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Before the Saga Always a Bigger Fish (A Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Multi-Chapter Mission Story)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Always a Bigger Fish

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Timeframe: Before the Saga

    Characters: Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Jocasta Nu, and Original Characters.

    Genre: General, Adventure, Politics, Friendship

    Summary: Assigned to oversee a planetary election recount, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan discover the arrogance of big fish in small ponds.

    The Summons

    Qui-Gon pivoted and buried his blazing green lightsaber in the control panel of a training droid, disabling it in a single smooth swing. Beside him, his Padawan’s weapon was a whirlwind, deflecting another training droid’s stun bolts back at it before dispatching it with a swift slash of his burning blue blade. As Qui-Gon lunged to destroy the second-to-last training droid, Obi-Wan raised a hand that sent the final droid clanging into the wall of the clanging dojo, where it broke upon impact.

    Silence save for his own heavy breathing and that of his apprentice suddenly filled the dojo. Surveying the wreckage he and his Padawan had wrought, Qui-Gon was grateful that repairing the damaged droids was not his responsibility but the tedious duty of the Temple mechanics.

    “Good job, Padawan.” Qui-Gon squeezed Obi-Wan’s ever-broadening shoulder, feeling the sweat that had soaked through the fabric, and abruptly aware of the pools that had accumulated on his own brow and the blades of his back. “Using the Force to incapacitate that final droid was particularly well-done.”

    “Thank you, Master.” Obi-Wan’s cheeks, flushed from the exertion of their training exercise, became even redder at Qui-Gon’s praise. To hide his embarrassment, he consulted his chrono. “Our time improved by a full minute.”

    “Excellent.” Qui-Gon gestured at a Roo-wood bench in the corner where they had left their water canteens and towels to dry their foreheads. “Shall we?”

    Obi-Wan nodded and trailed him to the bench. They were barely settled and beginning to gulp from their canteens when Qui-Gon’s comlink rang.

    “Qui-Gon Jinn speaking,” he answered tersely, displeased to be interrupted by a comlink call in the middle of recovering from a training exercise.

    “Master Qui-Gon.” Yoda’s gravelly voice greeted him through the comlink. “The presence of you and your apprentice requires the Council does. A mission for you we have. Briefed in it you must be.”

    “Yes, Master.” Qui-Gon allowed his respect for the Grand Master of the Jedi Order to seep into his words. “My Padawan and I will report to the Council Chamber at once.”

    “Freshen yourselves up first you can.” Yoda’s tone held a glimmer of humor, and Qui-Gon wondered how the ancient, esteemed Jedi had managed to sense that he and his apprentice were sweating buckets through a comlink. “Wait for you the Council will.”

    “Yes, Master. Thank you.” Qui-Gon expressed his gratitude for this courtesy and then offered the traditional Jedi farewell that was a tradition even he, the famed maverick, adhered to a majority of the time. “May the Force be with you.”

    “May the Force be with you.” Yoda echoed Qui-Gon’s words and then closed the comlink connection with a click.

    “The Council has a mission for us?” Obi-Wan asked, eyes as bright a blue as his lightsaber with eagerness at the prospect of embarking on another adventure.

    “Yes.” Qui-Gon returned his comlink to his belt. “We’re to make ourselves presentable before we report to the Council for a briefing.”

    Half an hour later, having washed themselves in sanistreams and donned clean, crisp robes, Qui-Gon and his apprentice stood before the Council after making their bows.

    “Dispatched you will be to the planet Arieli.” Yoda began the briefing with the mention of a planet Qui-Gon had never heard of once he and his Padawan had assumed their customary positions in the center mosaic of the Council Chamber. “Heard of it, have you, Qui-Gon?”

    “No, Master.” Qui-Gon couldn’t remember reading that planet’s name on a galactic map or stumbling across it on the holonews.

    “And you, Padawan?” Yoda’s keen green-gold eyes fixed on Obi-Wan.

    “If I recall correctly, Arieli is the largest of a four planet system orbiting one star in the Mid-Rim.” Obi-Wan had an exceptionally sharp memory so Qui-Gon doubted his Padawan’s recollection was anything less than accurate. “It’s a small planet in both galactic politics and the galactic economy, but it’s the most important planet politically and economically in its system by a significant margin.”

    “Remember correctly you do.” Yoda’s head dipped in approval of Obi-Wan’s recitation, and Qui-Gon could only conclude that his apprentice’s hobby of memorizing random tidbits of information from holobooks had once again paid dividends.

    “Ah.” Qui-Gon stroked at his chin, contemplating what he had just learned of Arieli and concluding that he could expect Arieli’s population to have an inflated perception of their role in the wider galaxy. “Then Arieli is a big fish in a small pond, and we can anticipate its people conducting themselves accordingly because they forget there is always a bigger fish.”

    “Anticipate nothing you can.” Yoda’s gaze pierced into him. “Oversee you will the recount of the election ballots for the planet’s Head of State in the city of Ariani.”

    “The situation on Arieli is volatile.” Grave as ever, Mace Windu steepled his fingers. “Arieli has long been the economic hub of its star system, attracting migrant workers from across the system, but the planet is experiencing an economic downturn. One candidate has embraced the migrant workers as a vital part of Arieli’s economy while the other has publicly accused migrant workers of stealing jobs from Arieli’s natives. This same candidate also blames the Galactic Senate for imposing onerous trade regulations that supposedly have crippled the planet’s once vibrant economy.”

    “Xenophobia and distrust of galactic government thrive on Arieli.” Ki-Adi-Mundi picked up on Mace Windu’s thoughts and completed them. “Yet the current Head of State and the two candidates for this position have requested Jedi oversee the recount of ballots in Ariani. They have faith the Jedi will be impartial in overseeing the recount while they fear officials on their own planet might be induced to act corruptly for political or financial considerations.”

    “My Padawan and I will oversee the recount on Arieli.” Qui-Gon inclined his head, somberly accepting the mission as he had a thousand before it. “We will ensure it is conducted fairly and without a hint of corruption.”

    “A more detailed briefing on the politics of Arieli you will receive from Jocasta Nu in the Archives.” Yoda waved his gimmer stick in dismissal. “Provide you further materials to study on your trip to Arieli she will.”

    “Yes, Master. We will report to her at once.” Qui-Gon bowed, Obi-Wan mirroring his movement, and they took their leaves, heading toward the turbolifts, where they could ride down to the Archives, where Jocasta Nu awaited them with a more comprehensive overview of the politics on Arieli.
     
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love to see Qui and Obi again
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] What a wonderful start! First we get Qui and Obi with training droids. :cool: Then a fascinating mission, made so by the fact that the Jedi are needed for their objectivity and the fact that Arieli needs to have a recount they can trust. The political and economic situation there makes it necessary to soothe ruffled feathers. :p
     
  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @earlybird-obi-wan, thanks so much for commenting! I had so much fun writing about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon for this first chapter, and I'm looking forward to continuing to write about their adventures together throughout the story, so it makes me super happy that somebody else is looking forward to seeing them appear together:)

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, thank you so much for your kind comment! Beginnings can sometimes be the hardest part of a story, so I'm happy to hear you thought this one was wonderful. I was hoping that starting with a little practice battle against the training droids would provide some excitement to the opening, so I'm so glad you enjoyed that part.

    It makes me super pleased that you find the idea of this mission fascinating since I imagine that the Republic era must have been filled with these kind of missions where the Jedi would be relied on for their objectivity and the belief all parties can have that they will be trustworthy rather than corrupt. So few figures can inspire that kind of faith in times of turmoil, but for many centuries, the Jedi could, and I believe that makes them very special as an Order. It will be very important for Arieli that the Jedi oversee a recount they can trust especially with all the political and economic worries as you say. Thank you again for your support, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy where the story goes next. We should learn even more about Arieli's political situation in the next chapter, but I didn't want to overload readers with it in this one...
     
  5. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Nice. Love the implication that "There's always a bigger fish" was not specific to the situation on Naboo, but was something that Qui-Gon was in the habit of saying.
     
  6. ThisIsMe1138

    ThisIsMe1138 Defender of Family Friendliness star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Wow I love this! You've definitely nailed the Jedi lingo - maybe a small detail but it really made this seem so much more official and professional, and I also really loved how you write both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon ;) I can't wait to see how this mission turns out for them :)
     
  7. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701, thank you so much for commenting! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story so far. I thought it would be a cool idea to make Qui-Gon's "bigger fish" quote from TPM something of a catchphrase from him, so it makes me really happy that you liked that, since that catchphrase might appear again in this story;)

    @ThisIsMe1138, thanks so much for your kind comment! I'm so happy to hear that you loved this story. Getting the Jedi to sound like Jedi is a bit of a challenge since they do have a bit of a special lingo so I'm so pleased that you thought I nailed it in this chapter. I really wanted to make the mission assignment sound very official and professional in this chapter so it's awesome to know that worked. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are two of my absolute favorite Star Wars characters, so it's a pleasure for me to write them, and it makes me smile to think that you're enjoying reading about them in this story. Hopefully you'll find how their mission unfolds to be interesting:)
     
    AzureAngel2 and ThisIsMe1138 like this.
  8. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Awwww, more Qui and Obi *dancing happy dance * . Somehow I have a feeling that this mission will be far less simple than it seems when they're shipped out. Events quite often speeds up when my favorite duo is out on missions.
     
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I echo all of the praise for this opening. What a fascinating scenario. Not only the idea of Arieli having an over-sized idea of their own importance, but also their internal election concerns.

    It was nice to see Obi-wan show off his knowledge as well as Yoda chastising Qui-Gon about his assumptions. Can't wait for Jocasta Nu and more Qui-Obi back and forth.

    Last but not least, the opening of this opening chapter was some fun action with the sparring droids and well written. Excellent work, devilinthedetails!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @CaraJinn, thank you so much for commenting! I'm glad a story about Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan made you do a happy dance, since writing about these two and their adventures makes me very happy and excited too. I think you're right that this mission will definitely become more complicated than it sounds once they are shipped out and enter the situation itself. These two do have a knock for getting difficult missions;)

    @brodiew, thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I'm happy to hear you found this scenario fascinating since coming up with a situation complex enough to deserve a multi-chapter story was a little bit intimidating to me, but I wanted to give it a try. I think in this story it will be interesting to explore both the Arieli inflated sense of importance and internal elections issue so hopefully you'll enjoy seeing where this story goes in the future.

    I had a lot of fun giving Obi-Wan a chance to show off his knowledge a bit (in my head, he can be a bit of a know-it-all...) and giving Yoda an opportunity to chide Qui-Gon a bit for making assumptions.

    I'm looking forward to writing Jocasta Nu in the next chapter and the Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan banter that makes them so awesome to write together. Hopefully you enjoy both those parts next chapter.

    Action scenes can be a little difficult for me to write, so I'm so happy that you found the opening one with the sparring droids fun and well-written.

    Thanks again for your kind review! I really appreciate it:)
     
  11. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    The Briefing

    “This is Arieli.” Jocasta Nu wasted no time with preliminaries, her snowy hair glowing a glacial blue in the light cast by the hologram of the whirling planet she had activated in front of her wrinkled face. “It has a variety of biomes ranging from the arctic to the tropic, but”—She must have flicked a control concealed within her robes for the hologram zoomed in on a boot-shaped peninsula near the planet’s equator—“Ariani is a tropical city.”

    “A tourist city?” Qui-Gon hadn’t heard of Arieli until the Council meeting, but he knew enough of the galaxy to understand that where there were tropical climates, there were also resorts catering to an endless stream of well-heeled tourists.

    “A tourist city for both Arieli natives and visitors from other planets within the system.” Jocasta Nu gave a brusque nod, confirming his assumption. “The city also attracts many retirees from the colder climates of Arieli, and where there are tourists, cheap labor must be in abundance to operate the resorts. The cheap labor in this case comes from a pool of migrant workers from throughout the system who are willing to work for less than native Arieli, inciting resentment among the native population of Arieli. Due to its diverse demographics, Ariani can be considered a swing city in Arieli’s planetary elections for Head of State with the migrant workers overwhelmingly in favor of the pro-migrant, pro-Republic Renza Osanna, and the retirees rallying around the isolationist Alcide Cesare, who is as opposed to the Galactic Senate as he is to the migrant workers.”

    “If this city is termed a swing city, it must have a substantial impact on the election of the planet’s Head of State.” Qui-Gon stroked his beard, his forehead furrowing. “How do the elections for Head of State work on Arieli?”

    “The planet is divided into fifty-two administrative regions referred to as provinces.” Jocasta Nu sounded as if she had swallowed a galactic encyclopedia from her Archives. “Each province is assigned points to vote for a candidate in an electoral congress with the number of points for every province determined in proportion to the province’s population. Ariani is the largest city in its province, and this its votes influence not only how its province votes for Head of State, but also how the planet as a whole votes for the Head of State. Indeed the last twelve Head of States have all won Ariani, and it’s an old aphorism on Arieli that whoever wins Ariani, wins Arieli.”

    “I see the significance of ensuring a fair recount in Ariani for the people of Arieli,” Qui-Gon said, as Obi-Wan nodded silently and somberly beside him.

    “I have pulled holobooks and holodisks on Ariani and Arieli from the shelves for you and your Padawan to review on your journey.” Jocasta Nu thrust an intimidating tower of materials across a table toward Qui-Gon. “The materials should help assure your success on Arieli. Any questions not addressed in the materials may be posed to me via comlink.”

    “Understood. Thank you for your assistance, Master Nu. May the Force be with you.” Qui-Gon bowed in respectful farewell, Obi-Wan mirroring him a mere heartbeat behind.

    As Jocasta Nu disappeared among the stacks to aid a confused-looking youngling in locating an item for a class, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan scooped up the stack of materials set aside for them and strode out of the Archives.

    They returned to their quarters, where they hastily packed their bags before hurrying to the Temple hangar. At the hangar, they quickly consulted with the Togrutan Jedi—a male Qui-Gon recognized by sight but couldn’t name—monitoring the arrivals and departures to be directed toward a small ship that would transport them to Arieli.

    “This clunker has seen better decades.” Obi-Wan cast a critical eye over the spacecraft’s paint, which was so chipped that it was impossible to discern what color it had initially been intended to be.

    “Appearances can be deceiving, my young Padawan.” Qui-Gon reminded his apprentice of a truism every youngling was made to memorize during Temple training, smiling slightly to remove some of the sting from the reprimand. “What matters about this craft is its interior, not its exterior.”

    “Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan was all dutiful obedience as he shadowed Qui-Gon up the ship, but as they entered a hallway so compact Qui-Gon had to resist the temptation to suck in his stomach, Obi-Wan added, dry as a picked bone, “Unfortunately, the interior is even less impressive than the exterior.”

    Qui-Gon decided to ignore this. Instead he deposited his bag on a narrow bunk in the cramped sleeping quarters. Obi-Wan’s bag claimed the other bunk, sagging into the protesting mattress.

    They squeezed back along the hallway to the tiny cockpit located at the other end of the ship, where Qui-Gon keyed Arieli’s coordinates into the navcomputer while Obi-Wan completed the Temple-mandated preflight checklist. By the time Obi-Wan had finished with the preflight checklist, the navcomputer was pinging an alert that it had charted a hyperspace course to Arieli.

    Qui-Gon navigated them through Coruscant’s crowded atmosphere. When they were clear of the city-planet’s gravity, he sent the ship into star-streaking hyperspace along the route navicomputer had calculated.

    Piloting through hyperspace required little skill and less attention, so Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were at liberty to peruse the materials Jocasta Nu had supplied for their research. As the craft was too small and utilitarian to offer a lounge, they remained in the cockpit to conduct this research.

    “You know the best thing about Ariani having a high population of retirees, Master?” Obi-Wan glanced up from what appeared to be a detailed analysis of Ariani’s age demographics with a gleam of what could only be defined as mischief in his gaze.

    “No.” Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow, awaiting his impertinent apprentice’s next sarcastic remark. Obi-Wan provided an ending amount of such comments on a daily basis. “However, I suspect you’ll be only too happy to inform me.”

    “With pleasure, Master,” Obi-Wan chirped with the innocence of a doki bird, which promised nothing but trouble. “You can easily disguise yourself as a retiree.”

    “All I’d need to do is dye my hair durasteel gray.” Qui-Gon tugged teasingly on Obi-Wan’s long Padawan braid. “Is that what you were thinking, my young apprentice?”

    “Not at all, Master.” Obi-Wan persisted with his cheek. “With the amount of gray hairs on your head, I wouldn’t think you’d have to dye your hair to blend in with the retirees.”

    “When you’re old, you’ll hope that the young display more reverence for the aged than you are currently, Padawan.” Qui-Gon tried to sound stern, hiding his amusement at Obi-Wan’s quip.

    “Yes, Master.” Undaunted, Obi-Wan switched on what seemed to be a holovideo of the two candidates running for Head of State on Arieli. “Let’s meet the charming candidates for Arieli’s Head of State, shall we?”

    “Arieli alone must supply its workers!” A hulking figure—even in holovideo—swelled into life in the cockpit, gesticulating fiercely for an invisible but presumably rabid throng. “Arieli alone must govern its economy, not the corrupt bigwigs in the Galactic Senate! Arieli’s economy and trade must be for the benefit of Arieli alone, not leeching migrants. I’m Alcide Cesare, and I stand for Arieli alone now and forever!”

    “A stirring speech.” Obi-Wan emitted a contemptuous snort. “His slogan is Arieli alone. Very subtle the way he integrates it into every sentence, never mentioning, of course, how dependent Arieli is on migrant workers or the larger galaxy for its economic survival. Arieli can’t stand alone any more than a table can be supported by one leg, but he conveniently ignores that when he spews his propaganda.”

    “Subtlety isn’t the objective of election speeches.” Qui-Gon sighed. “The objective is to appeal to the maximum number of simpletons to draw their votes.”

    Obi-Wan made no reply as the holovideo shifted to a severe woman with her hair tucked into a no-nonsense bun from which no hair appeared to have a chance of escape.

    “I believe in an Arieli for all,” she shouted, eyes widening in a passion that seemed to be before the benefit of the holocameras. “An Arieli for all means an Arieli that welcomes migrant workers to our bustling cities and fertile farms. An Arieli for all is one that embraces all the sister worlds in our vast Galactic Republic. I am Renza Osanna, and a vote for me is a vote for an Arieli for all.”

    “An Arieli for all,” Obi-Wan repeated, rolling his eyes. “That’s her slogan, but she only cares about an Arieli where migrant workers can continue to provide cheap labor to support the faltering economy so wealthy natives of Arieli don’t lose any of their precious credits.”

    “We’ve been dispatched to Arieli to assure a fair recount in Ariani, not to admire the planet’s politicians,” Qui-Gon pointed out. “Not that you’ve ever encountered a politician you admire.”

    “It’s just as well that I haven’t because I might collapse into cardiac arrest from the shock if I did.” Obi-Wan pushed himself out of his chair, heading toward the craft’s galley. “I’m going on a reconnaissance mission to investigate if there’s anything edible in the galley. I need a meal and a break from the politicians.”

    The sound of rummaging through frozen foodpacks reached Qui-Gon from the galley followed by Obi-Wan’s voice raised in question. “Would you care to make a selection from our wide array of frozen foodpacks, Master?”

    “Surprise me,” Qui-Gon called back, resuming his reading on the politics of Arieli.

    Minutes later, he heard the beep of the tetrawave as the foodpacks finished heating, and then Obi-Wan reappeared in the cockpit, bearing a steaming plastoid dish in each hand.

    “The most delectable zuchii in the galaxy for you, Master.” Obi-Wan placed an immensely unappetizing meal before Qui-Gon’s crinkling nose—“and the finest nerf steak for me. We’re truly living luxuriously aboard this starship.”

    “Do you take me for a Hutt, Padawan?” Qui-Gon studied his zuchii with a distinct lack of excitement. He was reasonably certain only Hutts and similar species derived any pleasure from consuming zuchii. Plainly Obi-Wan had interpreted his order to surprise him too literally.

    “You do look rather green now that you mention it, Master.” Obi-Wan stared at Qui-Gon with mock concern as he chomped into a hearty cut of nerf steak.

    “That would be the zuchii.” Qui-Gon bit back a growl as he gnawed a scalding slice of zuchii his Padawan had overcooked in the tetrawave.
     
  12. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Mister Cesare's rhetoric is disturbingly reminiscent of the current POTUS.

    And I love the banner between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
     
  13. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Love how you write Nu and the banter between Qui and Obi
     
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The banter is delightful!! [face_laugh] And I can just imagine how underwhelmed Obi-Wan was over their transport :p And the speeches, Obi-Wan is thinking as anyone would -- neither candidate is above reproach. [face_thinking]
     
  15. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701, thanks so much for commenting! I definitely do think there are some disturbing similarities between Cesare's rhetoric and that of the current POTUS. I do admit that I was thinking of some of the rhetoric we've heard from the current POTUS in writing Cesare's political philosophy, although I was also trying to borrow more broadly from other politicians in the past who have played off economic uncertainty and resentment for perceived outsiders to gain political power. Sadly that kind of rhetoric hasn't been rare in history or politics so there is lots of inspiration for me to draw on for this story.

    @earlybird-obi-wan, thank you for the kind comment! I really enjoyed writing Jocasta Nu, so I'm super happy you loved how I wrote her, and the banter between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon always makes me smile as I'm scribbling, so I'm really glad that you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. :)

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, thank you for your supportive comment! Writing the banter between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon has been my favorite part of this story, so I'm super glad you found it delightful. Obi-Wan being so underwhelmed by the speeder was something that was very fun for me to write, and I'm happy you could get a real sense of how unimpressed by the transport he was.

    I always found Obi-Wan's distrust and cynicism about politicians to be one of his most relatable traits, so he seemed the perfect character to be able to sarcastically critique both candidates. I think you're right that sadly neither candidate is above reproach (as Obi-Wan observes) and both have some policies that are rooted in exploiting people hidden beneath "catchy" slogans. To me, it sort of shows how corrupt the Republic and the planetary governments within the Republic have become as TPM approaches. We may see one side as the lesser of the two evils as the story progresses, but the sad fact will still be that neither side is really pure. Of course, all this is ultimately open to reader interpretation, and hopefully I've left enough space for readers to make up their own minds. For me, I'm trying to balance on the tightrope of drawing on our current world for inspiration but not become too preachy or anything. I hope I don't fall on my face in the process and make a fool of myself.:p
     
  16. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Interesting update. I wonder what will happen when they get there.
     
  17. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Enjoying this story very much! You have a nice knack for storytelling! Your characterizations are spot-on.

    I like how you’ve clearly thought out the political issue that faces Arieli, and the drawbacks that each candidate has. Neither is completely evil or completely good.

    It’s so nice to see Jocasta Nu get some screen time! Yay for kick-butt librarians! [face_dancing]

    The best part, however, is the relationship between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. There’s definitely respect between the two of them, even with the gentle teasing that’s going on. They are a great team.:)
     
  18. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @brodiew, thanks so much for the continued support! I'm glad you found the update interesting. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon will be arriving on the planet next chapter, so hopefully you'll like how the story develops from there :)

    @divapilot, thank you so much for your kind comment.! I'm so glad that you're enjoying this story so much and super flattered that you think I have a knack for storytelling. I really love Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as characters and want to do them justice here, so it makes me so happy that you think their characterizations are spot-on.

    I tried to make detailed notes on the politics of Arieli and the drawbacks of each candidate before writing this story so it's great to know that you feel the politics and candidates were well-thought-out. Hopefully you'll continue to feel that way as the story goes on.

    I loved Jocasta Nu in AOTC, and as a librarian myself, I totally like seeing them kicking butt [face_dancing]

    I definitely see the core of this story being Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's relationship, so I'm so happy that shone through for you, and that you got a sense of their respect for one another beneath the banter. I really believe they do make a great team, and that their differences in perspective ultimately only contribute to that greatness.
     
  19. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Qui-Gon will undoubtedly have even more gray hair after this mission.[face_whistling]
     
  20. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @CaraJinn, thanks so much for commenting! You're so right that Qui-Gon will have even more gray hair at the end of this mission. Poor Qui-Gon. [face_laugh]

    Surface Luxury

    As soon as they entered Arieli’s atmosphere, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were hailed by the harsh voice of planet security demanding to know their identity and business on Arieli. Once Qui-Gon explained they were the Jedi summoned to oversee the re-count in Ariani, the security officer’s manner thawed and coordinates to a landing pad at Ariani’s spaceport were swiftly sent.

    He handed the controls to Obi-Wan so his Padawan could navigate their landing and watched the gleaming transports of a hundred wealthy tourists stream into and out of Ariani’s teaming spaceport.

    “Our ship looks as out of place in this shining company as an acklay at a dress ball,” Obi-Wan muttered, steering their craft onto their designated landing pad and beginning to complete the post-flight procedures.

    “The Arieli government must see our role here as very important.” Qui-Gon rose from his chair as his apprentice finished the post-flight procedures and they strode out of the cockpit together. “Otherwise they wouldn’t have told us to park our ship near such illustrious company.”

    They squeezed down the craft’s narrow hallway and disembarked onto the landing pad, where they were greeted by a woman clad in scarlet shimmersilk. Her wide smile seemed fake as her long, painted fingernails and dyed hair.

    “Welcome to the sunshine city of Ariani.” She curtsied to them, smile reaching her ears but never her eyes. “I’m Catia, senior aide to our Head of State Darius. He has assigned me to your official greeter and asked me to assure that you arrive at the accommodations he has arranged for you as our honored guests.”

    “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Qui-Gon bowed to the aide, his Padawan copying the routine but respectful motion beside him. “We are grateful for any accommodations the Head of State has arranged on our behalf.”

    “I trust you’ll find the accommodations the Head of State has arranged for you most comfortable.” Catia coaxed them toward a waiting airspeeder that sparkled a dazzling gray in the tropical sunlight. A squadron of black-robed guards Qui-Gon wasn’t supposed to detect but did slipped behind him and Obi-Wan as they allowed Catia to guide them to the airspeeder. “You’ll be in the penthouse suite of our finest resort in Ariani when you aren’t overseeing our re-count.”

    Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan sank into the soft veda seats on one side of the airspeeder while Catia spread her dress around her in a seat on the opposite side of the airspeeder.

    “This airspeeder is larger and more luxurious than the starship we arrived in,” commented Obi-Wan in an undertone, breath whispering against the shell of Qui-Gon’s ear. Obviously his contempt for politicians didn’t extend to the airspeeders they dispatched to collect Jedi assigned to their worlds.

    “Don’t be distracted by the surface luxury, Obi-Wan,” Qui-Gon chided in a murmur, and his apprentice fell silent, flushing slightly. “Keep your focus on the truth of your surroundings buried beneath the surface luxury.”

    “Yes, Master. I won’t be deceived by the surface luxury.” Obi-Wan nodded, fixing his gaze on the viewscreen above Catia’s head, which seemed to be tinted to permit the airspeeder’s occupants to look out while rendering it impossible for anyone outside the vehicle to observe what was transpiring within the airspeeder. A perfect viewscreen for a politician, Qui-Gon thought.

    Taking some of his own advice bout observing his surroundings, Qui-Gon stared out of the viewscreen nearest him as the airspeeder flew down Ariani’s broad boulevards planted with trees that had great purple palm fronds for branches. Colorful awnings shaded fashionably attired pedestrians as they strolled from one ship to the next, bags of prior purchases swinging from their arms in the mild breeze stirring across Ariani from the ocean.

    Fountains shot forth water in a rainbow at every square they passed, and everything would have seemed serene if not for the cracks in the surface luxury that betrayed a population in turmoil seething beneath the glittering facade of the tourist city. Arieli was a world that guaranteed freedom of expression, and evidence of that could be glimpsed in glowing holosigns in store windows that proclaimed a shocking spectrum of political beliefs: Renza Osanna for Head of State! Alcide Cesare is Arieli’s hope! Arieli for all! Arieli alone! Osanna is a sore loser! Cesare can’t count!

    Qui-Gon could only imagine that the slogans would be more profane and take the form of graffiti rather than holosigns in Ariani’s poorer districts, the districts that he wouldn’t be shown on this route that was designed to assure him all was tranquil on Arieli.

    His assumption that he wouldn’t be permitted to see Ariani’s poorer districts was proven correct as the airspeeder soared into a city section devoted to towering resorts overlooking a turquoise ocean and black sand beaches.

    The airspeeder parked in front of the highest of these resorts, and Catia swept them out of the airspeeder and into the climate-controlled coolness of the resort’s lobby. They were led through the lobby carved from blue-veined marble doubtlessly unique to Arieli to a bank of turbolifts that carried them to their suite at the top of the building.

    “If you have any needs during your stay here, the concierge in the lobby will be happy to address them,” Catia trilled over the turbolift chiming to indicate they had arrived at the level of their penthouse suite. “The Head of State has called a meeting with the honored Jedi and the two candidates for Head of State to discuss the re-count procedures tomorrow morning. The airspeeder will convey you there tomorrow at your convenience.”

    Stepping into the landing that opened onto their suite, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan received their access cards from Catia before bidding her farewell.

    Qui-Gon swiped his card through the scanner, which glowed green as his lightsaber before the door slid upward to admit them. As they entered, the sight of greel wood caf tables flanked by veda sofas welcomed them. Ceramic bowls of liwi, jogan, and muja fruit served as centerpieces for the tables.

    Obi-Wan snatched a liwi fruit from a bowl as he collapsed into the veda cushions of a couch in what plainly was intended as the penthouse’s parlor.

    “What are your impressions?” Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow at his apprentice.

    “This sofa is much softer than the bunk I slept on during the journey here, and this liwi is exquisite, far superior to any food I ate on the trip here.” Obi-Wan shifted into what could only be described as an ungainly sprawl across the couch. “I’ll never want to leave here now.”

    “That’s not what I meant.” Qui-Gon tossed a decorative pillow at his Padawan’s smirking face. “I meant what were your impressions of Ariani.”

    “Why didn’t you say so, Master?” Obi-Wan’s hand snaked out to catch the pillow before it hit its impudent target. “Ariani seems to be a prosperous, peaceful tourist city.”

    “An impression the government is eager for you to have?” Qui-Gon prompted.

    “Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan nodded. “There were slogans speaking to a turmoil beneath the surface calm. I wonder what we would have seen in the poorer districts where the migrant workers who make all this luxury possible live.”

    “The Arieli government won’t want to show us such sordid places—they’ll want to present their best faces to us.” Qui-Gon stroked his beard. “We must contrive a way to see the poorer districts at tomorrow’s meeting.”

    “How will we do that, Master?” Obi-Wan cocked his head inquisitively.

    “That’s a worry for tomorrow.” Qui-Gon emerged from his musing with a grin. “For tonight, we’ll worry about finding a good dinner and meditating somewhere quiet on the beach.”

    “Sounds like a vacation.” Obi-Wan rolled off the sofa, as always motivated by the promise of a delicious meal.

    “Even Jedi need the rare vacation.” Qui-Gon chuckled as they left their suite, the door locking with an automatic click in their wake.

    Along the black beach, they found a cafe, where a smooth-sounding Jatz band played an accompaniment to the steady rhythm of the waves drumming agains the sand. They ordered dishes of tropical fish baked in a Rodian pepper sauce washed down by glasses of refreshingly chilled smoothies made from fresh pta fruit, a sweetness that contrasted with the sharp spiciness of the Rodian pepper sauce perfectly.

    After paying for their meal, they stepped out onto the black sand and wandered along the beach until they located a quiet place to meditate. Sitting cross-legged on the sand beside his Padawan, Qui-Gon gently reached out to touch Obi-Wan’s mind with his own in the Force, bridging any gap that might have existed between their beings so they breathed and thought as one.

    Qui-Gon constructed an image of serenity for himself and Obi-Wan—a beautiful black beach at sunset—and felt both their heartbeats slow as their muscles relaxed and any worries about the mission faded into calm. In what could have been a moment or an eternity because they were meditating in a timeless place, Qui-Gon felt Obi-Wan expand on their shared mental image, adding tropical birds that sailed through the sunset sky, wings outstretched to embrace the paradise he and Obi-Wan were building in their minds during their joint meditation.
     
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ariani definitely seems a wonderful, lovely place to visit, as a tourist.

    The accommodations, food, and the supper on the beach with jazz certainly are terrifically inviting!

    I am struck by the fact that both Qui and Obi realized that the reality for the poorer areas is much different. [face_thinking]
     
  22. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Something is lurking beneath the surface in this place, that's for sure. (And, for me, I would like to adopt Obi-Wan. That common meditation sounded wonderful.)
     
  23. ThisIsMe1138

    ThisIsMe1138 Defender of Family Friendliness star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2018
    This story is literally so interesting, and I LOVE the way you write Obi-Wan so much!!!!! Also I didn't get a chance to comment on the 2nd chapter so let me just say that:
    is potentially one of my favorite sentences that I have ever read anywhere I love it [face_laugh]

    Can't wait for more! [face_love][face_love][face_love]
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I enjoy the interaction between the characters and their witty exchanges. You do write a wonderful Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan. And your Jocasta was gorgeous, too.

    Actually, you inspired me to to this wee aquarel drawing here on my 4th holiday day:

    [​IMG]
     
  25. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Yay! I love a good Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan mission (emphasis on the GOOD, which this definitely is). I am a huge Qui-Gon fan, and I love how good of a job you've done with him

    I may be a bit partial because my first SW fanfic was a Qui-Obi mission too (it's called Destiny, a link to it can be found via my signature below).

    I am very intrigued by the story so far, I can definitely see the real-world parallels/inspiration you're drawing on (but then I have a husband with a BS in Political Science and a Master's in Library Science, so the curation of politics and history is a constant in my home).

    Looking forward to seeing more