Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Jan 1, 2014.
Great couple of updates ranging from mush to a sparing match.
@Nyota's Heart and
@EmeraldJediFire for reading and taking the time to review. Marcus didn't mean to hurt his grandfather. He was just doing what he was taught to do. A smaller opponent has to fight smart. Mark is a monster of a man. Not many grown men could take him down let alone a boy.
Thanks again for reading.
On my last full day on Indupar I was able to find some time alone with my son. We were in his private quarters, sitting on low divans, and drinking fizz-sodas after his day of instruction. I was tired. I spent most of the day following my son around as he attended various classes and training sessions. His curriculum is exhausting and I grew weary just watching him. In the morning he had the standard educational program of reading, writing, arithmetic, history and science. On top of that he was tutored in civics, politics and things that would be of importance when he became King. He also had physical education and Force training.
What was most surprising was his religious education. He was being taught the dogma of the prevalent religion of the planet called The Bright Path. It’s a monotheistic religion whose edicts are do no evil, purge yourself of desire, stay pure of heart and service to all sentients. It appears to be a fairly innocuous religion. Marcus says their God is simply the Force guised in an omnipotent sentient form. As King he might be asked to perform certain rituals for blessings and perhaps weddings, so he needed to become acquainted with its tenets.
As I finished my fizz drink I noticed Marcus was gazing at me with a quiet intensity that I always found unnerving coming from a child. It’s downright eerie sometimes. I believe his precocious behavior is not the result of any Force ability, but instead it stems from his royal upbringing. I have seen the same sage expression on the faces of Jacen’s daughter, Allana, and Jaina’s son, Jag Junior.
“Will you come back for my coronation?”
“Of course I will. Nothing will keep me away.”
He shifted in his seat nervously and fidgeted, running a hand through his blond hair, his blue eyes darting from the floor and then back to me. “Once I’m King, will you stay?”
I really was hoping he wouldn’t ambush me with that question. I wanted to stay, but staying would affect Zylie, Ben and Valla.
Marcus obviously anticipated my concerns. “I will pay for replacement crew members for your ship. Valla will be able to operate her business without hurting her profit margin. Zylie can even bring her vornskr to the palace. I was thinking of purchasing some as guard animals.”
I let out a dry laugh. If Marcus knew how much I disliked that creature he would never have mentioned Zylie’s pet. “That is a very generous offer and if I was a single man I would jump at the chance…but I really need to discuss this with all concerned.” I gazed at Marcus sadly. “It’s not money that keeps me on the Vazy Princess. Zylie and her sister are very close, and Ben is like my brother.”
“All of you are welcome here. You and Ben can train others to become Knights here on Indupar.”
I let out a long sigh. “Ben’s father is the Grand Master of the Jedi Knights. I know Uncle Luke was upset when your grandfather left the Jedi. It would break his heart if his son did the same. Ben could never abandon the Jedi to train knights here.” I rubbed the back of my neck where tension was creating knots in my muscles. “Let me discuss this with the rest of the family.”
“Is your reluctance because of my mother?”
I couldn’t deny that being around my old lover was somewhat uncomfortable for me, but at least there was no longer animosity between us. “No, that’s not it. I am not holding back any truths from you. It is simply that I need to discuss this with Ben, Valla and Zylie because it will affect them also.”
Marcus seemed to accept that answer. “That’s all that I can ask.”
I thought about my conversation with Zylie a day earlier about settling down on a planet if she got pregnant. Having a step-sibling living in his palace might not be something Marcus would find tolerable. I decided since we were asking tough questions I should broach that subject. “Marcus, I was talking to Zylie about this same topic and we both agreed that it might be preferable to be planet-side if we decide to…have a child together.”
I watched Marcus intently looking for a reaction. To my surprise he smiled brightly. “I would love to have a little sister living in the palace, if that’s what you are worried about.”
“Or brother,” he quickly added. “I would welcome any members of my family to live in the Palace.”
Why did he say sister? Did he see something in the time stream?
Before I could ask him about that he deftly changed the subject. “I asked your father to be Supreme Commander of my troops.”
That was news to me. “What did he say?”
“He said he was too old to lead from the front and he was not a rear echelon commander.” Marcus paused. “He said he could never ask soldiers to do something he wasn’t willing or capable of doing himself.” He gave me a furtive look. “He recommended you for the job.”
My jaw dropped by his statement. “I…uh…I’m flattered by the offer, but I have never commanded troops before. I have always fought as a Jedi Asset under the command of others. I think you need somebody with much more experience. Also, appointing your grandfather or me to such a high military position would cause people to wonder why. I know you believe you can’t be ousted once crowned as king, but why tempt fate?”
Marcus chuckled. “Somehow I knew both of you would decline. Most people would jump at the chance of having so much power, but not Tantiss men.” He paused for a moment. “Did you ever wonder if the cloners, when tinkering with the Skywalker DNA, muted that particular behavior when creating your father?”
Where the hell did that thought come from?
“I don’t know what C’baoth had the cloners do to my father. Dad was created to be bigger and more muscular than the other Skywalker clone. We always thought he was designed to be an Imperial Sentinel. If that’s the case they wouldn’t need to breed out ambition for power. He would have been chemically lobotomized and become and extension of C’baoth’s will.” I stared at him questioningly. “Why do you ask?”
He shrugged. “It was something I found interesting. I always wondered something… if C’baoth planned to lobotomize my grandfather…why did he bother providing him military flash training?” Marcus gave me that disturbingly intense gaze once again. “I don’t think my grandfather was intended to be an Imperial Sentinel at all. He was to be much, much more and to keep him from harming his master, I believe the desire for power was somehow clipped out of his DNA.”
“What? Why are you bringing this subject up?”
He gave me a small shrug. “I find it odd that I dread becoming King. Don’t most people desire power?”
I laughed. “I don’t think alterations in DNA have anything to do with that. Most boys would be nervous about becoming the ruler of two worlds.”
“Perhaps,” Marcus sounded unconvinced.
“Didn’t a great philosopher once say, ‘Those who desire power are the most ill-suited to possess it’?”
Marcus chuckled at my remark. “That was a quote from a superhero animated holoshow.”
I guffawed and then blushed. “I was never the best student in school.”
“Grandfather has told me as much.” When I frowned he added, “But he also said you are his favorite son.”
I grinned. “And you are my favorite son.”
“I’m your only son.”
‘I sure hope that’s true’, I thought sardonically. “Let me talk to Zylie about your request. I can tell you this, though, we definitely don’t want to raise a baby aboard a ship…so eventually we will settle down.”
He gave me a slight smirk. “Perhaps you should get back to your wife, then.”
That suggestive comment had me blushing even brighter. My dad’s influence definitely has rubbed off on my boy.
Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
JL, I am struck once again at how well you are defining Marcus' complex character. Such a frank and open conversation the two of them had here. Superbly handled ... Talon's honesty and warmth is doubtless refreshing for Marcus who has to deal with flattering types.
Interesting conversation. Tantiss men not desiring power; I think they got that directly from Luke.
Why did he say sister? Did he see something in the time stream?
OH YES! Please! Please! Please! I want Mark to have a granddaughter!!!!!
It was intriguing to see what Marcus's education has been. That was a brutal sparring match with his grandfather (your explanation in the comments was very interesting!) Had to wonder if the "purge yourself of desire" thing will lead to a somewhat different Talk than the one Talon was dreading. Marcus doesn't sound like he'd be for the Old Republic non-attachment style, but now I wonder if his people feel differently in some cases.
Liked the conversation Talon had with Marcus about staying at the palace. He's right that there are other people affected and it's probably not practical to move right away, but I hope that he and Zylie will end up being there for at least part of Marcus's life. He's clearly really, really lonely. Interesting that he knows something about a sister. I share Talon's suspicions that he saw something through the Force.
Nice thoughtful conversation betweeh Talon and Marcus
Just what does that Marcus know about a little sister, hm? I love it. Talon would be complete mush over a baby girl. Mark, too. Interesting thoughts on Mark's beginnings, and his lack of power ambition. It's scary to think of what could have been, but luckily it all turned out as it should. I love your AU, but I'm sure I've mentioned that before!!
I loved the conversation between father and son.
That was a very interesting theory that Marcus presented. It does make one wonder what C'baoth intended
I think a little girl would have Grandpa wrapped around her little finger.
Thanks. It is hard for me to imagine how Talon would deal with reconnecting with a child like this. I have no personal reverence to draw on. I would think he would want to connect, but being newly married also put some pressures on him. He has two relationships to work on.
Luke isn't in for galaxy domination, but he is the Grand Master. So he does take on some leadership positions.
Mark does have a granddaughter already from his son Jaden and his wife Jysella. Jessa is around five years old and you see her in the epilogue of the fanfic Sacrifices and she in mentioned in Talon's first journal. Mark and Kira have decided to spend time with Marcus because Talon can't. Jessa has her mom and dad and the Horns are there. Mark and Kira does go out to see her a few times a year. I will try to get her into this journal soon.
Thanks. I don't think Marcus is going to become a monk. He is a figurehead of the church, but I think with his Force training he sees the religion differently.
Thanks. I wanted to get some father and son time in.
Thanks! I think a daughter would be Talon's little princess. I am sure Zylie's dad would like a grandchild. I am sure they are already putting the pressure on Ben and Valla. lol!
In the profic I never understood why somebody (other than the Emperor or Vader) would keep a disembodied hand. I also didn't understand how C'baoth got a hold of it. Maybe Zahn explained that, but I don't remember. But then Marcus brought up a major plot hole from my other fics. If Mark was to be an Imperial Sentinel...then why give him flash training? From what I remember from Dark Empire Imperial Sentinels were almost like remote controlled goons.
Oh well. This next post is short and some more Zylie/Talon interaction.
After talking to Marcus I went back to my room...only to find my wife naked with another man!
Okay, to be fair the man was one of the Palace masseurs and he was fully clothed wearing crisp white pants and a tight gray compression shirt. Zylie was lying on a portable massage table with a thin sheet over her. Currently the fabric was pulled down to her waist as the young, muscular man kneaded the knots out of her shoulder muscles. To my great irritation, Zylie moaned with pleasure every time he rubbed her back.
I know I shouldn’t be jealous…but I don’t like other guys touching my wife. I loudly cleared my throat and Zylie looked up from the padded table and smiled. “Talon, you should try this. It feels amazing.”
I frowned as I entered the large quarters and sat on an ornate couch in the living area. “I see you are enjoying it…immensely.”
A teasing grin crossed her face. “You’re jealous.”
I crossed my arms in front of my chest and shook my head. “No, I’m not.”
She made a disbelieving snort. “What do you think Roko? Is he jealous?”
The young man was probably in his mid-twenties with deeply tanned skin, wavy brown hair and a face that I’ll reluctantly admit might be considered handsome to some women. Roko looked over to me and gave an apologetic shrug of his shoulders. “I have never been good at interpreting body language. I do have to say that if he is jealous you will have to forgive him. Your great beauty must draw the attention of many men.” He moved his hands down Zylie’s back as she groaned in delight.
Ack! The palace is full of brownnosers; the staff must take a course on flattery and adulations.
“Don’t be jealous Talon. Roko is your mother’s masseur. If you father trusts him, I am sure you can trust him.”
The man gave me a disarming smile as he brought his hands up in a placating gesture. “Jedi Tantiss, I assure you, your wife is in good hands.”
My jaw tightened and I wondered if I would be kicked out of the Jedi Order if I force shoved this guy through a wall.
“Besides, I’m sure palace masseurs are eunuchs.” Zylie managed to say most of that sentence without laughing.
Roko made a face. “Mistress Tantiss that particular custom was abolished over six hundred years ago. I’m certain my wife would be very displeased if the Queen reinstituted the tradition.” He looked up to me and smiled. “If you like Jedi Tantiss I will call a masseuse for you.”
A slow grin crossed my face. “Sure, how about a tall blond female, human or Zeltron.” Okay, I was trying to get Zylie jealous. She knew I once dated a Zeltron.
He nodded. “Certainly.” He pulled a comlink from his pocket and spoke into it before returning it back to his pants. “Sensuna will be here shortly. She is your father’s favorite masseuse.”
About ten minutes later the front door chimed. I opened it up and and found a tall blond filling the doorframe…and I mean she literally filled the doorframe. The woman looked like she could be a Slingball Front Tackle. She was about my age, almost two meters in height and with shoulders almost as wide as mine. Her face was wide and square with piercing blue eyes. She was human, but obviously from a high gravity planet. She was holding a folding massage bed under one arm like it weighed nothing.
“I am Sensuna the masseuse.” She didn’t smile but kept a blank expression on her wide face.
“Come in.” I moved aside to allow her to enter. She walked to an open space in the living area and set up her table. She looked up to me as she spread out sheets over the table. “Take off your clothes and get on the table facing down under the sheet.”
I heard Zylie giggling. “You usually have to buy him dinner before he does that.”
“Ha, ha, funny Zylie.” I moved toward the 'fresher where I had a bathrobe. I closed the door and then striped down and put on the white fluffy bathrobe and then strutted back to the living area.
Sensuna lifted up one edge of the sheet. “Remove your robe and lay down please.” When I hesitated she dropped the sheet and turned around. “You are shy like your father I see.”
That got a chuckle out of me. I removed my bathrobe and climbed under the sheet. “I’m ready.” I put my head down in the padded hole that allows me to lie facedown without suffocating or squashing my nose. I could feel the masseuse pull the sheet down to my waist and large hands running across my shoulders and back. At first the massage started normal with light pressure, but the force increased until the point where I wanted to protest the manhandling. “What type of massage is this?
“I specialize in deep tissue therapeutic massage.” She squeezed my trapezius muscles pushing her thick thumbs into the muscles along my spine. She put some type of lotion on her hands and worked down my back. “You are almost as big as your father.”
I chuckled. “I thought you didn’t peek when I climbed on the table.” That joke was rewarded by a sharp pain in my back. “Ouch, what was that?”
“You had a knot in the muscle. It is gone now,” she said matter-of-factly.
After a while the massage got more relaxing and I understood why my father likes this particular masseuse. “So Roko, what type of massage do you specialize in?”
“Hot stone massage, classic relaxation and aromatherapy massages.” He paused for a moment. “I also am a trained Yannu therapist. Sometimes it is given the misnomer of a sensual massage, but it is not sexual. The person is completely naked and exposed as I run my hands the full length of the body. It not only feels good but it induces an emotional release.”
I started to tense up again and Sensuna dug her thumbs into my back in response. “Stop tensing up!”
Roko chuckled. “Jedi Tantiss I did not give your wife a Yannu massage, I assure you. Your mother has never received that type of treatment either. Your father told me he would snap me in half if I ever did.”
“Turn over,” Sensuna ordered me. I turned around while under the sheet. I blushed when I realized the thin piece of fabric didn’t hide the outline of my manly assets.
“I wouldn’t want to cross your father,” Roko said. “He’s a big man.”
“Yes, he’s a big man.” Sensuna agreed as she pulled the sheet down to my waist. “The son is almost as big.”
I was sure she was looking at the outline of my groin while she said that, but I was probably just imagining things. What I wasn't imagining was Zylie chuckling at my discomfort. I took a deep breath and tried to relax as Roko the masseur rubbed his hands all over my wife’s body. I wondered if this was Zylie’s way of payback for Ben and me going undercover at a topless bar.
I guess it's tit for tat. Ha!
Sensuna is great. *cackle*
Bahaha! That was great.
Ha! I can only imagine how stupid I'd feel in Talon's position...though that jealousy would probably be there too.
Great entry with the massage and your detailed description
I love it. Poor Talon. He ought to know that Zylie would get him back! Couples massage is a good way to do it. BTW, random question, but how much younger is Talon than Ben? I can't remember.
!!!!! That was all kinds of hilarious I love all the innuendos and the banter.
That was priceless. I had a good laugh at Talon's expense
Talon is three years younger than Ben. He is six years older than his wife, Zylie. Ben is four years older than his wife, Valla.
giggles at Talon's expense
Thanks. I was thinking of some big Russian female shot-putter type of woman when I wrote it.
Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
Talon should be getting used to being embarrassed. The poor guy.
Thanks. After I wrote it I had an incredible desire to go get a massage. I just can't afford it though.
I love massages. There is an Native American casino/resort the next town over. I got a gift card to go to the spa once. I love those massages, but I will never do the deep tissue therapeutic massage again. My muscles are so tight that it was painful. I usually ask for a male to give me a massage or a female with her nails cut to the quick. I cannot stand the feel of fingernails touching my skin.
Thanks! I'm glad you like it.
Thanks. Talon is the butt of a lot of jokes.
The next morning we prepared to leave. I first went to Marcus' quarters to say my goodbyes. He said it was best that we weren’t seen at the docking bay together since I was ostensibly here to visit my parents and not him. I went to his quarters without Zylie. Sometimes he cries when I leave and he hates it when Zylie sees him that way.
Today he was depressed at my departure, but also a bit desperate. “Can I go with you. Just for a short time? Things are going to get crazy as we near my coronation and after I’m crowned my ability to leave the planet without a brigade of guards will be impossible.”
He looked at me with sad blue eyes. I shook my head as I reached out and tussled his blond hair. “You know your mother would never allow you to come with me. Maybe after you are crowned she won’t be so worried about your paternity being discovered.”
“Please!” His voice was strained and pleading, but there was nothing I could do.
“I’d take you if I could, but you know you have to get your mother’s permission. If I snuck you out she would make sure I never set foot on Indupar again. I can’t take the chance of losing my ability to visit you.” I put my hands on his shoulder and looked him in the eye. “You know I’m right, don’t you?”
A tear ran down his cheek as he reluctantly nodded his head. “Yeah, Mom would be mad and the Queen might toss you in the dungeon if you snuck me out of the palace.” He leaned in and gave me a big hug. “I’ll miss you.”
I returned his hug and then broke away and smiled at him. “I’ll be back in a few months for your coronation. I promise.”
He snuffled as he drew a hand over his eyes to wipe away his tears. “Okay.”
I let out a deep sigh as I stepped away from him. “I have to go. We have to be in Corellia soon for our trade run. Maybe I’ll have another Jedi mission that will bring me to this sector of the Galaxy soon.”
He nodded sadly, but didn’t respond.
“Goodbye Marcus.” I turned and walked out of his room feeling despondent and helpless. Since I discovered Marcus’ existence ten years ago I have been first denied visitation and then reluctantly given short durations in which to bond with my son. Hopefully all of this will change soon.
Next Zylie and I went to say goodbye to my parents. My mom and dad are always sad to see us go, but we promised we would return soon. My parents said at the end of the year they would return to Coruscant and spend time with my brother, his wife Jysella and daughter Jessa. I know they wish they could see their granddaughter more often, but it is hard with them living on a different planet. Unfortunately if they had remained on Coruscant it would look odd if they visited Indupar often. With dad acting as Marcus’ Force Instructor he now had an excuse to be with him and it was completely understandable for my parents to visit Coruscant and their family there. We said our goodbyes and then went to Ben and Valla's quarters where we rendezvoused with a palace attendant that drove us back to our ship.
The first thing I heard when we boarded the Vazy Princess was Zylie’s Vornskr growling and howling. I sure didn't miss that animal in the last few days and I'm not sure why Princess is acting all irritable. We hired an exotic animal handler to board her in a nice facility while we were at the palace. He brought her back to the ship this morning, so it isn’t like Princess was stuck in a cage for the last few days.
I went and checked on her to make sure she was all right. The angry animal was turning in her cage growling and gnashing her teeth. Without opening the cage I scrutinized her, looking for signs of injury or illness, but saw none. She was just being a little more ornery than usual, I guess. I think she doesn’t like being away from Zylie too long. I decided to leave her in the cage until she settled down. I don’t trust the animal not to bite me when she is in a foul mood.
“What’s wrong with Princess?” Zylie asked me when I exited the storage bay where we keep the animal’s cage.
“She hates my guts and wants me dead,” I responded in a deadpan voice. “Same as usual.”
“She does not.” Zylie brought her luggage into our cabin as I went to the flight deck to get ready to depart. When I entered our pilot droid ID10T was prepping the engines. “Greetings Jedi Tantiss. I hope your visit was enjoyable.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I mumbled to the droid. “Why do you insist on chitchatting with me? We both know you don’t care.”
The silver droid turned his head toward me…a totally unnecessary movement since he has optical sensors all around his head and I could hear him fine through his voice modulator no matter which way he was facing. “That is untrue. I am programed to be concerned about you and the other members of the crew.”
“And I’m programmed to not care,” I shot back.
ID10T was silent for a moment. “I do not understand, sir. What type of programing could you possibly undergo to develop disinterest in my human-empathy programing?”
Ben entered the cockpit and sat down in the pilot's chair. “Do we have the green light to go?”
The droid pushed a few buttons and checked the readouts. “Yes, Jedi Skywalker. I do need to report that the ship doors were entered earlier using the proper entry codes.”
“That was the animal handler.” I dropped down to the copilot seat. “Didn’t you hear the Vornskr howling?”
“Indeed I did sir.”
In the distance I heard Princess let out a plaintive wail. “Just get us into orbit so I can space that animal.”
The droid turned his body fully toward me. “Sir, I am certain that would be in opposition to the ship Captain’s orders.”
I frowned. “I am the ship's Captain.”
Ben turned to me and grinned. “I thought I was the ship's captain. I’m sitting in the pilot seat.”
I gave him a measured look. “Well, I’m in the Commander’s seat.”
“Sir, I must inform you that Valla Karrde Skywalker is listed in the records as the ship’s captain.”
Ben gave me a big bantha-poodoo eating grin. “Ha, my wife is the Captain. You are a lowly cabin boy.”
I gave him a roguish smile. “Well then, I better get to your cabin and make sure the Captain is comfortable.”
Ben punched me in the arm. “Don’t even joke about that. You’re not Valla’s type.” A wide smile split his face. “She likes handsome redheaded men…who have it where it counts.”
I made a face and snorted. “Please, I am definitely better than you in all departments…luckily I’m a happily married man…or else I might have stole Valla right from under you.”
“That is very unlikely sir,” ID10T spoke up. “Captain Valla Skywalker and your wife Mistress Zylie speak extensively when they are together on watch…much of what they discuss involves the pros and cons of their spouses. Captain Valla Skywalker steadfastly insists Jedi Skywalker is superior to you in all aspects of male anatomy and performance. Although, to be fair, she does admit her conclusions are based on anecdotal evidence gathered from Mistress Zylie’s conversations and not from any empirical data.”
“What?! She didn’t say that!” I shook my head in disbelief as Ben gave me a smug self-satisfied grin.
“I assure you sir, she most certainly did make that statement.” The droid sounded somewhat offended by my incredulity. “The women on this ship are very candid when it comes to comparing and contrasting their two mates. I must say, their conversations are extremely interesting particularly when it comes to your sexual prowess and human reproductive copulation abilities and deviations.”
“Deviations?” I scowled at the droid. “The ladies talk about us in that way?”
“Why, yes sir. They often confess detailed and humorous stories about you two.”
I turned bright red with embarrassment. I knew the two sisters talked to each other and didn’t keep secrets (that’s why I was astounded that Zylie didn’t tell Valla about Marcus), but I didn’t like them talking in front of a droid that can record every word and every nuance of their voice. It is never good to have a permanent record of such things. “Remind me to have your memory wiped.”
The droids head swiveled towards me so quickly that it made a snapping sound. “Sir! A memory wipe reduces my piloting capabilities. I learn and gain experience beyond my normal programing over the years.”
“Don’t worry Talon,” Ben said while trying to contain his laughter. “I’m sure ID10T won’t tell the world that I am by far the superior lover.”
“Indeed, I won’t sir,” the droid assured me. I gritted my teeth together while I considered the cost of repairing a pilot droid after I decapitated it with my lightsaber.
“Just get us in orbit so we can get out of here.”
I looked over to Ben. He had a hand over his face while his shoulders shuddered from containing his laughter. “Don’t laugh. I’m sure in some of these stories I came out the better man.” I turned to the pilot droid, who remained stubbornly silent. “Right?!”
“Sir, I have said enough. I realize you have enmity toward droids in general. I would rather not intensify your dislike for my kind.”
Ben made a dismissive wave of the hand. “You'll have to give Talon a break, Ten-Tee. He got his dislike of droids from his father.”
“Why does Master Tantiss dislike droids?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. He just does.”
Ben’s brow furrowed. “You don’t know?”
I shook my head. “No, he never told me anything.”
Ben grabbed the steering yoke and started moving the ship out of the docking bay. “He told me…maybe because I was his apprentice. It’s different from the father and son relationship.”
“Well, what did he say?”
Ben maneuvered the craft up into the Indupar sky and accelerated to the upper atmosphere before answering. “Your father first got turned off by droids because my dad always talked to See Threepio and Artoo Detoo like they were sentients. He found that odd and disturbing and didn’t want to end up like my father with a droid following him around all the time. But the main reason he dislikes droids was because he discovered that the clones during the Clone Wars were called Wet Droids. He found that term very derogatory and demeaning to the men who fought that conflict. ‘Clones are men, not droids,’ he would say. Since he’s a clone he hates the comparison. Because of that slight, I believe he transferred some his anger over to droids.
“I wonder why he never mentioned this to me?”
Ben shrugged. “Your dad and I spent days and weeks together on missions. A man starts talking about everything and anything when they are bored and on patrol or pulling sentry.”
“I guess so.” I heard Princess yowl again. “What's with that animal?”
“Sir, we have an incoming communication from Indupar. It is encrypted from the Palace. Would you like me to send it to your quarters or would you prefer to view it here?”
“Decrypt it and we’ll view it here.”
The droid pushed in a series of buttons on a datapad to descramble the communication. After a moment the face of Marcus’ mother, Ema Aiti, appeared and she didn’t look happy. “Talon, did you take Marcus with you?” Her voice was harsh and accusing.
“What? No! I left him in his room.” I leaned forward in my seat. “He’s disappeared?”
She let out a shuttering breath. “Yes. Did he say anything that might give us a clue as to where he would go?”
I thought about it for a moment. “He did say he sometimes wished he could dress like a commoner and go into town. I told him not to do that. It would worry you.”
Ema buried her head in her hands. “Why would he want to go into town alone?”
I scoffed. “Because you have people following him constantly and he never gets to play with other kids and he is worried about becoming king…shall I continue?”
She shook her head. “I’ll have a company of soldiers search the surrounding area for him.”
I heard Princess howl once more. She was acting particularly irate lately. It was almost like.... My head snapped toward the hologram of Ema. “Hold on for a moment. He did ask to come with me and I said no. I think we might have an royal stowaway.” I stood. “Give me a few minutes to check something out.” I turned to ID10T. “How many times did the door open this morning before we returned to the ship?”
I groaned as I left the cockpit. I went over to my cabin and asked Zylie to grab Princess’ harness and to accompany me to the cargo hold.
“What’s going on?” Zylie asked as we walked to the storage bay.
“I think Marcus snuck on board. I want you to harness up Princess so she can lead us to him.” I turned to my wife. “And make sure your pet doesn’t bite him.”
She rolled her eyes. “She won’t.” She reached through a small opening in the cage and slipped the harness and collar on the animal. She then opened the cage while keeping a firm grip on the leash. The Vornskr lunged forward and went straight to a medium size cargo box.
I sat on the box and gave Zylie and exasperated look before I knocked on the lid. “I don’t know who’s inside but I’m going to let the vornskr eat you and then I’m going to space your bones to hide the evidence.”
Zylie gave me a disapproving look. “Talon, you’re bad,” she whispered.
“Dad, it’s me!” a small voice came from the metallic container.
There was a slight pause. “How many people call you dad?”
I smiled and motioned for Zylie to pull Princess back out of biting distance. I stood and opened the lid. Marcus poked his head out. He was wearing a common worker’s jumpsuit soaked with sweat. “It gets hot in the cargo hold I see,” I said sarcastically while allowing a hint of anger to permeate my voice. I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him out of the container. “Your mother is worried sick about you.”
I kept a firm grip on his clothing as I dragged him to the flight deck. He didn’t struggle as he shuffled next to me his head drooping. “Sorry…it’s just this probably will be the last time I have any chance of a normal life, even if it is only for a few days or a week. When I’m crowned my childhood is gone.”
I shoved him into the cockpit where the holotransmitter could catch his image. “I found your missing Prince.”
Ema’s eyes closed. “Thank goodness.”
“Can I please stay with the crew for a while,” Marcus begged making sure he didn’t reveal his relationships with Ema or me. “I’ll be safe.” He turned to me. “Please.”
I shook my head. “That's not up to me.”
Marcus stared at his mother’s holographic image. “Please! I won’t be gone long.” He gave me a glance. “Will I?”
I ran a hand through my hair. “We can’t get back to Indupar for another two weeks.”
Marcus’ smiled brightly at that news, but Ema was not happy at all.
“It’s too dangerous.”
“I’ll be with two Jedi Knights—the same knights that protected you and the queen twelve years ago. If they are good enough to protect a queen they should be good enough to safeguard a Prince.”
Ema shook her head and I knew she was going to say no. I also knew Marcus was right; this might be his last chance at some freedom. “Ema, give him some independence. You can’t protect him forever. My father has trained him well. He’s a skilled fighter. He’ll soon command the armies of Indupar. Don’t you think he should have some time away from the palace before he is thrust into a life of ruling others?”
Ema looked to her side where most likely her sister was sitting out of sight. She muted the audio and I could see her lips move in silent conversation. Eventually she turned back and the audio resumed. “Two weeks and we want updates daily if you're not in hyperspace.”
Marcus gave out a happy whoop but then immediately restrained his enthusiasm.
“Thanks Ema. I’ll take good care of him.”
She glared at me for a long moment. “You better!”
Cracks up. Zylie and Valla discussing their husband'a sexual prowess lol I love it
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Oh, Man. Marcus is going to be in trouble when he gets back.
The conversation about who is better !!
Was touched by Marcus' pleading to come along and then to have him stow away. Glad he has that bit of freedom and time with Talon.
Suppose Talon thought Zylie and Valla were always talking about their space knitting. As if.
ID10T seems pretty sharp, actually. It was interesting to hear why Talon's dad had such a disdain for droids.