The test (a challenge for every FF writer.)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by Jacinta_Kenobi, Jun 2, 2002.

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  1. Gr-Adm-Thrawn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2002
    star 4
    Thank you Healer Leona [face_blush]

    the Admiral
  2. CYNICAL21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    OK - here we go. Hope you enjoy!

    *****************************************

    Surprise - or Maybe Not

    *****************************************

    It was a world of extreme contrasts - and it had certainly proven to be a challenge that no one could have predicted when the Jedi Temple had assigned one of its premiere mediation teams to attend a series of sessions devoted to establishing fair and equitable water rights on the desert continent of Barat'hal 6.

    It was a crucial question, certainly, since the entire vast continent consisted almost entirely of waste land - but water was not quite in such short supply as one might have supposed, because of a wealth of underground rivers which networked the great continent, rising periodically to a depth easily plumbed by the industrious Barathai and their simple but effective technology.

    No, it wasn't the negotiations that proved to be a problem; it was the weather - and not on the southern desert continent, but on the northern one, smaller, located in a temperate zone, and far more blessed with accessible resources than its southern neighbor.

    Unfortunately, one of those resources, just days after the arrival of the Jedi, became something more than a blessed abundance. Rainfall that ordinarily measured only a meter or so annually was suddenly almost that amount in a matter of days - and the entire continent was threatened with flood, disaster, and - subsequently - famine.

    The Jedi had come to mediate a water dispute - and stayed to help rebuild half a world, and redesign drainage programs to assure than nothing like that could ever happen again.

    Their mission had been planned for six days; after six months, they were still on Barat'hal 6 - and they were only just now able to take up the negotiations that had brought them here in the first place.

    Still - it was, finally, almost over - and the Jedi Master could not - quite - suppress a sigh of relief, as he moved across the drifted sands just outside the small city of J'harema, in search of his padawan.

    Youthful voices, lifted in friendly repartee, guided him toward a narrow fenced pit, behind a ramshackle structure that looked like an abandoned garage. Which it was. A garage, that is - if not - quite - abandoned.

    The Master quietly pulled himself up on the wide, hard-packed surface of the sandstone fence, and gazed down into the pit below him.

    His apprentice had changed over the course of the mission - but not enough for his own satisfaction. Having come to his apprenticeship in an uncustomary manner, the boy was sensitive to everything that marked him as different from other padawans - and the fact that he had not yet hit his spurt of growth to enable him to stand eye-to-eye with his peers was a source of infinite annoyance for him. Thus, the fact that this six months had seen very little difference in his height would, undoubtedly, be a source of irritation for him; however, endless hours of backbreaking labor had definitely made a difference in his musculature. One day, in the not too distant future, he would be blessed with a certain measure of brawn, even if he never attained the stature he so desperately desired.

    The pitiless double suns of Barat'hal had bleached virtually all color out of his hair, leaving it the color of very pale wheat; only his stubby padawan braid held any deeper color at all - and his skin had darkened appreciably. Though his Master had relentlessly cautioned him about the dangers of sunburn, the boy seemed to have a natural affinity for bright light - and tended to tan easily, without appreciable burning.

    Of course, at this particular moment, the Master would have been hard put to attest to the color of the boy's hair since the only part of him that was visible was his lower half, the upper being completely submerged in the housing of a pod racer engine. In an attempt to reach something apparently just beyond his fingertips, amid much laughter, the apprentice edged even further into the voracious cavity - and was only saved from tumbling in full-l
  3. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    I really enjoyed the story Cynical!!! :) :)
  4. PROPHEToftheCOUNCIL Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2001
    star 4
    That was very nice, all of you. Now I'm waiting for my PM to tell me my criteria.
  5. Gr-Adm-Thrawn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2002
    star 4
    Prophet / Cynical you 2 here ... hmmmm ;)

    this will be fun

    the Admiral
  6. CYNICAL21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Merci, Leona and Prophet. It was a little on the down-and-dirty side (or fast and furious, if you prefer), but it was fun to write.

    Come on, you Guys. Where are the rest of you?
  7. Darth_Tim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2002
    star 4
    Great post, Cyn. I never pictured Obi as the pod-racing type, but you do it exceptionally well (not surprisingly).

    Mine will be up soon, as soon as I decide if it will be Ami/Vader or Rogue Squadron.

    -Tim
  8. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    :) I like, I like!

    Mine should be coming up soon!
  9. Lilith Demodae Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 4
    Ahhh, no sooner do I get my info, than my computer becomes defunct!! As soon as I have access to my wordprocessor I'll be able to type up my ideas. Until then, I guess I'll just have to read yours. :D
  10. Obischick Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2001
    star 4
    Okay, here is mine! :)

    Alien: Dug
    Object: TIE fighter
    Line: ?Oh, I wouldn?t necessarily say that.? -Neverending Story

    Disclaimer: Everything here is George Lucas?s, nothing is mine, except for the stuff I made up in my head. :) :p

    Timeframe: Okay, this story takes place probably after EP III, but that?s to be seen. ;) :)

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Commander Sabé Hirota, one-time Handmaiden and Decoy to the former Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala, stared down the informant that sat across from her in a seedy Cantina on Coruscant. She glared at the molted brown Dug as the nozzle of a blaster ingrained itself into her back.

    ?You sold me out.? She hissed angrily.

    The Dug shrugged, then smirked. ?Business is business.? He replied in a harsh voice.

    The blaster dug impatiently into her back. ?Alright Hirota. Enough talk. Stand up. Really slow like, hands in the air, no funny business.? Sabé raised her hands slightly and stood up slowly and moved out of the booth. Please let Rabé be alright. She thought desperately. Please let her get away. Her eyes scanned the interior of the cantina, looking for her dark-hair, dark-eyed friend who she had known since they had been handmaidens together during Amidala?s reign. She saw the other woman nowhere.

    Okay, smart girl. She thought to herself. You can get out of this, just think. Just think. Quickly! They walked threw the crowd, relatively unnoticed, passing tables and chairs. Sabé?s cool brown eyes rested on a table about four meters ahead, empty with a half full bottle of some kind of blue alcohol on it. She smirked, that would do nicely.

    They walked passed the table, and as they did, time slowed down for Sabé. She twisted out of the blaster before her right hand wrapped around the neck of the bottle, bringing it up and smashing it across the un-guarded face of her captor, shattering across his face.

    ?Aaaarrrgghhhh!? He cried, his free hand going to his now-bleeding face, the other waving the gun around and firing wildly. The cantina erupted into chaos as Sabé used the broken bottle to stab his blaster hand, he screamed again and dropped the gun, which Sabé scooped up off the floor and pointed at him. She dropped the bottle and kicked it away as she set the gun to stun and pumped a blue bolt into the screaming man. He went limp as the cantina fought and yelled around her.

    ?Sabé!? A melodious woman?s voice yelled. Sabé turned and saw Rabé struggling through the crowd. She raised a hand to greet her friend-

    ?Duck!? Screamed the other woman, diving to the floor and pulling Sabé with her just as a brilliant orange explosion rocked the foundation of the cantina, shaking everyone to the ground. Sabé and Rabé jumped back to their feet and scanned the crowd.

    ?I?ll find that lousy, sithspawned Dug if it?s the last thing I do.? Sabé growled, trying to regain her dignity after being captured. Rabé smirked at her as they glanced across the crowd.

    ?There!? Rabé cried, pointing to the short alien as he ran out the side doors of the cantina.

    ?Let?s go!? Sabé cried, and the two women sprinted after the alien. Sabé brought her borrowed blaster up and shot a few blue stun bolts off as Rabé?s deadly green lasers seemed to follow the Dug?s feet, missing by mere millimeters. Sabé?s breath rasped in her throat as the chase continued, her black boots pounding on the duracrete as she pushed her way pass civilians. If only she could aim better...

    She brought the blaster up to her eye, using both hands to steady it. Aim at the legs. Aim to disable. She lined up the shot, and slowly, pulled the trigger with her leather gloved hands.

    The blue stun beam hit its mark, sending the Dug tumbling to the ground. Rabé and Sabé shoved their way through the crowded streets, and Sabé roughly grabbed the Dug by the collar of his tunic.

    ?Where is the TIE factory?? Sabé demanded. The Dug panted and shook his head.

    ?I?ll never tell
  11. Denny Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2001
    star 3
    Obichiquita... you're mean. What kinda ending is THAT!? :p

    Well, you finally gave Sabé some attention, that will do, for now. ;)

    Denny
  12. SilentJediWriter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2002
    star 1
    Hey, I'm going to give this a try (newbie here, so be nice). Enjoy!

    The Need For Speed

    The Coruscant ground neared rapidly, as the speeder dashed through the lines of traffic, heading closer and closer to the lowest level of the city-planet.

    ?Slow DOWN!!!? the creature sitting beside the Jedi Padawan shouted on the top of his lungs, digging his fingers into the dashboard, watching in horror as other air-speeders zoomed by all too quickly, ?AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!? it screamed, frozen in fear, and too shocked to close his eyes, ?Anakin, SLOW DOWN!!!!? it yelled, but Anakin only laughed, and pushed the speeder into more velocity, causing the Gungan to shriek fearfully.

    ?You?re in the WRONG line, Ani!!? Jar-Jar informed quite loudly, ducking as other speeders whizzed only inches away from his head.

    ?Don?t worry, Jar-Jar,? Anakin said, calm as ever, with a grin glued to his head, ?I know what I?m doing!? he turned the speeder so that it headed toward a round glass building as it continued nose-diving to the grounds below.

    Jar-Jar, noting the sudden change in their course, abruptly let out another frightening scream, as he felt Anakin sped up the speeder to rate he never knew a speeder could go (of course he wasn?t racing through Corsucant everyday either), ?Ani!!!!? he yelled, as Anakin suddenly completely stopped the speeder, causing the gungan to be very thankful he had his safety belt on or he would have gone to the bottom of Coruscant.

    Throwing his glare at the young Jedi, he opened his mouth, but Anakin interrupted, nodded to something or someone behind him, ?Oh look,? he stated, ?Master Kenobi is there,? that caused Jar-Jar look were Anakin said Obi-Wan was, but as soon as he did, Anakin took off again.

    Frozen completely, eyes wide, jaw hanging, fingers entirely rooted into the dashboard, Jar-Jar saw the glass building become larger and larger, ?Ani-Anakin, pl-please!? he pleaded, but the young Jedi did not listen, ?AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!? the gungan screeched, just as the building seemed only inches away and Anakin roughly pulled up.

    ?I have got to get me one of these!? the Jedi exclaimed ever grinning, pulling safely away from the glass building and slowed down the speeder to reasonable speed, then glanced at the snow-white gungan, ?Thanks, Jar-Jar, for letting me test-drive your speeder,? 16-year-old Anakin pulled the speeder into the lot, and stopped it, ?It was great fun. Do you think I can use it again to take Obi-Wan somewhere sometime?? he asked, sounding innocent, but having a whole other reason in his head.

    Stumbling out of the fiery red speeder, and regaining some of his normal color, Jar-Jar nodding not thinking, ?Yeah, so, anytime!?

    A triumph smile lit Anakin?s face, ?Thanks, Jar-Jar, I?ll be back later, but Master Kenobi, is going to be grumpy if I get back to the Temple late. Bye!? with that he leave Jar-Jar to find his way to the Senate building and complain about Anakin to Padme.

    Creature-gungan
    Object-speeder
    Line- ?I have got to get me one of these!?- Independent?s Day
    <<>><<>><<>>

    © Copyright K. Blanchard 2002

  13. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Oooh finally, a couple more!! :D

    Obischick, nice Sabe story.


    SilentJediWriter, a newbie??? That was fabulous!!
  14. SilentJediWriter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2002
    star 1
  15. mouse2 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 1999
    star 4
    This are all so wonderful! Makes me a bit nervous about posting mine! :) But here goes!

    ******

    Office Politics

    She was stuck doing surveillance again. It wasn?t that she didn?t like working surveillance; in fact she usually quite enjoyed it. It was the fact that this was the fifth time this week that she had been given this same assignment. Go out to the outskirts and keep and eye on things, but don?t get involved.

    Sighing to herself she continued her watch through her macrobinoculars. What she wouldn?t give for a set of one of those holorecording macrobinoculars. Nothing like having an extra copy of data to be able to double-check when she got back to base later. Her gaze was locked on the band of Tusken Raiders that she had been monitoring. She had to admit to herself, albeit grudgingly, that they weren?t that bad. True they had been well known to attack moisture farmers without any warning, but who knew what their reasons for an attack were. No one was ever given insight of what the Tusken Raider?s side of the story was.

    A gust of wind blew up on her suddenly causing her to shield herself from the onslaught of sand that it brought with it. She hated Tatooine. Honestly who wanted to be around that much sand without an ocean in sight? A beach. Now that was the proper way to use sand. Plus it didn?t hurt to have scantily clad men bringing you frozen drinks while on that beach either.

    An infernal beeping from her comlink broke into her thoughts. Without breaking her gaze away from the sandpeople she reached down to her belt and answered it.

    ?Davies here.?

    A male voice spoke on the other end.

    ?Hey Girlie. You want to go to dinner tonight??
    ?Was this important?? She asked in a bored tone. ?I?m working.?
    ?You wouldn?t have to work so hard if you just said yes to a date with me.?

    She rolled her eyes in response, but quickly went back to her silent observation. She would have clicked off, it was taking everything in her power not to, but she needed this job too badly. Not too many beings would have hired a young, inexperienced, female Alderanni without any references. Now if she had been born Corellian, that would be a different story entirely. But since she wasn?t and most don?t think of Alderanni and bounty hunter in the same thought she had to start at the bottom, and that?s where she was.

    ?You still there Davies?? the voice asked.
    ?Yes.? She quickly answered in a clipped tone. ?Just waiting for you to get on with it.?
    ?Fine,? he replied with a sigh. ?You?ve got a new assignment.?
    ?Who do I get to bring in?? she asked trying to keep the excitement out of her voice.
    ?No one. It?s strictly a surveillance job.?
    ?Kriff!? she swore.

    Was she doomed to an existence of monitoring and observation forever? This was not the life she signed up for.

    ?Language Girlie! This is the big time now. Consider this your first job, the rest nothing but training. Do this right and maybe next time you?ll get to bring someone in. All the information you need in now being transferred to your speeder?s computer. When the job is done contact us for further instructions. Minbir out.?

    She clicked off without responding. Saying anything extra to him was always taken out of context and he?d automatically think that she was coming on to him.

    Tearing her gaze away from the Tusken campsite she stepped back off the hood of her speeder and jumped into the drivers seat. Once she slumped behind the wheel she felt all her tension and aggression leave her. After she turned on her computer it was hardly a nanosecond before it began to spit out all the information that she had been sent. She tucked her shoulder length blonde hair behind her ears as she reached back to rub her neck and waited for the computer to finish.

    Picking up the printouts she stared at them quickly skimming over all the information. Suddenly she came to the holo of who she was to monitor. He immediately fascinated her. The gray eyes, the self assured sly grin. It was as if he knew something
  16. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Darn right I saw familiar characters. I was gigling like crazy when she read the report and the name Droz came up and immediately wondered if the girl was Lau'ka!!! What a wonderful bit seeing the beginning of their relationship!!! Stunning Mouse!!!
  17. Obischick Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2001
    star 4
    Nicely done SilentJediWriter and mouse2!!

    Thanks Healer Leona!! [face_blush]

    ~Obischick
  18. Lilith Demodae Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 4
    Uppers so I can post when I finally get mine typed up. :)
  19. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    *Looks guilty...*

    Well I had been working on mine... umm... but I haven't really been working on it lately...

    *goes back to keyboard and slaves over story* ;)
  20. Obischick Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2001
    star 4
    Up so more people will post!!

    ~Obischick
  21. PROPHEToftheCOUNCIL Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2001
    star 4
    Up. Got the items, I think the story should be good.
  22. CalaisKenobi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    My item was a lightsaber, my alien a Mon Calamarian and my quote was ?That shouldn?t be too difficult" from BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES.

    Well here goes :)

    Disclaimer: I own nothing, George owns everything... sigh

    TimeFrame: JA

    Of Lightsabers and Bant

    ?Bant, I swear I am NEVER going to trust you again,? Obi-Wan hissed through clenched teeth.

    ?Oh come on Obi, it isn?t that bad, is it?? Bant asked, trying and failing to conceal her amusement at her friend?s predicament.

    ?You?re right, it isn?t that bad? It?s worse!? Obi-Wan whined, staring at the small insect that had attached itself to his right forearm. ?I now have a parasite attached to me, thanks to you and your wonderful ideas.?

    ?All I said was that we should take a walk before we had to meet back with the crèche master,? Bant retorted. ?I did not tell you to dive headfirst into a bush like that.?

    ?Oh yeah, you?re right Bant, you didn?t tell me to dive into a bush. Instead you LIED and told me Bruck was coming and that I should hide,? Obi-Wan answered, his sarcasm apparent, even over his anger.

    ?I do not lie.? Bant stated vehemently.

    At Obi-Wan?s incredulous stare, Bant giggled. ?Ok, I don?t lie, but I may stretch the truth a little bit.?

    ?Stretch it!? Obi-Wan?s voice cracked as he glared at his friend. ?If you call that stretching the truth, I would hate to see you lie. Bruck isn?t even on this Force-forsaken planet, let alone anywhere near me.?

    ?Well, see, if you?d have been thinking like a Jedi, you would?ve known that before jumping into the bush,? Bant argued.

    ?I am never ever going to trust you again,? Obi-Wan growled, all but sticking his tongue out at the Mon Calamarian. ?Now are you going to help me get this tick off or what??

    ?Not if you are going to be mean to me,? Bant retorted with a smug grin.

    ?Bant, if you do not help me get this sithly bug off of me right now, I am never going to speak to you again.?

    ?That?ll never happen,? Bant grinned, ?considering I am just about your only friend.?

    ?That is NOT true,? Obi-Wan shouted gesturing with his arms to emphasize the point. As the flesh pulled tight around the embedded tick, his shout turned to a whimper. ?I have other friends too??

    ?Yeah, but how many of your other friends would be willing to do this?? Bant asked as she drew her lightsaber. Centering quickly in the Force, she swung mightily, slicing the offensive little bug right off of her best friend?s arm.

    Momentarily stunned speechless by his friend?s actions, Obi-Wan stared at Bant in shock.

    ?Now see, that wasn?t so bad was it?? Bant crooned, barely suppressing her laughter at the open-mouthed expression of Obi-Wan.

    ?I am seriously never going to trust you again!? Obi-Wan finally shouted, standing up and disentangling himself from the bush before storming down the trail.

    ?That shouldn?t be too difficult,? Bant smiled as she picked up Obi-Wan?s lightsaber from where it lay forgotten under ?his? bush. Attaching it carefully to her utility belt, she turned and followed after Obi-Wan, her laughter echoing behind her.

  23. dparis Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 3
    (squeels around corner...)

    I'm heeeeere CK!
  24. zeekveerko Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2002
    star 5
    Title:
    The Furthest Planet from the Bright Center of the Universe
    -or-
    Down and Out on Tatooine
    :D
    ======================================

    This world is a dive. Seems to attract a lot of desperate people these days. An entire planet full of desert, I can?t imagine why anyone would want to live here. Me, well? I hitched a ride with some smuggler, but the fragger left me here, and now I?ve got to steal to get a ride out. Somebody once told me about this gangster on Tatooine who?s so rich and fat he eats beautiful women. It?s a damn shame, I say, but I had to go see for myself if the stories were true. So now I?ve got my hand wrapped around a beautiful chunk of gold and I?m not letting go. The palace is quiet and the suns are on the horizon, so I?m slipping out before one of these freaks is ready for another hit of whatever it is that keeps them floating all night. Two sleeping guards up ahead, a door to raise, and then the day belongs to me, and I?ll be gone from this dusty rock. If anything were ever so easy? The guards awaken and cross their halberds across my path. I don?t speak their language, but it seems they?re on to my little thievery. They?re not very secretive about it. They bare pointed teeth and menacing tusks and start yelling at me. There?s got to be another way out. I turn around, and I?m staring down the barrel of a rifle.
    His voice comes from inside a helmet, through some sort of comlink into an electric, distorted whisper. ?If you live another day, I?ll be very impressed.?
    ?Fett, you?re a reasonable businessman. I?ll give you this artifact to give back to Jabba, plus all the chips I have on me if you let me walk out that door.? He stares at me for a long time, considering.
    Finally he says, ?I doubt you have enough credits to even buy me lunch, or you wouldn?t be stealing from Jabba.? He turns and walks back toward the throne room of the notorious gangster. I have no choice but to follow. Those huge pigs are breathing down my neck, and I?ve got nowhere left to run. The hallway seems longer in this direction; maybe I?m just clinging to the final moments of my life. The smell of the corpulent hutt slaps me in the face like a TIE fighter, and the sight of him sickens me. This guy needs to go for a slither around the palace once in a while. The huge red orbs in his head open up and bear down on me, crushing me with their glare. He laughs, a dreadful sound that rumbles through my spine and raises the hairs on the back of my neck. I think I?d rather take my chances trying to steal Boba Fett?s gun than talking to Jabba for even a moment. My adrenaline begins to pump. Fortunately, I don?t speak the language of this beefcake.
    He booms forth with, ?Chokola, bongrula, hammata, mazzarati,? or something, I can?t understand a lick of it. I?ve got no hope for the future. I just smile and think about the circumstances that brought me here.
    ?Your plumpness,? I say in a final moment of insanity. ?Your arms are so short you can?t even scratch the top of your head. I wonder why someone doesn?t just sneak up behind you and choke you to death with a large chain.? He pounds a button on the arm of his slab-throne. I never had the aspiration to become a professional thief, I just kind of fell into it. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Jedi knight. Oh well. Maybe in my next life.

    End.

    item: comlink
    alien: hutt
    quote: "If you live another day, I'll be very impressed." - Enemy of the State.
  25. Lilith Demodae Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 4
    Told you I'd post as soon as I got it typed. Well, the typing took longer than I anticipated, but here it is...

    Object: Blaster
    Alien: Ewok
    Quote: "What if you miss?"-The Usual Suspects



    Mmmm, Tastes Like Chicken



    The blaster came up, steady and straight. One white armored hand supported and aimed the blaster while the other parted the lush greenery between weapon and target. The sun filtering down through the enormous trees dappled the scene, glinting off dust and leaf particles hanging in the air, and lent a deceptively wholesome, innocent aspect to the quiet afternoon.

    "I still don't think you can do it."

    "I got fifty credits says I can notch its ear."

    "What if you miss?"

    Private Ylarra graced his companion with a wide, toothy grin, and answered in a hushed voice that was only barely louder than the subdued birdcalls that filled the air and acted as background music to the thick forest. "Then Captain Chinamook will finally find out what they taste like."

    *******

    Shaksa felt terribly exposed, rooting aimlessly through the thick greens growing at the base of a build-tree. Sweet leaves she slipped into her pouch, fallen fire nuts followed them for later cracking and grinding. Any ripe berries she found were popped right into her mouth in sheer nervousness. She could feel eyes upon her, which at once comforted and chilled her.

    The whistles and chirps of the ?birds' around the grove kept her aware of the two intruders and their movements. Three hands of kin filtered almost silently through the forest. The shaman had cast his bones. The time had come. The invaders were going to learn where the line was that they could not cross.

    A whole hand of scouts had been killed while the tall-whites had made their not-in-a-tree house. In the seasons since others had been killed as well. But that would stop now, and Shaksa was nearly twitching with fear and anticipation.

    Knowing that an invader weapon was pointed at her, it was right that she be scared. But fear was not all she felt and she did not let it control her. The fear was what made her stubby fingers drop the occasional berry or leaf, but it was her anger and determination that had made her volunteer for this duty.

    Shaksa wasn't among the best warriors or scouts in the tribe. She wasn't the best shot or the strongest. No, those individuals were in the trees around her. She was the fastest and most agile adult in the tribe and that made her the most likely to survive this turn at playing bait.

    This was her chance to put her sister's spirit to rest.

    *******

    Ylarra turned away from his companion to reaim his shot. His target had moved only a little, still grubbing in the dirt and brush, head bobbing from time to time as something caught its interest, while he raised his blaster once more. Peering down the length of his barrel, the storm trooper took aim at the furry left ear less than thirty meters away. It was an easy shot, almost too easy. That fifty credits was practically in his pocket.

    His finger started to tighten, to squeeze off his shot, when a bird call twittered loudly almost right at his elbow. He jolted, surprised, and nearly fired a miss shot that would have warned his prey.

    "Did you hear that?" He glanced around near him, looking for a flash of color that might show him the bird. But Canlon wasn't listening to him. When Ylarra's eyes came around to where his friend was standing, he saw that Canlon was staring straight ahead. Ylarra followed the line of his eyes and found his target staring right back at them.

    Thick, dark lips pulled back from small ivory teeth and a shrill whistle issued forth. The brush around the troopers exploded to life, small furry bodies hurtling forward. Ylarra snapped a shot at the one target he could be sure of, only to make a clean, flawless miss.

    The vines trailing behind the natives that had rushed past on either side caught on ankles and toppled both troopers to the leaf littered forest floor.

    //A trap! They set a trap for
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