Saga - OT The Wind that Shakes the Corley (Celtic Song Challenge) -- COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    Title: The Wind that Shakes the Corley
    Timeframe: A day or two before the Battle of Yavin
    Character: all OCs
    Genre: Drama, entry for the Celtic Song Challenge

    The song I got was “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” about a young man torn between his true love and the desire to fight for his country. The decision is made for him when she is killed by an enemy bullet (we never find out why). At first it seemed obvious that this was the story of Tycho Celchu, but then I thought of a slightly different twist.

    Barley is used to make whiskey, for which Ireland is known, and since it is EU canon that some of the best whiskey in the galaxy is made on Corellia, that is where our story is set, where two young men are planning their wedding together…

    [face_good_luck] [face_good_luck] [face_good_luck]

    Corellia really was a beautiful planet, thought Niall dreamily. It wasn’t the way he’d envisioned. It was known for being a planet of pirates and explorers, building some of the largest, most powerful ships in the galaxy, and the cities were famed as trading centers, cosmopolitan, full of the exotic treasures of a billion worlds, where beings from a thousand different star systems rubbed elbows. It was all that, but Niall had been surprised to discover how rural it was. There were only a few really large cities. Once you got outside of those, the planet was mostly given over to agriculture. He was less than 30 kilometers from Coronet City, the capital of the planet, and it was all fields of corley, still a pale green, with the tips making silver waves when the wind blew through the fields. In a few weeks, it would ripen to a rich gold, when it would be harvested to make the potent whiskey that Corellia was famous for. In the distance, the hills rose high, deep burgundy from the bracken covering them. If he squinted, he could make out grayish-brown clumps, the cranky nerfs which grazed on them, tended by shaggy, equally cranky herders.

    “…rose-gold or plum?”

    Niall was torn away from his reverie. “Huh?”

    Ryas looked over at him and grinned. “You haven’t been listening to a word I’ve said, have you?”

    “My mind wandered.” Niall smiled at the devilishly handsome young man, in his smart Imperial uniform. “It’s a little early, don’t you think? I’ve got at least eight more months of this rotation.”

    “And they will fly like a nightbird after a swifter,” said Ryas. He smiled, causing Niall’s heart to do a little jump. Something about those vivid blue-green eyes, with that mouth… “Now, what was I talking about?”

    “Uh, something about the flowers?” Ryas thumped him on the arm affectionately.

    “Table linens! What color do you prefer?”

    “Don’t care.”

    “And the flowers?”

    “Don’t care.”

    Ryas butted his dark head up against Niall’s golden one. “Look,” he said, “I’m only getting married once, I want it to be perfect!”

    “I’m only getting married once too,” said Niall, taking his fiance’s hand, “and as long as the right man is standing across from me under the archway, I really don’t care about anything else.” He considered. “Well, except for the food. It’s a tradition on Alderaan. No one leaves a wedding hungry.”

    “I think that’s a tradition everywhere.” Ryas drew back, and studied Niall. “Did you think about my suggestion?”

    Niall snorted. “Which one?” he asked.

    “The Imperial Surgical Corps.”

    “Oh.” Niall looked away. “I don’t know…”

    “The money’s good, and we could be together!”

    Ryas had been urging Niall to go into Imperial service. Niall wasn’t actually keen on the idea. His planet had a strong philosophy to pacifism, and a commitment to that. Apart from a small local police force, Alderaan had no standing armies, not even a militia, and had disarmed and sold off their fleets centuries ago. By living in peace, you set an example for others. Niall had always envisioned himself working in some civilian hospital, or perhaps in a humanitarian organization, bringing medical care to poorer systems which couldn’t afford it. Ryas, an up and coming officer in the Imperial Navy, had been trying to persuade his fiancé to sign up as well, thinking that it would be easier to stay together that way. Niall couldn’t get his head around the idea of serving in a military capacity, though.

    “You don’t know that,” he said. “It would be just my luck that you’d be assigned to a Star Destroyer, and I’d be stuck in some garrison town in the MidRim, treating troopers for exotic STDs. Plus…I’m not sure my family would be comfortable with my going into the military.”

    Ryas fell back on to the ground, making a sound of pure exasperation. “Alderaan!” he grumbled.

    “I am who I am,” said Niall quietly. “I’m sorry. I was raised to believe that the best way to find peace is to exemplify it. It’s the core of who I am. It’s one of the things that makes me the man you fell in lo—“ He was interrupted by the chirping of his commlink.

    “Tell them to go away. It’s hard enough to get time with you,” said Ryas, glaring at the small device.

    Niall looked at the readout. “It’s Dan,” he said.

    The young officer scowled. “You definitely don’t have to answer it!”

    Niall smiled, letting the incoming message go to record mode. “I don’t get why you’re so jealous of Dan,” he said. “He is my 'other brother', you know.”

    “I’m not jealous!” said Ryas, wrapping his arms around Niall.

    “You’re green with it.”

    “Well, okay. Maybe I’m a little jealous.” He leaned in for a kiss, and for a few minutes Niall was distracted enough to just let go and enjoy it. When they finally broke apart, they were both breathless. Niall touched his lover’s cheek.

    “Dan is just a friend,” he said. “JUST a friend. First off, he’s into girls, not boys, and secondly, he’s too short. I go for tall, blue-eyed hunks in uniform.”

    “And what about when they’re out of uniform?” said Ryas, with a wicked smile.

    Niall smiled back. “I like them even better.” He leaned in for another kiss. The commlink went off again.

    “Shavit!” Ryas snatched the comm link from Niall’s hand and threw it off into the field of corley.

    “Hey!” Niall frowned at Ryas, and clambered to his feet, trying to mark where the thing seemed to have landed.

    “Why is he calling you?”

    “I dunno. Maybe there’s an emergency.”

    “If there was an emergency, the hospital would be calling you.” Niall nodded. That was true. He moved through the corley, carefully bending the stalks out of his way so as not to damage them. He could hear Ryas’s commlink going off. It took a few moments of searching to find his own, but he finally found it.

    “Niall?”

    “I’m here, I’m coming.” The young man turned and began to make his way back. Ryas was looking towards him with a funny look on his face.

    “I…I’ve been called back to duty. I have to go. I’ll call you later, okay?”

    “Oh. Okay. I’ll ask Mom about her guest list,” said Niall.

    “Okay. I’ll talk to you later. I’ve…I’ve got to go now!” Niall stood in confusion, watching his beloved jog down the hill towards his speeder bike, straddle it, and roar back towards Coronet at top speed. He made his way back up to the top of their hill, patted the trunk of their tree, and took one more long look around at the beauty and the green. No point hanging around here, and he had to be on duty himself, soon.
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, May 6, 2017
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  2. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Knowing the song well and also having watched a 2006 war drama film by the same name this duty call will end very bad for the lovers.

    Sniff.

    Thanks for giving us that story! It is perfect for the Celtic challenge.

    I like that you have woven two of my favourite SW planets into it: Corellia and Alderaan.
  3. Ewok Poet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 5
  4. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Oh I love these two. And I too love that you have intertwined Alderaan in Niell's background. This conversation had me laughing out loud!
    Though, yeah, knowing the song and having done a research paper on the movie that borrows the song's title, I have a BAAAAD feeling about this. Plus, you know: Alderaan.
  5. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    A very cute interaction between Ryas and Niall on Alderaan.
  6. Findswoman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    This is off to a wonderful start! The scene opens with these two sweet guys in a bucolic setting among the corley (so true to the imagery and origin of the song—you even have Niall "moving through the corley"), with a wedding being planned and gestures of love exchanged—but we soon see some areas of tension: the vast differences in the two men's vocations (soldier vs. pacifistic healer), Ryas wanting Niall to join Imperial service, the question of the "other brother" Dan, and of course the wedding-planning bickering quoted by @Briannakin, which I loved too because I think I must have had that exact conversation with my own husband during the planning stage. :p And of course I just know with these ominous comm calls that things are going to take a dark turn very soon. [face_nail_biting] Ryas's call definitely bodes ill, though I wonder if we might hear from Dan again soon too; I get the feeling that call wasn't just for color either. [face_thinking] Knowing about the Galactic events that are soon to come, it seems like there are a few things that coudl happen next to both Ryas and Niall, and I can't wait to see what direction things will take! Keep it coming, and thanks so much for being part of this challenge! :)
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  7. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 5
    First off, I love the imagery you opened with! I never thought about Corellia that way, but it makes perfect sense - the fields and the hills, it all sounded lovely. [face_love]

    Then, I am really intrigued by your OCs! The banter was so spot on of a young, happy couple planning their wedding. I especially adored Niall - I understand his hesitance to join the Imperial army in any official capacity, and his wishes to adhere to the traditions of his people. Then, knowing what happens to Alderaan, and the timing of the two calls . . . [face_worried] Not to say I have a bad feeling about this, but I do - and I am curious to see where you go from here. [face_thinking]

    This is an excellent response to the challenge so far! :) =D=
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  8. divapilot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    This is lovely. The happy couple, Ryas and Niall, amid the beautiful scenery of Corellia! The romantic banter is so sweet. I sense trouble though, with Ryas being in the military and being called back to duty. The fact that Niall is from Alderaan makes for a potential problem too. I want to see where these to sweet lovers' lives go but I'm afraid that it will end tragically, as so many Celtic stories do.
  9. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    I'm up early, so I have a little time to post this before I head in to work. Couldn't sleep, I'll probably be trying to stay awake at my desk around 3-ish. Anyway...

    Sorry I don't have time to respond to everyone individually, but you're all picking up on the important points. I'm glad you like these two; I've never written a same-sex couple before & didn't have any particular plans to do it when I set out to write the story. But that's what the characters wanted! Who am I to argue?

    When I was writing Corellia, I was thinking of Scotland and Ireland. Large, modern cities, but you don't have to go very far outside of the city to find fields and lovely rolling countryside...and more sheep than I ever thought existed!

    I confess, I haven't seen the movie you're all mentioning, so I can't claim to be influenced by that. But no, it won't end well. Because, as everyone has pointed out: Celtic Song + Alderaan = :(=((

    Okay...

    * * *
    Coronet City was really lovely, for all it was a mass of glass, metal, hardstone and duracrete. Tall, spiraling white towers, a few skyhooks, elevated walkways connecting the upper parts of the city to each other, broad plazas with lots of fountains (Corellians did love their fountains), and plenty of parks. The older parts of the city were for pedestrians only, with narrow streets and buildings pushing in against each other. The lowest level had shops which rolled up protective bulkheads, opening themselves completely to the passersby. Niall particularly loved to get lost in the alleys and Treasure Ship Row, fascinated by the goods brought in from all around the galaxy. Corellians had been some of the most noted explorers in galactic history, and had forged many of the earliest trade routes through hyperspace. Ryas wasn’t so fond of this area, muttering about a hive of scum and villainy and the need to keep your hand on your creditchits at all times. To Niall, it hinted of romance and adventure.

    He liked the people here, too, the Corellians. Taciturn and cynical on the surface, if you were able to get them to let their guard down, you found stubborn idealists who were fiercely loyal to their families and those they considered friends. Which reminded him that he needed to call Dan. He glanced up at a scrolling signpost at the edge of Eresola Plaza. He’d be late for duty at the hospital, and he had to call his mother to ask her to send a list of the guests she and Dad wanted to invite to the wedding. Mom first. Dan was probably calling about the bachelor party he’d been threatening to throw, so that could wait. He found a public commcenter, slipping into one of the private soundproof booths, and initiated the sequence.

    It seemed as if he waited a lot longer than usual. After nearly a full minute, the message came back.

    //Syscomm unavailable. Error:SyslinkAlderaanPrimeRelay. Unable to complete connection. Terminate sequence.\\

    Niall frowned. Corellia and Alderaan were both in the Core, there shouldn’t be any trouble initiating the connection. He sent it through again. After several minutes, he got the same response.

    //Syscomm unavailable. Error:SyslinkAlderaanPrimeRelay. Unable to complete connection. Terminate sequence.\\

    Annoying. He sighed.

    “Initiate transmission, Alderaan –Nevus Six, Sector Two, Port Oralbus, record message for relay on resumption, Antilles, Lisanna, 334-612.” Whenever the problem was fixed, at least, his recorded message could go through. The wait seemed longer now.

    //Syscomm unavailable. Error:SyslinkAlderaanPrimeRelay. Error:BufferOverload. Unable to accept input initiation. Terminate sequence.\\

    Annoying and strange. The message buffers were filled? Everyone must be trying to send messages, why weren’t they going through? The system must have been down for quite a while.

    Niall thought about returning Dan’s call, but he was already late for his shift, so he went back outside and jogged down the street to the Charterer’s Charity Hospital. A relic of Corellia’s Age of Exploration, the gleaming building had been built up around the small original hospital. The old building served as a library and offices, now.

    “Hey! Niall! NIALL!” Niall paused on the steps, and smiled at the dark-haired young man in a blue Corellian Security uniform, who was charging towards him.

    “Hey yourself,” he said. “Sorry, I can’t really talk now. I’m late for my shift.”

    “No, Niall…” Dannan Antilles paused, trying to catch his breath. “Before you go in, I…I have to tell you…”

    “What is it? Dr. Pocrates will have my nibblies on a platter.”

    Dan took a deep breath. “Niall…it’s Alderaan. It’s…gone.”

    Niall frowned at his ‘other brother.’ That had been a joke, when they’d first met, since they shared the same last name. But Dannan Antilles had come from a line of dull but respectable mechanics and fishery workers, growing the sweet-fleshed rosefish that Corellia was famous for, while Niall came from the Noble House of Antilles, a Royal line which boasted the current Queen of Alderaan, Breha Antilles Organa as its most prominent member. He himself was the son of a younger son of a cadet branch. The two of them joked about whether a disgraced younger son of Alderaan had run away to Corellia to escape the wrath of his family, or whether a scruffy Corellian nerf-herder had been able to woo an Alderaanian princess to spread the name so widely. Both equally unlikely scenarios.

    “What do you mean it’s gone?” he demanded. Dannan ran his fingers through his dark hair, messing it up even more than it already was. He managed to look shaggy even after he’d stepped out of a barber’s chair. It was a gift.

    His grey eyes were apologetic. “Alderaan is gone,” he said. “It…the planet, it was destroyed. We got the word a little while ago.”

    Niall shook his head. “That’s impossible!” he said. “Aldera is stable; nothing could have sent it supernova. There are no asteroid fields close enough to cast off anything big enough to hit us.” Dan shook his head.

    "Cute,” snapped Niall. “Real cute. I don’t have time to mess around, Dan. I’m late for work as it is.” The young man looked stunned.

    “Niall…I’m not—“ It was too late. Niall was storming up the stairs and through the doors of the hospital, nodding to the reception aide as he pushed his way through the staff door to the locker room. It was a crass joke, probably a set-up for the bachelor party Dan had threatened to throw him. And yet… the comm problems lingered at the back of his mind. The call back to duty and the funny look on Ryas’s face…impossible. It couldn’t be true. There was no way short of the sun going nova that could destroy an entire planet, was there?
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, Feb 10, 2017
  10. Findswoman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Oh, oh, oh—! The moment Alderaan was mentioned in the first chapter, I was afraid—nay, I knew—that something like this would happen... those comm errors can only mean one thing. :_| I see that we do indeed hear from the "other brother" again, and that we learn some interesting things about him, including how he got that nickname. (And I love the way you address the ever-present "Antilles" issue—that princess/nerf herder scenario is closer to reality than any of these folks think! :D )
    It's very believable that Niall would react to Dan by not believing him at all, and even snapping at him for making a questionable joke (especially with the bachelor party in the offing). I still wonder, of course, if Dan's comm call in the previous chapter was a warning of sorts to Niall about what might happen to his homeworld? You leave that tantalizingly ambiguous... though the fate of Niall's fiancé is far from ambiguous at this point. :(

    Once again, :_| —though I do look forward to more!
  11. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    Sad again about Alderaan's destruction.
  12. Ewok Poet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 5
    This amount of details regarding the Coronet City's landmarks is fantastic. I used most of these in my own stories and I have not seen anybody else pay attention to them, so I'm quite giddy that you did. The idea of a local seeing the Treasure Ship Row as a hive of scum and villainy and somebody from a world that is notably more organic and nature-oriented in comparison with Corellia seeing it as romantic is just BRILLIANT. And it's sort of a foreshadowing - after all, once Niall believes that Alderaan is gone, the only thing keeping the planet alive will be memories, mementos, souvenirs and - how fitting - those like him, who were not on the planet when it was destroyed.

    The idea of Niall and his "other brother" Dannan both being Antilles and related to those two families, one of non-violence and diplomacy and one of counter-attacks and weaponry was interesting, too. While it does not have to be extreme - and neither does the one I meditated on in the first paragraph - this dichotomy is important as well. After all, it will all distribute to Niall's loneliness at some point.

    All this said, I can understand that Niall does not want to believe that Alderaan is gone. :( His shock will catch up to him later and it could be...painful.

    On a brighter note, I like the different error messages. Us coders know this kind of pain - sometimes you think you fixed it and then...it turns out to be leaking, breaking elsewhere.

    Great story, keeps on getting better and better, even! =D=
  13. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    I fear that the realisation will hit him very hard at a point. Sniff!
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  14. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    After the chat in the Writer's Desk thread, I just couldn't resist!

    Celtic songs...alas....

    Doom and gloom and gloom and doom... I am thinking that the news gets around slowly and it's incomplete, with most people not really knowing what's happened.

    * * *
    He changed from his street clothes into the simple, sanitary tunic of healer’s blue, and went to the duty desk to sign in. Silaris Iolan, a local nurse, was there, programming instructions into the med droids, before she sent them on rounds. She froze when she saw him. “Niall?” she said.

    “Sorry I’m late,” he said. “Lost track of time.”

    “But…but what are you doing here?” The brown-haired woman looked nervously along the corridor.

    “What do you mean? I’m scheduled for duty tonight.”

    “But…haven’t you talked to Dr. Pocrates? He’s been looking for you.”

    “I’ll bet! I’m not in the mood to be bawled out, so if you see him, put him off, okay?” He grabbed his patient roster card, slipped it into one of the specially sanitized data readers, and headed towards emergency intake. It was still early. A few workers from the shipyards had checked in, suffering injuries they’d gotten on the job, but it would get really crazy in a few hours, after the rest had gotten off from work and spent a few hours at their favorite watering hole. Several bottles of ale or Whyren’s later, there would be a disagreement about a sports team, or a ship, or a woman, or even just a “watch this!” and the ward would be jumping.

    He half noticed his colleagues in the corridor whispering with their heads together. He overheard a scrap of conversation “--dissolved the Senate? But what about—“

    “Antilles!” Niall winced. On Corellia, that wouldn’t have necessarily meant him, but in that particular voice, it could be no one else. Dr. Herolis Pocrates, a Drall who was Chief of Surgery and who headed the training program at Charity, standing in the center of the corridor, fixing his dark, seed-shaped eyes on the tardy human.

    “Dr. Pocrates,” he said, “I know I’m late, I—“

    “Come with me,” said Pocrates. His voice was almost gentle. He reached up, taking the data reader from Niall, and passed it off without bothering to see who had taken it. He didn’t have to. When Dr. Pocrates flickered his small, round ear, people jumped.

    He wore a blue healer’s tunic over his short, silvery gray fur, but like the others of his species, he didn’t usually bother with any of the other articles of apparel. The Drall were shorter than humans; Pocrates barely came to the center of Niall’s chest. They were round of body, but strong, with pointed snouts and soft pink noses. The Drall were one of the three species native to the Corellian system, along with Humans and Selonians, and they were famous throughout the galaxy for their record-keeping and love of history.

    Pocrates pulled Niall into his office, a small, comfortable room with hardstone walls, once the records room of the original hospital, and pointed to a seat. Niall took a deep breath, and sank into the chair. He was going to be expelled from the hospital. He knew it. He was a full-fledged Doctor, he could practice just about anywhere, but he had wanted to take advanced training in emergency surgery, and the three most prestigious hospitals for this were the Galactic Polysapient Medical Center on Alderaan (fondly referred to as the Zoo), the Imperial Galactic MedCenter on Coruscant, and here. And now he’d blown it, with only 8 months left to go.

    “Niall,” said Pocrates gently. “I don’t know if you have heard the news…about Alderaan.”

    Niall scowled. “I haven’t heard any news,” he said, although he felt a twinge in his chest. Dannan had to have been joking. The Drall dropped his eyes to the ground, folding his ears back against his wedge-shaped head.

    “Alderaan has been destroyed,” he said quietly. “We don’t know how. The word just came out. The entire planet…I’m so sorry. It’s gone.”

    “But..but that’s impossible. But…how?” Pocrates could only shake his head.

    “There are rumors that the Rebels were somehow involved, but I don’t know. I only know the word we received.” His black eyes watched Niall closely. “Naturally, I don’t expect you to be available for duty today. Take the rest of the week off. Let us know what we can do for you.”

    “But…” Niall got up, pacing wildly across the room. “But it can’t be! How could it have been destroyed?”

    He thought of his mother, deadheading the whillies in the morning before the sun got too high in the sky, and putting the previous day’s breadcrumbs out for the birds. His father, holed up in his study, pretending to read the day’s news while secretly devouring the latest crimethriller from Arras Kline. His older sister and her husband, and his three-year-old niece, who thought he was the most fascinating person in the entire galaxy. The field where he and his friends had played smashball after school. The beach where he’d had his first kiss. His favorite hiking trail. His favorite café. The restaurant where the wedding banquet would have been held. It couldn’t all be gone.

    For one wild moment, he wondered if Dan had somehow lured the esteemed physician into his crazy bachelor party scheme. He looked at Pocrates. And knew that Dan had nothing to do with this. “It can’t be true.” He was still trying to sort this out. “You don’t mean the entire planet is gone? You mean like Jedha, that the cities were destroyed. There could still be survivors.”

    Pocrates cocked his head. “It was reported that the planet is gone; I assumed it meant that it had been destroyed to the core.”

    “But that’s impossible! There’s not a weapon in the galaxy big enough to do that.”

    Dr. Pocrates looked at him, and nodded slowly. Niall sank to the floor. Pocrates moved in quickly, gently laying a paw against the pulse in the young man’s neck. “I know. It is a terrible shock. I cannot express my sorrow and my sympathy sufficiently.” He moved to face Niall, bending to look into his eyes. “Would you rather stay here? We can put you on a ward—“

    “I’m not sick!” Niall got to his feet, gasping for breath.

    Pocrates nodded.

    “Very well. I will have someone drive you home.”

    “I can get home myself.”

    “No. You cannot.” He opened the door to his office and led the dazed young man to the front reception hall. “Ah. Egaris? Can you take Dr. Antilles home?”

    “I’ll do it.” Niall’s head jerked around. Dannan was there. He’d been leaning against a pillar, with his arms crossed, and now he stepped forward. “I know where he lives, I’ll get him home safe.”

    “Excellent, thank you, Officer.” Pocrates put his hand on Niall’s arm. “I will call you. And I will send someone around to check up on you.”

    “That’s not necessary!” snapped Niall. “I don’t need a babysitter!”

    “No,” said Pocrates quietly, “but in a time of tragedy, you should not be alone. No one should.” He nodded at Dan. “Officer Antilles.”

    “Sir.” Dan tugged at Niall’s sleeve. “My speeder’s out front. Come on.”
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  15. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    Niall's desperation about Alderaan's destruction is hard for him to bear as he now realizes that the truth is terrible and unforgettable.
  16. Findswoman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Niall, Niall, Niall! Again and again everything is pointing him toward the dire news... and again and again he denies it and/or chalks it up to an elaborate bachelor-party joke—until that very last moment. :( That's so often how the human mind processes things like this, isn't it? And you've been doing fantastic with your portrayal of every stage of that trajectory so far. I'm just glad that Niall has understanding, friendly folks like Dannan and Dr. Pocrates around at a time like this. (And I have to say I just adore Dr. Pocrates—if only there were more doctors in this galaxy like him.)

    Thing is, though, I'm guessing that the most devastating news of all is yet to come—because we haven't heard anything in this chapter about Ryas yet... [face_bracing_oneself]
  17. divapilot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    This is so sad...Poor Niall! He has lost everything that he ever knew to be his anchor and his home. I, too, worry about Ryas! This part especially was heartbreaking:

    To lose one person or one place is tragic. To lose them ALL is inconcievably monstrous. The details here make these people real, and their realness makes their loss tangible.

    The idea of trying to call and getting a nonresponse is also so heartbreaking. It reminds me of all those people desperately trying to reach loved ones when there is a disaster or a terrorist attack, and the hope against hope that they are just not picking up their phones.

    I'm still hoping that Niall hasn't lost everything but this is a Celtic song and those don't end well. [face_praying]
  18. Ewok Poet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 5
    First of all - love seeing a Drall character in a story. :) Pocrates is awesome and his name is a cool play on Hippocrates - even cooler when you think of how Niall thinks that everybody around him is kind of a ...hypocrite. And he is capable of understanding that Niall is in a state of shock. :( But Niall still doesn't want to believe that his home planet, the flagship of all things right has gone.

    This paragraph stands out to me, as everything the Empire hated and did not hold dear.


    Great exploration of stress and denial, and it gets better with every post! =D=
  19. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Tragic love story, truly Celtic. Like Diarmuid & Grainne, Deirdre and Naoise, Oisin and Niamh, and so many others. Well done!

    I hope that your tragic hero reaches the stage of acceptance at one point.
  20. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 5
    Oh, ouch, ouch, ouch. :_|

    My heart broke for Niall's initial denial over Alderaan's destruction. You can't even blame him - it's unthinkable, really. The thematic build with the transmissions failing to go through was expertly handled. I love how you shadowed it with the beauty of Corellia. Once again, your descriptions were spot-on wonderful, and really enriched the world you created for your characters!

    The poking fun at the Antilles name was a nice spot of levity mixed in, too. :p

    Then, Pocrates' handling of the news was very compassionately done. How do you tell someone their entire world is gone? Niall's thinking about his family and all of the things he loved on Alderaan was a terrible twist of the knife, but it really resonated. It's tricky to make such a bizarre concept as an entire planet being destroyed a real idea, but those little details made it more tangible a reality, I guess is what I am trying to say. Niall's shock was hard to read, but completely understandable, once again. I'm glad that he has people like Dan there for him; he's going to need the support all the more so after he processes his grief.

    But now I'm really interested to see how this will come full circle with Ryas, even if it's going to tear at my hearstrings even more, something tells me . . . [face_worried] :(

    Excellent job, once again! =D=
  21. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    The weather is so beautiful today! I should be doing my taxes, but I'm procrastinating; being a little math-phobic, I'm a little afraid to try. So instead, I'll answer all your nice comments and put up the next chunk of story. And fight off the cat, who thinks the best spot for his afternoon nap is in my lap, which is unavailable while I am at my desk.

    I don't think it's still quite hit him yet. I think it will be harder before it gets better.

    I like the Drall, too. Fond of history, record-keeping, and a good gossip over a pot of tea! My kind of species! Pocrates wasn't really the most original name, I'm afraid. I drew a blank. An iron paw in a velvet glove, is the good Doctor. :p

    I think that must be the worst. And I thought of all those cars still in the parking lots after 9/11, with no one to come claim them. I was working in DC on Sept 11, and when I finally got home there were SO MANY phone messages waiting for me, from my extended family. No one's cell phone was working in the city; too many people trying to access too few towers & the whole system went down. I did phone my parents from my landline at work, so they knew I was okay. But I didn't work in the Pentagon, so they knew that I wasn't in the direct target area, at least.

    Oh, he'll have to, at some point. But there is a lot to process, I think.

    We'll get there. Lots of angst to go, yet. Not much action in this particular story, I'm afraid.

    * * *


    They sat in silence as Dan guided the airspeeder through the evening traffic on Coronet City. After a long time, Niall said, “I thought you were joking.”

    “If I was joking, I’d have said ‘An Inquisitor, a Toydarian and a Izari pleasure droid walk into a bar,’ ” said Dan. Niall looked out the window. He couldn’t see the hill from there, the hill where he and Ryas liked to meet, their hill. But he could see a swathe of green at the far edge of the city, the fields of corley turning gray as the sun set.

    He looked down at his hands, clenched in his lap. “Is this why you were calling me earlier?”

    “Yes.” Dannan hesitated. “I didn’t want you to find out by accident.”

    Dan set the speeder down by Niall’s building, and followed him up to the small apartment. It was in one of the residential districts, an older area of town. Most of the houses were hardstone, with balconies adorned with small gardens. There were many boutiques and cafes. A few years ago, it had been one of the more questionable areas of town, but new people were buying now, fixing things up. In a few years, Niall figured he wouldn’t be able to afford the rent.

    He punched in his security code, stepped in and looked around. It was exactly as he’d left it that morning, and yet it felt as if he’d never seen it before. He looked at Dan, who dropped into a chair. “How did you know?”

    “They called us all in a couple hours ago, said they’d got word from the sector Moff. Alderaan had been destroyed.”

    “How?”

    Dan eyed Niall. “You need a drink.”

    “No, I don’t.”

    “Your hands are shaking.” Niall looked down. The young CorSec officer was right. He went to the counter in the small food prep area that he hardly used, took two glasses and filled them with a liberal amount of Whyren’s whiskey. Dan raised an eyebrow as Niall handed him his glass. “I am on duty,” he pointed out.

    “So don’t drink it.” Niall took a long swallow, then another. Then he put the glass down on a low table in the living area and retrieved the bottle to refill his glass. Dan frowned, took a modest sip, then put his glass aside. Niall breathed. In, out. In…out… His eyes fell on a flatpic of his parents, framed on a shelf.

    “How did it happen?”

    “I’m not sure. But…it wasn’t an accident, or any sort of natural phenomena. It was done deliberately.”

    “That’s impossible! How? Who would do this?”

    Dan shook his head. “I don’t know. They only told us that Alderaan had been destroyed, and said that there was some sort of Rebel activity was involved.”

    “Alderaan was destroyed by the Rebels?” Niall was shocked. He’d heard the Rebels described as terrorists, but as far as he knew their targets had all been military, convoys or military facilities of some sort. There had been talk a few days ago, after the destruction of the holy city of NiJedha, that the Rebels had done it, although the official word was that it was a mining accident. Ryas had confided that it was actually the Empire who attacked, trying to destroy a Rebel base there. Niall had been horrified by the destruction of such a historic place, which was considered sacred by many beings in the Galaxy, but he agreed with Ryas that the Rebels were wrong to base themselves there, counting on its historical value to protect them from Imperial retaliation. And he understood why the story of a mining accident was being spread about, although he felt uncomfortable knowing the deception.

    Dannan shook his head. “They didn’t say that, and I’d find it hard to believe. They just said that it was destroyed ‘due to Rebel activity.’ The rumors I’ve heard of the Rebellion, they don’t have anywhere near the firepower it would take to destroy a planet.”

    Niall felt himself go cold. He finished his second glass of whiskey and walked to the shelves, staring at a picture of himself and Ryas, arms around each other, smiling at the recordercam. “The Empire…destroyed Alderaan?”

    “I don’t know,” said Dan quietly. Niall saw that after his first sip, he’d left the rest of his glass alone. “You should ask your boyfriend. He probably knows more than I do. We only know what is relayed to us.” He hesitated. “I don’t know if it’s made the holonews yet. They’ve mostly been talking about the dissolution of the Senate.”

    Niall nodded, remembering that he’d caught a mention of it as he’d been getting ready to go out that morning. He hadn’t paid much attention; politics had no interest for him. He was on his third glass of whiskey now, but he was sipping it at least. “I tried to send a message to my mother, but it didn’t go through.” Dan didn’t say anything. Niall looked at the picture of his parents again. “I can’t believe this,” he whispered.

    “You should call Ryas,” insisted Dan. “He’ll know more than I do, and…well, I’m sure you’d rather have him around, right now. I mean, I can stay a while, if you want me to.”

    Niall snorted. “You think I’m going to do something stupid? Go off to attack the Sector Moff’s headquarters? Try to off myself out of grief?” he snapped.

    “Are you?” Niall stared at his friend. The young Corellian man was watching him carefully, not unsympathetically, but with purpose.

    Niall deflated. “No,” he said. “I want…I want to know. I want…I want proof.”

    Dan shook his head, took another sip of whiskey, then stood up. “I can’t help you with that. But I promise, if I learn anything else, I’ll let you know right away.” He hesitated. “Call Ryas. If there was any sort of Rebel involvement, the Empire wouldn’t necessarily let us locals know about it.” He reached out, gripping Niall’s shoulder firmly. “And if you need anything…anything! Or if you feel like doing something stupid…call me first, okay?”

    Niall nodded numbly, and watched as his friend left. He sat in the room staring at nothing for a long time as the sun set and the lights of the room automatically came up, responding to the twilight and the presence of someone in the room.

    He finished his third glass of whiskey, then activated the holocom at the center of the room. After a few moments, the face of the man he loved came into view.

    “Niall, I can’t talk now, I’m in the middle of—“

    “What happened to Alderaan?” said Niall quietly.
    Chyntuck, AzureAngel2, Kahara and 3 others like this.
  22. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    Sounds like Ryas might know more about Alderaan's destruction than Niall wants to know.
  23. Findswoman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Ohmigosh, ohmigosh... this is starting to go a different direction than I imagined at first, and it gives every appearance of being a darker direction! :eek: My first guess was that Niall would next learn of Ryas's death, though it now looks very much as though he is about to learn about something arguably more sinister: perhaps even that Ryas was on the Death Star that destroyed Alderaan, and may even have been one of the people who collaborated in doing do. And now Ryas is "in the middle of" something... something Yavin-related, perhaps? If so I have other guesses about what might happen next, perhaps even during this very comm call... [face_nail_biting]

    You are really taking the dark, sad scenario depicted in the song to new lengths—and I absolutely mean that as a compliment! :cool:

    One small favor, though, if I might ask it: I wonder if you could please put a little bit more time between updates, just to allow us readers some time to digest things and collect our thoughts, especially now that this story is entering deeper and deeper waters. Thanks so much!
  24. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    The drink thing is typically Celtic AND Corellian, I would say. ;)

    It is also quite understandable that people under shock do crazy things at times.

    I wonder if that "beloved face" will tell Niall what happened to Alderaan.
  25. divapilot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    oh, my heart breaks for Niall. Those pictures, those faces he will never see again. Dan is a good friend, holding Niall up while he tries to come to terms with the awful finality of the events.

    I too fear that Ryas is involved with the destruction of Niall's homeworld. How can you love someone who has helped destroy everything that matters to you?
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