Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok_Slayer, Jan 1, 2014.
Great story and inventions
@Kahara for reading and taking the time to review. I really appreciate it.
Kyler shook me awake sometime before sunrise. “Hey Jax. I saw the hunting party forming up. It looks like they are going to attack Sister Central before dawn.”
I jumped to my feet and brushed the dirt off my clothing. “Are they meeting at the same place?”
Kyler nodded. “Yeah and they looked like they were ready to leave when I saw them.”
Norro sat up from his sleep mat and rubbed his eyes before he turned and gave me a beseeching look. “Don’t go.”
I shook my head sadly. “Sorry Norro. I need to make sure these thugs don’t hurt my friend.” Before the boy could protest I was out of the hut and jogging down the muddy path to where the men congregated the night before. When I arrived the hunting party was gone. I could see footprints in the mud leading out of the shantytown and into the surrounding tree line. I ran into the forest following the trail of crushed underbrush. After about ten minutes I heard movement up ahead in the dark. Eventually, I saw the silhouettes of about a dozen men as they crashed through the dense rain forest. I followed at a discreet distance, not knowing how they might react to my arrival. I didn’t know these men and I wasn’t sure I would be accepted as a member of their raiding party. As I made my way through the thick underbrush I felt the communicator hidden inside my heel vibrate. I considered stopping, but I didn’t want to lose this crowd of outlaws. I hoped the communication meant Magash and Sacha had located Sheel.
As the group neared the women’s encampment the men slowed and tried to move quietly through the heavy brush, but walking in the dark woods is never easy. I’m sure the snapping of twigs and the loud profane cursing as convicts stumbled over roots or walked into branches could be heard for kilometers. As the sun peeked above the horizon coloring the sky a brilliant red I could see Sister Central. It was similar to the men’s shantytown only smaller...and cleaner. I could make out a few women squatting around a campfire, adding wood and preparing to make a meal. As the men rushed out of the wood line the women looked up before screaming and running off in the opposite direction.
A couple of the men let out feral war cries as they ran through the camp after the women. I was impressed by the speed of the ladies and wondered why they didn’t split up. It was almost like they wanted the men to follow. At this point I got the sneaky suspicion that the women had set plans on how to handle this type of invasion and were leading the men into a trap. I slowed my pace and straggled behind just in case.
Up ahead, a large man with a remarkably huge gut fell back from the main group wheezing and holding his side. As I approached I realized this was the man Norro called Pounder. “Kriff those sprinting hags,” he cursed before he dove into the nearest hut. I could hear him ransacking the shelter before the wail of child rang out. Pounder came out of the hut holding a young girl no more than twelve. The child’s mother was clawing, pulling his hair and pounding her fists on his back in an effort to rescue her daughter.
I sprinted toward him, determined he wouldn’t get this child. When I was a meter from him I jumped up and drove my fist square into his nose, crunching cartilage and spurting blood in all directions. At the same time I brought the edge of my boot down on his knee, crushing his patella and bending his leg in the opposite direction that nature intended. He howled in pain and dropped the child. I snatched her in midair and then spun out of the path of the falling criminal. Before the mother could attack me I place the child in her arms. “Find a better hiding place!” I then turned and ran in the direction the other men went where I could hear screams and the sound of combat. As I rounded a corner and came to a full stop, shocked at the sight before me.
In an open area of the village a half dozen men lay on the ground dead, dying or unconscious as five deadly women defended their territory. I recognized two of the five women currently beating the invading men with clubs and long sticks. Magash had a two-meter staff which she swung around and twirled with the precision of a Jedi Knight. Sacha was next to Magash waving two smaller sticks like police batons. As I watched, Magash brought the staff down on one convict’s thick head and then spun around and swept the feet out from of another man. Sacha cracked open the head of another prisoner with her makeshift club, bloodying him and knocking him unconscious. There were three other females in intense combat. Two were human who used a combination of sticks and improvised knives to dispatch the enemy. The fifth female was a large Wookiee. She was weaponless, but a species that can pull the arms off a man has no need for weapons. At the moment the angry Wookiee was dislocating the shoulders of one unfortunate male before Magash, using an incredibly impressive acrobatic spinning kick, drove her boot into the side his head, putting him down.
There was a slight pause after the last man fell. I was so impressed with the ladies’ performance that I momentarily forgot I was standing behind a group of women who were intent on killing men. Before I could slip away unnoticed a woman called out an alarm. The group spun around to face me and a number of women quickly moved to attack. I knew I could get away using the Force and my extensive unarmed combat training, but was hesitant to do so. First of all, every time I used the Force I took the chance that Darth Vader might sense me. Second, I didn’t want to hurt these women. Many might be political prisoners like Sheel (Okay, maybe the woman with a tattoo of a severed head and the words, ‘Kill them all, let the Gods sort them out’ probably had a criminal record).
Magash and Sacha saw me and screamed out in unison, “Stop, he’s with me!”
Sacha looked at Magash realizing they both said the same thing. “Don’t hurt him!” Magash called out. “He’s our mate.”
My eyes widened at that proclamation. Two women came up behind me and grabbed my arms. I didn’t resist, hoping Magash or Sacha could extricate me from the situation peacefully. One of the fiercest looking women fighters glanced over to Sacha and Magash as she pointed a bloody shank in my direction. “He’s mate to both of you?”
Sacha looked at a loss of words but Magash stepped forward. “Yes. We are clan sisters from Dathomir. We share mates. He is our favorite breeding male.”
The woman with the bloody knife laughed as she walked toward me appraisingly. “I can see why. He has a pretty face.” Her gaze dropped below my waistline. “And he appears to have bulges in all the right places.” She walked around me, raking her gaze over my body while making various sexual comments and innuendoes that resulted in raucous whoops and laughter from the other women. She turned and gave Magash and Sacha a challenging glare. “How do I know he’s your mate? He appeared surprised when you claimed him. You might simply want him as your kriff-buddy and not share with the rest.”
Magash smashed the end of her staff into the ground angrily before she responded through clinched lips. “You doubt my word?”
The other woman returned Magash’s unflinching gaze. “I require proof.”
“Then you shall have your proof.” She walked up to the two women restraining me. “Remove his shirt. He has a scar on the right shoulder blade.”
The female challenger nodded to the other women who unzipped my jumpsuit and pulled the shirt part down to my waist. They turned me around exposing my back to the others. Magash moved forward and ran a finger over the scar. “See. The scar is where I said it would be.”
I wasn’t surprised that Magash knew of this old wound. I often sparred and exercised shirtless. She grabbed my shoulders and turned me around. “This one is my mate who I claim.” She glared at the other women looking for a challenger. I wasn’t sure if her pronouncement was a Dathomir custom for claiming a male or if it was something the women at Sister Central did to captured males. After seeing her fight I doubted anybody but the Wookiee was strong enough to defeat Magash in one-on-one combat.
The group of women looked to each other, waiting for somebody to protest. The tension was broken when a few women laughed and made kissy noises. “Well…what are you waiting for?” somebody asked. “Kiss his pretty face.”
Magash’s normally red skin blanched, but she slowly and reluctantly leaned in and gave me a quick, passionless kiss on the lips. I really hoped none of the other women were Force-sensitives because I could feel Magash’s embarrassment rolling off her in waves through the Force. She quickly broke contact and stepped away.
The woman with the knife looked at us unconvinced. “The prison barges are hot and humid, many men wear their prison uniform with the shirt off. That proves nothing.” She turned to Sacha. “I hope you can do a better job proving your claim?”
Sacha's cheeks reddened and her eyes darted from me then to the others flustered. I thought her agitation was because she didn’t know how to claim me as her mate, but what she said next had me blushing. “He has a small tan birthmark on his left butt cheek.” She reached her hand down to her derriere to demonstrate the location of my birthmark. “It is low…right about here.” The women holding my arms chuckled as they turned me around and yanked my one-piece jumpsuit to my knees followed by the back of my boxer-briefs. Fortunately, I was able to hold the front part of my briefs up maintaining some of my dignity. A few of the women giggled and made appreciative sounds. Sacha came forward and pointed to the birthmark. “See, there it is.” I jumped as he finger caressed the skin discoloration.
I was able to break free of the women and pulled up my underwear and pants. The women laughed. “He’s a shy one!” one of the ladies called out.
Sacha gently pulled me around to face her. “This one is my mate who I claim.” She reiterated the words Magash said earlier and followed up with a kiss…but it wasn’t the same chaste kiss I received earlier. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me down for a long and passionate embrace.
At the end of the kiss we were both breathless. “That should convince them,” she whispered in my ear before she leaned back and gazed deeply into my eyes. Eventually, Magash grabbed Sacha’s shirt and pulled her away from me. “I am his primary mate. You will have to wait.” I could feel amusement flowing from Magash and something akin to disappointment and embarrassment from Sacha.
They turned to the female with the knife. “Rochella, as the leader of this village, will you allow us to leave with our man unmolested,” Magash asked in a stern voice.
The woman chuckled. “I don’t know about unmolested. One man that can satisfy two women must be something else. I think I would like a sample.”
I saw Sacha and Magash tense and I was ready to join them in a fight.
“Rochella!” A woman called out. “Please show mercy to that one. He saved my daughter.”
The woman whose little girl I rescued pushed her way through the crowd while still clutching her daughter. “He didn’t come here to take women but to find his cherished lovers.”
I thought I heard Magash chuckle, but she disguised it as a cough. She must have realized how uncomfortable all of this was to me. And how did Sacha know about my birthmark?!
There was a long tense pause before leader of Sister Central responded. “Fine. You three be out of our village by nightfall.”
As soon as the women released me, Magash and Sacha grabbed me by the arms and dragged me toward the Wookiee. “Challanka, can we use your hut?” The Wookiee grumbled something before waving for us to follow.
Hopefully they were bringing me to Sheel. I had a lot of questions for them…like how did Sacha know about that birthmark!!!!
How did Sacha know. Oh, I'd be beyond embarrassed in his position. Oh, and this part made me LOL.
Second, I didn’t want to hurt these women. Many might be political prisoners like Sheel (Okay, maybe the woman with a tattoo of a severed head and the words, ‘Kill them all, let the Gods sort them out’ probably had a criminal record).
I second the LOL at that line.
Now, now. One mustn't judge by appearances, Jax...
Quite the embarrassing encounter with Rochella and the other Sisters -- and interesting that the two women had such different attitudes to proving their "claim." I was giggling at the fact that Magash was actually flustered -- and Sacha was all "this one's MINE! WOOHOO! KISSY FACE!" Like Jax, I have to wonder how Sacha knows about that birthmark.
Intense action and some fun with the women. Nice update
Thanks! I saw a military T-Shirt with that saying once, except it said, "Kill the all, let God sort them out."
Yeah, in the books Sacha definitely was flirtatious about Jax. Magash was more curious about a man who isn't simply breeding stock.
Thank you. I'm glad you like it.
This next post is a little short, but I didn't want a huge 3000 word post. I am going to try to spread them out more with shorter posts more often.
Thanks everybody for reading.
We quickly followed the female Wookiee through the crowded and broken down village before entering a large shelter made out of a number of discarded shipping containers connected together. “You’re back!” came the sound of a soft female voice from inside the hut. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust but eventually I could see a tall Togruta woman rising to her feet. She was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, but her long black-and-white striped headtails and curved horn-like montrals gave her an almost regal appearance. Despite the cruel conditions she faced in the last few weeks, she was still the majestic poetess.
“Sheel!” I walked up to her and took her hands in mine. “Pol Haus is going to be so happy we found you.” I released my grip and stood back as I looked her up and down. I was alarmed at her gaunt appearance and the number of bruises on her face and arms. “Are you okay? Did somebody hurt you?”
Sacha and Magash came along side of Sheel. “She may have a cracked rib,” Sacha explained.
I frowned. “What happened?”
Sheel made a dismissive gesture. “Its nothing. I was on the prison barge Purge when I saw a guard use a stun baton to take down a pregnant Wookiee. I was outraged and ran to help. Just as the guard went to kick her in the stomach I dove in to protect her and her unborn child. I think I heard something snap when his boot connected. Luckily a group of Wookiees came to my rescue and the guard decided it was in his best interest to retreat.” She reached over to her side and gently pressed down before grimacing with pain. “It still hurts, mainly when I laugh, which, fortunately, isn’t a common occurrence around here.”
“We had trouble finding her on our first day because she was living with the Wookiees,” Magash explained. “Non-Wookiees are usually not welcome here.”
Sheel went over to a makeshift stool and sat down with some effort. “The Wookiee I helped said she would make sure I was protected. She stayed in the main camp with her mate, but she asked Challanka here to watch over me.” She motioned toward the Wookiee who guided us to the hut.
“The Sister Central sentries heard the men coming about a half hour before they arrived,” Sacha explained. “They called the women together and Sheel came with Challanka to the meeting. That’s when we found her and tried to contact you.”
“And I was already on my way intending to make sure the men didn’t hurt any of you.” I gazed at Magash and Sacha proudly. “I see I had nothing to worry about. I’m glad you were able to get me out of the situation without having to injure any of the women.” I turned to Sacha. “Although, when we get out of here I would like an explanation as to how you knew about a certain birthmark.” Sacha blushed fiercely, but didn’t respond.
Magash chuckled at Sacha’s discomfort. “We need to discuss something more important for now.” She turned her gaze to the Wookiee. “Challanka, is it possible for you to give us some privacy?” She motioned to me and the other women.
The Wookiee’s brow furrowed before she let out a long string of grunts and rumbles. Sacha and Magash looked over to Sheel. “Do you understand what she said?”
A look of confusion crossed Sheel’s face before she slowly turned towards me. “Challanka asks if you need privacy in order to mate with us?”
My jaw dropped in shock, Sacha blushed and Magash bit her bottom lip in an effort to keep from laughing. “No…I don’t need privacy for that.” I then realized that sounded like I wanted to mate and didn’t care who watched. “I mean, that is not the reason we want privacy. I…uhhh…” I blew out a frustrated breath and looked to Magash for assistance.
She laughed as she walked over to Challanka. “We wish to discuss personal matters, that is all. It will only take a few minutes.” The large female made a laughing noise before she looked to me and made an undulating hip gesture. Then to my great relief she stepped out of the shelter. Magash moved a wooden crate cover over the door opening to prevent people from looking inside.
Sheel looked a little uncomfortable over the verbal exchange. “What’s going on?”
“It’s a long story.” Sacha made a reassuring wave of her hand. “I know you trust Challanka, but we don’t want to discuss escape plans around anybody. We don’t need people trying to hitch a ride. There’s only enough room for us.”
We went over and sat on the ground next to Sheel. “Pol has an inside man, a guard named Sergeant Tokk, who will get us onto a ship,” Sacha explained. “We have communication devices hidden in our shoes and we will contact him tonight for a rendezvous location and time to meet.”
Magash turned to me. “We’ll escort you halfway back to the men’s camp. Get back into your disguise and Kwan will send you a signal letting you know when we’re hidden inside the broken trash carrier, the ship had been screened and it is now safe for you to show up to bum a ride and an Imperial Inquisitor.”
I nodded. “Everything is going as planned…which makes me nervous. Breaking people out of an Imperial detention facility can’t possibly be this easy.”
Sacha gave me a reassuring smile. “We’ve pulled off crazier missions than this, Jax.”
“You’re right.” I stood and looked over to the makeshift door. “Should I leave now with one of you. Or...” I tried to contain a grin. “Should I allow enough time so Challanka will believe I thoroughly bedded three women?”
Sacha closed her eyes and made an exasperated groan. “It was Magash’s idea to claim you as our mate.”
Magash grinned revealing straight white teeth. “Fortunately Sacha had enough intimate knowledge of our Jedi Master that we were able to convince the women of Sister Central that my words were true.” Magash stood and grabbed her staff before walking over to me. “I will guide you back to the men’s camp.”
“Thank you.” I pulled the door away from the entrance and looked back to Sacha and Sheel. “I’ll see you tonight.”
I stepped out into the bright Despayre sun and blinked. I had a lot of questions to ask Sacha, but that could wait until we were away from this place and we could talk in private.
I couldn't wait to hear what she had to say.
Whew! Glad Sheel is safe and LOL on the insinuations -- looking forward to the talk with Sacha.
You're back! I thought I lost one of my few readers. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.
I like to see what the women have to reveal to Jax. Now escape and do something about Kyler and Norro and their friends
Thank you. I'm glad you like it.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Magash escorted me through the women’s village, glaring at anybody who looked at me the wrong way.
“Sergeant Tokk briefed us thoroughly when you were talking to Sergeant Jokol. He comes on duty this week after the dinner rations are handed out at the various locations. We will wait until sunset and then make our way to the guardhouse. He said he would ensure the other guard is occupied and then sneak us onboard the Freighter. Captain Kwan will notify you when it is clear for you to return in your disguise.” She hesitated for a moment. “Do we have a contingency plan, in case this doesn’t go smoothly?”
We came to the edge of the women’s shantytown and started moving through the surrounding forest. I thought about her question for a moment before answering. “If things look bad, pull back and arrange to leave sometime later. If you actually get caught sneaking in and Sergeant Tokk isn’t able to salvage the situation…if you can take out the enemy guards without getting yourself killed, do it. Stun Tokk in order to give him an alibi or offer to take him with you. Then get out, even if it means leaving me behind. There are so many Imperial ships in the area there is no way you can make a jump to lightspeed if the Empire is alerted. You’ll have to move fast.”
Magash stopped and gave me a stubborn look. “We will not leave you behind.”
I shook my head. “I can get off planet. I’ll use my Inquisitor guise to commandeer a ship.”
She made a disbelieving snort. “Once the Imperials are alerted to trouble it is doubtful you can walk onto a ship without your identification verified.” She turned and started to walk again.
I fell in step next to her. “I think you underestimate me; an Inquisitor can be very terrifying.”
She chuckled. “I mean no disrespect, but your appearance does not strike terror in my heart. Your eyes give you away, there is compassion and righteousness in them.”
“I fooled Sergeant Jokol and I guarantee nobody will be dreamily gazing into my eyes when I have a red lightsaber in my hand.”
“You never know,” Magash whispered and then chuckled lightly. Before I could ask her what she meant, she abruptly stopped and pointed into the distance. “You can see the men’s encampment from here. This is where I turn around.” She put her hand on my shoulder. “May the Force be with you.”
I nodded with a smile. “And also with you. I’ll see you on the freighter.”
I then turned and jogged off to the men’s shantytown. I decided not to return to the teens' shelter. I didn’t want to face the boys knowing I was going to leave them behind. At least Byson and Kyler only had three more months remaining of their sentence. Poor Norro would be stuck on this penal planet until I could hire a lawyer to hopefully gain his release, but I knew it might take months. It was a depressing thought.
Instead I walked around the encampment trying to uncover more information about the space station being built. I talked with a number of prisoners had worked on the enormous construction project, but were returned to Despayre because of injuries. They were never told the purpose of the station, but they said from the conversations they had overheard from guards, they had the distinct impression that it would be a military vessel and not a civilian spaceport or exploratory vehicle. If that’s true Whiplash or the Antarian Rangers needed to investigate this matter.
As dusk fell the evening meal of condensed ration bars were distributed to the prisoners. I stayed clear, knowing I would eat when I was off this wretched planet. Instead I snuck out to the surrounding forest to the location where I hid my Inquisitor outfit. I was relieved to find it unscathed and not chewed on by forest creatures. I changed my clothing and then sat on a rock and waited for Captain Kwon to send me a pulse signal that it was time for me to come back to the ship.
As the minutes dragged on I begun to worry that something went wrong. After about an hour I considered either attempting communication with Kwan or simply walking over to the guardhouse and see if anything was amiss. Another twenty minutes passed and finally I felt the communication unit in my heel vibrate. I let out a relieved breath knowing this all would be over soon. I stood and made my way through the dark forest and back into the shantytown. In the distance I heard men arguing and the desperate screams of someone being hurt. I marched down the muddy pathway, my hood pulled down past my eyes, my lightsaber swinging on my hip noticeably. A few convicts recognized the uniform and quickly ran in the opposite direction.
I could see the guardhouse in the distance and, thankfully, all seemed calm. I came to the trail leading to the freighter and freedom…but I hesitated. Something didn’t feel right. I risked reaching out with the Force, but did not sense an ambush or hostility in the sentry's outpost. In fact I couldn’t sense any specific danger directed toward me all…it was simply an tremendous sense of unease flowing through me. There was a sick twist in my gut as I finally recognized the sensation. It was guilt. It was the same horrible feeling that overwhelmed me when Laranth sacrificed herself to save the crew. She perished and I got to go home. Here I was on the most despicable planet imaginable, with horrific suffering and death…and I got to go home.
I stood on the trail for a good five minutes mulling over the situation before I made a decision. I couldn’t help Laranth back then, but maybe I could make a difference here and now. I turned away from the guardhouse and walked through the shantytown at a fast clip. When I came to the boy’s shelter I pulled my hood down and around my face as far as possible. In the darkness it was unlikely they would recognize me, especially as I used the Force to disguise my features and voice. I unclipped my lightsaber and pulled aside a flap that functioned as a door and walked in while igniting my lightsaber. In the red glow of my weapon I would see the boys sitting on the dirt floor. All three jumped with fright as their gaze focused on the glowing blade.
Byson made an attempt to talk but he was so terrified it came out as stuttering gibberish. I turned and pointed to Norro. “You! Come with me!” I didn’t want to scare the boys, but I also didn’t want them knowing Jax and the Inquisitor were one-and-the-same. I was worried I might jeopardize Sergeant Tokk’s safety... more than we already have. The less the boys knew the better.
Norro scooted backwards until he was as far away from me as possible. His eyes were wide with fear as he made a low moaning noise. To my surprise, Byson and Kyler begun to stand while adamantly professing their friend's innocence of any Imperial violation. I was extremely impressed with their bravery, especially when they were so close to the end of their prison sentence and very near the tip of a lightsaber. I waved a hand in their direction pushing them back to the ground. “Be still or die!” I said in my best menacing voice. I then used the Force to grab Norro and pull him to his feet. I grasped the back of his collar and held him facing away from me. Byson and Kyler once more began to protest but this time it was Norro to stop them. “Please guys, stop. I’ll go willingly. I didn’t do anything. I don’t want you hurt. I’ll be fine.”
I didn’t give the boys time to react. I dragged Norro out of the hut and to the guardhouse. As I neared I extinguished my lightsaber. I considered telling Norro my identity, but decided I wanted him to appear terrified in order to make my escape plan look believable.
When I arrived at the guardhouse I kicked the door until Sergeant Tokk let me in. The poor sergeant turned a sickly gray when he realized I returned just after he smuggled three prisoners onto a ship. I wish Pol Haus had let the man in on my identity, but he was probably right in being cautious, being associated with a Jedi was a death sentence nowadays.
“What…ah? What’s going on sir?” Sergeant Tokk managed to stammer out.
“I found my spy. I’m taking him to Lord Vader.” My announcement caused Norro to start sobbing.
“But he’s just a boy, Sir.”
I turned and glared at the man. “He’s a shapeshifter!”
Tokk looked to Norro. “A Clawdite? How do you know?”
“Because I have the Force," I said in the most condescending tone I could manage. "He’s probably stuck in this wretched childlike form because he's starving. That can stop a shapeshifter from altering their form. But if you want proof, scan his handprint, as you do all incoming prisoners. He probably changed his form since he arrived. If this person is not in your registry, then you either have a clawdite or somebody who shouldn’t be incarcerated here. Either way I’m taking him.”
Sergeant Tokk nodded nervously while he grabbed Norro’s right hand and passed it over a scanner. As expected the handprint did not correspond to any known prisoner. Norro was mumbling nervously, head down, proclaiming his innocence. I motioned my head to the freighter sitting on the exterior landing platform. “Tell the pilot I require transportation.”
Sergeant Tokk took in a sharp breath. He didn’t want me on board to protect the women. “Sir, that freighter is slow. There will be a faster frigate arriving tomorrow.”
I ignited my lightsaber. “I demand passage now.”
The sergeant nodded as perspiration dripped from his forehead. He pushed a button on the communications panel. “Captain Kwan. The Imperial Inquisitor who you brought to Despayre is requesting passage off planet. Can I send him to the ship?”
There was a slight pause before Kwan answered. “Yes, send him. I’d be happy to assist the Imperial Inquisitor in any way possible.”
“Th..thank you.” Sergeant Tokk looked at me and tried to put on a false smile but the look of terror and worry permeated his features. “Captain Kwon invites you aboard sir.”
Good,” I said with a scowl as I deactivated my lightsaber and dragged my prisoner out of the guardhouse and across the tarmac. The loading ramp was already down as I pulled a blubbering Norro onto the ship. I-Five met me at the top of the ramp and I pushed Norro towards him. “Secure him. Don’t hurt him, but make sure he doesn’t run away.” I didn’t have time to talk to the boy. I needed to tell Kwan to get us into orbit right away.
I-Five took the order in stride. “Yes Sir, Your Supreme Inquisitiveness.” He grabbed the boy gently by the forearm and moved him to an area of pull down seating within the cargo area. “Please, do not try anything.” I could hear I-Five say to Norro. “I am a civilianized 501-Z security droid. You are now officially detained.”
I ran to the flight deck where Den and Kwan sat at the controls and were in the process of activating the engines. “If the women are on board, let’s go.”
“It looks like everything went as planned,” Den commented casually, not noticing my nervous expression. “I-Five was upset that he didn’t have anything to do but sit around and act security-minded.”
I pulled down a jump seat and sat between the two. “He didn’t miss much. Can we go?”
“We can’t do a cold start. It will be a few more minutes. Relax everything is going to schedule. There shouldn’t be a problem.” Kwan gave me an anxious look. “Or am I wrong about that? You looked worried Jax. What’s the matter?”
I took a deep breath and blew it out. “I altered the plan. I broke out a second prisoner. He’s in the back cargo area. I doubt Tokk will say anything. I think he just wants us out of here…but just in case let’s go as soon as we can safely take off. I used the Force a few times and I’m afraid I may have attracted attention.”
Kwan looked at me wide-eyed. “Attracted attention from whom?”
“Maybe nobody…maybe an observant Imperial guard.” I closed my eyes and sighed deeply. “In the worst case scenario…I might have been sensed by Darth Vader.”
Den closed his eyes and moaned. "I really hate that guy."
I nodded. "You and the rest of the galaxy." I ran a hand over my eyes and let out a shuddered breath. "I hope I didn't jeopardize this mission."
Eventually Captain Kwan lifted the large freighter off the planet of Despayre and shot up into the outer atmosphere. As we barreled into Imperial space I couldn't help thinking, 'I have a bad feeling about this.'
Glad he got Norro out of there; I hope they escape okay!
Yes he saved Norro and now away and don't let Vader catch them
Oooh, relief on the escape but LOL famous last line that was about having a bad feeling. Attracting Vader's attention
Somehow, this is going to come back to bite them. Can't say I mind; they were all able to get out of there alive and Jax even found a way to bring Norro along. He almost fooled me into thinking he'd wait until after they got out, but no. It was nice to see him decide to do what he could. The problems on Despayre are pretty overwhelming, so it's easy to see how there would be a "can't fix everything, won't fix anything" state of mind once he was there for a while. (Think this may be why I like the Empire-era Jedi stories so much. It's pretty difficult to be good in that time period, so it's intriguing to read about how characters choose.)
The Empire's blind spots are letting Jax run rings around all their careful security. Nobody questions an Inquisitor, so nobody questions the guy with a lightsaber who happens to be dressed like one. They don't bother to keep track of the welfare of people on their prison planet, so the guy with no handprint ID must be a shapeshifter (that was a great trick.)
If this same exact thing wasn't happening in the profic books I would think...this is stupid. It would never work. But Jax got an Inquisitor outfit and walked right into their headquarters in the professional novels. Of course, if the Inquisitors were as ruthless as they are portrayed it is very possible that nobody but another Force-Adept would dare look at them. If you knew these Sith where short tempered and enjoyed Force choking people, you might look the other way.
When I read Death Star it didn't sound like they did anything for those prisoners once they dumped them on the planet. One guard offered self defense classes to prisoners so they might survive their sentences. There also didn't seem like high security for the space ports. You just bribe someone and you are good to go. No wonder why the Empire fell to Ewoks!
In the novels supposedly Jax knew Anakin and they can recognize each other's Force signature. I just wonder why Vader didn't sense Obi-Wan or Yoda. Of course, Obi-Wan and Yoda weren't actively fighting the Empire like Jax is.
I saw a funny drawing about that: http://otisframpton.deviantart.com/art/Q-Is-For-Quitter-458528664
Thanks. I think he realized the law was so screwed up he would probably never get him out going the legal route.
I hope so too. I haven't outlined this story, so I am winging this.
Thanks everybody for reading.
Once we entered hyperspace I was able to breathe easier. Den turned to face me. “Who is this mysterious second prisoner you felt compelled to liberate from Despayre? Was he a member of Whiplash?”
I shook my head as I unfastened my crash webbing and stood. “No, just a kid born on that miserable planet that deserved to be free.” I walked out of the flight deck and came upon I-Five in the ship corridor.
“Jax, I believe my menacing presence as a 501-Z police droid overwhelmed the young man you brought on board. I tried to assure him I was acting in jest when I informed him he was officially detained, but he was not comforted by that revelation. I assume he is under the impression that droids are not capable of humor.”
I shook my head as I gave I-Five a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “It’s not your fault. I terrified the poor boy prior to busting him off planet.” I moved down the corridor to the cargo area with I-Five following close behind. “Where is he? I’ll talk to him.”
I-Five pointed to a dark corner of the cargo area where I could clearly hear soft sobs. “Go ahead and get the women out of the sanitation vehicle and I’ll take care of him.”
“Will do.” I-Five moved across the bay as I neared Norro’s location. I found him lying in a fetal position on the steel deck. His hands and arms were wrapped around his head and face, shutting the world out.
“Norro.” I called out to him softly as I slowly approached his position. “You’re alright. Nobody’s going to hurt you.”
The boy moved his hands so he could peek out between his fingers. His gaze fell on my boots and traveled up my body until it reached the Sith lightsaber, he then covered his eyes and moaned. “I’m not a shapeshifter,” he mumbled despondently.
“Stang,” I cursed realizing I was still wearing my terror inducing Sith robes. I shucked off the cloak and saber and tossed them aside. I then dropped to my knees in front of the boy. “Norro, it’s me, Jax. I dressed as an Inquisitor in order to escape.”
I heard him take a few quick breaths before he looked up at me. Recognition registered in his eyes but I could tell he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Jax?”
I gave him a broad reassuring smile. “Yes, it’s me.” I held out a hand to help him up. He stared at my proffered hand like it was a snake before he tentatively reached out and gripped my arm. I pulled him to his feet and grabbed him by his shoulders steadying him when it looked like his knees would go out. He looked around his surroundings in shock.
“I’m off Despayre?”
I nodded. “You didn’t deserve to be there.”
He looked at me in disbelief. “But how?”
“I told you I was looking for a friend. I intended on breaking her out of the penal colony. This was all planned out in advance. I simply changed the scheme to include you.”
“I’m free.” Norro began to tremble. I wasn’t sure if he was shuddering from shock or the sheer joy of being free for the first time in his life. I pulled him into my embrace in an effort to keep him upright. I could feel hot tears soak into my tunic as Norro wept onto my shoulder.
“Hey, it’s okay.” I put an arm around his shoulder as I guided him toward the crew quarters. “We need to get you cleaned up and fed.” Norro tried to say something, but the words didn’t come out.
Across the bay I-Five helped the women out of the sanitation droid’s secret compartment. They all looked hot and sweaty from staying in the vehicle’s ray shielded void. “That was uncomfortable,” Sacha complained as she jumped onto the deck. “What took so long?” Sheel and Magash followed close behind looking equally disheveled and dehydrated.
“Sorry about the delay. I decided to rescue a second prisoner.” I guided Norro toward the three women. “This is Norro. He was born on Despayre. I couldn’t leave him there.” I gestured to the women. “Norro, this is Sacha, Magash and Sheel.”
Sheel’s face fell as her eyes glistened with tears. “He was born there?” She let out a harsh breath. “I couldn’t stand being there for a few weeks…I couldn’t imagine living there all my life.” She came forward to hug the boy but then stopped short as her nose wrinkle in revulsion. “Why don’t we get this young man cleaned up?”
I nodded in agreement as I guided Norro to the ‘fresher. “I think we all need to get the smell of Despayre off of our clothes and bodies.”
I knew the sonic shower wouldn’t be enough to get rid of so much grime, so I heated a large pot of water from the galley and brought it to the ‘fresher along with some soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste. The shower was a dual system—sonic while in space and water when at port—therefore there was a drainage system.
Norro was standing in front of the small mirror situated above the sink. He turned his head to the left and right examining his features. I realized this might be the first time he got a good look at himself in a mirror. He turned to me as I entered carrying the warm pot of water. “I don’t look so good.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement of fact. I tried to look upbeat, but it was difficult as I gazed at his skeletal face.
“We’ll get you fixed up.” I rested the pot on the deck as I scrutinized his tangled and matted hair before deciding it was useless trying to wash it. I put down the toilet seat cover and motioned for him to sit. “I think it’s best if I simply cut your hair. I don’t think we can get those knots out without a lot of pain.”
He gave me a nod of the head as he sat down. I reached into a drawer next to the sink and brought out some scissors. “I’ll cut as much as I can with these and then use the clippers on you.”
“Sure,” Norro said softly. “You said you weren’t an Inquisitor…what are you then?”
I gently pulled his hair away from his scalp and started cutting. “I was a Jedi, but the Emperor put an end to that career.”
The boy’s eyes went wide. “A Jedi! I’ve heard so many stories about the Jedi. They were supposed to be guardians of peace and….” His voice trailed off and I could feel a shift in his demeanor.
He gave me a slight shrug. “I heard they were the good guys. They fixed injustices. They kept people safe.” He shook his head. “But I never understood why they never came to help me. How could they be okay with all the brutality and hardships on penal colony planets such as Despayre? And not just prisons. Other inmates told me about planets where slavery was widespread. Why didn’t the Jedi stop the slavers? If the Jedi were so powerful…why did so many people suffer needlessly?”
I stopped cutting his hair and thought about his question. “I don’t know. This is a big galaxy. The Jedi couldn’t know about every bad thing happening.” That’s what I told him, but I knew that wasn’t entirely true. Everybody at the Jedi Temple knew Anakin Skywalker was once a slave on Tatooine. The Jedi Order was well aware of the slave trade on that rimworld planet and did nothing to stop the illicit practice. They didn’t even bother to go back and free Anakin’s mother. I shook my head in disbelief. It was not surprising that Anakin turned against his Jedi brethren. I went back to cutting Norro’s hair. “I’m sorry that you suffered for so long. The Jedi Order did many things wrong, but they also did many things right.” I took a deep breath and let it out. “But it doesn’t matter anymore. As far as I know I might be the last living Jedi. The Emperor ordered our extinction.” I put away the scissors and retrieved the clippers. I ran it over his head, shearing his hair down to his scalp. I then put them aside to admired my work. “That looks better. Go ahead and strip down to your skivvies and get into the shower stall. I’ll pour some water over you. You can lather up and I will rinse you. I’ll then step out and give you some privacy to…um…clean your private areas.”
He nodded as he unzipped his prison jumpsuit and began to pull it off. As soon as he did I gasped in shock. His entire back was covered in scar tissue. “Who did this to you?” I reached out and touched the upraised keloid scars crisscrossing his back and sides.
“Not a who, but a what. A virevole attacked me as a toddler. I was saved by the women at Sister Central and nursed back to health.” He gave a slight shrug of his boney shoulder. “I don’t remember it. It supposedly happened shortly after my mother died of an illness…or so they say.”
“You don’t believe them?”
He chewed his bottom lip nervously. “I don’t know why, but I always felt they were lying to me.”
I gazed at the young man confused. “Do you think some person did this to you?”
“No, I was attacked by a virevole…but I believe my mother died saving me.” He let the jumpsuit drop to the floor as he walked into the stall wearing only his prison-issue boxer shorts. “I’ll never know for sure, but I think the women were protecting me. They didn’t want the burden of her death to haunt me. So I allowed myself to believe their story.” He shook his head with a sigh. “It would break my heart to know she died to save me.”
I had picked up the pot of water, but I had to put it down when I felt the strength go out of my legs. I sat down on the toilet seat while I tried to regain my composure. Norro turned to me gave me a questioning frown. “What’s wrong?”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “The woman I loved—the only woman I have ever loved—died saving my life and the lives of my crew.”
Norro slowly lowered his gaze. “I’m sorry to remind you of that.” He closed his eyes and heaved a sigh. “I think I got the better deal. I would rather have the physical scars.”
I was too choked up to respond right away. After a moment I grabbed the pot of water and stood. “You ready for your shower?”
Norro managed a small grin. “Yes. It’ll be my first. Usually I wash up in a cold stream running near the compound.” I slowly poured the water over the boy’s head as he used the body wash to lather up. His face broke out into a full smile as the water trickled down his body. “The water’s warm.” I poured more water over him and then exited the ‘fresher to allow him to finish cleaning up.
Once outside I leaned against the corridor wall wondering if I could ever get over Laranth’s death. Would I think about her and her sacrifice everyday of my life?
Yes…I probably would.
I looked back to the ‘fresher door and smiled halfheartedly. I know she would be happy that I saved the boy. I’ll never forget Laranth, but maybe with every life I save the heartrending pain of her demise will diminish a little.
Maybe, but I doubt it.
Glad they made it to hyperspace! Interesting revelations about Norro's past...I wonder if he's right or not about his mother.
touching update. Norro should make a great crewmember
Touching indeed. I think Jax will always remember Laranth and each life he saves will make the memories less arduous and sweeter, hopefully. His compassion has never disappeared despite all the hardships, which in itself speaks of his character strengths. Norro does raise some compelling questions.
Really liked this chapter! This cast keeps getting more growth and layers as you go, and they're a joy to read. I'm glad Norro seems to be joining the group for now; his plight worried me and it's good to see him out of Despayre. More interesting stuff on the kid's past as well -- that would be a horrible suspicion to have. I especially liked the last part:
We will never know, but Jax sensed Force potential in the boy and that's why he could select people to help him and not prey on him...so he might have sensed the women weren't being entirely truthful.
Yeah he should.
His first love died. That has to be hard. He opened his heart and then it was broken.
Thanks. I really liked Laranth in the profics. She was like Mara Jade in a way. She was tough as nails, but she fell for the handsome Jedi.
I haven't had much time to write. Darth Real Life has kept me busy, but here is a short post for July.
I walked out of the ‘fresher and down to the galley where the women and I-Five had gathered. I could hear Den and Kwan talking on the flight deck further down the corridor.
Sheel waved me over to a table where she was sitting with Magash and Sacha. “How is your little friend?”
I slid into a booth seat next to Magash with Sacha and Sheel sitting across from me. “He’s still cleaning up. It might take a few buckets of warm water to scrub the dirt off him.”
Sheel reached across the table and put a hand on my arm. “That was a wonderful thing you did for that boy.” She turned to the others in the room. “And what you did for me. I can’t believe you came to get me. Thank you.”
“We couldn't leave you there.” I wasn't sure if Sacha or Magash told Sheel that Yimmon didn't order the mission and I didn't want to get into that now if they didn't. Instead I turned to Sacha with a slight grin. “So…Sacha. I am grateful that you were able to deliver me from the clutches of the women of Sister Central without bloodshed…but would you mind telling me how you knew about a certain birthmark?”
Sacha’s face turned a beautiful shade of mortified red. “Simply by accident.” She took a deep breath. “Do you remember when we were on the ship and you came out of the ‘fresher after taking a shower and your towel slipped? I saw it then.”
My brow furrowed as I tried to member that incident. When I did, I frowned. “You were all the way on the other side of the ship if I recall correctly.”
She gave me a shrug of her shoulders. “Yes, that’s true.”
I shook my head. “Then how did you see a birthmark that small from that distance?”
Magash was next to me and I could feel her body shaking as she tried to contain her laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
The usually stoic Magash burst out laughing at that comment. “What’s so funny? I assumed human and Zabrak humor was similar. The entire situation is humorous.” She pointed to Sacha who now had her head buried in her hands. “Sacha has a cybernetic eye that can zoom in and tightly focus.”
“Shut up Magash,” Sacha moaned.
I-Five leaned up against the wall next to the table. “No, please, tell us more. I find this story extremely interesting. Where exactly is this birthmark?”
“On his buttock,” Magash chuckled.
I-Five’s head swiveled toward Sacha. “Why exactly did you zoom in on Jax’s butt?”
Sacha put her head on the table and wrapped her hands over her head. “Sometimes my eye has a mind of its own. It reacts to various stimuli involuntarily…if I’m startled or if I feel endangered. It’s a reflex response.”
A deep chuckling sound resonated from I-Five’s droid vocalizer. “You felt endangered by Jax’s butt?”
Sacha looked up and glared at the droid. “No…it’s just that sometimes the sensors can’t tell the difference between surprise from danger and surprise from…” She trailed off.
“Shock? Joy? Excitement?” I-Five offered.
Sacha glared at I-Five and started to stand. Not knowing her intentions I stood and put a hand on her shoulder. “Okay, calm down.” I turned to I-Five. “Let’s forget about it. It’s not a big deal.”
Sacha dropped back down to her seat and refused to look at me. The resulting silence soon became uncomfortable. “I think I’ll check on Norro.” I moved out of the booth and walked back down the hall knowing I would have to talk to Sacha privately and let her know there was no need for embarrassment. I didn't want things to become uncomfortable between us.
~ ~ ~
After five pots of warm water Norro came out of the ‘fresher looking refreshed and clean. I gave him a pair of my trousers and tunic to wear, but soon realized I would have to find smaller sized clothing. The tunic hung over Norro’s bony frame like a drop cloth. He gave me a grateful smile. “I haven’t felt this good since…forever.”
“Good.” I put a hand on his shoulder and led him to the galley. “Let’s get some food in you.” I motioned to the vacant seat at the table. “Go ahead and sit down.” Norro slid in next to Magash with a smile and a nod of the head.
I looked through the galley refrigeration unit and located some chocolate ice cream. “Would you like some ice cream?”
“I’ve never had any before, but considering my last meal was a dead virevole, I’d be happy to try some.”
I scooped out half a bowl and put it on the table in front of Norro along with a spoon. “Dig in.”
Norro greedily shoved a spoonful of the frozen dessert into his mouth. He smiled for the first few seconds but then his face contorted into a mask of pain. His cheeks bulged out and his eyes started watering. He tried to talk but with his mouth full of a frozen confection all he could manage was to point to his forehead.
I-Five leaned in to examine the boy. “I believe he is having a body response humans refer to as an ice cream headache.” The droid stood back and turned to me. “Intense cooling of the sinuses causes capillaries to constrict followed by a rapid dilation as they return to normal body temperature. These actions stimulate nerves that is interpreted by the brain as pain.”
I grimaced. “Oh, sorry Norro. It’ll go away in a few seconds.”
The young man closed his eyes as he tried to swallow the large scoop he ingested. Eventually he opened his eyes and looked at me questioningly. “It taste good, but why do you eat something that makes your head hurt?”
I chuckled at his statement. “It doesn't cause pain if you eat is slowly.” I reached out to take the bowl away. “Here, let me get you something else.”
He brought an arm around the bowl protectively. “No. I’ll eat it.”
He took another big scoop and I grabbed his arm stopping him. “Slowly!”
He nodded and ate at a slower pace.
Den came out of the flight deck to meet the new passenger. “I’m Den. Please to meet you.” When he extended a hand out to the boy Norro startled in his seat. I think he thought Den was going to steal his food. After a second he realized what was expected of him and reached out to shake his hand.
Den looked up to me. “What’s your plan for the young man?”
I pursed my lips in thought. “I thought we could drop him off with Pol Haus. I’m sure he knows people who provide homes for orphans.”
“What?” Norro protested. “You are going to drop me off with strangers?” There was despair in his voice and I could see his chin tremble slightly.
“Norro, I told you I’m a Jedi. I have a death warrant on my head. Being around me is dangerous. My friend Pol can find you a nice normal family to live with.”
“Dangerous? More dangerous than spending thirteen years on Despayre?”
I opened my mouth to reply, but then closed it. Despayre was much more inhospitable than any other mission location I ever traveled to. “Norro, you need a family. A mother and father who can care for you. I can’t provide that.”
I was getting a little frustrated with this line of questioning. “First of all I have no experience raising a teenager and I don’t have a wife to mother you.”
He looked over to Sacha, Sheel and Magash. “Maybe one of these ladies can fill that position.”
That got a response from the ladies. Sheel laughed softly, Magash grinned and Sacha blushed.
I reached up and squeezed the bridge of my nose. “It doesn't work that way.”
Norro put down his spoon and gave me a long, searching gaze. “There is no way I could live with normal people and be part of a normal family. I don’t know normal. I’ll be a freak. No one could understand what I've been through unless they've been on the prison planet.” He paused for a moment. “I want to fight the Empire. I want to help.”
I shook my head intending to say no, but Sacha intervened. “I’ll look after him.”
“We both will look after Norro,” Magash agreed.
“I’ll help also,” Den chimed in.
I-Five raised a hand. “I will also offer assistance.”
It was four against one. I thought about it for a second. I know I detected Force potential in the boy. Not enough to train like Magash and Sacha, but his ability to sense a person’s intentions might be an invaluable tool to the Antarian Rangers. I threw up a hand in defeat. “Fine. We’ll drop off Sheel on Coruscant and then bring him back to our base.”
Norro grinned like a fool. "Thanks!" He then shoved another big spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.
I smiled warmly. It looks like my family of friends is growing bigger every day.
Looks like Sacha's got more than her share of embarrassment for one day!
Yes, Norro is going to stay
and loved the part with the birthmark
LOL on the birthmark indeed. Surprise caused by wow! Yay for Norro staying with Jax and crew. He's right unfortunately. He doesn't know 'normal.' This crew of Jax's is like a family anyway.
Liked that everyone was arguing to keep Norro there, from the Dathomirian witch to the protocol droid. Outvoted, Jax. But I don't think he was unhappy with that.