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Beyond - Legends Saga - Legends Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway | Thrawn, OC, drama/tragedy, pre-ANH to TTT | Epic, e-book available

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    It's interesting that you introduce LaRone here, seeing what he will eventually become in canon. (And may I say your knowledge of canon is encyclopedic!). I understand why Thrawn ordered them executed; there is little point of sending them back for court marshal since we all know they were working loosely under Emperor's orders. But I am not sure if Thrawn is justified in torturing them except for his own need for revenge.

    I knew a Terrible Thing was going to happen. At least she can still talk so they didn't drain her completely like Umana, but she is in a horrible state. I wish there were another woman on the ship to comfort her.

    :-(
     
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Just came back from my first day at work after I have hurt my left foot badly two weeks ago. I switch on the computer and go on-line. Needing to update my fanart thread I found out that you linked me to your latest fanfic update.

    :eek:

    Never expected anything so vicious like this. Poor Ayesha! I wonder if she can manage to stay "a rich and vibrant artist and caring person" after this trial. It always leaves dark marks on the soul even if you try hard NOT to be the victim they want to turn you into.

    Thrawn must be equally devastated. There is a thin line between justice and revenge.

    And the child, I do fear for the child.

    Brilliantly written, but you squeezed my heart together!
     
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks all for reading and reviewing! The next chapter will be up tomorrow morning as usual, but I'm doing the replies now because tomorrow is going to be a busy day.
    Hey, you know me, I'll fix it. But I'm going to take my time... [face_devil]

    Should I summon Yakooboo to have a go at them too? (Don't worry, they won't get any mercy.)
    Brace yourself. It will get worse before it gets better.
    Just to avoid confusion, Thrawn hasn't ordered anything (yet) and hasn't tortured anyone (yet). Also, we know that they were working loosely under the Emperor's orders, but Thrawn doesn't -- he thinks that she was arrested on Kashyyyk on the orders of COMPNOR (and COMPNOR means Tigellinus, Zaarin & Co) while the Emperor was in the Deep Core.

    Thanks again! Next chapter tomorrow morning :)
     
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    That content warning was not misplaced! :eek: This will be a short review because this chapter has me pretty much dumbstruck; it wouldn't be an exaggeration to dub it the single scariest chapter I've read in all of Anánke so far. But I mean none of this in a bad way—just in a surprised way, because I too wasn't expecting anything quite so horrific to happen to Ayesha quite so quickly. I'm frightened not for only the immediate health and safety of Ayesha and her child (though they seem to be in quite good hands with Dr. Cottle), but also about the possible effect on her mental state—this brutal attack seems like just the sort of thing that really could hasten her progress toward complete mental collapse à la Uumana.

    Nor do I have any doubt in my mind that this whole horrible business was 100% planned by the Emperor—Zaarin, Hartsil, and their gang of roughs were just the puppets. "Sheevy old sheever" doesn't even begin to cover it. Some serious erinýs seems called for here. Vermel's off to a good start in that department already (though LaRone's concern about his actions is understandable, too), and I'm betting that will be Thrawn's next step once the dust settles a bit.

    Of course, only something this terrible could bring Thrawn of all people to the prostrate, desperate state we find him at the end of this chapter—heartwrenching ending there, especially knowing how cool and stoical he usually is. What you point out about how much he knows vs. how much we know really intensifies the situation—what will his reaction be once he learns that Ayesha barely even made it past her front door?

    And I would have no objection to Yakooboo and even Rumpy entering the picture to exact revenge, if things go in that direction.

    Awaiting tomorrow's update with seriously bated breath!
     
  5. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    [face_worried][face_nail_biting]^:)^[face_praying]
    *takes a deep breath*
    Okay. I'm ready. ;)

    Seriously, that was one of those chapters that leave me speechless.
    In a good way, definitely.

    And Thrawn's reaction in the end - yes, one more step from the idealistic Thrawn in Outbound Flight to the Thrawn in TTT... a rather defining moment. Oh oh...
     
  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks Findswoman Csillan_girl ! I have to run off to work now, but I'll reply asap.

    I updated the notes to chapter 18, because of course I'd forgotten the important stuff -- i.e. that Doctor Cottle is borrowed from Battlestar Galactica.

    On to chapter 19. Content warning for violence again.

    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Mando-Man Mira_Jade Raissa Baiard
    Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list.


    And as usual, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]
    -----------------------------------------------

    Chapter 19: Side trip

    Thrawn was still kneeling at the foot of Ayesha’s bacta tank, his forehead leaning against the transparisteel wall, when Captain Niriz came looking for him the next afternoon. “He didn’t move an inch,” Doctor Cottle grumbled. “It’s been more than twenty hours. Parck talked to him but I’m not sure he even heard. He keeps muttering in his mother tongue.”

    Niriz looked around the med lab. “Is that Prashat over there?” he asked, pointing at a sleeping form curled up on an armchair in the shadows.

    The doctor snorted. “The kid’s as stubborn as his boss, he wouldn’t leave either. No wonder the Admiral chose him. But I managed to talk some sense into him, and he agreed to take a nap on a chair.”

    Niriz took a deep breath. “Okay. Let me try.” He took a few steps forward and crouched at Thrawn’s side. “Sir, are you all right?” he asked for lack of anything better to say. Thrawn didn’t answer. He held a hand to the Admiral’s shoulder and shook him lightly. “Sir?”

    Thrawn gave a start at the physical contact and pulled back from the tank to stare at Niriz. The glow of his eyes was so dull that it had faded to a dirty orange. He looked positively distraught. “What time is it?” he croaked.

    “It’s late afternoon, Sir. Approximately seventeen hundred hours. You were here all night, you need to go and rest.”

    Thrawn returned his forehead to the transparisteel wall. “I cannot leave, Captain. I must ask for her forgiveness. I failed her.” His voice broke and he repeated, “I failed her.”

    There was a pause. “Sir, with all due respect, she doesn’t know you’re here right now,” Niriz said cautiously. “Go back to your quarters and have some sleep. You can come back tomorrow.” Thrawn remained silent. “Doctor Cottle will take good care of her,” the Captain pressed. “He won’t hesitate to call you if there’s anything you should know.” Thrawn didn’t even bat an eyelid. Niriz stood up and tried to pull him to his feet. “Sir, please. Don’t force me to invoke Directive Seven-Thirty-Eight. I should be removing you from command and confining you to your quarters when you’re in this state.”

    Thrawn’s eyes shot to him. “I will kill you with my bare hands if you even consider it.”

    Niriz held his gaze for a moment. “I’m considering it, Sir. You’re the commanding officer of this task force and you’re waging war against the Ebruchi. I can’t let you commit slow suicide.” He gestured towards the tank. “It won’t do this woman any good if you self-destruct, and even less so if the Ebruchi ambush us because the Admiral lost it.” Thrawn opened his mouth to speak but Niriz went on. “You’ll go to your quarters now. You’ll bathe, eat and drink, and Doctor Cottle will give you something to knock you out for a couple of hours. Then you can come back here.” He observed the Admiral carefully. “Do we have an understanding?”

    Thrawn’s eyes were swirling with liquid fire. “No,” he rasped. “No, we do not. I will not leave this room.”

    The two men were glaring laser bolts at each other. Cottle stepped forward before the situation got out of hand. “Here’s an idea so no one kills anyone,” he grumbled. “Admiral, you go and grab a bite. When you come back, I’ll have a bed set up for you here. I don’t have anyone else in bacta immersion now, so it won’t be a problem.” He pulled a hypospray out of his pocket. “Is that an acceptable compromise, or should I make it acceptable?”

    Thrawn’s gaze went from the doctor to Niriz and back. “Yes,” he breathed finally. He gave Niriz a long, hard stare. “I am invoking Directive Seven-Thirty-Seven and removing myself voluntarily from command, Captain. The Admonitor is yours.”

    * * *​


    In the next three weeks Thrawn hardly ever stepped out of the bacta room. He had ration bars brought to him twice a day and stood outside the door to eat them, then returned at Ayesha’s side. Cottle gave up arguing that he should feed himself better and even Niriz renounced keeping him up to date on the Admonitor’s affairs when Thrawn told him, “The person in this tank made me the man you know, Captain. As long as she is in there, I am less than half that man. Believe me, you do not want to serve with me until she recovers.” His eyes travelled back to the bacta tank. “She will recover,” he muttered, more to himself than to the Captain. There was such deep, undisguised emotion in his voice that Niriz felt deep shame for even being there. “I understand, Sir,” he answered after a long silence. “Commander Parck and I will take care of everything.”

    Parck, Vermel and a Chiss pilot named Kres’ten’tarthi took turns to keep Thrawn company in the med lab, but their lame attempts at chatting him up were fruitless and they ended up simply sitting at his side while he stared at Ayesha’s limp form floating in the thick, bluish liquid. The only one who didn’t surrender to the Admiral’s whims was Corporal Prashat. He all but demanded that Thrawn have a sonic when he brought him a change of clothes every morning, polished his boots and rank bars while he was in the ‘fresher and shoved a comb in his hand once he was dressed. “You’re still the Admiral, Sir,” he said firmly when Thrawn tried to dismiss him. “You always led us by example, and you’re going to keep doing just that, even now.” He paused for a moment. “Besides, I’m your orderly. If you look like a scoundrel and smell like a Hutt when your wife comes out of there, it’ll reflect very poorly on me.”

    Thrawn gazed at Ayesha and brushed the wall of the tank with the tips of his fingers, and Prashat was trying to conjure some new argument when the Admiral turned back to him. “I already told you that the correct term is ‘lifemate’, Corporal,” he chided, then took the neatly folded uniform. “Thank you.”

    The day finally came when Doctor Cottle announced that he would bring Ayesha out of bacta immersion to examine her and perform further surgery on her wounded arm. “I need you to understand that it won’t be much, Admiral,” he explained as the Emdee droids transferred her lifeless body to a stretcher. “She’ll be awake for a few minutes at best, just long enough for a brain scan, and given how heavily sedated she’s been over the past weeks, chances are she won’t be aware of her surroundings.” Thrawn nodded. The doctor’s gruff tone softened. “I’m letting you in my OR because I can see that your heart is bleeding, but I want you to promise me that you won’t do anything that might agitate her, and that you’ll leave as soon as I put her under again. Do I have your word?”

    Thrawn stared at Ayesha’s pale face. The bacta had mostly healed the scar on her head, and a stubble was beginning to grow where her hair had been shaved. He placed his hand over her open palm. “You have my word.”

    The silence of the operating theatre was only broken by the rhythmic beeps of the heart monitor as Cottle, Thrawn and two Emdee droids waited for Ayesha to wake up. “She’s stirring, Sir,” one of the droids announced in its melodious voice. “I’m activating the brain scanner.”

    Thrawn watched petrified as Ayesha lifted her eyelids with visible effort. Her eyes took in the face of the doctor, who was towering above her with a burgundy surgical mask and cap, and her face contorted in terror again. “Please,” she whispered. “Please have mercy. Please.”

    “Miss Eskari, you’re in sick bay on the Admonitor,” Cottle said reassuringly. “You may not remember, you were brought on board three weeks ago. I’m a doctor, I’m not going to hurt you, I’m going to help you, okay?” The heart monitor was picking up speed. “Calm down, Miss Eskari. There’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re just checking that you’re okay, and then we’ll put you back to sleep.”

    “I don’t want,” she gasped. “No doctor, no, I don’t want...”

    Cottle glanced at the screen where the results of the brain scan were still scrolling down. “You need a doctor, Miss Eskari, you were hurt pretty bad. But you’re a lot better already, and we’re taking very good care of you.”

    “I don’t want,” she repeated. The scanner beeped to signal that the operation was complete. She grabbed a handful of the doctor’s surgical gown and pulled him to her. “Please. I don’t want to live.”

    “Sir, we must sedate her immediately,” the Emdee droid said. “Her heart rate is dangerously high, and her blood pressure is going up as well.”

    Doctor Cottle pressed the hypospray to her neck. “Please!” she screamed in despair. “Please don’t make me live.”

    When Thrawn stepped out of the operating theatre, he was radiating such sorrow and fury that Vermel and Prashat, who were waiting for him outside, took a step back. He walked past them without saying a word and strode to the turbolift with the Major trotting behind him. He ignored the detention block crew, who didn’t dare stop him, and went straight to Hartsil. The prisoner was still cuffed to the bars of the area dubbed the ‘cage’, sitting on the floor with his wounded leg extended in front of him. His knee was suppurating and gangrene appeared to be setting in. Thrawn smashed his heel on the wound. “I hope that you are enjoying your stay aboard the Admonitor, Lieutenant,” he said as indifferently as if he were inquiring about the weather while the other man wailed in pain. “Now if you would kindly get your act together, you and I will have a friendly chat.” He pulled a chair and tipped it back as he sat, with one leg hovering above Hartsil’s knee. “You will answer my questions. I trust that I do not need to explain the purpose of this setup.”

    Vermel stood by the door and listened in stunned horror as Thrawn made Hartsil and his fellow prisoners recount what they had done to Ayesha, demanding to know every detail of the seventeen days of rape, beating and torture that she had endured on the way to the Admonitor. The Admiral’s eyes were swirling with molten lava as the prisoners spoke and there were several moments of the narration when Vermel expected him to stand up and strangle them with his bare hands, but Thrawn’s calm anger was more terrifying than any outburst. All defiance, all cockiness was gone from the captives’ expression as the interrogation went on. “Who killed the baby?” he finally asked.

    Hartsil was nonplussed. “What baby?”

    Thrawn brought the chair’s leg down brutally on the prisoner’s knee. “She was stabbed in the lower abdomen while pregnant,” he answered coolly as Hartsil flailed and screamed. “Who killed the baby?”

    “It’s not us,” the young lieutenant yelled in agony. “Please!” he cried. Thrawn pulled himself to the edge of his chair, driving the durasteel rod deeper in his rotting flesh. “It’s not us, I swear, it’s not us!”

    One of the other prisoners, who were cowering against the bars as if they could vanish into them, finally spoke up with as much dignity as he could muster. “The Lieu’s telling the truth, Sir. She wasn’t pregnant when the Grand Admiral gave her to us. Maybe he’s the one who did it, he had her on Research for five weeks.”

    The fire in Thrawn’s eyes became even more intense, if that were possible. “The Grand Admiral,” he said very slowly and precisely. “Grand Admiral Zaarin kept her prisoner on the Research facility for five weeks?”

    “Yes, Sir. I was on the shuttle that brought her from Coruscant, so I’m sure about it. It was five weeks and two days.” He swallowed. “And I’m sure he treated her pretty badly too, I had the night shift on guard outside his bedroom.”

    There was a long silence. Thrawn finally stood up. “Major Vermel, have the detention block crew dispatch these prisoners to individual cells and bring a datapad for each one of them. They are to be held in solitary confinement until I say otherwise. This one” – he pointed at Hartsil – “may see a medic before his leg falls off.” He turned to the prisoners. “You might be able to buy yourselves a quick death by firing squad instead of a slow and painful one at my hand. You will provide me with every item of information you know about Grand Admiral Zaarin, however small. I want to know what he has for dinner, I want to know how he likes his caf, I want to know if he has allergies. You will also provide me with a map of Research station, including secret passages if any, details of the projects he is running, the number, type and crew of the ships at his disposal and the names and positions of his associates. I will have an encyclopaedia brought for you to identify the type of artwork he collects.” He strode to the door. “Be certain that I will easily identify any inconsistencies and discrepancies between your reports. If you try to fool me, if you even think of deceiving me... well, let me only say that you will regret it.”

    * * *​


    Ayesha returned to bacta immersion after her second surgery, and after a few days Doctor Cottle couldn’t hide his concern anymore. “It shouldn’t be taking so long,” he explained when Thrawn cornered him as he finished his evening check of the various monitors hooked up to the tank. “Mending bones is obviously a slow process and there’s a limit to what bacta can do, but the operation went well and the brain scan showed that her neural pathways are okay. She should be recovering much faster.” He took a deep breath. “The thing is that she’s not really fighting back. It’s as if she lost the will to live. Not that we should give up,” he added hurriedly when he saw Thrawn pale at his words. “We’ll continue doing everything we can. She’ll come around in the end.” He looked at the Admiral carefully. “There was something unusual in the brain scan. The scanner kept running for about a minute after we put her under, and we could still detect very high levels of brain activity when there should have been virtually none. It’s as if her subconscious mind was working overtime. It’s not unheard of for people who have been through this kind of ordeal, but it’s the first time I actually see it.”

    “Is that good or bad?” Thrawn asked.

    The doctor sighed. “It could go both ways. Maybe she’s just ruminating what happened to her, or maybe she’s trying to process it. In any case, those levels of activity are off the charts for a person who’s essentially in a coma, and that’s what has me worried. The mind is a delicate thing and I don’t want her to snap.”

    Thrawn’s pale blue face took a faint shade of green. “What are you doing about it?”

    Cottle sighed again. “Nothing. There’s nothing I can do but continue the treatment and hope for the best.”

    Thrawn gazed at Ayesha for a long moment. He suddenly clenched his jaw, as if making up his mind. “I must make a few comm calls, Doctor. I will be in my private quarters, please let me know if there is anything new on your side.”

    When he returned to the med lab in the small hours of the morning, he seemed utterly devastated. “You look terrible,” Cottle growled. “You must take care of yourself, do you hear me?” Thrawn stared at him haggardly and whispered the word ‘Uumana’ to no one in particular. “Admiral, please. Let me give you something to knock you out, just for a few hours. There won’t be any significant changes to Miss Eskari’s condition over such a short while.” To his great surprise, the Chiss nodded his acceptance. Cottle helped him to his bed and injected him with a powerful sedative. He then turned to Voss Parck, who was standing nearby and watching the scene with undisguised concern. “What the blue blazes did he do? He said he was going to make a few comm calls, and this is how he came back.”

    Parck frowned. “Comm calls from here? That’s... mostly impossible, unless he was simply contacting Nirauan.” He paused for a moment. “Or unless he used the emergency relays to reach the Core.” He hesitated, then went to sit at the med lab’s central comm desk. “I’m counting on you to keep this between us, Doctor. This is a clear breach of his privacy, but I need to know if I’m going to help him.” He punched in his authorization code and scanned the outgoing transmissions over the past twelve hours. “Yes,” he muttered. “He placed a call to Coruscant.” He frowned again. “A diner in Coco town? With military-grade encryption? Why would he do that?” His eyes went up and down the list. “And here’s another call to Kashyyyk. Well, at least that one makes sense. He probably sought to inform her family, and he must’ve got an earful from them. That would explain it.” He pointed his finger to another line on the monitor. “Then there’s an incoming call, but I’ve never seen this type of code. I can’t even trace it.” He scratched his head. “What in the Empire is he up to?”

    “This is the Admiral we’re talking about, remember?” Cottle grunted. “We’ll find out soon enough.”

    When Thrawn woke up several hours later, he sat on the edge of his bed and gazed again at the bacta tank. “Heal,” Prashat heard him whisper. “You must heal.” Prashat was looking for something to say when Thrawn abruptly sprang to his feet and pulled on his uniform. “Come with me, Corporal,” he ordered in his cool command voice. “We have work to do.”

    The Admiral and his orderly disappeared for the next week, and Parck and Niriz were discussing how to force their way in Thrawn’s quarters when they ran into Prashat in the corridor after lunch. “He’s good, Sir,” the young corporal said. “He had me do some research on Black Sun for him, and he’s working really hard. He also spoke with Lord Vader yesterday, and he prepared a missive for Major Vermel to take to Coruscant. I’d say he’s almost back to normal.”

    The two senior officers gave each other a puzzled look after Prashat was gone. “Black Sun?” Parck spluttered.

    Niriz was staring at the wall as if he were expecting it to provide him with answers. “Whatever,” he muttered. “I’m sure he has his reasons. Let’s go back to the bridge, Commander. We have a ship to run.”

    Prashat’s optimism seemed unjustified when Thrawn returned to the med lab the next day and took up his position at Ayesha’s side, but Doctor Cottle noticed a change in his behaviour. He was nervous and fidgety instead of subdued and depressed, and he jumped to his feet every time Prashat walked in to tend to his needs. On one morning, his comlink finally buzzed for the first time in nearly a month. “Lord Vader for you on the emergency channel, Sir,” the comm officer announced. “I’m patching him through to the med lab.”

    The conversation with Vader lasted less than one minute. Thrawn’s usually impassive face expressed determination and relief as he switched off the holocomm. He glanced at Ayesha one last time and made his way to the bridge. “Thank you, Captain,” he said. He sat in the command chair. “I am revoking Directive Seven-Thirty-Seven as of now. Navigation, plot us a course to the Core. We are leaving immediately.”

    Niriz gave him a curious look. “The Core, Sir?”

    A smile touched Thrawn’s lips. “Yes, Captain. I must take a side trip to Corellia.”

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

    Author's notes

    Kres'then'tarthi (Stent) makes his first Legends appearance in Timothy Zahn's Vision of the Future.

    Research is the space station where Zaarin was conducting research on TIE fighters and cloaking devices.

    Side Trip is a novella co-authored by Timothy Zahn and Michael A. Stackpole. You don't need to read it, as I'll be summarising it in the next chapter, but I highly recommend it :)
     
  7. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Phew - anyone else just wants to hug Thrawn? :(
    And Ayesha having lost her will to live is just heartbreaking.

    But, wait - she was not pregnant? Hmmm... [face_thinking]

    I just wonder about those comm calls Thrawn made - Simon? Her family? Quinlan?
    And... Vader?? Could he actually have been of help there?
    Black Sun? Okay, you lost me there, I admit it. :p

    Oh, I gotta re-read Side Trip now...

    And Zaarin. Oooh, this will be sweet revenge. I'm looking forward to that! [face_devil]
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= Wonderful strategizing by Thrawn. He is on the J.O.B. [face_love] Yes I wanna give him a hug!!!!!! Ayesha losing the will to live and not being pregnant anymore?! Set Mothers Against Rabid Terrorists on Z.'s scanky behind! :mad: Edge of seat emoticon needed for all these recent chapters.
     
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I had to go back and reread the last several characters to get straight on the chronology of things, because I too was baffled about the disappearance of the pregnancy and the five weeks with Zaarin, but it turns out I had just forgotten the "two months later" part at the beginning of chapter 18. OK, time for a little math (and if any of this is wrong, please let me know)...

    So far, then, we've got 5 weeks + 2 days with Zaarin aboard Research, which with the 5-day weeks of the GFFA makes 27 days. Then we add to that 17 days (=3 weeks 2 days) with Hartsil and co., and we get 44 days in all. But—if two standard months in the GFFA equal 70 days, we still have 26 days unaccounted for between when Ayesha left the apartment that fateful day and when she's brought on board the Admonitor. And it's those 26 days that I'm the most curious about, because that is no doubt where His Sheeviness, the Palpster, comes into play. I almost suspect him more than Zaarin of doing away with the baby—or stealing it for his own purposes, because I could see where a child of Ayesha's could, in certain ways, be of more use to him alive than dead... Oh, these are deep, dark waters, indeed. [face_thinking]

    For now, though, I'm glad to see her conscious, though of course the "losing the will to live" business is eerily familiar from another new mom from the GFFA and I of course don't want Ayesha to make it to that point. :eek: And I'm glad Thrawn is setting things in motion with these calls to Dex (and thus Simon), Yakooboo, Vader, etc. Though I too am wondering how Black Sun fits into the picture...

    And finally, just to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, I admire the encyclopedic memory these high-up Imperial officers must have in order to remember at least seven hundred and thirty-eight distinct directives! I can just imagine there being pop quizzes on this sort of thing at the academy. :D
     
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Well, this will teach me to fall behind in my reading!

    First, Ayesha and Thrawn were having a baby and I was like [face_dancing] [face_love] and then the Emperor sent for her and we found out what happened, and now I'm all :_| =((

    Is it wrong that I hope Palpy kidnapped their Lifeform, even though he's the sheeviest sheever who ever sheeved a sheeve? 'Cause the alternative is just too heartbreaking...
     
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  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Just caught up, as Findswoman urged me to.

    At this point, my comment will be a single word. GULP.

    (Given the fact that I need to comment on FIFTEEN chapters, I shall do so separately over the weekend. And not in this comment, as I can always edit it into something like "[insert all your names here] are bantha poodoo" :p)
     
  12. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Whoa. These chapters are so effective and intense that I don't think I'm going to go back and grab quotes, because even that would feel kind of inadequate. I'd expected Terrible Things to happen, but maybe not so terrible and so soon. :eek:

    Every reaction seems perfectly on-target for what we know of the characters -- Thrawn, especially, of course. It's extremely moving that we see him be the one showing an exceptional amount of dependence here (his comments to the effect that Ayesha has made him who he is. [face_love] :( Just perfect!) And his ferocity with the remainder of Ayesha's abusers is entirely believable given what we've seen of him thus far.

    Ayesha's brief return to consciousness is heartwrenching. I can only hope that they can get some kind of art materials into her hands as soon as possible, because I think that's the only way she copes with the really big, bad things in her life. I too worry about her possibly slipping into an Uumana-like state -- really, really hope that doesn't happen. :(

    The disappearance of the baby is beginning to look like possibly just that rather than death, and it makes me both apprehensive and hopeful. On one hand, it's a terrifying idea, but on the other if anyone could track down a missing cub, Thrawn and Quinlan are a pretty good bet. Also, Zaarin is going down. That guy is so dead and he doesn't even know it yet.
     
  13. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    "The sheeviest sheever who ever sheeved a sheeve" - OMG, that's stuck in my head for eternity now, Raissa.
    Laughing + Red Bull = no good idea when sitting in front of the computer... [face_blush]
     
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  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I needed a large package of handkerchiefs reading this update. What makes me glad is that Thrawn as good, decent man around him. I also hope that Vader can help him to get at the persons being responsible that the baby is lost. Normally, I am not very much a revenge type of person. But I will find some grim satisfaction when some people will greatly suffer for their crimes.
     
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  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Sunday evening reply time, not that I expect tomorrow to be a crazy day, but you never know.
    Pretty good guesses for the comm calls! You'll have to wait a bit for details on those, but the explanation about Vader and Black Sun is all in the next chapter [face_whistling]

    And thanks to Ny, we all know now that Zaarin's behind is scanky :eek: [face_laugh]

    This is where I'm really glad I spent hours and hours poring obsessively over my timeline document to give an exact date to every single chapter, because there are other crazy people like me out there :p But yes, your calculation is absolutely correct, there are 26 days that are unaccounted for (a bit more actually -- I should have written "two months and two weeks" in the opening line of chapter 18, but that was a bit heavy).

    The one thing where you're overoptimistic here -- as are Raissa Baiard and Kahara -- is that Ayesha should only be 27 GFFA weeks pregnant right now. That translates to approx 19 real-world weeks, so the foetus wouldn't be viable for His Sheeviness The Palpster to steal it... although of course with the POWAH of the Dark Side anything is possible of course [face_thinking]
    Another crack!fic in the making... [face_idea] I need to find a way to better manage all these plot bunnies!

    I officially propose this for the title of a Palpatine characterisation thread in resource.

    *pats EP on the back and recommends she takes a deep breath*

    I think Nyota's Heart compared Thrawn to Spock earlier in this thread, something to the effect that the most cool-headed men can also be the most passionate, and I thought that in this situation it would clearly be the case -- until he realises "Zaarin" and the scheming brain cogs set into motion.
    Art materials is definitely what she will need, but there isn't much of that on a Star Destroyer. As for the risk that she slips in an Uumana-like state...
    There are 17 chapters to go for part II, then all of part III, so you probably have your answer right there :p
    You know, the phrasing of this comment gave me the solution to how I was going to handle that in future chapters. Thanks!

    What I greatly enjoy in writing this fic and reading your comments is the fact that you already know the answer, in a sense -- it's all there in canon -- but you're waiting to see how I'll manage developments in this fic to arrive to the results you already know. I hope I won't disappoint!

    Thanks again, everyone! The next chapter will be up tomorrow morning (early so that Csillan_Girl can read it before leaving to work [:D])
     
  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Sorry for blending the obvious out. But Disney told us canon no longer exists. Perhaps I am too obedient in forgetting. ;)
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, I am very happy (and relieved) to know I was right about the chronology (and I think it's nothing short of super-duper impressive that you have it all so carefully mapped out the way you do—that's just the kind of attention to detail that takes fanfic writing to all-new levels). But less happy and relieved about what you say about it being too early in the pregnancy for the baby to be viable... though I have an inking that just general story purposes are going to require that the baby be stolen (somehow) and not killed. Or not? I guess maybe I'll learn more tomorrow... [face_batting]
     
  18. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    This is me -- even totally knocked I was told I had the most brain activity they had ever seen in a person while they were under. Leads to vivid dreams and restlessness for me.

    I have a feeling the baby is with Palpatine. I know they didn't want to be separated by I think she should have gone to Kashyyyck or a Wookiee protector sent to her.

    I was first chocked in Ch.18 when her state was described and when we learn later in Ch.19 that 'animals' that had her used her for 17 days like a whore --- it squicked me. Not saying these chapters were not great writing -- but my heart hurt for her and I am glad so far how they have handled their prisoners.

    I loved how Thrawn wanted to stay by her side -- I would feel the same way -- if I had a relationship like theirs.
     
  19. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for the extra comments all! I woke up later than I was planning to [face_blush] so I'm in a rush now, albeit not from an excess of work -- I'll reply asap.

    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Mando-Man Mira_Jade Raissa Baiard
    Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list.

    And as usual, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 20: Father and son

    Doctor Cottle was completely baffled when a warrior in full Mandalorian armour walked in his sick bay one morning a few days after the Admonitor reached a quiet area of space in the Galactic Core. His expression turned to bewilderment when the warrior removed his helmet to reveal the blue skin and glowing red eyes of Admiral Thrawn. “Any changes?” Thrawn asked.

    The doctor pulled himself together. “Nothing new, Sir. She’s improving, but far too slowly. I don’t know how long this can go on without complications.”

    Thrawn took a few steps towards the open door of the bacta room and gazed at Ayesha for a long moment. “I will be leaving the ship for three days,” he finally said. “I would like you to bring her out of the tank when I return.” Cottle gave a start and went to protest. “No, I have not lost my mind, Doctor. We are expecting a visitor who might be able to heal her.” The doctor looked at him curiously, but Thrawn ignored it. “Let us hope that he will be willing to help,” he muttered as he slipped his helmet back on. And without another word, he turned on his heel and headed to the turbolift.

    When Thrawn returned from his trip to Corellia and entered the captain’s office, he was his cool, calculating self, but there was an underlying tension in his otherwise crisp persona. “I know this sort of thing embarrasses you,” Captain Niriz said as he poured his guest a glass of aged R’alla mineral water, “so I’ll only say it once. When I heard the reports of military action on Corellia, I was concerned for your safety. I’m glad to find out my fears were unfounded.”

    “Thank you, Captain,” Thrawn said, accepting the proffered glass and taking a sip. He was still wearing his Mandalorian armour, though without the helmet and gauntlets. “You are wrong, though, about expression of concern and support being an embarrassment. On the contrary, loyalty is one of the two qualities I value most in my subordinates and colleagues.”

    “And the other?” Niriz asked, pouring a glass of R’alla water for himself.

    “Competence,” Thrawn said. “Has the Hopskip’s cargo been reloaded aboard yet?”

    “It’s being done, Sir,” Niriz said. “The bridge has orders to let me know when they leave. Which reminds me: you promised to let me know what all this was about when you returned.”

    “And I intend to do so,” Thrawn assured him. “I am waiting for one other person to join us here first.”

    Behind Niriz, the door slid open. Niriz turned, opening his mouth to reprimand whoever this officer or crewer was who would dare enter the captain’s private office without permission... and an instant later was scrambling to his feet, the harsh words dying in his throat as if they’d been choked to death. “Ah, Lord Vader,” Thrawn said, rising to his feet. “Welcome aboard the Admonitor. We are honoured by your presence.”

    “As we are with yours, Admiral Thrawn,” Darth Vader said, a distinct edge of challenge in his deep voice. “You’re nearly six hours late.”

    “I know, my Lord, and I apologize for keeping you waiting,” Thrawn said, nodding his head deferentially. “As it turned out, I was forced to significantly modify the plan I originally outlined to you.”

    Niriz listened carefully as Thrawn explained how, under the guise of the bounty hunter Jodo Kast, he had enlisted the help of two undercover CorSec agents and the local Imperial garrison, in addition to the crew of the ship he had essentially hijacked and their Rebel passengers, to eliminate Zekka Thyne and the Corellian chapter of the pan-galactic criminal organization Black Sun. The comm then buzzed to signal the Hopskip’s departure, turning the conversation to the blasters that the smuggler ship was ferrying for the Rebellion and the homing beacons that the Admonitor’s experts had installed in them. The comm pinged again. “Captain, this is the bridge. The Hopskip just jumped to lightspeed. Their vector’s confirmed for the Shibric system.”

    “I doubt that Shibric is the final destination for those Rebel blasters,” Thrawn said once the communication was cut. “From their vector, and other bits and pieces I gleaned along the trip, my guess is that their ultimate collection point will be somewhere in the Derra system.”

    “The homing devices will show us for certain,” Vader said. “Thank you, Admiral.”

    “My pleasure, Lord Vader,” Thrawn answered. “One favour for another. Perhaps we will have the chance to work again together.”

    The hidden eyes seemed to probe the Admiral’s face. “Perhaps,” he said. “Farewell, Admiral.”

    And with a swirl of his long cloak he was gone. Niriz hesitated. “If I may be so bold, Admiral... your last comment implied that you received something in return for helping Vader against Thyne and Black Sun. May I ask what that favour was?”

    “A very personal gift, Captain,” Thrawn said. “Which was why I felt the need to personally orchestrate Thyne’s destruction. Lord Vader has turned over to me command of a group of alien commandos who have proven themselves highly valuable to him over the years.” He drained his glass and set it down. “But now to the bridge. I will change to my uniform and catch up with you.”

    The two men stepped out of the captain’s office and parted ways at the turbolift, but instead of keying for his quarters, Thrawn went straight to the hangar bay, where Darth Vader was preparing to board his shuttle. “Lord Vader...” he called politely as he approached the towering, black-clad figure.

    Vader turned around to face him. “Is there anything you forgot to mention, Admiral?”

    Thrawn looked at the black mask unwaveringly. “I would like to suggest another exchange of favours, My Lord.”

    There was a catch in the Dark Lord’s mechanical breathing that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. “I take it that you will finally let me know the reasons behind your zeal to rid me of Thyne and confront Black Sun?”

    The Admiral hesitated ever so slightly before reverting to his crisp demeanour. “Yes, My Lord, I wished to speak to you in person aboard this ship. I trust however that you are not dissatisfied with my actions so far? If I have not displeased you, I intend to make a proposal that will be beneficial for the both of us.”

    Vader observed him for a moment. “Speak.”

    Thrawn collected his thoughts. “As I said, I believe that the smugglers’ cargo is intended for the Derra system. I studied the possibilities in that sector on my way back from Corellia and determined what their final destination is most likely to be. I will not only provide you with this information but also develop a battle plan for a surprise attack on the Rebel base there. You will claim the credit for delivering a swift, crushing blow to the Rebellion if my assumptions prove true, and I will take the blame if they are unfounded.”

    The black mask nodded. “A tempting thought. You are quite generous with your favours today, Admiral. What do you expect from me?”

    Thrawn braced himself. “Miss Eskari is in sick bay on this ship, hovering between life and death. I would ask you to put her in a Jedi healing trance.”

    Vader tilted his head slightly to the side in the gesture that Thrawn had come, over the years, to associate with curiosity. “What happened to her?”

    “She is one of the hostages that COMPNOR chose to take against alien leaders,” Thrawn replied as firmly as he could, but his voice was beginning to tremble. “The men who had her charge... took advantage of the situation and beat, raped and tortured her for more than a month before she reached the Admonitor. She had several grievous injuries when she was brought on board and she lost the child she was carrying.”

    There was a palpable aura of anger around the Dark Lord. “Are these injuries such that bacta cannot heal them?”

    “It is not her body that needs to heal,” Thrawn answered in a nearly inaudible whisper. “It is her mind.”

    There was a long silence. “We have a deal, Admiral,” Darth Vader finally snapped. “Lead the way.”

    If Doctor Cottle was surprised to see the Admiral in Mandalorian armour, he didn’t show it this time. “She just stirred,” he grunted disapprovingly as Thrawn walked in. “I kept her on a mild sedative to avoid...” His voice trailed off as Darth Vader strode past him and entered the small cubicle where Ayesha was lying on a hospital bed. “Admiral,” Cottle growled, “you’re not seriously telling me that you expect Lord Vader to help her?”

    “Lord Vader can put her in a Jedi healing trance,” Thrawn replied curtly. “As you know, there is a shortage of Jedi these days. My options were therefore limited.”

    The two men watched through the transparisteel wall of the cubicle as Darth Vader halted at Ayesha’s side and laid two fingers on her forehead. She shuddered at the physical contact and opened her eyes. Her lips formed a word that Thrawn and Cottle didn’t hear, but the expression on her face was once again one of sheer terror. “Quiet,” Vader intimated. “I will ease your pain, but for that I must know.” The heart monitor’s beeps sped up. “Do not resist,” he grumbled. “Show me.” There was a long pause. “So he saw it too. What did he want?” She breathed something that sounded like a whimper. “What did he want?” he insisted. “Show me.” She let out a wail of pain and started flailing on the bed. Thrawn took a brusque step towards her, but an invisible hand pushed him back and slammed him against the wall behind him. “The name,” the Dark Lord barked. “Did you tell him the name?”

    “I didn’t,” she screamed. “I didn’t tell him anything. He took it from my head. He took everything from me, like he did with you.”

    The Dark Lord stepped back as if stung. The heart monitor was flashing red, and Doctor Cottle went to barge into the room. “Lord Vader, with all due respect, my patient is not feeling well...” The invisible hand sent him tumbling next to Thrawn and the two men looked on helplessly as Vader returned to Ayesha’s side, towering over her as she continued screaming incoherently. After a moment’s hesitation, he laid his fingers on her forehead again, and she progressively calmed down and fell in a very deep sleep.

    The air around Darth Vader was crackling with electricity when he stepped out of the cubicle, but Thrawn was visibly beyond caring. “What...” he started, but he suddenly clutched his throat with both hands as his trachea was crushed.

    “I have honoured my side of our agreement, Admiral Thrawn,” Vader rasped with fury in his voice. “I expect you now to honour yours. The Admonitor will stay here until I call for you.” Thrawn nodded and gasped for air as Vader released him from the Force choke. “You will have the opportunity to deal with Zaarin,” Vader went on, “but the Emperor is mine. Am I making myself clear?” Thrawn stared at him in incomprehension and nodded again. The black mask gazed at him for a few heartbeats, and the Dark Lord turned on his heel and left with a swish of his cape.

    Thrawn ran to catch up with him before the turbolift doors could close. “The phrase,” he croaked. “The phrase to wake her up.”

    The black mask turned back to him. “The phrase is ‘father and son’.”

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

    Author's notes: Italics in this chapter indicate a direct quote or very close paraphrase of a passage from Zahn and Stackpole's novella Side Trip.
     
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    One of the best best strategies by Thrawn and Vader-centric chapters I've read. A good tie-in to events surrounding the assault on Derra.
    What a cool and awesome wake-up phrase--as we know its relevance to Vader. =D= =D= ;)
     
  21. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Aaah, I'm late today, and you posted early especially for me - but I had people here for job interviews all day, and believe it or not, one did not even show up, without any excuse whatsoever! :eek: Some people... :rolleyes:
    Pffff... now I want to sleep for 24 hours... at least!

    Whew, now what did the sheevy sheever want to know from Ayesha?
    Something that involves Vader - Luke? Excuse my speculating, I'm horribly curious (as everyone might have noticed already :p).
    The Dark Lord, of all people, helping Ayesha. But, considering his history, it is fitting indeed.
    btw, I really like how you incorporated the end of Side Trip into this chapter! =D=
    Good to see Thrawn in action and doing something again. Nice to see, btw, that with some of his plans, he is not 100% sure if they will be successful ("let us hope that he will be willing to help"); but it is only fitting, as in the end of TTT, he did not see the Noghri's betrayal coming, so he is not infallible. He is walking a very fine line there at the moment...
     
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  22. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Doctor Cottle was completely baffled when a warrior in full Mandalorian armour walked in his sick bay one morning a few days after the Admonitor reached a quiet area of space in the Galactic Core. His expression turned to bewilderment when the warrior removed his helmet to reveal the blue skin and glowing red eyes of Admiral Thrawn. “Any changes?” Thrawn asked.

    This surprised me, too, but at the next clear thought I was able to have, I told myself that all this is very logical. Like asking Vader to be a Jedi healer for Ayesha. You managed to link your fanfic into canon by tying political, military and personal matters for both men to cooperate with one another. Even though deals with Vader remain a high (health) risk. Brilliantly done! You are one of the best!

    ^:)^
     
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  23. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    A quick question: this happens around the time of TESB, but when exactly? Has Vader already discovered that Luke is his son? Given the fact that he wants the Emperor to himself and that he's being a tr00 Sith is leaving the things a bit ambiguous. And you have just given me my second bit of Fridge horror for the day. It's not directly related to this fic, but I...I just realised that if Luke and Vader had gone a different way and mended their differences on Bespin, they would have ruled the Galaxy as a father and a son and...err...one would eventually kill the other?! EEEK. EEEK. EEEK. HOLY BANTHA POODOO.

    It took me a couple of reads to figure out what is going on in the background of this chapter, as Side Trip is still on my reading list. I eventually ended up skimming through all four parts of the novella and given its connection to this fic, I will give it a proper read soon. :)

    “As we are with yours, Admiral Thrawn,” Darth Vader said, a distinct edge of challenge in his deep voice. “You’re nearly six hours late.”

    Classic Vader.

    The Admiral hesitated ever so slightly before reverting to his crisp demeanour. “Yes, My Lord, I wished to speak to you in person aboard this ship. I trust however that you are not dissatisfied with my actions so far? If I have not displeased you, I intend to make a proposal that will be beneficial for the both of us.”

    Methinks Thrawn has heard of how Vader has been dealing with those who have not been meeting his expectations recently. Yikes!

    “It is not her body that needs to heal,” Thrawn answered in a nearly inaudible whisper. “It is her mind.”

    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel like Ayesha's mind will never completely hear again. This time, unlike in "Tangled", she seems truly and really broken.

    The two men watched through the transparisteel wall of the cubicle as Darth Vader halted at Ayesha’s side and laid two fingers on her forehead. She shuddered at the physical contact and opened her eyes. Her lips formed a word that Thrawn and Cottle didn’t hear, but the expression on her face was once again one of sheer terror. “Quiet,” Vader intimated. “I will ease your pain, but for that I must know.” The heart monitor’s beeps sped up. “Do not resist,” he grumbled. “Show me.” There was a long pause. “So he saw it too. What did he want?” She breathed something that sounded like a whimper. “What did he want?” he insisted. “Show me.” She let out a wail of pain and started flailing on the bed. Thrawn took a brusque step towards her, but an invisible hand pushed him back and slammed him against the wall behind him. “The name,” the Dark Lord barked. “Did you tell him the name?”

    “I didn’t,” she screamed. “I didn’t tell him anything. He took it from my head. He took everything from me, like he did with you.”

    At this point, this just cannot be a red herring. It's the sheevy sheev and nobody else. But what is the thing that Vader sees that Sheev "saw, too". Is that baby a holocron? Was that fetus special? A part of a prophecy? At this point, I feel like throwing hysterical guesses around. Ohwell, at least I am not Force-choking Thrawn and, err, throwing him around.

    After having read this, I should probably shut up, as you're already giving my poor concentration a migraine with the detective story. :D

    * I have marked the paraphrased novella passages as things to comment on as well, as they may be borrowed, but they are interested in the context of your fic, nevertheless.
     
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  24. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again because what the heck: I just love how you've written Vader in this story. You've made him into a true and powerful ally to Ayesha without sacrifcing any of the villainous characteristics that make him the archetype for all villains in pretty much all imaginative fiction since 1977. And in this chapter you really take that to the elevens: he manages to pretty much save Ayesha's life—and that 100% willingly—while still Force-choking and throwing Thrawn around in true Vader fashion. All without skipping a beat.

    Put another way, your Vader is the epitome of villainy that manages to be at once icily effective and categorically non-sheevy. (Oh, we are having way too much fun with the whole "sheevy sheever" business, aren't we? I blame Kahara for starting it in the first place! :D ) Fantastic work once again. =D=

    Of course I too am incredibly intrigued by his little "conversation" with her during the healing sequence, and what he found out that the Emperor found out. I am guessing it is to do with...

    ...the early memories of Vader's children that Vader shared with Ayesha some time ago now, back when she was observing his recreation of the duel, or specifically of Luke (his name being the one in question, and he being the "son" in the catchphrase "father and son")...

    ...and if so...

    ...that means it's by way of Ayesha that the Emperor first gains an interest in recruiting Luke to the Dark Side (because that whole thing always seemed to be more the Emperor's idea than Vader's, so to speak)...

    ...in which case...

    ...it's finally starting to become clear to me what you mean about the way this story ties into the canonical events of the saga—how they NECESSITATE them, in fact. That's something I confess I'd been struggling to see before.

    But this may all be idle speculation, and I know that whatever the real answer is is at least as interesting and exciting and complex as anything sketched out in these spoiler tags, and very likely even more so. :cool:

    I'm not familiar with Side Trip, I'm afraid, but I think you did a wonderful job at seemingly integrating the text from that story into this one. I have to read all this Zahn stuff now! :D
     
  25. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Findswoman - Holy bantha poodoo. I didn't even think of those three spoilered things. But then there would be a couple of other little blanks to fill...

    How is Ayesha a medium, a living holocron for Palps and Vader to read? Did somebody plant some information in her while she was a slave?

    Or, a crackpot theory...

    Was the said information in her reproductive organs somewhere and retrievable together with an aborted fetus?
     
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