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Saga Κρεμμυδανθοί (Onion Blossoms): A Bouquet of Fic-Gifts for Chyntuck

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Today, September 30, 2015, is the wedding day of our good pal and fellow fanficcer Chyntuck, who in her year and a quarter here on the boards has become one of the luminaries of the TF.N Fanfic forums. As a gesture of congratulations and friendship, several of us here on the boards decided to put together a collection of fanfics as a gift to her. All the stories incorporate in some way the following prompts, which are based not only on Chyntuck’s own interests and real-life work but also on the themes that appear so often in her stories:
    1. Fine food (defined broadly)
    2. Fine art (also defined broadly—visual, musical, dramatic, literary, or all/any of the above)
    3. Help or advocacy for the downtrodden, disenfranchised, or disadvantaged (also defined broadly; can take the form of any kind of political, legal, or humanitarian work; can be related to the Rebellion or similar resistance movements)
    4. A bouquet of flowers (since this is, after all, a wedding gift)
    Era, characters, setting, etc. have been left up to the individual authors (to be revealed soon . . .), who will be contributing stories to this thread over the course of the next week or so. As they do, I shall add each of their stories to the index below.

    I also wish to extend a hearty thanks to our trusty beta-readers, Admiral Volshe, Gemma, Nyota's Heart, skygawker, and TrakNar, and to our mods, mavjade and Briannakin, for giving this project their blessing and setting us up with a proper group PM.

    And now, without further ado . . . our bouquet of Onion Blossoms for our favorite space onion, along with our most delighted wishes for happiness! @};-

    Much love,
    Finds
     
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Chyntuck like this.
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    :eek: :eek: :eek: *stares at the thread in shock* *jumps up and down in delight* *shrieks "Mr Chyntuckopoulos, come here!* *faints*

    Ahem... Thank you so much. I don't have words right now to say how I feel, other than that I'm deeply, deeply touched. This is one wedding gift I will cherish. I'm so looking forward to reading all your stories!
     
  4. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    And now for the first in the bouquet, a story that I know the blushing bride will appreciate:



    We'll Have a Ball


    “What a sight, isn't it?”

    The smells and sounds, lights and sights of Coruscant were the same as Chak had always known them to be, ever since he'd been old enough to remember, despite two wars taking place within his short life thus far. He was well aware, however, that his homeworld—the galactic capital—had seen its share of conflict since before the Republic had been a gleam in some ancient statesman's mind. The Ravartin family had never been among the elite in any realm, but Chak could trace his roots back to a time well before the Pius Dea crusades. Genealogy had been a hobby of his mother's, and while her son was off fighting the Sith, she had found hundreds of records relating to ancestors who had served the Republic on battlefronts throughout the known galaxy. One had even participated in the brief conflict that had put those crusades to an end. And here he was, perhaps the most recognized of that long and proud, if for the most part unremarkable, line.

    Right now, he was simply happy to be alive and in the company of the woman he loved, during a time when sentient beings could know peace even if it was a fragile one. “Sure is,” Chak replied, his wife's awed sigh bringing forth a wellspring of emotion. “Guess you never really spent much time just admiring the view, cooped up at Fleet Command.”

    Mara Juliso Ravartin shrugged, casting a contented glance at him as she inhaled the scent of tomo spice and cooking meat hanging in the cool evening air. Her ebon hair ruffled in the slight breeze kicked up by an airspeeder passing overhead. “I'll always remember Chandrila fondly,” she said quietly as the pair strode down the mezzanine on their way to the venue where the Navy Day Ball was being held. “But getting out and seeing the galaxy, even if half the time we were dodging Mandos or Sith, I just can't see myself returning there to settle down. And besides, this place has started to grow on me.”

    Chak removed his dress cap and ran a hand through his own ginger locks, a grin spreading to his youthful cheeks. It was hard to believe that scarcely a week had passed since their marriage, a formal military affair that befit their rank and status as officers of the Republic Navy. For sanity's sake, the guest list had been limited to immediate family and former comrades, but he'd been astounded at how many Marines had come along to share in the happy occasion; nearly all were former squadron-mates, and one or two of his former superiors had shown up as well. Mara's own family had been a pleasant lot, and had been not only respectful, but also excited to see her “finally settling down with someone,” as her father had said—much to her chagrin.

    In the depths of his heart, he could almost feel the warmth and joy that she would have felt at learning that he had found another, one who made him as happy as she had done. On those increasingly rare occasions when doubt had crept into his thoughts, at whether he was doing right by her memory, the face of the person who had shown him what it meant to love inevitably popped up to quell the notion. The pain of her loss still jabbed him at times like those and others, but he had come to terms with it and, in so doing, learned that it was a testament to the impact her life had had on his. Mara had understood, had helped him to realize that despite everything, life continued onward. Even during the height of the last war, when their futures were often reckoned in days if not hours, Chak and Mara had worked together to keep hope alive.

    It was that hope for a future free from want and fear that had brought them together, first as comrades-in-arms, then as friends and eventually, once the Sith had been defeated, lovers.

    “Just don't go down too far,” he reminded her, his grin mischievous as he let the moment of introspection pass. “The underlevels are not known for their hospitality.”

    Mara returned the expression, poking him in the ribs with her elbow. “After a hundred thousand years' worth of construction and reconstruction? Well, color me surprised!”

    A chuckle escaped his lips as the pair clasped hands and walked, together, into the atrium. “It's our first night out as a married couple,” he reminded her softly as everyone in the room snapped to attention at their arrival. “Let's make it a night to remember.”

    — — —​

    The opening of the ball was heralded by an appearance of the Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Admiral Octar Nishalema. The veteran flag officer, who was rumored to be retiring soon, gave a short speech praising the continuing efforts by the Republic's military forces in helping to put the galaxy back together, particularly the Telos Restoration Project. Fortunately, in Chak and Mara's estimation at least, there were enough admirals and holders of high decorations in attendance that it would be a waste of breath to make a fuss about any one of them . Most seemed quite relieved that the CNO had limited his remarks to general goings-on, especially those with whom the newlyweds shared a table.

    “I understand congratulations are in order,” said a sprightly-looking Duros captain whose expression seemed incongruous with his species' reputation. “You two look quite happy.”

    “I'm just glad we both agreed to keep it in-house,” Mara replied with a wink. “Those civilian ceremonies are too...complicated. Especially on Alderaan.”

    “I wonder if you would favor us with a tale of your exploits, sir,” the captain persisted, his gaze fixed on Chak over the complicated floral arrangement set at the center of the table. Typical Duros, he thought, they all love stories.

    Of the ten officers seated around him, Mara and the Duros were the highest-ranking, but none of them held the Republic's highest honor—none of them were what Chak was increasingly self-deprecatingly thinking of as Glory-Crossed. Two and a half years after receiving the accursed thing, he was still having a fair amount of difficulty accepting the “perks” that went with it, where even a fleet admiral would call him sir and salute first, even though he had only been promoted to full commander after his graduation from the Anaxes War College some months previous. Under the cover of the tablecloth, Mara gave his hand a squeeze, as if reading his thoughts and encouraging him to indulge their companion. With a hushed sigh, he returned the gesture and marshaled his thoughts.

    “Well,” he began, recalling those tense hours on Lannik when he had “borrowed” the remnants of another squadron as the first course was served. “There was this one time...”

    — — —​

    “I still can't believe he bought that,” Mara chortled as she and Chak strode toward the dance floor, their bellies full nearly to bursting with fancy food. “You were making that up, right?”

    “Yes,” Chak replied somewhat uncomfortably. “It wasn't exactly something you brag about.”

    The music, which was being provided by a section of the Marine Corps Band stationed on the capital world for such high-class occasions, was a slow melody that neither officer recognized. A backdrop of somber notes, mixed in with a pastoral rhythm and beat, reminded them of the grim retreat from Taris as the pair took up the slow dance everyone else was following. “It is when you're in our kind of company,” Mara murmured, a faint hint of accusation in her tone even as her countenance remained serene. “During war you talk about the funny stuff, but in peacetime, it's this kind of occasion where you share your hard-won knowledge.”

    “That's the biggest pile of bantha dung I've ever heard,” Chak replied, gracefully spinning Mara around and reversing the steps.

    “Almost as big as the one you fed poor Captain Qeramo,” she shot back, her voice and expression brightening. Chak had to admit, this banter was a good tonic for blotting out the memories the current song was bringing to the fore.

    Much to his relief, the music changed soon thereafter and a much livelier tune emerged from the instruments of the red-clad musicians. “He a fellow Fleet desk-jockey?” Chak asked after the two performed a particularly energetic maneuver.

    “As a matter of fact, no,” Mara replied with a laugh. “We were Academy classmates, but he went into technology development and never, as far as I know, served a day aboard a warship. But he did orchestrate the effort to get the Ciutran flight sims built and circulated throughout the fleet.”

    “No wonder he wanted a story,” Chak said, holding Mara by the small of her back as she bent out at the waist with her arm extended, then pulling her back to a standing position so she could put that same arm around his neck. “I should probably tell him another one, then, a real one.”

    “He'd appreciate it, I'm sure,” Mara quipped as she ran a leg up Chak's side, her knee threatening his elbow. Inwardly, Chak reflected on how ridiculous this dance must look when performed in full Navy dress uniform, as opposed to the elegant gowns Human women typically wore to celebrations of this caliber. Mara definitely had the figure for it, and just about anything else she might choose to wear, but for some reason he preferred to imagine her in military attire instead.

    The dancing continued for several more songs, each ranging from three to six minutes or so, most of which Chak had never heard before. He and Mara continued to trade lighthearted rhetorical jabs as the dance alternately slowed down and sped back up, both of them grateful not to be the center of attention. The band finished their current set with a melody that Chak hadn't heard since his childhood, a more classical take on the tune they'd played for the winner of the last swoop race of his civilian career—just before he met the Marine recruiter who had changed his life forever.

    “Wow, I didn't expect to hear that one again,” he said once he and Mara returned to their table. “I've been away from home for too long, it seems.”

    “It's good to know you can go back there,” Mara replied to nods all around. “Speaking of which,” she continued in a sultry whisper, her lips barely a micron from Chak's ear, “let's go to Chandrila for our honeymoon. I want to show you the Silver Sea...”

    A smile as wide as ever split Chak's visage as an electric shock ran up and down his spine. “Alright,” he muttered by way of reply before drawing Captain Qeramo's attention once more. “About that story you asked for,” he said apologetically, “it was a bit of a fib. So to make up for it, let me tell you about the second battle I participated in...”
     
  5. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    :p Sounds as though the Duros got the interesting story that he wanted to hear, though! Whatever it may have been.

    Though I've not read the series they come from, the tone of the relationship between Chak and Mara here is fun to read; they respect and complement each other. And they seem to have a sense of humor and/or acceptance about what was apparently a very eventful past. :) Reminds me a lot of the Skywalker-Solos in some of the more peaceful times that they had.
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    First a review of Goodwood 's wonderful epilogue/sequel of sorts for Chak and Mara. Love seeing them married, teasing and happy together, sharing the ups and downs of their pasts. They truly get where the other has been. :D Yay for the Silver Sea.




    Gentle Souls & Warm Hearts
    by Nyota's Heart
    Disclaimer: Borrowing all and loving it!
    Genre: A warm fuzzy romp.
    Timeframe: Legends, but my personal canon ;)
    Characters: Mara/Luke.

    AN: A surprise for the indescribably talented Chyntuck

    Taking in the Talz, food--chocolate & dessert, and art/jewelry! [face_love] [:D]


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Alzoc III was a wonderful object lesson in gentle neutrality. Warm hearts and gentle souls - the Talz had these in full measure. During the Jedi Purges, they provided sanctuary but stayed apart during the ensuing Imperial oppression.
    When the New Republic was formed, they still did not officially join, but the doors were still open to trade and tourism, for those inclined to frigid climes. Their Midwinter Festival, however, was something to indulge in, a draw for all and any who enjoyed the tranquility and loveliness of a community celebration.

    Their exports included a lovely style of art work based on snow and ice crystals.
    Snow crystal threads were woven into jewelry of the rarest kind.
    Luke bought Mara a necklace and earring set of such lovelies and presented them to her while they were enjoying a pot of hot chocolate in a cafe known for chocolate delicacies.

    "What's the occasion?"

    "You." He answered, and she smirked. "I saw them and thought they'd be perfect."

    Mara was not one for jewelry extravagance. But this set was simple yet elegant.

    Like herself, Luke couldn't help but think, admiring how they looked on her.

    "I visited Alzoc III once or twice when doing runs with Karrde." Mara said. "I'll never forget the desserts - one was a lighter than air cake with berries and cream filling."

    Luke's eyes gleamed. If there was one thing he loved almost as much as Mara, it was food!

    "Leia went there to negotiate trade and tourism soon after the New Republic was formed. She especially liked meeting the Talz chief healer, a Dezrin Azada. She told me their culture was a peace-loving altruistic one and reminded her of the Alderaani one."

    Mara gave a sympathetic sigh. "Half bitter and sweet, I can imagine that was."

    Luke agreed, and topped off their mugs of decadent chocolate.

    They then talked about their upcoming anniversary trip to Chandrilla's Silver Sea, and Mara was especially in anticipation since she had a momentous announcement/surprise for Luke, one involving a new addition to their family - in under a year.

    +++++++
     
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    *blushing bride mode on*

    Goodwood It looks like I read your short stories featuring Chak just in time for this! (Now of course I need to catch up with the long one.) Thank you so much for this gift!

    First off, I'm happy to see that Chak will finally find a soulmate -- the idea that he lost Teish'ala was kinda sad (albeit realistic) and the passage about what she would have to say was lovely. Is there a subliminal message in the fact that his wife's name is Mara?

    Then I'd like to say that this sounds like the perfect big fat Greek wedding adapted to the Old Republic military -- far too much food and lots of acrobatic somersaults to avoid making it too formal with Fleet Admirals droning on and on and on...

    And finally, the question all the readers want to know: what was the tall tale Chak told the Duros captain? You can't drop a hint the size of a rancor and not give us the details! :p

    Nyota's Heart Awww [face_love] Luke/Mara, the Talz, chocolate and snow crystal jewellery, all wrapped up in a story? Now that's a real treat! That lighter-than-air cake with berries and cream filling needs to be invented in the real world, like, now -- and any reference of Luke liking his food always makes me laugh.

    I love how, since the day I joined the boards and met you, I saw your personal canon evolve to include bits and pieces borrowed from other writers' fics. I think I know where the idea of Mara being pregnant less than one year after their wedding came from :) And now that you have created Dezrin Azada, you have to come up with her story!

    Thank you both for these wonderful presents! [:D]
     
  8. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    I'm very glad that you liked it, Chyntuck. :D There is no subliminal message in Mara's name—it's just what I came up with at the time of crafting her character. And as for the tall tale...I'm not saying a word. [face_shame_on_you][face_plain] You'll have to read the long-form and come to your own conclusion on that one... [face_mischief][:D]
     
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Nyota's Heart, the Talz jewelry sounds beautiful! And I can imagine Leia would find parallels there to her own homeworld; the outside may have looked very different but the essence of gentleness and reverence is something the Talz have in common with Alderaan. [face_love] Nifty way of working them into a sweet moment with the gift. :)
     
  10. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    These stories are great!

    Goodwood, I love how visual this is. I can see this so clearly in my mind. These characters seem so well suited for each other, and the banter shows how much trust they share.

    Nyota's Heart, anything L/M with chocolate and jewelry is a treat in itself. You've caught their perfect union in the easy way they share their thoughts and feelings.

    Looking forward to more wonderful fiction to come!
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Chyntuck - thanks muchly! The Talz are wonderful, nurturing and I loved working them in with my SW OTP, one of them anyway. [face_love] And a local store bakery has a cake very similar, it's a strawberry shortcake that has jam and whipped topping all over sponge cake! =P~

    Kahara & divapilot - LOL agreed on the chocolate & L/M blend being perfect. I like the process and the end result of L/M's remarkable journey from "prickly snark" to love. [face_dancing] It's especially marvy seeing this with Mara since Luke usually is more open. :D
     
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Chyntuck like this.
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    For the amazingly talented Chyntuck, on your very special day. Many years of happiness to you both!

    Title: The Way to a Princess’s Heart
    Author: Divapilot
    Characters: Han, Leia, Chewie
    Summary: Han tries his best to impress Leia, and Chewie tries his best to help.

    (Thank you, Nyota's Heart, for takng a look at this!)

    @};-

    Han stood back, his fist on his chin, and frowned. This had to be perfect. With a dissatisfied grunt, he came in closer, reached over, and pulled the makeshift tablecloth slightly to the right.

    Chewie snorted. “Still looks like a dejarik table to me.”

    “Aw, what do you know about decorating?” Han said.

    “More than you do, furless one. My mother decorated our home back on Kashyyyk.” Chewie’s face took on a far-away look. “There were beautiful carvings of vines and branches, pretty flowers stuck in the crevices of the walls, tiny fragrant white moss lining the rafters—“

    “I don’t care about your pretty flowers and nice smelling moss. I gotta make this look good. If Her Worshipfulnessness is coming for dinner, then I have one chance to impress.”

    Chewie folded his massive arms. “Then you better start caring about smelling nice and having pretty flowers. She’s a girl, you know.”

    Han turned slowly and deliberately toward his friend. “Thanks for the update, fuzzball. Right. A girl.”

    Chewie growled and shook his head, tossing his furry hands in the air in a gesture of surrender. “Hey, just trying to help. But well, since you have it all in hand, I’ll just go and see if I can get that navcomputer’s translation module working a bit faster.”

    The Wookiee turned to leave when Han suddenly stopped him. “No, wait. I’m sorry, old buddy.” Han shifted awkwardly. “So, do you have any suggestions?”

    “Suggestions for what?”

    “I don’t know! Anything! She’s not just a girl, she’s a princess. She’s used to having the best of everything. She should have the best meal of her life. What’s the most wonderful thing that I can give her to eat?”

    Chewie scratched his ear. “Hmmm. I know my mom used to make a meal that was absolutely delicious. She was such a good cook. She would spend the day gathering the ingredients, then she would go down to the clay ovens and bake, and the smell would waft up into the trees. Oh, it was heavenly.”

    Han cocked his head. “Yeah? That good, huh?”

    Chewie closed his eyes and licked his lips. “Heavenly.”

    “What was it?”

    There was a pause before Chewie answered, his voice deep with reverence. “Chyntuck pie.”

    Han thought for a moment in silence, then rubbed his chin. “It was that good, huh?”

    “Do you think I’m kidding?” Chewie countered. “My stomach is growling at the thought of it.”

    “Your stomach growls when you wake up until you bunk down.” But Han was intrigued. “Hey, you don’t think this spaceport would have a market, would it?”

    “Of course it does. I went there this morning.”

    “Of course you did.”

    “Look,” Chewie said, hands on his hips. “If you want me to make a special meal for you and your lady friend, I’ll be happy to do it. I have mom’s recipe. I can get what I need and have a home-cooked meal ready when she comes over to visit this evening.”
    Han considered the offer. “All right, sounds good. I’ll clean up around here and you go make that chyntuck pie.”

    Chewie nodded, then he reached behind a panel to retrieve a canvas market bag. “I’ll be back in a bit. Clean this place up, Han. And it wouldn’t kill you to shower yourself. Put on a clean shirt; and not the black one with the burn mark from your cigarra on it.”
    Han shot him an exasperated look as Chewie turned to leave the Falcon.

    About an hour later, Chewie returned, his arms loaded with supplies. Han strode over to help him unload his purchases. One by one, items came out of the canvas bag: round, bulbous chyntucks with bright green stems still attached; a packet of woodsy dried leaves that Han supposed would be ground down for seasoning; some fluffy fragrant greenery; and assorted boxes and packages of other intriguing foodstuffs. Han picked up a bunch of leafy greens. “What’s this?” he said, turning the item over in his hand.

    “Herbs. They’re for the pie.” Chewie took the greens away from Han and put them aside. “It’s a secret ingredient,” he whispered conspiratorially.

    Han then proceeded to pick up another fragrant bunch of greenery, this one replete with delicate blossoms. “Huh. So what’re these? More herbs?”

    “No, you dolt. They’re flowers. Put them in a vase.”

    “What’s this?” Han said, reaching for a white box.

    Chewie growled loudly. “Leave me alone. You don’t know how to cook. I do.” With a huff, Chewie put his ingredients back in the market bag and stalked off to the galley.

    “Touchy,” Han groused. But he did as he was told and put the flowers into an empty parts storage cylinder, then placed the flowers on the table. He stepped back to survey the arrangement, and he had to admit that the flowers did make it look less like a dejarik table with a white cloth thrown on it and more like a romantic dinner for two. He stood there, momentarily flustered, until he remembered that Leia would be coming over in fewer than three hours, and he still had to clean up, think of something to talk to her about, and affect an appropriately casual attitude to make it look like he had spent the day completely unconcerned about the date.

    By the time Han got out of the ‘fresher shower, dressed (but not too dressed, just casual dressed. Not too casual, though) and shaved, he could smell the aroma of the pie. He had to admit it did smell good. Kind of like nuts roasting, or onions, and with a sort of citrusy touch. His mouth began to water in anticipation.

    He walked back to the main room of the Falcon and stopped in his tracks. He almost didn’t recognize it. The lighting was somehow different, softer, than before. The flowers had opened up, and their fragrance added a floral note to the heady chyntuck pie. Chewie had apparently put out actual plates and utensils instead of the disposable items they often used to eat on. Han nodded in silent approval. A glance at the chrono told him that Leia should be arriving in about half an hour, so he needed to get busy appearing relaxed.

    At last Han heard the chime of the door annunciator. A quick glance at the security recorder confirmed that it was Leia. She looked different tonight. Her long brown hair hung in loose curls, and she wore a low cut blue dress that clung in all the right places. Han stared at the image for a few moments, trying to accept that this dress was what she had actually chosen to wear and then considering the implications of such a choice. After a few more moments the door chimed again.

    “Are you going to make the poor girl wait all night? Go answer the door!” Chewie barked from the galley.

    Han jolted from his reverie and got out of his seat. He walked to the entrance and slid the door open. Leia looked up at him. “Hi,” he said. He suddenly found himself without anything more to say.

    “I was beginning to think I had the wrong address,” she said, raising an eyebrow. She waited a moment more. “Can I come in?”

    “Yeah, of course.” Han stood back and gestured for her to enter the ship. The dress clung in all the right places from the back, too.

    Leia stopped for a moment when she entered the common room. “Han, this is so pretty,” she said softly. “I’m impressed.” She sat down at the table and Han poured her a glass of wine. “What are we eating tonight?” she asked.

    “Oh, Chewie made something. Smells good, too.”

    At that moment, Chewie arrived. He wore a heavy apron to protect his fur from food spills, and he carried a tray that bore a steaming baking dish. “Chyntuck pie, like my mother used to make,” he announced. With a flourish, he cut one slice for Leia and one for Han. “I’m going to go clean up the galley. Now don’t mess this up with her. Try not to be an idiot.”

    Leia, who had only begun to learn the basics of Shyriiwook, turned a politely questioning gaze toward Han. “Chewie said that it’s his mom’s recipe. He also said it was a great honor to make it for such a special occasion, for his closest and dearest friend and for you.” Leia accepted this translation with some hesitation, then turned her attention to her plate.

    The pie was beautiful, with a golden crust and thick filling. The scent of spices and exotic ingredients tempted, and Han and Leia picked up their forks and put a bite into their mouths at the same time.

    Han chewed. Leia munched. They chewed and munched some more. Then Leia took a deep sip from her wine and swallowed heavily. Han continued to chew.

    “So, this is an old family recipe?” Leia said, gasping. She poked at the slice of pie on her plate, prying the top crust off the center part.

    Han nodded, his mouth still full. He lifted his napkin to his mouth, gathered something into it, and then he could speak. “What do you think is in that?” he asked.

    “I’m going to guess a lot of onion. Probably some hot sauce.”

    “A lot of hot sauce,” Han agreed, gulping down some wine.

    She picked the crust apart with her fingers. “Is that a twig?” she asked, pulling a rigid fiber from the edge of the pie.

    Han drained his wine glass. “A real lot of hot sauce,” he gasped.

    Leia looked at him and he met her eyes. They were quiet for a second, then Han broke the silence. “This isn’t going to work,” he announced. He stood up abruptly then took their plates and began to walk away. Han entered the galley, Leia right behind him, as Chewie was putting away the last of the newly cleaned cooking supplies.

    “Chewie,” Han said. “Hey, buddy, thanks for all your work, but Leia and me, well, I think we’re gonna take a little walk. We can’t finish this. Do you want it?” He offered the barely touched pie slices to Chewie.

    “Of course I want it! Chyntuck pie is the best, isn’t it?”

    Han shrugged his shoulders. “Ya know, I think it’s an acquired taste.”

    Chewie snorted. “Oh, yeah, for humans, of course it would be an acquired taste. Humans can’t eat this stuff. It’s for Wookiees. We love it.”

    Han’s eyes grew huge. “Humans can’t eat it? Then why did you make it?”

    “Because it’s delicious. Oh, don’t be a baby. Check the food preparer. I got you and the princess something. Go take her down to that nice park right around the corner and have a picnic. Grab the rest of the wine while you’re at it.”

    Han stared at Chewie with an expression that was part rage, part incredulousness, and part gratefulness. Then he opened the food preparer to see the white box that he remembered Chewie bringing back to the ship that afternoon from the market. He opened it to find a meal of thin noodles covered in a smooth verten sauce, and delicate apserga stalks steamed to the perfect crispness on the side. His mouth began to water for the second time that day.

    He closed the box and turned to Leia. “How about a picnic?” he proposed. “There’s a nice park right around the corner. We can bring the rest of the wine.”

    “That is a wonderful idea,” she said. Leia stood on her toes and kissed Han’s cheek. “And a very romantic one,” she added, smiling. Leia turned to Chewie. “Thank you for the work you did. I’m sorry that I couldn’t enjoy it.”

    Chewie smiled at her sweetly, then gently brushed her shoulder. “It’s all right, little female. At least you had the courage to swallow your mouthful. The hairless one had to spit his out.”

    Leia frowned, then gave up trying to translate. She smiled again at Chewie, then turned to Han, who nodded for them to leave.
    It was early evening when Han and Leia entered the ship again. The lights were still low in the main room, but a low rumbling like feral thunder reverberated in the room. Leia was alarmed at first, but Han’s expression reassured her.

    She followed his gaze and saw Chewie sound asleep on the bench, snoring loudly. One hand lay across his belly, and the other draped off the bench and into a now-empty pie pan. Little crumbs of pie crust flecked his auburn fur.

    “He ate himself unconscious,” Han whispered, shaking his head.

    “He earned it. He worked hard for that meal,” Leia said.

    Han put his arm around her shoulder. “I’m sorry, Leia,” he said. “I wanted to make this a special night, and I messed it up. That pie was awful.”

    Leia turned to face him, then put her arms on his shoulders and linked her hands behind his head. Han responded by placing his hands on her waist. “Oh, I wouldn’t say you messed it up. Chewie got to enjoy his favorite dish from home, and we had a romantic starlit walk in the park. I have to say that picnic was one of the nicest ever.”

    Han pulled her in close. “You always see the bright side, don’t you.” He smiled, then glanced at Chewie for a moment before turning back to her. “At least Chewie’s night ended on a great note.”

    “Who’s to say our night is ended?” she asked.

    Han smiled mischievously at her suggestion, then he leaned down to enfold her in a deep, passionate kiss.
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    All I have to say is LOL! and SQUEEEEEEEE! The Han/Chewie snark is perfect and the H/L delightful!!!! [face_dancing] =D=
     
  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Ooooh, I just read this and now I can't stop laughing and melting at the same time! Chewie giving Han dating advice, calling him "furless one", talking about mom, buying flowers, dimming the lights, laying the table and wearing an apron to cook chyntuck pie?????

    Awwww [face_love] Of course he would. He's adorbs, big-hearted Chewie after all and he's a Wookiee, not some feckless human.

    The H/L was fantastic too -- Han's "translations" from Shyriiwook were priceless, the substitution of an empty parts storage container for a vase was an amazing touch and of course "not too dressed, just casual dressed. Not too casual, though" [face_laugh] But the Chewbacca characterisation really steals the show in this story. Every little or big detail -- the fashion advice! cleaning up the galley! the picnic! the list is just too long to continue -- is so perfectly him: the big, shaggy, caring, loyal best buddy with a voracious appetite who loves pulling a prank on his friend, and then fixing it too. I think that the cherry on the cake for me was the fact that he wore an apron to cook, but then got covered in crumbs while eating.

    Oh, and I am hereby officially requesting permission to include chyntuck pie in a one-shot I'm writing.

    Thanks so much for this divapilot [:D]
     
  15. Admiral Volshe

    Admiral Volshe Force Ghost star 10

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Congratulations, Chyn!!!! I am so very happy for you and I wish you and Mr. Chyntuckopoulos many, many years of happiness to follow!!


    Notes:
    This fic is using the idea that SWTOR introduced a lot technology to the Talz, and that not all tribes of Talz were isolated. Thus, they understand much more than one would expect 20 +/- years after the Clone Wars.



    HEROES

    --

    2 ABY - Sujemis Sector

    Brigadier General Misica Srebro ducked behind the large rock formation, signalling to a group of Snowtroopers directly to his right. Their red pauldrons shone in the pounding sun as two of them hoisted a large durasteel tube up, pointing to the clear blue skies.

    "Fire when ready," he yelled, over the echo of blaster fire and thermal detonators. They obliged, one of the troopers grabbing a mortar and hoisting it into the tube's wide mouth. It slid down with a satisfying sound. The officers covered their ears and waited for the blast. It came seconds later, a cloud of smoke bursting from the orifice.

    Grabbing a pair of binoculars, Srebro peered over the rock. The wind battered his face, abrading it. Every gust was laced with ice crystals. His battlefield armour was nowhere near sufficient in the frigid climate. A blast of ice and fire shot up across the barren snow, where enemy forces glittered in the sun. Grey smoke billowed from the crater it produced. Groups of soldiers flooded from the small, makeshift shelters they had set up.

    The battle for the outpost had begun.

    Another round of mortars fired off, sending ash and smoke through the lines. Srebro pulled on a respirator. He sighed in relief, the bitter wind no longer able to reach his reddened cheeks. He took another look at the outpost, columns of smoke billowing up into the air. Debris was strewn about, the soldiers scrambled for cover as they continued to hail down on them.

    Srebro raised his cybernetic hand, giving a quick signal to those behind him. Sunlight ricocheted off its chrome plating as he repeated the signal for those further back. They stopped their fire. He turned to his left side and clapped a hand to his olive chest plate, the 'troopers there taking position. He took another quick glance at the battlefield, this time without his binoculars. He could just barely make out the figures as they tried to organise themselves. The expanse of snow and ice between them seemed large, but the Empire had brought everything they needed to conquer it. He pulled out his comm, quickly adjusting it to call the General L'kkai , who was floating somewhere above the planet, where he had visuals and scans of every battle.

    The Twi'lek answered the call with a huff, his voice crackled through the comm - only barely cutting through the howling wind. Srebro crouched behind the rock with his back to the wind. The earpiece buzzed to life with the General's gruff voice, finally clear despite the chaos around Srebro.

    "Report," L'kkai said simply. Srebro could almost imagine his stern expression as he paced the command room, watching their every move.

    "Mortar bombardment complete and successful, sir," he replied, his attention being caught momentarily by a single Stomtrooper shifting from position. "Requesting activation of the AAV unit."

    "Granted," L'kkai replied, shutting off the comm before Srebro could answer any more questions. He had always been short, cold. One could easily say he was colder than the planet they were on. He was certainly less merciful than the biting winds.

    Srebro fed a string of orders through the comm again, waiting for the familiar sound of AT-ATs crushing the snow beneath their monstrous feet. Until they were activated, there was no going forward with the battle. He searched the horizon. Many kilometres in front of the distant, deep cerulean crystal mountains, there were four lumbering figures. They appeared as large black shadows, the sun shining behind them.

    They were on their way.

    "Sir!" Someone called. He didn't recognise the voice. He turned behind him, scoping out the crowd. A sergeant hurried to him. His improperly holstered blaster clacked against the drab armour, somehow echoing through the roar of battle.

    "What is it, Sergeant?" He questioned, trying to hide the fact that he'd forgotten his name.

    "There's a report of a disabled transport, just outside the outpost. It has markings from the main city. The Rebellion must have shot it down."

    "What do you suppose it is?"

    "A civilian transport. It must have been caught in the crossfire, sir."

    "Are there survivors?"

    "Life and motion were both detected."

    "Get an aerial view, now," he ordered. It wasn't typical protocol, but with the evidence he had, there was reason to believe that the transport was not an enemy ship. He had no intention of allowing them to be caught in the crossfire if they were innocents. The wind gusted through the camp. The plasteel tents clacked and ice crystals pinged against his armour. It roared past again, bringing snow from the thin clouds forming above.

    Srebro sighed, as silently as he could manage. With the AT-ATs, there was little chance they'd survive any longer. He pulled his binoculars to his face, shaking them gently to rid them of the dusting of snow. They clicked and whirred, focussing on the mass of durasteel that had once been a transport. Light blue markings were painted onto the wings, which had somehow survived the crash. Black smoke billowed upwards, making it difficult to see any of the survivors. He scanned the horizon past the wreckage. The Rebels were still in their positions, not one person making an attempt to rescue whomever was alive in the wreckage. Either they were using it as bait, or they were not going to risk stepping into no man’s land.

    A flash of white caught his eye. He refocussed on the transport. A young Talz – fur stained with soot, only a couple metres tall at most – peered out of a fractured window. Another four-eyed face appeared behind it, using some sort of tool to break the windows. It shattered. The young one clambered out onto the wing, jumping down into the snow. The adult Talz disappeared for a moment. The General glanced back; the AT-ATs were closer now, but still a good distance away. The Rebel forces had no doubt seen them and wouldn’t risk going anywhere near the transport. He would simply send a message to the AAV unit in command, warning them of the downed transport.

    Srebro let the binoculars fall. He looked to his right, searching for the speeder they had used to get to the battle. It hummed a few lines back, near a small command tent. He stood, snow falling from his armour.

    “Sir!” The Sergeant had returned, datapad in hand. “We have eyes on the transport.”

    Srebro cast another glance to the approaching AT-ATs before examining the screen. He wiped away the thin layer of snow with one gloved hand. It was a SoroSuub T-48 land transport, going by what was left of it - extremely similar to an Imperial transport. The roof was a gaping wound. The tail, vital for steering in the high winds, was only a jagged stub. He zoomed into the image, trying to make out any more details. Black score marks criss crossed across the wings and sides. No doubt they had been shot down. It did not matter that the insignias plastered on either side indicated they were civilians – they had still resembled an Imperial ship.

    He pulled up the binoculars, hoping to see if there were any more survivors. Another few Talz had escaped the wreckage. They hid behind the wing, trying to avoid the biting winds that swept across the plain. He tilted his head to one side, trying to get a head count. Two of them had fur stained with darkness. He exhaled, realizing it was likely blood. Through the blue filter of the binoculars, he could not verify it – but it was the most probable scenario. He stepped back quickly and started for the command tent.

    “Generals,” he called, before he had even entered the tent. The AT-ATs were still far enough back that they could not pose a hazard, but the Rebellion would have seen them by now.

    The two field generals were huddled around a holographic display of the current battlefield. Communications officers sat at a desk at the far end, absorbed by the rapid flow of information both to and from the battlefield. Beside them was another group, focussed on a readout that filled a small console's screen. As he took another step into the warmed tent, the generals turned.

    "Srebro," the first one said, nonchalant. He didn't bother to look at him for more than a brief second. "You have something to report?"

    He took a breath, ignoring the lack of respect. He was only a rung below them on the command ladder, but that hadn't stopped them from taking advantage of the fact he was still below them.

    "A transport was shot down in the middle of the plain - about 4 kliks northwest from our current location. Scans indicate lifeforms, and from my own observation, it appears to be civilians - Talz - from the Citadel."

    "We are aware," the second one, General Kryten, replied. She turned from the holoprojection and took a step towards him.

    Srebro raised a brow. If they were aware, that meant they were intentionally not aiding the Talz. He held out the datapad, waiting for one of them go take it.

    "Once the AT-ATs are close enough, it runs a risk of killing or injuring anyone nearby. Especially if the Rebellion disables one or the following attack catches them in the crossfire…"

    He trailed off. Neither of them replied at first. Kryten cast her eyes down and shook her head slowly.

    “I know,” Kryten said, a green light flashing across her dark complexion, “But you must understand we have no way to save them without jeopardising the mission at hand.”

    “I would hope he does,” the other general added. His eyes were still focussed on the bustling command centre around them.

    Srebro’s mind flashed back to the image of the Talz, huddled beside the ship as blaster fire roared around them. They were in danger, innocent lives, and the generals refused to act. Casualties were a reality of war, he knew that much. In his 15 years, he had seen countless soldiers fall, had seen loved ones lost and Imperials left crippled. He was not naïve, far from it. But needless lives lost were only due to a cold heart or ignorance. He had neither.

    Apart from that, the Talz had forged a hesitant alliance with the Empire – they were supposed to be protecting them, even if they were not on Orto Plutonia. One misstep could cost them an ally. He knew much of the Empire did not trust them. Tribes had attacked Imperials before. Not every colony was charted, not every system was aware of the Alliance. Some were not even aware of basic technologies. That was no issue, however. These Talz were allies. If they were treated wrongly, it would not end well. They were known to be very protective of themselves and would no doubt turn to the Rebellion. The Generals were walking a very thin line. The benefits certainly outweighed the risks, in this case.

    “Thank you,” he said, through grit teeth. As he turned from the tent, he grabbed a blaster rifle and four thermal detonators. He scanned the lines for a sharpshooter, tapping one as he walked towards the transport. There were two snowtroopers just beside it, crouching in an alcove.

    “Troopers,” he called, waiting for them to stand, “You’re coming with me.”

    He hadn’t realised they were Special Operations troopers, but he did when the first one turned and his notched shoulder became visible. “Where, sir? Sergeant Lorenthal instructed this alcove be cov-“

    “That transport.” Srebro pointed with his cybernetic arm to the smoking, crippled ship. They did not move at first. The General dropped his arm. “We’re taking speeder B-24. And that’s an order.”

    The troopers both stepped out of the alcove, looking at each other before they continued towards the speeder. Srebro cut in front, leading his small troupe to where the speeder hummed.

    He cast a quick glance to the horizon and saw the AT-ATs were nearly upon them, their massive paws crushing into the fragile ground below. He winced, trying not to imagine the same fate befalling the civilians. He heaved himself into the cargo speeder, waiting for the troopers to join him. Once they had, he fired up the engines and quickly manoeuvred them out into the open plain of snow.

    ---

    The blaster fire had nearly stopped by the time Srebro and his troopers had reached the transport, but it was due to the fact that the weather had turned volatile. One moment, the speeder shuddered under the high winds. The next, the viewscreen was being pelted with ice. He brought the speeder close to the smouldering transport and cut the engines.

    He hopped out, resting the blaster against the speeder before heading to where the Talz crouched, trying to protect themselves from the harsh conditions. The ice – now more of a blizzard – made it difficult to see them. He hoped they would not act rashly, seeing three ‘troopers and an Imperial General emerging from the snow squall.

    “Hello!” he called, not sparing a moment. They didn’t have time to formulate a plan. With the AT-ATs approaching, the sooner he evacuated them, the better.
    A loud series of drones broke through the wind. The Talz. Srebro continued forward, raising a hand to his face to protect against the wind. He glanced back, ensuring the ‘troopers were managing in the low visibility. Satisfied, he turned his attention back to his front.

    Suddenly, his comm began to beep – wildly. He knew it was a red alert, no doubt from base. He hesitated a moment before clicking it on.

    “Srebro! Where in Chaos are you?” Kryten’s voice was shrill as it broke through the howling wind.

    “Sorry, ma’am,” he started, not knowing how to defuse the situation. He took another step forward, wincing as the bitter cold now whipped around his face.

    “Sorry? What do you mean sorry, Brigadier General? I don’t want an apology. I want you and those SpecOps troopers back on base! You were not authorised to leave, nor were you authorised to risk the mission.”

    “It might take a while, ma’am,” Srebro replied, peeling his eyes off the blinking comm and squinting through the snow. He was trying to be respectful. They certainly did not have the authority to demote or discharge him – but they had enough sway. Part of him was glad it was General Kryten who had called. She had worked with him many times before, and knew he was not a blind minion, serving those up above. But she also had a short fuse and was not accepting of any failures. He knew he had been risking his positive record the moment he left the tent, but he had done it before - and he would do it again. He had joined the Empire to serve the Galaxy, and part of the Galaxy was its citizens.

    “I will have your rank insignia on Lord General Marxis’ desk by sundown if your – disobedience – alters our plans in the slightest.”

    The comm clicked off abruptly, almost cutting off her sentence. For a moment he worried that the call had been disconnected, until he reassured himself that she was likely enraged by his actions, and not willing to talk any further. She was being extremely rational for someone in her position, he knew. High Command expected nothing short of success and he was jeopardizing that. Others would have already contacted the Lord General and had him removed from service in mere minutes. He exhaled the frustration that was building up in his chest.

    He could see the wing now, stretching through the snow. The droning came again, echoing eerily through the wind. He was close. The ‘troopers were still just behind him. The wind was beginning to die down, enough that he could hear the crunching of snow beneath their boots. As the snow began to settle, he could see the Talz sitting together beneath the wing, against one of the engines. He curled his hands into fists, nervous that the snow squall no longer provided them cover. The Rebellion would have a clear shot at them, especially if they utilised their own baradium or mortar launchers. It was only seconds before both sides restarted their barrage of fire.

    He reminded himself that any ifs could not stop him from the mission at hand. The future was nothing he could change. He closed the distance between himself and the Talz.

    The first thing he noticed was that three of them were most definitely bleeding. Their fur – tinged blue by his binoculars – was mottled with soot and blood. One was a child. He winced as it let out a feeble hum. Srebro did not know if they could speak Basic, but he called out again.

    “I’m here to help you.” He took in the frigid, fresh air and waited. They looked to him all at once. One of them paced forward a few steps. Its nictitating membrane flicked across its two open eyes. As it got closer, he could tell by the fur and proboscis that it was a female. A growl buzzed in her throat. She raised her clawed hands. Many Talz understood Basic, but not all. He would have to be careful. Even if they understood a few words, it did not mean they would trust him.

    “Weapons down,” he said, briefly looking back to the ‘troopers. Their hands fell to their sides, rifles clacking against their white armour. Srebro knelt to the ground, the Talz towering over him. She took a step back and let out a high pitched chirp. Srebro rose, dusting the chips of ice and snow from his legs. He nodded and unclipped the small bacta canister from his belt, meant to treat only small shrapnel and blaster wounds. He held it out and the Talz reached for it. The blue liquid bubbled faintly as it exchanged hands. The Talz lumbered over to where the child was, opening the canister and gently dabbing some of the bacta onto its wounds. The child squeaked and jumped. The female passed the canister to the other Talz, who started applying it to the other injuries they had sustained.

    Srebro turned. The AT-ATs were on the horizon now, their hulking metal frames creeping closer. His attention snapped to his front, hearing the sound of blaster fire begin again. An explosion roared only 8 metres away at most, throwing snow and ice up in a cloud of flame. The transport’s hull greeted him. Relief washed over him. They at least had the protection of the transport – for now. The female took the bacta from the group. It was nearly empty, the last couple of ounces sloshing about as she handed it back to him. Srebro did not mind. It had been a way to settle tensions, and a very successful one at that.

    “Come,” he said, motioning to the speeder. A series of chirps and buzzes came from the group. They looked to each other as they held some sort of conversation. Srebro waited, taking the chance to examine the plains around him yet again. Bolts of red and green whizzed past. He narrowed his eyes and lifted the binoculars. The Imperial camp had cleared paths for the AT-ATs, which were now crossing through. He waved his arm towards the speeder again.

    The first Talz took a hesitant step towards him. He dropped his hands to his sides. The group stood, the uninjured helping the others from the ice-covered ground. Srebro walked back to the speeder, tossing his rifle into the pilot’s seat. The Talz lumbered behind him, fur stained with blood and soot, but alive. He exhaled, grateful that the Rebellion hadn’t had a chance to so much as see them. He heaved himself up into the speeder and waited for the ‘troopers to help the Talz into the small cargo hold. Another explosion burst from the ground – much closer than before. It was quickly followed by a second one. The shockwave flung ice and rock at the viewscreen, leaving tiny fissures. He fired up the engines and gripped the yoke, centring himself for a moment.

    “Are we ready?” he asked, as the last ‘trooper loaded in.

    “Yes, sir,” came the reply.

    Srebro nodded and eased the speeder up into the air. It lurched gently as he clicked on the accelerators. Soon, they were racing for the Imperial camp on the horizon.

    ---

    2 years later - 4 ABY

    Night was falling on the Citadel, the rays of the second sun just barely reaching over the snow-covered mountains. The small complex was filled with light and warmth, despite yet another blizzard raging on outside. Chi-som turned from the window just as a knock came at the door. She lumbered over and threw it open. A tall Ithorian man blinked his eyes at her, carrying a basket full of ingredients.

    Ikto! I am glad you made it!” The Talz buzzed. Her hands reached out for the basket and he handed it to her. She carried it over to the small kitchen and set it down. Four other Talz called from the living area as Ikto passed by, following behind her.

    “How long until they arrive?” Ikto queried, beginning to set out the ingredients on the counter. Chi-som clicked on the rehydrator, which bubbled to life.

    Only a few hours at most. The weather might delay them,” she replied. Grabbing a few of the tubers from the counter, she began to wash them carefully. Ikto handed her a small cutting board. “The meal should be ready by then.”

    “Do we need the recipe?” he asked.

    Chi-som chirped affirmatively. Ikto plugged in a small screen in the corner and slid a small chip into its’ reader. He turned it on, the screen glowing a dull blue. The image of one Chef Gormaanda flickered onto the screen. Each of her four arms rested on the pale countertop, gloved in white. Her onyx hair was pulled back in its usual fashion. She looked up. A saccharine smile played on her bright, red painted lips.

    "Greetings, Gentles! It is I, your culinary caretaker, Ms. Gormaanda! Once again I will guide your taste receptors on an ethereal journey."

    Chi-som grabbed a pot and set it on the hot plate. Ikto carried the chopped vegetables over, placing them beside the sizzling metal. Chef Gormaanda grabbed two knives and a pot.

    “Today, we will be creating a wonderful special version of the well-known pryddos! A traditional stew, from the days of the Old Republic. This variation is common for celebrations, inspired by a tremendous wedding many years ago! Oh how lovely it was…”
    The Chef droned on, excitedly collecting her ingredients and lining them up on the counter. Chi-som followed suit.

    She sure talks a lot,” she remarked. Ikto shook his head and let out a warbling laugh.

    “For this recipe we will need trimmed blushroot, nerf meat – cubed of course, chopped celto, diced chyntuck, sliced space-carrots, a few herbs, just a bit of foyvé oil, and – oh! These adorable little allium.” She held up a miniscule orb in between her gloved fingers. The pot in front of her had begun to steam just as she had finished her list. “As a final touch, we will be adding 200 g of rizo.” Gormaanda held up a bowl with gusto, a couple of grains of the small noodles pinging on the hotplate. She quickly set it down with a sheepish look.

    “Now, this is perfect for any special occasion. Rich, luxurious taste that any citizen can afford. The celto adds another dimension entirely, along with the savoury oils and herbs. Truly delectable!” She clapped her hands together, stirring up the steam. “Once your ionised water is brought to a vigorous boil,” she continued, “You can add 300 grams of nerf meat to a pan with the very first teaspoon of Foyvé oil.”

    Chi-som followed her lead, the meat sizzling as it met with the hot oil. Gormaanda grabbed a spatula and began to stir the cubes vigorously.

    “You want to be sure to coat every piece in oil. It’s necessary to maintain consistent flavour in the final dish!” Her other hand grabbed another spatula, with her third hand beginning to sauté the meat. Chi-Som blinked at the screen and warbled.
    She forgets that most of us do not have 4 hands!

    “One hand will do fine,” Ikto replied, handing her the bottle of oil. “I think you need a little more.”

    Chi-som took the bottle and drizzled a little extra onto the meat. A warm, nutty aroma floated up from the pan as the meat began to brown.

    “And now!” Gormaanda continued, clapping all her hands together with a wide grin on her face, “We can start the rizo!”

    ---

    Finally, after a hectic cooking session, the stew was almost finished.It sent a pungent yet pleasant aroma wafting through the entire apartment. Chi-som stirred it gently as it simmered. She cast a glance up to the chrono above. The guests would be there any moment. She added one last pinch of dried aronoge as she continued stirring. Ikto turned to her.

    “They’re here!”

    A knock came from the door. The Ithorian’s impeccable hearing had picked up their footsteps in the hall.

    “I will get the door, Chi-som, do not worry!” Ikto said happily. He walked out into the living area and announced the guests’ arrival to the rest of them. The little ones squeaked in excitement. Warmth filled Chi-som. They always loved the celebration. Though they were growing older, and the memories had begun to fade, they still looked forward to it.

    She could hear the murmur of human voices as they wafted into the kitchen, followed by the chatter of her family and friends as they greeted the guests. The stew finally seemed to be finished. She shut off the hotplate and gently placed the lid on it, wiping her hands on a towel nearby. She stacked up the bowls, trying to listen to the boisterous group as they chattered away.

    “Chi-som!” The warm baritone echoed in the small kitchen, “It is great to see you again!”

    She turned from the stew. A grinning man in grey casual dress stood before her, a hint of silver glinting from his sleeve. She chirped and held out her arms, mimicking a hug. It was not customary in Talz culture, but she had learned it had much significance for humans. Srebro laughed, a booming chuckle, and accepted her hug.

    I have made you all a special supper!” Chi-som warbled.

    “You did not have to!” Another said, her voice strong. They looked over. One of the other rescuers had peered around the corner, an Officer Matelin. Her red hair framed her bright smile. A xenobiologist, she had treated the Talz’ injuries upon their return to the camp.
    You all deserve it!”

    “Yes, you definitely do,” Ikto insisted, picking up a stack of bowls from the counter. “So, we will celebrate.”

    Matelin held out her hands for the bowls. Ikto attempted to sidestep her, but she shook her head. “I’ll help! Please.”

    Ikto handed them over with mock exasperation, then turned to grab a bowl of fresh fruit for the table. He shuffled out of the room.

    They all sat down to eat, the grey room brightened by their laughter and the colourful meal before them. Chi-som handed Srebro the final dish of stew. He passed it to Ikto. The Ithorian gurgled a thanks as he set it before him. Chi-som held up a glass of blossomwine, the golden liquid shimmering in the light.

    I would like to say thank you,” she began, “I have said it many times, but it will never be enough.”

    Srebro looked down, sheepish. He had insisted she stop thanking him 2 years ago, mere hours after he had saved them. Matelin had translated every single one, much to his chagrin.

    I know that you feel that what you did was nothing more than duty,” Chi-som continued, her words a melodic hum that buzzed through the air, “But what you did was save us and our future.

    One of the older Talz started speaking. “Without you, I would not be able to see my grandchild have a good life, like we all wished. None of us would have seen him start to grow up.”

    Chi-som set down the glass and blinked. Srebro had done so much more than just save them from the accident. They had been attempting to leave one of the smaller outposts after suffering brutal attacks by smugglers and criminals, which left them no chance to live a prosperous life. They had lost everything, and the crash had threatened to end their lives as well. What little they had owned and all their children had been with them. Without his actions, they would not have survived.

    I would not have seen my family grow, or seen the beautiful sunrises here in the Citadel. And it is all thanks to you, risking your career, something you loved – just to save us. You are a hero.”

    Srebro tried to stop himself from blushing. Matelin prodded him gently with her elbow, a smile on her face. “General?”

    “I am nothing more than another citizen,” he replied, “I am simply a friend. And my team here,” he nodded to the four of them scattered around the table, “They are as deserving of praise as I am.”
    “Of course,” Ikto hummed, “They are. You are all heroes.”

    Let us eat!” Chi-som purred happily.

    Chyntuck inspired recipe!! Yay! Taken from the story. :)
    (This may need to be adjusted to taste or preference; I am totally not sure how people like their soups! If someone has a suggestion to make it better they can always PM me! :) )
    -Handful of pearl onions
    -1/2 white onion, diced
    -200 g orzo noodles
    -Beef cubes, 9oz
    -1 carrot, sliced
    -Olive oil (two teaspoons to start, more if necessary)
    -1 stalk celery
    -Garlic, salt, pepper, thyme to taste
    -Beef bouillon (2 cubes or 4 teaspoons granules, depends on brand)
    -Spinach (if desired)

    Brown beef in some of the olive oil, adding the diced onion. Bring water to a boil, cook pasta al dente. In a separate pot, prepare the bouillon as directed. Steam remaining vegetables (including pearl onions) and add to bouillon. Once vegetables are tender, add beef and drained orzo to broth/vegetable mix. Season to taste, (recommended garlic, salt, thyme, and pepper). Add olive oil as desired, 1-2 teaspoons should be adequate.

    Enjoy! :D[/spoiler]
     
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh that was marvelous! Srebro doing what was - not officially ordered, practically disallowed, frankly. The altruistic compassionate thing! @};- And that meal! Sounds mouth-wateringly good! =P~ This has the trademark Volshey attention to detail! :cool:
     
    AzureAngel2, Kahara, Chyntuck and 2 others like this.
  17. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Congrats, Chynktuck, I wish you and Mr Chyn all the best and a lifetime of happiness! @};-



    Unfurl Towards the Sun

    The wedding was a lavish affair, the union between two great Coruscanti families who had both found themselves in the favour of the Emperor. As such he had authorised a lavish reception on Coruscant, the already grand ballroom of the Imperial Palace made even more so by the opulence on display. Garlands of flowers were strung up around the room, and bouquets rested on long tables where the guests were seated. Flandorian blooms rested in the centre of each; a rare and exotic flower with petals that unfurled when detecting sentient brain activity, and changed colour depending on the mood of the person. All of the Flandorain flowers in the room were open, petals a myriad of bright yellows, reds and blues.

    Large platters of delectable, slow-roasted meats and fresh seafood were being carried around by serving staff, along with delicate vegetable and salads stacks of mixed greens adorned with pom seeds. A massive desert of cloud-meringues covered with zoochbery cream and sliced starfruits, merilooruns and shuura also rested on the bridegroom table.

    In the centre of the room stood a massive sculpture of clari-crystalline glass which glimmered and shone in the bright light. It took the form of a woman reaching up to the sky, her head thrown back and her glass hair cascading like water. She seemed fluid, as if her body was a blue-green sea contained within human form and frozen in time.

    Darth Vader found no pleasure in it. He could not eat the food or smell the flowers. Even appreciation of the artwork was difficult, since while his helmet provided augmented vision beyond regular human capabilities, it could not completely compensate for it. Every look was filtered through the machine that sustained and enslaved him, and although he could see every technical aspect of what was before him, it simply wasn’t the same as looking at it with his own eyes.

    He only chose to attend the celebration because the bride was a commander on the Executor, and she had served him well during the recent events on Hoth and Bespin. Fortunately, he was not required to stay long.

    Vader approached the bridegroom table, where Commander Ziti Adrasteia sat with her new husband - some kind of politician whose name he didn’t care to know. Both wore deep scarlet, he spun-silk robes with a heavy gold amulet bearing the Imperial crest, and she a full-length gown edged with black lace and a six-pointed silver headpiece.

    “Lord Vader,” Adrasteia stood, and urged her husband up next to her. “You honour us with your presence.”

    “I offer my blessings for a long and happy life,” Vader said stiffly, but it seemed sufficient, with Adrasteia and her husband bowing and giving him their thanks and gratitude. However, Vader’s attention was on the Flandorian flower in the centrepiece - when he had approached it had been a beautiful bright turquoise, but the petals were slowly turning black and curling in on themselves.

    He reached out and grasped the flower, encasing it inside his fist. Adrasteia was adept at pretending not to notice his behaviour, a skill which Vader appreciated and which had spared her life many times. She continued her effusive thanks for his attendance and the hope that she would serve him well in the future.

    “I am sure you will,” he said, growing weary of the conversation. He inclined his head and then turned on one heel, stalking out of the ballroom without a glance back. The flower was still clutched in his hand, almost burning his palm through his thick gloves. Vader knew it was his own anger, and as always he channeled the pain inward until it became raw power, opening himself up to the Force.

    It lead him down to one of his private docking bays, where he kept the ships and vehicles he’d obtained over the years. His newest acquisition stood in the centre of the cavernous chamber, in credits worth far less than any other item of his collection, but to Vader it was by far the prize.

    The X-Wing was the natural successor to the Jedi Starfighter Anakin had once flown, its design less sleek but far more durable, with increased firepower and an internal hyperdrive. Although Luke Skywalker had slipped through Vader’s grip on Bespin, the boy had been forced to abandon his ship and rely on rescue via that junkmass Corellian freighter. Now it was Vader’s - the jewel in his collection.

    The ship was a work of art; a map charting the adventures of his son. Vader had commanded that the ship not be touched when transported from the Executor to the hanger bay so it would retain all the clues and vital information about Skywalker Vader craved. The hull was stained with what looked like swamp water, and moss was still growing in the fuselage - Skywalker had travelled somewhere between Hoth and Bespin, although the ship’s memory had been wiped which told Vader his son had acquired a very clever astromech.

    The Rebellion starbird had been painted on the side of the hull, probably long before Skywalker had inherited the ship. But the Jedi symbol next to it had no doubt been painted on by Luke himself, and Vader’s scowl send fresh waves of pain like needles under his skin. He could still see Luke’s face when he’d been confronted with the truth - disbelief, anger, despair, and finally defiance. In some ways it almost made Vader proud, that his son would not be so easily won. It would make the victory all the sweeter.

    On a whim, Vader climbed into the cockpit of the X-Wing, slightly larger than that of his TIE fighter, although the equipment was older and less advanced. The crushed flower was still in his closed fist, and Vader used his free hand to start the ship’s engines. Through the Force he could almost taste the boy’s memories - the Death Star run, the flight from Hoth and a thousand battles in between. As Vader flew the ship up and away from the city, he increased speed and broke through the upper atmosphere, the flight almost feeling like freedom as he floated among the stars.

    Planetside he was a beast, a bogeyman, feared even by the men and women who served him. That was the image he had cultivated, since what else could he be in the black suit, his skin and half his organs burned away long ago on Mustafar. He had killed his wife, his brother and sister Jedi, the younglings who had pleaded for his help. He was a dead man himself, kept alive through hate and the constant pain, and death could be his only legacy.

    And yet...perhaps not. His son had survived - his son was strong, Vader could feel it in the ship around him. Luke’s presence still lingered there, and now Vader would be able to recognise it instantly. It was so much like his own, but full of light where Vader possessed only darkness, and hope where he felt only pain.

    His son could still be turned. The boy longed for family, he sensed that much - he would return seeking the father he had never known, and choose him over the Master who had lied so many times. Luke was life, Luke was possibility, and together he and Vader could wrest power away from the Emperor.

    Together, they could rule.

    Vader opened his gloved fist to see that the Flandorain flower had once again bloomed in his palm. The delicate petals were still slightly squashed, but they gently unfurled and blushed a bright yellow-gold.

    Carefully, Vader placed the bloom on the navcomputer, and as he looked out at the stars he could almost imagine the warmth of the sun.
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    JadeLotus! Exquisite detailing and symbology with the changing colors of the flowers! Fantastic Vader characterization! =D= =D=
     
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  19. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Yay, more stories for me [face_dancing]

    Admiral Volshe What a magnificent battle scene! I knew you had a talent for this stuff, but this just blew me away. And I loved the way you handled the situation with the Talz -- the Rebellion and the Empire being both too busy fighting their war to go and rescue them. Besides, you knew that anything featuring the Talz would steal my heart, right? :p

    I looked up Srebro in the Wook and didn't find him, so I imagine he's an OC of yours. Are there any other of your fics where he appears? He comes across as an interesting character. I'm particularly curious to know how he found himself with a cybernetic hand.

    And then, Chef Gormaanda? You really know my soft spots [face_laugh] The vidcast was hilarious -- and of course she forgets that not everyone has four arms. The Talz have four eyes though. They can't complain ;)

    Needless to say that, as soon as I am back home, I will try your soup recipe =P~

    JadeLotus First of all I loved your take on the Flandorian flowers -- I ran into them last year when I was planning to write a scene about the Shaldania parade, but I'd never thought of making something of them. The idea that they bloom when they detect sentient brain activity is simply brilliant and oh so fitting for this story!

    *re-reads the description of the dishes served at the feast and drools*

    The other tidbit I loved was Vader in a wedding celebration -- perfect hilarious and yet ominous characterisation. Really not the guest you want to stick around!

    The scene with Vader getting into Luke's X-wing and taking off, and the flower blossoming again as he thinks of Luke, of freedom, of what he could still be instead of what he is was amazing -- especially because of the subtle irony entwined into it, the "very clever astromech", how "victory would be sweeter", Luke's presence being "so much like his own" and "longing for family"... It's as if the flower knows what Vader hasn't anticipated, and is already telling him what he is going to become.

    Thanks so much to both of you! And Mr Chyn says thanks too [:D]
     
  20. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    And now for something completely different....
    Behold the Glamorous Hutt! :D
    [​IMG]

    So one of the prompts was "fine art," though I'm not sure this qualifies as "fine," I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for you.
     
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh Raissa Baiard she is perrrrrrrfect! The fan! The pendant! The eye shade! The cushion! The (hair) bow!

    And now an army of plot bunnies is besieging me, demanding that the fic that goes with this image is written.

    Thanks so much [:D]
     
  22. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I don't know how to write an intro. This sentence is a placeholder for cute Hallmark-ey stuff. And this post is two days late, because I totally wanted a story mentioning a revolution to be posted on the 15th anniversary of the Bulldozer Revolution, but I failed.

    Nolevorution, Of Course

    Dorthus Tal City, Sacorria, early autumn of 6 ABY

    Just like the Triad Mountain peeking from above the clouds behind the Corelle province’s jewel-town of Sublata, just like the vine and flower-covered buildings of the Northern district of the megalopolis Sacorrata made the mostly-rural Berrsia a bit more urban, the mysterious Watchtower Base was one of the landmarks of the Sacorrian province of Racottia.

    So many myths, so many legends, so many true stories lingered on about this place; to the point where it became impossible to tell what was what. Somebody had once said that the volcano providing the whole island with geothermal energy was a government ploy. There were beings who believed that, from the Watchtower Base itself, one was allowed to take out a telescope and look at the moon. In the end, some even claimed how the moon was fake and projected from the top of the volcano. The fact that most had been to the said moon was irrelevant.

    Dalyn R. Baobab, the famed wailer from Manda, had once written a song about the Watchtower Base. Needless to say, that made him unwelcome on Sacorria for the next five years, and, once the ban was lifted, he was still not allowed to set foot in Dorthus Tal City, or even on the river of Groda, separating Racottia and Berrsia.

    What everybody, from quacks and fortune tellers to outworlder apparatchiks and underground anti-establishment activists – who, by the way, totally didn’t exist – failed to figure out was a case of hiding in plain sight. The spherical structure on the top of the Watchtower Base was a secret bunker where Their Leaderships, the Sacorrian Triad, held their meetings. This bunker was safer than those two unfortunate Death Stars. If the Galactic Empire had ever taken the Sacorrian Triad seriously, they would never have lost the war. Not that the Sacorrian Triad didn’t end up aligning itself with the winning side, the Alliance to Restore the Republic, but in theory...

    If something happened to the planet, the bunker would survive. If the twenty-five millennia of Progress and Unity promoted by the Triad came to an end, the bunker was programmed to detach from the Base, reveal its true form of a luxury starcruiser and fly to whichever place supported the Sacorrian regime at the given moment. If the planet somehow managed to get sucked into the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Galaxy, the bunker-spaceship was programmed to get all the possible energy from the volcano and enter hyperspace before one could even say “Saygo”.

    What went on inside of the bunker was secret.

    The protocol droids serving Their Leaderships were programmed to wipe their own memory every night and assume themselves reborn in the name of the Triad every morning. Mere comrades and comradettes were allowed to enter the bunker only if they were working in the Square Building, for one of the government’s agencies or ministries, and they needed a very, very good reason for doing such a thing.

    Either way, it was a rare occurrence.

    But this evening, a man in a Doltshe of Ghaban suit with pressed dress pants and an overcoat, appeared at the end of the transport tunnel below the sea level and held his card up to the identification screen on the turbolift doors. They were so accident-proof that they looked like blast doors.

    “Identify yourself, comrade or comradette.” The synthetic voice addressed the intruder.

    “Of course!” The Human male took a card adapter from a pocket located inside of his expensive tie, pulled the card out of the slot, stuck it into the adapter and pressed it against the identification slot again.

    “19-F16E-64.”

    “Yes, that’s me.” The man nodded and grinned. “I am here to see Their Leaderships. I have approval from the Censorship and Education Supervision Agency.”

    “Wait, please. Buy Saygo! Please, wait.”

    The man was sure that the absolutely-anything-proof system had just jammed there for a second. Then again, perhaps he really did need his fourth Saygo.

    “Climb the stairs!” the synthetic voice spoke again.

    “But…stairs are for going down, turbolifts are for going up, of course!”

    “Do not question the doctrine of Their Leaderships. Climb the stairs.”

    The well-dressed visitor shrugged, and grinned again. Another door, this one definitely of the blast kind, opened and he was now standing before a spiral durasteel staircase. He looked up and bit his tongue, because whatever he had wanted to say was not very progressive. Luckily, he was still in good condition, being a former athlete. He started counting the steps and, when he got to 1000, he realised that he had picked up a habit from his long-term rival and workmate. Once again, he had a strange urge to utter something unprogressive, but again, he bit his tongue.

    As he was climbing the stairs, the scent of his DKNJ cologne lingered on, to the point where the probe droids following him wondered for a moment if he was a living toxic bomb. Then again, probe droids, they never understood fashion.



    Their Leaderships were sitting at a gigantic, rounded wooden table with over twenty-five millennia of the planet’s history carved upon it. The Selonian female seemed to be a bit fidgety compared to the other two, and her Drall comradette caught her scratching a particular detail of the intaglio with her long claws.

    “Again, Eriis?” the dark-furred rodent asked.

    “Do you have a problem with that, Roula?”

    The Drall smirked and resorted to playing with the white gem on her inappropriately large ring. A couple of minutes later, she had a response.

    “Actually, I don’t. Reshaping history, in whatever way, is a progressive thing to do. Even when one is scratching her way to a tomorrow of further indoctrination.”

    Somebody clapped behind Roula and Eriis. They both turned around. A figure slightly taller than the Drall and slightly shorter than the Selonian, with no hair other than an annoyingly perfect moustache resembling a pair of horns and reddish-brown eyebrows, was standing there, holding three grey boxes.

    “Yvar? Are you forgetting that women are in charge here, regardless what is going on inside of your silly Human head? There are two of us and only one of you.”

    Yvar Trindello, the Human member of the Triad, did not like Roula’s attitude. Despite how small she was, sometimes he felt that she had more bitterness in her than the whole batch of grain fly-infected dust corn.

    “Charge-schmarge! Mind you, a system in the Outer Rim was named after my family! What did the Pelayn clan do for the Galaxy?”

    “Got rid of our biggest rivals and brought stability back to the Prospects. That whole ploy…”

    “Oh…yes…right. That was incredibly progressive. So, either way, somebody is coming. He says that he has an emergency. I messed with him a bit; I am pretty sure he thinks that a computer just told him to get another landcar.”

    Roula and Eriis both cackled and the latter patted Yvar on his shoulder.

    “Now he’s climbing the stairs, right? If this is one of the former athletes we had managed to convince to work for the Government agencies, I guess he’ll be quicker than an average comrade. Let’s hurry!”



    Twenty-three minutes and forty-six seconds later Joak Bluestar Shykrill Glisse, known to limmie fans around the Galaxy under the nickname Code:Blue, entered the interrogation room. Just as the doors closed behind him, three figures in red coats, wearing glareshades, materialised on the holoprojector before him.

    “By Progress and Unity, I salute Your Leadeships…of course!” he barely managed to utter the words he was supposed to, according to the protocol. But, to his surprise, before any of them said anything to that, they did the “baby burp” choreography.

    And there he was, biting his tongue for the third time that evening. Maybe it was high time he stopped reacting to this. Maybe.

    The smallest figure extended a thick, short finger towards him and spoke, once again in synthetic voice.

    “So, you’re coming on behalf of CESA? The last time CESA sent somebody here, they were a fake spy.”

    “I am sorry, your Drallship. I was not involved in..”

    “We know.” The tallest being cut the visitor short. “A progressive individual who wore a red shirt in school should never explain himself, though.”

    Code:Blue was about to say that he was an orange shirt, but he realised that it was not in his best interest. The two furry beings seemed to have more authority than his species’ representative in the Triad. And they were, of course, females. He regretted not having brought each of them a bouquet of the famed Sacorrian irises straight from Curheg. He swallowed a lump and continued.

    “I know, time is indirectly proportional to progress. Therefore, what is going on…of course…what is going on Noleria at this very moment could be a prelude to uprising.”

    All three beings stepped ahead.

    “Repeat, please.”

    “What is going on Noleria, could be, of course, a prelude to uprising.”

    Yvar raised his eyebrow, having realised that this minion did not say “of course” again. But did that mean that he was more or less obedient than usual?

    “Here is the datacard with the report. I can, of course, read it out loud to you.”

    “No, you cannot.” The tallest figure was almost laughing at this point. “There is no computer in this room, and you didn’t bring a datapad with you.”

    “I can tell you all the details, Your Leaderships. Basically, they have been shooting from their blasters, up to the air, as if they wanted to get rid of all the stars in the sky, and, of course, Sacorria and Sarcophagus themselves! They also seem to be incredibly intoxicated. What is worrying is that they’re carrying flags and engaging in debauchery. Such behavior must…must be sanctioned, of course!”

    Silence.

    The three beings were not saying a word at first. And then, they bursted into laughter. Despite the fact that he was only sharing the room with a hologram, the man stepped back and dropped to his knees in fear of what was to come. Why were they laughing? What had he gotten wrong?

    “Comrade Glisse?” The being whom Code:Blue assumed was Human addressed him. “Who in their sane mind, would think that this was a revolution? Why did…”

    The shortest figure interrupted the furless one. “They are celebrating Nolerday, the day we founded the first colony on the planet seven centuries ago!”

    “W-what? Of course, of course, of course!”

    He knew of this holiday. He and his wife, Dani, together with their three children, had once been present on Noleria for Nolerday. How could he have forgotten about it? Why had he believed Code:Red and the rest of the CESA board when they came up with this off-the-wall theory? Why? Was it because a true Sacorrian just had to be suspicious?

    The three figures seemed more threatening than ever. The hairless one was now holding a datapad, the tall one walking around and, at some point, the short one spoke again.

    “As a matter of a fact, Glisse, we have a new task for you.”

    Code:Blue swallowed a lump. His last name was not well-known, to the point where people would use it only when he was in trouble. Whatever was to come, must have been the end of his days on the planet and an one-way-ticket to its moon, Sarcophagus.

    “Please, do not send me to the Dorthus Tal prison!” He cried. “I have a family and a lot of Endorian chickens in the yard of my villa!”

    The hologram disappeared for a moment.

    “W-what?” Roula cocked her head and looked to Eriis, who just shrugged. “Did he just say he has chickens in his villa?”

    Yvar was searching something on his datapad and joined the conversation about a minute later. “His top-secret file says that he has something called a ‘blasé tree goat’ as well. I do not dare ask what it is, but…it sounds like it defecates from trees on visiting beings. Not convenient.”

    Roula tried not to snicker again. She had to explain Glisse’s task to him.

    “GR-R will bring an item for you to investigate in about a minute. Please, stand by.”

    Fifty-nine seconds later – because one had to be agile – a musteline protocol droid brought a box and immediately left the interrogation room. Code:Blue opened the box.

    The item inside confused him more than he would’ve ever admitted. It was a toy quadduck. The former limmie player sniffed the air and looked around, fearing that he was in a gas chamber and that this was a trap.

    “A quadduck, of course…the favourite bath time toy of younglings all over the Galaxy…but why?”

    “You are to examine if this is a dangerous item in any way.”

    Were they kidding him at this point? He was no longer able to swallow lumps; his mouth was almost completely dry.

    “Of course, but why…?”

    “We have just learned that a person born on this planet is involved with an offworlder. That cannot be a good sign, comrade Glisse, do you agree?”

    By now, Code:Blue was twiddling his thumbs. He had no words to say other than “of course”, so he just muttered a barely-audible “m-hm” instead.

    “The said offworlder has an extremely shady past. We are concerned that, even though the relationship might not last, something could happen to permanently damage Progress and Unity.

    “How old is the comrade in danger of counter-indoctrination and corruption?”

    “The Sacorrian comradette is barely out of her adolescence.” Yvar said. “The offworlder is much older. He may be involved in odd rituals of some Force sects. We searched through his apartment in Coronet City and this object seemed suspicious. Perhaps it’s a holocron. Perhaps it contains a coded, secret message. Either way, we are pretty sure that this individual is out to get us.”

    “I accept this task, Your Leaderships.”

    “Fine.” The tallest figure pointed to the doors. “You may now go and, regardless of what the rules say, you are free to use the turbolift on your way back.”

    “Really? Oh, thank you, Your Leaderships! Of course, I will.”

    Code:Blue turned around, took a couple of steps and then he remembered something and turned back again.

    “But…am I not breaking the rules you set if I do what you told me in person?”

    Too late. The hologram was gone. He ended up taking the stairs again, just in case this was a test. The probe droids were not in sight, their dark red eyes were not looming over him, but he was still thinking that it might be a trap. He was relieved when he got to the corridor again, forty-six minutes and twenty-three seconds later.

    But the Sacorrian Triad could not have cared less.

    Roula, Eriis and Yvar removed their glareshades and red coats. Their fancy dinner was about to be ready and they preferred eating at the bunker to a more relaxed evening at home. After all, one could never be too careful: maybe, just maybe, their spouses were out to stab them and make it look like one of their numerous servants poisoned them.

    Of course.




    Notes:

    For my extensive fanon and some minor Legends elements on Sacorria, please, read this post.

    Joak Bluestar Shykrill Glisse, aka Code:Blue is a character in one of my epics, The Black Star.

    Noleria is the fourth planet of the Sacorrian system and I made it inhabitable for this occasion. Everything hinted about it is pure fanon.

    Enjoy discovering all the meta-stuff I included in the story. If you discover it all, you win a thing. I dunno. I would like it if you discovered it.

    Many thanks to Findswoman for going through this for me and Gemma for originally going to, which I eventually did not want to subject her to, since this is a fustercluck.
     
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh such a perfect tale of Balkans zaniness, complete with absurdity, conspiracy theories and of course a holiday where people shoot in the air!

    So many, just so many LOL moments...
    Okay, I'm going to stop here, because I'll end up quoting the entire fic :p but this story has such a Terry-Gilliam-meets-Arthur-Koestler feel to it, especially in quotes like "Reshaping history, in whatever way, is a progressive thing to do. Even when one is scratching her way to a tomorrow of further indoctrination."

    And then, the reveal that the Triad members are answering the doorbell themselves and actually voicing the computer was like a cherry on the cake -- until, that is, the toy quadduck task turned up and crushed that poor cherry under a watermelon. The combination of suspicious circumstances... just so very Balkans again, and priceless.

    Oh, and "your Drallship". Nice touch.
    Oh, they would, wouldn't they? I really need to catch up with your main fic. Somehow I sense that the trial of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center in 1936 was a mere sideshow compared to what you have in mind.

    Finally, of course:



    Thanks so much for this Ewok Poet [:D]
     
  24. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Long combo post of reviews:

    divapilot (The Way to a Princess’s Heart)

    Chewie really steals the show in this; I love all of his dialogue and that you made the choice to translate it for us non-Wookiee speakers. :D



    Just perfect. [face_laugh] Because of course Han keeps all of his slightly ratty clothes; they’re perfectly good except for the one thing. Who would care about that? Seriously. :p Sounds like people I know, actually.

    Han and Leia’s reaction to the chyntuck pie (!) was priceless. ( “Is that a twig?” [face_rofl]) Really enjoyed the revelation of Chewie’s prank and that he made up some Human-palatable picnic food for them after all.


    Admiral Volshe (Heroes)

    Really nice use of the before/after time jump in this. I wasn’t expecting that and it was neat surprise! :)

    You did an excellent job of giving the reader a feel for Srebro and even for some of the other Imperials that he goes against to rescue the Talz. It would be interesting to know what lead to the cybernetic hand -- maybe just a regular accident, but given his career it sounds like it would have some kind of story behind it. I liked the non-typical presence of a Twi’lek general in the Empire and that he is apparently a scary one too.

    One standout thing about the whole battle/rescue scene was the sense of the environment. I really liked how you worked in the sensory experience of the wintery environment along with the danger, tension, and fast-moving action. The reminders of the hostile climate made the suspense greater.



    Especially liked the characterization of Srebro here. =D= It’s a good encapsulation of what we see in the rest of his thoughts and actions. It’s really interesting that Srebro doesn’t act from impulse, but chooses based on a stable core of ethics and understands the adverse consequences his actions could have for himself. And I liked that he doesn’t make excuses for the generals, but deals with the situation maturely and has a kind of respect for Kryten (in spite of being dead sure that she’s wrong in this particular case). He just nods and goes and does the right thing anyway. Smart man. :)

    The scene with the Talz is vividly described and I could picture it clearly in my mind (a big plus for me, since I like to be able to visualize). Really nice depiction of the tentative trust-building in such a fraught situation and how Srebro handles the Talz’ very understandable hesitation to approach anyone when they’re caught in the middle. That would be a terrifying and confusing place to be.

    And the epilogue with the Talz (and Ithorian) having a meal with their rescuers from years back is lovely. You even managed to include Gormanda’s cooking show! :D



    Aww, fluffy hugs. [face_love] Chi-som is wonderful. I like how we get to see that the celebratory meal is not just gratitude, though there’s plenty of that, but they’ve also developed friendships over the years. Nifty! :) And it’s a poignant revelation that these Talz weren’t just unfortunate enough to stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time, but were already in trouble and searching for a new home -- and would have lost their lives if not for the actions that weren’t approved by the Empire or the Rebellion, just the result of a person with a conscience. Really like the note that this ended on -- warm and fuzzy, actually. ;)


    JadeLotus (Unfurl Towards the Sun)

    First of all, that food sounds delicious -- though the occasion is a little ominous to begin with, having the Emperor’s background presence. And then Vader’s actual presence, of course.

    The reason for Vader’s presence at the wedding is interesting, and I like that he actually has the motivation to show up for events that involve the officers he works with if they’re halfway decent -- I think that’s kind of oddly sweet, if terrifying for the poor Imperials in question. :p And of course they just ignore his weird flower-killing antics. Better the bouquet than the guests. [face_worried]



    Kudos to you for the idea of Vader acquiring Luke’s X-wing on Bespin; it makes perfect sense and the way he thinks about the ship provides a great window into his thoughts on his son.

    The ending is fantastic. I really like how we start with the conscious thoughts, but the flower ends up showing as much or more of the truth of what’s going on in Vader’s heart. :)



    Raissa Baiard (Glamorous Hutt picture)

    Still think this pic is the cutest Hutt ever. :D The purple fan, and that pretty necklace! And I like the use of turquoise/sea green for a skintone too, it works really well with the glamorous-ness. :)


    Ewok Poet (Nolevorution, Of Course)

    Okay, so this one had me grinning all the way through. One of course gets the feeling that there’s a sense of constant looming threat in the not-so-far-background of Sacorria -- it does seem like a very easy place for hapless comrades and comradettes to get dropped in the metaphorical rancor pit for various ridiculous reasons. So Code:Blue seems to think, and in this I suspect he’s right. But the dry, tongue-in-cheek narration and the antics of the characters are giggle-worthy in the extreme. The inhabitants of Sacorria exist in their own pocket universe here, in which the laws of sense and reason just don’t apply. Or at least don’t apply out loud. (And why would they be needed? Progress and unity, buy Saygo, etc., etc., wash, rinse, repeat. :p)

    The intro to the Watchtower is a fun read with the competing conspiracy theories and then the actual, bizarre truth. I’m not sure if the fiction (conspiracy theories) makes sense, but the real life sure doesn’t either!



    [face_laugh] This was particularly fantastic. I love how throughout, the narrator never quite drops their rendition of the Sacorrian Triad’s official POV (and still manages to troll it at every turn). And the look that this gives into the reasoning of the powers that be is both hilarious and disturbing. That there’s actually a plan for “if planet falls into a black hole, break glass”... that’s something. Somebody up there has a lot of time on their hands. ;)

    Nice inclusion of the fanon thread fashion tidbits with the Doltshe of Ghaban suit and DKNJ perfume. :)



    [face_rofl]

    Interesting intro to the Triad. It’s easy to see that there’s a lot of strain in their working relationship, and the rivalry (if it can be called that) between Roula and Yvar suggests that there’s a lot of trouble brewing there. Yvar perhaps expects to have the greatest share of the power because of the status Humans have in the galaxy (not sure how it varies on Saccoria, though Doria’s classmates certainly seemed xenophobic). And I wonder what’s up with Roula that makes her “bitter” and definitely hostile towards Yvar. It’s also intriguing how they switch from sniping at each other to being gleefully in cahoots when it comes to messing with Code:Blue. A common enemy, I guess. Though he’s pretty much unarmed. :p




    [face_laugh] I’m pretty sure these guys are evil. But hilarious. Hilariously evil. Someday Code:Blue will meet someone and they won’t remember and perform the baby burp thing. (Who am I kidding? ;))

    And then there’s the reveal on Code:Blue’s report of impending (non)revolution, aka Nolerday. :p Poor guy. He really can’t catch a break. Of course he’s also pretty gullible, but that seems to be encouraged of him. It does lead one to wonder whether this theory was just a way to wind him up and/or get him out of the office for the day on Code:Red’s part, though maybe he’s not quite that cruel. Then again…



    While I feel bad for him, I can’t help being amused that he remembers the Endorian chickens as dependents. [face_laugh] Also loved Yvar’s commentary on the downsides of keeping blasé tree goats.



    [face_rofl] And the explanation just makes it even funnier. I bet someone is really confused about where that quadduck went. :p Though it’s awfully disturbing that the Triad themselves are taking an interest in this relationship. Their constant random-firing paranoia is really something to behold.

    Of course, Code:Blue gets sent on his way with another set of contradictory directions. He can’t win.



    But we’re not overly suspicious of everyone around us, oh no. ;) Though maybe they’re right to worry, but that seems more likely to be in a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of way.
     
  25. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Title: Constellations

    Timeframe: Beyond the Saga (Legends, Alternate Universe)

    Length: ~ 5500 words (broken up into two posts here for easier reading)

    Genre: general, friendship, romance, character study

    Characters: Tionne, Kam Solusar, Kyp Durron, OC’s

    Summary: Tionne, Kam, and others working at the site of the Great Jedi Library on Ossus share a celebration with some of Tionne’s old friends.

    Mainly friendship fluff with a bit of romance.

    Set in an alternate universe that diverges from canon around the time of the Dark Empire series and the KJA Jedi Academy trilogy. This runs alongside a Kam/Tionne Legends AU story that I may get to writing someday. The main difference that an EU reader might notice is that the NJO is based on Ossus in this universe.

    This kind of grew into a monster. I’m like that one kid who brings a reticulated python to school on Pet Day and releases it in the cafeteria. :p

    Here is a Dramatis Personae to use while reading, because I know the pain of tracking any more than a handful of unfamiliar OC’s: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wlOCopBSsL_GI-m4xnMzOHPwz7sseVjHCOg5GCnm6Zs/edit?usp=sharing

    My thanks to the beta readers who helped edit this behemoth, aka Ewok Poet and Gemma. :)



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

    Constellations (Part 1/2)



    Ossus, 12 ABY

    There was a unique sound to every ship, Tionne had learned. The engines and other systems had their own quirks that changed the resonance of their sounds, just like every musical instrument sounded a little different from all the others. One just had to pay attention and they could usually predict which vessel was landing without a visual – assuming the owners hadn’t made any major modifications. It was easy enough to hear over the quiet breeze; the wind had died down as much as it ever did in this region of Ossus after the sunset.

    So she was out of the constructed shelter at the New Republic team’s base camp at the Great Jedi Library archaeology site and pelting down the path to the landing site with glowrod in hand well before anyone had time to spring the surprise on her. She heard a restless fluttering from the small flock of Elellumiwi data extraction specialists (most of whom had been gathered up in a fluffy-feathered, spider silk shawl-wearing group huddle against the chill night air) and muffled exclamations of surprise from some other researchers. The scuff of running feet and sense of curiosity in the Force behind her told her that Rona and her cousins were following close on her heels.

    “That is a Chistori?” Trey asked in a dubious tone as they approached the landed cargo ship and got a clearer view of its passengers, who had started unloading the supplies. He eyed the whip-thin reptilian biped’s silhouette in the landing pad spotlights, undoubtedly thinking of Desann’s rather bad example of the species this past year.

    Tionne had to suppress a chuckle. It didn’t seem kind to make the young Ysanna think she was laughing at his concerned speculation over whether he was going to have to fight this intimidating figure – it was just that it was Zy. True, he had the ability to knock a Gamorrean for a loop with one swipe of his tail, but she’d never seen him engage in such violence unless absolutely necessary. “No, he’s definitely not! Zymantas is a Sarkan. We were part of the same crew for years – on that ship, actually. Come on, I think you’ll want to meet them.” The inhabitants of the Estrell hadn’t dealt with teenagers in years that she knew of, not having one in the crew since Tionne herself was that age. There was probably a reason for that. She hadn’t been awful as far as she remembered, but trouble prone? Indisputably.

    The hum of wingbeats in the air told her that the Elellumiwi of the Ithamar voyaging flock had caught up with her and the kids as they reached the ship. She could sometimes catch a glimpse of the bioluminescent flickers of their pale-spotted feathers, though the tiny reptavians were swift, moth-like shadows against the darkness.

    Rona startled at a chattering noise when they neared the ship and Tionne noticed that all three teens searched out of habit for the metal staves or rifles they had left in camp. "He's all right," she assured them when a lemur-like creature with striped fur appeared in the range of their glowrods' illumination. The animal gamboled around Tionne’s feet, moving with speed although with a slight shuffle since one of its hind legs was twisted and lined with old scars. “The Estrell has a some quirks, and one,” she explained as she bent down to ruffle the fur of the creature’s tummy, “is that there are a few animals onboard. The fierce guardian you see before you is known as Xim the Despot.” Keena snickered at that, having recently developed an interest in galactic history. The furry creature stared up at the Ysanna reproachfully with saucer-shaped brown eyes, but relented into softer chirrups of cautious acceptance when Tionne properly introduced Keena and the others via verbal confirmation that yes, these people were with her, and through encouraging them to scratch behind his ears.

    “What in all other-worlds is this?” Trey obviously didn’t want to be caught dead cooing over a cute animal in front of his cousins, and yet couldn’t quite seem to banish the hint of a smile from his face.

    “Difficult to say. Eira found him wandering around on Nar Shaddaa, so he could be from anywhere. She thinks he’s probably something unknown crossed with a livestock-herding animal called a kriss, maybe as a genetic experiment of some kind. At any rate, he does his best to earn his name. Xim likes to manage people.”


    And indeed, Xim managed their arrival at the landing pad with what Tionne assumed must be great panache for a kriss. The little group found themselves being gently nudged in the calves or ankles when they weren’t sticking to the route that Xim evidently had set in his mind.

    Kam and Kyp, along with the survey team they had been working with that day, were already helping with the unloading of supplies when Xim shepherded his charges up to the ship. Tionne glanced at the two Jedi students as she helped a Quarren grad student move various items from one of the hovercrates into the team’s landspeeder. Kam looked calm and at ease rather than calm and stoic, from which she interpreted that Kyp was not being too much of a stinker today. A moment’s unspoken conversation by expression and eye contact with Kam (just one of the skills that they were developing from the shared experience – or was it trauma? – of minding four teenagers for the last few months) confirmed that things were going well so far.

    Kyp had been less than thrilled when he had been sent to the Library research site to assist Kam and Tionne, since all of them knew quite well that it was to give both Kyp and the other students some distance from each other. The young man’s extraordinary Force talents had made him both an object of awe and of competitive aggression (which he returned with interest) from his fellow trainees at the new Ossus Praxeum. Reading between the lines of Master Skywalker’s explanatory holomessages, Tionne could tell that the situation had deteriorated even from what she remembered, and that Kyp was well on his way to turning Luke’s hair gray. She had been worried the whole thing would backfire. Actually, she still worried about that.

    However, Kyp had become noticeably less hostile lately. He seemed to at least respect Kam, which was a start. Tionne had found it harder to create a rapport, given Kyp’s instant dislike towards her from their earlier days at the Jedi academy. It seemed to her that he saw his raw power as his justification for being accepted as a Jedi. Seeing that, she had tried not to let his comments rankle then or later. But it hadn’t been easy to deal with him – and it was still hard sometimes. He’d warmed towards her after the thing with the bantha spider, though. Her failure to report his embarrassing part in the tale to all and sundry apparently convinced Kyp that she might not be enemy material after all.

    Vuka Shin found her with his usual impeccable timing just as she was helping the technical specialists Laerke and Timian check that the contents of one of the freight containers had arrived undamaged. The Nalroni ducked around other moving beings with their burdens and lifted Tionne up off her feet in a back-slapping embrace. Keena watched the reunion wide-eyed, looking taken aback by the tall canoid and his toothy laughter.

    “How’s our favorite ronto thief?”

    “That was a complete accident,” Tionne groaned, hiding her face in one hand. She really wasn’t even that embarrassed about the ronto incident anymore. Six years was more than enough time to let it die. It was just that she could see the sudden interest of the bystanders who overheard Vuka’s greeting. Sure enough, Kam was looking at her inquiringly and Kyp perked up like Life Day had come early, while Trey, Rona, and Keena all appeared confused – probably wondering if they had misinterpreted the Basic phrasing.

    Before she could say anything further, the rest of the crew had shown up to greet her as well. Zymantas made an elaborate bow that could only be considered overly casual on Sarka, and Llinos fluttered by and tugged at Tionne’s hair gently before perching on the landspeeder. Some of the other Elellumiwi noticed the appearance of their distant relative among the arrivals and came over to shoot the breeze with Llinos in a rapid-fire conversation while Eira Tién, more reserved than the rest, nodded cordially and waved to Tionne. She smiled back and gave the Ocsinin navigator a brief one-shoulder hug, making a bit of a compromise between the fact that this was more or less her big sister and the fact that this was Eira. Xim wove around their ankles and insisted on head-scratches as Althya the Galidii cobra made a clumsy glide from Zymantas’ shoulder to demand her share of the sentient attention that was going around. Tionne petted the small reptile’s leathery hide and got a cheerful hiss in response.

    Two slightly-built vulpine beings in bright clothing abandoned their tasks for a moment to dart over and around the supplies and people, switching between moving on two legs or four as convenient and sometimes leaping in the air as they danced around each other. Tionne waved as they finally caught sight of her in the midst of their game and rushed over. Taj reached her first and she bent down to hug the russet-haired Amaran.

    “Well, look at you! Jedi Ti. How you’ve grown these last few years.”

    Tionne just shook her head and smiled back at him. “So I have.”

    Her old friend would never let a bad joke go out of circulation and he’d been making the “goodness how you’ve sprouted up” one ever since she joined his crew ages ago. Standing at full height, Taj Sinopa was not much bigger or taller than a Human child, but the spacer captain had a presence all out of proportion to his body. He was dressed up splendidly in an ossyth green jacket and darker green trousers that made for a striking combination with his fur coloring.

    Their old mutual acquaintance and sometime opponent Min Albu, also beautifully attired in a deep violet blouse and pants with blue accents, arrived in a flurry of frost-shaded fur and acrobatic jumps. Tionne shook hands with the beaming Amaran female.

    “A pleasure to meet you under – better circumstances, Min.”

    That drew a confirming bark from Min, who seemed inclined to let bygones be bygones. They’d never been personal enemies, though Min was sometimes a problem to the crew back when Tionne knew her best. It had been her job after all. The latest developments Tionne had not been around for, having left to pursue rumors of Jedi historical troves a couple of years before she ended up at the Ossus Academy. But she could not say that Taj and Min’s marriage last year had come as a shock. Actually, Eira and Llinos were both going to owe Tionne credits on that.

    “If you were anyone else, I’d say it was kind of strange that you ended up marrying the repo lady.” Vuka shared an amused look with Tionne. “But knowing you, that’s just business as usual.”

    “It’s my charm at work.”

    “Ha!” Min head-butted Taj gently. “You would be so out of luck. No offense, love – you can be charming, but your backlog of unpaid docking fees and maintenance costs when I met you? Not charming as first impressions go. Trust me. No, but you just had to go ahead and rescue every wounded avian and hungry pittin in sight. Got to be a little challenging to resent you, seeing all that.”

    Perhaps that was an exaggeration, but Tionne knew there was truth in it. Taj could be vain, irresponsible, impulsive, and less than honest. But he did have a tendency towards rescuing, whether it was a very lost chitlik that had stowed away in a box of chooca nuts or an impoverished Rim world community in need of medical supplies. Or, just for example, a teenaged Jedi hopeful on the run, an Elellumiwi captured and sold into slavery under the Empire, a Sarkan exile with little experience in the wider galaxy, a Nalroni working for the Hutts and in way over his head – those kinds of people.

    “So what did make you two decide to get married?” There was a chemistry that she remembered, but she had to wonder when they had gone from what she remembered to this.

    Taj shrugged. “Well, you know she was helping us with the supply runs during that strange thing with the Emperor-clone or whatever he was. The enemy of our enemy and all that. Min was incredible – we really couldn’t have gotten through that crisis without her. And I was in love with her, but honestly I already had been for a while.”

    “Besides,” Min said, “I realized that chasing this nincompoop around had become my hobby and I wasn’t getting any real work done. Somehow I was also stupidly in love with him. So I married him and I’m taking distance classes in business so I can do something that doesn’t require me to be gone all the time.”

    Llinos surveyed them and made a feather-ruffling gesture that Tionne believed was similar to a Human rolling their eyes. “Amarans,” was all she said.


    Introductions were made all around between the crew and Kam and the younger students as they helped deal with the last of the loading and unloading chores. Tionne observed with some relief that her friends weren’t giving Kam the full third degree like they had some of her past boyfriends. (Some of the past boyfriends had almost deserved that, but subjecting a normal being to the Estrell crew in protective sibling mode could be something akin to stomping on a gnat with an AT-ST.)

    A few of the archaeologists swung by to say hello to the spacers as well – mostly the less shy of the bunch who weren’t so reluctant to engage in conversation with their Force-sensitive cohorts. Vuka only had to mention the magic words “there will be food” to ensure that most of them would stick around for a little while. Tionne had half expected Kyp to get bored and wander off, but he and Keena and Trey were listening with fascination to Zymantas and Vuka’s account of the crew’s nearly disastrous visit to Geonosis. Rona and Llinos struck up a conversation about the Jedi and Ysanna archaeological studies taking place at the Great Library site, with one of the Ithamar flock Elellumiwi who specialized in ancient languages helping smooth translation. While the Ysanna teens had already picked up a truly amazing amount of Basic through practice and Force-aided learning, their first language was the Alsakan-derived Ysannan language. They were still a lot more fluent in speaking than understanding Basic. Min seemed to be having an animated debate with Zhincet, a Stennes graduate student working with the New Republic research group. Something about smashball, or so Tionne gathered from a few of the less arcane terms they were throwing around.

    “So these are the infamous characters that you associate with?” Kam asked in an intrigued tone. She had seen him wandering from group to group, contributing few comments but being amiably present nonetheless. “From Corran’s account I expected more heavy armament and fewer rescued strays.”

    “Mmm. I can see why it might sound that way, but you know how third-hand information can get distorted. They aren’t violent. Eira and Vuka both did some jobs that weren’t exactly harmless before they joined up, but they didn’t care for the death and destruction. Zy can deal some damage, but again he’s really not the kind.” She shrugged. “Most of what we were in trouble with the law for was, well, the other things.”

    “Like smuggling, forgery, theft, failure to pay bills, ronto thieving, and public disturbance – whatever that means. A lot of public disturbance.”

    “Public disturbance could be nearly anything. Though mostly Taj’s singing voice. There’s nothing quite like a tonally-impaired Amaran belting out the remix of ‘Twi’lek Dancing Girls’ at three in the morning to make good citizens cover their ears and call the constabulary.” That startled a smile out of Kam, which was always a good thing in Tionne’s opinion. He didn’t smile all that easily, but there was a sincerity about the expression that made it well worth the wait.

    “We were hoping Min would cure him of that,” Eira interjected. “No such luck. Now we’ve got duets.”

    At least onboard ship the sound dampeners would keep things quiet in the cabins, Tionne reflected. Not that it would do a thing for the time that the crew spent on the ground. There was a reason why everyone made sure to find distant lodgings from Taj’s when possible; the nocturnal singing was annoying in the extreme though it was considered quite normal among his species.

    “I can too sing!” they heard from Min off to the side somewhere. One could never have an entirely private conversation within the wide range of a canoid’s hearing.

    Eira just sighed. “Aiding and abetting.”


    “When you said there was going to be food, I thought you meant you’d brought crackers and dipping sauce or something,” Tionne heard one of the researchers comment in an awed voice. It did look like a big meal in the works; Zymantas had brought out the meat cooker and was busily loading gornt steaks onto the grill, Llinos had vanished only to reappear with a bottle of what looked like her famous (among the crew, anyway) homemade namana-shuura sauce clutched in her claws, and Eira was busily slicing protatoes on a folding table that Vuka had brought from inside the ship.

    Seeing they seemed to have food preparation department covered, Tionne joined the crowd in setting up crates and other items in the place of tables and chairs.

    “You’ve brought quite a spread for this,” she commented to Zymantas in passing as she dragged a bundle of mesh chairs from camp past his temporary workspace. “It looks like a feast.”

    He made a gesture of affirmation. “That’s because it is. Taj and Min wanted to do this since you weren’t able to be there for the wedding ceremony last year. That whole mess with Daala couldn’t have had worse timing.” From the way Zy said it, she could just imagine him taking the Imperial admiral to task for the inconvenience. She could half envision Daala apologizing for the trouble, too. Sarkans could have that effect on people.

    “Besides, I’m pretty sure this is what people come to a wedding for – the food!” Taj grinned at her and made a thumbs-up gesture.

    Zymantas snorted at this. “Still always thinking with your stomach.” He eyed the cooking gornt steaks and turned one over. “Not a bad idea, though.”

    “That and the last customers insisted on paying for the delivery of the shipment in whole gornt carcasses,” Min added.

    Considering the last customers, Zymantas nodded thoughtfully. “Weirdoes.”

    “Yeah.”

    Tionne chuckled. “All the same, I don’t think you’ll find any complaints here.”