Before - Legends The Blue Side of the Force: Book I- Complements (6/14 -An unknown planet and an ACTUAL NEW CHAPTER)

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  1. Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Yikes! I went a while there again. But I'm happy to report that the net result of my not writing/posting is a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which I accepted whilst dressed as Princess Leia. :D Now that I'm back home and unemployed, my time shall be at least partially given to writing. Especially since next chapter we pick up one of my favourite characters ever.
    Striker: I love Mission. I just have to remember to keep her running around. :) Glad you're enjoying!

    JoE: I'm glad you're enjoying the ensemble- I sometimes wonder if I have too many characters running around, but I'm glad it's working anyway. :)

    princess: So much for networks and Jlit... though I admit I had to write a story for my lit class, and that ended up being 11 pages long, hence the further delay on this guy. But if anyone wants to see Leiraya Moran ported into her own original universe, I've got that file floating around...

    Rogue_Pilot: Yeah, I know- it currently sucks to be Carth. :( Thanks for reading!
    JadeSolo: Complications? You don't know the half of it. ;)

    Jherron: Knowing my propensity to get busy, you'll probably be juuuust fine. :p


    This chapter brought to you by Oberlin Computer Science and Philosophy. :D
    Chapter 23

    Bastila wrinkled her delicate nose as the trio entered the hunting lodge. "It smells in here."

    "It smells everywhere on Tatooine," Canderous replied. "Has something to do with the fact that everything is baked to within an inch of its life."

    "I can believe that," Aiden made a face. "This place is disgusting."

    The hunting lodge seemed to be one of two social centers in Anchorhead- the other one being the cantina around the corner. Like all buildings on Tatooine, it was made from sandblasted stone, coated in a layer of grime, and had the climate of a very large oven. Most people couldn't afford the cooling units necessary to make a place feel livable, so everyone walked around in a state of perpetual sweating.

    "Look on the bright side, princess." Canderous smiled wickedly at Bastila. "You could be a Sith, and wearing black robes in this heat."

    Bastila narrowed her eyes. "That is not funny."

    "Of course it is, you just lost your sense of humour when you joined the Jedi."

    "I absolutely did not lose anything," she countered hotly.

    "Ahh, I see," Canderous nodded knowingly. "You would've had to have had a sense of humour in the first place."

    "All right, you two, knock it off." Aiden rolled his eyes at them. "We are here to find a Star Map, remember?"

    "That's right, and we're going to find it among this lodge's.... illustrious clientèle?" Bastila looked at their surroundings skeptically.

    "They're locals. They hang around the more obscure parts of the Dune Sea. They've got enough alcohol in them that they're likely to talk. Also," Aiden grinned, "I just like to watch you squirm, Bas."

    "Is that so?" Bastila drew herself up mock-haughtily. "I think you'll find I do not squirm all that easily."

    "How easily do you squirm?" A leering voice approached on her right, belonging to a middle-aged human male. His attire suggested he spent his time at the lodge to escape the house rather than to actually go hunting, and his breath reeked of ale.

    Bastila gave him her most unwelcoming frown and replied, "That's not something you're ever likely to know."

    "Ahh, you just need to give old Tanis a chance, here." The man smiled with all the charm of a drunken rancor. "I'm not nearly so bad as you think."

    "Look here, buddy-" Aiden placed himself between Tanis and Bastila, crossing his arms and scowling. "She's with me, so you can leave. Right now."

    Tanis seemed as though he wanted to protest, but a cursory examination of Aiden revealed two simple facts: first, that he was a Jedi and could probably slice a person to shreds, and secondly that he was well-built and could probably hold his own even if his lightsaber were to miraculously vanish. Giving one last defiant glare at the Jedi, he walked off muttering something about the injustice of the galaxy.

    Bastila looked up towards Aiden. "Thank you... though I could handle him myself."

    Aiden smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, I know. I just like to be helpful."

    "It's appreciated," she smiled, forgetting momentarily that his attention quickly wandered when she wasn't around. "One might think you were becoming a gentleman."

    "Now, when did I give you the impression that I was anything but?" Aiden's smile grew wider.

    Canderous snorted. "Around the time you left her to babysit the ship?"

    "Did you really want to listen to Leiraya's tirades against Czerka?" Aiden shrugged.

    Bastila shook her head. "I'll stick with the Hawk, I believe."

    "See?" He grinned. "It all worked out for the best."

    Canderous looked like he was about to make a snide remark, but was cut short by the arrival of a new figure speaking Huttese "[It is most unusual to see your kind here- two Jedi and a Mandalorian?]"

    Canderous looked sourly at the orange-complected Twi'lek who had joined them, not bothering to reply in the same language. "Yeah, and what is it to you?"

    The Twi'lek smiled affably. "[If you didn't wish for people to ask questions, perhaps you should have concealed your lightsabers, or perhaps worn something other than the traditional Jedi robes.]"

    "He's got a point," Aiden sighed, "Come to think of it, why aren't we better disguised? Malak is after us, you'd assume we'd want to throw them off as much as possible."

    "His Sith henchmen can sense us before they see us, so I don't see what good that does." Bastila shrugged, seemingly unconcerned.

    "True," Aiden said. "But maybe we shouldn't advertise the fact that we're Jedi."

    "[Actually, that could work to your advantage in this place,]" the Twilek interruped. "[Forgive me, my name is Komad Fortuna. I am a hunter in this region, and so I know the people here. Believe me, they still hold a healthy fear for the Jedi. I doubt anyone would bother you.]"

    "A hunter, eh?" Canderous eyed the Twi'lek, who was much shorter than anyone in their group, but clearly not weak by any means. "What sort of game?"

    "[Oh, I hunt the desert wraids, like everyone else. But I am currently in pursuit of greater prey- have you heard of the Krayt dragons?]" He looked over at Aiden, who shook his head. "[They are great beasts indeed- larger than one man alone can hunt, unfortunately. It is told they are the fiercest of all the monsters to ever live on Tatooine, and it terrifies even the Sand People.]"

    "And you're determined to go after it?" Aiden arched a skeptical eyebrow.

    "[Indeed I am- if I can find suitable aid. I have been sadly unable to find anyone worthy of the quest in here... unless, of course, you would like to join me?]" Komad looked up at him with a small smile and a hopeful glimmer in his eye. "[It would be an honour to hunt with a Jedi.]"

    Aiden didn't even have to look at Bastila to feel her glare. He might have actually enjoyed trying to hunt down the Krayt dragon... but it really didn't have anything to do with their mission. "I'm afraid we'll have to turn you down on that one. Pressing business, and all that..."

    "[Understandable. But the invitation remains open, if you change your mind.]" Komad bowed his head slightly and left.

    "Good riddance," Bastila muttered. "I don't think we're going to find out about the Star Maps in here- shall we venture elsewhere?"

    "Yeah, I think you're right," Aiden sighed, looking about at the largely disreputable crowd. "Come on, let's meander."

    * * *

    Carth looked absolutely miserable.

    Of course, he had every right to look so- he had, after all, just discovered that his son- thought dead for several years- was a Sith. So he did what all men do in times of trouble. He found a dive in which only mournful Agamarian music was played. The kind of music where your cargo is stolen, your hyperdrive breaks down, and then your gizka dies. From there he tried to drink himself into oblivion.

    Tried, of course, being the operative word. Leiraya sat next to him, patiently listening and dumping parts of his drink on the ground when he wasn't looking. Once he sailed past tipsy and approached completely smashed, she knew she had to do something to make sure he'd still be able to fly the Hawk when Aiden needed it.

    "I'm a failure as a father," he moaned. "I gotta find him- right now. We're going to Korriban. C'mon, I've got a ship-" he tried to grab Leiraya's arm to pull her away, but she smacked it aside.

    "Come on, flyboy, you're not a failure, and you're not going anywhere." Carth looked at her with glassy eyes, to which she responded, "Oh, don't give me that look. You're drunk as a Selonian on Disarmament Day."

    He blinked. "Huh?"

    "My point exactly. You're in no shape to fly." She gently took his cup of ale and slid it out of his reach. "We'll be going to Korriban- it's a part of our mission, anyway. I'm sure you can convince Aiden that's where he needs to go next."

    "I..." he trailed off, then hung his head. "You're right. Mission's most important. It's just... do you know how happy it made me, for just a few seconds, to know that Dustil was alive?"

    She took his hand sympathetically. "No, but it must be even happier than it would make me to find Kylan alive. And that's pretty happy."

    "I know. And then to find out he's fighting on the other side? It's like a bad holofilm."

    "But it's not your fault. You do know that, right?"

    Carth blinked at her. "How is it not my fault? I'm his father. I was supposed to protect him."

    "But you can't control everything that happens to him," she replied. "Carth, he might have been gone before you even got to the surface. And even if he wasn't, it's near impossible to find someone in a large battlefield. Kylan almost died when he tried to retrieve Skyler's body on Selonia, and he knew exactly where to look."

    "Your point being?"

    "Stop blaming yourself for what happened to him- put blame where it's due if you must, but stop holding yourself entirely responsible. You didn't bomb the planet- Karath did. And you did everything you could to find him."

    "But it wasn't enough." Carth replied mournfully. "How would you feel if it turned out that Kylan had gone and joined the Sith? Wouldn't you wonder if you should've left Corellia sooner?"

    "Or that I should have knocked him over the head before he could leave, so that I could tie him up in a closet and let him out when he was more sensible?" Leiraya gave him a slight smile. "Okay, point taken. I'd be upset, too."

    "'Upset' doesn't even begin to cover it, but you get the idea." Carth frowned at the drink just out of his reach. "This isn't helping, is it?"

    "No," Leiraya shook her head. "Why don't we go do something fun? Something more fun than trying to drink yourself silly."

    "Is there something more fun?" Carth raised a skeptical eyebrow, but stood. Leiraya joined him, taking his arm so as to ensure his safe path to the door.

    "Just stay close," she smiled at him. "I don't want you to decide it's fun to drop-kick Jawas or something, okay?"

    "I wouldn't do that," Carth protested. "I mean, I don't think I would..."

    Leiraya smiled broadly as they made their way out the door. Considering whether to turn left or right, she was spared the choice as an Ithorian stopped her. "Excuse me, madam, might I have a moment of your time?"

    Taken aback by the approach of a complete stranger, she could only reflexively reply. "Well... yes?"

    "I do not mean to bother you, nor do I wish to detain you for long. But I see you have a lightsaber, and that tells me you are a Jedi." The Ithorian peered at her more closely. "You are a Jedi, are you not?"

    "Good job, Moran." Carth rolled his eyes. "You might want to work on being a bit more stealthy with that thing."

    Leiraya responded only by nudging him in annoyance. "Yes, I'm a Jedi. What interest is it to you?"

    "I represent a small minority here on Tatooine," the Ithorian replied. "You see, Czerka has completely taken over the desert hunting grounds."

    "And you want to hunt freely?" Carth interrupted incredulously. "Forgive me for not wanting to get involved, but-"

    "That is not my concern, sir." The Ithorian interrupted him in turn. "I will get to the point. The Sandpeople are indigenous to Tatooine. The humans at Czerka see them only as mindless animals and wish to drive them to extinction. I am certain that, with negotiations, a peace could be reached between the humans and the Sandpeople. But no one from Czerka is willing to listen to me."

    "Of course they're not," Leiraya practically spat. "They're about as close to evil incarnate as you can get without being a Sith."

    "I see you hold no love for the corporation."

    "You might say we don't get along."

    "Would you be willing, then, to negotiate?"

    Leiraya thought about it for a moment. "Carth, are we doing anything?"

    "I thought we were going to have fun."

    "Overthrowing evil corporations is fun."

    Carth sighed. "We can help, sure."

    Leiraya grinned and turned to the Ithorian. "We're in."

    "Splendid." The Ithorian reached into his bag and pulled out a sheet of flimsi. "This is a hunting permit- you'll need it to go out into the Dune Sea. It's blank, but you can fill your names into the ownership spot."

    "Thank you," Leiraya replied, accepting the permit and placing it in her own bag.

    "No, thank you." The Ithorian bowed his head. "I cannot stand to see such bigotry continue, and I am glad to see a champion to the cause."

    "It's my pleasure." Leiraya bowed in turn, and they both turned and left in opposite directions.

    Carth was silent for a few moments before asking, "Don't the Sandpeople speak another language?"


    "They definitely do." Carth scratched his head. "And I don't know any of it."

    "Well... that's what protocol 'droids are for, right?"

    "Wait a minute." Carth stopped and pulled her aside. "You want to buy a 'droid?"

    Leiraya fished into her bag and pulled out a pouch full of credit chips. "I've got the credits for it. Besides, it could come in handy. You never know."

    Carth sighed once more, and acquiesced. "Fine. Though if Aiden reams you out, it's not my fault."

    "Who me?" She looked at him innocently. "Can't see why he'd do that."

    "Let's just find a 'droid. I think I remember seeing a little shop around here somewhere..."

    * * *

    Bastila frowned. "I don't like the look of this place."

    "You don't like the look of any place that's not crawling with Jedi," Aiden replied.

    "I agree with saber boy," Canderous chimed in. "You're not known for liking places, princess."

    "Stop calling me princess," Bastila replied sourly.

    "Point being, we can't be suspicious just because you don't like the way a place looks."

    "Can we be suspicious if we see a bunch of Sith standing just around the bend?" Bastila inquired.

    "Well, yes-" Aiden stopped short. "Oh, blast. You mean that for real."

    "Look on the bright side," Bastila smiled. "Now you know they're there, and we can be smart about this."

    "As opposed to running in and nearly getting ourselves killed?" Aiden considered this. "Sounds good to me."

    "And how does her Jediness propose we dispose of these Sith?" Canderous crossed his arms and looked at her expectantly.

    Bastila blinked for a few seconds, looking between Aiden and Canderous. "I... well... I'm open to suggestions."

    "I say we send Canderous out in a dress," Aiden suggested.

    "I say we send you out in a dress, and then shoot you for suggesting it in the first place," Canderous replied menacingly.

    "Come now, we can be serious about this," Bastila put her hands on her hips and glared at them. "You're behaving like adolescents."

    "I was actually being somewhat serious," Aiden replied. "They're looking for you, Bastila. And by now they've heard of me. So they're looking for two Jedi, male and female. What if we were to hide our sabers and, well..."

    "Cross-dress?" Canderous finished for him.

    Aiden shrugged. "I know they may sense us anyway, but it'd be easier to slip by if we don't fit their profile at all."

    "And if they do notice us?" Bastila stared pointedly at him.

    "We kick their sorry tails back to where they came from."

    "Sounds good to me," Canderous gave a predatory smile. "It'd be worth it to see Aiden fight in a dress."

    "All right, come with me." Bastila grabbed Aiden's hand and dragged him into one of the many shops lining the streets. "I'll find something we can fit you into..."
    Last edited by Commander-DWH, Jun 14, 2017
  2. Rogue_Pilot_2347 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 4
    [face_laugh] :eek: [face_laugh] Somehow, I think this Sand People negotiation thing is not quite going to go according to plan.....

    Aiden in a dress? That's awesome!

    Congratulations on graduating!!!!

  3. RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Okay, Canderous and Bastila at the beginning were kriffin' hilarious![face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh] Loved Aiden being chivalrous there, too.

    Komad Fortuna? Forgive my KOTOR ignorance, but any relation to Bib? And Agamarian music is country/western, gotcha. Carth and Leiraya were well-written there. And hmm... that seems a bit... suspicious, there. ;) And Sith? Oh, noes!!! :p

    Can't wait for more, DWH. :D
  4. Jedi_Rike Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 22, 2006
    star 3
    Fighting Sith... in a dress? I picked an awesomely funny time to start browsing the forums again. I suppose that I could go back and comment on all the chapters that I've missed since I was last here, but instead I will simply say hi and comment on the next chapter.

    Oh... and I will have you know, your story is still having the same effect on me as the last time that I was reading it. I battled some Nazis to aquire the amulet of Ra, found an ancient tomb, waited until the sun was at its Zenith, used the amulet and the sunlight to show me where the secret treasure vault was, battled some more Nazis, fell into a giant room filled with snakes, all to finally find and dust off my old copy of KotOR and play though it again. Oh and I watched Indiana Jones last night too.
  5. jedi_of_ennth Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2005
    star 4
    "Look on the bright side, princess." Canderous smiled wickedly at Bastila. "You could be a Sith, and wearing black robes in this heat."
    Bastila narrowed her eyes. "That is not funny."
    "Of course it is, you just lost your sense of humour when you joined the Jedi."

    [face_laugh] The banter between Bastila and Canderous was one of my favorite things about the game.

    "Come on, flyboy, you're not a failure, and you're not going anywhere." Carth looked at her with glassy eyes, to which she responded, "Oh, don't give me that look. You're drunk as a Selonian on Disarmament Day."

    I'm somewhere between ":oops:" and "[face_laugh]" on this one. :p

    "Just stay close," she smiled at him. "I don't want you to decide it's fun to drop-kick Jawas or something, okay?"
    "I wouldn't do that," Carth protested. "I mean, I don't think I would..."

    I don't know; those Jawas can get pretty annoying. [face_thinking]

    Leiraya thought about it for a moment. "Carth, are we doing anything?"
    "I thought we were going to have fun."
    "Overthrowing evil corporations is fun."

    More fun than drop-kicking Jawas?

    "I say we send Canderous out in a dress," Aiden suggested.
    "I say we send you out in a dress, and then shoot you for suggesting it in the first place," Canderous replied menacingly.

    [face_laugh] Had I been drinking anything, it would be all over the keyboard right now. [face_laugh]

    Great update. :)
  6. Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Rogue_Pilot: My philosophy is when in doubt, cross-dress. :D

    Striker: Given that there's a 4,000 year time gap, it's anyone's guess as to whether Komad and Bib are related. Perhaps distantly, but who knows? This is an actual in-game character, so I didn't get to pick his name. *shrugs*
    Jedi_Rike: Welcome back! I had wondered where you'd gone. :D Glad you're still enjoying!

    JoE: I know, it's hard to believe anything is more fun than drop-kicking Jawas. Some people are strange- some people juggle geese. :D

    And now, I present you with t3h next chapter. :D
    Chapter 24

    "Statement: I am HK-47, at your... service."

    Carth peered curiously at the 'droid standing before him, a rust-orange, bipedal thing that looked too spindly to mimic humanity, but still managed expression with his glowing red photoreceptors. "Did he just say that reluctantly?"

    HK-47's photoreceptors flashed orange. "Objection: I exist only to serve my master. I know no reluctance. Admission: I currently have no master, save this meatbag who attempts to run this store..."

    "Meatbag?" Leiraya echoed. "Carth, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it."

    Carth scratched his head and blinked. "Me neither, and I've seen a lot of models."

    "Statement: I am one of a kind, sir. You will find no others like me. And if I am not removed from this shop quickly, I fear you won't find any like me... anywhere." HK-47 seemed to almost shudder.

    "What do you mean, HK?" Leiraya asked.

    "Answer: The meatbag running this shop doesn't know a hyperdrive from a hydrospanner. I fear I am doomed if I stay here."

    "He exaggerates," the shop owner, Yuka Laka, insisted. "He has a... unique grasp on reality."

    "But he's the only protocol 'droid you have?" Carth grimaced inwardly. Of all the 'droids to have, HK-47 was not striking him as being the most useful sort.

    Yuka Laka nodded. "He is. But he certainly will serve you well."

    "I'll take him," Leiraya nodded, and handed him a fistful of credits.

    "This had better be worth it..." Carth muttered.

    "Statement: Oh, thank you... Master. I am most obliged that you are freeing me from this witless meatbag."

    Leiraya raised an eyebrow. "Do you have a problem with calling people 'Master'?"

    HK-47 turned his head towards her. "Answer: Well, the word does tend to stick in my vocabulator. However, it is in my programming that my owner must be called 'Master,' therefore I must comply."

    Carth rolled his eyes as they exited the shop. "Great. We've got an independent protocol 'droid. Just what I always wanted."

    Leiraya ignored his comment and continued to question HK. "So, what other functionality do you have?"

    "Answer: It is my primary function to cease hostilities and facilitate communication."

    "Good!" Leiraya grinned. "That's precisely what we're set out to do."

    "Statement: Lead on, meatbags."

    Leiraya paused briefly before answering. "HK, are you going to go around calling everyone meatbag?"

    "Answer: Well, it is what you are..."

    "That aside, I'd appreciate if you didn't call us meatbags."

    "Statement: Very well... master."

    Carth looked askance at the 'droid, who was in turn staring almost enviously at Carth's blaster pistols. "Leiraya... I'm not so sure about this 'droid."

    "Neither am I, but he's all we have." She shrugged. "We certainly can't get T3 to translate."

    "I know." Carth heaved a sigh. "But... is he eyeing my blasters?"

    HK-47 answered. "Statement: I only think wistfully upon a time when I carried such blasters myself."

    Carth stopped. They had traveled several feet from Yuka Laka's shop, and were now surrounded by Anchorhead's population milling about them. "Wait a minute. You know how to operate a blaster pistol?"

    HK-47 tilted his head. "Answer: I am programmed to handle most known forms of projectile weaponry."

    Leiraya's eyes went wide. "Hold on- you're a protocol 'droid!"

    "Statement: That is true, as a secondary function."

    "Whatever happened to facilitating communications and ceasing hostilities?" Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

    "Answer: Why, that is exactly what I do. I point my blaster at the meatbags until they understand what my master wants, and I shoot them if they try anything."

    Both Carth and Leiraya stood, slack-jawed for several moments before Carth finally found his voice. "Why didn't Yuka Laka tell us this?"

    "Answer: Well... it is because he did not precisely know. Such functions are, in a manner of speaking, illegal. Statement: He would have surely wiped out my programming if he'd known."

    Carth put his head in his palm and grimaced. "And he's not taking you back now, is he?"

    "Speculation: He tried so hard to get rid of me, you could not pay him to take me back."

    Leiraya pointed her finger squarely at HK-47. "All right, here's the deal. You're our only shot at negotiating this deal with the Sandpeople. But I'm not interested in killing anyone, nor am I interested in letting you kill anything along the way. Are you capable of refraining from killing?"

    "Answer: It would pain me, but if my master orders it, it shall be so."

    "Good." Leiraya lowered her arm and straightened her shawl. "In that case, let's move out."

    "Statement: As you command, meat- er, master..."

    * * *

    Aiden looked down at his newly acquired clothing. "Bastila, you frighten me."

    "You're the one who wanted to be dressed up," she replied easily with a wry smile. "I only assisted you in your mission."

    "Still, for someone who runs around in Jedi robes, you seem to be awfully comfortable dressing people up."

    "Call it instinct," she grinned. "Here, try this head scarf on."

    Aiden caught the scarf as she tossed it over. "Why?"

    "To cover your short hair, of course. Also," She came over to help him finish wrapping it around his head, "it matches your dress."

    "It's a good thing you're clean-shaven," Canderous observed, looking excessively amused. "If you were Onasi, you'd never carry this off."

    "If I were Carth, I doubt I'd be doing this." Aiden turned to look in a full-length mirror. Bastila had chosen a cropped wrap top in pale blue for him, stuffing it with a few pairs of socks. On the bottom he wore a roomy cotton skirt in the same blue that allowed him to strap his lightsaber on to his boots unnoticed. The head wrap was white, but had blue flowers in a scattered pattern. "Okay, I'm officially regretting this idea."

    "Nonsense," Bastila patted him on the shoulder. "You're one of the girls now."

    "That was the idea, wasn't it?" Canderous grinned.

    "Come on," Bastila tugged on Aiden's arm. "Let's pay the nice shopkeeper and try to be stealthy, okay?"

    Aiden grumbled something about never having an idea again, but Bastila merely smiled amiably and handed the credit chips to the shopkeeper.

    "You have a nice day now," the wrinkled older lady smiled back at her. "Visiting our little city here?"

    "In a manner of speaking, yes," Bastila replied carefully. The woman seemed harmless, but there was no point in blurting their mission to anyone they happened to meet.

    "Well, be sure to check out the Cantina- it's the only sociable place around here, though," she paused to consider, "that horrible Helena woman has been there a lot lately making a lot of noise."

    "Helena?" Bastila echoed. No, it couldn't be. It's coincidence.

    "Yes, that's her name, I'm quite sure." The woman peered at Bastila. "Actually, she looks a lot like you. Older, but like you."

    "Well, I'll be sure to keep that in mind," Bastila smiled and grabbed Aiden's hand. "We'll be on our way now, right?"

    "Uhh... right." Aiden followed as Bastila tugged on his arm. As soon as they were outside, she stopped and buried her head in Aiden's chest of socks. "Are you okay?"

    "No," came the muffled reply. "Not if this Helena character is who I think she is."

    Aiden looked around them, taking in the odd looks they were receiving, then back down at Bastila. "Who do you think she is?"

    Bastila removed her head from Aiden's chest and heaved a sigh. "My mother."

    Canderous snorted. "You Jedi people have parents?"

    "For your information, I knew them until I was four." Bastila crossed her arms and glared at the Mandalorian. "My father loved me. Doted on me. It was my mother who hated me so much that she made him send me to the Jedi."

    "Isn't that unusual?" Aiden commented. "I mean, not that I can talk, but aren't most Jedi younger when they're made apprentices?"

    "Yes, but I was still young enough that they'd take me." She shook her head. "Do you know what it's like to live in resentment of your mother?"

    "My mother is dead," Aiden replied flatly. "Personally, I'd jump at the chance to get her back."

    "No two family problems the same," Bastila quipped morbidly. "I'm almost afraid to ask about Canderous's mother."

    "Alive and still shooting anything that tries to raid her house."

    "Why am I not surprised?" Bastila shook her head. "Never mind, we've got a job to do."

    "Yeah, that Star Map's not gonna find itself." Canderous grinned. It was possible he enjoyed tormenting the young Jedi a little too much. However, he'd set his concerns aside for the priceless look that always came on her face when she was annoyed. "Ladies, take the lead."

    Aiden looked balefully at the Mandalorian, which somehow remained intimidating in spite of his ridiculous outfit. "Come on Bastila, we have some Sith to sneak past."

    The trio rounded the corner, seeing the Sith trying to look casual, standing in the shade of one of the buildings. However, it is impossible to be inconspicuous garbed entirely in black on Tatooine. Furthermore, it is impossible to look casual with a lightsaber strapped to one's side. There were three of them, eyeing the street and pretending to be enjoying their drinks at a corner cafe.

    "You'd think they'd lose the black," Aiden observed, trying not to look at the Sith for long. "I mean, that just can't be comfortable."

    "Being a Sith ain't about being comfortable," Canderous grunted. "You think they joined Revan and Malak to be nice and cozy at night? No, they were interested in working with the best damn strategist the Republic ever had, before he turned his sights on them. No matter what the cost."

    "Point taken," Aiden sighed. "Was Revan really that good of a strategist?"

    "Better," Canderous admitted. "He defeated Mandalore in single combat, and ended the war we started. It was more than the rest of the Republic could do."

    "You sound like you admire him."

    Canderous looked at him pointedly. "Now, let's understand something here- if there's one thing the Mandalorians respect, it's skill in battle. We set out to fight the Republic to see how it would respond. Revan was the only one willing to do what was necessary, and he beat us. I can have nothing but respect for that."

    "And Malak?"

    "Malak was a guard dog, the fierce and loyal assistant. He's brutal, but not that smart." Canderous shrugged. "He's nothing compared to his former Master, and someone will beat him once they're willing to do it."

    "What precisely do you mean by 'willing' to do it?" Bastila glared at him. "You know as well as I do that the Jedi wish to see Malak disposed of. We certainly took care of Revan-"

    "You didn't kill Revan, Malak did." Canderous interrupted. "You Jedi are always looking to redeem people, and if Malak hadn't betrayed his Master, you'd probably already have lost."

    Bastila continued to glare at him, but kept her mouth shut and continued forward. Aiden could sense that she was agitated over it, but disproportionately to the comment. Even more, she was actively trying to block his access through her bond. Not that he could read her thoughts, but she didn't seem to want him to know what went on that day. Aiden was about to put his hand on her shoulder when he heard the hiss of an igniting saber behind him.

    "Oh, shavit." It would have been too convenient for his plan to work, wouldn't it? He immediately dove forward into a roll, pulling his lightsaber off his boot even as he stood. Bastila's saber was already ignited, it's twin yellow blades flashing towards the Sith, mirroring the twin suns in the sky. Aiden spun towards them, skirt swirling out impressively as he turned. He ripped off the head scarf, figuring it would only get in the way, and the Sith in front of him paused for a moment as he realised that it wasn't just a Jedi in the dress, it was the Jedi he was looking for. Aiden took advantage of this split second distraction to ram his saber into the unfortunate Sith's chest. Bastila had already kicked a second Sith to the ground, pinning him flat before delivering the killing blow. The two of them advanced on the final Sith, who, so focused on them was he, neglected to notice the Mandalorian standing behind him with a heavy blaster rifle. The shot hit him squarely in the back of the head, and he collapsed.

    "Not bad for a girl," Canderous walked over and patted Aiden on the shoulder. "They'll make a Jedi out of you yet."

    Aiden shrugged and grinned. "High praise, coming from a Mandalorian."

    "Don't expect the mood to last. Come on, let's go to that Cantina. Drinks are on me."

    "Wait," Bastila objected. "Did you miss the part where my mother is probably in there?"

    "Nope," Canderous grinned wickedly. "Come on princess, afraid to say hello to your own family?"

    Bastila clipped her lightsaber back on to her belt and glared at him. "Someday, Canderous. Someday."

    "You just keep thinking that, princess." Canderous nodded, still grinning. "If it makes you happy."

    "All right you two, knock it off," Aiden cut in, good-natured. "I'll be out two good crew members if you kill each other."

    "Couldn't have that," Canderous agreed. "Come on now, I'm buying."
    Last edited by Commander-DWH, Jun 14, 2017
  7. princess_of_naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2000
    star 4
    Nice updates. Loved the line about Canderous' mom.

    You do such a great job writing that I have a hard time picking out what's original and what's from the game sometimes.
  8. RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Loved the arrival of HK, there. :D And Aiden, Bastila and Canderous rocked as well. Loved their convo before the fight. And loved the fight, too.
  9. Rogue_Pilot_2347 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 4
    Wait! No! You can't stop there! It's too short!!!!!!

    Love Aiden in the dress, and love the droid. Meatbags, eh? Do I sense some "agressive negotiation" tactics present?
  10. jedi_of_ennth Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2005
    star 4
    "Statement: I am HK-47, at your... service."

    :D [face_dancing] I love HK. [face_dancing] :D

    "Answer: Why, that is exactly what I do. I point my blaster at the meatbags until they understand what my master wants, and I shoot them if they try anything."

    You write HK really well. [face_laugh]

    "If I were Carth, I doubt I'd be doing this." Aiden turned to look in a full-length mirror. Bastila had chosen a cropped wrap top in pale blue for him, stuffing it with a few pairs of socks. On the bottom he wore a roomy cotton skirt in the same blue that allowed him to strap his lightsaber on to his boots unnoticed. The head wrap was white, but had blue flowers in a scattered pattern. "Okay, I'm officially regretting this idea."

    [face_laugh] :_| [face_laugh]

    Canderous snorted. "You Jedi people have parents?"

    No, they just pop out of the ground! Like dwarves!

    "Alive and still shooting anything that tries to raid her house."

    Sounds about right!

    Great update! :D
  11. emerald54 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2007
    star 1
    I just found this and have gone on a reading spree. I've go to say, this is one of my favorite versions of KotOR.

    I love HK-47 and his dialog, it's probably the only reason I bought the game. You write him so well, along with Carth and the others.

    True, true, some people juggle baby birds, and others try and seduce captains to steal their ships. :D

    Ah, I wish there was fan art, just so I could see Aiden in a dress.

    If you have a PM list, can I get on it, please?[face_praying]

    Ya know, Canderous really reminds me of Jayne... can't imagine why though... :D


  12. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I'm caught up!!!!

    This is as fantastic of a story as its always been. Leiraya is delightful as ever, but the part about Aiden in the dress at the end was great.

    Thanks for the reminder that I needed to get back over here and give you some love. :D

  13. Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    princess_of_naboo: Thank you! I think that's about the best compliment a KOTOR-interp writer can get. :D

    Striker: Statement: HK-47 is made of badass and programmed with awesome.

    Rogue_Pilot: Too short? Well, then here's a longer chapter for you. :)

    JoE: HK-47 has some of the best quotes in both games. I feared I wouldn't do him justice, but I'm glad to hear he came off well.

    emerald54: Welcome to the story! I will most certainly add you to the PM list of d00m. And you never know, if I have a bored moment, you may just find a picture of Aiden in a dress show up on this thread...
    oqi: You're back! I missed you lots. Now it's my turn to go and catch up on your story. ;)

    As a sort of side-note, I have a picture from my last day of classes that kind of screams "Leiraya on Corellia" to me, so I thought I'd share.


    I didn't have any of my really nice costumes that were suited to a hot and humid day, so I grabbed my best Leiraya-like outfit and my lightsaber and called it good. :)

    Now, without further ado, the next chapter!

    Chapter 25

    After convincing the gate guard that their hunting permit was legal, and hiking in the sand for almost an hour, Leiraya began to wonder why anyone ever bothered coming to Tatooine. Where did a system with binary suns start sounding like a good idea?

    "You know, I'm water safety. I don't do this whole desert thing." She trudged through the sand, kicking some of it as she went. "Isn't Manaan completely covered in water? I vote we go there."

    "How do you feel about bureaucracy?" Carth grinned wryly. "I hear they've mastered the art."

    "Beats the hell out of this," Leiraya scowled at the unrelenting suns. "The novelty of having two shadows has worn off. It was less impressive than I expected, anyway."

    "Suggestion:" HK chimed in. "If we were to find some hostile lifeforms, we could kill something to cheer ourselves up."

    "If we didn't need you to translate, I'd take you apart myself," Leiraya retorted. "Don't mess with me, HK. Just don't do it."

    "I'll second that recommendation," Carth advised. "She's difficult to deal with when she gets testy."

    "And what's that supposed to mean?" Leiraya whirled around and poked her finger firmly in his chest. "You are in no position to complain about me being testy, Mr. I-Don't-Trust-Anything-Including-Your-Pet-Gizka."

    "Oh yeah? Well at least I'm not trying to champion every cause of the undertrodden in the galaxy all by myself," Carth spat back. "I try to keep my goals realistic."

    "Realistic." Leiraya snorted. "Flyboy, you're so constrained by reality you forgot how to live."

    "Yeah, well, at least I don't get my hopes up anymore. It softens the blow when things inevitably fall apart."

    "Inevitably?" She echoed. "Since when is failure an inevitability? Listen, I know that Karath is an evil bastard, and that was a major blow to your morale. But I'm not him. And neither is anyone else on this mission, even though I have yet to figure out what exactly it is we're doing, and how the lot of us got chosen to trek across the galaxy."

    "You see? None of this makes sense." Carth crossed his arms and frowned. "Who in their right mind sends four padawans, one of whom they don't really know that well, one of whom has already shown unstable tendencies, and one of whom they don't really even like, to do something as drastic as tracking the path of Revan and Malak?"

    "Here's the difference between you and me, Carth. You take it all as a sign that the galaxy is against you and the world's going to turn upside down if you don't watch it every second. I just take it as one of those weird things life does to you sometimes."

    "Observation: The heat is getting to both of you, and you ought to seek some shade before you both kill each other... however entertaining that would be."

    "Quiet, HK," they both spat simultaneously.

    "Statement: I will be silent as commanded... meatbags."

    "Carth... when did this become an argument?"

    He was silent for several seconds, then shook his head. "I don't know. I'd say I'm sorry I called you testy... but you really are testy. At least right now."

    Leiraya frowned in annoyance, but she knew he was right. This time. "Okay, I admit, the heat is making me a bit crankier than usual. That's my excuse. What's yours?"

    "My boy is apparently a Sith," Carth said flatly. "Does that give me some leeway for distrustfulness?"

    "I'll give you that. But I'm not a Sith. I mean, come on. Can you see me trying to rule the galaxy with an iron fist?"

    "No, but I couldn't see Karath turning on his own people, either." Carth sighed. "Don't get me wrong- you've done nothing but help, and I appreciate it. A lot. And I want to believe the galaxy as we know it would collapse in a puff of logic if you ever turned to the Sith. But everyone I've ever really trusted either turned or died as a result of someone turning. It puts a damper on things."

    "I want you to listen, and listen really carefully." Leiraya looked him straight in the eye. "I will never do anything to betray you. I have nothing to offer but my word, but I sincerely hope you'll take it, because I consider you a friend, and trusting is one of those things friends do. For what it's worth, I'd trust you with my life."

    "I..." he trailed off. "You shouldn't. Not after all the people I've gotten killed."

    Leiraya rolled her eyes in frustration. "Okay, you're completely sober, and still thinking Telos is your fault? Carth, unless you were on the Leviathan when Karath gave the order, there was nothing you could have done. Stop beating yourself up because he's an evil bastard. As long as you keep blaming yourself, he's getting away with murder."

    Carth was silent for several seconds. "It's true... but it's hard not to feel responsible."

    "I know. But that's what you have friends for." She smiled back at him. "Seriously, you can't carry the weight of the galaxy all by yourself. And I'll always be here for you." On an impulse, she jumped over and gave him a huge hug. Looking up almost apologetically, she simply stated, "You looked like you could use a hug."

    Carth held her for several long moments, trying to collect his thoughts. His entire universe had been turned upside-down when Karath attacked Telos. Since coming on this mission with the Jedi, things had started to feel terrifyingly normal. He wanted to trust his crew, and not just be around to fly the ship and bark out orders. He had known going in that on such a small crew, they would all get to know each other fairly well. But he hadn't counted on this.

    He hadn't counted on falling for one of the crew.

    "Leiraya, I-" he started, but he was interrupted by a rather impatient 'droid.

    "Observation: The Sandpeople village appears to be just over the dune."

    Letting go, Leiraya turned around to face him. "You enjoyed doing that, didn't you?"

    "Confession: I admit a great deal of amusement. I am simply not programmed to comprehend human behaviour beyond hunting and killing."

    "I expected as much." Leiraya sighed. "All right, let's do this negotiating thing."

    "How do you propose we get in there without them attacking on sight?" Carth asked. "They do have a reputation for doing that."

    "Well... let's send HK in first. He can ask if it would be all right for us to come. If he's not back in five minutes, we've rid the galaxy of one assassin 'droid."

    "Statement: Your concern for my welfare is overwhelming."

    Leiraya grinned. "I know. Come on, now, you're the only one who can talk to them."

    "Statement: I will go, but should I be destroyed, it will be on your head." With that, the rust-orange 'droid trudged towards the village.

    "You sure sending him in there unarmed is a good idea?"

    Leiraya shrugged. "Do you want to give him any weapons?"

    "Not really." Carth shook his head. "I'm on Tatooine, standing in the middle of the Dune Sea waiting to negotiate with Sand People using an assassin 'droid to translate. If I didn't know better, I'd say I was going crazy."

    "No crazier than the rest of us. I wonder what Aiden's group is up to."

    "Probably being more productive than we are."

    "Guess we'll find out later," Leiraya smiled. "For now, I guess we'll just have fun with our chosen form of crazy."

    "If 'fun' is the word for it," Carth grinned ruefully. "Are you sure we couldn't drop-kick Jawas?"

    "Certain of it," she replied easily. "Don't worry, this will work out for the best."

    "Your optimism impresses me," Carth smiled, "and never ceases to amaze me."

    "That's why you like me." Leiraya grinned broadly.

    Carth could only shake his head and smile. "Yeah, it really is."

    * * *

    Juhani was practicing her saber skills when the delivery man came.

    "'Scuse me," a voice came from the landing ramp. "Anyone here?"

    With cat-like tread, Juhani made her way to the entrance. "Who are you?"

    The man looked warily at her lightsaber, unlit but gripped tightly in her hand. "Ahhh... delivery. We've got a shipment for you, if you'll um... sign here..." he fumbled for the datapad and stylus, and extended them carefully towards her. "Please."

    Juhani eyed the crates that another set of men were carrying towards the ship. "What is in those boxes?"

    "I don't ask what's in the crate, lady, I just make sure it gets to the proper ship. And this is the docking bay and time, as you'll see indicated... here." He pointed at some information displayed on the datapad's screen.

    "What if we did not order anything?" Juhani raised a menacing eyebrow, which seemed to unnerve the delivery man even further.

    "Listen, I just make the deliveries. I have to leave the crates here. If you don't want it, find someone else to sell it to. But I'm only paid if I return without the packages."

    "I will sign," Juhani replied tersely, snatching the stylus from his hand and scribbling her signature on to the datapad.

    "Thanks," the delivery man said, tipping his hat as he quickly turned to leave the docking bay. She eyed him carefully as he left. He did not feel like an agent of the Sith, but she knew she had to be careful. Ever since her brush with the dark side, she knew she was walking on thin ice- both with her own stability and with the Council.

    "What's all this commotion?" Jolee walked up behind her, stretching as he surveyed the scene. "Did we order something?"

    "Not that I know of," Juhani replied. "But they seem harmless."

    "They'd better be," Jolee grimaced as he watched the men carry the sizable crate on board. "Otherwise I'll track them down and give them an earful myself."

    "That would indeed be amusing," Juhani said, a smile tugging at her lips. "Shall we see what is in the crate?"

    Jolee eyed the men now leaving the ship, shrugged, and turned. "Sure, why not? We ought to amuse ourselves somehow."

    They walked back towards the cargo bay, when they heard a sudden squeal of delight. Sasha came bolting out of the cargo bay, holding something small, green, and somewhat cute looking in her arms. "Look! It was in the box! Can I keep it?"

    "Ohhh no." Jolee groaned. "That's not what I think it is."

    Juhani looked at him warily. "What is it?"

    "Gizka. Annoyingly cute little buggers, reproduce like no other. You pick one gizka up somewhere, you're stuck with ten within a few weeks. If that was a shipment of gizka..."

    Wordlessly, Juhani and Jolee exchanged a worried glance and bolted for the cargo bay. Sure enough, the floor was crawling with half a dozen cooing green creatures. "Wonderful. Just wonderful."

    "Can we get rid of them?" Juhani asked.

    "No!" Sasha stood in the doorway, holding her gizka protectively. "You're not hurting Briikase, or any of his brothers and sisters."

    Jolee grimaced, and looked helplessly at Juhani. "Kids. What are you going to do?"

    "We will not hurt them, Sasha," Juhani promised. "But we cannot keep them on the ship forever. They need a better home than this."

    Sasha did not look pleased, but she assented. "Okay. As long as they're in good hands."

    "We'll make sure of it, Sasha," Jolee assured her. "In the meantime, you can be in charge of taking care of them, if you like."

    Sasha's eyes lit up at this suggestion. "I can do that!"

    "Good," Jolee smiled and patted her on the head. "Now I'm going to go find some room not full of hopping green things."

    He exited the cargo bay, and Juhani followed closely behind. "Did you just trick her into dealing with all those animals?"

    "No trick, Juhani. Just a knowledge of what everyone wants to do. Bastila wants to take charge, Aiden wants to annoy her as much as possible by exercising his own authority, Carth wants to fly the ship, Leiraya wants to champion half the causes in the galaxy, Mission wants to belong to a family, and Sasha wants a job of her own."

    "Very astute observations," Juhani smiled. "And what do you want?"

    "To see this little adventure through to its end, then find a nice, quiet planet where I can pass the rest of my days unbothered by the Jedi."

    "You had just that," Juhani pointed out. "How many years did you live on Kashyyyk?"

    "Twenty. And that was enough for one location. No, this is my place for now." Jolee smiled thoughtfully. "I know a lot of the Jedi you probably know will be excited by shining lights and say, 'oooo, destiny,' but it's really not as impressive as they make it sound. You know where you belong, and you go there."

    "Wise words. One might almost think you were a Jedi."

    "Don't let the two-cred philosophy fool you," Jolee grinned ruefully. "I'm just another old man, trying to knock some sense into the next generation."

    "Well, this member of the next generation appreciates it." Juhani smiled. "Perhaps you might also like to blow the dust off that lightsaber of yours and spar with me some time?"

    "We'll see, lass, we'll see." Jolee smiled. "You'll turn out all right, Juhani. Just give yourself that chance."

    Juhani returned the smile. "I thank you for your confidence. Now, I think we should both escape from the roaming gizka."

    Jolee looked back at the gizka, who were now slowly hopping out of the cargo bay. "Right you are, lass. Right you are."

    * * *

    The Anchorhead cantina was about as bad as Aiden expected. It was occupied by all manner of beings that walked on the seedier side of life, and smelled like the inside of an oven gone wrong. Canderous quickly purchased drinks for them, which smelled only slightly better than the environment, and would probably only retain their cool for a couple of minutes at best.

    Bastila looked around warily. "I have a bad feeling about this."

    "What for?" Aiden shrugged. "I don't sense anything."

    "You don't understand," Bastila looked at him almost pleadingly. "This is the woman I swore I'd never be like. The woman who sent me away from my family." She lowered her eyes and shook her head. "I didn't ever expect I'd meet her; the Jedi try to avoid such contacts."

    "You were only four when you left, Bas," Aiden pointed out. "Maybe she's not as bad as you think."

    "Perhaps not. Still." Bastila was silent, but Aiden could feel the remainder of the thought through their bond. She had lived in fear of ever meeting the woman, and at this date, the prospect of having to face her was near-paralyzing.

    "Bas, let me tell you- if she's anything like what you say, then you don't have to worry about becoming her. Even if you're bossy, and annoying, and have questionable taste in fashion..." he saw her glare and quickly moved on, "you're one of the most loyal and trustworthy people I know. Don't sell yourself short, even if she is here."

    Bastila's gaze was now fixed on the entryway to the cantina. "Oh, she is."

    Aiden followed her gaze. An older woman in plain clothes stood in the doorway, looked like she was going to head straight for the bar. That is, until she spotted Bastila's openmouthed stare, returned it with her own for a brief moment, but caught herself and strode over.

    Bastila snapped her eyes back to her drink. "This is bad. Very, very bad."

    The woman, on the other hand, arrived at their table with a look of shocked curiosity. "Is that really you, Bastila?"

    Bastila remained silent for several seconds before Canderous answered for her. "Yeah, she's our resident Jedi princess. And you are?"

    "I'm Helena," she responded, directing a somewhat annoyed glance at the Mandalorian. "I'm her mother, though she doesn't seem quite ready to admit it."

    "Oh, save it, mother." Bastila shot back at her. "You haven't seen me since I was four, and even then you got rid of me the first chance you got. You can hardly expect me to be happy about this."

    "Got rid of you?" Helena repeated. "Is that what they told you? I should have known something would go wrong with those Jedi- I send you to them, and here you are with a Mandalorian and a cross-dresser."

    "Hey, now, this isn't my usual attire," Aiden was quick to protest. "There were... extenuating circumstances."

    "But I'm always Mandalorian," Canderous chimed in.

    "They didn't need to tell me, I remember," Bastila replied to her mother, ignoring the comments of her crewmates. "Father wanted to keep me, but you sent me away anyway." She paused. "Where is father, anyway?"

    Helena stared somewhat helplessly at Bastila for a few seconds. "Bastila, that's not how it was at all."

    "You didn't answer my question."

    "I don't know where he is," Helena replied. "That's why I'm on Tatooine, actually."

    "What, did he finally get sick of you?" Bastila snorted.

    At that, Helena's eyes turned to stone. "I think you're hardly qualified to comment on that. You barely remember us at all- and even that memory is skewed. Let me tell you what really happened."

    Bastila waved her hand. "I'm all ears, mother."

    "You're right about one thing- your father wanted to keep you. He loved you dearly, and wanted to take you everywhere with him. Unfortunately, 'everywhere' was not safe. He was always running off on some treasure scheme or another, and I feared that if he kept taking you out with him, he'd eventually run you into trouble he couldn't get you out of. As wonderful of a man as he was, he lacked the good sense to keep you safe."

    "So you sent me away?" Bastila asked skeptically.

    "The Jedi came, told me that they'd make a good home for you. They said you could be a part of the future of the galaxy, protecting it, instead of being in the line of fire." Helena shook her head. "It was hard to say goodbye, but I knew you could do so much better than either of us if you left."

    "What about father?"

    "He wasn't happy," Helena admitted. "He didn't trust the Jedi to keep you safe. But I didn't trust him to keep himself safe, much less our child. And sure enough, I was proven right on that point."

    Bastila's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"

    "I mean he came here to Tatooine a couple of months ago, chasing some crazy scheme or another, and I haven't seen or heard from him since. It's not like him to disappear like that, so I came here looking for him."

    "Why should I believe you?" Bastila asked warily. "It's not like you made any effort to keep track of him before."

    "First off, I didn't have to make an effort," Helena replied frostily. "He was obsessive about making sure I knew he was all right. Secondly," she paused, seeming to lose a bit of her steam, "I'm sick. Probably dying. I wanted to find him, to know one way or another if he was all right, before I die."

    "I..." Bastila trailed off, not certain what to say. She wasn't sure if she believed the woman, but she didn't really have any reason to doubt her, either. "I'm sorry."

    "Don't be," Helena brushed the apology away. "I've had enough time to come to terms with it. I'm just interested in finding out what happened to him. Nobody here seems to know, but I keep on hoping someone will show up who does."

    Bastila was silent for several long moments before replying. "If I find anything, I'll let you know."

    Helena looked surprised at Bastila's sudden change in attitude. "That's generous of you."

    "I want to know what happened to my father, that's all," Bastila replied somewhat stiffly.

    "Still, I appreciate it." There was a brief pause. "I'll leave you and your... friends, then?"

    "Goodbye, mother." Bastila barely looked up. Helena left without another word, leaving Aiden and Canderous looking pointedly at her.

    "Well, that was a charming display, princess." Canderous grinned. "Are you always so diplomatic, or do you reserve that sort of love for family?"

    "Quiet," came Bastila's biting reply. "The last thing I need is your snide remarks."

    "He's got a point, though, Bas." Aiden looked concerned. "It's not like you to be this, well... mean."

    "It's... complicated," was her only reply.

    "Complicated or not, you should keep in mind that we're on a mission,here,"Aiden pointed out. "And we've got to work together to achieve it. I can't do this without you, you know."

    Bastila did not respond for several seconds, until a small smile worked at her lips. "I know. And I won't let my emotions cloud my judgment. I don't know if my mother is here for the reasons she claims, but we've got our own work to do."

    "Then shall we continue?" Aiden stood, motioning gallantly towards the door. He would have cut a striking figure, Bastila mused, had he not still been in his dress. As it stood, he looked somewhat absurd, but still uniformly charming. She decided that she could be happy with that.

    "Let's do some more searching. I know the hunting lodge was a bust, but what do you think of checking out the hunting grounds?"

    "The Dune Sea?" Aiden shrugged. "Let's see what we find."

    As the trio made their way out of the cantina, Aiden couldn't help but wonder why Bastila had reacted so violently to her mother. He had always been on good terms with his mother, before she died. She'd been his inspiration, really. At least, he was sure she was. With a slight frown, he tried to recall why she inspired him, and he failed to come up with even an image to match her name. She had been dead for nearly ten years, but he'd never forgotten her face before. He shook his head, as if to clear it. It had to be the stress of running around after all the Star Maps, and the dreams. The dreams of Revan and Malak he kept having. The ones he knew Bastila was having too, but she refused to talk about.

    Smothering a grimace, he moved forward. The questions could wait until later. For now, they had a job to do.
    Last edited by Commander-DWH, Jun 14, 2017
  14. RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Oh, wow. I'm not even sure where to begin. All of this post was pure win, DWH. :D The character interactions all around rocked heavily. Sucks that Bastila's mother is dying. :( I never did agree with the whole 'sending the kids away' about the Jedi. Must've tore her up something fierce.

    So... yeah. All around, an awesome post.
  15. emerald54 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2007
    star 1
    Ah, HK, gotta love him.

    Humm... you'd put up the picture of Aiden? That would be fun... :D

    I've just (as in a half an hour ago) finally killed Malak in the game, so reliving it through different eyes is nice.

    Thanks for the PM, and it was a great post.
  16. jedi_of_ennth Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2005
    star 4
    "You know, I'm water safety. I don't do this whole desert thing." She trudged through the sand, kicking some of it as she went. "Isn't Manaan completely covered in water? I vote we go there."
    "How do you feel about bureaucracy?" Carth grinned wryly. "I hear they've mastered the art."
    "Beats the hell out of this," Leiraya scowled at the unrelenting suns. "The novelty of having two shadows has worn off. It was less impressive than I expected, anyway."

    [face_laugh] Great banter.

    "That's why you like me." Leiraya grinned broadly.
    Carth could only shake his head and smile. "Yeah, it really is."

    Aww! [face_love] You wrote Carth really well in this section.

    "Hey, now, this isn't my usual attire," Aiden was quick to protest. "There were... extenuating circumstances."
    "But I'm always Mandalorian," Canderous chimed in.


    Great update! :D
  17. Jinn_Soresom Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2007
    star 1
    Heave-ho, UP!
    Please Miss, might we have some more?
  18. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I loved this:
    "I want you to listen, and listen really carefully." Leiraya looked him straight in the eye. "I will never do anything to betray you. I have nothing to offer but my word, but I sincerely hope you'll take it, because I consider you a friend, and trusting is one of those things friends do. For what it's worth, I'd trust you with my life."

    "I..." he trailed off. "You shouldn't. Not after all the people I've gotten killed."

    And the potential heating up between Leiraya and Carth? :eek:[face_love]

    How very cool.

    Excellent update!
  19. Rogue_Pilot_2347 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 4
    Goodness, I am so incredibly late....

    Anyway. Nice chapter. Love the gizka scene. That's hilarious. Interesting dynamics between Bastila and Helena. What's going on there. Looking forward to seeing a scene involving a homocidal maniac of a droid, Carth and Leraiya (whose name I'm sure I just misspelled...), and a camp full of sand people.

    Thanks for the PM!

  20. emerald54 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2007
    star 1
    Would you look at what I found :D

    [link=]Aiden in a dress.[/link]

    Stumbled upon it while looking for a plot summery for Firefly's "Our Mrs. Reynolds."

    And then, this popped into my head.

  21. Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Goodness, I'm sorry this took so long! I actually wrote most of this update while on the plane going over to California, but SIGGRAPH wore me straight out. But it was a wearing out of the best variety- I met an employee of Industrial Light and Magic who I liked very much, built an X-Wing fighter out of cardboard triangles, and discussed the awesomeness of Knights of the Old Repbulic with two technical directors from DreamWorks (who were, incidentally, interviewing me, and stressing out over that is one of the main reasons you've not seen much of me).

    In any case, I'd at least like you all to know that the delay was caused by possibly the best week and a half of my life.

    Striker: Glad you enjoyed! :D

    emerald54: Well, it seems you've taken away the necessity of me drawing Aiden, but I may yet do it anyway. :D
    JoE: Banter is the spice of life. Good to hear my characters satisfy. :)

    Jinn_Soresom: Yes, you may have some more! Right now, even! ;)

    oqi: I love these two. So much. You have no idea. :p
    Rogue_Pilot: You're late? Heck, I'm hardly the model of punctuality. I'm happy I haven't had the lot of you give up on me, I'm such a delinquent sometimes. Thank you for reading!

    Chapter 26

    Leiraya and Carth were not long waiting for HK-47, passing the time by trading stories about their childhood memories of beaches and rainstorms. In the midst of a discussion of the limits of the human body in regards to water temperature, the rust-coloured 'droid plodded back through the sand and joined them once more.

    Carth looked expectantly at the 'droid. "So, what's the verdict?"

    "Statement: Your concern for my welfare is touching. I will have you know that they would have destroyed me had I not spoken so eloquently on your behalf."

    "And?" Leiraya prompted him to continue.

    "Statement: The Chieftan will talk, but only briefly. Observation: He harbours a deep distrust for anything not wrapped in an overabundance of smelly cloth and waving a gaffi stick in a menacing fashion."

    "Well, then let's move." Leiraya set forward, moving as quickly as she could manage in the heat. The three of them made their way to the village, entering cautiously. They were welcomed by the sight of a fair percentage of the residents of the village pointing their gaffi sticks and blaster rifles at them, but no one made any move to attack. From the far end of the courtyard, one of them spoke.

    "Translation: The Chieftan greets you, but does not welcome you. He wishes to know what brings you to his village."

    "Tell the honoured Chieftan that we mean no harm. We've been led to believe that there has been unrest between the Sandpeople and the residents of Anchorhead."

    HK-47 obediently translated, and the Chieftan's reply was swift and sounded somewhat violent. "Translation:" HK offered conversationally, "He says that is an understatement, and that there are few abominations to this planet worse than Czerka. Statement: I suggest the meatbag is unstable, and we should blast him."

    "No," Leiraya glared at him. "Absolutely not."

    "HK," Carth interrupted, "Ask him what it would take to stop the attacks on hunters in the hunting grounds."

    "What?" Leiraya looked at him curiously. "Did you catch something I didn't?"

    "No, I just have a theory." He looked over at HK, who dutifully relayed the message.

    There was silence for several long moments, and Leiraya wondered if they'd pushed too hard, too fast. When the Chieftan's response came, she was almost afraid to hear the translation.

    "Translation: The Chieftan says that if you bring him a vaporator, he'll consider reducing the attacks."

    Leiraya looked at Carth. "Vaporator?"

    "They're the most damned useful machines on this planet," Carth replied. "Only real way to squeeze any moisture out of this rock."

    She paused to consider this, then nodded. "We can do that, right?"

    "Yeah, we ought to be able to find one in decent working condition." Carth turned to the 'droid. "Tell him we'll do it."

    HK-47 turned once more to the Chieftan, who seemed to find this satisfactory. "Translation: He says you may go, and the Sandpeople will not harass you as you leave. Speculation: I do not think he expects you to return. Statement: I am disappointed that we will not have the opportunity for legitimate killing."

    "You have my sincerest sympathy, really." Leiraya replied with a derisive scowl.

    "Statement: Your sarcasm is noted."

    "Let's go get that vaporator before they change their minds," Carth smiled, amused by the exchange. They bowed respectfully before exiting the village, and true to their word, none of the Sandpeople attacked them all the way back to the city gate.

    "All right," Leiraya finally asked. "What's your reasoning behind this whole vaporator deal?"

    "Simple enough," Carth grinned. "If the Sandpeople aren't attacking, Czerka won't push back. If they see a dramatic reduction, they're even likely to assume their campaign worked and leave them mostly alone. You're never going to remove Czerka from a place like Tatooine- this is the home to crime in the galaxy- well, except for maybe Nar Shadaa- and if there's anywhere they ought to be contained, it's here."

    Leiraya considered this. "Not bad. You're pretty strategically inclined for a flyboy."

    "And Captain of the Endar Spire," he reminded her.

    "Before my time, remember? You picked me up just before we made a run for the Hawk." She grinned. "Now, Captain of the Ebon Hawk is a suitable title for you these days."

    "I think I could live with that," he agreed. "Now, the next question: where are we going to go looking for a vaporator? I didn't see any in the 'droid shop."

    Leiraya looked thoughtful for a moment before getting a mischievous glint in her eye. "It strikes me that it would be ironic if we could procure one from Czerka, or at least have them point us in the right direction."

    "Ironic, yes," Carth grinned. "Shall we locate their business offices?"

    "I believe we shall." Carth offered her his arm in the old Telosian style, and she gladly accepted it as they cheerfully set off towards the Czerka offices, HK-47 trailing dutifully behind them.

    * * *

    "You're charging what​?" Aiden asked incredulously. "You've got to be joking."

    The Czerka official looked straight back at him with a very bored expression on his face. The kind of bored expression that can only be achieved when one is stuck in the most truly mind-numbing job in the galaxy- customer service on a planet that could be argued to be the least interesting one possible. "I told you, sir, our fee for purchasing a hunting permit is 5,000 credits, and that's non-negotiable."

    Aiden bit back a curse. "Since when is a hunting permit worth that much?"

    "I'm sorry sir," the official repeated wearily, but clearly determined that the man standing before her would not have his way. "That's the policy."

    "Well, is there any way around the policy?" Aiden asked, hoping that maybe the unlawful nature of Tatooine extended into this office.

    She snorted, her contemptuous amusement the first sign of emotion he'd seen on the official's face. "That's funny, coming from a cross-dresser."

    Aiden scowled. "Hey, now, this isn't exactly my usual getup."

    "You know, you really should change out of that sometime," Bastila commented.

    "We're going to have to go back to the Hawk to do it, since you so brilliantly elected to trade my old robes in for credits to buy this lovely display of Outer Rim fashion,"

    The official smirked. "What a motley crew. Tell you what- we've been having some trouble with the Sandpeople. If you can bring me the Chieftan's gaffi stick, I'll see about getting you one of those hunting permits."

    Aiden blinked at her sudden change in attitude. "Are you serious?"

    "Yes, and you'd best get moving before I change my mind."

    Aiden nodded towards Bastila and Canderous, and the trio quickly left the office. The official, watching them leave, merely chuckled. "That's right, pretty boy. Swirl your way right into the Sandpeople's village. Oh man, I wish I could be there to watch them fail..."

    * * *

    Leiraya and Carth came upon the Czerka office right in time to see Aiden storming out in a huff. More importantly, and much to their amusement, they watched him storm out in a dress. Leiraya's smile grew even wider than it already was. "That's a nice outfit you've got there, Fearless Leader."

    Aiden blinked, realising that it was, indeed, his crew members talking to him. "What are you doing here?"

    "Being useful," she quipped. "You?"

    "Attempting to do the same," he replied, with no small hint of frustration in his voice. "Have you thought about trying to take down the corporate hierarchy here, like on Kashyyyk?"

    "Actually, we're mostly just trying to thwart them while still making them feel like they're being effective," Carth answered.

    "Makes them feel useful, but we get to mock them from afar." Leiraya grinned. "For once, I'm feeling realistic- this planet is controlled by crime lords. It's only fitting that Czerka have a sizable presence here. We'll just do what we can to make life easier for those who are here full-time."

    Bastila looked at them curiously. "And what do you have in mind to that end?"

    "We're working with the Sandpeople to reduce attacks," Leiraya replied cheerily.

    "You're what?" Aiden practically spit the answer out. "You're insane."

    "And you're in a dress." Leiraya looked sourly at Aiden and pointed at Carth. "It was his idea."

    Aiden blinked. He hadn't expected that- Carth usually tended to stay out of things whenever possible. Then again, maybe Leiraya was rubbing off on him. "Really?"

    Carth shrugged. "She decided we should go out there, but helping the Sandpeople in this particular manner... yeah, that was kind of my idea."

    Bastila arched her eyebrow skeptically. "And what does this particular manner entail?"

    "Nothing too fancy," Carth replied. "We're just supplying them with a moisture vaporator, and in return they'll reduce attacks against Czerka personnel. If Czerka isn't being attacked, they're less likely to push the Sandpeople. All around, it should be to everyone's advantage."

    "Statement: I personally thought we should just blast them all and be done with it." HK-47, who had been oddly silent up to this point, decided to pitch his opinion into the conversation,

    Bastila's eyes widened at the 'droid's comment. "What in the name of the Force is that?"

    Leiraya grimaced. "Everyone, meet HK-47. Our translator."

    "Statement: It is the traditional mode to state pleasure at meeting new people, but I must confess I find such pleasantries to be most unnecessary, and untrue. I have no desire to make your acquaintance." HK-47 paused thoughtfully. "Statement: Unless, of course, you share my passion for-"

    "That's enough, HK." Leiraya said firmly. "He's a very... unique 'droid."

    "In other words," Carth sighed, "He has assassination programming we didn't discover until after we purchased him."

    Aiden eyed the rust-coloured 'droid curiously. "Really. So he can fight independently, I assume?"

    "Answer: I am most adept with most known forms of projectile weaponry, and I perform to the highest of standards. Statement: If you wish a demonstration-"

    "That won't be necessary," Leiraya interrupted him again. "If I'd known he was programmed as an assassin..."

    "Statement: 'Assassin' is such a tawdry description. I prefer to think I aid in the elimination of strategic meatbags."

    "Meatbags?" Aiden echoed, a grin breaking on his face. "Deadly and with a sense of humour."

    Leiraya gaped at him. "You're not telling me you like him."

    Aiden shrugged. "He's amusing, isn't he?"

    "Yeah, in that way that wanting to kill everything that moves is funny." Leiraya nodded sagely.

    "But he can't, unless you let him, right?"

    HK-47 answered, a trace of pain in his electronic voice. "Answer: I am indeed limited to what my Master will allow."

    "So no problem," Aiden looked over at Bastila and Canderous. "Right?"

    Bastila didn't look terribly impressed by the 'droid, but she also knew that in the hands of their crew, the 'droid was likely harmless, and possibly even useful. "He is not what I would necessarily look for in a 'droid, but he could have his uses."

    Canderous shrugged indifferently. "I've got no problem with him."

    Leiraya rolled her eyes. "Well, if you all like him so much, you can have him. After we give the Chieftan his vaporator, that is."

    "The Chieftan?" Aiden echoed, an idea beginning to form in his head. "You don't suppose you could try to, oh, I don't know... talk him out of his gaffi stick, would you?"

    Carth looked at Aiden skeptically. "What for?"

    "Hunting permit," Aiden replied. "They're going for 5,000 credits, and while we might have that between the entire crew, I don't fancy spending all of our credits in one place for this entire mission. The person in the office said we could have one if we brought back the Chieftan's gaffi stick." He paused, a strange look on his face. "I think she was either joking, or hoping to see us killed doing something stupid."

    "Either way, she'll have to hold to her word if you come back with it," Bastila said. "Do you think you could acquire it?"

    Carth considered. "Well, they seemed to think we were worth not killing. Maybe if we're lucky, we can talk him out of it."

    Aiden nodded. "I'll take it. Now I'm going to go back to the Hawk and grab a new set of robes." He mock saluted them, then turned on his heel and strode briskly towards their docking bay, Bastila and Canderous in tow.

    Leiraya stared after them in silent amusement for several moments before speaking. "I think he likes the dress."

    Carth grinned ruefully. "If he does, he'll never admit it."
    Last edited by Commander-DWH, Jun 14, 2017
  22. RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Loved this, DWH. HK haggling on behalf of Leiraya and Carth was priceless! And his Gaffi Stick? I sense trouble. ;) Can't wait for more!
  23. emerald54 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2007
    star 1
    If I started quoting all the parts I liked, I'd end up reposting the whole thing.

    HK was always one of my favorite characters in KOTOR, and I still use his quotes in everyday conversation. (Much to the annoyance of my mother.)

    I would comment further, but DRL is dragging me away.

    Please update soon!
  24. Rogue_Pilot_2347 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 4
    Ooohh There's more? Awesome! That's hilarious. I'll admit: I was getting sub-missions confused, but I think I'm clear now. Can't wait till the next bit!
  25. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Sorry for the shortness of the R&R here, but I think:
    "=D==D= Loved it!" sums it up just fine.
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