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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
    I think we are starting to see Ayesha crack a little here. It's exhausting to be angry all the time. She may not be anywhere near ready to connect again to Thrawn but she is definitely allowing herself to connect to LaRone. The selfless compassion of that little child means so much, as did the sincere apology from LaRone.

    The title that Vaantaar addresseed her as, "Lady Ayesha, Overlord Thrawn’s insightful life companion," is still assigning her to the role of simply a possession of Thrawn's. She has had about enough of that. No wonder she was hurt. I'd have been peeved too if someone defined me in terms of my husband. But to his credit, he understood that her insight has nothing to do with her personal relationship with Thrawn.

    I'm glad she was able to resolve things with the Troukree, and they with her.

    And Garamond Narrow, the librarian? :p Too cute.
     
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  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Always exciting and fun to meet interesting aliens and get a glimpse of their planet, food, customs, etc. Though given Ayesha's current state of mind, I can see where some of that food turned to ashes in her mouth having to hear about Thrawn, Thrawn, Thrawn all the time from them. But it was good of Vaantar to go the extra mile to come back and apologize, even offering his own knife as a gesture of contrition. I imagine those knives are going to be fantastic for sculpting work if Ayesha decides to do any again.

    I too am intrigued by the scene with the Troukree boy comforting Ayesha. I wonder if he will grow up to be someone we recognize, or someone otherwise important to the story... [face_thinking]

    LaRone is working out to be a true friend. His exchange with his crewmates is interesting, not least of all because it causes them to start seeing the true gravity of the situation and to make the transition to something more than stereotypical military machismo, which we see in the question "They didn’t seriously order the Admiral to keep his own woman hostage?" Which of course also starts explaining something we've all probably been wondering about, yet also raises questions: did Thrawn resist this order, or is he going willingly along with it because he thinks he can explain everything to Ayesha later? (The latter is arguably worse than the former.)

    Again, [face_thinking]. (Which is :) ! )
     
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Findswoman - I too am curious about sculpting - particularly the wonder and magnificence of the Singing stone. [face_dancing] [face_dancing] The therapeutic and symbolic meanings of that particular art form, [face_love] [face_love] @};-
     
  4. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Chapter 24:

    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.”

    LaRone did not only get through to her, but also to me! Thank you for this Chyntuck. The point is not to let people win who hurt you in the past. If the switch in your head is turned to survival only, you hurt the people that care for you.


    Chapter 25:

    I hope LaRone and other people give not up on her so easily! There is light and life and love outside the pain.

    Since I started reading this fic month ago, I re-discovered Tori Amos by the way. Also thanks for that!
     
  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm back (after a mahvelous long weekend)! Thanks all for reading and reviewing. I'm in the process of catching up with everything, so I'll post now and reply to your comments later :)

    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 26: Intrusion

    LaRone and his colleagues did their best to lift Ayesha’s spirits after they returned to the Admonitor. LaRone’s duty rotation was over and the five stormtroopers were now preparing for their next assignment on New Alzoc. “You’ll come with us, right?” Brightwater told Ayesha. “You’ll love it there. It’s a community of Talz who fled their homeworld to escape enslavement by the Empire. They’re these big, tall, furry beasts with a heart of gold. I’m sure they’ll want to learn your Wookiee wrestling tricks, it’s right up their alley.”

    “The only thing is, it’s freezing cold on their bloody planet,” Quiller added. “But we helped them develop technology to deal with extreme weather, so you wouldn’t notice when you’re inside the settlement. Plus, I won’t have so much to do down there, so I’ll show you how to fly a ship. After all the effort you’re putting into teaching us Cheunh, it’s the least I can do.”

    Ayesha looked at LaRone hesitantly. “Of course you’re coming,” the stormtrooper said. “You’re not staying up here all alone. Now test me on the word list. We have Minnisiat class with Stent this afternoon and I haven’t done my homework.”

    Ayesha was growing busier by the day. In addition to her four new students in Cheunh, she’d also acquired a second student in Basic – Colonel Sbatkh, the Chiss officer who had accompanied Parck on Troukruka, had asked if he could join Stent’s lessons. “You’d think they’re competing to out-perform each other,” she told LaRone one morning. “We’ve been back only a week and I’m already running out of learning materials for them. I think I’ll skip training with you guys and go to the library instead, I don’t have anything to teach them tomorrow.”

    “Tsk, no way,” LaRone said. “You’re coming with us, then we’re having lunch, then you’re teaching us Cheunh and then you’re going to the library.”

    Grave patted her on the back as they walked to the training room. “You’re in the army now, little sister. Things work on a schedule here. Besides, those guys are better than us at everything they do. The weaker students have priority, that’s what my mum always said and she was a teacher.”

    “And don’t forget that you’re helping me out with Minnisiat again tonight,” LaRone added. “The Talz can’t speak Basic, and we’ll be leaving a pretty big scrap heap behind if we have to use protocol droids.”

    Ayesha let out a half-amused, half-exasperated sigh as she climbed on the treadmill. Her workouts were far more taxing now that she had five partners instead of one, and she spent as much time observing them as actually sparring with them. “You’ve been going really soft on me,” she told LaRone a few days later when they returned to her quarters for lunch. “There’s no way I could fight back the sort of thing you’re doing with the guys.”

    LaRone shrugged. “I went soft on you as long as you were still recuperating from a broken arm. The Doc says your arm and shoulder are good to go now, so we can take it one step up.”

    “And just to be clear here, you’re doing great,” Marcross added. “I can tell you that many guys in the corps would like to be as creative as you in hand-to-hand combat. I don’t think Brightwater will forget how you tripped him up anytime soon.”

    The scout trooper rubbed the dark purple spot that was ornamenting his chin and let out a grumble. Ayesha gave him an embarrassed look. “I’m sorry,” she began. “I didn’t mean to –”

    “It’s not the bruise, it’s the teasing you earned me from the guys,” he interrupted with a chuckle. “I’m never going to hear the end of it.”

    Ayesha grinned. “I’m sorry about that too.”

    “Good,” Brightwater replied. “And now, to prove that you’re really feeling guilty, you’re going to invite us for drinks tonight to bribe me for forgiveness.”

    “That’s such a great idea I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first,” Quiller added before Ayesha could get in a word. “I never had cortyg brandy before and I saw you have some in your kitchen.”

    “Plus, we said we were taking tomorrow off, so we can sleep in if we want to,” Grave chimed in.

    “No we can’t,” LaRone intervened. “Ayesha promised Brightwater to show him around the crazy art collection they keep in the secondary storage deck, and I want to see that too. So let’s take it easy on the brandy, yeah? Now let’s just grab some food and do what we have to do, so that we can take it easy tomorrow.”

    The rest of the day went by in a blur, and by twenty hundred hours Ayesha was standing in her small kitchen, wondering how she could host five people when all she had to offer was wasaka berry jam and chyntuck chutney. She was about to comm the kitchen and order some food when the five stormtroopers turned up. They had brought sodas and snacks, as well as a pile of newsflimsies and holozines that had recently arrived from the Core, and without further ado, they settled in the small lounge for the evening.

    “Apparently the Rebels got a hiding in Derra IV,” Marcross said as he flipped through the pages of a major daily. “Their convoy was completely destroyed.”

    “It wasn’t such an important convoy though,” Grave interjected as he read over his friend’s shoulder. “A dozen X-wings, a couple of corvettes, some transports and freighters. Nothing to write home about.”

    “They made a big deal about it on Coruscant though,” LaRone said thoughtfully. “The commanders all got promotions and Fel was even given a baron title and an estate on Corellia. Either it was more important than it seems, or the Empire is really desperate to show that things are going well.”

    Ayesha gave him a curious look. “You think that things are so bad for the Empire that they need to make stuff up?”

    LaRone shrugged. “There was so much propaganda and nonsense going on when we were on the Reprisal... it’s difficult to tell.”

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were exaggerating or even lying,” Grave added. “It’s happened before. A couple years back when the Rebels destroyed the Death Star, they tried to pass it off as a victory.”

    “And don’t forget how they were reporting on us back in the day,” Brightwater chortled. “You would’ve thought we were a whole army or something.”

    Marcross rolled his eyes. “Well, yeah, if LaRone hadn’t come up with that ridiculous name –”

    LaRone broke out in a loud protest and soon the four stormtroopers were talking over each other and regaling Ayesha with tales of their vigilante days, when they were known as the Hand of Judgement and brought justice to the Force-forsaken worlds of the Outer Rim, until a loud snort from Quiller interrupted them. They turned aside to see that he was absorbed in a holozine with the oversized headline ‘Trouble in the admiralty’ splashed across its gaudy cover. Brightwater sighed.

    “Don’t tell me you’re reading Galaxy Watch again,” he said.

    Quiller flashed a mischievous smile. “I always read Galaxy Watch. How would you guys keep up with the gossip if I didn’t? And this” – he held out the issue he was holding – “is priceless.” He stood up and declaimed pompously, “His Majesty the Emperor will soon dissolve the Council of Twelve as evidence provided by our correspondents shows that the top ranks of the Navy have been infiltrated by agents of outside forces. It is suspected that Grand Admiral Ishin Il-Raz –

    “Don’t tell us, don’t tell us,” Brightwater interrupted. “He’s a Rakata in disguise.”

    Quiller’s smile widened. “Nope. Anyone else want to take a guess?”

    “Pfff, obvious,” LaRone replied. “He’s a Celestial. That’s their two obsessions, isn’t it? It’s always one or the other. They’re predictable.”

    “You lose,” Quiller said cheerfully. “See, you spend too much time looking at holos of hot chicks in the Juicy Blabber, and you miss all the creative stuff.” He pointed at the holozine. “According to this, ladies and gentlebeings – sorry, lady and gentlebeings – Zaarin has been receiving death threats and Ishin Il-Raz is behind it. And not only that! Zaarin locked himself up in his space station, but – listen to this – Ishin Il-Raz planted an infiltrator on Research and they can’t find him.”

    LaRone gave Ayesha a worried look at the mention of Zaarin’s name, but she didn’t seem perturbed, rather staring at the holozine with a baffled expression. Quiller resumed reading. “According to our sources, the ghostly figure has been sneaking around Research for over a month, mysteriously vanishing into the shadows every time a staff member caught the merest glimpse of him. Our assessment is that he is a well-trained assassin with exceptional skills in stealth and concealment, as demonstrated by the fact that he managed to slip an eopie’s head – yup, you heard that right, an eopie’s head, as if those were available on space stations,” Quiller commented, “he managed to slip an eopie’s head, I was saying, in Grand Admiral Zaarin’s bed in broad daylight, while the senior officer was chairing a meeting of the Empire’s most eminent engineers. It is now widely expected that His Majesty will send his personal agent, known as the legendary Emperor’s Hand, to address this issue, but also to dispense punishment to the station’s security staff, whose incompetence has driven a wedge between Imperial High Command and one of the most talented strategists –

    Ayesha suddenly yelped in pain and clutched her head in her hands. She only vaguely heard LaRone’s gasp of concern before her mind was yanked from the Admonitor, across the blackness of space and into a dark room on the other side of the Galaxy. Her new body was heavy, awkward, cumbersome. Her limbs felt stiff and her joints ached as she walked down the steps to a hologram projection pod. Her face was trapped behind an uncomfortable helmet that filtered all light to a dim red glow – not that there was much light in the black-walled room – and the skin of her scalp itched relentlessly. The soft whirr of her skeleton’s servomotors continued buzzing in her ears long after she had knelt and a domineering, shadowy figure flickered to life in front of her.

    “What is thy bidding, my master?” she heard herself ask. Her voice was deep and raspy, nothing like the whisper that had escaped her throat – and she dimly wondered why she should be calling anyone her master. Wasn’t that precisely what she had always refused to do, even as a child? There was Nazmat Koch of course, but...

    “There is a great disturbance in the Force,” the ghostly man said, bringing her attention back to the situation at hand. His eyes were hidden in the depths of his hood, but she could sense them weighing heavily on her, as if seeking to gauge her thoughts.

    “I have felt it,” she answered. Or did she? She knew that she couldn’t feel the Force. But then, she didn’t wear black armour either. And now, she was experiencing anger, fear, apprehension – all emotions that weren’t hers.

    Her interlocutor’s hood shifted ever so slightly, revealing the scarred face and the yellow gaze of Emperor Palpatine. She gulped down her terror and raised her chin defiantly – or she thought she did, because the eyes of her helmet were pointing at the ground.

    “We have a new enemy,” the Emperor said. “The young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.”

    “No, you have no doubt,” she thought bitterly. “You sifted through my memories to find out, how could I forget?” But what came out instead in the deep, rasping voice was, “How is that possible?”

    “Search your feelings, Lord Vader,” the holo said with the faintest hint of glee. “You will know it to be true.” A flare of fury seared her entire being, soon stifled and replaced by the workings of a methodical mind driven by pure hatred. “He could destroy us,” the Emperor continued.

    “There’s no ‘us’,” she thought. “Lord Vader isn’t on your side. He can’t be, after what you did to him.”

    “He’s just a boy,” Vader said defensively. “Obi-Wan can no longer help him.”

    The hologram leaned forward, as if to better dominate the kneeling cyborg. “The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.” He uttered the word ‘Jedi’ with deep condescension. But then, if he so despised the Jedi, why did he fear this boy?

    Her mood changed. The hatred was still there, but now it was prodding her to strategise, to manipulate, to plan for revenge. But no. No. This was not a good idea. “If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally,” she said despite herself – but she knew now that it wasn’t her talking.

    A cold smile touched the Emperor’s wrinkled lips. “Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?”

    “Don’t try to fool him,” she hissed in dismay. “He knows. He always knows. He’ll destroy you.” The Dark Lord’s entire soul jerked, as if he were realising her presence for the first time. He pushed her brutally to the side of his mind and bowed to the Emperor, and Ayesha came to herself with a start, staring blankly into the face of Doctor Cottle. She was drenched in sweat and had to blink several times to adjust to the dazzling brightness of her quarters.

    “Ayesha, are you there?” the doctor was asking as he patted her cheeks none too gently. “Who are you talking to?”

    Her eyes travelled haggardly around the lounge and came to rest on Quiller, who was standing a few steps behind Cottle and looking at her with an expression of deep concern. “He’s going to punish him, you know,” she whispered. “He’s going to punish him very badly, like he punished me and Thrawn. I told him, but he won’t listen.”

    Quiller gave her a puzzled look. “Who are you talking about?”

    “Lord Vader, of course,” she said as if it were obvious. “He just won’t listen to me.”

    The stormtrooper’s face shifted from perplexity to concern again. “Ayesha, Lord Vader is millions and millions of light-years away.”

    She shook her head. “No, he’s here.” She tapped a finger to her temple. “He’s here and he can’t leave. All he can do is to shut me out.”

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

    Author's notes: for more on Galaxy Watch and Juicy Blabber (the latter is the brainchild of Ewok Poet), go to the Galactic Correspondent thread.
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh! Lemme deal with the second scene first. Wow, wow, wow. =D= That is truly, truly fascinating! I cannot begin to think of what the implications of that particular inadvertent connection might/will be for Vader and particularly for Ayesha. [face_thinking] Can it be undone, I wonder?

    Now for the camaraderie in the first scene. [face_dancing] Love it! I am moved beyond expression that Ayesha's influence /appeal /draw on others is still there, in spite of! She is like a nexus of light and warmth and others are drawn to her. It just happens without her trying or having to do much else than be. [face_love] [face_love]

    I know persons like that and am blessed by their genuine openness and loving, lovable natures!

    @};-
     
  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
  8. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Nice to see that Ayesha is becoming fast friends with LaRone and his group. Yeah, if you call yourselves the Hand of Judgment, people are going to assume it's a fair-sized army. :p It's good that she has these distractions right now to bring her back to the world of the living -- there's always a balance to be found between taking no time for introspection and wallowing, but right now she needs to be in motion most of all.

    The Vader thing was totally unexpected, and fascinating. Can't wait to see where that goes. There was always some kind of empathy between them, but the healing trance seems to have left something in its wake. [face_thinking] Like how this happens to give Ayesha a front row seat to a rather significant event.
     
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  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Ayesha is getting very busy with all her tutoring and training, and that's terrific. When she is thinking of others and focusing on her activities, she isn't dwelling on her own sorrows. This is an important step toward her healing. She will never be the same, but she can be better than she was when she came in. She deserves some semblance of happiness, even if it doesn't include Thrawn. (Gasp! Did I just say that???:eek: )

    As for the part with Vader, well, that came from out of nowhere. Is it accidental? deliberate? does Vader want her to see this? :confused:
     
  10. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    "You’re in the army now, little sister." [face_laugh] Like that one!

    And that eopie's head - oh Rukh, just great! At least I bet it was Rukh.
    Oooh, and the Emperor's Hand? Will we see more of her? :)

    “Ayesha, Lord Vader is millions and millions of light-years away.”
    She shook her head. “No, he’s here.” She tapped a finger to her temple. “He’s here and he can’t leave. All he can do is to shut me out.”
    Hmmm, so this is your take on "there is still good in him".
    Fascinating!
     
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loving the consensus; my favorite =P~ adjective: Fascinating [face_laugh] [face_love]
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Another one of those wonderful chapters that starts out with Ayesha enjoying some perfectly routine, 100% hunky-dory downtime with new-found friends but concludes with a gut-punching, hair-raising revelation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you really do have a real talent for that kind of thing. :cool:

    And each time Vader comes into the picture, in whatever form, you manage to take the Vader-Ayesha bond to new depths. This time she's not just reading his memories, his past—she's there in the moment as him, yet stil able to react as herself (and even try to advise him on what to say and how to react—that's the coolest part). Given their bond, I am certain it's not accidental and that Vader does want her to be seeing this. Why, or what the exact mechanics of it are, I still don't know—but it's so cool how you've made her the psychic conduit for the most important plot points of the Saga. She may be getting "bounced around," but it's in a very purposeful way.

    But of course this raises even more questions than it answers. What triggered her to have that experience at that moment? Could it have been something in that outrageous news item about eopie heads in Zaarin's bed? The mention of those "top strategists," maybe (with one of whom Ayesha used to be involved, of course)? Does the Emperor know that she was eavesdropping on his extremely important conversation with Vader? I don't suppose I have to ask whether the shadowy intruder business is in any way connected to the Vader business, because I'm sure it is. [face_thinking]

    And of course I'll be very curious to see what you do with New Alzoc, both here and in the Fanon Thread. :)
     
  13. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Each time I think you cannot surprise us, you get this story to a new level.

    I hope Ayesha will not break any further, due to her link with Vader. His head is NOT an eopie´s head, but a rather scary, twisted place.
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Here are some replies before we move on to chapter 27.

    Chapter 24
    How very true -- and you end up isolating yourself. Ayesha would be completely alone and her solitude would be of her own making, if it weren't for Cottle's and LaRone's determination to break through her armour.

    Chapter 25
    These two together would make such a terrifying pair :eek: that they could probably talk The Sheevster himself into submission! I wasn't planning to have them meet, but now that you say it...
    One of the aspects of LaRone's backstory I wanted to develop but couldn't, because this fic isn't really the place for it, is how coming from a working-class background gave him that no-nonsense but also clever approach to life. To Vermel, who comes from a bourgeois background, a letter is just a letter. LaRone on the other hand perceives the implications and the symbolism of writing a letter on paper instead of recording a message on a datachip, so he realises that an actual letter from Thrawn is much heavier with meaning than an electronic message. (It's a shame he didn't open it though, there was something useful in there [face_whistling] )
    Thanks! I remember that trick being used in Karen Traviss's clone trooper books too, when they want to have private conversations. Besides the fact that it makes sense in-universe, it's also a very convenient little narrative device.
    Awww, thanks! I thought Ayesha would need a hug from Tam in her current situation, but since Tam is on Coruscant, I needed to find an acceptable substitute. I'm glad you liked it :)
    ^^^ This! And being angry at everyone all the time becomes self-destructive after a while. Imagine what Ayesha could have become if it weren't for people like LaRone.
    Totally -- and this is one of the most vicious aspects of her kidnapper's plan: they put her in a situation where she would not be thought of as an independent person. But they hadn't counted on the fact that some people would get through to her so fast.
    ;) I'm planning a whole fanon post about librarian droids. It includes, among other things, Garamond Bold, a portable version with a thicker body and storage slots for datacards. Or maybe I should do the full Monty and write a SW/Foucault's Pendulum crossover? [face_thinking]
    Thanks :) Although I realise that my world-building here was cursory at best, but I didn't want this single chapter to grow to the size of a novel. The Troukree will be around for a while though, so I hope I can add more about them (if not, there's always the Fanon Thread!)
    Of course Ayesha is going to start sculpting again... at some point. But she needs to start thinking of herself as a person first. That's a long way to go... :(
    Or maybe he is thinking of it in his own, hyper-rational, patriarchal and very Thrawn-ish sort of way: there is no safe place for Ayesha to go as long as there's an arrest warrant against her, so she's just as well off staying on the Admonitor.

    Chapter 26

    A general reply first: I won't answer here your mahvelous comments about how Ayesha's mental bond to Vader came to be, because it's all in the upcoming chapter, so for more on that, just scroll down :p
    Dear beta: you are officially diagnosed with advanced Ayoo'sha-itis [:D]
    Did you find the answer? [face_laugh]
    Thanks both! This is exactly what LaRone and his friends understand. The only element they're missing is that, to process emotions and heal, she needs to get back her creativity and start sculpting again -- but how could they know that?
    I believe you did! [face_laugh]
    :p
    And you would be right :) I need to thank Kahara at this point for the eopie's head idea -- I wasn't too sure how to introduce the fact that Thrawn is out for vengeance against Zaarin, and then one of Kahara's earlier comments on this thread reminded me of The Godfather, and I had a [face_idea] moment.
    I'll return your question here: which Emperor's Hand are we talking about? [face_whistling]
    Thank you [face_blush]
    You will! New Alzoc is a planet I fleshed out better than Troukruka (and I'm more attracted to the Talz as a species, I seem to have a soft spot for big, furry beasts :p) so I'll try not to disappoint.
    [face_rofl]

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming up straight away.
     
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  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    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 27: The bond

    Doctor Cottle led Ayesha to the med lab and directed her to one of the small transparisteel cubicles. “I’ll keep you overnight for observation,” he said as he began wheeling equipment towards the bed. “I want to make sure that –”

    “I’m not sick,” she interrupted.

    The doctor snorted as he dug into the supply closet. “You just had a conversation with someone who’s at the other end of the Galaxy. Your heart rate went through the roof and you were sweating like a Gamorrean. You –”

    “Stop talking to me like that,” she snapped. “I’m not crazy. This is for real and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    He turned around to look at her. Anger was written all over her face, but also anxiety. “Please,” she added, almost pleadingly. “You have to believe me. I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong with me.” She lowered her eyes. “I’m not crazy,” she repeated in a whisper.

    Cottle’s face softened. He came to sit at her side on the edge of the bed and wrapped an arm around her. “I know that you’re not crazy, Ayesha,” he said soothingly. “I saw what Vader did with that healing trance and I know that there’s more at work here than I’ll ever understand. But I can also see that you don’t look too good right now, and I can try at least to figure out how to help.” He paused. “If you’ll let me, of course. I’m not going to force any tests or treatment on you. But I’m asking you to spend the night here. I’ll be just next door so I can jump in if you’re not feeling well. Okay?” She nodded a little sheepishly and took the gown he had dropped on the bed. “You change and settle in,” the doctor continued. “I’ll go and have a chat with your friends who, I’m sure, are in the hallway discussing how they should barge in here with a stiff drink and a bunch of lousy jokes, and I’ll be right back.”

    Ayesha had slipped under the covers by the time he came back and started busying himself with his datapad. She held out her arm for him to clasp around her wrist the electronic bracelet that would monitor her vitals during the night, then pointed at the scanner hanging from the ceiling above her. “Is this what you want to do?”

    “A full-body scan? Nah, no need. What I’d like to do is a brain scan, if that’s okay with you.”

    She nodded in assent and watched silently as he brought the narrow headband and placed it over her brow. “I’m sorry,” she blurted suddenly when he stepped away to sync it with the data processor. “I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. I’m always rude to you, even though I know that you’re trying to help me.”

    Cottle glanced at her over his shoulder and gave her one of his rare smiles. “That’s okay. I didn’t pay attention enough when they told us about bedside manner in med school, so let’s call it quits. Add to that twenty-five years in the Navy, and you get a grumpy doctor like me.” He keyed a switch on the control board. “It’s starting. Relax and try to clear your mind, all right? This won’t take long.”

    Ayesha took a deep breath and focused on the ceiling while text and graphics scrolled down on the monitor. A soft beep signalled that the process was complete. Cottle went through the results once more and turned back to her. “How are you feeling?” he asked.

    She yawned. “Tired, very tired. As if I’d run a very, very long distance.”

    “Do you have a headache? Or are you otherwise in pain?”

    “No, I told you, I’m fine. Just tired.”

    He stared at the monitor again. “I’m going to take this so I can have a look at it again,” he grumbled. “Do you think you can sleep with the headband on?”

    She looked at him curiously. “Is there something going on?”

    The doctor shrugged. “Your results are unusual. But then, your brain scans have always been unusual, so let me check the details and we can talk in the morning. Do you want something to help you sleep?”

    She yawned again. “I don’t really need it. I think I’m going to slumber like there’s no tomorrow.”

    When Cottle peeked into her room again twenty minutes later, she was indeed fast asleep. He flipped a switch to transfer the brain monitor to his study across the hall, and settled at his desk for the night.

    * * *​

    Ayesha was awoken by the smell of fresh caf and the hushed whispers of familiar voices. “Shouldn’t you wake her up?” LaRone was asking. “This isn’t normal, it shouldn’t be happening to her.”

    “Waking her up won’t change anything,” Cottle growled. “I don’t think it’s happening because she’s asleep, it’s –”

    She stretched and yawned. “What’s happening?” she asked. “What are you talking about?”

    In a single bound the stormtrooper was at her side. “How are you feeling?”

    “Like I spent the night in a hibernation capsule,” she said sleepily. “Is there caf for me too?”

    The doctor nodded to LaRone, who left the room to fetch a mug. “How did you sleep?” he asked Ayesha. “Any dreams?”

    “Lots of dreams. It’s been a busy night,” she chortled. “But I can’t really remember them.”

    “No headache? No pain?”

    She shook her head. LaRone returned with her caf and lifted the headrest before handing it to her. She took a sip and shook her head again to clear her mind. “So what is it that’s not supposed to be happening?”

    Cottle cleared his throat. “Let me say first that what we’re going to discuss is pure speculation on my behalf. I’m hoping that you can clarify some things for me but –”

    “What’s happening?” she interrupted. “You found something. Just tell me.”

    He gestured towards the monitor. “According to this – and this is the best equipment credits can buy, so I would normally trust it – you had some dreams last night, but nothing of note. There were spikes of brain activity here, here and here,” – he indicated three peaks on a waving line – “but what the scanner recorded was the pattern of conscious thoughts. Yet you were fast asleep.” She gave him a puzzled look. “And there’s more. According to the scanner still, you were, and still are, in constant, acute pain.” He pointed at the three-dimensional image on the monitor. “At least, that’s what simultaneous activity in this, this and this area of your brain is supposed to indicate.”

    “But I’m fine,” she said defensively. “I’m not hurting anywhere. It’s true, I –”

    The doctor held up his hand. “I believe you. I have a theory about it, and maybe you can confirm it for me.” He took a deep breath. “When you had this... conversation with Vader last night, what did you see exactly?”

    She shuddered. “I can’t tell you that. It’s not safe. I knew things I shouldn’t have known about Lord Vader, and look where that got me.”

    “That wasn’t my question. What I want to know is, from what perspective did you see him? Were you facing him, or standing at his side, or...?”

    She gave him a puzzled look again but answered nonetheless. “I was inside his head. It’s like I was him and he was me.”

    Cottle nodded slowly. “This would confirm my hypothesis, to a certain extent. It seems possible that what the scanner recorded...”

    “...what the scanner recorded last night was his thoughts, not mine,” she completed when he hesitated. “It would make sense, you know,” she added thoughtfully. “It’s happened to me before.”

    At this the doctor was obviously surprised. “You already shared your mind with Vader in the past?”

    “No,” she said. “Well, yes, he shared once his memories with me, but that’s not what I was referring to. It was... other people who were in my head all the time.” She shivered. “But it wasn’t like this. They were deliberately intruding and they were trying to hurt me. With Lord Vader, it’s different. I don’t think he does it on purpose, it’s more like he’s broadcasting and I somehow pick up his thoughts. He wasn’t happy when he noticed I was there last night.”

    By now, LaRone was utterly baffled. “You mean that you’re channelling Vader at any given moment in time?”

    Ayesha shrugged, but there was now a hint of bitterness in her voice. “I don’t know. Too many people messed up with my mind for me to be able to tell what’s going on in there.”

    There was a silence. “Here’s what I think is happening,” Cottle said finally. “I went back and checked all the brain scans I did for you.” He started flicking images on the screen. “This is the day you came aboard, this is the day we performed surgery on your arm, and this is just after I took you out of your second bacta immersion. In all of these, there’s a single activity pattern. It’s incredibly complex and it’s not the sort of thing you normally see in people who are in a coma, but I can affirm with a reasonable level of certainty that there was only your mind at work at the time.” He moved on to the next image. “Then this is when you were in the healing trance. Virtually no activity, as it should be.” He keyed the monitor again. “And these here are the various check-ups I did for you after you were awake, up to and including last night. In all of these, there’s an anomaly that I couldn’t explain until now. There are two overlapping patterns of activity. But if you’re sharing Vader’s mind, things add up. The best way I can phrase it is that, when he put you in the healing trance, he left something behind. Your minds are connected now. They’re still distinct and each one operates mostly on its own terms, but they’re connected.” He paused. “I’m actually afraid that they’re connected inextricably by now. Or, to be a little more specific, this isn’t something traditional medicine can reverse.”

    Ayesha shrugged again. “Maybe Lord Vader can reverse it. He’s aware of it now, I can tell you that for sure.”

    “I hope he does,” Cottle grumbled after a pause. “I don’t know what this situation could do to you. Maybe it doesn’t matter, I don’t know,” he added hurriedly when she gave him a worried look. “I’m just a doctor, I have no clue about the workings of the Force. But this is just...”

    “Unnatural,” LaRone supplied.

    “And it’s a major issue,” the doctor added. “This is something I must take to my superiors, and I don’t think Parck or Niriz would understand. I need to inform the Admiral.”

    Ayesha’s entire body jerked. “What happens to me is none of the Admiral’s business,” she said coldly. “I’m not allowing you to tell him anything.”

    Cottle looked at her straight in the eyes. “This isn’t about you anymore, Ayesha. There’s a person on this ship who has direct access to the private thoughts of the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Navy. This is a security issue. I have no choice but to inform this task force’s most senior officer, and that would be the Admiral, like it or not.”

    She suddenly turned deathly pale. “Please don’t do that,” she said pleadingly. “Please. The Emperor will know and he’ll take me back.”

    She was trembling. Cottle took a step towards her but she recoiled in her bed and stared at him in terror. “Doc, hear me out on this,” LaRone intervened. “Yes, you need to inform the Admiral, but you can’t do it over the HoloNet or even by courier. Imagine what would happen if that message were to fall in the wrong hands. There are many people who would kill for this sort of information, and some of those have an account or two to settle with the boss. It would cause utter chaos. A perfect storm in the Imperial Navy, and Ayesha would find herself in the middle of it. Is that a risk you’re prepared to take?”

    Cottle pondered his answer for a moment. “No,” he grumbled reluctantly. “So what do you suggest?”

    “Only the three of us know about this right now. Let’s keep it that way. The Admiral won’t stay in the Core forever. We can tell him in person when he comes back, and he’ll handle it as he deems appropriate.”

    The doctor looked at Ayesha. “Sounds reasonable. You won’t tell anyone about this?” She shook her head adamantly. “Then you’re discharged. I’ll delete the records of your visit here, and when the Admiral is back we’ll take it from there. Just take it easy for the next couple of days, yes? No crazy antics, just your language lessons and some reading. I don’t want you to exert yourself anymore than absolutely necessary.”

    He spun on his heel and left. LaRone came to sit on the edge of the bed. “Don’t thank me just yet, I only bought you some time,” he said before Ayesha could speak. “But try to remember it next time you channel Vader. If you’re going to start Force-choking people, I’m not on your list, okay?”
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Bravo on the aspects /details of the physiological/brain indicators of the bond. :cool: =D= I like Cottle's brusque gentleness [face_laugh] and LaRone took just the right tone to lighten things at the end. Their suggestion about keeping things close now is certainly for the best. [face_thinking]
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    It's good to see that Ayesha and Dr. Cottle have reached at least a temporary cease-fire, because these brain scans of his are revealing some very interesting things about the nature of the Vader-Ayesha mental bond. That Vader is somehow "broadcasting" his thoughts (presumably to anyone capable of picking them up?!) is especially intriguing, and completely different from what I had imagined: it seems to have been not completely his intention for her to be picking up his thoughts and interactions this way (which is confirmed when Ayesha says she doesn't think he was happy about her hearing his chat with Palps). I wonder if anyone else is picking up the same broadcast? (Well, the Emperor, maybe, with his "Search your feelings, you know it to be true." He wouldn't really say that if he weren't already capable of searching Vader's feelings, methinks.)

    Just checking, though: Cottle is saying he saw evidence of the second brainwave pattern even before the healing trance, right? So even if Vader left something extra in Ayesha's mind when he performed the healing trance on her, the mind link itself clearly predates the healing trance and wasn't initiated by it. What Ayesha says about having had lots of other people mess with her mind (and she knows better than a lot of people what that's like) makes me wonder: does she just happen to have the kind of mind that's easy to access telepathically like this? If she does, then it looks like the same thing that makes her so vulnerable to predators like Malki and Palpatine is also what's behind her "special way of shining in the Force." "In my weakness is my strength (and vice versa)," kind of thing.

    And now the bond is their secret: Ayesha, Daric, and the Doc. I hope this won't be another one of those situations where secret-keeping will come back and bite them in the behind, because what a secret! :eek:

    Just rambling, really, but I can't help it, because this is oh, so cool! :D
     
  18. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    This quote had me laughing - the part about not being on the list for Force-choking people.

    I love the bond she is creating with LaRone and his team-mates in the previous chapter they are precious together - like big brothers for her.
     
  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    At this the doctor was obviously surprised. “You already shared your mind with Vader in the past?”

    “No,” she said. “Well, yes, he shared once his memories with me, but that’s not what I was referring to. It was... other people who were in my head all the time.” She shivered. “But it wasn’t like this. They were deliberately intruding and they were trying to hurt me. With Lord Vader, it’s different. I don’t think he does it on purpose, it’s more like he’s broadcasting and I somehow pick up his thoughts. He wasn’t happy when he noticed I was there last night.”

    By now, LaRone was utterly baffled. “You mean that you’re channelling Vader at any given moment in time?”

    Ayesha shrugged, but there was now a hint of bitterness in her voice. “I don’t know. Too many people messed up with my mind for me to be able to tell what’s going on in there.”

    I hope nobody gets badly hurt or even dies when this mess is sorted out. At this point I am not sure Vader likes to be broadcasting stuff to anyone. So, I pray for this information not to leak through in any way and that Thrawn returns soon.
     
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  20. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    *finally caught up*

    What a secret indeed.
    Vader knows where she is - but will he protect her, or will he want to destroy her?
    And what will happen to Ayesha's mind when Vader dies, now that they are connected? :eek:
    Will it finally take all the bad things from her past away from her, or will it break her even more?

    And Thrawn - what will he make of this when he returns?
    This knowledge won't make it any easier to stay calm in times when he needs it most...
    and what will Ayesha say when she gets to know about Thrawn taking revenge on Zaarin because of her?
    Will she understand, or will she be even angrier?
     
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Here are the Monday morning replies :)
    Thank you [:D] I was a little hesitant about who would come up with the idea of keeping it a secret at first, but then it dawned on me -- of course it had to be LaRone. He's gone rogue already in the past, he doesn't give a womprat's fart about the safety of the Empire :p

    There's one aspect of the Vader-Ayesha bond that Ayesha doesn't know about and that explains why she's picking up his thoughts: it's the fact that there's a Force vergence around both of them. So their destinies are interconnected, because it's necessity and Ἀνάγκη and all that.

    The Emperor though is a different issue. My headcanon on this (I'm calling it headcanon because it appears indirectly in some profics, but the EU isn't 100% consistent about that) is that Vader is one of the very few people who can hide their thoughts from Palps -- hence the need to kidnap Ayesha in order to find out why Vader chose to protect her against Takel's mental intrusion during the dinner with the fellows. Palps was always interested in Ayesha because of the vergence business, but it was in the dinner that he realised that she was somehow involved in Vader's affairs, so he waited for the right opportunity to take her away and "sift through her memories", as she said in the previous chapter. And of course, doing it that way presented the extra bonus of out-witting Thrawn, which is always good for the Sheevster's hypertrophied ego ;)
    I may need to rewrite that paragraph, because apparently it's unclear, but what I intended Cottle to say is that the double-mind pattern appears only after the healing trance -- which is why he says "when he put you in the healing trance, he left something behind". My general idea about mind-reading and mental barriers is that intruding in people's minds damages them and that, with each intrusion, the mental barriers are more difficult to rebuild. So in Ayesha's case, because of what Malki did to her when she was a child, she doesn't have any barriers to speak of. But what is happening between her and Vader is beyond abnormal even for someone who has been mind-raped so many times, because she's supposed to be too far away for Vader to be even able to sense her anymore. The explanation to that has to do with the vergence thing, but also with something else that will be explained in Part III [face_whistling]
    [face_laugh] That came to me as the typical sort of thing LaRone would say to hide how worried he is. If I were him, I wouldn't be comfortable sitting next to someone who's channelling Vader either.
    Thank you! More of that in the upcoming chapter.
    Someone -- actually, two people -- will die when this mess is sorted out, but you already know who [face_devil]
    I think that every single one of my reviews starts with this sentence, so I totally empathise. I hope DRL gives you a break soon [:D]
    These are all very good questions that will be answered in the next few chapters, so I guess you'll have to wait a bit... :)

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter up in a few minutes.
     
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  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    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 28: Life Day

    In the days after Ayesha was discharged from sick bay, LaRone developed the habit of giving her a hug and kissing her on the forehead every morning when he came to pick her up. She was a little uneasy at first, until, after a few times when she saw him frowning in concern as they parted, she understood that he was checking if she had a fever. “I’m fine, you know,” she told him once as she disentangled herself gently from his grip. “Really, I’m fine. I’ll tell you if I’m not feeling well, I promise.”

    The stormtrooper blushed. “Sorry, I’m overdoing it, aren’t I? I hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.”

    “Not at all,” she protested. “I actually appreciate the intention. It’s like having a big brother again.”

    LaRone’s face broke into a warm smile. “That’s the nicest thing you could ever tell me, little sister. Now let’s go. We have a busy day ahead of us.”

    They had resumed their schedule of physical training and language lessons and, at Brightwater’s insistence, they had taken to visiting the Admonitor’s art collection for half an hour every day. The stormtroopers took turns to choose a piece that intrigued them or appealed to them for one reason or another, and Ayesha would analyse it to the extent that she could. Most works were the creations of aliens from the Unknown Regions that she didn’t know, and it soon became a game among the little group to let her guess the characteristics of the species before telling her its name. After a few sessions, the store manager, who had been listening from a distance, asked if he could join them, and the six men started turning up with datapads and taking notes studiously as she spoke.

    “Oh, come on!” she said the first time it happened. “What I’m telling you isn’t that interesting. You don’t need to do this just to make me feel important.”

    “We’re not doing this to make you feel important,” Quiller countered. “We’re learning a lot from you.”

    “It’s true,” Brightwater insisted when she gave them a dubious look. “Look, I grew up on Lothal. It’s a nowhere planet at the back end of space. They didn’t teach us about art in school there, believe me. My mom and dad were pit face miners. This is my chance to become something more than a Rimmer who made it in the corps.”

    “Same here,” Grave rejoined. “I never knew anything about art before.”

    “And even what we might already know isn’t enough,” Marcross added. “We’ve been training sentients in the Unknown Regions for nearly two years. The least we can do is to learn as much as possible about their cultures. We didn’t have the opportunity before, but now that you’re here we should grab it.”

    The store manager nodded in assent. LaRone grinned. “The votes are in and it’s six against one. We’re taking notes, period. Now continue on this piece. I have a whole bunch of meetings this afternoon and I can’t linger.”

    The weeks went by as the Admonitor slowly made its way around the periphery of the Galaxy towards New Alzoc, and despite their busy days LaRone couldn’t help but notice that Ayesha was increasingly mournful. There were a few times when he saw her wince in pain, and there were a few mornings when it was visible that she hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep, but she admitted to him in those cases that she had unwillingly caught a glimpse of Vader’s mind. He was increasingly puzzled and finally cornered her one afternoon when his colleagues left for a planning session with the quartermaster to ask her point blank what was going on. “Are there more of these Vader visions than what you’re telling me? If he’s really messing around with your head, you need to see the Doc again.”

    “There’s no need,” she mumbled. “And Doctor Cottle won’t help me anyway. If even Lord Vader can’t prevent this from happening –”

    “Ayesha, the Doc’s on your side,” LaRone interrupted. “If your concern is that he’ll call the Admiral in a panic when you tell him –”

    “It’s not that,” she snapped. “He’s not stupid and I know it. Not that it really makes a difference anyway. The Admiral and the Emperor will know in the end.”

    There was a silence. “Listen, I don’t mean to pry,” LaRone said cautiously. “But I can’t pretend not to notice that you’re on the verge of tears for no particular reason at any moment in time. Is there something else? Is there any way I can help you?”

    She sighed. “I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it. It’s just that... I miss my family. It’s Life Day next week and I won’t be there with them. It’s only once every three years.” She took a deep breath. “And if all this poodoo hadn’t happened, now I’d be there and Rumpy would be playing with my baby and...” She wiped her cheeks angrily. “Listen to me, I’m so ungrateful. You’re bending over backwards to be nice to me and I make it sound like being with you on Life Day sucks. But that’s not what I meant, I love being with you and the guys, but –”

    “But we’re not your family,” LaRone completed for her. “We can’t replace your family. I actually understand that, and I’d even worry if you told me otherwise. But you’re wrong on one thing.” He gave her his trademark grin. “There is actually something I can do about it. It’s something small, but I think I can surprise you.”

    * * *​

    The morning of Life Day came and, when LaRone headed to Ayesha’s quarters, he was a little worried when the doorbell went unanswered. He rang a second time to no avail, and, after a moment’s hesitation, he keyed the override code and let himself in.

    He found Ayesha deep in meditation, kneeling in front of a mug on the lounge table. She had disposed Vaantaar’s two knives on either side, one pointing towards her and the other away from her, and she was whispering some sort of incantation as she watched the last wisps of fragrant smoke rise from the cup. The stormtrooper stood quietly by the door while she observed a minute of silence, and he didn’t step forward until she looked up and waved for him to come in.

    “I’m sorry for interrupting you,” he said shyly. “I didn’t know you’d be performing rituals today, so I was a little worried when you didn’t open. I thought something might have happened.”

    “It’s okay. I wasn’t actually planning on doing this today.”

    He pointed at the objects on the table. “Is this a Life Day ceremony? I read up about the festival in the library, but I didn’t see anything like this.”

    “It’s not. This was Gyysharria-Ka. It’s the ritual you perform on the anniversary of someone’s death. I don’t normally do these things, but I saw my Ata’ in my dream last night, and somehow it felt appropriate. She died three years ago, you know.”

    By now LaRone was frankly embarrassed. “I didn’t know that. I’m sorry.” He paused. “Maybe I should leave you then. I imagine you want to be alone a bit to meditate and –”

    “No, no, that’s okay,” she interrupted. “This is Life Day, not a day of mourning. We should go and do something fun.”

    He looked at her hesitantly. “Are you sure?”

    “Of course I’m sure,” she said. “Life Day is a celebration. When I was a kid we’d go to the town and play on the swings with my brothers, and we had so much syrup and sweets that my Ada’ had to stop us. This is what I want to do today, not to be stuck with a stupid ceremony for which I didn’t even have a proper ryyk blade.”

    His face broke into a mischievous smile. “Then I’ve got the right thing for you. Let’s go to the training room.”

    She rolled her eyes. “We’re not going to the training room – again!”

    “Of course we are.” He pulled her by the wrist. “Come on, let’s go.”

    They bumped into Vermel as they exited her room. “It’s the mailman,” he said engagingly.

    Ayesha shrugged. “I’m not expecting any mail.” She took LaRone’s hand and dragged him down the hallway. The stormtrooper shot Vermel an apologetic glance over his shoulder and gestured for him to drop the thick envelope and the small parcel he was carrying on Ayesha’s desk. The major’s eyes followed them in a long, hard stare until the door of the training room slid open and they stepped inside.

    “What’s wrong with the lights?” Ayesha asked when the glowpanels failed to activate. “Do you have a –”

    She was interrupted by the sound of heavy drums as holos of Kashyyyk’s forests were suddenly projected on the walls. The lights came on to reveal the four stormtroopers, the art store manager and Doctor Cottle standing on the training mats, flanked by the Emdee droid and Garamond Narrow, while Vaantaar and a group of Troukree in full ceremonial regalia were sitting haphazardly on the cardio equipment and waiting for the Wookiee music recording to end in order to start playing their instruments. Quiller stepped forward and offered her a glass of wroshyr sap syrup before raising his own for a toast.

    “For the record, this wasn’t my idea,” the doctor growled as Ayesha’s eyes took in the scene. “But your friend Daric was stubborn enough to wear me down."

    She finally overcame her surprise and grinned. “You don’t know anything about stubbornness, Doc. Now I’m going to teach you Wookiee war dances.”

    * * *​

    The next afternoon, Ayesha was on her way to the med lab for a check-up with Doctor Cottle when Ensign Washeeya intercepted her in the hallway. “Commander Parck would like to talk to you, Ma’am,” he said with a formal bow. “If you’ll please follow me.” She nodded and fell in step beside him as he led her to the turbolift and across the Admonitor to the door of the Commander’s office. She found Parck and Vermel conferring in hushed whispers behind the meeting table. Parck gestured to her to sit.

    “You wanted to see me, Commander?” she asked as she lowered herself in a chair.

    Parck smiled. “Yes, it has been quite a while since Meizh and I last talked to you. I thought we could have a friendly chat.” He poured a mug of caf from the thermal bottle and placed it in front of her, then pushed a box of sachets across the table. “Cream and sugar.” She nodded her thanks, looking at him a little apprehensively. “How are you doing?”

    She shrugged. “I’m good.”

    There was a pause. “The store manager says that your comments have been quite helpful to better sort out and catalogue our art collection,” Vermel piped up. “I’m glad you found something within your areas of interest to do on this ship.”

    She shrugged again. “Keeping busy.”

    There was another pause. “Squadron Commander Stent told me that you’ve been supporting our Chiss warriors who have trouble with learning Basic,” Parck said. “I understand that you’re also teaching Cheunh to some of our human troops.”

    She merely nodded. There was an uncomfortable silence. “Why did you call me here?” she asked.

    Parck was visibly taken aback by her bluntness. “My duties unfortunately don’t allow me as much time as I’d like to check on you. As I said, I just wanted to have a friendly chat.”

    She shook her head. “Commander, you know as well as I do that there can’t be anything friendly to a chat between a prisoner and her captors. So why don’t you cut the poodoo and tell me what you want?”

    “You’re not a prisoner here, Ayesha,” Vermel interjected.

    She gave him a scathing look. “Really?”

    “No, you're not,” he replied. “I know that this situation is difficult for you but –”

    She interrupted him. “If I’m not a prisoner, then you’ll allow me to take my leave. I like to choose the company I keep.”

    She stood up and walked to the door. “Ayesha, sit down,” Parck snapped.

    She didn't even turn around. “Is that an order, Commander?”

    “Yes,” he answered firmly.

    She spun on her heel and rounded on him with a fury. “As what are you giving me orders, Commander Parck? You’re telling me that I’m not a prisoner, and as a civilian I don’t fall under your jurisdiction. So tell me, as what are you giving me orders?”

    Parck stared at her for a couple of heartbeats. “My apologies,” he said finally. “It was not an order. Consider it a request from someone whom you used to consider a friend and who, despite what you may think, is still concerned about your well-being. Please have a seat.” She hesitated. “Please have a seat, Miss Eskari,” he repeated. “This will not take long.”

    She lowered herself reluctantly in the chair again. Parck seemed to collect his thoughts for a moment. “I understand that you spend quite some time in the company of Commander LaRone.”

    She nodded. “Yes. He’s been very kind to me since I came on board and he helped me a lot with the exercises Doctor Cottle prescribed after my rehab was over. We’re friends.”

    “LaRone and you have become very close,” Vermel said.

    She nodded again. “Yes, he’s my friend.” The two men gave her an inquisitive look. She observed their faces carefully. The credit suddenly dropped. “You’re asking me if I’m sleeping with him, aren’t you?”

    “I would not presume –” Parck started.

    “Oh, but you are presuming,” she snapped angrily. “You’re presuming that I’m sleeping with him and you’re presuming you have something to say about it. Well, let me put your mind at ease, Commander. I’m not having an affair with Daric or any other man aboard this ship. But just so you know, even if I did, even if I chose to become a military whore, it’d be none of your business.”

    There was a long silence. “Ayesha, I don’t mean of course to interfere,” Parck finally said, choosing his words cautiously. “But I know that you have been through a terrible ordeal, and people sometimes make bad choices when such things happen to them.”

    “Things didn’t ‘happen’ to me, Commander,” she said glacially. “The arrest warrant didn’t just ‘happen’. The rapes didn’t just ‘happen’. The torture didn’t just ‘happen’. It wasn’t an accident of nature. It was planned, organized and executed on someone’s orders, and that someone is the same person you’re taking orders from.”

    Vermel gave her a baffled look. “You cannot seriously be implying that the Admiral ordered anyone to –”

    There was such fire in her glare that he stopped mid-sentence. “All we want is to be sure that you won’t place yourself in a situation that you’ll come to regret,” Parck intervened.

    “I’m already in a situation I regret. I’m here.” There was another silence. “Can I leave now?”

    Parck hesitated, visibly pondering what to do next. “The Admiral won’t be pleased to hear that you are spending so much time with another man."

    She shook her head in disbelief. “I never thought that Thrawn would fall so low,” she muttered. “Using proxies for his delusional jealousy while he’s out there doing the only thing he really cares about.”

    “Thrawn cares about you a great deal, Ayesha,” Vermel countered. “As a matter of fact, you are the one, single person who matters to him most. Surely you know this?”

    Ayesha took a deep breath. “I want this to end, so I’ll try to make myself clear. Thrawn doesn’t have a say on who I talk and don’t talk to, who I befriend and who I don’t or who I choose to sleep with, in any private capacity. He’s not part of my life anymore and in case you haven’t noticed he’s not even here for this conversation. He’s the commanding officer of the ship on which I’m held hostage as a means to blackmail my family. So let’s stop pretending that I’m your guest and that this is a friendly chat. There’s nothing friendly about this. You’re telling me politely that you're depriving me of my freedom to associate with whom I choose. That’s fine. Really, I’m fine with that. I’d be fine with you throwing me in the brig, because that’s where I belong. What I’m not fine with is this bantha poodoo about having it both ways. This charade is an insult to my intelligence, and my intelligence isn’t something you two or Thrawn or your Emperor can take away from me.” She stood up. “I’d like to leave now. Please tell me where I should go.”

    Parck and Vermel looked at each other before the Commander keyed the intercom. The door slid open and the ensign who had fetched Ayesha stepped in. “Mr. Washeeya, if you would please escort Miss Eskari,” Parck said. “I believe she would like to go to the med lab, but she is free to move around this ship as she chooses.” She followed the young officer outside without saying a word and closed the door behind her. The two men looked at each other again.

    “Well,” Vermel sighed. “That went well.”

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

    Author's notes: Life Day is the well-known Wookiee holiday introduced in the SW Holiday Special, so I guess that makes it canon or at least Legends-canon :eek: Gyysharria-Ka however is my creation. I have a Wookiee funeral rites fanon post in the works, but it won't be up for some time because DRL and spoilers :p
     
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  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Liking Csillan_girl 's questions =D= and eagerly! awaiting the answers! [face_batting] This fic, along with a handful of others, are ones I pounce on as soon as there's a post. ^:)^

    ~!

    A dream of Messiri - how telling that is! A mother's advice and consolation would go far if they were handy. [face_thinking]

    The life-day celebration by LaRone and his friends - wonderfully considerate! @};- :)

    ~!

    I had to think and puzzle over the final scene - to be honest.
    Not because it was confusing, far, far, far from it! Crystal clear, although I wish to perdition it weren't!
    Ayesha's stance is becoming more crystallized all the time, and there is no one, and nothing, that can budge it! [face_nail_biting]
    If anyone tries, (like Parck or Vermel) they meet with an impenetrable barricade. :(
     
  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Ayesha took a deep breath. “I want this to end, so I’ll try to make myself clear. Thrawn doesn’t have a say on who I talk and don’t talk to, who I befriend and who I don’t or who I choose to sleep with, in any private capacity. He’s not part of my life any more and in case you haven’t noticed he’s not even here for this conversation. He’s the commanding officer of the ship on which I’m held hostage as a means to blackmail my family. So let’s stop pretending that I’m your guest and that this is a friendly chat. There’s nothing friendly about this. You’re telling me politely that you're depriving me of my freedom to associate with whom I choose. That’s fine. Really, I’m fine with that. I’d be fine with you throwing me in the brig, because that’s where I belong. What I’m not fine with is this bantha poodoo about having it both ways. This charade is an insult to my intelligence, and my intelligence isn’t something you two or Thrawn or your Emperor can take away from me.” She stood up. “I’d like to leave now. Please tell me where I should go.”

    I wish she would stop feeling like a hostage. I really do. The bad and horrible things that she has been through are like a complete brain wash, really. They had some differences before as a couple, but from her side love died. A terrible death.


     
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  25. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh this made me soooo mad! Seriously, Vermel? SERIOUSLY????

    The stormtrooper shot Vermel an apologetic glance over his shoulder and gestured for him to drop the thick envelope and the small parcel he was carrying on Ayesha’s desk. The major’s eyes followed them in a long, hard stare until the door of the training room slid open and they stepped inside.

    So he sees Ayesha having a good time (OH HOW DARE SHE) with LaRone. And so he thinks it's appropriate for him to call her to his office to interrogate her about her personal life?????:eek:

    “Ayesha, I don’t mean of course to interfere,” Parck finally said, choosing his words cautiously. “But I know that you have been through a terrible ordeal, and people sometimes make bad choices when such things happen to them.”


    You can choose whatever words you want, dude, but it all comes out the same. You are not capable of thinking for yourself, you are making personal choices that are not appropriate, and I am here to inform you of the error of your ways. OH YOU MAKE ME SO MAD!!! [face_beatup] Ayesha was amazingly graceful and composed; I would have flipped the kriffing table.

    These two gooberheads may think that they are doing Thrawn a favor, but they have just set back any positive feelings she might have had by about, oh, I dunno, a bajillion miles. They are not Thrawn's wingmen or his "boyzz." What she does in her time, who she hangs with, is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. It isn;t their business if she is sleeping with LaRone, with Thrawn, with Cottle or with Garamond Narrow.

    Sheesh. Give the woman a break.Why don't they get it? The only way she is going to get back with Thrawn is if he leaves her alone and she decides, of her own volition, to go back to him. (Here boys - watch and learn.)

     
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