~*~ The Winter 2002 Fan Fiction Awards - Voting Thread ~*~

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Amidala_Skywalker, Apr 6, 2003.

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  1. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Readers? Choice Short Story / Novella:


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    Excerpt from ?Catching a Dream? by Jedi_Anakin_Solo

    Tahiri was absolutely lethal in combat; everything about her was perfectly shaped and honed into a weapon. She was trained in almost a hundred different forms of armed and unarmed combat. She had stood toe-to-toe with some of the greatest fighters in the Bounty Hunter's Guild. When it came to combat, Tahiri seemed perfect in every way.

    But Tahiri had a weakness. A weakness that she still couldn't quite explain. Every night, as she lay down to sleep, the dreams came. And they were always centered around the same person. Someone, to her knowledge, she had never met.

    They came erratically, but the same details about them were consistently vivid. Tahiri saw those deep ice blue eyes, and felt as though she might drown under their scrutiny. She felt the warmth of his arms around her. She felt secure and content as she rested her head against his chest, his arms sheltering her from anything in the outside world that would dare intrude.

    Tahiri didn't know how she knew this, but she knew that he was a Jedi. She knew it as surely as she knew that she breathed in oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. And he was perfect and precious to her, touching a soft spot the hardened warrior didn't know she had.

    ---

    Instead of answering, Anakin pressed his lips against hers. It was a very light kiss, a mere sweet brush of his lips against hers. Tahiri didn?t respond at first, so Anakin started to pull away, but she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss urgently. By the time Anakin pulled away, his lungs were burning for oxygen. Even then, he didn?t move away very far. His lips mere centimeters from Tahiri?s, he rested his forehead against hers.

    ?I love you, too,? Tahiri whispered, answering the question in Anakin?s eyes.

    Instead of kissing Tahiri again, Anakin drew her close, content just to hold her. Her eyes drifted closed as she nestled closer to him. Neither of them spoke for a very long time, but Anakin finally realized he had to. ?Tahiri,? he broke the silence, his voice barely above a whisper, ?this means you?ll have to let go of your need to possess. I am very much yours, but we can?t have you running around yelling ?My Jedi! Mine!? every five seconds.?

    Tahiri giggled at the mental image, but nodded in agreement. ?Anakin, I?m beginning to understand this love thing. I?m as much yours as you are mine.?

    Anakin kissed her lightly, teasingly. ?That?s the general idea, yes.?

    Tahiri slugged him playfully. ?What will the other Jedi think about this? You falling in love with a bounty hunter, I mean.?

    ?They can think whatever they want,? Anakin replied, kissing her on the forehead. ?I think that I?m glad you caught me.?

    Tahiri grinned. ?Good thing you?re the first Jedi I ever caught.?

    ---

    "Where do we go now?" Tahiri inquired.

    Anakin smiled, barely allowing himself to believe he had heard her right. "We?"

    "We," she affirmed.

    Deep in his heart, in a place that had been silent for too long, Anakin knew that he and Tahiri would be together forever. Forever, he mused silently. Together we can do anything, he thought to himself happily.

    They could even catch a dream.

    ---


    Excerpt from ?The Smart One? by JediGaladriel


    The carrier pulled around the outside of a huge but sterile home in a wealthy section of the Imperial government district. A huge hangar door rose silently, and Palo was swallowed by the shadows inside. The driver took them down, far down, below the street level. Palo couldn't guess how far.

    When he got out of the carrier, two modified battle droids stood at attention. Each was armed--perversely, Palo thought, considering the Imperial response to the Jedi Order--with a lightsaber. From the deep shadows beyond them, he could hear the slow and steady pace of a mechanical r/>
  2. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Readers? Choice Novel:


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    Excerpt from ?Price of Sacrifice? by CalaisKenobi

    Bant stood over the unconscious form of her best friend as he lay stretched out on the med-bed. He appeared so young when he was asleep. The past four years had added stress lines and a harder expression to his face when he was awake, but asleep he looked more like the young initiate Bant had swam and played with years before.

    Beside the med-bed, Master Healer Ravenna was noting the readings from the many sensors covering Obi-Wan?s body. Both Ravenna and Bant were sure that Obi-Wan was suffering from some form of psychic exhaustion, but they were not sure what had caused the malady.

    Bant knew that Obi-Wan had just returned from one of his ?meetings? but as usual she was unsure of what exactly said meeting had entitled this time. Sometimes Obi-Wan returned from the meetings with nary a mark or complaint. Other times, and sadly the more often times, Obi-Wan returned on a stretcher.

    This time, Obi-Wan had not even stopped by the Healer?s before reporting directly to his quarters. Bant had planned on seeing him in the morning, since usually he would have a wound of some kind or another that he would pretend hadn?t happened.

    Bant knew that Obi-Wan avoided the Healer?s on principle alone, but that he also avoided it because he did not want the rumors of his time spent there to spread to his apprentice or to the council. The Jedi Council kept close tabs on the ?Master of the Chosen One,? and Obi-Wan could not afford to have too many visits to the Healer?s on his record.

    As Bant contemplated her friend, Ravenna adjusted the small sensor on Obi-Wan?s temple. With a slight gasp, Obi-Wan regained consciousness and opened his eyes looking blankly around the room, before settling his gaze on Bant.

    ?So, you?ve decided to return once again to the land of the living, eh Obi? This time I thought you?d decide to spend a little more time in la la land before you decided to join us again,? Bant gently teased as Obi-Wan tried to sit up on the med-bed.

    ?You need to remain lying down, Obi-Wan,? Master Healer Ravenna chastised as she pushed him back down onto the bed. ?You are not yet ready to be up and fighting draigons again. You?re going to have to take some down-time to recover from the psychic shock you incurred this time.?

    Obi-Wan lay back down on the bed and raised an arm up to lie across his forehead. ?I knew that I was pretty tired, but I didn?t know that I was anything but exhausted. I guess it has been too long since I?ve gotten a decent night?s sleep.?

    ?Oh, its much more than lack of a ?decent night?s sleep? Obi-Wan. Exactly how many days have you been relying on meditation and the Force to keep you going, instead of sleep and food?? Ravenna questioned.

    ?Apparently a few too many,? Obi-Wan stated dryly. ?This last mission was a bit more than I had anticipated going into it. I wanted to return to Anakin as soon as possible, and tried to get everything set up as quickly as I could, but I couldn?t take the time to do anything other than grab a few hours of meditation here and there. I guess it took more out of me than I thought. But I will just go back to my quarters, and get some real sleep and some real food, and I?ll see both of you beautiful ladies later,? Obi-Wan sweet talked as he tried once again to sit up and prepare to go back to the rooms he and Anakin shared.

    ?Stay here you should, taking on too much you are, hmm?? came a voice from the doorway. With a groan Obi-Wan lay back down on the med-bed and prepared for a lecture from none other than head council member Master Yoda.

    ?Too much time you spend here, have attachment to this ward do you?? Yoda asked as he perched himself on the chair next to Obi-Wan?s bed.

    ?Master Yoda, I am more than capable of returning to my quarters. I have merely been working a little too hard, and need to get some sleep. It is/>
  3. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Excerpt from ?Stars In the Darkness/First Knight? by Arwyn_Whitesun

    First Knight - From Chapter Thirteen

    Obi-Wan hunkered down as another explosion roared through the air. Tiny pieces of duracrete rained down on his head and the dust from previous explosions filled his lungs, coated his hair and prickled his eyelids. He coughed and wiped at his tearing eyes. Then he glanced over at Anakin, shaking his head in amazement.

    His padawan was sleeping and had remained asleep, even during this latest barrage. Yet, Obi-Wan knew if needed, he would be on his feet in an instant. However, he was glad Anakin was able to get some rest. They had been on Sarius IV for a week now, aiding the populace of its capital against incursions from a gang of bio-droids that had decided to make the city their new home.

    The bio-droids weren't really droids. They were humanoids who had replaced parts of their bodies with pieces from droids they had either scavenged or stolen. The droid parts came primarily from third-degree droids like the humanoid appearing 3PO-series. Since what they were doing was forbidden by the Republic, the bio-droids lived as outlaws, usually wandering from system to system, preying on the general population and stealing droids for new parts for their bodies. However, they were also prone to other criminal activities such as robbery, extortion and murder. The Jedi Council had sent Obi-Wan and Anakin to work with the planetary police force in flushing out this particular gang and taking them into custody.

    Obi-Wan winced as a seismic grenade exploded nearby. Well, he and Anakin had certainly flushed the gang out. The two were holed up in an abandoned factory just a few blocks away from the gang's base of operation. Although the bio-droids had been blasting away at the factory for hours, trying to smoke him and Anakin out, the weapons they were using were not powerful enough to bring the building down. In addition, their attacks were coming at increasingly longer intervals, which led Obi-Wan to suspect they were running out of weapons.

    Anakin had wanted to stage a two-man frontal assault on the hideout, but Obi-Wan had informed him that, even for Jedi, it would have been suicidal. Although the bio-droid's weapons were not doing a lot of damage to the building, they were still capable of tearing flesh and bone. Anakin had been disappointed, but had agreed with his master's assessment of the situation. They would wait for the planetary police force to arrive.

    Obi-Wan grunted softly as he stretched out his legs. Their back-up would be arriving in less than an hour. Reaching out with the Force he detected that the bio-droids were still holed up in their hideout. He had a few moments to spare.

    Checking to make sure Anakin was still asleep, Obi-Wan pulled a ultra-thin compact datapad from out of the inner lining of his robe. He pressed it on. The tiny, green square screen lit up. Obi-Wan scrolled through the files until he found the one he wanted. He glanced over at Anakin who sniffed and rubbed at some dust on his nose, but remained asleep.

    Obi-Wan didn't know why he was acting so surreptitious. Four months had passed since he had checked out that holobook of Nomi Sunrider's love poetry from the Archives. Before returning it, however, Obi-Wan had downloaded a flat version of the holobook into his personal datapad. He had told Madame Nu he had done so. She had only gave him another one of her shrewd looks, but said nothing.

    Now, as he had done nearly every day for the last four months, Obi-Wan read Nomi's love poems. He had memorized all of them by heart, but he still liked to see the words on the screen. The one he was reading now was called "Moonlit Memories". It was his favorite by far of the Jedi woman's poems for it never failed to remind him of the night he and Onara had watched the Katarra dancing in that moon-/>
  4. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Readers? Choice Multi-Author Story:


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    Excerpt from ?Once Upon A Time: Legends and Myths? by an assortment of authors

    from "The Ring" by Melyanna

    Not many days later, Aiden was not there when Dacia arrived for their nightly tryst, and she began to worry that he would not come. However, he arrived in a little while, a look of worry on his face. Taking his hands in hers as they stood on opposite sides of the spring, he explained that the Jedi Council had given him an assignment, to serve with the army there on Corellia as they defended against an invasion.

    "Will I see you again?" Dacia asked, fighting unexpected tears.

    Aiden closed his eyes. "I don't know, Dacia." His grip on her fingers tightened. "But perhaps there is a way - "

    He opened his eyes again and smiled. "Dacia, marry me. You can live with the wives of the other officers - you would be able to see me occasionally..."

    Sadly, Dacia shook her head. "I can't, Aiden. It is impossible."

    "Why?"

    "My father," she answered simply. "He would never approve."

    Aiden sighed and looked down at their joined hands. "We could elope," he said slowly. "My colonel would marry us." Looking back at her grey eyes, brilliant in the fading sunlight, he gave her a small smile. "Dacia, I love you."

    Dacia found herself smiling despite the fact that she knew that her father was likely to turn her away and never speak to her again after such a marriage. She had once thought that the idea would be too unbearable if this choice ever presented itself. But now, as her future hinged on a simple question with a tormentingly difficult answer, Dacia met Aiden's gaze. He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it, and then repeated, "I love you." His green eyes stared deep into her grey. "Marry me."

    In that moment, before any thought could interfere with instinct, Dacia said, "Yes."

    As the sun's last rays dissipated into the sweet, comforting cloak of night, Aiden bowed his head and kissed her gently, claiming the lips of the woman who was now his beloved.

    From the valley they fled, and Aiden led his betrothed to his new commander. As Aiden had expected, the colonel was sympathetic to their plight, and he immediately agreed to marry them. But Aiden's happiness at this news was tempered by a look of sorrow that crossed Dacia's beautiful features. "What is wrong?" he asked her gently.

    She smiled sadly. "It is nothing of great consequence, my dear Aiden, but we have no ring, and we cannot buy one in the town, lest Father learn of this before we tell him."

    Aiden nodded gravely, but the colonel asked, "Is it necessary?"

    Dacia shrugged elegantly and replied, "No, but it is something I have always desired."

    The colonel smiled. "Then wait here."

    A few minutes later, he returned with his wife, a woman in the middle of life who looked as if she lived a happy and fulfilling life. She smiled at the young couple and approached Dacia. "My dear," she began, "Twenty-five years ago I was a young woman much like you, and the wonderful man who asked me to be his wife gave me a ring as a promise. Since then, I have been blessed with a happy marriage and a life which I would not trade for anything."

    She took Dacia's soft hand in her work-hardened one and dropped a ring of white metal with a sparkling clear stone in the young woman's hand. As she closed Dacia's fingers around the ring, the colonel's wife said, "I want you to use this ring, my dear, in your wedding today. I know it will not be the wedding you have dreamed of, but I hope that your marriage will be long and happy, as mine has been."

    Dacia smiled, too happy to speak, and Aiden took the dainty ring from her hand. The colonel married them then, and for a few hours, Dacia had never known such bliss.

    All too soon, she decided that she had to tell her father. The next morning at dawn, she and Aiden walked down the path to her father's />
  5. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Readers? Choice Male Original Character in Leading Role:


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    Excerpt: ?Mykeal Shone? in ?Snow Job? by Alion_Sangre

    A year ago, a certain ex-Imperial warlord had an arms deal going with Durga the Hutt and some of his cronies. This was obviously something the New Republic wanted to know about, so I flew to Nar Shaddaa in a T-wing. I spent three weeks nosing around and finally found the loading bay where the shipments were being processed. I slipped in and checked a few of the crates to confirm that they were full of Loronar blaster rifles and grenades. With that done, I could transmit the info back to my bosses, who would get other agents and maybe the military to shut things down. All in a day?s work, just protecting the peace in the galaxy, right?

    Unfortunately, somebody either sold me out or I made a little too much noise prying stuff open. Either way, a mess of thugs ? Gamorreans, Weequays, Rodians, Trandoshans, Nikto, and a lot of other goons ? woke up and let fly with an arsenal. I barely avoided getting my head blown off ? they weren?t great shots, but with that much coherent light flying my way, something was going to connect ? as I dived behind the crate and went for the biggest gun I had. This was a Merr-Sonn Munitions IR-5 Intimidator, the same weapon I was carrying on Iscera.

    The Intimidator is a compact weapon, about the size of your average blaster pistol with a retractable shoulder stock. Easy concealability is one reason many Intel agents and SpecForce troops carry them on missions requiring discretion. The other is that it is known jokingly as the ?Kriffit.? It?s called the ?Kriffit? because that is the curse that usually proceeds its use, and the fact that at that point you really don?t give a kriff what you hit. The Intimidator has two modes ? multifire and full-auto. The idea is that if you?re surrounded by bad guys, you can whip it out and spray a lot of coherent light around without being super-picky about accuracy. It?s a great equalizer in those situations where you?re heavily outnumbered and there?s not much of a chance that innocents are going to stroll in anytime soon.

    Given the situation, I ducked down and emptied twenty shots over the top of the crate at my assailants. Once I poked my head up, I began targeting the sources of fire and lighting off long bursts. I also reached into the crate and began tossing concussion grenades. In retrospect, since we were in the middle of a docking bay filled with crates of blaster power packs and grenades, fuel tanks, power converters, and other stuff that doesn?t react well to blaster bolts and explosions, this was not the smartest move. But I just said ?kriffit? and kept blasting.

    I vaguely recalled a bright light, a thundering concussion, intense heat, and myself flying through the air. When I came to about five minutes later, I was flat on my stomach, lying in smog-hazed sunlight coming through what I swore had been a roof earlier in the day. It took me a while to remember that all that flaming debris around me had been a warehouse a few minutes prior. I?m not sure if one of my grenades or blaster bolts blew the joint to hell or whether that Trandoshan put a concussion rifle blast in the wrong place. Not that it really mattered, because most of the thugs were crispy critters. I?m no Jedi, but I think that the Force or whatever higher deity controls the universe looks out for my stupid ass when I decide to play with fire.

    One of the Rodian thugs gave me a kick to see if I was dead, and received a salvo of vac blades in the throat for his trouble. I?m usually grumpy when I wake up. Despite the fact that the back of my flightsuit and a good amount of my epidermis were burned away, my hair was singed to the scalp, and I had minor shrapnel gashes all over the place, I got up and ran like hell, skedaddling over to my landing patform and burning out of there, shooting down a couple of Durga/>
  6. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Excerpt: ?Onara? in ?First Knight? and ?Stars in the Darkness? by Arywn_Whitesun

    First Knight - From Chapter Five

    Onara leaned forward, her hands on the window ledge, her eyes narrowing. Then, when she saw the flickering gold and green lights appearing and disappearing among the darkness of the trees, her heart sped up and she clapped her hands together

    "Oh, I don't believe it! It's the Mating Dance," she cried out.

    "The Mating Dance?" Obi-Wan said.

    "Yes," Onara said excitedly. "I had forgotten all about it, what with the wedding and all. And because of the war, we thought they had all gone."

    "Gone? Who?"

    "The Katarra."

    When she saw the puzzlement on Obi-Wan's face, she quickly explained.

    "The Katarra are insects about the size of my fist. They're native to the forests near the Malia River. Once each solar cycle they dance their mating dance. The males and females sprout wings, but only for one night. As they fly about seeking mates, the males give off a green light and the females a gold one. It's quite beautiful. But, no one has seen them dance in years. We were afraid they had all died out."

    Onara leaned out a little farther as she strained to see the glimmers of green and gold lights darting deep within the darkness of the trees.

    Obi-Wan grabbed her arm. "Be careful."

    Onara shivered at his touch and, as she looked up at him, their eyes met. They stared at each other for a long moment. Then they both looked quickly away as Obi-Wan let go of her arm. He gestured below the window.

    "It's quite a drop, milady. I wouldn't want you to fall."

    Onara looked down. He was right. They were at least a hundred feet up from the ground. She looked back at the lights flickering among the trees.

    "Oh, I do wish I could see them dance. There are no Katarra in Kindah province."

    "It does sound fascinating," Obi-Wan said thoughtfully. He leaned over the ledge. "Hmmm, the ground appears level here and it looks soft enough."

    Onara looked down, then back at him. "What are you going to do?"

    "I'm going to go see this Dance."

    "But you can't. Grandmother and your apprentice are sitting guard outside the chamber."

    "I wasn't planning on going that way," the Jedi said with a sly grin.

    Onara's eyes widened as he climbed out onto the window's ledge.

    "No, you mustn't," she cried as she reached out towards him. "You'll be killed!"

    He looked back at her. "You forget, milady. I'm a Jedi."

    Onara stared at him. She didn't care if he was a Jedi. It was still madness.

    "Please, come back in, Master Obi-Wan."

    "Trust me. I've done this many times before."

    Onara frowned, then tugged on his tunic. "Well, if you're going I want to come too."

    "What?"

    She looked him hard in the eyes. "I'm not going to sit here by myself and twiddle my thumbs while you go out for a nice little stroll. I'm as much a prisoner as you are, and I want to get out of here."

    Obi-Wan looked at her for a moment. Then he smiled and gave her his hand. She took it and climbed out on the ledge. She looked down and wished she had not. Her head spun as the ground seemed to roll and twist beneath her. Then she felt Obi-Wan slip an arm about her waist as he pulled her tight against him.

    "Don't look at the ground. Look at me."

    She did so and saw that his eyes in the moon's light had darkened to a deep blue. Then, before she could draw breath, he swept her up in his arms. Onara squealed and wrapped her arms about his neck.

    "Remember," he cautioned her. "Don't look at the ground. Look only at me."

    Onara nodded, her throat tightening. Their faces were close enough she could see a small mole on his right cheek and what looked like a cleft in his chin, partially hidden by his beard. The ends of his hair softly caressed her forearm where it was clasped behind hi/>
  7. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Excerpt: ?Tuuvuu? in ?Forsaken and Begotten? by Arldetta

    ?Ready yourself, cub,? declared the grey and white Togorian captain of the 'Night?s Scream' as he stopped just behind the youth. ?A ship has just been picked up on our long range sensors. We are preparing to knock it out of hyperspace in a few minutes.?

    Soft ginger bangs slid down over sad seas as the young adult looked down for a moment. ?You wouldn?t be able to stop this Tuuvu, would you? If I told you I have a bad feeling about this?? A gentle paw came to rest upon the young shoulder and the lad looked up at his friend. Tuuvu almost released his hold at the sorrow he saw in the turbulent seas, but remained in the hopes he could calm the storm.

    In most cases the Captain was eager to listen to the boy?s feelings, but when it came to the raids, he knew there was little he could do to prevent them. ?You know I would if I could. But there are others on this ship that would not be pleased with such a decision.? Nodding the youth accepted the elder being?s answer. He also knew of whom the captain spoke, Kuuur, the first mate of the crew. Patting the boy?s shoulder, the Togorian attempted to ease the tension. ?Besides, this is our last raid before we return to Togoria for the mating period. And then next month we will be celebrating your birthing day. You know Jorri has been planning the party for months now??

    Running a hand through the sweeping strands, he gave a wan smile and said, ?I know. I miss her too.?

    ?Come, cub. Our prey should be arriving any moment.? Giving a quick slap to the boy?s back, Tuuvu began to leave.

    Grinning widely the youth turned after him, ?When are you going to stop calling me cub? I?ll be 18 next month and for humans I?ll be considered an adult.? The duo walked out of the observation lounge to get to one of the boarding portals.

    ?But you will always be a cub to me.? Tuuvu wrapped his arm around the boy?s shoulders. ?I will try to do better, cu? Obi. I promise.? A paw came up to ruffle the boy?s hair.

    ?Do or do not, there is no try.? Laughed Obi-Wan, but it was short lived as the quote brought back too many painful memories. Suddenly, the feeling worsened. He didn?t know what caused him to dredge up those lessons. Having not thought of them for years, Obi-Wan pushed back down the hatred that threatened to overtake him. It would do him no good to enter a conflict while distracted by old demons. Refocusing his energy, he prepared himself for battle.

    ---

    Staggering for a moment, Obi-Wan stole one more glance at the waiting Jedi, before following his comrades. They were almost at the portal when a secondary blast shook the ship. The violent jolt knocked Obi-Wan into one of the bulkheads igniting further agony in his already aching ribs. Stumbling to the ground, he noticed Tuuvu pause to look back. Obi-Wan waved his friends on, ?Get out of here!?

    But Tuuvu hesitated. They had been friends ever since the day Obi-Wan was brought on board. At the time, he was their prisoner, while Captain Drrov was in charge. But Tuuvu had always liked the little human boy. A few months later, the Captain had died during a botched attempt of piracy, giving Tuuvu command. He had released the boy immediately, but found out that Obi-Wan had no where else to go. So taking it upon himself, he cared for the child, who?s soul was in much worse condition than his body. Over the years, he had almost become a surrogate son to him and his mate, Jorri. <No,> he determined, <I will not abandon him.> He was about to lunge toward the boy when the tall Jedi entered the corridor.

    Another explosion rocked the vessel, the Jedi Knight crept steadily closer to Obi-Wan, who tried vainly to rid himself of the rage and pain he felt in his desperation. His wound hindered him from the strength he needed to get him away and back to his home. />
  8. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Excerpt: ?Lady Tsara? in ?First Knight? by Arwyn_Whitesun

    "We're being followed."

    Lady Tsara, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the speeder-car, looked over at Cheran, her former valet and the man who had been her eyes and ears inside the manor since her banishment. He was looking at the sensor display on the speeder's dashboard.

    "Followed?" she cried. "By whom? I specifically chose this road because it's rarely used since the main one was built."

    "I don't know, but they're coming up fast" Cheran said, his voice clearly betraying his fear, his long, doleful face greasy with sweat, his yellowish eyes wide. "It could be one of those Jedi."

    Tsara scowled at him. Spying and sabotaging were easy enough for Cheran to accomplish, but when it came down to actual physical confrontation the man was nothing but jelly. She reached down and picked up the high-powered blaster she had purchased in the capital before the raid. Cheran's eyes widened even more. Tsara looked through the window and pointed.

    "See that grove of trees up ahead on the right? Pull over and hide the speeder within it."

    She chewed on her lower lip. "It can't be the Jedi," she went on. "I saw that freak Jedi die with my own eyes."

    Then Tsara's mouth twisted with anger. She hadn't had time to watch Rhad take care of Skywalker as he'd boasted he would. She had wanted to escape with Ben before Kenobi showed up. But if Rhad had failed, then more than likely it was the Jedi brat coming up behind them. Tsara fingered the blaster, her mouth stretching in a wide, malicious smile. Well, she'd have a nice little surprise waiting for him.

    She turned and looked at the back seat of the speeder. Her great-grandson was in a baby carrier on the seat. He had finally stopped that ear-splitting squalling. Now he was staring silently at her and, for a moment, Tsara felt a frisson of fear. The baby's eyes were so much like that damn Kenobi's eyes it was scary and the look on his tiny face was far too knowing for that of a month-old infant.

    When the baby suddenly smiled, Tsara's heart kicked in her chest. From the moment she had taken him out of his crib he had either screamed or frowned at her, as if she were something repulsive and abhorrent to him. Now he was smiling and turning his head as if whoever was coming up the road behind them was someone he was eager to see.

    "No use your smiling and looking around like that," Tsara snapped at him. "Whoever that is coming up the road, you won't be going anywhere with him. You belong to me now."

    The baby ignored her, turning his head quickly as if trying to look behind him, his blue-gray eyes seeming to light up in the darkness of the speeder's interior. Tsara scowled at him, then noted out of the corner of her eye that Cheran was staring at her, his face clearly showing he was wondering if she'd lost her mind.

    "Hurry up and pull over," she snarled.

    Cheran did so, easing the vehicle in between the trees. He powered it down and looked over at Tsara.

    "Bring the baby with you," she told him as she opened her door and got out of the speeder.

    ---


    Excerpt: ?Chaawushro? in ?Some Other Future?s Past? by Chaos_Rose

    Chaawushro leaned back in the Wookiee-proportioned chair that the Naboo had so politely brought for her. Nothing in Obi-Wan's room would either hold her weight or accommodate her with any degree of comfort.

    Very nice people, the Naboo, but very skittish.

    Well, except for young Rabé. That cub was fierce enough for any five Naboo. It had taken a great deal of Mace Windu at his most persuasive to simply get the strong-minded child to let them in the door. Then it had been a fine tussle between Obi-Wan and Rabé over the strictest definition of 'rest.'

    Human males of the fairer-skinned varieties did tur/>
  9. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5


    Readers? Choice Interpretation of Male Canon Character:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Excerpts: ?Han Solo? in ?The Scoundrel Chronicles? by Coota


    Han and Chewie walked down the corridors from the spare parts storage facility back towards the Falcon. Booster had been kind enough to sell them some equipment so they could repair what damage the Falcon had received at the Battle of Yavin and other recent adventures. Each carried two boxes filled with technical equipment and spare parts, one in each hand, whatever had looked like either a good replacement or something they could modify existing parts with. Of course, Chewbacca?s load was bigger, but as far as relative strength goes, they were about the same. After all, a Wookie is several times stronger than even the strongest human; it isn?t fair to compare one to the other.

    ?I tell you Chewbacca, this place is like a maze. How could a bunch of smugglers carve out this much rock??

    ?<Maybe it was like this before they got here.>?

    ?A hand-me-down moon base? I wish we got that lucky, from time to time. And as long as I?m wishing, I wish Booster hadn?t gouged us on the spare parts prices.?

    ?<Well, he doesn?t especially like us, and I don?t see what choice we had. We?re going to be a little too busy for the next two weeks to scrounging for cheaper parts.>?

    ?I know, I know. I just wish he?d give me a little benefit of the doubt. It seems like everyone these days either hates my guts or wants to kill me.?

    ?<You could stand to make a few more friends.>?

    ?All the friends I do have are either on Nar Shaddaa, where almost everyone else hates me, or near the Corporate Sector, where Odumin issued a standing order that we be executed on sight, or captured, whatever the Espos are feeling like at the moment. Or they?re in worse trouble than I am. Or scattered across the galaxy, where I could never find them when I really need them. Or in the case of Leia, they?re leaving the known galaxy as fast possible.?

    ?<Don?t worry about it; you seem to be making steps in the right direction here. We just have to prove ourselves to Booster.>

    ?I?m tired of proving myself, every step of the way, every time I want something. I?ve been proving myself my entire life, Chewie. I could stand a few hits from the Cosmic Deck right about now.?

    ?<That?s just the way life is; trust me, I?ve been living it long enough.>?

    ?I guess so. Well, at least we?ve got our health, a ship, some new friends and a couple of credits. Better than nothing.?

    ?<Better watch out, your best friend is coming in this drection,>? Chewie warned, motioning with his head towards a tall, female figure approaching them.

    Han rolled his eyes, ?Oh, great. Just what I needed.?

    When Mirax got close enough to them, she stopped and placed her hands on her hips, ?What are you two doing wandering around with those crates? Trying to steal anything that?s not nailed down??

    Han dropped his crates and crossed his arms, a sneer crossing his face, ?Actually, your dad just fleeced us for some spare parts. You happen to know where the docking bay is, so we can actually put these things to use??

    Mirax sighed, appearing exasperated, and began to approach Solo, her eyes flashing. ?What?s wrong, you couldn?t use your natural sense of direction, honed from years of flying??

    Solo scoffed, but backed off slightly, leaning against the stone bulkhead of this level of the base. ?If I were in the Falcon, I wouldn?t need directions, sweetheart.?

    ?Solo, you know what?s wrong with you??

    ?No, what??

    ?Your attitude. You?re absolutely obsessed with your ship and yourself. Have you ever been interested in anything else in your entire life.?

    ?Once or twice, actually, and things didn?t turn out too well either time. I?m still willing to put my neck out for people once in a while.?

    Mirax was less than a foot away from him now, her eyes burning, ?Yeah, right/>
  10. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5

    Readers? Choice Interpretation of Female Canon Character:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Excerpt: ?Mara? in ?Lightswords of Fury? by Jedi_Liz

    She forced her mouth to smile. "I'm flattered," she replied.

    The man's returning smile had a bit too much leer for Mara's taste. She began wondering whether it would be using the Dark Side to mind trick him into going away.

    "Oh, where are my manners?" the man said. He extended a hand. "Major Wes Janson."

    "Arica," She gripped his hand to shake it, but Wes twisted her up and brought it to his lips to kiss.

    "A pleasure to meet you, Arica," he said, his grin widening just a bit.

    She had to fight the urge to wipe her hand on her turtleneck. "Likewise, Major."

    "Call me Wes." I'd rather call you Monkey Lizard; she thought her head beginning to throb.

    "Pretty sobering, isn't it?" he asked, gesturing to the plaque.

    "Yes, it is." The appallingly long list of pilots whose names were there was another gut-wrenching reminder to her of the evil she had once served. She could barely control the shudder of anger and grief that passed over her. Her headache now had exploded into a full-grown migraine.

    Mara hardly heard him, concentrating on banishing the memories of her deeds as the Emperor's Hand from her mind's eye. She shut her eyes tightly, seeking the quiet place Luke had taught her to find within herself.

    "I like to make the most of every moment, because you never know when your number's gonna come up. So, in keeping with my philosophy, I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me." He glanced at her, finally noticing her distress. "Hey, you o-?" He put a hand on her shoulder, reaching for his comlink to call a medic.

    His touching her was the straw that broke the Bantha's back for Mara. She shoved his hand off her with her left forearm, cocking her right arm back. Wes looked up from his belt in surprise, which became shock as he saw her fist flying at him. He stumbled back from the blow, stunned and confused. Berating herself silently for her loss of self-control, she stalked off, searching for Luke.

    ---


    Excerpt: ?Jaina Solo Fel? in ?Revelation? by Jedi-Princess-Solo

    Darkness swirled around her, the thick haze weighing her down. She tired to open her eyes, but she found they were too heavy.

    A groan filtered to her ears through the haze, and she focused on the sound, slowly drawing herself into consciousness.

    As her eyelids fluttered, searing white light blinded her, her head throbbing with agony. She blinked, then opened her eyes again, letting them adjust to their surroundings. As her surroundings swam into view, she found herself lying on her back, staring up at the shattered ceiling, and the distant glow of a dogfight somewhere high overhead.

    For a moment she lay absolutely still, trying to remember what had happened, and then the floodgates of memory lifted and she relived her fight with her son, and their deadly fall, in the silence of her mind.

    The groan sounded again, and Jaina lifted herself up onto her elbow, wincing in pain. She turned her head to find a most relieving sight. Anakin was sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall on the opposite side of the hallway, looking as broken and battered as she felt, but he was alive.

    "Anakin?" she rasped, grunting as she forced herself up to her knees. She wanted to stand but she knew she couldn't. It was taxing enough as it was just to kneel.

    "Mom?" he asked hoarsely. He lifted his head and she winced at the blood trickling down his cheek from his hair. "You're awake."

    Jaina did not miss the conflicting relief and anxiety in his tone. Gritting her teeth, she hauled herself back against her wall, sinking against the cold durasteel with a groan that seemed to come from every fiber of her being. Her entire body ached, throbbed, every bone felt as if it had been snapped and bruise/>
  11. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5


    Readers? Choice Male Child:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Excerpt: ?Ben Kenobi Lenor? in ?Stars in the Darkness? by Arwyn_Whitesun

    As Onara walked over to Ben's bed, she held him tight, letting herself revel in the softness of his round cheek against her face, the warmth of his little body in her arms, the smell of the bath soap on his skin, and the heady realization that he was the flesh and blood embodiment of the deep love she still had for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    Reaching his bed, Onara carefully laid Ben on it and helped him slip under the covers, then sat next to him. But, before she could say a word, she heard a strange noise from under the bed. At the sound Ben, who had been smiling up at her, suddenly froze and his eyes widened.

    "Ben, what is that under your bed? Is that one of your toys?"

    "No, Mama."

    The sound became louder and, as it did, Ben's eyes grew larger.

    "Well, what is it?"

    "I don't know, Mama."

    "Ben Kenobi," Onara said as she frowned down at her son. "What did Mama tell you about telling lies?"

    "Not to."

    "Exactly. So, I will ask you again. What is that noise?"

    Ben gazed up at her for a moment and Onara saw the nervousness in his eyes. Climbing out from under his covers, he got off the bed and scooted under it. Onara waited. Long moments passed.

    "Ben?"

    "Yes, Mama?" he replied, his muffled voice coming up to her from under the bed.

    "I'm waiting for you and whatever it is you have under your bed to come up here. Right now."

    "Yes, Mama," she heard him say with a sigh.

    He pushed himself from beneath the bed and stood. His thick black hair was tousled, his blue-gray eyes staring down at the floor, both his hands behind his back. Onara crossed her arms over her chest.

    "What is that you're hiding behind your back?"

    Ben reached around with one small hand and showed it to Onara. It was empty. Onara shook her head and pointed to his other hand which was still behind his back. Ben put his empty hand behind him, kept it hidden, then showed her his other hand, which was also empty.

    "Ben," Onara said in a warning tone.

    "Oh, Mama, please let me keep it. Please," Ben pleaded.

    "Keep what, darling?"

    Ben looked at her for a moment, then brought both his hands from around his back and showed her what was in them. At first Onara saw what looked like a large, golden furry ball. Then she noted the ball had tiny eartufts, a white chest and bright blue eyes ringed with red. It was softly cooing and Onara noted a faint, but pleasant scent from it. Before she could ask what it was, however, it suddenly stood up on eight tiny, thin legs. Onara drew back. Ben laughed as she did so, the creature balancing perfectly on his hands.

    "Don't be afraid, Mama. It won't hurt you."

    "Ben, what is that and where did you get it?"

    "Bau-Bau gave it to me. It's a....a..." Ben screwed up his face until he remembered. "It's a voorpak."

    "A voorpak?"

    Ben nodded. "It came from Naboo. Isn't he pretty, Mama?"

    Onara eyed the creature. She had noted when it had opened its mouth to yawn, it had two rows of tiny, but very sharp teeth.

    "It's a he?" she asked.

    Ben nodded. He climbed back onto the bed and snuggled next to Onara, the voorpak having now collapsed his legs back under himself. The creature closed his eyes, and humming softly, went back to sleep. Ben carefully placed the creature in his lap, gently stroking it.

    ---


    Excerpt: ?Luke Naberrie/Skywalker? in ?Coming Home? by JediGaladriel

    They rounded a curve in the corridor and came into the Great Hall. Against the high windows, Luke saw the silhouette of a large man wearing crisp, new robes. The sunlight glinted strangely at his hip, and Luke realized that the hand extending from the sleeve was made of shiny metal. His back was turned, and Luke felt things coming from inside of him that were so strong they were almos/>
  12. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5

    Readers? Choice Female Child:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Excerpt: ?Leia Skywalker? in ?At Tea? by Darth_Silenous

    Leia?d had to pull Father (Mother had helped) all the way to the park, but now that they were there, there seemed to be no getting him to leave.

    ?If you push this thruster forward,? he was telling her, and she nodded, ?then your speeder will go straight up in the air.?

    Mother frowned at Father from the scraggly tree she was leaning against. ?Ani, that doesn?t sound very safe.?

    Leia had to suppress a grin. Personally, she didn?t think anything involving her Father was very safe.

    ?Leia has control,? Father said, straightening to look at Mother. ?There is little danger...?

    ?Ani,? Mother said warningly, and Father bowed his head, then turned back to Leia and the speeder. Leia had a feeling he hadn?t heard anything Mother had said.

    ?I see,? she told him with a smirk. ?But why would you want to do that??

    ?It can help distract your opponent,? he said, moving to the other side of the speeder. Leia followed him curiously. ?They do not know where you have gone, so you can come in over their heads and take the lead.?

    She giggled. ?Father, isn?t that cheating??

    ?No,? he replied calmly, fiddling with a rubber covered lever on the speeder?s lower side. He scooted over slightly, so she could see what he was doing. ?Do you see this?? he asked. Leia nodded. ?This controls your speed. If you move it over --?

    ?Ani,? Mother said for the second time, and she left her perch by the tree to stand imposingly in front of them. ?You will not modify the speed controls on Leia?s bike.?

    Between Mother -- pale, but undeniably regal, clad in full, intricate attire that covered her from the bottom of her chin to her feet -- and Father, masked, armor-clad, and caped entirely in black, Leia couldn't quite tell which of them held the most power. Both were, in their own ways, equally effective at getting what they wanted. Leia thought that most would say Father was the stronger willed, but personally, she suspected that her mother had more of a say on things than her father did. Father usually bent to Mother?s will -- eventually.

    ?Yes, Amidala,? Father said. Leia rolled her eyes at the predictability of her parents? conversation.

    ?If anything happens to our daughter --?

    ?I am aware, Amidala --?

    ?You?d better be,? Mother scowled, drawing herself up and back to the edge of the tree. Her face was very stern and serious. Just as Father was about to turn back to the speeder, however, she smiled; suddenly and unexpectedly, with a carefree look on her face that Leia had seen too few times in her life -- then sat down in an enormous puff-cloud of her own skirts and ribbons. Father looked at her for a long time -- wistfully, Leia thought -- before turning back to Leia and her speeder.

    ?Should you ever be interested in modifying your speed when you are older, we will rediscuss the purpose of this lever,? he said carefully. ?However, as you should not try such things at this stage? -- Mother cleared her throat loudly -- ?we will simply look at trying to make your flight smoother. Adjustment of this gear here should do exactly that.?

    Leia frowned at the highlighted gear. ?Why doesn?t it come already smoothed out?? she asked, aware she was using the wrong lingo, and that Father would make her pay for it. ?I mean, why do we have to change it ourselves??

    ?Because otherwise would raise the cost of the bike,? Father explained. ?And the gear itself is not smoothed , Leia -- we adjust the positioning of the gear to make your flight smoother.?

    ?Oh,? she said, staring at the gear. ?I think I get it.?

    ?Why don?t you just have her race, Ani?? Mother asked from her tree. ?I think you?ve done enough adjustments for today.?

    Father, apparently, had not thought about this. He turned to Leia almost apologetically.

    ?Would you like to fly now, Leia?? />
  13. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5


    Readers? Choice Newcomer:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Extracted from the works of Coota:

    Han decided not to mention that he had felt the old man as well; Luke didn?t need any more reliance on superstition than he already had. Han admitted the kid had some amazing skills, but he refused to admit that any all-powerful Force controlled everything. It felt too much like predestination, and predestination had always seemed like a cop out to Han Solo. After all, what was the point of life if everything was already planned from the start?

    ?Luke, you need to get over this. You?re no good to us, or our little rebellion, in constant mourning.?

    ?It?s just that? my entire life, I was looking forward to something. I was looking forward to being a fighter pilot, a hero, and a famous soldier. Then I end up meeting Ben, and I?m looking forward to becoming a great Jedi and a warrior. Now, after everything that?s happened, I don?t know what to look forward to anymore.?

    Han snorted, ?It ever occur to you to stop looking forward??

    ?What?? Luke asked.

    ?If your heads in the clouds all the time, how are you supposed to function in the real world??

    ?But if you don?t have anything to look forward to, what?s the point?? Luke asked.

    ?The point, kid, is living life day to day. If you?re constantly looking forward to something, sure, everything looks bad where you are right now. You need to keep your mind on where you are, what you are doing, not your dreams. That?s just a path to disappointment.?

    Luke chuckled, ?You sound like some sort of two credit wise man, Han.?

    ?It?s called experience, Luke. It?s hard to learn, and you don?t often just get handed it. I?m handing it to you. You?ve had some hard knocks; now it?s time to start changing the way you look at things.?

    ?But why??

    ?If you can?t change your own way of looking at yourself, how?re you going to change the way the galaxy looks at itself? That?s what this rebellion is about, kid: change. And we?ve got to be the first ones to go through that change.?

    ?Maybe?,? Luke mumbled, uncertain.

    Han was slightly infuriated. He snorted and strode forward, close to where Luke sat. ?No maybes about it, Skywalker. We stand up now, and we say to the rest of the galaxy that first we?re going to change, and then we?re going to change it.?

    ?What are you talking about, Han??

    ?Get up! C?mon, with me: I refuse to go down without a fight! I refuse to be a criminal for the rest of my life! I?m going to be able to look into the mirror, straight into my own eyes, and not be afraid of what I see there!? Han shouted into the nothingness of the Tatooine night, his voice carrying across the sand.

    ?Are you crazy? You?re going to wake up the entire desert!? Luke exclaimed.

    ?That?s the point kid; c?mon, are you going to just sit around, or are you going to get up and fight??

    Luke hesitated, ?I? don?t know.?

    ?Then what good are you? We?re changing the galaxy! We need to know what we want out of it: do you know, Skywalker??

    ?I? want to keep anyone else from ending up like Leia?,? he said softly, slowly standing.

    ?Don?t tell me, Luke,? Han said, calmly, ?Tell the galaxy.?

    Luke straightened up and let out a yell, ?I want the galaxy to change! I want to know what I want, I want to seize it and protect it with all my being!?

    Han grinned with his whole being. ?That?s it, Luke,? he said, then yelled, ?We?re going to change the galaxy! For better or for worse, we?re going to change it, because anythings gotta be better than right now!?

    A bleary eyed Wedge stumbled out into the desert night, followed by Wes, Hobbie and Chewbacca. ?What are you lunatics doing?? Wedge asked.

    ?Changing,? Han replied, in a matter of fact tone of voice, ?Want to join us??

    Wedge shrugged, ?Hell, why not? I haven?t really gotten to yell at the galaxy lately.?

    He yelled into the desert, ?I refuse to live in the past! I will remember it, />
  14. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Extracted from the works of Amidala_Skywalker:

    In a tone different than before, he questioned, ?Would you like a challenge, Queen Mother??

    ?Tenel Ka,? she recited from memory. ?Fact. Are you initiating combat??

    ?Would you like me to??

    Tenel Ka could almost envision his eyebrow quirk at his statement.

    Reaching forward she snatched two pieces of equipment from a nearby wall, throwing one to the floor behind her. It didn?t matter what weapons she chose; they would satisfy the challenge.

    ?Yes.?

    Unlike the poles, this new weapon cast an aura of power. Instead of a smooth end, the device had a razor-sharp spike attached; which, Tenel Ka supposed, could probably impale a wild beast at close range. She had never tried to mutilate an animal through hunting, but possessed enough knowledge in that area to have the ability. To select this form of weaponry was indeed a risk, though she had long ago entrusted Jacen with the faith that he knew what he was doing. She hoped he did; she couldn?t afford to lose another arm.

    Concentrating on her incredible hearing, her ears registered Jacen fetching the weapon and tossing it from one palm to another, acquiring the feel. Then the unpredictable happened, and Tenel Ka spun around to investigate. She took pride in anticipating the actions of others, and when an act unknown to her thoughts was participated in, she sought to adapt.

    What met her gaze was something she could never have predicted ? rippling muscles. Jacen had removed his shirt, and all she could visualise was the core of his brute strength and handsome exterior. His chest was? something else. Automatically Tenel Ka noted the changes in his body: the way his shoulders were high and shaped, the prominent collarbone, the strapping jawline, the slenderness of his cheekbones, the silky soft brown hair, the coarse remnants of facial hair, the contoured chest and stomach of white skin, the tracings of scars, and the fitness of his lower body. He commanded an authoritative figure, and as attractive as he was, Tenel Ka?s self-control forced her to advert her eyes.

    The Jedi didn?t seem pay heed to the uncomfortable position he had placed her in; rather his muscles flexed and hand grasped the weapon.

    ?Good choice,? Jacen mumbled, probably more to himself but Tenel Ka still caught it.

    Looking at his face, she stopped her eyes from creeping down where she did not wish them to go.

    ?I assume you know how to operate it?? she exchanged, moving to her previous spot on the mat, standing opposite to Jacen.

    ?I know enough.? He shrugged, eyeing the glistening spike. She saw him close his eyes, draw a deep breath, and gather the Force around him. ?Now, remember, focus.?

    His voice was so comforting that she could hardly refuse, and any semblance of authority had already been thrown away. Here they were Queen Mother and Jedi Knight, but then again, the spirit of old companions still lived inside them ? somewhere. As they stood energized for battle, Tenel Ka felt it once more ? the memories, the heartache, the love, the desires and passions of things she had long denied herself ? it all came to her in such a rush.

    She must have looked pained, for Jacen?s brow instantly creased.

    ?Are you all right??

    She tossed his question aside. ?It is nothing. Ready??

    He nodded, but she knew he wasn?t reassured by her words. There wasn?t time to consider it now as the challenge awaited, and besides, any information Tenel Ka wanted to drag out of Jacen Solo could be done at a latter date.

    ?Begin.?

    The two commenced by circling around each other, weapons placed horizontal, and eyes humming over each other?s poised forms. They empowered such concentration into the fight that time seemed to slip away, and any knowledge of the amount of seconds which passed was lost. Tenel Ka felt her muscles spasm in expectation - so surely th/>
  15. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5


    Readers? Choice Most Underrated Story:


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    Excerpt from ?Snow Job? by Alion_Sangre

    In retrospect, it must have been pretty damned funny. I?ll bet it was so outrageously hilarious that the hit team across the street was unable to shoot us because they were curled up in the fetal position on the floor laughing their heads off. Either that or it was the fact that we were accelerating at ten meters per second towards the ground, I?m not sure. In any case, none of us appreciated the humor of the situation at the time.

    All I remember saying, or rather yelling, was, "OHHHHHHHH SITHSPIIIIIIIIIIIT!". Chelle?s high pitched screaming accompanied her probable conclusion that I had gone mad and was dragging everbody into mass suicide, and the still-unconscious Jurstins said nothing as he fell like a sack of wet grain. The stark-white ground rushed up to meet us, visions of my life flashing before my eyes . . .

    WHUMP! I felt myself rapidly decelerate, my face growing cold and a feeling of something rushing past me. All I saw was a gray blur.

    Am I dead?

    No, you ass,
    some portion of my brain replied. You?re at the bottom of a snowdrift.

    Rising to my knees on about half a meter of snow compacted by my fall, I stuck my head up and saw that I was in a snow angel-shaped hole in a three-meter snowbank piled up by the street clearing vehicles and the blizzard. To either side of me were other human-shaped holes, presumably containing my colleagues. Acting quickly before everyone else figured out we were getting away, I reached to my left and dragged Jurstins out, his breathing and a few movements of heis eyes behind the lids convincing me he was still alive. Chelle?s head popped up, covered in snow and almost provoking a manic guffaw from me. "Are you trying to get us all killed on purpose or are you just an idiot?"

    "Nonsense, I planned that perfectly." However, I did remember that there were a pair of trigger-happy snipers above us, so I grabbed Chelle?s arm and violently yanked her out of the snowdrift, dragging both of them around to the side of the building ? if any of you wonder how I was able to haul two people around like this, both of whom were probably heavier than me, I have no idea. Probably adrenaline.

    In any case, I found an aging Aratech Arrow taxi parked on the curb, the driver having apparently gone someplace for something. Reasoning that the owner of the vehicle would understand, I pulled out one of the Tech Department?s little gadgets, popped the door, threw Jurstins in, and asked Chelle, ?You okay to drive??

    ?I think so,? she nodded, struggling not to go into shock from the gutshot.

    ?Good,? I said, handing her the inciter. ?Get the hell out of here. Hide someplace and I?ll catch up with you.?

    ?How are you gonna find us??

    ?I?ve got it covered. Scram!? I slammed the door and watched with satisfaction as the speeder accelerated and whipped around the turn. I ran towards the front of the building, where my swoop was parked.

    At this point, a blaster bolt vaporized the snow behind me, informing yours truly that the snipers had stopped laughing at our slapstick act and were out to kill. I just hoped the missileer wasn?t up on the roof zeroing in on the landspeeder. I ran faster than I thought possible, red bolts reaching out as I ran for the swoop. One grazed my armor vest but didn?t penetrate, and I later found several holes in my flight duster and a few singed hairs.

    Suddenly, my feet left the snow and came into contact with a slick surface that even my tough boots couldn't handle. The velocity of the contact sent my feet skidding forward, unbalancing my body and slamming me down on my back with an impact that rattled my vertabrae from coccyx to skull. Get up! my mind screamed. But I knew there was no way in hell I could move fast enough to escape the tracking bolts of the sniper's weapon.

    Lyin/>
  16. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

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    Excerpt from ?You Don?t Bring Me Flowers Anymore? by Amidala_Skywalker

    ?Leia, you haven?t changed one bit. You look gorgeous ? you will always be,? Han said, leaking his emotions into a controlled train of thought.

    ?You know, I regret some of the things I?ve done, including letting you get away from me,? she admitted, brown eyes glistening. ?But from my marriage, I have received the greatest gift I could ever receive ? a daughter.?

    Han winced, finding himself unable to bear the concept of Leia being with another man - intimately. He was jealous at the thought of it. It infuriated him to no ends, partly because he had never had the chance to branch their relationship in that direction.

    Leia must have noticed a scowl appearing on his face, and immediately went about explaining at a million words a minute. ?Han, it isn?t what you?re thinking. I? we never? we? it didn?t feel right to our hearts.?

    Touching his face, a warm smile came to her lips.

    ?Trali?a is a creation of medical technology??

    Han let out a deep breath, trying to calm his quickened heart rate. How could he have ever thought Leia would betray him? He should have known she wouldn?t have the heart to forget him.

    ?Sweetheart, I came here half-expecting to find a different person in place of the woman I love. But after all these years, you?re still the same. Stubborn as ever. It seems like just yesterday I took you aside on the Falcon and kissed you,? he said, voice shaking. ?I?m still drawn by you. Still attracted. I could never forget??

    Leia nodded thoughtfully. ?But our hearts deceive us so. Don?t be fooled.?

    Her eyes became misty, and she moved to gently caress a nearby flower. Nature responded by blowing the exquisite creation into her hand. The yellow petals quivered ? a touch of feathery soft material - all connected at the centre with a hive of faint brown. The large stem grew from the ground, deep blue meeting fluorescent yellow, and both looked at peace with one another.

    ?Becoming the Hapan Queen Mother has made me realise something. In a world filled with technology, it?s easy to forget the simple things. And when we forget those, we also let opportunities slip past us.? She let the flower sway away from her. ?Sometimes life doesn?t provide us with those options again. I?ve ignored the gifts fate gave me beyond recognition. Fate - what a blind, cruel presence it makes. And destiny, such which designs our life for us.? She tossed her head around, capturing his attention on her face. ?Doesn?t it feel like we?re not supposed to be doing all this? This timeline feels as though it shouldn?t have happened. Why? Because I blindly missed a transport. Destiny has failed, but perhaps fate has already cast its ballot.?

    ?Leia,? Han encouraged, speaking softly. ?None of this lost time was your fault. You made a bad decision ? we all do.?

    ?Luke and Chewie paid for that bad decision with their lives. It was only one decision, and it royally twisted our future. Bad decisions, good decisions, I don?t care anymore. To me it?s just another judgement, and another meddling failure to walk away from.?

    Han stayed quiet during her words, gazing at her with only love and admiration in his eyes.

    ?Look at what I did to my friends, Han! You and Chewie were locked up. Chewie was shot down in your escape. Luke was killed by his own lightsaber. Even Artoo and Threepio were scrapped without me knowing so.? She threw her hands up in a menacing action. ?I?m supposed to be the Queen Mother! I?m supposed to know these things.?

    ?Shh, shh, quiet Leia,? Han soothed, reaching for the warmth of her body. ?You?re getting yourself worked up over things that can?t be corrected.?

    Leia trembled, her breath shuddering into her lungs. The former princess of Alderaan and the current Queen Mother of the Hapes Cluster was frightened, but she knew/>
  17. Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2001
    star 5

    Readers? Choice Most Imaginative Story:


    (Start category excerpts)


    Excerpt from ?The Mirror?s Other Side? by Arwyn_Whitesun

    Rian shook her head, her eyes filled with worry. "No, Qui-Gon. You don't understand. If my theory of what happened to Obi-Wan is correct, if you ever want to see your Obi-Wan again, you must find the one who has taken his place."

    "What? Rian, what are you talking about? What do you mean, the one who has taken his place?"

    Rian gestured for Qui-Gon to sit next to her. He did so, leaning towards her.

    "It's a theory I have, Qui-Gon, though most in the established scientific community do not share it."

    "What theory?"

    "About divergent universes."

    "Divergent universes?"

    "Yes," Rian said, her eyes sparkling the way they did whenever she was excited about some scientific curiosity. "Tell me. What did you have for breakfast this morning?"

    "Breakfast?" Qui-Gon thought back. With all that had happened today, he could barely remember breakfast.

    "I had popya juice, some fruit and a slice of orangebread."

    "Now, what if you had had, let's say, eggs and milk instead. Would anything about your day have been different?"

    Qui-Gon shook his head. "I don't see how."

    Rian nodded excitedly. "In most cases nothing would have been different. Eggs, fruit, what's the difference. But, what if by having eggs today instead of fruit, the eggs had been tainted in some way. Rotten or bad. You might have gotten sick. And, being sick, you might have not have arrived at my home in time to stop Obi-Wan from slitting my throat. And I would be dead."

    "Rian, I don't see what this has to do with---"

    Rian reached over and grabbed Qui-Gon's arm.

    "Don't you see? Every time we make decision, whether to go left instead of right, whether to have eggs instead of fruit, whether to vote for a particular candidate or not, we cause one set of circumstances to unfold and another set not to. I believe that each time we make a decision, a different universe is created. Not one we can see or sense, of course, but one that exists parallel to ours, like two roads running alongside each other, but never meeting. And, for every decision made by every being in the universe, another universe is created. One in which instead of fruit, you had eggs. And instead of me being alive, I'm dead."

    "But, Rian, if what you're saying is true, that a another universe is created every time we make a decision, there could be an---"

    "An infinity of universes. Now, think, Qui-Gon. Think back over history. Think of times when decisions were made that could have led to the galaxy being very different from the one we currently live in. Not all decisions are as trivial as what one has for breakfast. Some decisions decide the fate of worlds or of an entire galaxy. For example, what would have happened if the Jedi had not defeated the Sith two thousand years ago. Or, what would have happened if, in defeating the Sith, the Jedi became like the very ones they had fought."

    Qui-Gon inwardly shuddered at Rian's words. There had been times during the long history of the wars between the Jedi and the Sith, when many Jedi had called upon the dark side to defeat their enemy and, as a result, became the very things they had fought against.

    "Now, Qui-Gon," Rian said softly. "Imagine being born and coming of age in such a universe. A universe ruled by dark Jedi. A universe of unimaginable brutality, where the only law is survival. What kind of person would you be? What kind of person would anyone be?"

    "Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon whispered.

    Rian nodded. "When Obi-Wan fell onto my machine, I believe it was still active. Later, when Sada and I were cleaning up the lab, I examined it to see if it had been damaged. It was fine, but I noticed that a huge spike of energy had registered on the machine right at the moment Obi-Wan fall onto the platform. Something to do with that grenade that was tossed/>
  18. AngelQueen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2001
    star 4
  19. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
  20. LadyMairead Jedi Master

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    May 20, 2002
    star 4
  21. VadeyFan2002 Jedi Master

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  22. vader_incarnate Force Ghost

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    Jul 29, 2002
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    *boosts to the top while standing atop of her various science books . . . knew those would come in handy some day*

    Sorry! UP!!
  23. Arldetta Jedi Master

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    Jul 19, 2002
    star 4
    *Bump*

    Can't let this fall off the top page!


    You did a superb job with this Amidala. ;)
    Can't wait to find out the outcome!! :D
  24. Knight-Ander Jedi Master

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    Jul 19, 2002
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  25. Lonewolf89 Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 26, 2001
    star 5
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