Beyond - Legends Worth Fighting For (Mara, Luke LOTF-AU) - Complete

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tarsier, May 4, 2010.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Wow! The Callista centered update -- =D= Your Callista is more sympathetic to me than profic's :p :D @};-

    Oooh, the 8/22 update ended with a nice cliffie. [face_batting]

  2. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    JediMike2372
    Another new reader, awesome! :cool:

    I like the interaction between Mara and Benji. Could almost be a Master/Apprentice relationship.
    Hmm...we'll see. [face_thinking] Thanks so much for the comments!

    Jaded_Girl
    Thanks! :)

    Jade_eyes
    Your Callista is more sympathetic to me than profic's
    I try! Thank you! :)

    *

    Author Note: My goal is to have this story finished by the end of the year. So I should resume posting it sometime around then (somewhat dependent on if/when I find a beta reader). I may post some prequel one-shots in the meantime. Thanks again to everyone who has read this story so far! I am still working on it, it will be finished!
  3. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Chapter 10

    Six months after he’d been saved by Karrde, Dankin found himself in a mountainous wilderness with Odonnl and Aves. Aves, only a couple years older than Odonnl, was supposed to be in charge. He had a map and a compass, but Odonnl seemed unconvinced that he knew how to read either.

    “I’m not lost,” Aves grumbled. “It’s just taking longer because I have to babysit you two.”

    Odonnl rolled his eyes and glanced at Dankin. “Right . . .”

    “I hear something,” Dankin said.

    “What is it?” Odonnl asked, straining to hear.

    “Animals?” Dankin replied uncertainly.

    “Could it be the guarlara?” Aves asked.

    Dankin, of course, had no idea. Like most people, he had never seen the exceedingly rare animals in real life before. He hadn’t even heard of such animals existing until two days ago. Guarlara were huge, majestic, jet-black equines so coveted by the royalty of Naboo that it was illegal for anyone outside of the royal family to ride them. There were rumors that a powerful corporate businessman had acquired a black market herd of the animals and kept them hidden deep in the mountains of Ralltiir. A rival had hired Karrde to provide proof of the herd’s existence, to be used to create a scandal that would take down the businessman. Karrde had sent Aves, Odonnl, and Dankin to find the herd and take pictures.

    Dankin heard the sound, a faint braying, again. This time Aves and Odonnl heard it too.

    “This way.” Aves led the trio up a steep rise in the mountainside. From the top, they could see nearly three-hundred and sixty degrees around them.

    “There,” Odonnl pointed to a small valley several kilometers down the mountain. Small black forms could be seen moving around below.

    “I see,” Aves replied. “But I can't tell for sure what they are.” Aves fiddled with the lens on the camera for a few minutes before declaring, “We need to get closer.”

    After about an hour of climbing down the mountain toward the herd, they came to a river. The river was about twenty meters across and impossible to tell how deep. The current was slow but steady.

    “Here, I see the river on the map,” Aves said. “It looks like there’s a bridge a little ways upstream.”

    They wandered into the trees, far enough away that they could no longer see the river, but close enough to hear it. Dankin was tired but didn’t want to complain. He trudged along behind the others, trying his best not to fall too far behind. Dankin was determined to carry his weight, not to be a burden to those around him. But at the moment he wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep.

    Dankin jumped as Odonnl, apparently having paused to wait for him, laid a hand on his shoulder. “Not too much farther,” Odonnl said with an encouraging smile. Dankin gave the brightest smile he could muster in return.

    “Sithspawn!” Aves cried up ahead.

    Odonnl trotted to catch up. “What is it?”

    “That,” Aves replied.

    Once Dankin caught up, he saw that Odonnl and Aves were looking forlornly at the river. Specifically at an old tree trunk that stretched across it.

    “That’s the bridge?” Odonnl asked.

    Aves looked from the map to the tree trunk and back again. “It has to be.”

    “There’s no way we can cross that. It probably won’t even hold our weight.”

    Aves nodded agreement. Then he turned, seeming to see Dankin for the first time. “It might not hold our weight,” Aves began, sizing up Dankin as he spoke.

    “No,” Odonnl said. “It’s way too dangerous. What if he falls?”

    “I won’t fall,” Dankin asserted. He moved quickly to the end of the tree trunk and scrambled on top.

    “Wait, come back,” Odonnl said.

    Dankin took a few steps forward, over the water. The tree felt solid beneath his feet and it was easier to keep his balance than Dankin had expected. “I’m okay,” he said.

    “Good job, Dankin,” Aves said. “The herd must be close. Here, take the camera,” Aves held the small device out to the younger boy. Dankin easily took the few steps to return and took the device from Aves. “This is very expensive. Karrde will have our heads if it gets damaged. Be careful,” Aves warned. Odonnl looked uneasy as Dankin turned back toward the water, but said nothing.

    Dankin no longer felt tired as he stuck the camera in the pocket of his jacket. He was pleased to finally be able to do something helpful, something no one else could do. He took three easy steps, staring at the log below. He slowed a little, aware of how far he was from the bank. Two more steps. Then another. Dankin was past the halfway point. No turning back now. Another step—

    Dankin vaguely recalled the sensation of falling. And a sharp pain in his shin where it contacted a rock. But mostly he remembered suddenly forgetting how to breathe. Even before his head went underwater, it was as though his lungs simply forgot how to function in the icy water. He tried desperately to swim to the bank, but he could hardly tell which direction to push to keep his head above the surface of the water, much less which direction the safety of the bank was. He felt himself being pulled by the current, scraping his legs and arms across rocks. He didn’t notice the pain, and he no longer felt the cold. He simply fought the river as long as he could.

    The next thing Dankin remembered was being on the bank. And shivering.

    “He’s freezing!” That was Odonnl.

    “He’s okay.” That was Aves. Aves, who was soaking wet and visibly shaking.

    Dankin remembered being wrapped in two jackets.

    “Take this.” Aves tossed something to Odonnl. “Shoot anything that moves.”

    “What about the camera?”

    “Forget it. I’ll tell Karrde I lost it. We need to get him back.”

    Aves tossed something else to Odonnl.“Keep us headed southwest. Got that?”

    Odonnl’s footsteps moved away as Dankin was lifted.

    Aves paused and looked down at the young boy, his face drawn with concern. “Are you okay?”

    Dankin nodded slowly.

    “Don’t ever do that again, Dankin. Don’t you ever scare me like that again.”


    * * *

    “Are you sure we’re being objective about this?” Odonnl asked. He was sitting in the copilot’s seat on the bridge, his chair swiveled to face the passenger bench where Dankin was seated. “And we aren’t just grabbing for the first lead that isn’t Aves?”

    “Not at all. But still, the logic stands,” Dankin replied. “We’ve investigated everyone who complains, everyone who demands more money, everyone who seems unhappy. But what about those who have been quietly doing their own thing, flying beneath the radar?”

    “And Faughn is the only one who isn’t complaining?”

    “Pretty much. Here, I pulled her records for the last six months. What do you see?”

    Odonnl took the datapad and scrolled through. “She isn’t demanding much, but she has been getting everything she wants lately. Based on this, I’d say her ship is in the best-repair of any in our fleet.”

    “Uh-huh. And?”

    “And . . .” Odonnl glanced through each expense approval on the list. “And everything has been approved by Aves. Sith, she probably hasn’t even spoken to Mara in months.” Hearing the words out loud made Odonnl wince. Why hadn’t they seen it before? “Which would explain why Mara hasn’t picked up on her deception.”

    “Exactly. Now the only question is: will she show up to the meeting on Corellia?”

    Odonnl shook his head slowly as he handed back the datapad. “I wouldn’t count on it.”

    “I’m sure she doesn’t want to. But she may need to. She doesn’t know we’re on to her yet and she’s taken some money, but not enough to survive on for long.”

    “She has to know Mara will figure it out as soon as they meet face-to-face.”

    Dankin grimaced. “Except that we conveniently told her to show up with ysalamiri. Maybe she still thinks she can get away with it, safely tucked in a ysalamiri bubble.”

    “Right. The ysalamari. There’s no way this visit to Corellia ends well, is there?”

    “Let’s just say I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Dankin replied.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Jul 19, 2013
  4. dancing_star Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2007
    star 4
    Just found this story and it's great! =D= Very well-written. :) Looking forward to see where you take it! [face_dancing]
    [:D]
  5. DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Interesting development there with Faughn. Also want to see where you take it.
  6. Jaded_Girl Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2001
    star 4
    Aves, only a couple years older than Odonnl, was supposed to be in charge. He had a map and a compass, but Odonnl seemed unconvinced that he knew how to read either.

    [face_laugh] Awesome.



    ~?He?s okay.? That was Aves. Aves, who was soaking wet and visibly shaking.
    ~Dankin remembered being wrapped in two jackets. Aves leaned over him.
    ~?Take this.? Aves tossed something to Odonnl. ?Shoot anything that moves.?
    ~?What about the camera??
    ~?Forget it. I?ll tell Karrde I lost it. We need to get him back.?


    Awwww! [face_love]



    ?Let?s just say I?ve got a bad feeling about this,? Dankin replied.

    *nods worriedly*


    Well Tarsier, this is a tight little plot you're thickening! (Though I liked Faughn in the Hand of Thrawn and will be a bit sorry to see her as an antagonist. Still, it's a great story!) I eagerly await updates! ^_^



  7. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    dancing_star
    Welcome (back) to the story! :) Thanks for commenting!

    DaenaBenjen42
    Hopefully you won't have to wait too long for an update. Thanks for commenting! :)

    Jaded_Girl
    Thanks for the comments - I like the flashback scene, but in retrospect I'm not sure it's necessary, so it may not make it into the next draft (if there is one). Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Well Tarsier, this is a tight little plot you're thickening!
    Yeah, I kinda backloaded most of the action and plot twists into the second half of the story. Which means the pacing is probably totally off and I haven't set up some things as well as I should have, but at least the next few chapters should be reasonably exciting.

    Though I liked Faughn in the Hand of Thrawn and will be a bit sorry to see her as an antagonist.
    Well, if it makes you feel any better, I like Faughn too. :)
  8. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Chapter 11

    Benji entered the bridge just as Incident Alley exited hyperspace. Dankin, Odonnl, H’sishi, and Mara were at their respective stations.

    “Almost there,” Dankin announced over his shoulder as Benji approached.

    Mara turned toward Benji as he settled into a passenger seat. “Once we land you’re going to stick close to Odonnl. Understand?”

    “Okay,” Benji replied happily. He had been afraid he might be banished to his room after they landed; he much preferred the idea of spending time with his one of his new friends.

    “I take it your father is meditating?” Mara continued. Benji nodded. “He just about disappears sometimes, doesn’t he?” Benji was glad Mara had noticed. Sometimes his dad would get so deep in mediation Benji could barely even sense him anymore.

    “So . . .” Odonnl began carefully, looking first at Benji and then Mara, “What are you going to do about Faughn?”

    “I’ll see if she shows for the meeting with Mirax, and then go from there.” Mara glanced briefly at Benji before adding, “Hopefully Skywalker will remain in his own little world for a while. I’d just as soon not have him breathing down my neck while I’m dealing with Faughn.”

    * * *

    The landing went relatively smoothly, despite the fact that Dankin was working with virtually no external sensors. A few minutes after touching down, Dankin approached the main boarding ramp of the ship. Even with everything else going on, there were still deliveries to be made and Dankin was on his way to contact the Corellian receiver. He pressed the button to lower the ramp. The ramp had not quite settled into place before a robed figure started up it.

    “Where do you think you’re going?” Dankin demanded, stepping in front of the intruder. The intruder rolled his shoulders and tilted his head slightly back, causing his hood to fall away, revealing a goateed face with dark hair and piercing green eyes.

    “I need to speak to Mara,” the man replied as he stepped easily around Dankin.

    “No,” Dankin said defiantly, planting himself back in the man’s path. It was not the first time they had played this game. “You are not allowed on this ship, Corran.”

    The intruder, Jedi Master Corran Horn, barely gave Dankin a second look. “Get out of my way,” he muttered as he pushed his way past. For a moment Dankin’s hand hovered over the stungun Mara insisted he always carry. But Dankin soon thought better of it and reached instead for his comlink. “Chief, we’ve got company.”

    * * *

    Mara gritted her teeth as she tucked her comlink away. She did not have time for this. She felt a brief flash of annoyance at Dankin for having allowed Corran onto the ship, but she quickly dismissed the notion. Corran was her problem, not her crew’s. Furthermore, Dankin would never win in a fight against Corran, and he was smart enough to step aside rather than risk getting hurt. That was, in fact, one of her crew’s most appealing qualities—they were not heroic. They would not fall on their swords for something as meaningless as principle.

    Mara took a deep breath before leaving the bridge to find and confront Corran, hoping to get him off her ship before he noticed Luke. She found him in the corridor just past the airlock.

    “Mara.” He said her name in that self-righteous, all-knowing-Jedi tone that drove her up a wall. Or maybe it wasn’t his tone she was picking up on, but rather his sense. It seemed every time she saw Corran, he had fallen deeper into the Jedi-as-last-hope-and-savior-of-the-galaxy role. It was a role she found irritating on Luke, but was just plain obnoxious coming from Corran.

    “We need your help, Mara,” he continued.

    “Get off my ship,” Mara bit out, ignoring his words. “Now!”

    “The Jedi are stretched way too thin. We don’t even know where Luke is. It’s time you joined the fight. You owe us at least this much.”

    “I owe you?” Mara rejoined. She’d intended to ignore Corran’s words and simply remove him from her ship without acknowledging his tirade, only the most recent in a long line of speeches trying to cow her into the Jedi cause, but she found she couldn’t keep herself from responding. “Let me be perfectly clear, Corran. I don’t owe you, or your Jedi, or anyone else, one kriffing thing. And if you don’t stop pushing my crew around—”

    “I thought I knew you, Mara,” he interrupted. “I can’t believe you would just turn your back on your duty.” They were now toe-to-toe, each staring into the other’s eyes.

    “Then I guess you don’t know me at all,” Mara said, carefully measuring each syllable.

    After a moment Corran seemed to finally accept her response, the muscles in his jaw relaxing just noticeably. “You will regret this, Mara.”

    “Oh, I’ve got plenty of regrets, Corran. This won’t even crack the top ten.”

    He stared levelly at her for two more seconds, then in a swirl of robes, he was gone.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Jul 19, 2013
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Wow! Faughn is embroiled in a scheme [face_thinking] And the Mara/Corran confrontation =D= =D= Mara's stance on the Jedi is quite a bit less conflicted and ambiguous than I've read in other fics ...

  10. DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    :eek: Never seen her react like that to Corran before... I'll second Jade_eyes's "wow"...


    Good update. :)
  11. Jaded_Girl Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2001
    star 4
    Oh, I'm sure the pacing will be just fine. There's a bit of leeway in a serial like this. Even is the pacing is a bit off, it's harder to notice then when you're sitting down to read the whole thing. So, no worries! ^_^



    ?I take it your father is meditating?? Mara continued.

    Safe bet. But I love how they're letting Ben tag along. That'll teach Luke! Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? :p



    Furthermore, Dankin would never win in a fight against Corran, and he was smart enough to step aside rather than risk getting hurt. That was, in fact, one of her crew?s most appealing qualities?they were not heroic. They would not fall on their swords for something as meaningless as principle.

    Gotta love the pragmatists! :D



    ?Mara.? He said her name in that self-righteous, all-knowing-Jedi tone that drove her up a wall. Or maybe it wasn?t his tone she was picking up on, but rather his sense. It seemed every time she saw Corran, he had fallen deeper into the Jedi-as-last-hope-and-savior-of-the-galaxy role. It was a role she found irritating on Luke, but was just plain obnoxious coming from Corran.

    A-MEN. Luke at least has the overwhelming sincerity to counterbalance. Corran, not so much.



    ~After a moment Corran seemed to finally accept her response, the muscles in his jaw relaxing just noticeably. ?You will regret this, Mara.?
    ~?Oh, I?ve got plenty of regrets, Corran. This won?t even crack the top ten.?
    ~He stared levelly at her for two more seconds, then in a swirl of robes, he was gone.


    Whew! That was an intense little encounter. I am very intrigued, though. This si a very interesting take on Corran, but I like it. Is he falling... or fallen? Did he just threaten her? *squee!* I can't wait for the next installment!

    Up!



  12. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Thanks so much for the comments, Jade_eyes, DaenaBenjen42, and Jaded_Girl! I hope Mara and/or Corran didn't seem too out of character in the last chapter. Anyway, your comments have given me a idea for a little something later in the story. Thanks!:cool:



    Chapter 12

    “Faughn sold you the ysalamiri?” Mara repeated, hissing quietly between her teeth. If there had been any lingering doubts about Faughn’s loyalty, that certainly extinguished them.

    “She said you were okay with it,” Mirax said innocently, her eyes shining a little too sweetly. They were standing in a large meeting room on the Pulsar Skate, where Mara had told Faughn to meet her with the ysalamiri. Faughn was nowhere to be found, though the ysalamiri were arrayed behind Mirax, just close enough that Mara was cut off from the Force as she spoke to her business rival. Mara studied the other woman, trying to decide if she was really that dense or if she was purposely trying to undermine her. Mara was leaning towards the latter. Not that it mattered, the harm was done just the same either way. “Where is she now?”

    “I have no—”

    “Faughn’s ship never left. She’s still in docking bay 786.” Mara turned toward the new speaker, a young man who been standing in the corner, quietly looking over the ysalamiri.

    “Thank you,” Mara said to him, tossing a smirk at Mirax and turning to leave.

    Mirax threw a warning look at her assistant before smiling back at Mara and adding, “Oh, good. Maybe you can still catch her.”

    “You better hope I do,” Mara replied darkly.

    * * *

    This could not be happening. Faughn took a deep breath, trying to come up with a new plan, but knowing it was futile. She was so close! She’d been in the clear, until the Corellian port authorities told her she couldn’t take off, she was grounded until they inspected her ship. All because her ship was too light. Not too heavy, like she’d picked up contraband. Too light. What kind of police state was this? No wonder the locals were rebelling.

    Her crew had scattered the moment things had started to go south. But Faughn wasn’t leaving. She had nothing without her ship. She would not give it up without a fight.

    She hadn’t wanted it to end this way. She respected, even liked, Mara. But it was a matter of survival—the company was a sinking water vessel and Faughn wasn’t about to go down with it. When Aves had offered to fix her ship up in exchange for covering a few of his routes, Faughn had thought it was too good to be true. But she knew better than to ask questions and she’d cautiously gone along with it.

    Everything was going according to plan. Skimming a little money with each run while Mara was too distracted to notice, Faughn was in good shape. Then when Mara set up the meeting with Mirax, it had almost all slipped away. But Faughn ran a few calculations and decided to take a gamble. If she could get to Mirax first, she knew the smuggling mogul had been itching to get her hands on the ysalamiri for a long time. Selling the ysalamiri wasn’t how Faughn would have preferred to do it—Sith, she’d given them all names, she considered the ysalamiri her pets—but she’d run out of options.

    Faughn glanced at her chrono. The Starry Ice’s computer had alerted her when the Incident Alley landed twenty minutes ago. She’d pled with the authorities to let her leave, offered every credit she’d saved as a bribe, but they wouldn’t hear it.

    Now there was nothing to do but wait for Mara to find her.

    * * *

    Dankin was still thinking about his confrontation with Corran when he returned to the ship to begin unloading the cargo. He knew it would have been foolish to challenge Corran, but he still felt like he should at least be able to keep his ship secure. Replaying the scene in his head, trying to decide what he could have done differently, Dankin was so focused on the earlier events that he didn’t hear the scampering feet as he made his way between the stacks of crates.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Oct 26, 2012
  13. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic and New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    Hi!

    I just found this story and I love it! Lots of intrigue and twists and turns... just the way I like it!

    You've made me like Callista, something that's not easy and I love Benji! [face_love]

    Would you mind putting me on your PM list? I can't wait to read more!

    Great job! =D=
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Great contest of wills between Mirax & Mara =D= and I am not surprised Mara wasn't taken in :*

    Even though Faughn's actions aren't "personal", that won't help her when Mara catches up with her. [face_dancing]
  15. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    mavjade
    Hi! It always makes me happy when someone says they like Callista. :D And I'm glad you like Benji! Thanks so much for reading and I'm happy to put you on the PM list.

    Jade_eyes
    Thanks for commenting! Glad you like Mara and Mirax, they are a lot of fun to write together. :cool:

    Even though Faughn's actions aren't "personal", that won't help her when Mara catches up with her.
    No, it certainly won't. [face_mischief]

    ----

    Look for Chapter 13 this weekend!
  16. Jaded_Girl Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2001
    star 4
    Ah, the intrigue continues...


    ?She said you were okay with it,? Mirax said innocently, her eyes shining a little too sweetly. They were standing in a large meeting room on the Pulsar Skate...the ysalamiri were arrayed behind Mirax, just close enough that Mara was cut off from the Force as she spoke to her business rival. Mara studied the other woman, trying to decide if she was really that dense or if she was purposely trying to undermine her. Mara was leaning towards the latter.

    As scary as it is when Mara and Mirax are friends, I think it's scarier when they aren't.



    She hadn?t wanted it to end this way. She respected, even liked, Mara. But it was a matter of survival?the company was a sinking water vessel and Faughn wasn?t about to go down with it. When Aves had offered to fix up her ship in exchange for covering a few of his routes, Faughn had thought it was too good to be true.

    Whoa, Aves now?! Good grief! Is there anyone to trust nowadays?



    Selling the ysalamiri wasn?t how Faughn would have preferred to do it?Sith, she?d given them all names, she considered the ysalamiri her pets?but she?d run out of options.

    [face_thinking] Then... why did she want them in the first place? Hmmm. Interesting...


    Behind you, Dankin! :eek: :p

    Up! ^_^
  17. DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    I hope Mara and/or Corran didn't seem too out of character in the last chapter.

    No, no they didn't. :)

    What kind of police state was this? No wonder the locals were rebelling.

    Might be because I'm having a M*A*S*H marathon, but either way, this made me chuckle.


    Good post. :)
  18. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Jaded_Girl
    As scary as it is when Mara and Mirax are friends, I think it's scarier when they aren't.
    I would agree with that. :D

    Whoa, Aves now?! Good grief! Is there anyone to trust nowadays?
    Not many...

    Thanks for reading!

    DaenaBenjen42
    No, no they didn't.
    Oh, good. :)

    Might be because I'm having a M*A*S*H marathon, but either way, this made me chuckle.
    I?ve never seen M*A*S*H, so I'm not really sure what that means, but I?m always glad when I can make someone chuckle. :) Thanks for reading!



    A couple warnings about this chapter: First, it's a bit shippy with Luke/Callista. I know that's not the favorite of most of my readers, but it's important to the story. :) Second, this chapter is a bit funky with a combination of real-time and flashback, I hope it's understandable. If it's at all confusing please let me know, and I'll work on it some more.



    Chapter 13

    Deep in the Force, Luke wandered, searching. Callista was nowhere to be found, instead he found only memories. Memories that he knew were the happiest of his life, but felt cold and distant. They weren’t just bittersweet, there was something almost . . . ominous about them. . . .

    His hands were trembling, though not because he was nervous. He might have expected to be a bit gun-shy after Mara’s caustic rejection of his last proposal. But instead he was only excited. The next chapter in his life was about to begin. It had been twenty-three days since Callista had come back to him. He’d been ready to propose the minute he’d realized she’d returned for good. But somehow he’d managed to wait until the moment was perfect.

    He knew there had been candlelight and sweet-smelling breezes, but now he found he couldn’t immerse himself in the detail, he could only focus on the words.

    “Callista, will you marry me?”

    She inhaled sharply with delight. It was delight wasn’t it? It had to be. “Yes, of course, yes!”

    No. That wasn’t what she said. Not at first.

    “Are you sure?”

    What? How could she ask that? Or course he was sure. He’d never been more sure of anything in his life!

    She must have sensed his confusion. “I mean, what about our children?” Oh. She was still worried about that. That, he could handle. “Are you sure you won’t be disappointed if they aren’t Jedi?”

    “Of course I won’t be. It doesn’t matter who or what they are, I’ll love our children. Not because they’re Jedi, but because they came from you,” he assured her.

    “You’re certain you won’t mind, not even a little, if they aren’t Force-sensitive?”

    “I promise you, that doesn’t matter to me. Not one bit.”

    And he meant it, he meant every word. He remembered leaning in to kiss her, but before their lips met the scene evaporated. Now it was two years later . . .

    In the delivery room, newborn Benji was nestled in Callista’s arms. Mother and son gazed at each other as Luke rested his chin on Callista’s shoulder and wrapped his arms around both of them. Then, for the first time, Luke touched his mind to his son’s. Tiny Benji nudged back, in the way only a Force-sensitive could.

    “He’s going to be a Jedi,” Luke breathed, ecstatic. “My son is going to be a Jedi.”

    Callista leaned back against him, resting her head on his shoulder. Soon she was fast asleep, with her body pressed against his he could feel her breathing becoming deep and steady. Through the Force he felt Benji growing sleepy and peacefully drifting off. His life was perfect. Perfect? Well, as close to perfect as anything could be. There was that moment, but it was only a moment . . .

    Before she fell asleep, Callista adjusted herself so she could look back at him. She was smiling, but there was the slightest shadow in her eyes, a twinge of heartache to know she would never be connected to their son the way Luke would be. Yes, Benji’s birth had reminded her of the power she had lost. There was the slightest pang of sorrow, but that shouldn’t ruin the otherwise perfect moment, should it?

    Unless . . .

    “I’ll love our children. Not because they’re Jedi.

    “Because they came from you.”

    Not because they’re Jedi.

    What if that shadow in her eyes wasn’t sadness for herself and a future she wouldn’t have? What if it was because of Luke, and the promise he’d made before they got engaged—

    “That doesn’t matter to me. Not one bit.”

    He'd said it wouldn't matter to him if his child was Force-sensitive. But had it?
    Last edited by Tarsier, Jul 19, 2013
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Very nice self-reflections /memories Luke is having. =D= I have a feeling whatever answer he reaches will influence him greatly in his relationship with Benji and in his capacity to move forward. [face_thinking]

  20. DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Well... Korea was a "police action" and/or a "conflict" and as such could have been called a "police state." M*A*S*H took place IN Korea... and this explanation makes absolutely no sense at all...

    Interesting reflections Luke is having about her, and only finding memories instead of what he was looking for in the first place. Maybe that's what he needed to find and to see...


    Good post. :)
  21. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic and New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    Very interesting... [face_thinking]


    No. That wasn?t what she said. Not at first.
    ?Are you sure??

    Ouch! What an answer! :p

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this information about Luke's feelings will effect things to come.

    Good update and thanks for the PM! :)
  22. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Jade_eyes
    I have a feeling whatever answer he reaches will influence him greatly in his relationship with Benji and in his capacity to move forward.
    Yes, definitely. Thanks for reading!

    DaenaBenjen42
    Maybe that's what he needed to find and to see...
    That's a good insight. Thanks for reading!

    mavjade
    Ouch! What an answer!
    Yeah, not exactly the response Luke was hoping for to start. But Callista got there eventually. Thanks for reading!




    Chapter 14

    Luke ended his meditation feeling even worse than when he began, something he would not have thought possible. He wasn’t sure what to make of the visions. He wasn’t sure what to think about anything anymore. But he did decide something—he ought to be spending more time with his son while he had the chance.

    Reaching through the Force to locate Benji, Luke came to the somewhat disconcerting realization that the ship had landed while he was mediating. How long ago he didn’t know, but Mara was no longer onboard. Benji was in the belly of the ship with Odonnl and seemed happy enough; Luke decided it would be best not to interrupt and risk pulling his son down into his depression.

    Instead, Luke thought he would track down Mara and figure out what all he had missed while he was meditating. Both of the aliens on the crew—what were their names again?—were in the engine room, so Luke stopped to peek his head in as he passed by.

    “Do you happen to know where Mara went?” he asked.

    The Kerestian hesitated, but the Togorian replied, [Chieftain Jade has gone to take care of the rogue employee.]

    “Rogue employee?” Luke asked.

    The Kerestian answered quickly. “It’s nothing. Just part of the business. She’ll be back soon. In the meantime, is there anything we can help you with?”

    The Kerestian had seemed uneasy as soon as he spotted Luke, and now seemed overly-eager to change the subject. “How exactly does one take care of a rogue employee?” Luke directed the question to the Togorian.

    [There is only one punishment for crimes against the company,] she replied in a level voice. [Execution.]

    “What? Execution?” Luke repeated. Mara was about to execute someone? Luke blinked several times, wondering if he could still be dreaming.

    “Faughn knew the rules before she played the game,” the Kerestian offered. Luke stared at him dumbly, his mind utterly unable to comprehend how his words could possibly justify the taking of a life in cold blood.

    Luke pushed his pain and confusion to the side as he realized he had a new mission: he had to stop Mara before she did something she would regret.

    * * *

    “Do you want to play chase?” Benji asked.

    Odonnl looked around. They had finished removing the crash webbing from the cargo and were waiting for Dankin to return with the delivery details. There really wasn’t anything else to do until Dankin got back. And if it would keep Benji from thinking too much about his mother, Odonnl could hardly say no. “Just for a few minutes,” he replied.

    “Okay! I’ll run, you chase me.” Benji took off down the narrow path between the crates.

    Odonnl gave Benji a few seconds head start, then took off after him.

    Benji was fast. He climbed nimbly over the smaller stacks and sprinted through the open areas between the piles of cargo. Losing ground and starting to feel winded, Odonnl slowed down to strategize. Benji had been running a similar pattern with each lap, staying near the perimeter of the room, so Odonnl decided to try and cut him off at the next corner. He sliced through the middle of the room and managed to get in front of Benji as he came out of the corner. Spotting Odonnl, Benji immediately slammed on the brakes and attempted to spin back in the opposite direction. His feet got caught in the loose webbing at the base of a stack of crates, and Benji went sprawling into the stack. The stack toppled over.

    Amongst the bangs and thuds of the crashing crates, Odonnl heard a low groan. “Dankin!” Odonnl exclaimed, fearing the pilot was crushed beneath the cargo.

    A plaintive “Help” from beneath the pile confirmed Odonnl’s fears. He rushed to begin moving the crates to unbury Dankin, though the crates were heavy and awkward to move with only one person. Odonnl had noticed Benji getting to his feet, apparently unharmed, and wondered why he wasn’t helping. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Benji was standing a few meters back with his right hand stretched out before him. His eyes were half-closed in concentration. Odonnl took a step back when several of the crates began to move, to rise as though lifted by unseen hands.

    Unfortunately, they didn’t rise very high. Benji continued to stand with his hand outstretched, but the crates moved less than half a meter before quivering in the air and then falling back to the floor, eliciting another groan from beneath the pile. Odonnl immediately returned to pushing the boxes and called for Benji to help.

    Benji stayed where he was. He took a deep breath and reached out with his hand again. This time the crates barely twitched.

    “No, Benji,” Odonnl snapped. “Come here and help me push.” Benji complied, trotting up and getting a grip on the crate Odonnl was currently trying to dislodge. With the two of them working, soon enough crates were moved that Dankin could shove his way free.

    “Are you okay?” Odonnl asked.

    Dankin nodded. “Sure.” He winced as he took a deep breath. “It only hurts when I breathe.”

    “Good. Then we better get back to work,” Odonnl said with a smile, offering Dankin a hand to help him to his feet. “Are you okay, Benji? That was quite a fall you took.” Odonnl turned to see Benji was sitting on the floor hugging his knees, his face turned away.

    “I’m sorry,” Benji squeaked, making no move to get up.

    “It’s okay, Benji,” Dankin replied. “I’m fine. Really.” He knelt beside the boy and put his arm around him.

    Odonnl knelt down on Benji’s other side. “Don’t worry about it. It was an accident. And that’s actually not the first time someone’s gotten lost in the cargo,” he said lightly, unsure why Benji would be so upset over a few displaced crates.

    “I should have helped. I should have been strong enough to help,” Benji whispered despondently. His body trembled as he fought back tears. Dankin and Odonnl exchanged a look, not certain what to say.

    “Sometimes I wish I was a street rat,” Benji murmured.

    Odonnl had no idea what to do with such an odd confession from someone who was essentially a prince of the Republic. Dankin looked equally confused, but seemed to feel he must say something. “Why would you say that? You have a family that loves you.”

    “Because if I didn’t have a family,” Benji cried, “then I couldn’t disappoint them.”

    “Benji—” Dankin began, but stopped short when Odonnl raised his hand. He had a feeling Benji had more to say.

    After a moment Benji continued. “I was supposed to be trained as a Jedi by my cousin Jacen. But . . .” He hesitated, his lower lip quivering. “But he wouldn’t train me. Because I’m too weak.

    “I can’t use the Force very well, not like my dad, not like the rest of my family. I try, I just, I’m too weak.” Benji was openly sobbing now, his face buried in his hands.

    Odonnl placed his hands on Benji’s shoulders. “Listen to me, Benji. I need you to hear this.” Benji took a shuddering breath as he lowered his hands and looked up to meet Odonnl’s eyes. “Just because you aren’t physically strong, or gifted in the Force, that doesn’t make you weak. Don’t you ever believe that. Not for a second.”

    Benji nodded solemnly and wiped at his face with the sleeve of his tunic. Odonnl pulled him into a hug.

    “And besides,” Dankin added, “Not being trained by your cousin may turn out not to be such a bad thing after all."
    Last edited by Tarsier, Oct 24, 2012
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Stopping Mara -- o_O she won't thank him for that at least not right away.

    Odynl and Dankin are right about everything they told Benji
  24. DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    ?It only hurts when I breath.?

    Beta: in this context, it's 'breathe.' As in: "Taking a breath, he breathed easily." (It was repeated again in the next paragraph, or I wouldn't have mentioned it.)

    That was interesting, seeing Benji try to lift the boxes, suceed for a moment, and then lose his concentration completely. He's young, so he'll get better! And he's NOT weak. Not at all.

    ?And besides,? Dankin added, ?Not being trained by your cousin may turn out not to be such a bad thing after all.?

    True enough. :)

    And Luke has to stop Mara from... oh my.


    Good chapter. :)
  25. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic and New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    Good update!!

    Poor Benji! :( It would be hard to be Luke Skywalker's kid and if he is weaker in the Force that would make it all that much harder on him. But I think I have to agree with that last line! ;)

    I'm sure Mara isn't going to execute Faughn but I do wonder why they told Luke that and what really is going on!

    I can't wait to find out!
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