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Beyond - Legends "The Songs of Yun-Bantha" 8/? (AU - late Vong War; NJO, Psylocke, others; updated 12/10)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Onderon1, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    A/N: OK - new month, new chance to start a project and hopefully finish it before year's end. :p

    This is the third in a trilogy of a very AU timeline - mostly Legends with more than a dash of NEU - where Psylocke of the X-Men landed on Sernpidal, saved Chewie, and set off a ripple of generally more positive changes to the Vong War era. :eek:

    (Note: There will be new stories in this timeline after the trilogy wraps up, but I really want to get this done before year's end. In some ways, this is the conclusion of an 8-year project, since I started this particular timeline that far back ... and digressed into an incoherent, retcon-laden mess. [face_blush]

    A very few quick bits - Kylo is, here, Luke and Mara's firstborn son, and a fraternal triplet to Rey and their missing sister, Jemma (more on her in future works [face_whistling]), and Ben Skywalker exists :D

    As far as the other major differences - and there's quite a few - here's links to the first two stories - Sernpidal's Amethyst:

    And, Maelstroms:

    So - grab your pet porg, get some popcorn and a beverage, and let's kick some vonduun crab butt. :falcon:

    DISCLAIMER: LFL's are LFL's, Marvel's are Marvel's, Disney owns all of it, and no money is being made off of any of it.


    Not as long ago as one might think, in a much closer galaxy than anyone suspects ...

    Chapter 1: 27.6 ABY: D'Qar,
    Illeenium System, Outer Rim:

    "Wait, wait - you want to headquarter who, HERE?"

    Callista Janson had heard a lot of bizarre ideas during the nearly 15 years since her escaping the Eye of Palpatine and settling down ... somewhat.

    (She'd married Wes Janson, after all - she'd known what she was getting into.)

    Still, drawing a bigger target on ourselves than we have already doesn't appeal to me, the once-again-able-to-use-the-light-side former Jedi-turned-freedom-fighter pondered as she listened.

    "We're not looking to put the entire Galactic Alliance fleet and military on D'Qar - Mon Cala's got plenty of space, and nobody worth approaching is listening to Pwoe.. But clearly, you folks were prepared for the Vong well before Obroa-Skai fell, and your proximity to Naboo will help us clear out the Vong interdictor messing with refugee traffic in and out of the system," said their purple-haired visitor.

    Wes - who'd survived, along with the Tierfon Yellow Aces, Poe Dameron and Renegade Squadron during the recent defeat of the Vong at Borleais - smiled, looking around at the other high-ranking Resistance officers. Also present was Lyska Janson, Wes and Callista's teenaged daughter, who looked hopeful, if a bit overwhelmed at the suggestion.

    "We're talking about going on the offensive, and more than just cutting supply lines or harrassing Peace Brigade missions. This could be the turning point we need," Garm Bel Iblis - a former luminary of the Rebellion, like many of the Resistance leaders - said via hologram.

    Betsy Braddock - the purple-haired mutant telepath and Jedi who'd participated in a wide array of battles during the war, most recently helping with a fairly-vague, but apparently-highly-successful mission to Coruscant - nodded, while a hooded-and-robed figure beside her shifted a bit. Callista swore she recognized the other visitor's Force-signature, but he was shielding tightly.

    "If we can place a fleet here of survivors from Borleais, ones who worked with the Yellow Aces and Poe's people, we can continue the successful coordination of the Alliance forces. We shan't draw too much attention - we're not yet ready to strike en masse against the Vong - but once things on Coruscant reach a boiling point, we'll cut off this hydra's tentacles. The Vong have already over-extended themselves, and we're months ahead of where we might have been, thanks to Anakin Solo savaging the Vong fleet years earlier at Fondor and the Hutts rallying their fleets," Betsy said.

    Callista became a bit grim at the mention of Anakin; she hadn't been able to send Han and Leia condolences. The mission to Myrkr 4 months earlier had been a mixed victory, and while Callista was no longer a member of Luke's Order, she still held many of them as close friends.

    As if Betsy had sensed her thoughts, the telepath nodded to Callista and said, "Things aren't as dark as they might seem, Callista. While I can't reveal all of our success at Coruscant yet, I can confirm that we found Tahiri Veila alive, and working with lower-caste Yuuzhan Vong dissidents to sabotage the Vongforming of the world. As to whom we rescued ... well ..."

    The gathered rebels gasped and/or applauded as the figure with Betsy lowered his hood.

    Callista tried not to gasp, while Wes' eyes bugged out, and Lyska gasped, "JACEN!?"

    "Hey, everyone. Like Betsy said, things on Coruscant aren't as bad as they might seem," Jacen Solo - still looking too thin, and with a beard that didn't quite suit him - said, smiling thinly.

    "STANG! Now if we could only get Jaina back behind a joystick, we'd be firing on all engines," Poe whooped, blinking as Jacen looked amused and glanced at Betsy.

    For her part, the older Jedi shrugged and said, "I didn't ask Jaina if we could share the news ... frankly, I don't think it's quite time yet for everyone to know. The Teyrians know, of course, but ..."

    "Well, Callista and Wes can be trusted, certainly," Jacen advised, as the Jedi joined the Jansons and Poe while the meeting broke up - further details could be worked out tomorrow.

    Callista glanced at Wes - he didn't keep secrets from her, he was too smart for that - then asked softly, "We've heard a hundred different rumors about Jaina - she was hurt, she had a breakdown, and so on. If it's classified, we'll keep it quiet, but it'd be good to know if she's all right."

    Jacen laughed - not contemptuously, but amused - while Betsy sighed and said, "Oh, Jaina's doing remarkably well - incredibly busy, but she's rebounded from Myrkr in ... spectacular fashion."

    Jacen nodded, tilting his head - Callista could sense a ripple in the Force that was likely him communicating with Jaina via their twin-bond - and he added, "She said it's OK."

    Betsy looked a bit relieved as they all sat in a small conference room off of the main command-and-control facility. "Apologies for the secrecy, but if the Vong knew Jaina had given birth to twins, there'd be no end to the infiltrators and other maniacs flooding Mon Calamari," she began.

    Wes' jaw dropped, while Callista checked her hearing, and Lyska asked, "Wait -"

    "It's a VERY long story - suffice it to say growth acceleration via Force-trance was involved. And Jaina and Ganner make a really nice couple, and the boys are growing like weeds," Jacen said, with as much pride as bemusement, while he showed the Jansons and Poe a hologram from his datapad.

    Callista raised an eyebrow at the domestic scene - Ganner Rhysode holding a small baby in one arm, the child with hair the same shade of black as the Teyr-born Jedi, while Ganner had his other arm around Jaina's shoulders. She held another baby, who had brown and white hair.

    "Wait ... one is Ganner's, and one is Jagged Fel's?" Wes asked, shocked.

    Callista put a gentle, but firm hand over his and said, "No stranger than me being stuck in a computer core for decades and possessing the mindless body of Luke's ex-girlfriend, sweetheart."

    Lyska looked around, finally rolling her eyes and replying, "And you wonder why I'm so cautious about the Force? It makes everything WAY weirder than it has to."

    "Not as weird as things'll be if the Vong win the war, kiddo," Poe pointed out.

    Betsy nodded, growing grim, while Jacen deactivated his datapad. "We're awaiting word from Luke and Mara as they and a field team reconnoiter Coruscant. They'll meet up with Tahiri and her contacts, and see what the situation on the ground is. For now, our mission is to work with the various resistance - and Resistance - cells in Vong-held territory," the telepath said.

    Jacen smiled without amusement as he added, "We're far from beaten. Let's take our galaxy back."


    to be continued ...
    SkywalkerShine likes this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Loved the big reveal about Jaina ;) and the Callista POV. Her married to Wes. That is one fascinating pairing you got there. @};- I will be watching this one.
    SkywalkerShine likes this.
  3. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
  4. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Thanks. :) I rather liked the pairing - there's a story there I've yet to tell, but I've got a lot of bunnies to herd right now (this one first!).

    (Mostly, it stems from wanting poor Wes to find someone as good for him as Iella is for Wedge, and Winter is for Tycho, as well as giving Callista a truly happy trajectory that treated her better than what Legends did ... :_|).

    Cowgirl: Thanks, also. :) I'll try to keep this updated better than I did with Amethyst - FACPOV, I could've combined Amethyst, Maelstroms and this into one gargantuan beast, but attempting to bite off that much at once was part of my failure to complete the original Amethyst. [face_blush]

    As far as what's ahead - short term will be a slight mixing up of the events of Enemy Lines, which actually took place before Dark Journey in Legends (I got things a bit out of order, but it is an AU, so I figure that's OK :D).

    That'll reveal the identity of the mysterious Yun-Bantha in the title ... plus, more A/T. [face_party]

    Then, on to Destiny's Way, which - given the presence of Rian and Roan - will have a somewhat different series of events ... and some more survivors than in Legends ... [face_whistling](Oh, and a certain Hapan princess wants her boyfriend back. ;))

    And, after that? More AU craziness, a rush to the finish line, and - hopefully, before the holidays - this 'fic will be finished.

    There's a certain blister whose post-YV-War adventures I want to highlight in the new year ... :cool:

    - Thanks again, and more Friday, :D
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  5. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    A/N: Backstory, a reunion, and a reveal (to some of the wider galaxy ;)) - plus, "Yun-Bantha" makes his entrance! [face_laugh]

    Chapter 2: (Flashback: 25.8 ABY:)

    She'd counted on her low-grade Force sensitivity and training, mixed with Jedi morals about mind-probing, to protect her identity more.

    But none of my instructors in the Imperial Knights knew the Jedi would stumble across such a powerful telepath, "Danni Quee" admitted ruefully.

    She'd been pulled aside midway through the reception for the Remnant and Ascendancy forces - seeing Jag again had been both wonderful and heartbreaking, she'd never wanted to lie to her younger brother - by the mysterious, formidable psionic warrior and rapidly-growing Jedi, Betsy Braddock.

    What had really worried Danni had been the presence of the Skywalkers - Luke and Mara, whom she'd at least felt had accepted her.

    "Danni. One of my skills as a telepath is to sense similarities in mental signatures between relatives. And you match General Antilles, AND Jagged Fel. We'd like to give you the chance to tell us whatever you feel you should tell us - after all, you've not harmed any of the Order. Yet," Betsy had offered, kindly enough.

    "Danni" wasn't stupid - she'd known the possibility of being exposed for whom she really was was entirely possible. But her contingency would probably fail, too.

    In for a credit, in for an aurodium ingot, she figured, lowering her mental shields as she met the Jedi's gazes.

    "All right. I'm not whom I seem - but I'm not your enemy, either. I was tasked with infiltrating ExGal, that's true - but only to pass along intel on what we expected from the threat we call the 'Far Outsiders,'" Danni said, shrugging - better just to be as truthful as she could.

    Betsy looked a bit confused, but unsurprisingly, the Skywalkers recognized the Ascendancy's name for the Yuuzhan Vong. "You're a Fel," Mara said, sounding almost impressed.

    "Cherith Fel, to be precise - Jag actually lied a bit during his rant at Chief Fey'lya, I'm a few years older than Jag is. And, alive, obviously," Danni - Cherith - admitted with a sigh. "There's a lot I can't - or, at least, would ask - that you don't make me tell you. But I can reiterate - I'm not your enemy."

    She knew that if three powerful Jedi - and, in Braddock's case, a powerful telepath on top of Force-strong - wanted to get more answers from her, they could just drag them from her mind. Something passed between Betsy and the Skywalkers, and after a moment, Luke relaxed as Mara raised an eyebrow.

    "You've not acted against us, Danni - Cherith. IF you agree to share whatever information you gather with us, as well as with whomever you answer to, we'll trust you. Your expertise with Yuuzhan Vong society and biotech is too important for any one group to monopolize," Luke offered.

    Cherith nodded; it was a far fairer offer than the Masters Skywalker had to give her. "Thank you. I'll make sure to keep you informed," she agreed.

    "One other thing," Mara added, growing grim in a way that dispelled any doubts about the ferocity of the former Emperor's Hand. "Jacen is OFF-LIMITS."

    Well, THAT was direct, Cherith noted, trying not to be absolutely TERRIFIED of the look in Mara's eyes.

    "Quite agreed. He's too young for me, anyway," she said, smiling in what she hoped was a convincingly acquiescing way.

    Mara merely nodded, her expression turning shrewd as she added, "He's too young for you now. Another few years ... well, I know how Starflare's mind works. She likes to plan in what's supposed to be a long-range, 'harmless' web, but she's too much a social climber for her own good."

    "MARA!?" Luke gasped, sounding genuinely shocked - but Cherith wasn't surprised by Mara's insight; if anything, Jade had retained all her skills.

    "... you deduced my mother's idea to try and create a Fel-Skywalker heir just from how Jacen's looked at me?" Cherith asked, impressed.

    Luke turned several shades of red, while Betsy looked mortified, but Mara just gave Cherith an infuriatingly pitying look.

    "Cherith, please. The galaxy has this delightfully romantic idea of Soontir and Wynssa Starflare riding off into the Unknown Regions together out of true love. And that might even be true - I'm not so cynical as to deny your parents might just BE that crazy for each other after all these years. But NOBODY of your father's rank got hitched back during the height of the Empire without some SERIOUS onlooking from the ISB, Imperial Intelligence, and maybe even the Inquisitorius. Syal Antilles Fel was never as naive or vapid as fools like Isard, Tavira, Zsinj, and so on thought. An actress is just the civilian side of a potential spy, and Wynssa could've waved her pinky finger and had a billion saps kneeling to help her at the height of her career," Mara pointed out.

    She led the way back to the party, adding, "And the Moffs did offer your father the Imperial throne. I don't even fault Wynssa for aiming high - or carving her own place out of the ice after you joined the Empire of the Hand ... whomever they're working for now. Plus, Jagged's obvious bait for Jaina."

    27.6 ABY: Coruscant:

    Well, that did work out ... sort of ... even if Jaina married Ganner Rhysode, instead of Jag, Cherith/Danni reflected as she looked around and took readings.

    The pod-ride down through Coruscant's altered atmosphere had not been pleasant; she knew she was needed, and appreciated that, but Danni - it was just easier to stay "in character" when in a group mixed between those who knew her true identity and those who didn't - actually missed Mon Calamari.

    Babysitting my nephew and his brother would've been more fun than infiltrating the shaped heart of the galaxy, Danni thought, sighing as she looked around. She'd heard stories of Coruscant's majesty as the "Jewel of the Core" ... but the Yuuzhan Vong had turned it into a garbage dump.

    Well, that wasn't quite true, Danni admitted. She was impressed by Yuuzhan Vong biotech, even as she was horrified by the pain-focused aspects and the contempt for other species. All of that was why they were here, trying to find Tahiri Veila and her Shamed One allies, to promote a revolution against the Vong high-castes who were driving the war effort.

    More data we have, the better prepared we are for the rendezvous, Danni reflected, smiling beneath her disguise as she scanned again.


    I think I'd rather stay up with Ben crying, after a sparring session with Kyle, than go through that again.

    Strictly speaking, Luke Skywalker - Master of the New Jedi Order, slayer of the Death Star, subverter of Darth Vader - wasn't serious; but there was something about riding a modified pod on only a repulsor disc down through a planetary atmosphere that did make the ride seem less preferable than ...

    oh, just about anything.

    Heard that, farmboy, Mara teased - Luke smiled over at her, able to see past the Yuuzhan Vong armor and the Vong-skin-tone body stocking she was wearing as part of her disguise.

    They, with Danni Quee and the Wraiths, had set out to infiltrate what had been Coruscant.

    Well, had being the operative word ...

    There were entire spacescrapers knocked over - by firepower from the Yuuzhan Vong conquerors of the New Republic's capitol world, or from the first wave of worldshaping the Vong had unleashed, Luke wasn't certain.

    But there was something else. A spread - a clinging presence -of Vong plantlife, in shades of green and brown and Force knew what other colors, colors Basic lacked words for, clinging to the silver and white and duracrete-grey of the jewel of civilization Coruscant had been.

    Not just clinging. Shot through with Vonglife, part of Luke - the Jedi Master who'd come to appreciate life of all kinds, far removed from the wide-eyed farmboy who'd boarded a beat-up Corellian freighter a lifetime - thought, wrinkling his nose at the smell.

    How many dead are there ...?

    Luke blinked; he grieved for the lives lost, of course, but he also was a little taken aback by the intensity of the pain Coruscant's loss was causing him, and he drew on the Force to reassure himself.

    That, of course, was when he sensed the other reason they were here - something roilingly malignant, definably dark-side in a way Luke hadn't sensed in years, and Mara shared his concerned look.

    But there was more - Danni, with Bhindi Drayson, one of the Wraiths' tacticians, and Baljos Arnjak, the Wraiths' biological expert, had taken some initial readings ... and whatever was going on on Coruscant wasn't just limited to plants being turned loose.

    "The temperature increase, the increase in relative brightness from Coruscant Prime, the pockets of altered atmosphere - Master Skywalker, I think Coruscant's being moved. Closer to Coruscant Prime - the Yuuzhan Vong are ... doing more than the kinds of Vongforming we saw on Belkadan and other worlds," Danni called.

    "It's an initial hypothesis, but Danni's guess is valid. I can only guess they're using dovin basals to move Coruscant closer," Baljos said, shrugging with a grim expression on his face.

    "A capitol world. They want to recreate their lost homeworld?" Luke wondered.

    "About as valid as any guess, Luke. But we'd better keep moving," Face Loran, the Wraiths' leader, recommended.

    Luke nodded in agreement - Face, from what little he knew of the Wraith, was a skilled expert in commando and infiltration operations. Normally, Luke would defer to the Wraiths to guide them to their target, but with the jumble of landmarks, the Jedi were taking point.

    Especially with the coming reunion, the Jedi Master reflected, smiling as he led their party under the cover of a shattered spacescraper.

    One of the ground panels opened, and a teenaged girl's voice called in Rim-accented Basic, "Thranta?"

    "Molitor," Mara replied, smirking a bit as Tahiri - clad in a black Yuuzhan Vong cloaker, as functional as a combat bodyglove and covered with various weapons belts and other biots - climbed up, followed by two Yuuzhan Vong, a female who looked almost human and a scarred, powerful male.

    "Masters Skywalker - Danni! - everyone. Great to see you," Tahiri greeted, hugging Luke and Mara before shaking hands. "These are Niirit Esh and Kunra, two of the other leaders of the Shamed One revolt. We've been tracking the disruption in the Force in between raids on the warriors."

    The Wraiths looked impressed, while Danni asked, "Tahiri, how did you escape Myrkr? The Masters Skywalker've been tight-lipped."

    Tahiri grinned a bit, as a loud BAMF-A! filled the air - and a cloud of sulfurous smoke parted, to reveal a towering bull bantha.

    "When did your bantha gain the ability to teleport?!" Baljos asked, and Luke repressed a grin - it was a long, if happy, story.

    "We can chat more once we're under cover ... but so we don't have a lot of shocked gasps later on, there's one more person to introduce," Tahiri said.

    She turned to the tunnel entrance, while Mara squeezed Luke's hand - they were both relieved that Tahiri was well, and even moreso for her companion.

    Still, I think the Wraiths are going to be just a little stunned, Luke thought, unable to hide a happy smile as the Force rippled in advance of the arrrival.

    An athletic, almost-grown young man with messy brown hair and Skywalker-blue eyes climbed from the hole, wearing a cloaker like Tahiri and the Vong,.

    He linked hands with Tahiri and smiled in embarrassment, while Danni did a double-take, and the Wraiths tried not to stare.

    "... he's alive? But - there was a funeral on Hapes - unless what you buried was a clone - and the attack at Myrkr was on a cloning facility - !" Danni gasped.

    Anakin Solo - VERY much alive, himself, and fully healed - smiled a bit more, calling, "Yeah, it's me, guys. 'Ri and Bangor saved me at Myrkr."

    "Now, like Tahiri said, we'd better get under cover. Something Force-strong - and DARK - is running around here, along with the warriors ..."


    - To be continued ...
  6. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
    Would I be correct in assuming that Bangor is Yun-Bantha?
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    This gets cooler by the second! Danni isCherith Fel? =D= And Mara's estimation of Syal [face_laugh] [face_thinking]

    Wow, moving Coruscant closer to the primary will definitely change the ecosystems :eek:

    But the capper was the A/T reveal at the end.

    A teleporting Bantha -- that is quite fascinating. ;)

  8. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    Cowgirl: You''ve hit it on the nose - Bangor is "Yun-Bantha," a minor "deity" in the Shamed Ones' Jeedai heresy. :p There's a whole story's worth of details on how the big fellow gained his power, and if I can ever find the time (or a non-truncated version [face_waiting]), I'll repost or rewrite it ... [face_thinking]

    WarmNyota: Thanks. :) I long suspected that "Danni" seemed too convenient to be a mere OC, and the Remnant had to get their intel on the YV (and Jedi developments in fighting them) from somewhere (the former Empire of the Hand is another possibility, but that group's final fate was never entirely revealed ...).

    AFA Coruscant getting closer to its sun, I do intend to do more with that than in canon. Coruscant recovered far too quickly from the YV War in Legends, IMHO, and a longer rebuilding actually ties into the NEU idea of the New Republic/Galactic Alliance capitol moving between member worlds.

    And A/T, FTW! :D More with them next chapter, though - right now, a shift back to Mon Cal, and a quick update on what Jaina and Co. are up to ...

    Chapter 3: 27.6 ABY:
    Heurkea Floating City,
    Mon Calamari, Outer Rim:

    "I don't trust her," Jaina said flatly - she sensed Ganner at least agreed with her on that, which made this discussion even more confusing.

    Ganner nodded from where he was cleaning up lunch - they took turns, with one cooking and the other cleaning, while the nanny droid watched the boys. Nearing 2 months, now, Rian and Roan were starting to actually become quasi-mobile - well, rolling over and trying to crawl - and Jaina had had to stop taking them to the command center because of their increased activity. (Everyone cooing over the babies made it hard to get work done.)

    "Neither do I. And I'm NOT saying we let her near the kids - ever, PERIOD. But Vergere does seem - concerned - about something, and she was pretty desperate to see you," Ganner said, filling the dishwasher before he turned to the pans and pots that needed hand-scrubbing.

    Jaina bit her lip; it was a bad habit, almost childish in some ways, but still healthier than ruining a punching bag or training droid.

    "You mean, she was just looking to see Jacen, and only because he went off-world with Betsy to rally the Resistance and other partisans," Jaina grumbled, drying (Ganner would've done it, but she didn't mind helping him, and his closeness only made her feel better).

    He kissed the top of her head and said, "I didn't promise Vergere anything. GAI's monitoring her apartment, after she was released from custody, so I don't expect her to show up uninvited. But she can act kindly, even if it's only from enlightened self-interest, like she did when she helped save Mara - and me."

    Jaina shrugged, taking her frustration out by buffing a particularly drenched pot with her dishrag. "Fair point. I'll go see her after I feed the boys," she agreed.


    I suppose I'm really being so grouchy because I'm not flying any more, Jaina admitted as she followed her datapad map through the housing complex.

    She loved her family - she wouldn't trade her boys for anything, especially with how they seemed to discover something new and refresh Jaina's perspectives every day, while Ganner had become the man she really, truly saw herself spending the rest of her life with. And helping to coordinate Jedi and Galactic Alliance forces against the Vong was rewarding; with Cal Omas' election, the resistance to the Vong invasion was starting to gain momentum.

    But Jaina still missed the skies.

    Is it my Skywalker blood or the Corellian in me? Eh - by the time the boys grow up, I'll only be in my mid-30s. Plenty of women restart their careers after having kids. Look at Mara, or Mom, Jaina figured, smiling at the thought of her sons as young men.

    She stopped before the nondescript door on her map, then rang the doorbell - Jaina wasn't totally sure how Vergere would react to a Force-call.

    On the one hand, she's been mentioned in the old holocrons as being a member of the old Jedi Order, so she might seem traditionalist. On the other hand, she tortured Jacen, helped try to shape Tahiri, and was upset that Anakin escaped Myrkr alive. I really, really don't like Vergere, Jaina fumed.

    She shoved down her anger - she didn't want the babies to sense any more negativity than they'd naturally pick up - as the door opened.

    "Jaina. Thank you for coming. I would have understood your refusal, but your willingness to overlook my - directness - is appreciated," Vergere greeted.

    Jaina just nodded, entering the conapt and glancing about; she hadn't expected Vergere to redecorate it, but it was very sparsely furnished, even by Jedi standards (old or new Order). "You did help Jacen, as much as you hurt him - at least, he still speaks highly of you. So I figured I should at least hear you out," she said in a neutral tone as they found seats around Vergere's modest kitchen table.

    The Fosh nodded, glancing at the stove - a still-steaming teapot lifted from the burner and floated to a hotpad on the table, while two teacups and dishes wafted over from the countertop. Jaina thanked Vergere as she poured two cups; Mara had taught Jaina how to neutralize ingested poisons, so any nasty surprises would find Jedi techniques ready to counter them (assuming Vergere did have anything planned).

    And if she doesn't, all the better, Jaina figured, raising an eyebrow at the Fosh as she sipped her tea and crossed her hands in her lap.

    "You are a practical sentient, so I'll get right to the point. When Wynssa Starflare-Fel stopped by two weeks ago to see her first grandchild - your younger son, Roan - she mentioned she was speaking with Dif Scaur and Winter Celchu, yes?" Vergere asked.

    Jaina was both stunned that Vergere had even known about that part of Wynssa's visit, and yet somehow not surprised - the Fosh's Force-skills, advanced as they were, certainly could've picked up on the intelligence exchange. "Yes, she did, actually. I don't know more details than that, though," she said.

    Vergere nodded, suddenly seeming tired - or, perhaps, disappointed. "I have sensed ... anxiety among my GAI 'shadows,' far more than makes sense. They know I am here to continue Jacen's training, as much as he and your uncle will allow, so I don't believe I am the cause of the GAI's dissatisfaction. I fear the Chiss may have exchanged intelligence about Yuuzhan Vong biology with the ... more abrupt elements of the GAI, to fearful potential," she said, softly.

    Jaina realized just what Vergere was suggesting, and tried not to be ill at the thought. "You think they're planning a - a Vong-specific poison?" she whispered.

    (True, any advanced microphone might pick up on the exchange, but the GAI hadn't stopped Jaina from meeting with Vergere, either.)

    Vergere's feathers turned an unflattering shade of grey as she sipped more of her tea. "The war is ground to a halt, even with the rally at Borleais and Jacen's return. While I am sympathetic to the idea of breaking a stalemate to save Galactic Alliance lives, I CANNOT countenance doing so by genocidally slaughtering the Yuuzhan Vong. There are billions of innocents - Shamed Ones, workers, and even shaped natives of our galaxy - who would be lost if such an agent were unleashed. We can redeem the Yuuzhan Vong as a species, Jaina - it is their corrupt leadership which needs toppling," she insisted.

    Jaina narrowed her gaze; Vergere made sense, at least from the standpoint of compassion and honor.

    "Winter Celchu would never willingly be party to genocide. She's a good person and she's Alderaanian - I know her. Dif Scaur ... he's cold-blooded, but specieist? I'm not saying it's impossible, Vergere, but the days of people like Cassian Andor are long-gone - there's dirty work in espionage, but that's a far cry from the next Death Seed plague," Jaina replied, wishing she didn't sound so naive to her own ears.

    Vergere's color improved a bit, and she gave Jaina a shrewd look as the younger woman muttered, "Still, you've got a point ... but I have kids to think of. My days of breaking rules and running away to destroy some deadly mistake made by my superiors are way behind me."

    "I understand - better than it might seem. If nothing else, pass along my concerns to Kenth Hamner and the other informal Jedi Council members. They can demand Cal Omas hold Scaur accountable, and we can all sleep better on the moral high ground," Vergere asked, almost pleaded.

    Jaina finished her tea, then nodded; she couldn't look her babies in their eyes and feel good about herself if she failed to act. "I'll talk to them," she agreed.

    Vergere looked relieved, and Jaina took that as a sign she was dismissed - even as polite as Vergere was, there was something unsettling about the Fosh.

    It's not that she's an avian; she's ruthless, and still talking about 'training' Jacen. For what? He's got the World Brain listening to him, she pondered.

    This war just kept getting more and more bizarre, and Jaina was starting to wish she'd taken Malla's offer to build a home on Kashyyyk.

    But look at what the Vong did to Toola, and Sernpidal - and Coruscant. I wish Mara or Mom were here, Jaina thought, sighing.

    Well, she was a mom now, too. And she was going to make sure her boys grew up in a galaxy that was both moral and free.


    to be continued ...
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb characterization of Jaina: starting with her missing "the skies" ;) and thinking hey when my kids are older, I can resume my career. :cool: Down to her suspicion/misgivings about Vergere, which I have always shared. [face_thinking] Vergere does have some valid points and concerns and sharing those with persons in authority who can do somethings about the problem, investigating and forestalling any underhanded scheme is a sound idea.

    I love the tone of Jaina's thoughts on her mom and Mara. The former especially is warm and not fraught with tense undertones. :)

    Happy that she and Ganner are all "domesticated" [face_laugh]
  10. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Thanks again. :) As always, you raise a number of excellent points - Jaina's definitely been able to work past a lot of issues with her mother, and she's always been the Solo kid whom I think could prioritize the best. She's also grown up a lot since the events of Maelstroms, and knows what (or rather, whom) should come first. [:D]

    And I can see post-Garqi Ganner as being happy with this situation, too. My version of Teyr is ... not quite as calm as Legends-canon might portray it - more on Ganner's backstory in this AU here:

    For right now, though, a quick update, and a focus on everyone's favorite ex-Emperor's Hand, and the Jeedai-who-was-(almost)-Shaped ... [face_thinking]

    Chapter 4: 27.6 ABY:

    Mara watched as Tahiri took time to pick through Bangor's coat, brushing it out, untangling knots, plucking off the rare odd parasite the size of an average human fist, all the while whispering kindly to the giant beast.

    I'd be a fool to think it's - he's - just an animal, though, Mara acknowledged - whatever the bizarre ... other-dimensional "sorceress" Spiral had done to Bangor months ago, while she'd kidnapped the bantha with Anakin, Tahiri, and Betsy Braddock - had given Bangor the ability to basically teleport himself and passengers unharmed.

    Over thousands of light-years, apparently.

    Nice tactical ability, Mara pondered, smiling a little - glad to be free of that karking helmet, to be able to look around the dimmed caverns lit by glow bugs.

    She couldn't, however, bring herself to relax - true, part of that was because of where they were and what they were doing, being on guard was logical in what was now enemy territory.

    And another part of it was because Coruscant had become something between the Imperial Center of Mara's childhood ... and something like the changed biospheres of a dozen different worlds she'd fought on or seen in briefings during the War.

    It's not supposed to happen here, we tell ourselves. Never Coruscant. It's not a real war until it hits Coruscant - all throughout history. The Star Dragons, Exar Kun, the Sith Emperor, Grievous ... Palpatine ... stang, Antilles and his Rogues, Mara thought, smirking a little ungraciously.

    It became a bitter smirk as she remembered, I almost lost my babies to the Yuuzhan Vong.

    Kylo'd fought well, of course - perhaps even a bit too well, the way Rey had described how savage he'd felt to her through the Force when he'd attacked the Vong kidnappers and Viqi Shesh. Shesh had narrowly escaped, but while Mara was worried about how Kylo had wrecked the Vong, she was proud, too.

    Kylo, Rey, and Ben are safe on Eclipse with the rest of the kids. And they're hidden, and you need to focus, Mara told herself.

    Not easy, being stared at by the Shamed Ones. They were curious - maybe sometimes fearful - stares, but it was still strange.

    The Vong I usually see are screaming war cries and chasing me with amphistaffs, Mara thought, managing to smirk again -

    "It's their first time seeing the Supreme Overlady of the Jeedai," Tahiri called - Mara cursed herself for not shielding better, and nodded as the girl finished grooming Bangor.

    "SNORT," Bangor - well, snorted, with a degree of satisfaction, and he trundled over to some kind of moss outcropping to eat while Tahiri sat beside Mara on a makeshift bench - of what, Mara wasn't sure and didn't ask.

    "'Supreme Overlady'? I'm not exactly the ruling kind, Veila," Mara teased back - she liked the girl; Tahiri had come a long way from the chatty, wild Tusken-raised foundling Tionne had brought back to Yavin.

    Of course, Tahiri paid a hell of a price for that ...

    Tahiri nodded - those "domain" scars on her forehead were still unsettling, but she didn't have that strange dissonance in the Force she'd had before she and Anakin had been kidnapped by Spiral.

    Whatever they'd faced in that "Mojoverse" alternate reality had helped Tahiri put her two halves - Veila and Riina Kwaad - together into a stronger whole.

    'Girl.' She's seen almost as much combat at her age as I had when I was her age - what is she now? 15 or 16? Mara realized.

    And I'm a mother of four children, now, and Jaina's got twins of her own. Damnit, I hate when time gets away from me ...

    Of course, she was also used to enemies she could usually sense in the Force. The ... voids ... that the Vong generated weren't so unsettling from a Jedi standpoint, as they were to Mara's desire to know where potential threats were.

    Then, she switched to her purely-psionic telepathy - inborn, honed through training with Betsy Braddock - and the Vong "popped up" clear as day.

    Interesting. They 'read' as near-humans to my psi-scan ... must be something really bizarre in their genetic makeup to make them Force-blind, Mara figured - she wasn't arrogant towards science and tech, just the opposite, but she lacked as much interest or talent as, say, Jaina or Anakin.

    And the knowledge that the latter really WAS alive - just across the way, talking to Luke and that one alpha-male-looking Shamed One, Kunra - was a great relief. Mara hadn't liked the idea of the Myrkr mission any more than anyone else - the voxyn had killed too many Jedi - but something had needed to be done.

    I just don't like sending kids to fight when we should. But what would I do? Risk leaving my kids behind? After what we went through to rescue Rey and have Ben? Mara reflected - she shook her head, this inaction was entirely uncharacteristic. She wanted the planning to be done, but she knew its importance.

    She glanced over at Tahiri, who smiled at her, while the Shamed Ones occasionally chatted with the girl and gave Mara more respectful looks.

    "They can read body language pretty well. You're coming across to them like a hungry vua'sa - you've been denned up too long, you need to hunt," Tahiri said, matter-of-factly.

    A more fragile - or less direct - person might've been deeply offended at being compared to a predatory extragalactic animal, but Mara just laughed, with rare, unguarded warmth - it felt good, after all the chaos of the past few years, to be reminded just who she was when she wasn't Mom or Master Jade-Skywalker.

    "Tell them they're spot-on. When the time comes, I'll have their backs when we track down - whatever's out there," Mara promised, and Tahiri nodded.

    That coiled, hungry, desperate cry of darkness - the one that'd drawn Luke's attention, and later Mara's - rang out again across the ruined cityscape.

    Mara closed her eyes, shielding herself while she Force- and psi-scanned for the call's source, as she mumbled, "That didn't sound thought out ..."

    She was starting to put together a profile of her target. And if she was right, whomever the dark sider was, they might not be a clear-cut adversary.

    Of course. Since when has anything in this stupid war made any straightforward sense ... ?


    to be continued ...
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, :) [face_sigh] I love your Mara POV. She's so herself. Insightful and direct. [face_love]
    Looks like they're about to uncover more clues about the nature of this adversary. [face_thinking]
  12. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Thanks. :) I'm sorry I haven't updated this more frequently lately; busy week at work ... :p

    Mara 's both complicated and straightforward - her Hand training and natural wisdom make her perceptive, while her training and Force-boosted danger sense make her far deadlier than she might seem, and her survival of betrayals that'd shatter weaker people makes her guarded. She's nuanced, but she's also fairly understandable in her motivations.

    I try to make sure I'm looking at the entire character, even the sillier parts (fortunately, with Mara, there's not much, if anything, that's silly :cool:).

    More, now, with Luke and Anakin, and the mysterious Kunra ... [face_thinking]

    Chapter 5: 27.6 ABY:

    Kunra wasn't sure what exactly was bothering the Jeedai and the other humans, but he could guess - their strange Force.

    The scent of death on the air. Something scaring the local survivors. The Jeedai are being affected by ... something like a crazed yammosk? the former warrior guessed.

    He still wasn't sure of what the Jeedai WERE, but he wasn't about to proclaim them as gods. Unlike I'pan or some of the other fanatics, Kunra was able to look at the Jeedai clearly, now.

    Their abilities could be duplicated by a miniature dovin basal and a yammosk, but that'd require slave seeds for the latter ... I'm spending too much time around Niirit, Kunra admitted, watching as the Jeedai Supreme Overlord and Overlady, the Skywalkers, talked with their followers, and the Khapet al'Yun and the Coufee al'Yun and Niirit.

    The newcomers, the non-Jeedai, were strange. Kunra wasn't sure exactly if they were intendants, warriors, or something in-between. The bald one, "Face," liked to mock, though. Kunra didn't dismiss him, though - he fully suspected Face had a keen mind behind his wit.

    Always looking around, taking notice, Kunra thought with mild approval. The blonde-haired female with the infidel devices, on the other hand, was definitely a shaper, or a shaper analogue - "Danni," Kunra thought he'd heard her name was.

    She'd be better back in her damutek. This world is still being tamed - still too raw for shapers. But I'm so much more at home ...

    Kunra snorted at his own melancholy - his own introspection.

    I've been spending too much time with Niirit, he thought, not for the first time - even as she smiled over at him shyly, and he felt himself blush.

    But that may not be a terrible thing.


    Luke shivered against the beacon call of darkness he felt wash over them in the caved-in hideaway that Anakin and Tahiri's Vong allies had created. Whatever they'd come to Coruscant to find was demanding that anyone who could hear it come to its aid.

    Mara nodded, slipping up beside him. "I hear it too. Whatever - whoever - it is, they're attempting to control the survivors of Coruscant's fall. Put them to work to find something," she said, and Luke glanced at her.

    "How'd you pick up on that?" he asked, keeping an ear open as Anakin and Tahiri coordinated with the Yuuzhan Vong's latest search party.

    Mara gave Luke her "I've been paying attention, Farmboy" smile and tapped her temple with one perfect finger. "Been using my telepathy instead of the Force, and reading the poor saps being called by - whatever it is. 'Nyax,' they keep calling it. It - he, for the sake of argument - is more empathic, primal, than actively mind-controlling," she said.

    Mara would know the difference better than I do, Luke admitted. When he'd been Palpatine's apprentice - not a period he liked to think too much about - he'd been outmaneuvered and fooled for a time by the Sith Lord's subtleties. And those had been without "Darth Sidious" using active Force mind control.

    "So, we'll have to keep our mental shields up. That'll hurt coordination through the Force," Luke considered, turning to look at Anakin as he and Tahiri approached.

    Anakin looked troubled, while Tahiri was concentrating. "I think Master Jade-Skywalker is right. This isn't like a yammosk grabbing ahold of a slave's brain; that's what's happening, but the source is ... how do I describe it?" she asked, looking at Anakin.

    "Whatever Nyax is, it - he - is reacting. There's been no real plan behind whatever's happening, I think. It's like we're dealing with some ... angry little kid," Anakin said, looking off into the distance.

    Luke focused at where Anakin was looking, and mumbled, "I knew this place before the invasion ... the grounds almost look like ..."

    His blood chilled, as much from another outcry from Nyax as the realization that these grounds were above a Force-nexus ...

    "Luke?" Mara asked, squeezing his shoulder, and he clasped her hand for support - part of him felt he shouldn't be so upset at the realization.

    Aloud, though, he said in a hoarse voice, "The - Jedi Temple. The old one, the one we left alone as a museum and memorial ... it was here. And now ..."

    He managed a weak smile, facing his family and the nearest strike team members, adding, "Sorry. It's just -"

    "Like finding your conapt after it's been wrecked. 'Ri and I went back to my folks' - my - conapt weeks ago, just to check on what might be recovered. There ... let's just say sometimes, it's good that Dad treats the Falcon like a mobile home," Anakin said, sympathy clear in his voice and Force-presence.

    Luke swallowed hard, realizing just how much he'd asked of his nephews, niece, and their friends - the horror of sending teenagers to fight this war.

    Mara uplifted him through the Force, as Luke nodded and replied, "Anakin ... thank you. And I'm sorry - for - Myrkr, for -"

    "Hey - hey - Uncle Luke, it's OK. Someone had to go and fight the voxyn. And I didn't think Myrkr through, either," Anakin replied, clasping Luke's wrist.

    Luke just nodded, hugging Anakin, Tahiri, and Mara - this wasn't the best place for an emotional moment, but he refused to be "stuffy-Jedi" to his family.

    "Still - I'm through sending kids - young people - to fight our battles. I'm very proud of both of you, but once this mission is over - maybe you should come back with us to Mon Cal. You've established a self-sustaining resistance, here - I'm not saying leave the Shamed Ones to fight alone, but you've more than earned a break. Your parents and siblings want to see you - and you've got two nephews you've never met," Luke asked Anakin as they walked.

    Anakin grinned, really happy, as Tahiri held his hand, but the young Solo turned serious after a moment. "It's tempting, Uncle Luke - I miss everyone, too. But every cell we create here, every bit of sabotage and whispered bit of 'Jedaii heresy' we spread among new groups of Shamed Ones and workers, brings the war that much closer to being over. I appreciate the offer, but we can feel the end getting closer - and we need to make sure it's a happy ending," he said.

    Well, that's Leia talking through him, for sure, Mara thought over her Force-bond with Luke, while the Jedi Master swelled with pride and new respect.

    He clapped Anakin on the shoulder and said, "Totally agreed. Now, let's go find out whether this 'Nyax' is a threat ... or a lost soul in need of help."


    to be continued ...
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Loved the mutual support and teamwork between L/M. And Anakin is definitely like his Mom, don't stop until the job is done. @};- Although Luke's feelings are justified and understandable too. Anakin and Tahiri have earned some "normal" fun times.
  14. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
    Like Luke, I too am becoming curious about the nature of Nyax.
  15. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    Apologies I haven't updated sooner; I've been very busy ... [face_sigh]

    WarmNyota: There'll be some downtime for A/T at some point. But it might be a bit down the road - got a lot of mileage to cover in this 'fic. :p

    Cowgirl: More with Nyax's origin shortly ... as in Legends-canon, his backstory here is tragic ... but his future doesn't have to be ... [face_thinking]

    Chapter 6: 27.6 ABY,

    A mixed patrol of the Jeedai and Shamed Ones had spread out from the "heretics'" secret base, and Anakin was glad of the help.

    We've done pretty well these last few months, but having Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara here - even temporarily - is a real boost. But we're not ready yet to make a push to fight Shimmrra, the young man thought, focusing as he lead a five-person squad of Wraiths and Shamed Ones toward the dark Force disruption.

    Anakin motioned for the team to hide, while he peeked around a corner of wrecked transport tunnel to look at where Nyax was standing.

    Well ... that's ... not what I was expecting, he thought, showing Tahiri what he saw over their Force-bond.

    A group of bedraggled, half-starved sentients were picking, tearing, or otherwise digging at a wall beneath the old Jedi Temple grounds.

    Looming over them was a cyborg - male, with dark metallic plating, with only a pale, white-eyed human face visible to view.

    One of the enslaved sentients, a badly-pale Duros, fell, and Anakin winced as the cyborg - Nyax, he could sense - ignited a red lightsaber at his wrist.

    He turned away as Nyax stabbed downward, and thought to the other Jedi, We're going to need a new plan - can someone try and trace Nyax's path?

    We've got something, Anakin - Danni's reported a find about a half-click southwest. Let's regroup, 'Ri thought, and Anakin thanked her.

    He signed to order his squad to move out, and risked a quick Force-probe toward Nyax - there was that strange mix of petulance and confusion again.

    Whatever happened to him, he wasn't supposed to turn out like this, Anakin thought, almost sympathetically.

    He scowled as he considered the options, and slipped away before Nyax could sense him. Sympathy didn't mean approval, after all.


    They are so ... foreign. Yet in some ways ... they are not so different than we.

    Niirit had learned long ago that paying attention to details was critical, whether as a shaper or in adapting to new situations.

    Normally, "adapting" would be considered heretical to a Yuuzhan Vong. But Niirit was so far removed from who she'd been at Sernpidal's shipwomb that she found the idea of heresy positively quaint these days.

    I was an adult only in growth, at Sernpidal. I was blind to the reality of how destructive the worship of Yun-Yuuzhan has become - our pantheon is out of balance. Or, from my shaper's point of view ... Yun-Yuuzhan has become a parasite upon the other Yun'o. And his favorites, the warriors, parasites upon the other castes, Niirit considered.

    She watched the Jeedai casting around, their exotic Fohrze senses alert for that ... part-made-thing Seith abomination that A'ahnekin had said was cursed with the mind of a crecheling. A'ahnekin's revulsion toward what had been done to Ny'eahzx was evident, and Niirit shared it in many ways.

    Made-thing ... technology used to restore some function to a damaged warrior. Except ... how is that different than the implants used to try and shape Ta'herai into Riina Kwaad? Niirit wondered.

    She shook her head; there were two major differences. First, whatever had been done to Ny'eahzx had been a profanation because of the use of made-thing technology in the work. Ta'herai's attempted shaping, while still violating the shapers' cortices, had been purely organic.

    And second ... if what A'ahnekin had said was true, Ny'eahzx had been lifted up from a living death to a mockery of warrior status.

    There are some fates to which warriors should be left. If one dies, then they die, or they deserve the chance to end their life. Even I recognize that. Ny'eahzx should have been allowed a release, Niirit thought, almost sympathetically.

    She wondered when she'd picked up this uh'maan softness, and smiled at Ta'herai as the girl glanced at her and waved. They weren't creche-siblings, but Niirit was proud and honored to call the Coufee al'Yun a friend.

    It is not softness or weakness, Niirit realized, smiling a little to herself.

    This is the strength Shimmrra and his warriors will never understand ... well, not most warriors ...

    Niirit gave Kunra a playful look, and his eye-sacks turned a very attractive shade of blue.

    But playtime would have to wait, as the Jeedai Overlord Skywalker raised his hand and said, "We're here."


    This is it? You're sure, Farmboy? Mara asked, and Luke nodded over his shoulder at her as a wheeled hatch started to turn.

    Danni Quee popped her head up and waved, calling, "We've found what looks like an abandoned lab, torn up by lightsabers - I think our dark-sider cut his way out of here. Baljos and Bhindi are checking the intact computers. Whatever this place was, it was nasty."

    "Nasty how ... ?" Anakin asked, commendably wary - Luke applauded his nephew's increased caution. Being a commando leader had taught the boy (young man, Luke mildly reprimanded himself) to watch out not just for others, but also himself.

    Or maybe it was Myrkr, and Tahiri rescuing him ... and losing so many others in the raid ...

    Luke shoved the grief and memories aside, as Danni's face scrunched up and she radiated unease. "I think we found some kind of cyborging lab ... one where some kid was made to grow up too much. There were records of bone growth prolonging, lightsaber implantation, and some kind of remedial brain-chip implantation," she said.

    Mara went pale, and Anakin and Luke shared an unsettled, nauseated glance. "That parallels what we guessed when we sensed Nyax before," Tahiri agreed, scowling. "But who'd put a kid through ... Vader-like experiments?"

    "I have an idea, but we need to check those computers. C'mon," Mara said, leading the way down the ladder as Danni descended into the lab. Luke and the others followed her, while the Jedi Master racked his brain - this all seemed eerily familiar, like he'd faced Nyax before ...

    He looked around the lab, noticing - and wincing at - a blanket-covered body. Baljos nodded, scowling, as he said, "This 'Nyax' cut her apart with lightsabers - the holorecording suggested she was his mother, from what she was saying to him before he attacked her. He didn't seem to know her, though."

    "The records suggest it was because he took a lightsaber through the forebrain. What was left was cybered up to get him moving again, but the person he was - memories, personality - were destroyed," Bhindi called from where she was slicing one of the computers. "He fought someone named 'Cronal.'"

    "What!?" Mara demanded, giving Luke a nervous glance - it wasn't entirely out of character for her, since they both knew how deadly Cronal had been.

    "The former Director of Imperial Intelligence, also known as Lord Shadowspawn - I defeated him first at Mindor, and later, finally at Andooweel. He was playing around with techno-organic matter at that point, and caused my artificial hand to ... mutate. I managed to slice it off and save myself - not a fun time - and the hand strangled Cronal to final death," Luke explained, as the Shamed Ones and Wraiths traded surprised looks.

    "And people say we have the weird missions," Baljos muttered. "I managed to get a name on the late lady - Roganda Ismaren?"

    Luke's blood chilled - the pieces snapped into place, while Mara became her truly icy "someone-has-to-die-for-evil-stupidity" self and spat, "Irek. She cybered up her own son even worse than when he was a child ... she had an Imperial scientist implant a subelectronic converter in his brain when he was small."

    The Wraiths looked like they'd be sick, while Tahiri held Anakin's hand and he shook his head. "Mom told me about how Irek could command droids ... but it wasn't the same as technometry, the Force power to directly 'mind-trick' droids and electronic devices. Irek was a victim of his mother's greed," he said.

    "Well, he's a dangerously undereducated victim. There's programming in the computers that was supposed to give him a personality - an ugly, dark-Jedi personality - but it was interrupted when a groundquake killed one of the ysalamiri that was keeping him cut off from the Force. He sensed the outside world, woke up, and ... well, you know the rest," Bhindi said, saddened.

    Anakin brightened a bit, though, while Tahiri raised an eyebrow. "You've got that look again, dummy - what are you planning?" she asked, smiling a bit.

    "Well, if Irek's not fully programmed with the drive to conquer, maybe we can restore his sentience ... and free will," Anakin suggested.

    Luke and Mara exchanged a glance, and Mara nodded. "It's worth a try. He at least deserves the chance to be free," she replied.

    "So," Luke asked as they gathered around, "how do we stop a 3-meter-high lightsaber-wielding, Force-sensitive conquest machine?"


    to be continued ...
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oooh, now the identity of Nyax is revealed. Irek certainly had an unusual backstory :eek: [face_thinking] I like Anakin's thoughtful maturity. He's not rushing headlong into things. :p
  17. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Yeah, Irek took a decided turn for the worse after the events at Belsavis. :( And his story is actually Legends-canon, so far - Roganda was quite desperate ... [face_worried]

    And Anakin ... yeah, I think the near-death experience has made him grow up. In some ways, it's his own version of Traitor or Dark Journey ... just considerably less angstful and far more furry, since the Ewoks healed him in this timeline. [face_party]

    (Doesn't mean that the dummy has entirely matured, but he's looking before he darts down hallways imitating his father. And he has Tahiri, Bangor, and a few dozen or so friendly Yuuzhan Vong to look after him. :p

    Apologies I've not updated this lately. DRL's been pesky, but I should have some time Wednesday, hopefully ... ? [face_blush]
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  18. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    Author's note: Ugh ... been a long few weeks. Apologies for the wait on this ... [face_blush]

    First, a conclusion to Nyax's arc here; then, in upcoming chapters, more with the Mon Cal situation, as well as just who deals with Tsavong Lah in this timeline, since Jaina's got rugrats. :p

    Chapter 7: 27.6 ABY,

    He didn't understand much of what was going on, but he was able to pick it up quickly enough.

    The servants - the ones whom he could influence, who did his bidding with either enough nudging or enough pain - called him Lord Nyax.

    The title Lord, especially, he liked. It indicated respect and importance both, and that mattered to him ... since part of him thought he deserved it.

    But the world - everything that should have been his, should have been bowing down and respecting him - was broken.

    And there were others, ones who either didn't obey ... or whom he couldn't nudge, or whom he couldn't make feel pain.

    Well, he had his blades. And the oddly-armored ones were an amusing challenge.

    The slaves, on the other hand, were still thinking that they couldn't breach the wall. Nyax wanted whatever was beyond that wall - he could feel the power there, know instinctively that it would improve and strengthen his abilities.

    That was when the first of the oddly-armored ones appeared, the ones he couldn't feel with his mind - and the one with yellow hair, who'd resisted him before. She liked pain, it seemed.

    Nyax just smiled, igniting his blades.


    You're sure about this? Tahiri called back to Anakin, as she watched Nyax start to run toward Kunra and the other Shamed One warriors.

    We're stronger than the sum of our parts, 'Ri. If I was trying this alone, I don't think it'd work, either - but we've got nothing to lose, right? 'Kin said, and Tahiri nodded, opening to him fully over their bond.

    Whatever they were going to try, it had to happen fast, because Nyax's speed, strength, and Force-power was more than a match for the warriors. Kunra was holding his own, but the others simply weren't his equal - and one of them went down beneath a flurry of lightsaber blades.

    Tahiri let muscle memory take over as she leapt into the fight - and she hurled a thud bug at Nyax' spine.

    He screeched, an animal noise, when the bug struck him - he hadn't been able to deflect it with the Force, and his knees went out from underneath him as Kunra got a chokehold.

    Here goes, Tahiri thought, concentrating as she and Anakin combined their Force-strength.

    And she drove an overwhelming Force suggestion directly into Nyax' mind:


    His raw, unfocused willpower was enormous, no question - as was his Force-potential.

    But compared to two Jedi who'd been linked since childhood, who knew each other better than they knew themselves?

    Nyax had no chance, and his eyes rolled back in his head as he fell unconscious.

    "Good thing, 'cause I think that about did it for me too ..." Tahiri breathed, wobbling and letting Kunra catch her.



    Anakin calmed himself, sensing she'd borne the brunt of the mind trick's channeling on herself - he wished she'd let him help more, but he recognized why that hadn't been possible.

    "She's all right - they lost Ka'larn, but nobody else was killed. 'Ri's asleep from the Force-channeling. She should be OK by the time they get Nyax back here," Anakin said to his aunt, uncle, and their other waiting allies as he sat cross-legged in the chamber where Nyax' cyborging had taken place.

    The entire room rippled not only with dark-side echoes, but the sheer wrongness of the butchery that had occurred. Nyax - Irek's - cyborging just unsettled Anakin on a deep level, and he suspected why it was affecting him so personally.

    I've always had this ... gift with machinery. Tionne identified it as technometry, but even before I learned to use the Force actively, I had a knack for understanding technology. When it gets twisted, that really disturbs me - especially when innocents get hurt in the process, Anakin thought, frowning.

    He watched as the Shamed One strike team descended the ladder to the lab, carefully lowering Nyax; Kunra had Tahiri hanging onto his back, and handed the still-dazed girl to Aunt Mara as Uncle Luke, Bhindi, Baljos and some of the other Wraiths examined Nyax.

    "Kriff, this is messed up. We sure we can get this to work?" Baljos asked, watching as Anakin sat cross-legged near Nyax's head.

    "We'll never know until we try. And if we give Nyax - Irek - a chance, he might surprise us," Anakin said, sinking into a Force trance.

    Part of him reached out through blue-electron haze toward the reactivated memory banks of the lab, to the artificial memories intended for Nyax.

    A more organic, wild part of Anakin reached through the Force for Nyax's mind, and he breathed aloud, "Hold him steady. I'm about to start."

    The Wraiths and some of the stronger Shamed Ones pinned Nyax's limbs, and Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara telekinetically helped keep him in place.

    With that, Anakin closed his eyes and started transferring the data from the computers to Irek, but also radiated comfort and acceptance.

    You don't have to be the villain if you don't want, he offered, sensing rationality, awareness - and both fury and elation - in Irek's healing mind.

    A seed of realization bloomed into scrutiny, followed by a rage that Anakin had to shield against, but at least this time, Irek didn't merely lash out.

    ... I'll listen, son of Princess Leia. Whether or not I agree remains to be seen, the restored Irek Ismaren thought, and they opened their eyes.

    Anakin smiled with relief and exhaustion as Tahiri - now fully awake - helped him stand, and she asked, "You OK?"

    "I'll be good, once I get some rest. We can - we should - let Irek stand," Anakin advised, watching as the towering cyborg slowly got to his feet. The Wraiths and Jedi backed away a bit, and Irek gave Aunt Mara a wary glance before focusing on Uncle Luke.

    "... Jedi Skywalker. If I agree to leave the Force-nexus and the other survivors here on Coruscant alone, will you allow me my freedom?" Irek asked.

    Uncle Luke felt unsure, glancing at Aunt Mara before looking at Anakin and Tahiri. "I want to give you the benefit of the doubt ..." Uncle Luke began.

    Irek frowned a bit, while Aunt Mara raised an eyebrow and added, "But you're 3 meters of Force-strong cyborg with way too many lightsabers."

    "Fair points, Emperor's Hand," Irek retorted, smirking as Aunt Mara twitched - certain people reminding her of her past did get under her skin, Anakin knew.

    The cyborg sighed, then, and added, "I don't want to conquer the galaxy any more. It's gotten me nothing but pain. But I'd like to figure out what I do want."

    "Uncle Luke - do we really want to pick this fight? We're battling the Yuuzhan Vong for freedom of choice," Anakin pointed out.

    "What about his past crimes?" Danni replied, frowning at Irek, who somehow turned even more pale, until Tahiri gave Danni a questioning look.

    "He's been cyborged, memory-wiped, brain-damaged, and accidentally killed his own mother. What more do we take from him?" Tahiri replied.

    Danni shrugged, setting Anakin's teeth on edge as she said, "Tahiri, I know you've been a victim of experimentation yourself, but -"

    "But I had nonjudgmental people who helped me work through it," Tahiri emphasized, as Anakin held her hand. "Irek's got - who?"

    Everyone was surprised when Niirit stepped forward and held up her hand, looking at Irek before glancing at Kunra, who reluctantly nodded.

    "The priests would call I'rek an arch-abomination - something dead, returned to a semblance of life by made-thing means. He is no less Shamed, in their eyes, than any of us. And we could use his help, even as we try to help him. I am a former shaper; maybe, in time, we can find ways to replace what was taken from him, give him back real life," Niirit offered, and Irek gave her a grateful bow.

    "Well, that's something new," Baljos whispered, and Anakin felt some relief as Uncle Luke smiled and Aunt Mara nodded thoughtfully.

    "It's a good a start as any. And, it'll allow Anakin and Tahiri to take some time back on Mon Calamari - I know you want to see this through, Anakin, but you both need a break. Bangor's able to evade detection by Shimrra's forces, and your mother's worried sick about you," Uncle Luke insisted.

    Anakin smiled, holding 'Ri's hand as they started to leave. "Well ... if Mom insists," he said, glad to take whatever victory they could get.

    And once we get some rest and see the family, we can head back here and finish what we started - getting rid of Shimrrra and his corrupt court.


    - to be continued ...
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent resolution and good for everyone. Gives Irek a place/niche and A/T a break. :)
  20. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Thanks. :) I wanted something more positive with Irek in this timeline, since he'd been through a meat grinder in Legends ... :(

    Apologies to readers that this has not been updated as I'd planned; RL has been a bit of a schutta lately, but I have some time off with the holidays, so I hope to get things further along. [face_blush] I doubt it'll be done before year's end - there'd be far too much of an artificial rush to the finish line, and I fear it'd badly short-change characters if I do that.

    That said, it's "only" been a week since the last update, so it's more than overdue for something - and something positive, before heading back to the YV fight ...

    So first - fluff, some Hapan perspective (warning for those who don't like Hapans! [face_worried]) and some long-overdue reunions ... :D

    Chapter 8: 27.7 ABY:
    Heurkea Floating City,
    Mon Calamari, Outer Rim:

    "That's it - c'mon! You can do it."

    Tenel Ka raised an auburn eyebrow and allowed herself an unguarded smile as she watched the tableau on Jaina and Ganner's living room floor.

    There was a time that that very sentence might have seemed bizarre ... but scenes like these add weight and joy to life's quirks, the Hapan princess mused.

    Jaina sat beside a blanket as two small babies in matching blue onesies squirmed, with the black-haired one of the boys giggling as he rolled over - and over.

    His fraternal twin - the one with the white forelock amidst his brown locks - took a bit longer, but managed the feat, returning Jaina's happy smile.

    "Figures Rian'd be the one to roll over first - hey, you little veermok!" Jaina laughed, as Rian rolled over again, and actually started to make a forward crawl.

    She scooped up her twins, who made happy noises as Tenel Ka sat beside her friend and reached out her hand to Roan. "They seem a bit older than their chronological age. Forgive me, but I assume Force-assisted growth acceleration is an inexact science?" she asked, returning the tiny boy's smile.

    Jaina's own smile became a bit - tense, Tenel supposed; still, she knew Jaina well enough to feel comfortable that the other young woman wasn't offended.

    "Sorry - I'm still a little defensive over the circumstances. I wouldn't trade them for the galaxy ... but even if Mom, Dad, and everybody else's understanding, there's still that little bit of 'I told you so' over how the boys came to be. Ganner's been so accepting of both boys, even with Jag involved ... if anything, both of them are really easy-going about things. I suppose it helps that Jag's trying to make it work with Shawnkyr," Jaina admitted, relaxing more as she cuddled the twins.

    Tenel Ka let her shields drop a bit as she replied, "You had been through Chaos, Jaina. Believing both Jacen and Anakin slain, Jagged's betrayal - you will hear no condemnation from me. Some of the more ... traditionalist Hapan matriarchs would praise your 'deft maneuvering of two men.'"

    Jaina snrk-ed, shaking her head even as she blushed, and Tenel repressed what would've been another compliment if the Solo heiress had been Hapan.

    "You're really kind, Tenel, but I let my emotions get the better of me, and the dark side through that. If there's one bright side to this whole insanity - in addition to the boys - it's that it forced me to really look at where my vector was taking me. I was becoming a war machine, even before Myrkr, letting my issues with Mom - legitimate or not - percolate under my drive to be the best Jedi pilot. Then Myrkr happened, and things just ... well, I don't want to think about what might've happened if I had become Kyp's apprentice. He's got a handle on his inner darkness, but he still skirts too close to it sometimes," Jaina explained.

    "Ah. And you fear that he might have - unintentionally, of course - led you down paths best left alone," Tenel agreed, letting Rian hold her fingers.

    The boy cooed, and Jaina nodded, her smile returning as she said, "To borrow your signature saying - fact. He's curious about you - want to hold him?"

    Tenel pondered the question; she was hardly afraid of infants, but she wasn't used to them, either.

    "If he squirms, I may have to reinforce my hold with a light TK-field," she advised, carefully getting leverage as Jaina passed Rian to her.

    The baby squealed with happiness, the strength of his kind, curious Force-ripple almost surprising Tenel as he curled into her one-armed grip. Tenel let herself relax, gently rocking Rian as Jaina hummed some lullabye to Roan, and she felt a sense of peace she'd rarely allowed herself for - well, years.

    "They're very easy to just de-stress with - well, when they're happy. Fortunately, neither twin gets too worked up. The trick is to head off one crying before the other one starts, but they generally calm down pretty quickly," Jaina advised, her unguarded grin warming Tenel even as the Force rippled - not negatively.

    The babies seemed to look in the direction of the door, while Tenel fought the urge to leap up and answer it - he was finally back, at the same time as herself.

    Jaina just winked, gently taking Rian back in her arms, and said, "My twin could use some positive distraction from his thousand-and-one questions."

    It was Tenel's turn to blush, then, in a way she hadn't in years, as she and Jaina stood - and the door slid open to admit Lady Braddock and Jacen.


    He'd sensed her, of course - Jacen knew Tenel's mental signature as well as his own or Jaina's - but he hadn't seen her since Myrkr.

    I hadn't had a chance to prepare to see her - ! he thought, less angry than nervous; he and Betsy'd spent the last 2 weeks on the way back from D'Qar coordinating Resistance and Great River cells, as well as simply making their way back across the often-broken or mined hyperlanes between the distant Resistance headquarters and the makeshift Jedi operations hub on Mon Cal.

    For her part, the purple-haired telepath simply smiled, cooing over the babies and greeting Tenel as Jaina let Jacen hug her - not that she would've refused to hug him, but her arms literally were full with her boys. "Glad to see you back. I didn't know Tenel Ka was going to drop in," Jaya said, and Jacen nodded.

    "You're not the type to set me up - and I appreciate that," he replied, smiling as Rian and Roan waved tiny fists at him. "Hey, guys. Keeping your mom busy?"

    Jaina just laughed, nuzzling the twins' hair as they giggled. "Rian very nearly crawled. It's bad enough Ganner and I have to lock up our lightsabers with how telekinetically strong Ri is. The next milestone'll be him walking at 6 months or something crazier," she said, and Jacen wasn't quite sure she was joking.

    "Speaking of - ah, there he is," Jacen said, nodding as Ganner arrived, a duffle thrown over one shoulder, and the babies laughed again as the Teyrian Knight hugged Jaina and carefully took Rian from her, making faces at his son before beaming at Roan.

    "Sorry I smell like a Hutt sauna. Long-distance recon in an X-J doesn't give much time for amenities," Ganner said, making sure to, in fact, lock his lightsaber in a safe while Tenel Ka and Jacen exchanged surprised looks. Jacen had thought Jaina'd been joking.

    As it was, Rian seemed to somehow focus his otherwise wobbly eyesight, and a rotund stuffed animal which reminded Jacen of a cuter, smaller version of a Herglic flew from the floor to the baby's hand.

    "His fine control is remarkable! You're not teaching the twins anything about the Force yet, are you?" Betsy asked, surprised, as the boys cooed.

    Jaina sighed, pride and concern in her Force-presence as Ganner rocked Rian and the baby waved the stuffed - quaggan, Jacen identified the creature.

    "We play some games Cilghal and Tekli've recommended - 'can you sense Mama and Dada,' that sort of thing. Rian was telekinesing my hairbrushes before he was born, back on Kashyyyk. For someone who doesn't have much hair of his own yet, he has a strange interest in my hair care products," Jaina tried to joke, letting herself relax as she added, "It's not that unusual, Jasa. Mom's told me you and I did the same thing before we were born."

    "And there's the genetics to consider," Ganner said, legitimately proud as he grinned at his son. "Telekinesis runs in the family after all, I guess."

    A ripple of someone else's emotions - gentle, positive curiosity, with what Jacen might term innocence - swept across them, and Jacen blinked as Jaina smiled at Roan. "Ro's the stronger telepath and Force-sensor. When he's old enough, we'll have to make sure he doesn't mentally eavesdrop, unintentionally or otherwise," she said, laughing as the baby cooed.

    "Absolutely remarkable. I remember my friends Scott and Jean having to teach their children control over their powers - Summerses tend to manifest earlier than other mutants, for a variety of reasons," Betsy said, and she, Jaina, and Ganner made their way to the kitchen with the babies.

    Jacen took a deep breath - he'd known this was coming, and as proud as he was of his nephews, they couldn't be the conversation topic forever.

    He managed a smile and gratefully took Tenel's hand in his, as she asked, "Do you remember before your flight to Belkadan?"

    "I've never forgotten. I made you a promise - but I've been shamefully lax in keeping it," Jacen admitted; it felt like another life, and he'd been so young.

    Not that I'm ancient now - but captivity, 'learning' from Vergere, escaping, all these trips to help bolster the fight against the Vong ... he considered.

    Nevertheless, all the distance and confusion seemed to melt as he and Tenel Ka hugged each other, and let their Force-presences intermingle.

    "Friend Jacen. While I am certainly not ready to consider arrangements such as Jaina and Ganner's -" Tenel said, a happy twinkle in her eyes.

    Jacen fought back a laugh - this was the Tenna he knew, the humorous, loving girl beneath the Dathomiri warrior and the Hapan princess' armor.

    "- might I respectfully suggest that we start over? Perhaps with dinner, and work on finding out who we've become?" Jacen concluded, as Tenel beamed.

    Everything since Myrkr - his own, perennial questions - seemed to find an answer, or at least the start of one, in her smile, and he started to grin.

    And then -


    "What in the name of the Transitory Mists just landed on the deck!?" Jacen exclaimed, tensing - but he sensed familiar, welcome Force-signatures - !

    Tenel, Betsy, and Ganner joined him as four Vongtech-clad, but otherwise human, Jedi slid off of a calmly placid bull bantha who took up much of the dock of Jaina and Ganner's boat launch. The blonde girl among the new arrivals whispered to the bantha, who gave a calm "SNORT" - and -


    The bantha - Bangor, Jacen realized - teleported away as the new arrivals got their bearings, and Tenel Ka raised a surprised eyebrow, even as she smiled.

    "Masters Skywalker - welcome back from Coruscant. And Tahiri - and - and - ?" Tenna asked, doing a double-take at the fourth arrival.

    "Oh, yeah - sorry we didn't spread the news around, Tenel Ka - the dummy's alive," Tahiri greeted, beaming as she kissed Anakin's nose and he smiled.

    "Security reasons, people - inside, you two, we don't want any Vong spies to get a clue you're visiting," Mara insisted, shooing everyone back indoors. She returned Betsy's hug and squeezed Jacen and Ganner's shoulders, while Tahiri and Anakin chatted with Tenel - and then Jaina reentered the living room.

    Jacen repressed tears of his own as his twin looked at Anakin, and the Solo kids carefully hugged, joined by Tahiri, as Rian and Roan cooed in Jaina's arms.

    "You - you officially have two MORE reasons you are NOT allowed to do any more STUPID shavit in this war, you hear me, Little Brother?" Jaya laughed and cried as she let Anakin hold the babies, and Tahiri peeked over his shoulder as the boys laughed with their uncle.

    "I'll do my best, Jaya - hey, you guys! It's me, your Uncle 'Kin! And this is Tahiri," Anakin introduced himself, as Tahiri gently took Roan in her arms.

    She sighed, nuzzling his hair, and gave Jaina a bemused look before asking, "The white stripe's genetic? Really? At least he's better behaved than Jag."

    "'Ri!" Anakin mock-groaned, as Jaina laughed, with a depth and joy that warmed Jacen; he was genuinely happy for his twin.

    Ganner hugged Jaina from behind and kissed her hair, as she playfully spun him around and shoved him toward the refresher. "I love you too, you great lump of Teyrian exile. But Bangor smelled better - go scrub yourself, then you can rejoin the party," Jaina ordered, and Ganner meekly slipped out.

    Mara gave Jaina a positively satisfied smile, that Jacen didn't want to think too much on, and he contented himself with greeting his brother and very-likely-future-sister-in-law. "Glad to see you're taking a little break, Anakin - Tahiri. You're both doing a lot of great work," Jacen said, happy as Anakin smiled.

    "I couldn't do it alone, Jace. I - hey!" Anakin said, smiling as a surprised, then elated, familiar Force-signature approached, and Jaina grinned with Jacen.

    The conapt door flew open, and Mom stepped in - hesitant at first, then making room for Dad, who broke into a huge grin, and Chewie close behind.

    Anakin carefully made his way to Mom as she crossed the floor, then swept him and Tahiri into a huge hug (being careful of Rian and Roan, of course).

    "Finally. Finally - YES," Mom whispered, while Jacen held Jaina's hand - then, of course, Dad pulled them in to the hug, and there was laughter and tears.

    But if you have to cry, then this is a good reason, Jacen reminded himself, unsurprised as Mom made sure to hug Tenel before greeting Luke and Mara.

    A wide definition of family, after all, was hardly a bad thing - and for a moment, the chaos of the galaxy faded.


    to be continued ... :)
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Onderon1 -- oh delicious! Delightful!!!!! Tenel with Jaina was wonderful and gal-pally. :) Jaina's twins are precocious and lovable.

    The reunions were sweet! J/TK was terrific and warm in the let's start over. Leia getting to have her kids back all together safe and sound and sane LOL Words cannot describe how grateful I am for that. :) :)
  22. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    WarmNyota: Thanks again. :) One thing I don't think we saw nearly enough of in LOTF - or, to my knowledge, before that - was Jaina and Tenel just spending time together; while it's both perfectly logical and sensible that Lowie should be one of Jaina's close friends, Jaina never seemed to bond all that much with Tenel, either.Some kind of interaction would've been nice.

    (And, without being too spoilery, I know where Jacen and Tenel Ka -and A/T, and J/G - all end up in this timeline's future ... ;))

    The babies, I also have big - positive! :) - plans for; neither's destiny is exactly what I think readers might quite expect, but they've got plenty of time to get to where they're headed. :D

    And a J/TK reconciliation, out in the open - I really think that if Jacen had just been allowed to follow his heart, he would've never been Caedus. This's a scene I've been wanting to write for quite a while, but had to get everyone in the right place.

    (As for why Tenel's on Mon Cala instead of ruling Hapes - explanation soon. One of the previous zigs in this timeline opened that doorway, but I don't expect readers to recall every little detail ... I just try to plan ahead as best I can. ;))

    A proper Solo reunion was also something I wanted to write, before things get crazy again. (More with the GAI, Vergere's worries, and the infamous election of Cal Omas - and maybe some hints of what the First Order is up to - soon as well. H/L have a report to give on their off-camera trip to the Remnant ... [face_thinking])

    Next chapter should be some time in the next few days - I have an appointment I have to keep Tuesday, the outcome of which will determine how soon I can write again (I don't expect anything earth-shaking, but if I'm not around for a bit, I just wanted everyone to know what's up). :)

    - Thanks again, :)
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  23. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    A/N: Yeah ... I'm still alive. [face_blush] It's just been a busy holiday season, but it's over now, and I finally have time to update this ...

    I'm aiming for semi-regular updates from here on out; this one will be short, but starts off the next major plot arc ...

    Chapter 9: 27.7 ABY:
    Heurkea Floating City,
    Mon Calamari, Outer Rim:

    After the happy reunion, and the shared stories (Jacen personally thought Anakin still took a little too much joy in embellishing tales of evading the Yuuzhan Vong), the Skywalkers and Solos scattered to their various suites.

    Jacen had been staying with his parents, so he was used to visitors at odd hours - but the sense of displeasure he detected from his mom when the early-morning chime went off was particularly wary.

    Better see what's happening, Jacen thought, dressing quickly - and blinking as he sensed another familiar presence.

    "Vergere," he greeted as he stepped from the hallway to the bedrooms into the living room. The Noghri had stopped Vergere - well, she'd let them stop her, since she could've just used the Art of the Small to get by - while Mom and Dad looked from Jacen to Vergere and back.

    "Chief of State -" Vergere began, respectfully enough, but Mom's glare (and Dad's infamous raised index finger) interrupted her.

    "Your Highness is appropriate, Master Vergere. I've not been Chief of State for some time, and I don't intend to try to replace Borsk Fey'lya. Now that my son is here, he can decide if he wants to speak with you," Mom said, nodding at Jacen.

    He was as grateful for her respecting his maturity as he was glad she hadn't really told Vergere what she thought of the Fosh.

    I'd better get Vergere out of here before Dad does something we'll all regret ... well, maybe Dad wouldn't regret it, but ... Jacen worried.

    He thanked his parents, then asked Vergere, "Maybe we should go get something to eat? At a tapcaf?"

    "Tschhaaa - they never brew the tea correctly. But perhaps some ocean air would be refreshing," his erstwhile mentor agreed, starting to leave with Jacen.


    The low, cold tone from Jacen's dad was one Jacen had never heard from Han Solo before, and even Mom looked concerned.

    Vergere turned back to Dad, who stared at her with frighteningly intense, void-chilled eyes, like he could blast her without his DL-44.

    "Leia is too polite to say it, but I ain't. You EVER hurt my son again - or EVER LOOK at our grandkids funny - POOF," Dad growled.

    Vergere raised a feathered eyebrow, as Dad repeated - with an expanding gesture like an explosion - "POOF. Feathers. EVERYWHERE."

    "How very ... eloquent, of you, Captain Solo. And refreshingly demonstrative. I vow to harm no member of your family ever again, so long as I am able to avoid causing greater harm through such - gentleness," Vergere said, bowing and leaving with Jacen.

    Jacen waited until the door closed to give Vergere a sidelong glance and warn, "He's serious, you know."

    "Of course. He would not be Han Solo if he were otherwise. You can reassure your parents - and especially your sister and brother-in-law - that I mean no harm to them, you, or most of all, your nephews. Your - instruction was due to the circumstances we found ourselves in. I am many things, but I do not harm the innocent, Jacen," Vergere promised, and Jacen believed her more this time.

    Vergere's feathers turned rather grey, then, as she whispered, "GAI, on the other hand ... I fear they intend to genocide the Yuuzhan Vong."


    Breakfast, even overlooking a beautiful view of an unending ocean, was never very tasty when talking of how to prevent speceicide.

    "... so you don't have any actual proof, just circumstantial evidence. Sure, the Chiss are competent bioengineers, and Wynssa Starflare Fel can be cold - but genocidal? And GAI supporting it? I can't believe it, Vergere," Jacen replied after the Fosh finished sharing her concerns.

    She gave him a doubting look (between nibbling fresh fish) and said, "One would think you have sufficient knowledge of cruelty by now to have shed such naivete, Jacen. The war has stalemated, as I told your twin. Stalemates and years of savage mistreatment drive even the most noble sentients to rash, even unthinkable actions. Your brother and his trueheart work to undermine Shimmra, but how long will it take?"

    Jacen sighed; he could speak to the new Masters' Council forming, ask them to hold DIf Scaur accountable - or, at least, get some answers - but without a Chief of State to rein in GAI and the GADF, it wasn't clear if Jedi words would make much difference.

    He relaxed a bit as a purple-haired figure approached, and Jacen said, "Maybe we can ask Betsy for help. She's worked with GAI before."


    to be continued ...
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    I adored Leia's restraint but her nonverbals came through quite clearly.
    Han, oh I just. :* :* Yes, you got him totally absolutely spot-on. =D= [face_love] [face_love]

    Love that this was from Jacen's POV and I too believe Vergere's assertions especially since she was honest enough to add the qualification: as long as more people aren't harmed by gentleness. [face_thinking]
    Glad that Betsy will be there as backup as far as confirming when they make a report and adding her own insights.

    Happy too that you're able to post again.
  25. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    A/N: Urgh. Apologies this hasn't been updated for FAR too long; RL's been insanely busy, and my few spare moments've been eaten by side projects and an attempt to save Thedas from an archdemon.

    (Brownie points to those who get the latter reference ... :p)

    Anyhow. Time to get this going again, I think ... more with everyone's favorite purple-haired telepathic ex-ninja X-Jedi ... :D

    Warning for blunt discussion of mature themes (genocide, speciesism, etc.).

    Chapter 10: 27.7 ABY:
    Heurkea Floating City,
    Mon Calamari, Outer Rim:

    Dif Scaur was - if nothing else - a practical man - some might call him hard. It wasn't even an insult to him, after years in the spy field.

    He didn't tend to - couldn't - let others' opinions of him distract him from his duty.

    Nevertheless, when a purple blade of unidentified - and totally-silent - energy appeared from thin air at his neck, he knew enough to stand still.

    "Director. It would seem you and I have been failing to communicate," Elizabeth Braddock - Jedi Knight, telepath, and alleged time-traveler - hissed in a very Core Worlds accent as she not-gently pushed Dif down into his seat in his borrowed office, and stood beside him.

    "Knight Braddock. I was under the impression that you understood the meaning of the term need-to-know basis. I can only assume someone leaked to you the existence of what we're calling Alpha Red," Scaur replied, putting all his authority into his voice.

    The psionic blade at his throat winked out, and Braddock walked around the desk, her stunning purple eyes never leaving Scaur's. He cursed himself inwardly, reinforcing his willpower; simple human desire had been the undoing - or worse - of countless agents over the years.

    Braddock looked disgusted when she heard the code-phrase for the weapon intended to end the war - Scaur felt a bit disappointed at that. He'd expected such an otherwise efficient agent - especially in matters where more hidebound Jedi might flinch - to see the bigger picture.

    ~What I SEE, Dif, is just another PETTY, DELUSIONAL little BIGOT like the ones I fought back on Earth. Except in your case, it isn't genetic racism, but speciesism and feral revenge masked as a self-defined kind of 'justice,' for those who died at the Vong's hands,~ Braddock's voice - ice-cold, utterly unstoppable - rolled like amethyst razors in Scaur's mind.

    He shook, less from fear of discovery than from outrage at the mental violation - and, yes, Braddock's presumption - !

    She leaned toward him, a flash of fury in her gaze turning to - pity? Scaur wondered, almost struck by the woman's dismissal of him.

    "Oh. Oh, Dif. I'd really hoped you'd have a better base personality than THAT. Tell me, was it getting dumped in eighth grade by the class queen bee that turned you into a misogynist, or did you develop this all-too-stereotypically common attitude toward women over years of playing roles in your job? Yes, there's a lot about our species that deserves cynicism, but far more that should inspire kindness and hope," Braddock shot back, an almost-bored expression on her face as she sighed.

    Scaur finally found his voice - far weaker than he preferred - as he rasped, "The Vong have savaged COUNTLESS worlds -"

    Braddock dropped a data disc on Scaur's desk, those unyielding, bitter eyes boring into his soul - well, if he had one.

    "And your unholy concoction caused blowback deaths of an insect species - and OTHER species native to THIS GALAXY - on Caluula. The weapon mutated, Scaur. And - despite your revolting delusion otherwise - humanity and the Yuuzhan Vong are almost genetically identical. At present, Alpha Red MIGHT not kill us all ... or, it might. Even if you don't care what others think of you, do you REALLY want your epitaph - if anyone's left to write it - to be the man who killed the galaxy when even Palpatine or the Yuuzhan Vong couldn't?" Braddock spat, grimacing.

    Scaur felt a trickle of sweat down his back; Ecroth had assured him the risk of mutation was extremely minimal ... but not impossible.

    "We can -" he started to say, until Braddock's eyes twitched.

    It was enough to pulverize an Anaxes-marble bust of one of the Valorum family, and Scaur took the point.

    "You can burn every sample and shred every NANOBYTE of data on this OBSCENITY, cooperate FULLY with the Jedi Masters' Council, and pray this never gets out. I'm sure worlds like those affected by the Krytos Virus would LOVE to hear how the supposedly morally-upright Galactic Alliance Intelligence Division dabbled in THIS kind of weaponry. And if anything were to 'happen' to me - I've placed multiple copies of this data in locations where it can be accessed by the media and military officials. Are we DONE here, Director?" Braddock insisted.

    "... when the Vong dance on Bakura, I'll curse you, Braddock. This was NEVER about us - you're condemning the future," Scaur snarled.

    If her derision hadn't shriveled Scaur's ego and pride before, the look of absolute contempt - even sad certainty, like Braddock actually could see the future as she claimed to be able to do - shut the GAI director up.

    "Dif - you don't HAVE a future. Don't interpret that as a threat, because it's not - I'm not fool enough to kill you without very good reason," Braddock replied, turning to go.

    "Karmic balance is a schutta, Scaur. I don't expect you to understand the reference, so - just know we all pay for our sins eventually."

    She left, and Scaur started - very reluctantly - to type the orders to kill the Alpha Red project.

    I just hope ethics don't get us all killed ...


    to be continued ...