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Saga - OT A Very Serious Mission? (Rebels)/ 2017 Holiday Fic Gift for WarmNyota _SweetAyesha

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: A Very Serious Mission?
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Timeframe: Saga OT, Rebels Season One, 5 BBY
    Characters: Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Ezra Bridger

    This is the first part of my Holiday Fic Gift for @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha . Her request was:
    A story in Saga-OT
    3 things to include:
    -An early mission which helps the crew bond and become cohesive as a team
    -Fun time after the mission wraps up
    - The line: "This droid needs a memory wipe, immediately!"

    Characters I want to have included=4: Hera; Kanan; Ezra; Ahsoka **

    Exclude: serious injury/death of characters. The ship can be in need of repairs however.

    Thank you, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, for being one of the most enthusiastic and supportive members of our fanfic community! I always look forward to your comments. Much love and hugs @};-

    Thanks also to @Findswoman and @Ewok Poet for beta reading!

    Evening on Lothal was beautiful. The setting sun painted the rounded stone outcroppings in shades of orange and pink. A gentle wind stirred the tall grass into ripples, and the scent of prairie grass and wildflowers was heady on the breeze. Small golden-brown birds fluttered in and out of the waves of grass. They chirruped to one another as they caught insects to bring back to their chicks for dinner. Standing at the foot of the Ghost’s ramp, Hera breathed deeply and savored the tranquility.

    And then the shouting began.

    Kanan and Ezra had gone out onto the grassland for training. Theoretically, Kanan was working with him on proper meditation techniques in a tranquil setting, without all the distractions provided by the other crew members. The reality… they were arguing again. Today, Ezra was complaining it was impossible to completely empty his mind. Yesterday, Kanan had insisted Ezra wasn’t practicing enough. Some days it seemed to Hera that they never stopped.

    A bevy of the tawny birds burst into startled flight as Ezra stalked through the tall grass, his hands clenched at his sides. Kanan strode after him. “Ezra, stop! You just can’t—“

    Ezra stopped abruptly and glared up at the Jedi. “Just can’t. You’re always telling me what I just can’t do! Is there ever going to be anything I can do around here?”

    “After you learn some discipline, maybe!” Kanan scowled, his brows drawing together. “When you learn to take things seriously. You’re part of a team now, not a loose cannon! You have to—”

    “Oh, yeah…’have to’, your other favorite words.You know what was best about being on my own? There weren’t any uptight Jedi telling me what I had to or just couldn’t do all the time!” He stomped up the ramp past Hera and disappeared into the Ghost.

    Kanan watched him go. His scowl faded as he joined Hera at the end of the ramp, and he sighed, shoulders slumping. “Sometimes I think I’m never going to get through to him, Hera. It’s like trying to tame a feral Loth-cat. He doesn’t trust anyone. He doesn’t listen.”

    “Give it time.” It was as if Kanan had forgotten the person he’d been when she’d first met him—the cynical loner who was used to doing everything on his own terms, for his own reasons. Or maybe he hadn’t and that was why he pushed Ezra so hard. “Ezra’s been by himself for a long time. It’s going to take a while for him to learn he doesn’t have to keep up his defenses all the time now.” She slipped her arm around his waist and led him up the ramp. “We received our latest dispatch from Fulcrum. The Imperials discovered the identity one of our operatives on Garel, and the only way she could get enough credits to flee the planet was to sell her fire-gem ring. Unfortunately, that ring also contains a data dot with the names and locations of mines and factories that are secretly functioning as labor camps for political prisoners. Fulcrum needs us to retrieve the ring and recover the intel.” She paused as they reached the hatch. “I’d like to take Ezra, too.”

    A frown touched Kanan’s lips; his brow creased. “I’m not sure he’s ready for—”

    “Kanan, how can Ezra ever learn to be part of our team if he’s never included?”

    She could tell from the set of Kanan’s jaw what his answer was going to be even before he said, “Next time. Right now, he’s just too unpredictable. When he’s shown me he can follow directions instead of doing what he wants. When he starts acting like this isn’t all just another game to him.”

    “Those things you were telling him about being part of a team? About trust and listening? It has to go both ways.” Just like the feral Loth-cat Kanan had compared him to, Ezra wasn’t going to change without being offered trust and acceptance. A steady stream of reprimands, of can’ts and musts, was only going to put his back up. “One of these days, you’re going to have to trust Ezra.”

    “Oh all right…he can come.” The frown deepened into Kanan’s Very Serious Jedi scowl, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “But he has to follow orders. This is a big responsibility. Fulcrum and the Alliance are counting on us, and he can’t go off half-cocked on some crazy…”

    “I’m sure Ezra will do just fine,” Hera cut in before he could really get going on the Seriousness of Responsibility and Everything Else. She loved Kanan, but sometimes he could get just a bit carried away. “Besides, I have a special project I need his help with, and I think he’ll be eager to assist.” She opened the hatch door and Ezra nearly tumbled out onto the ramp. “Won’t you?”

    “Heh.” Ezra had the good grace to look abashed as he picked himself up, but his sheepish expression didn’t last long, quickly replaced by his customary cocky grin. “Yeah, sure. I can handle anything.” He darted a challenging look at Kanan, daring the Jedi to say something. Kanan rolled his eyes and gave Hera a “see what I have to deal with” look. She kept herself from rolling her own eyes in return. How could the two of them not see how alike they really were?

    “Good,” she said, forestalling any further discussion of serious rules and the unfairness thereof. “Because we’re leaving first thing in the morning.”


    Kanan was not expecting Garel City to be in the midst of a celebration when they arrived. Buildings were draped with green, gold and purple buntings, decorated with strange symbols, some of which looked rather like the suits of sabacc cards—cups, staves, sabers, and coins. The streets were lined with stands where vendors enthusiastically hawked their wares. Booths with amulets adorned with crystal, colorful feathers and even thesselbeast’s feet seemed to be common, as did kiosks with tacky trinkets, Arkudan dice and Eyes of Mesra. Other tents offered the services of fortune tellers who would read cards or dice or tea leaves...and if you didn’t have any tea, you could buy it at any of the dozens of food vendors who’d also popped up. Beyond them barkers called out for passers-by to try their luck, step right up, win a prize! Kanan looked around in distaste. “What is all this? The whole city’s turned into some sort of cheap gamblers’ hangout!”

    Hera, unperturbed by the noise and bustle of the crowd, glanced at him over her shoulder. “Oh, did I forget to mention Garel City’s annual Fortunata Festival was this week?”

    “Fortunata Festival?” Ezra was going to give himself a neck injury if he didn’t stop trying to look in every direction at once, Kanan thought. The boy’s eyes were bugged out like a startled Rodian’s and his face was set in the crazy Loth-cat grin that usually meant he was about to do something he shouldn’t. Chopper, trailing behind him, prodded Ezra with a grasper to keep him moving. “Never heard of it before, but it looks like fun! What’s it all about?”

    “It’s an old Garellian custom; before the Republic standardized the Galactic calendar, it marked the beginning of the new year,” Hera explained, waving away a persistent Squib who was holding out a thesselbeast foot charm. “Long ago, Garellians used to have ceremonies to asking the blessings of the gods of luck for the coming year. Taking risks—hunting wild animals, challenging rivals to duel, performing dangerous feats of strength—was considered a way to prove of one’s devotion.” She smiled, glancing at the revelry around them. “Of course, the festival’s become quite a bit more worldly, but they still consider this a time to seek good luck and take chances. The Garellians still look at it as an auspicious time to begin new ventures like starting businesses or getting married,.”

    “A whole festival for good luck?” Ezra’s grin widened. “I like it! We could sure use some of it, huh, guys?”

    Kanan snorted. Of course Ezra would like a festival built on taking crazy chances. It was practically all he did. “There’s no such thing as luck; there’s only the Force. Taking foolish risks is a good way to get yourself killed.”

    “Aw, c’mon, we take risks all the time! Seriously, when was the last time you went a week without doing something stupid and risky?”

    “Those are calculated risks.” Trust the boy not to realize there was a difference. “We always prepare—“

    “Yeah, but you’ll never be prepared for everything,” Ezra protested. “Sometimes you’ve just gotta jump in and wing it. Ooh, and speaking of wings…” He paused to check out a stand doing a brisk business selling fried avian drenched in a sauce that was an unnatural shade of orange. “I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on the boontaspice bantha wings. And the deep-fried exosquidra on a stick. With some of that double chocolate beebleberry ripple ice cream for dessert!” Once he’d finished drooling over the mind-boggling—and stomach-churning—array of foodstuffs on display, Ezra turned to Hera, one eyebrow cocked sardonically. “And I bet I can win you a stuffed tooka at rocket darts way before Master Grumpy here can!” Chopper gave an electronic chortle and added his opinion that a blindfolded lizard-monkey could beat either of them.

    “Ezra, be serious! We’re on a mission!” Kanan sighed in exasperation. So much for Ezra taking this responsibility seriously. So much for focus and discipline. A Jedi had to be able to concentrate on his duty, not get distracted by...fried exosquidra on a stick. Really? Ugh, how could the boy even think about eating that stuff? “We don’t have time to play silly carnival games or stuff ourselves with a bunch of disgusting fair food.”

    “Fine,” Ezra huffed, glowering at Kanan, his brows drawing together like a line of blue-black thunderclouds. “Then let’s go do our very serious mission. Not like it’s gonna take us long just to buy a ring. Then we can come back and hit the fair on our way home.”

    Hera twitched her lekku, signing “maybe“. “Once we get our job done, we might have time for dinner before heading back to Lothal.”

    “We’ll see,” Kanan added firmly. If Ezra thought they were going to rush through things and botch their mission just so he could win a stuffed tooka...

    “Yeah, heard that one before…” Ezra jammed his hands into the pockets of his coveralls, slouching the way only an overly dramatic teenager who thought life was so unfair could. “Sheesh,” Kanan heard him mutter to Hera, “Does he even know how to have fun?”

    Notes: The Fortunata Festival is fanon, invented for this story.
  2. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Force Ghost star 4

    May 4, 2017
    I don't watch Rebels, but this caught my eye. The mission is interesting, and I love everything in the fair.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Happy happy wriggles! [face_dancing] Let me start with the gorgeous opening scene. Very tranquil and lovely indeed, very conducive to meditating or just drinking it in. And yet [face_laugh] it's totally lost on Kanan and Ezra, Ezra especially who is supposed to be learning something or practicing it anyhow. :p

    Hera, LOL poor insightful one that she is, she has to put up with two stubborn too-alike adolescents! And [face_laugh] Ezra is the actual one so Kanan has to be the grown up, or you'd think. :rolleyes:

    Hera is spot on in that Kanan was much like Ezra when they met up and to help someone develop trustworthiness, you have to trust them. [face_thinking]

    What a lively and fun! festival they've landed into. Yum, those foods Ezra was noticing sound delicious! =P~

    Ezra is right though about one thing. Even the simplest most well prepared for missions have a way of springing the unexpected and you do have to "wing it" ;) Seems like 90% of the Rebel Alliance was winging it.

    Superb characterizations =D= and I look forward to how things unfold.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  4. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    This is exactly what I was thinking as I read the beginning. (I've only watched the first season of Rebels, not because I didn't love it, it just got away from me.) It takes awhile to unlearn things that life has taught you are necessary, and he's pretty young. I love that Hera see that and has the patience to deal with both of them. :)

    Ha! I love that she brings it back around to him. But she manages to do so in a way that is still calm and loving because that's just who she is.

    Okay, I gotta say that sounds both nauseating and really yummy at the same time! Of course that's usually how I feel about fair food, so you did a great job making that feeling into GFFA. It all felt so real! The fair was lovely and I love Erza's reaction to it all!

    Lovely start, Raissa! I look forward to the next part! =D=
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Your inimitable Rebels approach in action once again—yes, you were definitely the perfect choice for these prompts! :D Just love the opening, with the serene, bucolic landscape of the Lothal grassland pierced by strident Kanan-Ezra Jedibickering—and you have such a fantastic handle on these characters that I can hear every word in their actors' voices. ("Oh yeah, 'have to'... your other favorite words" feels especially Ezra-ish and Taylor Gray-ish for some reason.) And of course you always do a great job with Kanan and Hera's space-parental chats. :kanan: :hera: As @mavjade has said, some important issues come to the fore here, about trust and belonging and teamwork in general, and about Ezra in particular, especially how even under his rough Loth-streetrat exterior he longs deeply for belonging. Hera's right that including him on this Very Serious Mission will be a good first step toward fostering that belonging, and I'm glad that Kanan's better side kicked in and agreed to it, Serious Jedi Facial Expressions notwithstanding—he too will see what a good thing it'll be in the long run.

    Wonderful descriptions of Garel all decked out for the festival—there's a Mardi Gras vibe combined with a Lunar New Year vibe with a little bit of Purim thrown in. The foodstuffs are absolutely tantalizing—I'd take some of that fried avian in orange sauce, and even some of the exosquidra on a stick, even if it probably lacks fins and scales. :p And of course it ALL constitutes such a fantabulously HUGE TEMPTATION for Ezra! Understandably so: he's had to spend so much of his life just scraping by from day to day that of course he would jump at the chance at food and fun—and to a kid who has been living on the streets since age six, probably without many toys of his own, even just a stuffed tooka is a big deal. (I kind of hope he'll get a chance to win it later in the story!) Kanan is such a charming Scrooge about it all, of course: luck? Humbug! There is only the Force, and they've turned this city into a gambler's den, and that food is gross, etc., etc.! Glad that Hera at least seems to not have entirely ruled out the possibility of coming back later for some fun. Here's hoping that the ring mission will go nice and smoothly and quickly so they can do so—though of course, with this bunch, that's never an absolute given. ;)

    So delightful, and I can't wait for more! :ezra: :)
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    This is going to be a longer gift fic, but I am glued to it already. Like a Loth-cat to the contains of a honey pot that had ground contact.

    What I like about you is you are like the bells of Notre Dame. To freely quote from the Disney song that goes with the same name: "So many colours of sound, so many changing moods..."

    To read a story by you is always an interesting ride.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous & so true @AzureAngel2 -- =D= that lovely description is in my siggy ASAP [face_laugh]
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Ups, I never noticed that. But today I am moving in a cloud of music. A bit disturbing for my husband really, who likes it quiet.

    And I do hope that Ezra can have some fun during that festival:

  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    HEHEEHEHE. If this isn't a summary of Hera's life with these guys, I don't know what is.

    You are an amazing Rebels writer and this really shows here. This very much feels like the beginnings of the Ezra's, Hera's and Kanan's relationship, so you really have all these character's down pat, no matter what stage in their character arc you are writing in. I really enjoyed this.

    And the festival sounds like so much fun!
  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    [face_dancing] STOMP-STOMP, I'VE ARRIVED! [face_dancing]

    Perhaps she could get into Jedi mindfulness and all that woo-woo type of stuff? If the guys are not filling her on it on purpose, just to mess with her and Force-giggle behind her back. :p

    What's extra hilarious here is that it happens after a tranquil scene, a wonderful description of an agriworld equivalent of a "calmblueocean calmblueocean" type of a thing. @Raissa Baiard, your love for cartoons shows up in everything you write. I can almost see, say, that moment when the fat!Elmer's jalopnik breaks the silence in that canyon. [face_rofl] Didn't even think about that during the beta, but now that I took another look, it's totally one of those things. :D

    Just "some" days? Hera, pls. :hera:

    Dude, space tweezers! [face_hypnotized]

    Betcha Ezra himself can do it...not that I had read about that elsewhere, hurrhurrhurr. He's a feral Loth-cat himself, in a way, so he would, unlike Kanan, have a way with those kits.

    And then Hera strikes again and makes this serious business. All the points she makes are valid, thoughtful and they make sense - sure that Ezra needs to drop his guard and give up on the safety net, the wall or whatever it is that he's got as the last barrier between himself and the group, but seriously, how do you gain trust other than by being trusted? It's a two-sided thing. :)

    Trademark this. NOW.

    And there comes your signature leitmotif. ^:)^

    The whole atmosphere at the marketplace is, as usual, so, so vivid. Love the trinkets, thingamajigs and the persistent Squib - didn't expect an individual of any other species to be there. And there's plethora of awesome good luck charms, protection against the evil spirits - it only needs the kind of soaps one'd see in a Travel Channel short. :D

    Oh my Force, shut up, Kanan. There is such a thing as luck. Have you seen The Phantom Menace? :kanan:

    Let's see if there will be a balance between Kanan and Ezra, eventually. Not that they can't cheat in typical fairground games and win something for Hera, or 'Bine, r-right?
  11. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks! And thanks for checking this out. Rebels has really become one of my favorites; it has such a terrific ensemble cast, great writing and voice acting. I wholeheartedly recommend it!
    Living lright in the middle of the Prairie State, there are places that look a lot like Lothal’s grasslands. And they are as beautiful and tranquil as the vista Hera’s looking out least until the guys get the argument du jour going! I can kind of sympathize with Ezra, because I’ve always been terrible at meditation. It’s like…”empty my mind… peace… nothingness… ooh, idea for a new story!” :p
    You’d think so, wouldn’t? Sigh…boys… Oh, sorry, men...
    Hera can see it clearly since she’s outside the situation, but of course they would completely deny that they’re anything like each other. It’s been so long since Ezra has had anyone he could really trust, he has to re-learn the skill, and the best way to teach it is by example.

    [face_laugh] Really? Because I was trying to come up with some of the most disgusting foods possible! Our state fair (and probably most fairs) has a long tradition of deep frying anything even marginally edible, some of which (deep fried cheesecake, fried oreos) sound interesting, some of which (deep fried pig ears :eek: ) sound...not so interesting.
    Yep. There’s nothing wrong with having a plan, but you have to be able to be flexible, too. Ezra’s used to having to think on his feet to stay ahead of the Empire--and Very Serious Kanan is too, a lot more than he will admit to his padawan.

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying the story so far. It’s been a pleasure to work with your prompts and have a wonderful reason to spend some time with my favorite characters! [:D] @};-
    :D It’s pretty much a normal day on board the Ghost

    [face_blush][face_blush][face_blush] Thank you so much! I think their relationships with each other are what make them so enjoyable to write about. They really do learn and grow together throughout the series (and thank goodness for fanfic, so I can keep getting my Rebels fixafter this season :()
    Thank you so much! Sometimes I feel like the Rebels have taken up permanent residence in my brain. They have such a fabulous cast of voice actors that I hear their voices when I’m writing! I’m glad to hear that I can bring some of that to the page (screen, whatever :p) Hera and Kanan are really perfect complements to each other—the no nonsense, everything for a reason Space!Dad and Space!Mom who leads as much with her heart as with her head. Yes, Ezra needs to learn about trust and responsibility, but he also needs to feel that his new team values him.
    There’s definitely a bit of Mardi Gras in the colors of the decorations and the trinkets, and looking at the other holidays, I can see the resemblances there, too. Oh yes, Ezra’s quite forgotten about Serious Mission Stuff. He’s an adolescent boy and LOOK AT ALL THE FOOD.And the games! And everything! Eleventy-one! You’re right that he’s probably never had the opportunity to enjoy what most kids his age would take for granted. Kanan defaults to Serious Mode, of course, but Hera’s looking out for her Space!kid, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Ezra gets to sample some of those deliciously deep-fried goodies.
    Thank you so much for the lovely compliment[face_love] What a beautiful song that is! And what a cute picture of Ezra and Isabella! I hope that you’ll enjoy the rest of this Very Serious ride! ;)
    So true. Ezra’s learned the hard way that most people can’t be trusted and he can only rely on himself. Fortunately, he is still young enough to unlearn those hard lessons, and he has a new family to help him—especially Hera, who’s there to nudge everyone in the right direction.
    Well, as @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha noted, Kanan is the grownup here, and he’s experienced a lot of the same things Ezra has, so you’d think he’d be a little less rigid about things. But, ever the Space!Mom, Hera’s there to gently steer him back on track.

    Yep, that’s pretty much how I feel about fair food, too:D There’s so much deep-fried, sugar laden wonderful horrible stuff that it makes you slightly ill even as you’re saying “yes, please!” It looked a whole lot better to me when I was Ezra’s age, though.
    Welcome! Help yourself to some fried exosquidra on a stick while you’re here...

    I think Hera’s got her own understanding of the Force, mindfulness, and meditation. She may not experience the Force in the same way the guys do, but she’s seen enough to believe and trust in it.
    I live smack in the middle of agriworld; maybe that’s why I like Lothal so much? Calmamberwavesofgrain... And Rebels is a cartoon after all! Beyond that, though, I think cartoons are great examples of timing and telling a story in a short span of time.

    She’s being kind, because Space!Mom...

    He is...And does, eventually. As for that alternate universe Ezra...I think the Loth-Cat is training him :D

    Yep, just like that feral cat, Ezra needs to learn that an outstretched hand isn’t always going to smack him (metaphorically speaking).

    And there comes your signature leitmotif. ^:)^

    The whole atmosphere at the marketplace is, as usual, so, so vivid. Love the trinkets, thingamajigs and the persistent Squib - didn't expect an individual of any other species to be there. And there's plethora of awesome good luck charms, protection against the evil spirits - it only needs the kind of soaps one'd see in a Travel Channel short. :D[/quote] Sabacc players certainly can appreciate a festival dedicated to luck and taking chances, and with sabacc cards being the GFFA’s answer to tarot cards, it seemed appropriate that the Garellians would seek the wisdom of the cards for the coming year. Garel may be fairly backrocket, but it’s somewhat more cosmopolitan than Lothal, so I’m sure there all kinds of species living there.

    But that was the Force!

    What?! Mr. Very Serious Jedi cheat? How dare you suggest such a thing! Ezra, on the other hand...oh, yeah, without a second thought, especially if he thought winning that tooka would impress ‘Bine-‘Bine :D
  12. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you to @Findswoman and @Ewok Poet for beta reading@};-


    The festive banners turned faded and tattered as they made their their way across town, and the stores grew smaller and dingier. Their pourstone facades were streaked with grime and covered in graffiti of which Sabine definitely would not have approved. The festivities continued, though, even if the trinkets were tackier here. The carnival barkers on this side of town were more insistent, hardened looking characters who were undeterred by Kanan’s scowl. He really hated this kind of thing, shysters trying to wheedle beings who couldn’t afford it into wasting their credits on useless junk. Ezra was still looking around like a youngling in sweet shop; his eyes lit up every time he spotted a stand with a new, hideous deep-fried food on a stick—everything from d’il pyykkles to pickled space worm, from styro-taffy to slime yeast. That exosquidra on stick was beginning to look good after all.

    Kanan was glad when they finally reached the pawnbroker’s shop. The sign outside read “La’Zar’s Treasures and More” in chipped gilt letters, and inside it looked like some scavenging creature’s den. One wall was stacked with electronic devices, everything from kitchen appliances to nav computers. Display cases held electric quetarras and kloo horns, blaster rifles and pistols. The front counter was full of jewelry: necklaces, ear bobs, wrist cuffs, and an astonishing array of rings.

    A trio of droids—a small HU-1 housekeeping unit, an R5 astromech and a battered mouse droid—whirred hopefully when they entered. Chopper blatted a rebuke at them that these beings already had a droid, so they could just put their optical sensors back where they belonged.

    A Caarite wearing thick, round spectacles sat on a tall stool behind the counter; he clambered down and scurried over meet to them. “Welcome to La’Zar’s, friends! I’m Elmas La’zar, the owner of this fine establishment!” A beatific smile lit his broad porcine features, showing a double row of wide, flat teeth. Something about that ingratiating smile set Kanan’s own teeth on edge. It was just a bit too kindly when contrasted with the calculating glitter in his beady eyes. La’Zar was, Kanan decided, one of those beings they shouldn’t trust any further than they could throw. But when did they deal with any other kind?

    “Ooh, I haven’t seen one of these in years!” The Caarite’s delicately tapered snout twitched enthusiastically when he spotted Chopper. He stood on tiptoes to examine the droid’s optical receptor and sensor dish, and then tapped on his dome. “Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm. Not bad, not bad. Well maintained, except for the mismatched leg. I think we can get you a decent price for it….Vintage Clone Wars tech is very popular these days. Retro, they call it!”

    “Bwah!!” Chopper smacked the little Caarite’s hands away with his grasper. “Bwaah bwop bwabwop BWOP bwah bwaah BWOP!”

    La’Zar’s eyes widened behind his glasses until they were the size of credits. “Oh dear. Well! Language, language!” He clicked his tongue. “This droid needs a memory wipe immediately! I’ll have to deduct that from your total…”

    “BWAAAAAAH!” Chopper flicked his electro-shock probe out of its access panel and advanced menacingly on the Caarite.

    “Chopper!” Hera stepped in front of him. “Behave yourself.” The droid muttered a sullen “bwop” but did not seem otherwise chastened. Hera sighed. “I’m sorry but my astromech droid is not for sale. We’re actually here to buy. We’re looking for a ring…”

    “Of course, of course!” La’Zar’s face lit with another too-wide smile full of gleaming teeth. “Beautiful jewelry for a beautiful lady! I have just the thing for you…” He seized Hera’s hand and pulled her over to the counter. Scrambling back up to his perch on the stool, he opened a case, brought out a handful of rings and fanned them out on the counter’s transpari-steel top. “Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.” Ignoring Hera’s protests, he pulled the glove from her left hand. “Emeralds!” he exclaimed, slipping a gaudy ring with a green stone the size of small yub nut onto her finger. “To match the lovely shade of your skin!”

    “Thank you, but no…” Hera’s lekku twitched as she slid the ring off.

    “We’re looking for something specific. “ Kanan removed Hera’s hand from the Caarite’s grasp, resisting the urge to smack the piggy being’s stubby fingers. He didn’t like La’Zar’s smarmy grin and presumptuous attitude. Better cut to the chase and get this mission over with. “A fire-gem…”

    “Oh...a fire-gem, eh? Well, you’re in luck, then. I just got one in last week, from a lovely young woman who had to go home to her dying mother.” La’Zar shook his head and clicked his tongue. “Such a sad story, such a nice girl… And such a beautiful ring!” He selected one of the rings from his display, a brilliantly red stone in a gold band. “Look how it glows! If I may so, mistress, it would be positively striking on you!”

    Kanan stepped forward, putting himself between Hera and the transparisteel counter before La’zar tried to slip the ring on her finger. “How much?”

    La’Zar’s smile turned thoughtful. “Well, as I’m sure you realize, fire-gems are quite rare, and this one is an exquisite specimen; real quality craftsmanship—see the filigree on the band? It’s genuine aurodium. I couldn’t let it go for less than, oh say….five thousand credits.”

    “Five thousand?” Kanan nearly choked. Who did this huckster think he was kidding? The gem was barely the size of a stylus nib, and the ring might be aurodium, but more likely it was just aurodium plated. “We can give you fifteen hundred.”

    “Master, you wound me!” La’zar clapped one hand theatrically to his chest. “I was quite generous to the young woman, given her desperate situation. I have to recoup my investment! Surely you wouldn’t deny an honest businessman a bit of profit.” He leaned over the counter, eyes narrowed. “I could take the droid in trade…”

    “Bwaaah! Bwop, bwa bwabwop BWOP” Chopper gesticulated wildly with his graspers as he offered his opinion of the Caarite and his mother’s choice of footwear.

    Kanan ignored the droid. “No, he’s not for sale. We could go as high as two thousand.” That was being exceptionally generous. Any more than that would drain their credit reserves and they wouldn’t be able to afford enough fuel to fly back to Lothal.

    “Three thousand–no less.” The Caarite crossed his arms over his chest, all his smiling congeniality gone. Kanan sighed. Whatever La’zar thought, he wasn’t opposed to a merchant making a profit. Being a Jedi, he preferred to do things the honest way—but they had to have that ring and the data it contained. If La’zar couldn’t be reasonable… Kanan gathered his will to *suggest* that two thousand would do nicely.

    Before he could properly focus, Ezra, who had been standing next to Hera watching leaned forward, propping his elbows on the counter. He gave La’zar a smile as affable as the Caarite’s own. “Aw, come on, cut my brother a break here. He finally got the guts to pop the question, and, believe me, it took him long enough. He promised he’d get…Esmeralda a fire-gem, but, well, the meiloorun farm hasn’t been doing so well this season, and the speeder bike broke down, and one of the vaporators is frotzing out…” He sighed, waving one hand in a “what can you do” sort of way. “But my brother says promise is a promise… Which is great except he promised they’d get married at the festival, too, for good luck.”

    Kanan heard a spluttering noise and realized it was him. What was Ezra doing? All the boy had to do on this mission was stand there and let him and Hera handle things, but no, he had to jump in with one of his ridiculous stories! And where in the name of the Force had he come up with this nonsense about weddings, anyway? Kanan darted a quick glance at Hera—surely she was just as unamused by Ezra’s lack of discipline—but for some reason she seemed to be trying to suppress a smile.

    “Hmm, hmm….” La’Zar’s snout twitched thoughtfully. “Well, I am a sap for a pair of lovebirds. And it is the Fortunata Festival… Tell you what, I’ll make you a little wager.” He opened another display case and pulled out a stack of teacups, took three of them off the stack, and placed them upside down on the counter. Picking up the cup in the center, La’Zar placed the ring underneath it and smiled. “It's easy, just keep your eye on the ring and tell me which cup it’s under. Win the best out of five and I’ll sell it to you for 2500, even though it’s practically giving it away. What do you say?”

    “I don’t think…” Kanan began.

    “Sure, I’ll take that bet,” Ezra held out a hand to the little Caarite, and his genial smile broadened into the Loth-cat grin. “Only—if I win all five rounds, you give us the ring for free.”

    Oh, no. Kanan grimaced, rolling his eyes skyward, though technically the Force was all around. No, no, no! This was a mission to recover important intelligence, not some silly carnival game where you won a stuffed tooka. Just because the Garellians celebrated taking stupid risks didn’t mean Ezra ought to join in the so-called fun! Couldn’t the boy ever take anything seriously? “Ezra…”

    He turned his manic Loth-cat grin on Kanan. “Hey, trust me, big brother. I’m doing this for you.”

    Hera laid a restraining hand on Kanan’s shoulder before he could protest. “Let him do it, luv.” She arched an eyebrow at him and once again seemed to be trying not to smile. “You did promise you’d get me the ring.”

    Kanan sighed. He couldn’t believe Hera was going along with this. Oh, he knew what she’s say—that they had to include Ezra as a part of their team, that he had to trust Ezra if he wanted Ezra to trust him. But he had included Ezra; he’d brought him along on the mission, hadn’t he? And as far as trusting him...couldn’t he start with something smaller? Maybe he could get the boy a nice blob fish to take care of, and once he’d learned a little responsibility…. Hera squeezed his shoulder; her half-smile had flattened from “mildly amused” to “quit being so stubborn.” He sighed again, and waved a desultory hand. Fine, he’d go along but he he knew he was going to regret it later.

    La’Zar smiled and seized Ezra’s hand, shaking it with gusto. “You’ve got yourself a deal, young man.” He shuffled the cups theatrically. “Find the pretty ring five times and it’s yours!”

    “Okay. So, my first guess is….that one.” Ezra tapped on the left hand cup.

    The Caarite’s snout twitched as he picked up the cup to show a glimpse of glittering red. “Oh, would you look at that! Aren’t you lucky, to find it on the first try!” La’zar. shuffled the cups faster this time, moving them back and forth, back and forth, and round in circles. “Ready to try again?”

    Ezra grinned. “You bet! This’s in the middle.”

    Once again, there was a gleam of red beneath the the teacup. “The luck of the Fortunata Festival must be with you!” La’Zar’s smile was as broad as ever, but Kanan thought he saw the Caarite grind his too-white teeth as he moved the cups around.

    “It’s still in the middle.”

    Now Kanan was sure La’Zar’s teeth were clenched. His smile looked more like a grimace, and he shuffled the cups so fast they were just a blur of white stoneware. “What’s your guess, son?”

    “Hmm…” Ezra leaned against the counter, and tilted his head to the side, considering the row of teacups. Kanan held his breath. Don’t let him mess this up. If Ezra got this one right, maybe La’Zar would forget the rest of his silly wager and let them buy the ring.

    A sly smile touched Ezra’s lips and lit his eyes. “It’s not under any of the cups. It’s in your right hand.”

    “What…?” The Caarite spluttered. His snout twitched spasmodically and his eyes grew owlishly round with surprise. “I beg your pardon! How dare you suggest…!” He held up his hands to show they were both empty. “See, it’s not there!”

    Kanan groaned. Great. Just great. Not only had Ezra screwed up and lost their chance at getting the ring with his silly stunt, he’d insulted La’Zar. And now, as usual, it was going to be up to Kanan to straighten things out and finish this mission the right way. It was going to be a long time before he’d take Ezra on another job, that was certain!

    And then he noticed that Ezra was still smiling. “That’s because you just slipped it under the counter.” Fast as a Loth-cat, Ezra pounced, leaping halfway onto the counter, one hand darting underneath to pull something out just as La’Zar slammed the case shut. He held up the ring, its fire-gem gleaming brightly. “Which means… I found the ring five times, so it belongs to us.” Ezra grinned a crazy, triumphant grin as the Caarite stared apoplectically, stammering incoherent denials. “Hey, a deal’s a deal!”

    To be concluded.....
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Loved Kanan's reflections on the festival etc. I agree taking advantage of people who cannot afford exorbitant prices for junk really is pushing it beyond the limit!

    But now Kanan's misgivings about Ezra have been totally put aside. They have the ring with the info they needed, for free, on top of it!

    Go Ezra! [face_love]

    The story he spun and the wager, five times -- that seemed a bit too much more than 3, but he did it!

    [face_dancing] [face_dancing]

    La'Zar thought he had them but good with his smarmy grin and gouging prices! :p

    Love so much Chopper's indignant reaction to getting a memory wipe. Perfect place to include that little quote BTW ;)

    =D= =D= =D= !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Fantastic descriptions as we move from the shinier, glossier, more tourist-friendly part of this all-city celebration to the dingier, seedier part—the wrong side of the repulsortrain tracks, as it were. The decorations become more faded and frayed, the fried food becomes even more questionable... and Kanan's charming scrooginess increases exponentially with almost each step. It's really rather sweet. :D :kanan:

    Of course, it all culminates in the sliminess of La'Zar himself (whom as I recall first appeared as a member of the Space!Rat!Pack members in Everyone Comes to Doran's Place, right?). Ugh, what a smarmball—especially in the way he tries to butter up Hera with his flattery and hand-grabbing. I too have to agree with Kanan about beings of his general type. And I love that even Chopper has the chance to tell him exactly where he gets off—great way to work in the "memory wipe" line! :D

    Ezra really shines here, at least as brightly as that fire-gem—though of course that's no surprise, as you write him like no one else can. :) He puts his blarney talent to admirable use in his yarn about his "brother's" engagement to "Esmeralda," and it's really kind of neat to imagine him and Kanan as little- and big-brother-figures here (in a way, it's closer to their actual age difference than the more familiar Space!Dad and Space!Son roles). And the whole cup game sequence... Ezra was taking a huge, Corellian-sized risk with that, and there was a close moment there at the end—but wow, those were some truly awesome Force reflexes at work, from start to finish, and I really don't see how Kanan can avoid being even a little impressed with him after this. Though on the other hand, one never knows—this is Kanan we're talking about here, after all. :p Can't wait to see what his reaction will be, and what will come next for this delightful tale! =D=
  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Thanks, but I don't think I beta'd this particular bit. [face_blush] I was busy responding to your other stories. Though yeah, I was MORAL SUPPORT. :p

    Gosh, despite how the food gets greasier and how the surroundings get weirder, I totally understand why Ezra feels the way he does. It's a familiar atmosphere to him and perhaps it evokes some memories that are actually dear to him. At that moment, he reminds me of myself in my own paradise. [face_love]

    For some reason, I expected the pawn shop owner to be a Squib. But yeah, you surprised me. The second surprise was that he wanted to buy Chopper and remained unscratched. You just don't kriffin' mess with that droid, just how did he do it? :chopper:

    Ugh, you pawn shop vulture!!! :mad:

    Glad that Ezra basically schooled him...though I wonder if Kanan and Hera will take any inspo from his little made-up story. [face_whistling] Wishful thinking on my behalf, huh?
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Nopers, not just yours. SQUEEE! LOL I'm wishing, too.
    It's like Ezra wasn't just making stuff up out of whole cloth, the engaged bit maybe, but not crazy about each other. :D [face_love]
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I still need to watch Rebels (yeah, I'm one of those people) but I'm beginning to worry that when I get there I'll be disappointed, because I'll have read some of your stuff before :)

    I liked how you establish the character dynamics in the very first lines with Hera's "story of my life" moment when the shouting between Kanan and Ezra begins. It must be difficult for someone who grew up as a street urchin to suddenly have to submit to the austere Jedi ethos, and Kanan seems to have reverted to the teachings of his early life after abandoning his loner existence from A New Dawn. In the end, Hera appears to be the only adult in the room at this point of their relationship as a team – because, umm, Chopper... Okay, his comment about the merchant's mother's choice of footware was priceless.

    Speaking of the merchant, what a sleazy double-crosser! He fit right in with your description of the town, where things become darker and more grim as one moves away from the festivities. If he thought that this would be his lucky day, he definitely got it wrong – and this was a great moment for Ezra to shine by putting his street urchin skills to good use.

    Somehow I sense that a deal isn't quite a deal though, and that Elmas La'zar isn't going to surrender the ring so easily.
  18. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    “Ooh, I haven’t seen one of these in years!” The Caarite’s delicately tapered snout twitched enthusiastically when he spotted Chopper. He stood on tiptoes to examine the droid’s optical receptor and sensor dish, and then tapped on his dome. “Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm. Not bad, not bad. Well maintained, except for the mismatched leg. I think we can get you a decent price for it….Vintage Clone Wars tech is very popular these days. Retro, they call it!”

    “Bwah!!” Chopper smacked the little Caarite’s hands away with his grasper. “Bwaah bwop bwabwop BWOP bwah bwaah BWOP!”

    La’Zar’s eyes widened behind his glasses until they were the size of credits. “Oh dear. Well! Language, language!” He clicked his tongue. “This droid needs a memory wipe immediately! I’ll have to deduct that from your total…”

    “BWAAAAAAH!” Chopper flicked his electro-shock probe out of its access panel and advanced menacingly on the Caarite.

    So many other aspects got already reflected on and/ or mentioned, which leaves me only to say that I loved your portrait of Chopper, just as he is.