the offspring have medical issues of their own. But agree, there are probably a lot of orphans out there... And Tess wanted to be half-Twi'lek; who am I to argue with my OCs? Oh, right, I'm the author... doesn't mean they listen to me...
    Well, technically he's only got one ex-wife; the other two are deceased. But yeah, he is a doting daddy.
    I sort of had to. I wanted the girls to be forced to go it alone, which took the mother figures out of the equation. Then I looked at the timeline, and I knew Tendra had to be either dead or divorced. And let's face it, there isn't a person in the galaxy stupid enough to divorce Tendra Risant, particularly not Lando! And from my other story with Mel, we knew her mother had died when she was 10, so that took her out of the picture.
    It's pretty stressful for teachers, too!!! :D Full disclosure: my mom was a teacher. She took early retirement because of the parents. They were driving her crazy.
    I broke down and actually watched a few episodes of the show that inspired this. It was colossally boring; I can't see how it has survived for so many seasons! I hope this story will be more interesting. It does start a little slow & angsty, but I know where it's going, so... I want the girls to have to do things for themselves, so I needed to move the adults out of the way.
    Most likely! You've pegged it! (Smart, smart readers... [face_love])

    Right, here is episode 2, and hopefully, ep 3 will be next Sunday.

    * * *

    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… the news gets even worse!

    MEL: So, we left the hospital and went back to the house. I couldn’t figure out how the news could be worse; I mean, Daddy having a heart attack is about as bad as it could be! But Val had been talking to Mr. Bayron, Daddy’s lawyer. I didn’t really even think about that.

    Valissa Calrissian leaned back in her chair, looking around at the circle of her half-sisters who were assembled around the table in the dining area, and put her glass of water down. “Here’s the deal,” she said. “We’re broke.”

    Azra crossed her arms. “We?” she asked.

    Azra was the eldest of the girls born in wedlock. It irked her when Valissa came by. Val was her father’s daughter by a fling, the eldest of all of them, and Azra didn’t think it fair that Val should automatically assume the family leadership role. Especially now.

    Val ignored Azra’s snarky tone. “Dad is broke, which means the rest of you are broke, too. It’s that damn pyramid scheme! Dad put in a lot more money than he could afford to lose, and now it’s gone. He’s going to lose the mines, probably the ships, just about everything. And now there are going to be medical bills…short story, no money. Dad’s broke.” She looked around at all of them. “Whatever some of you think—“ she glared at Azra “—I am a part of this family, and we all need to figure out how to get out of this together. So. We need cash and fast. Any ideas?”

    Melvina looked around the living area at her sisters. Val was dark-skinned, with dark eyes and high cheekbones. Tall, and broad-shouldered, she moved like a dancer. Azra was four years younger, with pale skin and brown hair, looking much like her mother, the beautiful Tendra Risant. Shami and Sarai were her full sisters, identical twins, although Sarai usually wore her hair long and favored romantic, almost vintage clothing. Shami was leaner and more athletic, and wore her hair super-short. Now that they were older, they were easier to tell apart.

    Ginni and Tess were side by side on the couch. Although they were the same age, they had different mothers. Ginni looked like her father, with a golden undertone to her skin, a bit on the plump side, with uptilted eyes and a shy smile. Tess had the slim, graceful body and lekku of her Twi’lek mother, with her father’s dark skin and eyes. It was an exotic combination and made her popular with boys and girls, although she was shunned on her birthworld of Ryloth. Half-breeds were stigmatized there.

    Shami put down her water glass and leaned back in her chair. “Well,” she said, “the first thing we do is borrow an X-wing from General Antilles, hunt down that diseased kriffslider and blow his worm-ridden klooties into space dust.”

    “Second the motion,” said Tess. Val sighed.

    “We are not borrowing an X-wing from Wedge Antilles,” she said.

    “Why not? He lost money, too. All the Rogues did.”

    Mel shook her head. “No,” she said. “Kess told me when the news broke. She said he was invited to invest, but her mom vetoed the idea.”

    Sarai nodded. “The General didn’t marry no dummy,” she said.

    “Wouldn’t do any good anyway,” said Azra. “Ohnaka’s dead.”

    “Oh, please!” snorted Shami, “You don’t actually believe that!”

    “It was reported on the holonews. He set his ship to self-destruct, out of embarrassment. He didn’t want to be dragged into court.”

    “No. Way.” Shami crossed her arms. “That coward set a timer and made his escape, making everyone think he committed suicide. He’s changed his name and is off somewhere trying to find more widows and orphans to fleece.”

    “That does sound like Hondo,” admitted Sarai.

    Mel shook her head. “I can’t believe Daddy would fall for that scheme,” she said. “He doesn’t always make good deals, but he usually checks them out.”

    “We could hire your mom,” said Azra, frowning at Val.

    VAL: My mother is a bounty hunter, she goes by the name of Morning. General Han Solo, the husband of Senator Organa, was captured by Darth Vader during the Rebellion, and encased in carbonite to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt. Momma helped Daddy track down this other bounty hunter, Boba Fett, who took Solo away from Bespin…. Long story short, I showed up nine months later.

    “We couldn’t afford her,” said Val, “or any of the rest of the Guild. What part of ‘we have no money’ am I not making clear?”

    “Okay,” said Sarai. “Let’s take this from the top. Why is Dad losing the mines and the ships?”

    “He borrowed against them to put money into the damn pyramid scheme,” said Val. “Now that Hondo is exposed, the bankers are calling in the loans. And so are a few other…unsavory types. Dad can’t repay the loans, he doesn’t have any ready cash and isn’t likely to get any. He borrowed against the ships, too.”

    “All of them?” asked Azra with a frown.

    “No,” said Val. “Lady Luck, Lady Love, and Lady Tendra are still free and clear. So that’s something. If we can find some cargoes or some charters for them, it will help.”

    Lady Tendra’s out of commission. Hyperdrive,” explained Sarai. “But the other two are working.”

    “We’ve still got the house,” said Tess, looking around. Val hesitated.

    “We don’t have the house?” asked Shami.

    “Mortgaged to the hilt.”

    “And he still owes money to my mother,” said Ginni, staring down at her hands in her lap.

    GINNI: My mom married Dad for his money and because he was famous. She’s…well, she’s what you call a gold-digger. Except there was never as much money as she thought, since Tendra Risant had the money and left it to her daughters in trust in her will. Her family were pretty tight with the pre-nup! Dad gets to use the income from the investments during his lifetime, but he can’t touch the principle. Anyway…right after I was born, Tess was left on the doorstep and my mom filed for divorce. She got a lot of money, but Dad got custody of me. He always says he got the better end of the deal. (quiet for a moment) He might just be saying that to make me feel better.

    MEL: Loranis was a total bi—uh, witch. Ginni is awesome. I don’t think Loranis could really be her mother.

    “No, no,” said Val. “Dad owed the final payment on your eighteenth birthday and he paid up. That was the bargain. She’s got no more hold over him. Financially, anyway. At least that’s something.”

    “Are there any other assets? Anything safe from the creditors?” asked Azra.

    “I’m not sure,” said Val. “The lawyer said he’d check. In the meantime, we’ve got to figure out how to keep expenses down—“ Here she gave Mel a stern look “—which means no shoes, no handbags, no new clothes, nothing!”

    “But—“ Mel started to speak, then shut up. The new summer collections would be arriving in the stores, and one of the hot new colors this season was a delicate apricot that would totally flatter her skin tone.

    “And anyone who doesn’t have a job needs to find one.”

    Tess hesitated. “You keep saying ‘we.’ But you have a job, so you’re okay. You can take care of yourself, right?”

    “Yeah,” said Azra, “because you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’re the ones who will be stuck.”

    Val sighed. “Look, we are a family. And Dad is in a lot of trouble. And we have to come together for him. He’s done so much for us, he’s done everything for us. It’s time we came through for him, don’t you think?” Val looked at Azra. “And I am part of this family. Dad never ignored me, he always supported me, he made sure I could afford school and everything I need. It’s time to step up.”

    “What about school?” asked Sarai, looking at Ginni and Tess. They were supposed to be starting university the following year. She and Shami would be going into their second year. Val sighed heavily.

    “I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she admitted. “Maybe we can find you all some scholarships, or something.”

    Ginni straightened up. “Not me,” she said firmly. “I’ll withdraw my university acceptance.”

    Azra frowned. “You don’t have to do that!” she said. “You need an education!”

    “I’ll get one. I’ll apply to the Cordon Vert Culinary Institute, or some other cooking school. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do anyway, it will be cheaper than university, and I can earn while studying.”

    “Well, we don’t need to decide tonight. Think it over.” Ginni shook her head, and started to smile.

    “It’s the perfect excuse,” she said. “Hey! Maybe we could have a bake sale! Or sell gourmet cookies or something!”

    “It’s going to take more than a bake sale,” said Val. “But we’ll think of something. Anyway. You needed to know. We’ll talk more about this later, once I’ve heard from Dad’s lawyer.”

    “Is Dad in trouble? He can’t be arrested!” said Sarai.

    “No, no, he didn’t do anything illegal. He just trusted a con man. A lot of people did. But it’s going to ruin the businesses. Mr. Bayron is trying to figure out how to protect as many of the assets as he can.”

    “We’ll owe him money, too, won’t we?” asked Tess. Val winced.

    “Yes,” she said, “I’m afraid so. But in this case, the money we pay him might be considered an investment. Right. I’m going out, but you all keep this in mind, okay? Just try to think of ways we can economize and ways we can earn some cash. I’ll see you all tomorrow.” Val put her glass in the kitchen and headed out the back door.

    Sarai sat up. “She’s right,” she said, looking at Azra. “We need to unite. We need to come through for Dad. So, yeah. Jobs. You’ve finished school, you’re going to be looking for something anyway. School is nearly done for Mel, and the rest of us are on break, so we’ll find something.”

    MEL: A job? She has got to be kidding!
  10. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    Great chapter!

    I really feel bad for Val, being the one that feels like the outsider in a family is hard. It seems as though she can handle it, but that doesn't make it less hurtful for her.

    [face_laugh] I loved their idea to use an X-Wing for revenge, but this line was great! It's one of those absurd things you'd think you'd never have to say.


    I look forward to seeing how they react to getting jobs! :D
  11. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    Ah Hondo strikes again.
    great chapter. Fun.
    hey when they invest do they tell you it's a pyramid scheme?
    AzureAngel2 and Mistress_Renata like this.
  12. Raissa Baiard Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 4
    You've got a lot of interesting family dynamics at play here. It just figures that Lando, ladies' man that he is, would have so many children with so many different women, but kudos to him for being a supportive dad, and not just financially. So many different personalities among them, though they seem to get along pretty well except for Azra and Val. They've all been thrown into a really difficult situation with their father's heart attack and financial collapse. That's enough to test even the strongest of families :eek: I really kind of like Val; she seems to be a better person than Azra is willing to give her credit for.
    I don't think anyone who feels that way about a parent could be all bad; she seems like she's trying to do her best for her sisters--all of them.

    I also like sweet Ginni, who's so ready to sacrifice for her family. It's kind of sad that she has no illusions about her mom, but again, bravo to Lando for putting his daughter first.
    Oh no, honey, trust me, he's not [face_love]

    Poor Mel...how is she going to deal with gasp getting a job! And double gasp going without the latest fashions in fetching shades of apricot :eek:

    Love the mention of Hondo Ohnaka; he's a favorite of mine from Rebels and I can see how this master con could even fool a sharp guy like Lando. Sadly, it looks like this gamble was a losing bet.

    The looks like it's going to be a fun family saga; I know next to nothing about the Kardashians (and I prefer it that way :p), but I think I could keep up with the Calrissians :lando:
  13. Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2016
    star 4
    What she said.
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  14. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Hondo the old scoundrel is still around. That is jolly good news!

    And you did a good job on describing Lando´s off-spring. Loved what I read once more!
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  15. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    Fortunately, Val is the oldest and most mature. But I'm sure there are times when she just wants to thump some sense into Azra... hmm...ay.
    Oh, I think it opens up SO many possibilities! [face_devil]
    I know, it's that "guaranteed 200% return on your investment within the first three months" that gets them every time!
    Well, not according to the news reports, but I'm pretty sure the girls have a better read on him!
    I know... so many possibilities for drama and character exploration...and comedy.
    That's what we all want to know!
    Well, here we go! Episode Three... (PS...keep your eyes peeled, one of my prizes in the Fan Fiction Awards was cover art from the fabulous team of @Chyntuck and @Mr Chyntuckopoulos! Work in progress, stay tuned...)

    * * *

    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… the girls consider their options while facing a new problem…

    MEL: So, we’d gotten back from visiting Daddy in the hospital, and Val told us that the family was broke and we had to find jobs. I can’t think of anything I know how to do! And then the calls started.

    Azra had ordered out for huttza, and the girls were nibbling on their slices. No one had much appetite. The memory of Daddy, pale and diminished in the hospital bed, was too potent. No one wanted to contemplate what life would be like if they lost him.

    Mel put the rest of her slice on the plate. If Daddy did die… yeah, essentially she was close enough to legal age to be independent and take care of herself. Would there be an inheritance? Azra, Sarai and Shami had some money in a trust set up for them by their mother. Val had finished school and had some sort of job, and her mother was still alive. Ginni’s mother was alive, too, and might still have some of Dad’s money, so Ginni might be okay. But Tess and Mel…what could they do? And completely apart from the money, it was Dad.

    MEL: Ginni knows she wants to be a cook, so she’s always been working towards that. My friend Kess –Kestrel Antilles—has wanted to be a starfighter pilot since she was able to walk, and she actually just started the initial orientation program at the Republic Starfighter Academy on Prefsbelt IV. So I guess I won’t be hearing from her for a while. I sort of envy them. I really have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life! Well, I’d like to travel and hang out with my friends. Oh, and have a killer wardrobe. But I don’t know what kind of a job lets you do stuff like that.

    They had the entertainment center on. It was a cooking show, some type of competition, Ginni’s choice.

    “I auditioned for that,” said Ginni suddenly. The others turned to look at her.

    “You auditioned for it?” said Sarai.

    “Yeah, Coruscant Can Cook? The last time I visited my mom, she took me down to the studios, they were holding open auditions, for the juniors episode. It was kind of fun. I lost to an Aqualish kid.”

    “Hard luck,” said Shami.

    “Yeah. He was a nice guy, though…gave me a great recipe for seaweed tarts.”

    “Here! This is it!” said Tess, sitting up.

    “What?” asked Mel.

    “This! It’s—“ She was interrupted by the comm center, flashing an urgent incoming message.

    “I’ve got it,” said Azra. “It might be the hospital.” The others froze, listening intently as Azra punched up the message. “Yes?”

    “Hi! This is Okani Noshi, of the Dubrillion Morning Report? We wanted to know if you had any comment or if you could give us any additional information on General Calrissian’s condition?”

    “On his… condition?”

    “Yes, we’ve heard that he’s in critical condition and not expected to survive, can you confirm this?” The girls gasped and Azra took a deep breath.

    “We’ve been told that he’s stable and his chances are excellent,” she said.

    “Really? That’s not what we’ve heard. Do you believe that the revelations about Hondo Ohnaka’s business schemes are what pushed General Calrissian to a breakdown?”

    Azra clenched her fists. “I’m sorry, we have no further comment,” she said, before punching the controls to end the call.

    “I can’t believe them!” said Ginni.

    “Ghouls,” growled Shami.

    “Let it go,” said Azra. She sat down next to Sarai. “What were you saying, Tess?”

    “Here, it’s a holobook!” She pulled it up on her datapad. “Blast the Debt and Live Your Dreams! It has all these things you can do to deal with a money crunch! If we follow the steps, maybe we can bail out Dad. It’s got all kinds of good tips!”

    “Like what?” asked Mel.

    “Like…oh, here, this one’s easy! ‘Pack a lunch instead of eating out; you can save up to 30 creds a week.’ ‘Bring caff from home instead of going to pricey caff stands, and save 3 creds per cup.’”

    Sarai frowned. “Wait…give up Stardusters?” Tess looked down at the datapad.

    “Well, yeah, I guess,” she said. “The author said that per ounce, a Stardusters Dark Milkcaff costs more than high-test impulse propellant.”

    “Giving up Stardusters is barbaric,” said Mel. “And the spicechip tierberry muffins?”

    “Oh, those,” said Ginni. “Those are a cinch to make. I’ll make you a batch tomorrow, if you want.”

    The comm panel bleated again. “Hospital,” said Azra. This voice was also female, somewhat slurred.

    “Yezzh, thish izh Karakkhnish Zhivishnn of Core Newzh Network. Ve are wondering if ve can get a shtatement on Zheneral Calrizhian’s condition? Izh it true that he hazh only dayzh to liff?”

    “No!” barked Azra. “He’s doing well and should be out of the hospital by the end of the week!” She slammed her hand into the controls. “Ow.”

    Shami crossed her arms. “Okay,” she said. “We borrow an X-wing from General Antilles, hunt down Ohnaka, atomize him, then use the rest of the torpedoes to take out the news media.”

    Azra pursed her lips. “That does sound tempting.”

    Tess was still absorbed in the book. “Oh! Here’s one for Mel! ‘Shop your closet!’”

    “What does that mean?” asked Mel.

    “It says, ‘clean out your closets, get rid of what you don’t wear and see what is in there that you’ve forgotten you have. Think about new ways of combining what you have, to come up with new, fresh outfits. Then, sell things you don’t want and don’t wear.’”

    “We would make a fortune selling Mel’s clothes,” said Sarai, smiling. “I think you’ve got stuff in there from when you were three!”

    TESS: No kidding! It looks like a shopping mall exploded in there. Forget Coruscant Can Cook, if Mel gets any more stuff, I’m going to nominate her for an episode of Extreme Stashers.

    The comm center bleated again. Azra slammed her hand on the controls. “THE GENERAL IS FINE AND WE HAVE NO COMMENT! NOW LEAVE US ALONE!” she shouted.

    There was a pause. “Azra? Is that you?” The young woman slumped while the others automatically sat up straight.

    “Senator Organa,” said Azra. “I’m so sorry. The news media have been calling, wanting to know if Daddy is dying.”

    “I’m so sorry, sweetie.” Leia Organa Solo’s voice was like a warm, thick blanket, wrapping them up and soothing them. “How is your dad doing? What happened?”

    “They said it was a heart attack,” said Azra. “He’s stable right now, but they’re going to keep him for a while, for observation. That’s all we know.”

    “Did they let you see him?”

    “Yes, but only for a few minutes. He’s really exhausted.”

    “I’m sure. Well, let me know if there is anything Han or I can do to help out, and please keep us posted. I mean it, call me if you need anything.”

    “Thank you so much, Your Highness,” said Azra. “Please give our love to Uncle Han.”

    “I’ll do that. You girls take care and don’t worry, okay? And let him know we were asking after him.”

    When Leia was off the line, Sarai moved forward to record a response. “Thank you for calling to enquire about the status of General Calrissian,” she said in a smooth, almost mechanical voice. “The General is in stable condition and the family expects he will make a full and speedy recovery. We have no further statement at this time. For other enquiries, please feel free to contact the family’s legal representatives…” She glanced over at Azra, who mouthed the answer. “The family’s legal representatives, Davish, Tekk, Tekk and Bayron. Thank you and have a nice day.” She turned the alert to a lower setting. “Now,” she said, “just let it go. If it’s anyone we care about, they’ll leave a message and it will show up in the buffer.”

    Mel studied her toes. “It won’t be enough, will it?” she said. “I mean, we can give up Stardusters and bring lunches, but it’s not going to get us enough money to save the business.”

    Shami shifted closer and hugged her. “Every little step helps,” she said.

    “Yes,” said Azra. “We’ll think of something.” She hesitated. “Val is going to meet with Mr. Bayron to see if there is anything safe from the creditors, and I’ll sit in on that, too. And meanwhile, maybe Tess? You can share that book with the rest of us. All those little tips and things may be a drop in the pit, but it was one little torpedo that took out a Death Star.”

    Ginni stood up. “She’s right,” she said. “Let’s turn in. We’ll start fresh tomorrow morning, with a nice hot breakfast. And homemade caff.” She smiled at Mel. “And spicechip tierberry muffins.”
  16. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    huttza. lol

    I wonder who the slurring voice is, and from the hospital....
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  17. Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2014
    star 1
    Love the Boba Fett and Empire Strikes Back references in the second segment.
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  18. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    Okay, sorry, this is a little late due to me being on vacation. :cool:

    I am sure Lando occasionally bores them with stories, "When I was on Cloud City..."
    Oh, she was a reporter, Basic wasn't her first language, so it came out a bit squishy.

    * * *


    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… the girls wait for news of their father while trying to figure out how to solve their money problems.

    There were flatcakes the next morning, liberally slathered in Corellian corley honey. Ginni had several racks of tierberry muffins cooling on the counter to be grabbed on the way out the door during the week.

    Mel sat down to eat, pouring herself a large glass of sunfruit juice. “These are awesome, Gin.”

    “Thanks, but if you really want to thank me, you’ll go through that closet and pick out some of your stuff to sell on consignment. We all have to share that closet, you know.”

    Mel made a face and dug in to her breakfast. “Are we going to Dad today?” she asked.

    “Yeah, a little later. The hospital hasn’t called, so I figure that’s a good thing.” The others joined them, and they all ate in silence. Tess looked around the table.

    “Did anyone check the comm center?” she asked.

    Sarai poured herself some caff and eyed it mournfully. “723 news reporters, 78 random strangers, and 19 people we actually care about.” She looked at Ginni. “Oh, and your mother.”

    Ginni nearly dropped her plate, splashing honey on her shirt. “My mother?”

    “You’re answering that one,” said Shami. “Not enough creds in the galaxy.”

    “Anyone else we care about?” asked Tess.

    “Let’s see…Val’s mom, Kendan Rieekan, General Antilles, General Celchu…actually, most of the Rogues checked in. Uh… Chewbacca, Colonel Nien Nunb, and of course General Solo. And some of Dad’s business associates.”

    Azra sighed and poured herself more caff. “I’ll return the phone calls and then we can head over to the hospital. Maybe 2 hours?”

    The arrival at the hospital was an unpleasant shock. There were hordes of people and hovercams swirling around them as they emerged from the airtaxi.

    “Girls! Girls! This way! Look over here!”

    “Do you have any comment on--?”

    “Is it true that the Mining Guild has--?”

    “Can you tell me how you feel about--?”

    “Is it true that the General isn’t expected to--?”

    MEL: This was so embarrassing. It was awful, people asking if Dad was going to die, and sticking cameras in our faces. I mean, really? They’ve got nothing better to do? And I was so not prepared to have my picture taken! I was just a mess, just sort of dressed down and casual, minimal makeup, and my hair was just pulled back… I’m going to die if any of those pictures get around.

    The girls barreled through the doors of the hospital. There were some press camped out in the lobby, but they were corralled in a corner by several security guards, and the sisters were able to get up to the cardio wing otherwise unmolested. Val was waiting already, talking quietly to the lawyer.

    They waited nearly 20 minutes for Dr. Okan. He didn’t wait for them to ask about their father.

    “Good morning, ladies,” he said. “The General has stabilized, and things are looking a lot better. We’re pretty sure this was just an arrhythmia, probably brought on by stress, which meant that his heart wasn’t pumping enough blood.”

    “But is he going to be okay?” asked Ginni anxiously.

    “Depending on how he does today, we’re going to do a bacta treatment tomorrow.” The doctor hesitated. “It’s important to maintain a strong and steady heart rate. We can do this with medication, or we can do a laproscopic chip insertion, which can maintain a normal heartbeat.”

    “Is that risky?” asked Sarai.

    “All surgeries entail some risk. We’re going with the drug treatment and the bacta first, and see if that works. If there isn’t any improvement, then we’ll go to the implant.”

    “But if he does do better…?” asked Mel.

    Dr. Okan smiled. “If he stays stable and his heartbeat stays steady on the medications, we can release him at the end of the week, with restrictions. There will have to be some lifestyle changes, and some cardio therapy, exercise…and absolutely no stress!”

    SARAI: Um, yeah…between the problems with the money and Azra and Val snarking at each other, I’m not sure how the whole ‘no stress’ thing is supposed to work out!

    “Can we see him?”

    “Two at a time, five minutes, like yesterday.”

    Val cleared her throat. “Azra and I need to meet with Dad with Mr. Bayron,” she said. “Can you make an exception for 3?” Azra stared at her in shock.

    “Well, okay,” said Okan. “But five minutes, no stress, remember that.”

    “Tess and Ginni first.”

    They disappeared into their father’s room, while the others perched on the edge of the chairs. Azra looked at Bayron. “Is there anything we can do about the press?”
    Bayron frowned. “Are they giving you a lot of trouble?”

    “They’re calling the house; we referred them to you,” said Sarai. The lawyer nodded.

    “Yes, good call. I’ll make a statement to the ones downstairs. There’s a public relations rep I know, I’ll bring her in.”

    Val pursed her lips. “I don’t think we can afford anyone,” she said.

    “It’s short term, it will be fine. It will pay off in the long run, she can do some work to ensure your father’s reputation stays intact, which will be important as he tries to rebuild the business.”

    Tess and Ginni emerged, smiling. “Daddy looks so much better!” said Tess.

    Mel felt something in her chest unlock. That would be such great news. “I can’t wait,” she said. “Can I go in next?”

    “Sure, go ahead,” said Shami.

    She went in alone. The twins would go in together, and Val wanted to be with Azra for some reason. She wouldn’t argue; alone time with her father was the best thing in the world, as far as she was concerned.

    He was sitting up in bed, still attached to tubes and things, and he still looked exhausted, but his color was a lot better. The scary gray tinge was gone from his complexion, and he managed a weak smile when he saw her.

    “Babygirl!” he said warmly.

    “Hi, Daddy!” Mel gave him a hug—carefully—and kissed his forehead. “You look a lot better.”

    “I feel a lot better.”

    “The doctor thinks you can come home at the end of the week.”

    “Sooner, if I can manage it.”

    Mel glanced over her shoulder. “Val told us about the business. The problems.”

    “Aw, now don’t you worry your head about that, sweetheart. I’ve been in worse situations, we’ll fly clear of this in no time.”

    “I’m not worried.” Mel held his hand. “We all want to help. We all want to be a part of this. So give us a chance, too. We’re not little girls, anymore, Daddy. We can hold our own.”

    “I’m sure you can, Babygirl, but looking after you is my job.”

    “No, I don’t think so.” Mel had a sudden revelation. “Your job is to teach us to look after ourselves. And we can do that. Let us pay you back for everything you’ve done.”

    Lando squeezed her hand. “Every time you girls smile at me is enough payment for me,” he said.

    “We love you so much, Daddy. And whatever happens, we’re all going to get through it together!”

    “Of course we will. I’ll be out of here in time to see you walk to get that baton.”

    MEL: Oh, cripes. With everything going on, I almost forgot about graduation! Finals are the week after next, and then come all the parties of Graduation week. What’s going to happen with that?
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  19. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    let's see how the no stress works out.

    ah, the academic cramming season. I knew thee well.
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  20. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    Seven daughters... yeah, I'm not sure how it will work out myself!

    I'm sorry, this isn't quite the goofy romp I thought it would be, but I guess it's because I have to lay the groundwork. We're getting there... meanwhile...

    * * *

    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… Mel gets some reassurance from a friend…

    When they got home, Azra and Val went into their father’s office with Mr. Bayron. Shami went down to the spaceport, to look over Lady Luck, while Sarai disappeared on an errand of her own. Ginni started cooking, which was her way to relax and Tess went to lounge in the back garden and continue reading the book on how to save money.

    Mel went to her room, pushed a bunch of her clothes off the bed and on to the floor, and sat there, trying to study her datapad. Finals were coming up and she needed to pass, although her heart wasn’t really in it. There was a chirp on her personal commlink, and she looked at it warily, then whooped with pleasure and punched it up.

    The image of a young woman in a brown uniform jacket appeared, Kestrel Antilles, daughter of the General and one of Mel’s best friends. Mel gasped in shock, then shrieked, “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR?”

    Kess laughed, running a hand over her head. It had been shaved almost to the scalp, with only a faint dark fuzz left. “You don’t like it? It’s what all the doukkin are wearing this year.”

    “Doukkin?”

    “Doukkin. First year students. You know, the bald, flightless birds, generally considered pests. No, all the humanoid cadets get their heads shaved at the start of the Apocalypse.”

    Mel frowned. The Apocalypse was the first term of the Academy, lots of orientation and physical training; it was very strenuous and usually a quarter of the class dropped out at the end of the three months. “It’s hazing! You should report it!”

    Kess shook her head. “No,” she said, “in many ways it’s a kindness, really. They’ve got us running around, so busy we barely have time to brush our teeth, much less mess around with our hair. It’s fine. And in any event, it will grow back. But Mel, your dad! I heard about your dad, how is he? What happened?”

    Mel told her the whole story, including the bad news about the business. “So,” she finished, “now we need to figure out how to raise some cash to keep everything going and make sure we don’t lose the house.”

    “What about graduation?” asked Kess.

    “Dad should be home by then, so at least he’ll be there for that. But I’ll probably miss the Final Promenade and Ball, and the class trip to the beach.”

    “No! Why?”

    “Can’t afford it.”

    “Maybe you’ll figure something out.”

    “Maybe,” said Mel doubtfully. “I’ll definitely need to find a job this summer. I don’t know what I can do.”

    “You can do a lot of things,” said Kess, “you’re not as spacey as you pretend to be.”

    Mel sighed. “Tess and Ginni keep saying I should sell my clothes,” she complained.

    Kess looked thoughtful. “That’s actually not a bad idea,” she said.

    “Say what?”

    “Oh, come on. You’ve got stuff from when you were ten! Stuff that will never fit you anymore. If you go through it, pick out the stuff you don’t wear or that doesn’t fit you, then sell it on consignment or something, then you’ll be able to make cash for graduation or for new stuff AND you’ll have space to store the new stuff you get. Sounds like a win-win to me.”

    Mel considered. When Kess put it that way… “They’re gonna say ‘I told you so!’ It’s so annoying!”

    Kess rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it, I’ve got an older sister too, you know. Still, it’s a small price to pay for cash and closet space.” She glanced over her shoulder. “I can’t chat much longer, and we only get one commcall a week, but I wanted to know how your dad was doing. I’m sorry I’m going to miss your graduation, but I am sending you a present. Maybe you’ll be able to use it.”

    “It won’t be as good as having you, but I’ll take what I can get.” Mel smiled. “You used your only commcall on me? What about your folks?”

    Kess squirmed. “Well…they don’t exactly know that I’m here.”

    “Your parents don’t know you’re at the Academy?”

    “Mom assumed I got into the University of Coruscant, and I didn’t bother to correct her. They think I’m spending the summer working on a freighter.”

    MEL: Okay, so, all those rumors about Corellians being stubborn and snorg-headed? Absolutely true, every last one. I mean, okay, her mom really doesn’t want her to fly starfighters, but that is the very reason why she shouldn’t be sneaking around behind their backs. Honestly, what am I going to do with her?

    “Kess! You have to tell them where you are!”

    “I will! When I go home for the Solstice holidays, they’ll know.”

    Mel pursed her lips. “You’d better tell them sooner. What happens if your Dad finds out beforehand?”

    “Naw. Dad won’t bother reading the roster of cadets.”

    “You don’t think so? We’re talking about your father, here. The man doesn’t miss a detail.”

    Kess bit her lip. “Well, okay. At the end of the Apocalypse, before second term starts. I’ll give him a call.”

    “Kess, do yourself a favor. Forget you’re Corellian, and CONTACT THEM. Or just him, if you can’t face her. I swear, it will go better for you and be much less trouble in the long run. And you definitely don’t want someone else telling him. There are bound to be brass congratulating him on you getting in and he won’t be happy if he’s broadsided.” She could see Kess making a face, acknowledging the truth of what Mel was saying.

    “It will have to wait until next week, then, this is my one call.”

    “Can you get messages?”

    “Oh, yeah. Routed as usual. But no packages until second term.” Kess looked over her shoulder again. “Okay, my time is up. Mel, your dad is going to be fine, and I know you and the girls are going to get everything back on track again. Please consider yourself thoroughly hugged!”

    “And you, too. And for the love of the stars, CALL YOUR PARENTS!”

    Kess smiled, and the holo winked out. Mel sat back, grinning. Then she turned and looked thoughtfully at the pile of clothes on the end of the bed.

    MEL: There are people who buy old clothes? Really? I mean, Sarai likes old, second-hand stuff, but she’s kind of a weirdo. But really…people will pay for this? Huh.


    author's note (open)
    Doukkin = small flightless birds generally considered pests, used to denote first year students at the Starfighter Academies. Second year students are called Fledglings, and Third (final year) are just called Cadets. All of this is total fanon. I made it up. :)
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, Jun 11, 2017
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  21. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    Ah Apocalypse. I knew thee well.

    Don't worry about your father Kess, wait till Syal gets her hands on you.
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  22. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    Well, we're not Legends canon, and it's her mother she's worried about... but yeah, she will be in the Sarlacc pit when her family find out!

    Okey dokey, Episode 6! And I forgot to mention, anyone who wants m to PM them, just say so! I know this has been a bit slow so far...

    * * *
    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians…adventures in petsitting! (part one)

    MEL: It is one family meeting after another. I won’t bore you with any more of these, except that we need $3000 to keep the house. And Val is taking a leave of absence from her job and moving in to Daddy’s office. You can imagine what Azra had to say about that! So, Sarai made arrangements with Mrs. Kamba for me to pet sit for two weeks. It would have been nice if she had ASKED me first, but money is money. So I went over to her house the next morning before breakfast to get the instructions, because Mrs. K was leaving the next day. She has torties.

    The next morning, Mel threw on the clothes she’d been wearing the previous day and scraped her hair back into a messy bun, covering it with a scarf. She’d get properly cleaned up after breakfast. Mrs. Kamba’s house was small, and full of plants. Mel groaned inwardly. Watering the plants was part of the job, and it looked as if it would take a lot more time than she’d thought. Mrs. Kamba was human, short with a very pinkish skin tone, as if she spent too much time in the sun. Her hair was chopped short and unevenly, and it was an even more vivid pink. Mel wondered if she cut it herself.

    “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this,” said Mrs. Kamba. “My granddaughter just had her first baby, so I’m going over to visit.”

    “Congratulations,” said Mel. “You’re a great-grandmother?”

    “Yes,” beamed Mrs. Kamba. “It’s a little girl!” She looked around and whispered, “Between you and me, I was hoping for a boy, since I only ever had girls, but maybe the next time. I was sure it was a boy, because all the pictures I saw, she was carrying very low, and you know that when you’re carrying low it’s going to be a boy, although my daughter said that…”

    A tide of unwelcome obstetric information washed over Mel, and she looked around the house. Mrs. Kamba had a huge tortie collection. Torties sculpted out of lava, plasti, and bronzium; torties carved out of wood and twisted wire, torties made of stones glued together and painted in rather garish colors. There were pictures, too, on the walls, some naturalistic and others cuter and cartoony. Some painted, some printed, some holos, some embroideries.

    “You really like torties,” said Mel, when Mrs. Kamba paused for breath.

    “Oh! Yes!” said Mrs. Kamba, lighting up. “You haven’t seen my babies yet! Yes, come along, back here is where they are.”

    At the back of the house was a long bank of windows looking out on to the garden. A shelf ran along the windows, about at waist height, and there were three large glass bowls sitting on it. In each bowl was a pile of gravel and sand, angled to form a bank, with a pool of water in one side. A few flat rocks, and some artificial plants filled out the dry side. In each bowl, resting on the rocks, was a tortie. Amphibious creatures, with colorfully spotted skins, and domed shells with spikes, they moved slowly and were, to Mel’s mind, the most boring pets ever. On the other hand, they might be easy to take care of.

    “These are my babies,” cooed Mrs. Kamba. “This is Tam-tam,” she indicated the smallest of the torties, “and this is Beezo, and over here is my big boy, Pom-pom.” Mel looked nervously at Pom-pom who was eyeing her closely. He opened his mouth and thrust his tongues forward.

    “Oh, Pom-pom’s hungry! It’s okay, sweetie, it’s time for brekkie. Now I’ve cleaned the bowls and refilled the pond,” said Mrs. Kamba, “so you don’t need to worry about that. Here, in the water, every morning put two pinches of food. I keep the bag here.” Mel swallowed hard, staring at the food pouch. Dried batszki flies and mipfish parts? Gross!

    “Go ahead,” urged Mrs. Kamba, “I left it for you to do this morning, so you could get the hang of it.” Mel swallowed again, not wanting to vomit, and reached into the pouch. It felt so crunchy! She held her breath, and put a generous pinch into one of the tanks.

    “You must have big fingers,” said Mrs. Kamba, “that’s a lot more food than I would have given them. Maybe you should just give them one pinch. Any way, you can give them that, and then from the cooler in the kitchen, a leaf of bargus and you can cut up a globe fruit and give them each three slices.” She walked Mel through the process. This was much less disgusting than the bugs, at least.

    “There!” said Mrs. Kamba happily. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now, you can wash your hands in the kitchen. The plants only need to be watered once a week, I did that this morning, so if you do it next week, they should be fine. But, I do mist them every day, the mister is by the sink, so if you just grab that and fill it up—“ She walked Mel through the misting drill, happily chatting about torties and grandbabies. Mel couldn’t wait to escape.

    Mel put the mister down by the sink and took a deep breath. “Okay, Mrs. Kamba, I think I’ve got it. Was there anything else?”

    “No, dear, I don’t think so,” said Mrs. Kamba thoughtfully. “Just bring in any packages if there are any left outside. I’m not expecting anything, but you never know. You can do this in the morning before school, or afterwards, either way, doesn’t matter, as long as it gets done once a day, and I’ll pay you when I get back.”

    “Okay,” said Mel. “Have a nice trip.”

    “Thank you, dear. Oh! And if you see your Dad, tell him I’m praying for him. Such a lovely man. So charming.” She patted Mel’s wrist. “I’m sure he’ll be fine, don’t worry about him.” Mel smiled

    “Thank you,” she said. Mrs. Kamba was a nice old lady, but she was glad to escape to get back home. For one thing, breakfast was waiting. As she approached her house, though, she noticed a large crowd gathered out front, and slowed down, puzzled.

    One person spotted her. “Hey! Do you live here?” he asked. Instantly, a dozen holocams swiveled to her direction, and questions came thick and fast.

    “Which one are you? Are you Ginni?”

    “Ginni!”

    “Mel!”

    “Over here, sweetie, look over here!”

    “Hey, how do you feel about your dad’s condition?”

    She squeaked, and put her hands over her face, rushing blindly towards the gate. Through her fingers, she could glimpse them trying to get a picture of her, trying to angle the lenses of the holocams at her. She pushed through and made it into the house, gasping in shock. Sarai was in the living area, tidying up.

    “What happened?” she asked.

    “People! Outside! With cameras!” Sarai went to the front windows to look. The reporters couldn’t get past the front fence, but there were lenses pointed at the front windows.

    “What is it?” asked Azra, coming up to see.

    “More reporters,” said Sarai grimly. She punched the controls at the side of the windows to polarize them, ensuring that no one would be able to see in.

    “They were waiting for me!” said Mel. “And I’m not even really dressed yet!”

    Ginni had come up behind them, staring out the window. “Sons of the Sith,” she muttered. “When will they go away?”

    “When Dad dies?” asked Sarai bitterly.

    “Dad is not going to die,” said Azra firmly. “Is breakfast ready?”

    “It’s on the table. Come on in.”
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  23. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    First?

    the mister is in the tank :)
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  24. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    First and only! :D Except for the Beloved Loyal Lurkers, of course.

    And thank you to @Chyntuck for 'holoshill'!

    Okay, let's see...

    * * *
    This week, on Keeping Up With the Calrissians… Shami strikes back!

    Breakfast was routine. Ginni had made a baked egg dish, with warm biscuits on the side. Mel looked around the table. It was so rare that all seven of them were together like this, and she supposed that now they were adults (or almost), it would be even rarer. They’d all go on to jobs and their own homes, families, partners and kids, and would only see each other on holidays. Azra might feel prickly with Val around, but Mel was enjoying this, all of them together. Tess switched on the flatscreen to catch the morning headlines.

    Sarai looked at Mel. “Did the petsitting go okay?”

    “So far so good. For the record, dried bugs are incredibly gross.”

    “Dried bugs?”

    “A major component in a tortie’s diet.”

    Val looked thoughtful, spreading jam on a biscuit. “Dried bugs are said to be full of protein. They’re a dietary staple on many worlds.”

    Mel shook her head. “Give me Bantha burgers any day.”

    Ginni screamed, and jumped to her feet. Her sisters turned to stare. “What? What is it?” asked Tess.

    Ginni pointed at the screen. “It’s us! It’s us! We’re on the news!” Their heads swiveled as one, to see for themselves.

    Sure enough, there they were, walking away from the hospital. They gasped at the caption below the picture. Lando’s Lovelies Keep Deathwatch Vigil!

    “Lando’s Lovelies?” said Tess. “Are they serious?”

    “Deathwatch Vigil?” said Sarai. “That is so out of line!” Val hesitated.

    “They are just trying to make it dramatic, we know it’s not true. Just ignore it.”

    Ginni was whimpering. “But I’m so fat!” she said. “Am I really that fat? Why didn’t you tell me?”

    Tess patted her arm. “You’re not fat,” she said.

    GINNI: No one told me I was so fat! I’m huge! By the Stars! I look like the first runner-up in the Miss Nal Hutta contest! This is so humiliating!

    Ginni looked down at herself. “Excuse me,” she whispered.

    Shami clenched her jaw. “Right,” she said, “they’re out of line. This means war.”

    “No,” said Val. “We are not going to play into their hands. Daddy will be home at the end of the week and they’ll all lose interest. I’ll talk to Mr. Bayron, and see if there is anything he can do. We are going to ignore them. We’re above their ridiculous fake stories.”

    Even so, Mel made sure to take extra care with her make-up before they headed off to the hospital. She thought Tess had, too. Sarai was wearing one of her newer outfits. Ginni, on the other hand, was wrapped in a cloak, completely covering herself. As they ran the gauntlet to the hospital, she kept her head down.

    Lando was looking much better, and the girls were hopeful as they left. Mel tossed the gathered holoshills a dazzling smile, wondering if they’d see it for the defiant gesture she’d intended. Shami broke away as they headed for the transport home.

    “Where are you going?” asked Sarai.

    “I need to pick up something on the way home.”

    “We can come with you,” said Azra.

    “No, no. I can do this myself.”

    “What do you need?” asked Tess.

    “Birdseed. Lots of birdseed.”

    Val looked at Sarai. “What does she need birdseed for?” she asked. Sarai could only shrug, she had no idea what her twin was planning. Val looked at Azra. “Should we be worried?” she asked.

    “I’m worried,” muttered Ginni.

    Azra shook her head, and looked at the others. “Right. Home.”

    Mel busied herself in her bedroom. In a fit of inspiration after Kess’s call, she’d completely emptied her closets. She hadn’t, however, sorted the piles, and Ginni and Tess, who shared the room with her, had been complaining. Loudly.

    It was hard to figure out what to get rid of. She really loved the red wedge sandals she’d picked up at that boutique on Chandrila. They didn’t really fit anymore, but they were so cute! And the yellow flats…yeah, the uppers were separating from the sole…which had a hole in it…but they looked great with that green and white sundress. That actually didn’t fit so well anymore, either. It was only two years old, but Mel had acquired a few…feminine embellishments that she didn’t have when she was fourteen. She loved the print, though.

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone go past the window. Shami was back, bent over under a massive bag of birdseed. It had to weigh at least 22 kilos! She put the shoes to one side, and went out to see what her sister was up to. Shami carefully lowered the bag to the ground and stood up, exhaling.

    “Okay. What are you going to do with the birdseed?” demanded Mel. Shami smiled sweetly.

    “Feed the birds. Tonight. Before we go to bed,” she said, “so that when we wake up, they’ll have breakfast just waiting for them.”

    Mel’s eyes narrowed. “This has to do with the holoshills, doesn’t it?” she aske.

    “Don’t be silly,” said Shami airily. “I’m just trying to help the local fauna. That’s all. I’m going to go wash my hands. Is dinner ready?”

    “Um…I don’t know.”


    MEL: She is totally up to something, but I can’t figure out what it is! Is she going to hurl bags of birdseed at them? Shoot it out of a slugthrower? Oh, well…we’ll see… She can be pretty scary, sometimes.
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, Jun 26, 2017
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  25. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    oh yes.

    I foresee lots of birds for the holoshills. :D

    oh, and first :)
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