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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. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    There are so many horrible things that just keep heaping on to the list -- and the Centre is just devastating. No knowing whether anyone else made it out, and Uumana finally just dead after all that time and everyone's stubborn hopes that she might recover... that just has that extra edge of pettiness, too. Not even bothering to imprison or kill her, just leaving her there to starve to death because non-"useful" people are nothing to the Emperor. (And perhaps he knows, as well, that Ayesha may learn of her fate.)

    I'm glad they learned that Quinlan at least managed to escape the net. But I worry even for Ayesha's artist friends. :( It really seems like Palpatine has decided to burn everything she cares for now that the trap is sprung. TBH, I kind of expect that things just get worse from here.

    Well, I'm just a little beam of sunshine here. :p

    Doctor Cottle seems like good people and I'm glad he's there to provide Ayesha with a bit of encouragement to recover. I hurt for Thrawn in this chapter (how can one not?) and still hope that something will change, but Ayesha's reaction to all of this seems very real. She may have a few false memories, but part of it is probably how Thrawn was encouraging her to know as little as possible for so long, and she was trying to be good and follow along -- and it all went pear-shaped anyway. I can see how the buried frustrations of trying to do it all Thrawn's way might be all twisted with the trauma that came after.

    And then he's the first person she sees after coming out of the bacta, and there is that issue of possibly believing on some level that he was in on all of it somehow. Although I also wonder if she is so furious at Thrawn because deep down she believes that he isn't her captor and wouldn't deliberately harm her -- and there's something in the mind that likes to launch itself at relatively safe targets.
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    This will prompt me to write an extremely morbid thing, paralleling Christian dogma, that I never thought of before: what if others are in for far worse things, given that they're not catatonic at all and given that they did mess with many things, while she didn't? What if her death is her salvation? And a symbol? And a preview of what is to come?

    TBH, ever since these two became intimate, I knew this will blow up BIGTIME. The amount of cuteness, steamy sex0rz and cheesiness reminded me of how things seem perfect the first time Coraline visits the witch. It just had to be this way.

    But the artist friends? EEEK. Didn't even think about this. Now I'm extra creeped out!

    No, you're not. Go one post back, to see a kriffin' supernova.
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and Kahara like this.
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'm going to (try to) write my replies tonight, because tomorrow is (again!) going to be a weird day. I started writing my replies last night and then stuff happened and it was late and I didn't really start, let alone finish, so I'm going to do my best now before more fantastic reviews pile up and I can't catch up anymore 8-}

    Notes to self: 1. stop waving red, blue and green herrings all over the place :p 2. try not to give it all away in your replies.

    Which means that I'm going to go for a general reply and then answer some individual points -- although in truth, I could just copy-paste here most of the "close reading of the text" that divapilot came up with, the "long, rambly review" by Findswoman and the latest comment by Kahara and be done with it (as a side note, receiving such thoughtful reviews is such an honour that it's almost intimidating -- I'm going to have to step up my game now :eek: Thanks!)

    Anyway, long story short, my strategy when building the plot for this fic has been to go always with the simplest explanation, so when you look at complex options like modified memories and the such, the real question is, is such a thing necessary for the plot? Most -- if not all -- of what has been happening here can be understood by going for the most direct answer to the following questions:

    1. what do Thrawn and Ayesha each know about what really happened? (because they don't know, or think they know, the same things)
    2. when could they have been talking past each other?
    3. how do Ayesha's previous reactions to pain and grief explain her behaviour now?
    4. how does Thrawn's personality and arrogance explain his lack of understanding the situation?
    5. who wanted to harm Ayesha (this could of course be several people ;) ) and why would they want to do that?

    As to who gave it away/tipped off the Imperials (I think it was Csillan_girl who asked that question first): the answer is (quite well) hidden in Part I, Chapter 7: The Twi'lek Dancer, and stated very clearly in Chapter I of T. Zahn's Choices of One. In both cases it's a single sentence or even a fragment of a sentence, and there again it's the most obvious answer in the GFFA context.

    Now on to individual replies:
    Now I'm officially flattered [face_blush] Again, I need to step up my game, because I don't want to disappoint.
    This is a fic that begs to be written! I'd go for it if my days had 48 hours, but since they don't, maybe we could propose this as a challenge in the L/M thread?
    Don't panic just yet... but it's going to take time.
    Sorry for that [:D]
    He definitely is -- but he's also in deep trouble with himself. He hasn't really had the chance to reflect on what he did wrong, with everything that's going on, but before he comes to that realisation, he won't be able to handle this situation properly, is he?
    Dr Cottle was one of my favourite characters in Battlestar Galactica. I spent hours and hours developing this character, only to realise that I was just copying the BSG doctor :( so I thought I'd be honest with myself and borrow him altogether. The only thing I changed is that he's not a chain smoker, because there's not much smoking going on in the GFFA, and I can't really imagine Thrawn tolerating that on his ship anyway.
    ^^^ This. =D=
    Fixed. Also, ^^^ this (again!)
    Writing Thrawn in these last chapters (last several chapters, actually) hasn't been exactly pleasant, because despite him being a villain, he's a character I really like and focusing on the most distasteful aspects of his personality is not nice. However, when it comes to the last couple of chapters, I just want to point out that if Ayesha and Thrawn were thinking straight, it wouldn't make much sense, would it? The one thing they have in common right now is that their lives have fallen apart, and that's probably the situation par excellence where people see things "from a certain point of view."

    As a side note, I think that the only rational decision I wrote into these chapters is Thrawn not letting Ayesha go. Is she in a right state to take care of herself? Will she not be a liability to the people she stays with? And what would the implications be for the thousands (even tens or hundreds of thousands) of sentient beings he has under his responsibility? These are arguments that she's not prepared to accept, for both good and bad reasons, but in my book they qualify as sensible. (Okay, I'm going to stop now, because I'm getting ahead of myself. More on that in the upcoming chapter.)
    You're in the wrong thread then :p This is the moment when the whole Galaxy is going to the dogs (next up: Derra IV, Hoth, the Zaarin insurrection and Endor), so finding people in that mess is going to be complicated and there won't be much Yakooboo in future chapters -- but there will be a lot of him in The Family Holos.
    I already said how awesome your whole review was, but I wanted to quote this bit, because it matters to me :)
    I'd be curious to read other readers' opinions on this because it would really help me evaluate my skills as a writer. I was pretty sure that I left a trail of breadcrumbs the size of loaves that it would all go wrong, starting well before Thrawn and Ayesha became intimate and unrelated to the fact that they became intimate -- which is of course not to say that the old trick of making people happy and then demolishing it wasn't part of my plan, but I'd like to know if I've tried to be too smart by half with clues so well hidden that they vanished under the romance component of this story. (Oh, and just because we've had some rather heated comments about such things in the past: let's keep the discussion cool if it's going to happen, yes? This is a fictional story with fictional characters and everyone is entitled to read it the way they like ;) )

    Thanks again! Next chapter up in a few minutes.
    AzureAngel2, Gemma, Kahara and 3 others like this.
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    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 23: The Noghri and the stormtrooper

    Doctor Cottle was true to his word, and for the next week Ayesha spent her days on the sofa, hugging her knees to her chest and staring blankly ahead, interrupted only by a quiet Emdee who came every morning to help her rehabilitate her arm and shoulder. It was a painful process as the droid pushed her range of motion to the limit, but she took it in stride. Cottle finally came back on the fifth evening. “Your weekly check-up, Miss Eskari,” he said as he sauntered into the lounge.

    She gave him a suspicious look. “Are we renewing our deal for another week?”

    Cottle didn’t quite manage to hide his surprise. “You really don’t want to see another sentient for a whole other week?”

    “No,” she replied. “I want to be alone.”

    “You can’t be alone forever, Miss Eskari,” he growled. “What are you trying to do? To prove that you’re really a prisoner by putting yourself in solitary confinement? Nobody needs proof. We all know that you were brought here by force and we all got the message that you want to leave. Unless,” he added after a silence, “you’re trying to prove it to yourself.” He looked at her carefully. “That’s it, isn’t it? You can’t make sense of this situation, so you’re trying to make it more straightforward than it is.”

    “Shut up,” she mumbled. “Just take my blood pressure and whatever else it is you do, and shut up.” He went to speak again. “I said shut up,” she yelled. “You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. Shut up and do your work, or leave.”

    Cottle stared at her for a couple of heartbeats before unpacking his kit to examine her. “You’re doing good,” he grunted as he manipulated her arm. “You just need to do some exercise, and your shoulder will be as good as new. This Jedi trick is pure magic, it’s a shame I can’t learn it.” He started collecting his equipment. “I want you to come over to the lab one of these days for a brain scan. The trooper on duty will show you the way.” He went to leave, then changed his mind and sat at her side on the sofa. “The Admiral is leaving the ship tomorrow for a military campaign or some such. He wants to see you before he goes, and nothing I’ll say will make him change his mind. I know you don’t want to talk to him, and, believe it or not, I actually understand why, but you don’t need to make this more difficult than it already is. Just talk to the man when he comes over. We’re set to return to the Unknown Regions while he’s in the Core and chances are you won’t see him for months anyway.”

    When the doorbell rang the next morning, Ayesha was surprised to find not Thrawn, but a junior officer outside her door. “Ensign Washeeya, at your service, Ma’am,” the young man said with a crisp salute. “Admiral Thrawn would like to see you. If you’ll please follow me.” He escorted her to the turbolift and through the hallways to a quiet corridor and came to a halt in front of a door similar to every other door in that part of the Admonitor. “Miss Eskari for you, Sir,” he said simply as he ushered her in.

    She didn’t need an explanation to understand that this was the Admiral’s private office. The room was spartan but the shelves were stacked with the combination of hardbound and electronic books Thrawn favoured, her Fijisi wood self-portrait was prominently displayed on the table and there were small holoprojectors embedded in the floor and ceiling. “Miss Eskari, thank you for coming,” Thrawn said very politely and formally. He motioned for her to sit on one of the two chairs intended for visitors and circled the desk to come and sit on the other. “Doctor Cottle tells me that your arm and shoulder are improving remarkably fast,” he went on after a pause. “It seems you may only need another two weeks of physiotherapy. I am glad to hear that you are recovering.” She nodded. “He is concerned however that you are spending far too many hours alone in your quarters without much to do. Unfortunately, we are a little short on space and cannot establish a proper workshop for you, but the Admonitor is collecting samples of art as we travel through the Unknown Regions. You are welcome to have a look if you wish.” He looked at her expectantly. She merely shrugged. “You should also know that we have a relatively good library aboard. It is open around the clock. Our librarian will issue you a borrowing chip. And I have given necessary instructions so that you have access to the officers’ mess. There is no reason you should have your meals on your own.”

    “I’m never on my own,” she said softly. “It’s not like I can forget that there’s an armed trooper outside my door.”

    Thrawn let out an inaudible sigh. “I was going to come to that. You are a woman and a civilian, and I must take special measures to ensure your safety aboard this ship. I cannot remove your guard altogether, but I would like to propose a solution you might find less intrusive.” He made a gesture of his hand, as if asking someone to step forward, and a small figure Ayesha hadn’t even noticed materialized out of the shadows. “This is Rukh,” Thrawn said. “Rukh is a Noghri warrior who has been assigned to my personal service. He is extremely skilled in stealth and has extensive training as a bodyguard. He will take over from the troopers who are currently guarding your door and escort you around the ship.”

    Ayesha looked at the alien carefully. He was short and sinewy, with steel-grey skin, bulging black eyes and needle-sharp teeth. His snout ended in two large nostrils that reminded her of a tracking animal. The reflection of light on metal near his clawed hand caught her eye, and she glimpsed the thin knife he was hiding in his sleeve. “An assassin,” she snorted derisively. “You want to put me under the so-called protection of an assassin?” Thrawn went to speak. “Forget it, Admiral. I don’t need a... bodyguard. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere anyway, and I’d rather stay in my quarters all the time if I know that this creature is to be trailing me.”

    “Ayoo’sha...” Thrawn started, then caught himself quickly. “Miss Eskari, as I said, Rukh is extremely skilled in stealth. I assure you that you will not even notice his presence.”

    “It’s not about noticing his presence, Admiral,” she snapped, losing her patience. “It’s about his presence, period. Or anyone else’s presence, for that matter.”

    Thrawn sighed. “Thank you, Rukh. If you will please wait outside, I have another assignment for you.” He waited until the Noghri closed the door and turned back to Ayesha. “There is really nothing, is there?” he asked in a low, trembling voice. “Nothing I can say or do that will make you see me... if not the way you used to, at least as someone who genuinely cares about you.”

    “There’s one thing. Take me home.”

    He shook his head. “You know very well that it is not possible, Ayoo’sha. I would rather know that you hate me than jeopardize your safety in such a way. And I will not dissimulate the fact that your personal safety is not the only issue of importance here. I cannot risk exposing my entire task force if you were to be caught. The work we have been doing in the Unknown Regions...”

    She interrupted him. “So your work comes first. I should have known.” There was deep bitterness in her voice.

    Pain flashed in his eyes. “Ayoo’sha, you must understand...”

    “I understand very well, Admiral,” she snapped. “And I already asked you to call me by my proper name, but I see that my wishes are not taken into account, which, I may add, is quite unsurprising since I am your prisoner.” She stood up. “I would like to leave now, do I have your permission?”

    There was a long silence. Thrawn finally stood up as well. “I will be travelling to the Derra system later today, while the Admonitor returns to the Unknown Regions. Commander Parck and Major Vermel will remain on board and they will be at your disposal should you need anything.”

    “Great,” she muttered. “Let’s turn friends into prison guards too.”

    He stared at her a moment longer and keyed to open the door. “Mr. Washeeya, if you would kindly escort Miss Eskari back to her quarters. Please show her a little around the ship on the way and collect her library chip.” He went to address Ayesha again but she was already in the hallway, turning her back on him. “Rukh, please come in,” she heard him say as she walked away. “I would like to discuss Research with you.”

    * * *​

    Thrawn had been gone for nearly three weeks, the Admonitor was travelling back to the Unknown Regions, and Ayesha was standing by the viewport in her quarters, staring blankly at the void of space between two jumps to lightspeed, when the intercom buzzed. “You have a visitor, Ma’am,” the guard’s voice said. She opened the door to find herself facing a tall, muscular man in his late twenties or early thirties. He was wearing a plain olive green jumpsuit.

    “Stormtrooper Company Commander LaRone, at your service, Ma’am,” he snapped with a sharp salute. “I’ve been assigned to your training. If you’ll please follow me.” She gave him a curious look but he didn’t elaborate, leading her instead to a door towards the end of the hallway. “Here’s a keycard for you.” He handed her the magnetic chip after inserting it in the lock. “This facility is reserved for VIP guests on the ship, and at this point at least, you’ll be the only one using it.”

    She stepped into a vast room with a wide variety of weightlifting and cardio equipment on one side and a barre along the wall, the floor on the other side being covered in training mats with melee weapons stacked in a corner. LaRone was pointing at a door on the far end and explaining that it was a changing room and a sonic when she interrupted him. “What am I supposed to do here?”

    The stormtrooper was a little taken aback but he quickly composed himself. “You spent quite some time in the med lab, Ma’am. Doctor Cottle says you should do some exercise now that your physio is over. And as I said, I’ve been asked to help you with self-defence training. I understand that you already have some skills in this area but...”

    She interrupted him again. “Thanks, but I’m not interested,” she snapped haughtily, and she turned away to leave.

    She had barely taken a step towards the hallway when he caught her in a durasteel-strong grip. His right arm was crushing her shoulders and he was grinding against her from behind while his left hand groped her chest. Without thinking, she slammed her heel viciously on his toes. His grip on her chest faltered ever so slightly, enabling her to grab his forearm and try to pivot away from him, but he had already regained his balance and held her back firmly. “That wasn’t bad,” he breathed after letting her wriggle for a moment. “Now if you widen your grip and move your foot just half a step, you’ll find it much easier to throw me off.” His knee nudged her leg and his free hand rearranged her hold on his arm. “Go ahead, try it.”

    She lunged forward and flung him over her shoulder as violently as she could. He fell flat on his back with a loud thud, but he was grinning as he scrambled to his feet and rubbed his tailbone. “Ow! You’re not joking when you get to it, do you?” he said with a chuckle. “Okay, let’s warm up a bit and we can try that again.”

    She stared at him for a few seconds. “Why are you doing this?” she finally asked.

    LaRone snorted. “Lady, you’re one of fourteen women on this boat, together with thirty-seven thousand men. Trust me, you need to know self-defence if you don’t want a bodyguard.”

    She stared at him some more. “I’m a prisoner here, you know. I could use what you teach me to escape.”

    “I don’t care about that,” he answered with a shrug. “I’ve been asked to train you. What you do with it isn’t my problem.” There was a brief silence. “Now get on that treadmill while I figure out some knee and elbow protection for you. I don’t have all day.”

    What followed was the most gruelling workout Ayesha had ever undergone. “You’re good,” LaRone commented as they completed a series of cool-down stretches. “You need to work on your right shoulder though. It’s not nearly as strong as the other.” He escorted her back to her door. “I’m on duty tomorrow, so you’ll be on your own. You should practise those weightlifting exercises. I’ll come back in two days.”

    He gave her a formal bow and walked away. “Commander LaRone,” she called hesitantly. He spun around. “Thank you,” she whispered.

    He smiled and came back to her in two long strides. “You’re welcome.” He held out his hand for her to shake. “And since you’ll be beating the crap out of me, ‘Commander’ is a bit overkill. Call me Daric.”
    JadeLotus, AzureAngel2, Gemma and 2 others like this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    “You can’t be alone forever, Miss Eskari,” he growled. “What are you trying to do? To prove that you’re really a prisoner by putting yourself in solitary confinement? Nobody needs proof. We all know that you were brought here by force and we all got the message that you want to leave. Unless,” he added after a silence, “you’re trying to prove it to yourself.” He looked at her carefully. “That’s it, isn’t it? You can’t make sense of this situation, so you’re trying to make it more straightforward than it is.”

    Wonderful. Bull's eye for Dr. Cottle!

    “There is really nothing, is there?” he asked in a low, trembling voice. “Nothing I can say or do that will make you see me... if not the way you used to, at least as someone who genuinely cares about you.”

    “There’s one thing. Take me home.”

    He shook his head. “You know very well that it is not possible, Ayoo’sha. I would rather know that you hate me than jeopardize your safety in such a way. And I will not dissimulate the fact that your personal safety is not the only issue of importance here. I cannot risk exposing my entire task force if you were to be caught. The work we have been doing in the Unknown Regions...”

    She interrupted him. “So your work comes first. I should have known.” There was deep bitterness in her voice.

    Pain flashed in his eyes. “Ayoo’sha, you must understand...”

    “I understand very well, Admiral,” she snapped. “And I already asked you to call me by my proper name, but I see that my wishes are not taken into account, which, I may add, is quite unsurprising since I am your prisoner.” She stood up. “I would like to leave now, do I have your permission?”

    Ouch! :( =D=

    Vermel and Parck are respectful and admiring of Ayesha in their own rights, and she considered them friends, before, especially after spending time on Corulag. But ... she probably thinks they're too loyal to Thrawn, although -- the loyalty a person inspires speaks volumes about their character as well. [face_thinking]

    Yay for LaRone - getting in where Dr. Cottle could not - somewhat beneath the emotional barricades. :cool:

    Love the thought-provoking questions, which may be rhetorical but here goes [face_laugh]

    1. This is quite plausible given the misdirection by certain parties, the haze and consequence of trauma, and the literal shattering effect of emotional devastation.

    A quiet place and a open heart and mind are what leads to clear, open communication, and how is that likely to come about? [face_thinking] :eek: Need an intermediary. :p

    2. I think, much as I hate to admit it, when he was assuring her that he had things/the bases covered, although given his level of genius, and being able to juggle things and handle the politics swimmingly for years, it's not as if his confidence is misplaced. It's the serving two masters thingy and trying to outsmart someone with no scruples whatsoever!

    3. Hmmm. Withdrawal + lashing out.

    4. I think those things definitely come into play, but also as much, if not moreso, his love of Ayesha, his outrage at what was done to her, and the loss of their youngling. @};-

    Because my Thrawn/Ayesha playlist is growing by the minute! ^:)^

    Csillan_girl & Gemma & Chyntuck - take a listen and =P~ and melt!

    Is this a hopeful song or what?

    AzureAngel2, Gemma and Chyntuck like this.
  6. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Just to clarify my previous comment - in a spoiler, so some people don't have to read it. ;)

    Ace does not equal conceited. I have absolutely nothing against romance and sex, but with the amount of it explored and how a couple of chapters went over the top (they were not vulgar or anything, there was just a lot of it), I thought romance itself was a red herring. Then again, I'm Galaxy Watch, personified. When a complicated story gets this far, I get like "aha, they were using the shower too much - WHAT IF A CAMERA WAS IN THERE ALL ALONG?" and such.

    I mean, I am going by the Coraline principle and I was just "OK, you love each other, when is the disaster going to happen? I like disaster!"


    The one thing they have in common right now is that their lives have fallen apart, and that's probably the situationpar excellence where people see things "from a certain point of view."

    Re:this and the whole paragraph...I know, I just forgot he was a character and I gave him a lecture. I like men tears.


    This all means you're a great writer. To me, intentional deception (perhaps not the best verb in this context) is an element of good speculative fiction. These characters are written like real, everyday people and therefore, they may annoy us at some point, we may take sides and so on.


    Ayesha's self-imposed isolation as a component of her overall isolation is giving me shivers. She is already isolated by being a transfered prisoner, she cannot see the light of a day in outer space and now, she has been assigned to a very, very interesting

    “You can’t be alone forever, Miss Eskari,” he growled. “What are you trying to do? To prove that you’re really a prisoner by putting yourself in solitary confinement? Nobody needs proof. We all know that you were brought here by force and we all got the message that you want to leave. Unless,” he added after a silence, “you’re trying to prove it to yourself.” He looked at her carefully. “That’s it, isn’t it? You can’t make sense of this situation, so you’re trying to make it more straightforward than it is.”

    While this is partly true, I don't like the tone he's using. What would happen if he was in her shoes?

    And then, there is Rukh. Love how you described him and, given his key role in the Thrawn trilogy, I am looking forward to how Ayesha either ends up befriending him or completely ignoring him.

    Regardless of what I have said about Thrawn in comments to the previous chapter, he either realised that he needs to keep a distance (though he appears to struggle with keeping it, hence Ayo'sha) or he is keeping it for some odd, odd reasons.

    At this point, I shall make no assumptions, the next chapter will probably clear up a lot of my theories...:p
  7. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005 this point I would like to say that I have been planning on writing this exact fic for some time, it's just waiting in the pile of other fics I've yet to write, so if nothing else you will be able to read it at some stage ;)

    But of course if anyone else wants to take up the concept that would be great as well!

    Chyntuck, I have been peripherally keeping up with this fic, I just need to find the time to sit down to read and review properly - but I'm very intrigued as to where it's going!
  8. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I really really enjoyed this. I loved the LaRone and the 4 others in 'Choices of One'. I liked what he said at the end and about calling him Daric. This whole part left with a smile. Yay!:)

    Maybe after learning the self defense and having Thrawn be away for a few months will help Ayesha adjust to things, ummm, then again maybe not. The old say of being apart says that is makes the heart grown fonder. Not so sure it will or will not. We wait and see.
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Neat to see LaRone again. I am curious to see what role, if any, Ayesha will play in

    his transition from loyal Imperial to vigilante and defector. (I already see hints of that when he says he doesn't care if she uses her self-defense skills to escape.)

    Also, I'm glad to see that she's found something to do to lift her spirits—even if it's beating the heck out of this stormtrooper! Whether it leads to a reunion with Thrawn or to a new relationship with Daric or to no relationship at all, it's at least good to see her in better spirits. (I wonder if she'll have the opportunity to do any art while on board this ship? Knowing Ayesha, she may find a way.)

    For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, you've got me curious now about who the other thirteen women are on board this ship. I wonder if Ayesha will get to meet any of them. Are those numbers (14 vs. 37,000) from canon, or from you?

    I knew you were planning to take our protagonists to the Unknown Regions, but I confess I never guessed it would end up being under quite these circumstances. Still, in a way, these circumstances take the story in directions it would never have gone if the Unknown Regions trip had just been a typical "babymoon" type trip, so from a reader's viewpoint I'm not complaining.

    (I still am curious about those mysterious, unaccounted-for 26 days and what happened to the baby, of course. But I'm certain we will eventually find out.)
    Kahara, AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and 2 others like this.
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Thrawn sighed. “Thank you, Rukh. If you will please wait outside, I have another assignment for you.” He waited until the Noghri closed the door and turned back to Ayesha. “There is really nothing, is there?” he asked in a low, trembling voice. “Nothing I can say or do that will make you see me... if not the way you used to, at least as someone who genuinely cares about you.”

    I do not know if some of you guys are familiar with the character Jamie Fraser by Diana Gabaldon. He is a Highland Scot, very temperamental, brutally honest and sometimes overbearing, because he can be overprotective & stubborn.

    Now, some men really want to protect the woman that they love. This is not a question of being an evil villain or not. It is a question of culture and/ or character.

    Imagine what our heroine has been through. That alone would leave a rapture in a love relationship. The loss of the baby is another huge gap between Thrawn and her.

    He is also helpless and overtaxed. Therefore he tries to protect her by all means, using a rather logical way of doing that. Therefore he fails to realise that he makes things worse.

    LaRone does the best to get her out of her agony. By being physical with her and forcing her to snap out of her somewhat "mute" state of mind, he gets her back to the light.

    I hope LaRone can sit down with Thrawn and have a chat with him.

  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! A few quick replies before I get to the next chapter.
    And guess who sent him? [hl=black]Cottle[/hl], of course. They make a good team :)
    This is going to be the most multi-media fic ever. It has prequels, poetry spin-offs and a soundtrack :)

    That wouldn't be a red herring but a red beluga whale [face_laugh] [Note to self: next time, write a story where the entire backdrop to the plot is one, giant red herring and see how it works.]
    Well, we clearly belong to different schools of thought on this. I personally believe that there's a moment when truths must be said, however harsh, lest people start to indulge in their own depression.
    I hope you're not in a rush here, because that would be the next chapterS. Several of them, actually.
    Why am I not surprised? [face_laugh] Okay, I'll be waiting then. I want to see that!
    Thanks, and don't worry about the reviews (I've been having the same problem recently, in case you didn't notice :p)
    Choices of One is a brilliant little book, isn't it? I really liked how the different plotlines converged in the end and the characters were great. I re-read it (and Allegiance) when preparing for this, and it's amazing how the 5 stormtroopers are never described, but you can really picture them.
    I'm going to reply in Ewok Poet fashion here: [face_whistling]

    That already happened, actually, although it was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line in Part I, Chapter 31. More in the upcoming chapter :)
    About the numbers: in the short story Command Decision, the Admonitor is said to have a total crew of 47,000. My assumption is that they drop infantrymen and technicians on some of the worlds affiliated with the Empire of the Hand, so at any given moment there would be 37,000 people on board. As far as I know, you'll very seldom find references to women aboard Star Destroyers in Legends material, so I decided to stick with that -- I also find that having an all-male, all-white crew on Imperial ships (as opposed to mixed-gender and mixed-species crews on Rebel ships, like in ROTJ) works quite well as a narrative device to show the political orientation of the two forces. This is stuff I plan to put up for discussion in the "Ignorance is bias" thread when they're done dissecting the meaning of modern feminism (okay, maybe I won't wait until they're done, because I could wait forever.)
    Thanks! I'm glad I could surprise you ;)
    *channeling EP again* [face_whistling]
    Can you recommend one book in particular?
    In other words, the road to hell is paved with good intentions ;) I didn't want to delve too much into Thrawn's mind here (as you probably all noticed, I'm not very good with introspection) but that's very much how I imagine him here: a little old-fashioned and patriarchal, but also in a state where he is unable to see past his own pain and therefore sticking to what he knows.

    In case y'all haven't seen it, Nyota's Heart started a series of poems from Thrawn's perspective called Glimmering Facets of Feeling -- the last entry (which I'm yet to comment on) captures that mindset perfectly [face_love]

    Thanks again! Next chapter coming up in a few minutes.
  12. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    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 24: Friendship

    They settled in a routine of sorts over the next couple of weeks. LaRone came to her quarters every other day and led her to the training room. She didn’t speak much – in fact, there was no mistaking the deep sadness in her eyes – and he didn’t press. He monitored her carefully as she lifted weights – “you have to be careful with your arm, it was hurt pretty bad, so don’t push it, but you’re making progress every day,” – and taught her a wide variety of hand-to-hand combat techniques. She surprised him more than once with unexpected moves that sent him tumbling on the mat.

    “That was a cool trick,” he told her once when he found himself lying flat on his face with Ayesha pinning him to the floor, shoving a knee in the small of his back to hold him in place while she twisted his arm. “I didn’t even see you coming, how did you do it?” She shrugged as he stood up. “C’m’on, show me,” he insisted. “I promise I won’t use it against you.” She gave him a small smile and demonstrated. “Really cool trick,” he said again after they practiced it a few times. “That’s some fancy leg work there. Thanks!”

    “I’m sorry,” she said on another day when she saw him wince in pain as he got up from the mat. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

    He waved his hand to dismiss her apology. “You’re supposed to hurt me. This is hand-to-hand combat, remember?” He looked at her carefully. “You’re really good at this. Where did you learn?”

    “My brother showed me. He used to attend a wrestling academy.” He was still staring at her, visibly expecting her to say more. “Can we try that armlock again?” she asked to change the subject. “I don’t think I got it right.” And they resumed their exercises.

    A few weeks later, he went to the stack of melee weapons and extracted two wooden poles approximately one meter long. “Let’s get to the serious stuff,” he said, throwing one at her. “It’s a lot more fun when...” He stopped mid-sentence when he saw her balancing the training staff expertly in her hand and adjusting her grip. “Anyway, let’s get started.”

    Less than two minutes later, he was lying flat on his back, with Ayesha straddling his chest to trap his arms between her knees and pressing her pole across his neck. “Where the blue blazes did you learn that?”

    This time, the expression of utter bafflement on his face made her grin. “I told you, my brother showed me.”

    He twisted his torso slightly and gave a thrust on his elbows to throw her off. “Not good enough. Where did you learn? I’m officially curious now.”

    She told him about her adoptive family on Kashyyyk. “Rabarruk is very good with a ryyk blade. It’s a sort of Wookiee sword,” she explained when he gave her a questioning look. “He taught me a lot when I was a kid. I couldn’t perform the more powerful moves because the blades were too heavy for me, so he helped me figure out ways to use the weight of the blade to my advantage.”

    LaRone rubbed his neck. “So you actually beheaded me.” She nodded. “Wow. Just wow.” He stood up and pulled her to her feet. “Okay. Show me.”

    The ice was somehow broken after that conversation and he asked her more about herself over the following weeks. She still wasn’t in a talkative mood, but she was answering his questions with good grace. She explained that her Qukuuf was a Kiffar, not a Wookiee marking, that she had been adopted on Kashyyyk at the age of ten and that she had been an artist. “You’re still an artist,” he countered when he noticed that she spoke of herself in the past tense. She shrugged once more. “You are. I’ll see if I can get you some tools and materials next time we call dirtside.”

    He was horrified when he heard that her brother had been taken into slavery and that she hadn’t heard from him since. “This is simply disgusting,” he muttered. “It’s because of stuff like this that I don’t serve the Empire anymore.”

    She gave him a curious look. “Aren’t you an Imperial stormtrooper?”

    “Yes and no. I’m a deserter.” Her expression went from curious to perplexed, making him chuckle, and he explained that he and four friends had sneaked off the Star Destroyer Reprisal on a stolen Suwantek after killing an Imperial Security Bureau major who was holding him at blasterpoint for refusing to shoot alien civilians on Teardrop.

    Her perplexity turned to bewilderment. “What are you doing here?” she spluttered.

    LaRone laughed. “That’s a long story. The short version is that Admiral Thrawn found us in the Poln system and, instead of handing us over to the ISB for a court-martial, he recruited us to train more stormtroopers here in the Unknown Regions. I’m on duty rotation now, to keep me fresh.”

    Sorrow had washed over her when he spoke Thrawn’s name, and he couldn’t help but notice that her eyes were shining with tears. “Ayesha, are you alright?”

    She wiped her cheeks angrily. “So you think that you’re not serving the Empire anymore?”

    “Well, not really,” he answered. “This task force is quite independent from the Imperial Navy. They call us the Empire of the Hand, you know.”

    “I’m a hostage of the Empire and this task force is my prison,” she snapped. “How do you explain that?” He opened his mouth to speak but she took the training staff from his hand and put it away, together with her own. “This is enough for today, I’m tired. Let’s continue tomorrow.”

    The next time he came to pick her up, the buzz of the doorbell went unanswered. “She’s definitely inside, Sir,” the trooper on duty told him. “Maybe she’s resting or something.” Two days later, it was the same thing. Another two days later, again. “I’m sorry for meddling in stuff that’s none of my business, Sir, but I’m worried,” the guard piped up as LaRone turned around to leave. “It’s my third shift here this week, and I never saw her. She doesn’t even open the door when the kitchen staff bring her meals.”

    LaRone stared at the key panel for a moment. “Let me in,” he ordered. “Maybe she’s just sleeping or she’s in the ‘fresher, but I want to make sure she’s okay.”

    The trooper keyed the override code and LaRone stepped into the lounge to find Ayesha curled up on the little sofa, hugging her knees to her chest. She looked positively distraught. “Go away,” she mumbled when she saw him.

    He surveyed the scene carefully. The room was impeccably tidy, as if no one had been there, but Ayesha herself was a mess. She was wearing the same jumpsuit as the last time he had seen her. It was crumpled and stained with rings of perspiration under her armpits. Her hair was matted and her face was dirty, with visible tracks of tears on the grime covering her cheeks. “Did you spend the past six days sitting there?” he asked.

    “Go away,” she repeated. “I want to be alone.”

    He ignored her answer and came to sit at her side. “Listen, I’m sorry,” he started after a moment’s fidgeting. “It was an insensitive thing I said. I realize it’s a bit rich of me to be telling you that I’m not an Imperial when I know that we’re keeping you here against your will on COMPNOR’s orders. But keeping you here isn’t my decision. I’m way too far down the food chain to decide stuff like that.” She was staring blankly ahead of her. “I’m not a bad guy, Ayesha. I don’t mean you any harm. I’m just trying to make your life a little bit easier.”

    Her jaw was trembling. “I don’t have a life anymore,” she whispered. “They took everything from me. My life and my family and my dignity. I have nothing to live for.”

    “That’s not true,” he countered. “This isn’t going to last forever. You’ll get out of here and you’ll start over.”

    She shook her head. “You know, when I was a little girl, I was a slave. Then I was a street kid. Then I was taken hostage by a lunatic who... well, I think he wanted to destroy me. Then my brother went missing, then I lost my Ata’, and now the Emperor kidnapped me and he gave me to his goons and he killed my baby, and he put me in the custody of the father of that baby. How do I start over after this?”

    LaRone was visibly taken aback, but he composed himself quickly. “You will. You’re young, you’re what, my age? You have plenty of time to rebuild the life you want.” There was a long silence. “You can’t let them win, Ayesha. You’re a fighter if you already survived all this. You can’t just let go. If you keep thinking like this, then you’re really a prisoner. You’re letting the Empire steal your mind.” Her eyes shot at him sharply. “You’re going to start fixing your life right here and now,” he said firmly. “You already have a friend, if you want one. You have me.” She hesitated. “You have every reason to hate the Empire,” he went on. “But you can’t hate all of us just because we’re wearing a uniform. I’m not only a soldier, you know. I’m a person. I’m actually a good person. I come here on my free time to work out with you because I don’t want you to be miserable on this bucket of bolts. I’d really like to be your friend, and I think you could use a friend right now.”

    There was another long silence. “Thank you,” she finally breathed.

    LaRone grinned. “For nothing. That’s what friends are for. Now go and have a sonic so I can take you to the mess for lunch. Or better yet, take a shower. They put water in the VIP ‘freshers, didn’t they? You stink.”

    * * *​

    Their first lunch in the officers’ mess was awkward – Ayesha felt very uncomfortable at the sensation of hundred of male eyes fixed on her – and they agreed that they would have lunch in her quarters after their workouts on most days, but they would come to the mess every two weeks. “No, no, no, we had a deal,” LaRone said when the time for their second lunch out came around and she started mumbling that her dining room was more comfortable. “You can’t hide in there forever. You need to get used to sentient company again, and once a month isn’t nearly often enough for you to be seeing people.”

    “I see people,” she countered. “I see Doctor Cottle and I see you.”

    He chuckled. “We’re not people, we’re your doctor and your friend. You need to see people who are nothing to you.” She went to protest but he cut her off. “I won’t take no for an answer,” he said, pulling her by the wrist. “Besides, our first lunch in the mess kept the rumour mill busy for days and it was very entertaining. Come on now. There’s tomo-spiced ribenes on the menu. The cook prepares them really well and people swarm over them like blood beetles.”

    They loaded their trays and sat at the far end of a table near the viewport when a young Chiss in a pilot’s jumpsuit came and addressed LaRone in atrociously mangled Basic. “Sorry, I didn’t get that,” the stormtrooper said. “Can you say it again?” The Chiss said something just as incomprehensible, then swore and repeated it in Cheunh. LaRone raised his hands palms upwards. “Sorry, pal, I still don’t get it.”

    “He says that Captain Niriz wants to see you on the bridge at two hundred hours,” Ayesha interjected. “He wants to talk about training the Chiss pilots on Imperial SOPs.”

    LaRone’s eyes shot back to her. “You speak Cheunh?” She nodded. He stared at her for a moment. “Can you please tell him okay and thanks? And apologize for me while you’re at it, I’ve always been lousy at languages.” She translated dutifully, causing all eyes in the vicinity to turn to her and the Chiss pilot to give a start. He composed himself quickly and left with a crisp bow. “Where are your manners, guys?” LaRone called after a few seconds. “Didn’t mama tell you not to stare?” There was some laughter and the officers returned to their lunch and their conversations. “You’re really full of surprises, you know,” he told her. “How fluent are you?”

    She shrugged. “Reasonably.”

    “Wow. Do you think you could teach me? We had a Chiss instructor in my first year out here, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of what he wanted.”

    “Sure,” she said. “But it won’t be as good as being taught by a native speaker.”

    LaRone grinned. “It’s okay, I’m aiming for broken Cheunh anyway. Just enough to be able to communicate with the guys. We can start with swear words, so I can insult you properly when you kick my ass.”

    She was surprised when the doorbell rang the next morning – LaRone wasn’t due to come back until the following day – and even more surprised when she found the Chiss pilot standing outside her door. “I am Kres’ten’tarthi,” he said in Cheunh.

    She nodded and introduced herself. “Is there something I can do for you?”

    “I joined Syndic Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s Household Phalanx recently,” he explained. “I am having some difficulties with my studies of the Basic language. I was wondering if you could assist me.”

    She gave him a curious look. “Don’t you have a language instructor?”

    His impassive face took a slightly embarrassed expression. “The Chiss are not very open to outsiders. My colleagues would simply not come to the classes, and the course was cancelled. But I want to understand more about Humans and I would like to learn. I have been trying with the language databases in the library but as you saw yesterday, I am not making much progress. I asked the other pilots for help, but no one has any time to spare.” He suddenly looked very uneasy, as if he had said something rude. “I did not mean that you have nothing to do, of course. I...”

    She interrupted him. “It’s okay, it’s true that I don’t have much to do. Sure, I’ll help you.”

    His face broke into a warm smile that reminded her so much of Thrawn that she nearly burst into tears. “Thank you. I am grateful. But I have nothing to offer in return,” he added a little shyly. “You already speak Cheunh very well. I could teach you Minnisiat, a trade language from these regions, but it is very easy.”

    “Minnisiat sounds great,” she mumbled. “When do you want to start?”

    “I would like to start as soon as possible. I will see how to book a pilot ready room and I will propose a time, is that all right?”

    “What for? We can meet up here,” she offered.

    “That would not be appropriate,” he answered firmly. “I will book us a ready room.”

    LaRone was grinning when he turned up for their next workout. “I hear that you’re going to be teaching Basic to little Stent,” he said. She arched an eyebrow. “You know, the noob, the Chiss pilot. I can’t pronounce his name, so he gave up and told me to call him Stent. I had an interesting conversation with him last night, mostly sign language. It was great fun.” She chuckled. “Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want. The second thing you’re teaching me after swear words is how to pronounce Chiss names. You won’t be laughing then, believe me.” He dragged her to the training room. “I hope you’re in good shape today,” he said as they climbed on the treadmills. “I’m in the mood for serious business.”

    The workout was even more gruelling than usual. LaRone was attacking from all angles at once, but she stood her ground and sent him tumbling to the mat several times with a well-placed kick, or immobilized him with a clever armlock. The hallway was deserted when they walked back to her quarters two hours later. “Where’s the guard?” she asked as she opened the door.

    LaRone’s grin widened. “No more guard,” he said. “You just graduated to stormtrooper level. From now on, you’re moving around the ship on your own.” He pulled a small chain with a pendant from his pocket and placed it around her neck. “This is a panic button,” he explained. “If you ever find yourself in a situation you don’t think you can handle, you just key it and I’ll be there in no time, but I doubt you’ll ever need it. Anyone who tries to mess around with you is going to get a run for their money.” She looked at him, inexplicably sad. “What’s wrong, Ayesha?”

    “Does this mean that you won’t be coming anymore?” she asked in a small voice.

    “Are you out of your mind? I got used to the luxuries of the VIP section, I’m not going back to the gym in the barracks. Besides, I’m sure you still have a few Wookiee tricks up your sleeve, and I’m not going anywhere until I learn them all.” He gestured towards the intercom. “Order us some lunch. We’re starting on Cheunh swear words today.”
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Super-duper! I love LaRone's great blend of pragmatic, get your butt moving and don't wallow attitude with hey we're not all villains and scumbags. @};- I like his way of approach. Candid, warm, without being pushy. You can tell he really cares and is genuinely confident that Ayesha can regain some sort of serenity. Contentment, much less, happiness, is beyond the realm of comprehension at this stage. :( Her catalogue of all that the Empire did is daunting, daunting!

    Leia lost a great, great deal but she had the luxury and the therapy of needing to be strong and fighting for a greater cause and the idea to restore justice and overthrow a tyrannical oppressive regime. Still and all, she benefited from friendships too :) and also doubtless needed to vent and literally grieve.

    Ayesha is feeling the sorrow anyone would feel at the loss of love but is in denial about that facet of loss. So it's like being in denial about a fatal wound. No, it's not there! I don't feel a thing. :eek:

    LOL I love wandering into introspective avenues. :cool: The subtlety and depth are awesome and multi-layered. [:D]
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Hey, Kres'ten'tarthi isn't that hard to say! But then my own real-life name is of the "Tallisibeth Enwandung-Esterhazy" variety, so I'm one to talk. Mitth'raw'nuruodo is harder, IMHO. :p I love seeing nice honest, unwhitewashed language-barrier depictions in the GFFA, which there must be in a Galaxy this size but which I feel we don't get to see often in the literature. Have any Cheunh curses been established in official literature, or are going to make some up for us? (cough cough Fanon post! cough cough) :D In any case, I find it immensely cool that Ayesha has managed to make not one but two mutual language instruction arrangements (but see below...), and I can't wait to see what will come of them.

    I am inclined to like this Stent fellow—he projects a rather lovable timid first-year-college-student vibe at present. But is it an accident that he too shows up asking Ayesha for language help the very day after Daric asks her for language help? It's possible that I'm reading too much in, but I kind of wonder if there's more to that coincidence than meets the eye. [face_thinking] But I probably shouldn't worry and just let Ayesha enjoy making her new friends!

    Enjoyed the nod to the foodies' thread in the "tomo-spiced ribenes." That made me smile. :D

    It's encouraging that Ayesha has "graduated" (!) to the point where she can go around the ship on her own. Just that alone will probably take away much of the "gilded cage" feeling and work wonders for her morale. (And this chapter helped get me a lot clearer about Daric LaRone and where this fits in his own story—so thanks. :) )
  15. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Trying to catch up on reading and reviewing.....Poor Ayesha and poor Thrawn (there's a sentence I never expected to write :)) I think I've always known it was going to blow up on them, because you can't declare large chunks of your life off limits to your partner and expect it to just work out, but I never thought things would be this gut-wrenchingly horrible for them.

    This chapter ties in with something I was reflecting on last night. Thrawn may not agree with everything His Sheeviness does, but he's very much a "work within the system" kind of person. He may exploit its loopholes or bend the system to within an inch of its life, but he's not about to go out and rebel against the established order to achieve his goals. Ayesha, on the other hand... Well, the system has basically stomped on her her entire life. She's been sold as a slave, ostracized, tortured, raped. Only those outside the system (the Wookiees, Quinlan, the Center) have ever helped her. For Thrawn to say that he can't (although Ayesha hears "won't") take her home to Kashyyk just proves to her he's part of the system that always brutalized her and puts that system above the needs of his lifemate. And these issues resurface when La Rone says he's not part of the Empire.

    As you said, Thrawn and Ayesha have really been talking past each other anytime the his service to the Empire comes up. Thrawn is all about duty and honor; having given his word to serve Palpatine, he can't break it, while Ayesha can't understand how anyone could serve such an unjust regime, especially when the atrocities become so personal. And they both have points, but neither one can budge from what they see as right. It's going to be a long hard road ahead of them, if they're going to come back together.

    On a lighter note, I love how you've stitched together all the events in Thrawn's "official" biography like the ysalimiri and noghri. (And I'm still holding out hope for the Lifeform. This is Legends and Sheevster has the spaarti cyclinders and who knows what other eeeevil medical facilities. Don't tell me if I'm wrong; just let me have my headcanon :D)
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Raissa Baiard - your insights are stellar! @};- @};-

    Mara's epiphany whether it started in The Last Command and/or ended in Vision of the Future - it took a looooooong time for her to divorce her "loyalty" and "duty" to what she saw as the "legitimate government" and her own self-image/worth/value as a person. To herself and much less to the galaxy at large and Luke and his family. The fact that Luke could feel compassion for her and eventually love her [face_dancing] were like wow! moments. Really?! :cool:

    So, Thrawn is basically serving the Empire's ends for his own, not of course being privy to all the Sithly machinations and diabolical schemes. The Clones and the Jedi were also pawns, :( sad to say, especially with the whole Order #66. And Padme endorsing "Chancellor" Palpatine. That must've rubbed!


    I can so see Ayesha as a Rebel. :cool: Her with the deep-cover spy/agent Scarlet Hark. That would be all kinds of awesome!
  17. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    This I adored especially when she thought he would not be visiting anymore. I really like LaRone and Yes the book 'Choices of One' is great.

    I liked how she knew stuff that she taught LaRone from her Wookiee training.

    And the Stent character is wonderful and adds a friend to her new pack so to speak.

    I look forward to more of these characters' interactions.:)
  18. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Nice building of the beginnings of a friendship with LaRone (and maybe Stent?) I'm curious how that will turn out. Raissa Baiard's interpretation of Ayesha and Thrawn a few posts back is everything that I haven't been able to articulate about that situation. Really love the complexity of these characters. :)
  19. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Another terrific chapter. I knew I liked LaRone for some reason.

    I think Ayesha is starting to feel more in control a bit; she has skills that they don't have, and it gives her confidence to be able to instruct others. LaRone and Stent give her respect as a teacher, and that respect helps her to define herself as a person with value.

    Still not sure if Thrawn is a part of this, or if it's just Dr. Cottle, but there are lessons here that Thrawn better start paying attention to.

    Someone needs to get that woman a sketchbook. She needs to express herself like she did before with her self-portrait sculpture.
  20. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    May 6, 2003
    "You just graduated to stormtrooper level"... just great! :D
    And I really love "little Stent"!

    As always, great characterization!

    Sorry, short reply again.
    Right now I wish my days had 48 hours... :rolleyes:
  21. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    God, I loved the beginning of this chapter. KICK A55, AYESHA, KICK A55!!!

    This time, the expression of utter bafflement on his face made her grin. “I told you, my brother showed me.”

    If she is to emerge as a tough, badass chick on top of being a great arist; I totally like this. Love the idea of a small woman fighting like a furry beast, too. :D

    Sadly, it appears that the road to that is still long. The mini-breakdown that occurred upon finding that Thrawn has a mini-empire of his own was a proof of that.

    He ignored her answer and came to sit at her side. “Listen, I’m sorry,” he started after a moment’s fidgeting. “It was an insensitive thing I said. I realize it’s a bit rich of me to be telling you that I’m not an Imperial when I know that we’re keeping you here against your will on COMPNOR’s orders. But keeping you here isn’t my decision. I’m way too far down the food chain to decide stuff like that.” She was staring blankly ahead of her. “I’m not a bad guy, Ayesha. I don’t mean you any harm. I’m just trying to make your life a little bit easier.”

    Having read LaRone's back story, he's, in some way, a male counterpart to Ayesha.

    He chuckled. “We’re not people, we’re your doctor and your friend. You need to see people who are nothing to you.

    While I agree with LaRone, this is easier sad and done. People shy away for a number of reasons, Ayesha had trust issues that were legitimate from day one, the PTSD-like condition with the word "Empire" apparently being a trigger that causes her to go for a week (in our terms) without washing herself, which is a known symptom of all creates a confusing mix so, at this point, the "baby step" of beating her agoraphobia-like condition by having a meal with all those Imps starring at her is actually much, much larger than both Cottle and LaRone may realise.

    “Didn’t mama tell you not to stare?”


    And then, the language instructor plot twist. The things Ayesha could learn about the Chiss culture that Thrawn may have never told her, and the things she could get from a pilot in return...hmmm. So many things she can give, to both Stent and LaRone and she is already getting a lot from LaRone, in form of his friendship and his being her sparing partner. So, at this point, I am curious so as to what will be Stent's returned favour.

    Also, everything Raissa Baiard said in her second paragraph is pretty much on-spot and probably closer to truth than my crack!pot idea that Thrawn may have arranged everything himself. Let's forget that one, he's just a loophole fan. :D

    One of my favourite chapters so far. So much character development, ups and downs and it did not require a single battle scene, a single hint of romance, anything shocking in terms of horror and gore... =D=
  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! A few replies before we move on to chapter 25.
    LaRone is a great character and he's a character I very much enjoy reading and writing (as you probably all guessed by now) -- and since you drew the parallel with Leia, I'll add here that I imagine him as borrowing traits both from Han's happy-go-lucky scoundrel attitude and Luke's warmth and compassion. Watching him interact with Luke and Han in Allegiance and Choices of One was simply delightful!
    I guess it all depends what you makes of the apostrophes -- I tried both 'ayn and alif hamza, and both are impossible to pronounce 8-}
    IIRC, the only Cheunh swear in Legends is "ktah" and it's just a general-purpose curse. TBH I haven't come up with any of my own, because I just can't imagine Thrawn (or Stent, for that matter) letting out strings of curses, but of course that may change.
    [face_thinking] Hmmm. I dunno. I think that, with 37,000+ people packed in a single ship, a Star Destroyer must be a huge rumour mill, so I doubt there's much going on in terms of coincidences.
    Tomo-spiced ribenes is the one GFFA food name that has me fantasising about food. Just from the sound of it, it must be awesome =P~ Also, it's Luke's favourite dish, and Luke is known to be a man of taste.
    Getting to that in the next chapter, so just scroll down...

    Like Nyota said, your insights are stellar :) The only bit I'd add to your characterisation of Thrawn is that he's a control freak, and that streak really takes over in the clumsiest possible way when he finds himself faced with an unforeseen situation.
    Okay, headcanon [face_whistling]

    This is another fic (or set of fics) that begs to be written. Someone please say that you're working on it ;)

    Thanks! I vaguely remember saying something about this in replies about a previous chapter. I wasn't planning to make Ayesha a fighter of any sort when I started out on this story, but once I had decided that she was adopted by Wookiees it kind of became necessary that she would know the basics -- I mean, how can one survive on Kashyyyk without that? As a side note, the idea that Wookiees have wrestling academies is canon, even if none is ever mentioned on Kashyyyk itself (see here)
    Ask and you shall receive :)

    Thanks :) Just scroll down for more.

    Thrawn is in a system far, far away right now, fighting the Battle of Derra IV -- and as you said, it's a shame he's not around to see how others are able to deal with his lifemate's issues better than him.
    Someone will but... erm... it's complicated.

    Thanks! And no worries about short replies -- moving is a tedious, time-consuming business. I hope you're sorted out soon!
    Not to spoil your headcanon :p but I said from day 1 that Ayesha isn't a warrior woman, so the "tough, badass chick" scenario is clearly not going to happen -- although the idea of a Human woman fighting like a Wookiee was too tempting to resist. But if she could really fight like a Wookiee, maybe she wouldn't need that panic button [face_thinking]
    Or maybe they do realise, which is why they insist that she does it? ;)

    Thanks again, everyone [:D] Next chapter up in a few minutes.
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    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]

    EDIT: I'll be away on a three-day weekend, so the next chapter will be up on Monday evening or maybe even Tuesday morning EEST.


    Chapter 25: Troukruka

    A few more weeks went by. LaRone was still coming over every other day for a workout-cum-language-lesson with Ayesha. His progress in Cheunh was slow – “I told you I’m lousy at languages and you signed up anyway, now deal with it,” he told her – but they had a few good laughs when he told her how he had mangled a word or another in a discussion with some Chiss crewman and ended up saying something entirely different from what he intended. He always closed those conversations with a shrug. “What do you expect from a people who mess up merchants and fishing boats?” he said. “No wonder they’re tucked nice and comfy in their little corner of space.”

    Stent, on the other hand, was learning Basic remarkably fast. He always turned up in the pilot ready room having done all of his homework and more, and she soon took to going to the library to figure out more learning materials for him. She struck a friendship of sorts with a spindly librarian droid dubbed Garamond Narrow by the crew, who dug up for her a bunch of Corellian manuals that dated back to before the Clone Wars. “Where did you find these, Garamond?” she asked as she flicked through them.

    “I don’t know, Ma’am,” the droid replied in his electronic voice. “They were already here when I came on board, I’m a recent acquisition. The Dewey 100M series, to which I belong, is the latest hot thing on the market for library management,” he added proudly. She suppressed a smile – her time dealing with Ceetoo, the fussy protocol droid assigned to her in the Imperial Palace, has taught her the importance of avoiding to offend mechanical susceptibilities – and handed him her library chip. “Please take good care of them,” he said as he returned it, together with the datacards. “These have historical value. The cards themselves are an older model, and I would hate to see them spoiled.”

    She was back in her quarters and was sitting at her desk when the doorbell rang. She tensed up when she found herself in the presence of Major Vermel. “I just came back from the Core and I have something for you,” he said. He dug in his satchel and extracted a large, thick flimsi envelope with her name in Thrawn’s handwriting. She took a step back. “Aren’t you going to take it?”

    “I don’t want it.”

    Vermel looked at her carefully. “Ayesha, Thrawn and you had something exceptional. I understand that you’ve been through hell and back, but...”

    “I’m still in hell, Major,” she snapped. “I never came back and I don’t think I ever will. Please take that and go away.”

    There was a silence. “It’s not his fault, Ayesha,” Vermel said finally. “He never wanted any of this for you. It’s bad enough that he’s blaming himself...”

    “I don’t care what he does,” she interrupted. “And I certainly don’t need to hear your thoughts about it. Go away.”

    He hesitated, then laid the envelope on the desk. “I’m leaving it here in case you change your mind.” She went to protest. “My job is to deliver letters,” he said firmly. “I delivered it. Whether you read it or not isn’t my problem. Have a nice evening.” And he turned on his heel and left.

    When LaRone came for their workout the next morning, she was still in her nightdress. “What, you had an all-night party and you didn’t invite me?” he teased with his usual cheerfulness. “Come on, get dressed. I want to kick your cute little ass, and then we have Cheunh conjugations to go over.” She vanished to the bedroom to change, leaving him to wait by the door. “Is this a letter?” he asked when she came back, pointing at the envelope that was still on the desk. “An actual, flimsi letter? I haven’t seen one of those in ages.” He took the envelope and held it in the light. “This is amazing, you know. On Copperline, because we’re a bunch of poor devils, we only used datachips. It made us feel like...” His voice trailed off as his gaze returned to her. He finally noticed that her eyes were red and that she visibly hadn’t slept much. “I just put my foot in my mouth and all the way down my throat, didn’t I?” he said after an uncomfortable silence.

    “It’s okay,” she mumbled.

    He scrutinized her face for a moment. “Do you want to talk about it?”

    “No,” she snapped. “Please put that in the wastebasket, and let’s go to the training room.”

    He stared at her a few seconds longer and laid Thrawn’s letter back on the table. “I think you should put it in the wastebasket yourself, if you really want to discard it. It’s only flimsi after all, it won’t burn you or anything. Now go back to your bedroom, you’re wearing your jumpsuit inside out.”

    Her mood in the following days remained sombre. The circles under her eyes became darker, she was failing at every one of their hand-to-hand combat exercises and she forgot to turn up for one of Stent’s language lessons. LaRone was increasingly worried and he was considering to ask Captain Niriz to place a guard outside her door again, or at least a medic, until a morning when he came to find her by the viewport, staring at the planet that the Admonitor was orbiting. “This is Troukruka,” he said. “Homeworld of the Troukree. Did you ever hear about them?”

    “Yes,” she answered sadly. “They make beautiful knives.”

    He came to stand at her side and handed her the bundle of cloth he was carrying. “Here. Make yourself pretty, we’re going to visit them.” She gave him a startled look. “You need a change of scenery, you can’t stay on this bucket of bolts all the time,” he chuckled. “I cleared it with Parck and I had a dress made for you. Now hurry up or we’re going to be late, and that would get me in trouble.”

    The Lambda-class shuttle dropped through the clouds and flew over the luxuriant savannah before manoeuvring to land on a platform on the outskirts of a large settlement dotted with dozens of cranes. “This is the new capital city, Baanteera,” LaRone explained as they unstrapped themselves from their seats. “It means ‘liberation’ in the Troukree language. It’s still under construction. The old capital was a few clicks to the east, but it was destroyed when we took the planet back from Nuso Esva and the Troukree said they’d rather start from scratch.”

    Ayesha stood up and nervously smoothed the fluid, sleeveless dress that fell all the way to her ankles. Her hair had grown longer since her head had been shaved for the brain surgery, and she tried to discipline a rebellious lock behind her ear. “You look great,” LaRone whispered reassuringly. “And this is a friendly world. The Troukree are very hospitable sentients. Just follow Commander Parck, I’ll be one step behind you anyway.” He slipped on his helmet and motioned her to the boarding ramp. “After you, Ma’am,” he intoned in his electronic voice.

    The little troupe filed out of the shuttle, led by Parck and a Chiss officer Ayesha didn’t know. She followed them and was followed in turn by LaRone and his squad. The alley before them was lined with short, bipedal aliens sporting green scales and fur tufts and holding BlasTech E-11 rifles across their chest. Parck came to a halt in front of an older Troukree – at least, Ayesha assumed, that was what the white threads interspersed in his green fur indicated – who was flanked by four absurdly short stormtroopers to his left and another four, human-sized ones to his right, including a scout trooper. Another, apparently younger Troukree was standing one step behind him. Parck gave them both a deep bow. “I bring you Admiral Thrawn’s greetings,” he said formally. “He deeply regrets not being able to enjoy the honour of your company on this occasion.”

    The older Troukree bowed in turn. “The honour would have been ours, but we do understand that Admiral Thrawn has obligations, and we are no less honoured by your presence.” He took a step forward and took Parck’s hand between his. His face broke into a smile. “And I know that you will transmit to the Admiral our pledge of everlasting gratitude and friendship.”

    Parck smiled back. “It’s good to see you, Nikhtood,” he said warmly. “And you, Vaantaar,” he added as the younger Troukree stepped forward. “May I introduce Ayesha Eskari. She’s a very talented artist and would be interested in visiting your craftsmen’s workshops after the ceremony.”

    The young Troukree fell ceremonially to one knee in front of Ayesha, as if she were royalty, then stood up and led her to one of the elaborately embossed gravcars waiting outside the landing area. She saw in the corner of her eye that the four short stormtroopers had fallen in step behind Parck and Nikhtood, while three of the humans, joined by LaRone, were following her and climbed in her carriage together with Vaantaar. The scout trooper’s speeder bike was hovering at their side. Someone whistled to set the slick, three-horned beasts of burden yoked to the cars in motion and they jerked forward, dragging the procession towards the city as the Troukree warriors formed in neat rows behind them.

    LaRone put his rifle between his knees. “These guys are Marcross, Grave and Quiller. We can’t take the helmets off now, so you’ll have to wait a bit for faces. The one on the bike over there is Brightwater. They just finished training the first contingent of Troukree stormtroopers in the history of the Empire. I thought that Vaantaar would become Company Commander, but I hear you decided to go for the Navy instead,” he added with a nod at the young Troukree. “The boss’s influence no doubt.”

    Vaantaar tore his eyes off Ayesha and held up his hands, revealing dog-like pads on his palms and fingers. “I have learned much from you, and I am thankful,” he answered a little apologetically. “But Admiral Thrawn taught me his love of the stars. I cannot go back to the land now.”

    He sank into silence again and his gaze returned to Ayesha, whose eyes were clouded with sorrow since Parck had spoken Thrawn’s name. He seemed mesmerized. “You can talk to Ayesha, you know,” LaRone told him. “I promise – I think I can promise at least – that she won’t bite.”

    The Troukree stared at her for a long moment. “My people have a debt of gratitude to you,” he said finally. “Admiral Thrawn said that you looked at our handicrafts and saw into our soul.” He gestured towards the battalion marching behind the carriages. “We owe this to you.”

    She mumbled an embarrassed protest and started asking him questions about the planet to change the subject. The gravcars were now trundling along a wide avenue leading to a monumental building – the new Houses of Council, he said – in front of which a stage had been built. The sidewalks were packed with hundreds of Troukree, some of them smaller and more slender than the warriors, and with less fur tufts, and some outright tiny – females and younglings, she decided – who were cheering the procession and showering it with fragrant flowers. “This is a happy day for my people,” Vaantaar explained. “Admiral Thrawn gave us back our homeworld, and you inspired him to teach us how to protect our defenceless. The debt will not be forgotten and it will be repaid in full.”

    Marcross flipped the tongue-activated switch of his helmet comlink to move to the stormtroopers’ private frequency, so as not to be heard by Ayesha and Vaantaar. “Who’s the babe?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” Grave interjected, matching his friend’s tone. “You were supposed to be on duty rotation, LaRone. Life sounds sweet aboard the Admonitor.”

    “Knock it off, guys,” LaRone said wearily.

    “Aw, aw, aw,” Brightwater piped up from his bike. “The Commander doesn’t want to be teased about his new girlfriend.”

    “I advise you not to tease anyone about her,” LaRone snapped. “And she’s not my girlfriend.”

    “Well, the rest of us still stand a chance then,” Quiller chimed in. “Do you think she’d fall for the natural charm of a guy like me?”

    LaRone grabbed his wrist. “Trust me, you don’t want to go there. She was the Admiral’s woman until the Empire took her hostage to keep her family from joining the Rebellion, and she got raped by a gang of thugs during the trip to the Admonitor. If you’d seen her or Thrawn when they brought her on board, you’d understand that there’s nothing to make fun about.”

    There were audible gasps from the three stormtroopers, and Brightwater nearly lost his balance. “What happened to those bastards?” Quiller asked.

    “We still have them in the brig,” LaRone replied. “I’m kind of amazed Thrawn didn’t blast them to space litter, but they’re in pretty bad shape, I can tell you that.”

    There was a subdued silence. “I don’t get it,” Marcross blurted. “They didn’t seriously order the Admiral to keep his own woman hostage?”

    LaRone sighed. “They did.”

    There was another silence. “Gee,” Brightwater muttered as the carriages reached the esplanade where the stage had been set. “I’m really glad we’re not serving that Empire anymore.”

    * * *​

    Ayesha thought that day would never end. She sat through the lengthy graduation ceremony and listened to the endless speeches that referred to Thrawn as the benefactor of the Troukree people. Then there was a banquet – the Troukree had prepared for their guests food that was more palatable to humans than their own fare of live insects, raw fish and small rodents – where she was placed next to Nikhtood, who, despite LaRone’s best efforts to steer the conversation to other topics, went on and on about Thrawn’s miraculous planning and execution of the bloody battle against Nuso Esva, and his generosity in assisting with the reconstruction of Troukruka. Then Vaantaar took her around the city and to the artisans’ workshops. The young Troukree visibly hero-worshipped the Admiral and found a way to place his name, which he uttered with deep reverence, in nearly every sentence. Many civilians came to them while they walked in the shady streets, and they all fell to one knee, as he had, when he introduced her as ‘Ayesha’naara kalameen Thrawn’uuo mataakeera’. She finally summoned the courage, or perhaps the exasperation, to ask what it meant, fully expecting that she would not like the answer. “It means ‘Lady Ayesha, Overlord Thrawn’s insightful life companion’,” Vaantaar explained as if it were obvious. “This is the title we have given you in our language since Admiral Thrawn told us of what you saw in us.”

    “Well, the title is wrong,” she said angrily. “I’m not his life companion, insightful or not.”

    Vaantaar stopped dead in his tracks. “You betrayed the Admiral?” He seemed positively scandalized.

    She gave him a furious look. “I didn’t betray him, he betrayed me.”

    The Troukree stared at her for a long moment. “That is impossible,” he finally said.

    The answer had her seething. “Please take this back.” She shoved into his hand the elegant knife he had offered her in the central government workshop. “I don’t want it. I’ll return to the shuttle now.” And she spun on her heel and walked away. A stunned Vaantaar trotted after her, mumbling something about showing her the way. “Stay away from me,” she screamed with tears in her eyes as she broke into a run. “I’m not the Admiral’s companion and you don’t have my charge. I don’t want your help. I’ll find my way on my own.”

    She ended up getting lost and wandered aimlessly across the city, until she found a small public garden with benches around a pond. She fell to her knees at the edge of the water and began sobbing uncontrollably. She didn’t realize that she wasn’t alone anymore until she felt a soft contact on her wrists, and she looked up to see a small Troukree child standing at her side, trying to pry her hands away from her face. The youngling scrutinized her for a few seconds with his big, round eyes, then simply wrapped his arms around her neck and cried with her when she hugged him back. This was how LaRone found her as the sun sank under the horizon. He took off his helmet and crouched at her side. “It didn’t go too well, did it?” he asked. She burst into sobs again. “I’m sorry. I thought you’d like to come here, I thought it would do you some good. I didn’t mean to upset you, I really thought you’d like them.”

    “I do like them,” she hiccupped. “They’re nice. It’s just that...”

    “Yeah. It’s just that they talk about him all the time,” LaRone completed for her when she didn’t finish her sentence. He stood up and patted her shoulder. “Come on. We’re going back to the Admonitor.” She was still hugging the child fiercely. “You need to let go of this little guy,” he added gently. “His parents must be wondering where he’s gone, you’ve been here for more than two hours.”

    She gave a start, as if suddenly realizing what she’d done. “How did you even know I was here?”

    “You’re wearing your panic button. It has a built-in tracking chip.” She stared at him for a heartbeat, then pulled the panic button from around her neck and went to fling it in the pond. LaRone caught her hand. “Don’t be stupid, Ayesha. There’s no point to a panic button if it doesn’t tell me where you are. I’m not using it to spy on you. No one’s spying on you. I just wanted you to have it for situations like this, or worse.” He tugged her to her feet. “Come on, get up. The shuttle already left with Parck and the others, we’re flying with the guys.”

    The little Troukree took her hand and guided them down a narrow alley. LaRone placed his armour-clad arm around her shoulders. “I was really worried when Vaantaar told me you’d left,” he said. “The city’s safe, but there are some pretty nasty predators on this planet and they sometimes come a bit too close for comfort.”

    The youngling stopped in front of the gate of a small house and pointed silently towards a street to the left. She knelt and hugged him tightly again. “Thank you,” she whispered. He watched them walk away and gave her a small wave of his hand when she peeked over her shoulder before they took the street he had indicated, and then they rounded the corner and he was gone.

    The scout trooper named Brightwater was loading his speeder bike in a Suwantek TL-1800 transport when they reached a landing pad not far away from the one where they’d arrived. “Welcome to the Baratta, a.k.a. Hand of Judgement Luxury Liners,” he said with a mock salute. He turned to a building to the side and shouted, “All aboard!”

    Two more stormtroopers emerged from the little building, followed by Vaantaar. The young Troukree came straight to Ayesha, but he was visibly embarrassed. He fell to one knee again. “We changed your title,” he said before she could place a word. “It is ‘Ayesha’naara mataakeera’ now. It means ‘insightful Lady Ayesha’, if that is acceptable.” He rose to his feet and pulled from his belt the knife she had returned to him, as well as his own, and held both by the blade to present the handles to her. “Our debt of gratitude still stands. I humbly request that you take these two, one as a sign that you accept the allegiance of my people, the other as a gesture of forgiveness towards me.”

    “I should be the one to apologize,” she mumbled contritely.

    “No,” he replied. “When I proposed your first title, I failed to see that someone with your insight is not defenceless. Someone with your insight is a person who is complete and whole.” He pushed the knives towards her. “Please.”

    LaRone nudged Ayesha from behind. “Take them,” he whispered. “You can chuck them in a drawer once we’re up there, but he doesn’t deserve that kind of insult.” She took the knives reluctantly and bowed her head in acknowledgement. Vaantaar went to speak again, but LaRone cut him short. “We should be going, and so should you, Vaantaar,” he said firmly. “The Admonitor is waiting for us, and the Troukree contingent need the captain of their flagship. We’ll see you in space.”

    He led Ayesha up the ramp and to a passenger compartment in the back of the Baratta. “I’m assuming you’re not in the mood for socializing, so you can have this cabin all to yourself, but if you want company, you know where to find us.” He stepped outside. “Ready for takeoff,” he called as the door slid shut behind him. “Quiller, take us home.”


    Author's notes:

    Troukruka is the name I came up with for the Troukree homeworld, which is unnamed in canon. The description of the planet is also my fanon. I wasn't in the mood to make up any "real" Troukree words for this, so I just vaguely borrowed the phonetics from what (very) little Somali I know.

    LaRone's joke about merchants and fishing boats is a reference to Outbound Flight. The word "pohskapforian" in Cheunh means merchant when the p is aspirated in the second syllable, and fishing boat when it is unaspirated.

    Garamond and Dewey are recent additions to Chyn's List of Lousy Puns that the librarians and editors among us will have no problem identifying.

    Vaantaar is a canon character that appears in Choices of One. Nikhtood is an OC.

    The Suwantek TL-1800 that the five stormtroopers use in this story isn't the same as in Choices of One, since Mara Jade took their old ship at the end of the book.
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful peek into a culture full of gratitude to the Admiral and also that Ayesha helped to decipher back in the day. @};- Vermel's little "nudge" about the letter at the start there, still too soon for that bit of encouragement I see.

    The only ones outspoken enough to "instruct" Thrawn on the finer psychological points [face_laugh] would be 1. Cottle or 2. Quinlan. ;)

    I can't get the phrase "working in the system" out of my head =D= and the resultant feeling of inadvertent culpability and condonance that implies. :eek:
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  25. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    My favorite's in this is LaRone's admiration of the handwritten flimsis and then your use of 'foot in mouth and all the way down my throat' very nice add in. And the comment when he told her to go back and put her jumpsuit on correctly ---- that's cute -- I've told a friend once or twice about having his shirt on inside out.

    Your talk of the tongue switch in the Stormtrooper's helmet is brilliant --- a reference created by Timothy Zahn which explained a long time question from ANH -- when Han taps his helmet it really is a down transmitter. Before a trooper takes off his helmet that tongue switch has to be switched into the 'off' position hence when Luke and Han steal/borrow their suits then destroyed the transmitters. Kudos!!!^:)^

    It was also good to see LaRone put his boys in place about What happened to Aeysha and for them to behave and be nice to her.

    And the scene with the little boy when he hugs Aeysha by the pond and cries with her --- it was wonderful but was almost a one kleenex moment.