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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Beyond - Legends Because Reasons [Humour/Romance; 2023 Minigames Challenge; Luke/Mara, Mara/Lando, Luke/OC]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by UltramassiveUbersue, Sep 11, 2023.

  1. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Title: Because Reasons
    Author(s):
    UltramassiveUbersue
    Timeframe: AUish Legends post TTT to CotJ
    Characters: Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, Chewbacca, Talon Karrde, Ghent, Dorsk 81, OCs, Luke/Mara, Lando/Mara, Luke/OC, Leia/Han
    Genre: Humour, romance
    Keywords: Humour, romance, challenge
    Summary: Luke and Mara like each other but they aren't together because reasons.
    Notes: This is a response to the 2023 Minigames Challenge:

    Sure he's a cat
    Nobody's gonna argue with that
    Sure he's a creamer
    A tall walking family dreamer

    What have I got to compensate
    For a looking at a moment like that
    I've got love for you baby
    A lovin' like you wouldn't believe

    Sure he'll go far
    Looking like a movie star
    And I understand-a
    What makes you want to hold his hand-a

    But you gonna find when the kissing's tough
    That the boy and girl gonna meet
    I've got love for you baby
    A lover that you wouldn't believe

    He is such a pretty boy
    Of some fine mama, pride and joy
    But how you noticed the way he was
    He wiggles and he giggles when he talks

    Oh yeah, but

    Sure he's a cat
    Nobody's gonna argue with that
    Sure he's a creamer
    A tall walking family dreamer

    But if you wanna find a love that's good
    You better take another look at me
    I've got love for you baby
    A lovin' like you wouldn't believe

    Sure he's a cat
    Nobody's gonna argue with that
    Sure he's a creamer
    A tall walking family dreamer
    Author's Note: My goal here is to explain two things that have been bugging me for a while:
    • What could possibly have happened to delay Luke and Mara's romance by a solid decade; and
    • How Mara could not be lying to Luke in Vision of the Future when she claimed she and Lando never hooked up, when she definitely answered Lando's door wearing his shirt that morning Luke dropped by in Children of the Jedi.
    Okay, I admit that I haven't read any of this stuff recently, so this deserves low expectations as far as resolving canon goes... hence the "AUish" timeframe. Further, I have regressed everyone's emotional maturity in service of the kinds of miscommunications that I feel are necessary for a screwball sci-fi romcom.

    Finally, I appreciate all feedback, including constructive criticism (PM please if it's blunt). Thanks! :)


    Index:

    Chapter 1: Lando's Girlfriend
    Chapter 2: Flirting Hardcore
    Chapter 3: Wholesome Values
    Chapter 4: The Wrong Idea
    Chapter 5: Sharing Feelings
    Chapter 6: What the Hell Is Wrong With Skywalker
    Chapter 7: Congratulations!
    Chapter 8: An Embarrassing Waste of Everyone's Time
    Chapter 9: What's Up With Eliza
    Chapter 10: We've Got This
    Chapter 11: Keeping An Open Mind
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2023
    Chyntuck and earlybird-obi-wan like this.
  2. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 1: Lando's Girlfriend

    This space station runs on standard time, and it is early morning as Luke holds his lukewarm cup of caf and stares out the window at a big, dead rock. His door chimes; he waves his hand and it opens.

    "Hey, kid."

    "Hey, Han," he mumbles. "Leia sent you?"

    Han hesitates a few seconds. "Yeah. I'm sorry about... what happened." He has no idea what it is; Leia just woke up feeling like her brother was sad, and Han said he'd take care of it. Luke mutters something, and Han pulls up a chair so he can at least see the side of his face. Luke is looking awfully morose. "Did you say it's for the best?"

    "Uh-huh."

    "Why?"

    "I can't compete with Lando. Who am I kidding?"

    "Well... maybe... you might have a little more success if you're more upfront about your feelings." He assumes this is about Mara.

    Luke sighs and rests his cheek on his fist. "I was upfront. I was flirting with her hardcore."

    Han stifles a chuckle. "So you made eye contact."

    "And I smiled."

    "That's not enough, Luke." He watches him cross his arms on the caf bar, and slowly slide them forward until his face is buried in them. He waits.

    Luke's muffled voice says, "You know how they say the eyes are the windows to the soul?"

    "Sure."

    "She saw my soul, Han. It wasn't good enough."

    "You don't know that."

    "Yes, I do."

    "How do you know that?"

    "Because I was just at Lando's yacht, and she answered the door. She was wearing his shirt."

    Han shrugs. "She might've spilled something."

    "She was wearing it like a dress. There were no pants."

    "Probably spilled it on those, too."

    "Mara's not clumsy."

    "We just think... I think that Lando likes her a lot more than she likes him. I'm thinking maybe... you should try talking to her again. And actually talk this time."

    Luke frowns and lifts his head up. He looks at Han. "I'm not going to make a pass at Lando's girlfriend."

    "You don't know she's his girlfriend!"

    "Yes, I do."

    "How?"

    "Lando wants her to be his girlfriend, and he's Lando. That's how it works." He lowers his head again with a thunk.

    Han sighs wearily. "You got any caf?"

    "Help yourself."

    "Thanks." Han gets up and pours himself a cup. "Honestly, Luke, what does Lando have that you don't?"

    He shrugs and mutters, "Confidence. Style. Charisma. He can pull off a cape. A great moustache."

    "You want a top-up?"

    "Thanks. And he wouldn't forget to offer caf to a guest, either."

    Han has a feeling this day is going to last forever. But at least Leia will not have to hear him whine about it, because Chewie has become a great listener lately.



    Mara slouches inelegantly with her elbows on Lando's dining table as a carafe looms aloft.

    "More caf, gorgeous?" Lando is in a luxurious paisley robe that covers maybe twenty percent of his chest.

    "Are my clothes dry yet?" she grumbles.

    "Ten minutes."

    "Okay." She notices him hovering expectantly. "Sure, thanks."

    As he pours her caf, she rakes a hand through her hair and scrunches her fingers. She sighs miserably.

    "Are you okay?" He sits and listens attentively.

    "I really wish Luke hadn't seen me." She realizes her error and glances at him. "I hate gossip."

    "Luke doesn't gossip. You've got nothing to worry about."

    "I just don't want people getting the wrong idea."



    Thanks for reading!:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2023
    Pandora, Vek Talis , Chyntuck and 4 others like this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Perfect. Luke arguing with Han about Mara.
    Mara being with Lando and waiting for her clothes. The reason why she is wearing his shirt.
     
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  4. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you so much! :) It took me awhile to figure out how to make the challenge prompt work, and I'm so glad you've enjoyed the first chapter. Chapter 2 is coming right up!
     
    Kahara likes this.
  5. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 2: Flirting Hardcore

    Mara Jade is waiting at the station's bar; who the hell knows why. No one cleans the draft lines, and she is drinking purple fruity rot-gut. Maybe her intuition is guiding her toward some interesting intel, but it does not explain why she has loosed her hair, put on makeup, and undone her shirt's top four buttons. She does not dress up, not since her operations when she was on the wrong side of the war and thought she was hot shavit for being Emperor Palpatine's pet murderer. As if a reminder of the awful person she used to be is supposed to impress Skywalker.

    Is that why she is here? She hopes not.

    "Well look at you all fancy!" says Mandie, the bartender.

    "Yep. Look at me." Mara has not spoken to Skywalker since she took an indefinite leave from his Jedi Academy; she is still not entirely sure why. Things just got weird.

    "You want another?"

    "Sure."

    She is almost finished her second drink when she feels a familiar presence and hears the room hush and whisper; she wonders if Skywalker has paid for a single drink since he was credited with blowing up two Death Stars and yeeting Palpatine into a reactor core. He deserves more thanks for that than she has given him, but her blood pressure skyrockets and she is rooted to the bar stool.

    "Guess who's here..."

    "Yeah? What's he wearing?" Mara has a terrible feeling that she is going to attempt to flirt with him. She needs to button this top.

    "See for yourself."

    She feels ready for combat, yet helpless-- kark, is she being emotionally vulnerable? She has always wondered what that was like. It feels like nausea.

    "He's looking real fine..."

    "Uh-huh."

    "Hold your glass a little this way so he can see it's empty."

    Mara frowns. "So he knows I'm a lush?"

    She laughs. "So he can offer you another one, dork."

    On the one hand, no one calls Mara a dork. On the other hand, the woman is not wrong. Mara scoffs, and after a moment, sighs, rolls her eyes, and holds out her drink. "Here, Farmboy."

    "He's sitting down; you gotta step it up."

    "Who's he with?"

    "No one. He's staring at you. You want me to deliver him a drink--"

    "Don't you dare!" Mara hisses.

    Mandie smirks. "Fine. But you've gotta turn around and give him a smile."

    "No, I don't."

    "Oooh, he's licking his lips!"

    Okay, this she has to see. Mara very briefly looks over her shoulder, meets his gaze-- he is wearing a dark jacket that looks like leather-- smiles, and whips her head back around. Yep, that was hot. She is getting light-headed. "What the hell am I doing here?"

    "You're bagging a war hero."

    "I'm gonna throw up." She has to pace her breathing. The urge to flee is strong. "I can't do this."

    "You can and you will. For the Republic."

    "He's far too wholesome for this."

    Mandie laughs. "No, he's not! Listen, you brought the girls out for a reason--"

    "This is so undignified."

    "--so you gotta turn around and wave so he knows you're happy to see him."

    "No."

    "Do it!"

    Mara grits her teeth, counts to three, and spins 180 degrees on the bar stool. She overspins and has to grab the bar with her free hand, which leaves only the one still holding the glass for a very awkward wave. She has never felt so hopeful and so humiliated.



    Mara turns Luke's way and meets his stare with a tight smile, waving coquettishly with her fingers around the stem of her glass; he darts his gaze away, blushing. He can feel her eyes on him still, and he chuckles to himself. He meets her gaze fully, gives her a sexy smile without even trying, and starts to rise from his chair--

    A very pretty young woman steps in front of him. "Luke!" she cries.

    "Eliza?"


    Thanks for reading!:)
     
    Vek Talis , Chyntuck, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Oops another girl wanting Luke?
    Mara and her discussion with Mandie. Entertaining
     
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  7. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you! :) Yep, Mara's got some competition... new chapter coming up soon. :)
     
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  8. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 3: Wholesome Values

    Mara stares speechless as this buxom brunette with stupid dimples and a stupid floral dress stands directly between her and her quarry.

    "There's still time," says Mandie. "Introduce yourself."

    Her look says farmer: a cute, wholesome farmgirl from a backwater planet with wholesome values and great birthing hips. "Karking hell," says Mara.



    "How are you?" Luke has not seen Eliza since after the Battle of Yavin; the party got a little crazy, and she was his spotter while he attempted an unassisted keg stand. The Force was not with him, but she was.

    "I'm great, thank you." Her smile radiates genuine sweetness.

    Luke recalls kissing her in his bunk, and his euphoria turning to bewilderment when, suddenly and without warning, she started sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder and clung to him thus for the rest of the night.

    "I prayed for you every day," she says.

    "Did you?"

    The next morning, Wedge glowered as he reminded Luke that her brother was Jek Porkins, their beloved, recently deceased ace pilot who had forgotten his ego and remembered everyone's birthdays. Eliza was a seventeen-year-old noncombatant ball of sunshine with no family left.

    "I'm going to the night market.... do you want to walk with me?"

    When Luke had to tell her he was not going to be her boyfriend and she should let Mon Mothma take her to a Rebel safehouse instead, he felt like the sleaziest guy in the universe.

    "Uh...."

    She gazes sweetly and expectantly.

    He heard himself saying something about not being allowed date because he was a Jedi, and as he hurried away, he could hear Chewie's voice saying, ["Smoooooooooooooooth."]

    "....Of course I do!"



    Mara watches in dismay as Luke gives Farmgirl a hug, glances sheepishly her way, and leaves the bar with her. Just walks right out.

    "Another drink?" Mandie asks sympathetically.

    "Give me some shots of something cheap." Mara gets a purple one and a tall glass of water. She sighs miserably.

    Four shots, one 'fresher break, and an unknown amount of time later, Mara feels another familiar presence enter the bar and stare at her. She sighs. "Hey, Calrissian."

    "Hello, Miss Jade. How are you this fine evening?" Real authentic, that Calrissian. At least he smells good. Actually, he smells really good.

    "Drunk and ornery." She is all out of karks to give. "Do you want to want to go to your place, or what?"



    "I saw your academy in the news," Eliza says as they stroll through the market. "It looks great."

    "Thank you." Luke smiles. "I just wish I could keep my students."

    "I'm sure it'll get better."

    "You're probably right." They find a table and sit down. "What have you been up to?"

    She shows him dozens of baby pictures and holos; he smiles as she gushes over her children. "This is Jek; he's my youngest. Doesn't he look like him?"

    "He just needs a little goatee."

    Eliza bursts out in giggles; her joy is infectious.

    "I'm really happy for you, Eliza. You have a beautiful family."

    She gives him an adoring smile and kisses his cheek. "You're still a sweetheart."

    He chuckles softly and tries not to blush. "Thanks."

    She swipes through more pictures. "And that's their father, we can skip that..."

    "Oh," says Luke.

    "Dating when you have kids is... well, it's something."

    "I'll bet."

    "You wouldn't date a woman with kids, would you?"

    "Um..."

    She chuckles and looks back at her pictures. "It's okay, I knew it was a long shot."

    "I'm flattered, Eliza--"

    "I know. I remember you had a good time." She smiles as she sees him blushing even more. "I'm curious, though. Would you date someone with kids, or is that too much baggage?"

    "Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing."

    "Does anyone?"

    At this moment, Lando emerges from the crowd, dressed for where he wants to be instead of where he is. He smiles and gives Luke a nod as he saunters past, and continues on his way, trailed by a majestic, fluttering cape.

    There is a brief silence.

    "Do you think he'd date a woman with kids?"


    Thanks for reading!:)
     
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  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A woman with kids. And Lando giving that smile. When will Mara know that Luke is the one for her?
     
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  10. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    That is an excellent question... but also, when is he going to know that she knows that he is the one for her? :D

    Thank you for reading and commenting! The next chapter is coming right up...
     
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  11. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 4: The Wrong Idea
    "You're so kriffing wholesome," Mara mutters.

    Contrary to her expectations, Calrissian did not try to make out with her when they settled into the lounge of his very nice yacht. Nor did he kick her out for throwing up all over herself and his fancy plush carpet a few minutes later.

    "Thank you," he says, with a cheerful earnestness bordering on surreal. "You're the first person who's called me that. How are you feeling?" He is massaging her feet while she lays on his couch with a cold cloth on her forehead, wearing one of his oversize shirts.

    "I think I just need to sleep." Her absence of snark puzzles her.

    "Okay. You can have my bed and I'll take the couch."

    She does not feel like arguing; she even lets him carry her to his bedroom like some cheesy romantic hero. "You can join me if you want." Seems only right.

    "Mara, you're far too intoxicated."

    "No, I mean... I think I want a cuddle." She sounds so needy, she can barely recognize herself.

    He settles under the covers with her and smiles as she snuggles up to him.

    She freezes. "Do I smell like barf?"

    "No, you smell like mouthwash."

    "Okay." He turns out the light, and she still feels safe. "You're a kriffing sweetheart, Lando."

    "Goodnight, Mara." He closes his eyes as his heart swells with happiness.



    Mara sips her caf, bracing herself.

    "What do you mean, 'wrong idea'?"

    She looks at him, cringing slightly.

    "Oh," says Lando. His face falls.

    Mara sips more caf.

    He is still frowning. "I got the impression that.... since you don't open up easily... maybe we had something?"

    This is so awkward, Mara resolves never to attempt dating or dating-adjacent behaviour again.

    "But you were drunk. Right." He sighs. "So, do you want breakfast?" He puts on a cheerful face and lists all the options as if by muscle memory.

    "Anything's fine. Lando, um..." she sets down her mug, and places her hand on his, because she is pretty sure that this is what emotionally healthy people do to comfort each other.

    He looks up at her with a gaze full of melancholy hope.

    This is too perplexing. "Why do you like me so much?"

    "You're real easy to love, Mara."

    "That's a crock of shavit."

    He smiles and inhibits the urge to touch her hair.

    "How is this charming you right now?"

    "Because it's you."

    "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Lando--" He is gazing at her, moon-eyed. "I don't get it."

    He gently places his other hand on hers. "I know it's hard, with everything you've been through. But when you're ready, I'll be here."

    The dryer chimes, thank kark-- Mara rockets out of her seat and gets dressed in the 'fresher. This is all getting too weird.

    "I guess no breakfast?" he asks as she pulls on her boots and ties back her hair.

    "Another time," she says quickly.

    His heart lifts. "I look forward to it."

    Shavit. "Thanks, for um..." she meets his adoring gaze, "....yeah." This is way, way too much. She turns and almost collides with Han on her way out. "Hi. Bye." She pushes past him and speed-walks down the corridor.



    Han frowns as Mara practically body-checks him on her way through the airlock. However, she is a very private person, so this does not surprise him too much. Nevertheless, he turns back to Lando and innocently asks, "What's going on?"

    "I'm in love." Lando is beaming.



    Thanks for reading!:)
     
  12. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lando in love with Mara with all her quirks. Han surprised when she brushes past him. What's next?
     
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  13. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    What's next is... shenanigans. :D Thanks for reading a commenting! I've got another chapter coming right up!
     
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  14. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 5: Sharing Feelings

    Han finds his wife, his brother-in-law, and Chewbacca all sipping caf at a table beside the empty market stalls.

    ["Alright, spill the tea,"] says Chewie.

    He glances at all their expectant faces, looks downcast, and sighs. "I'm sorry, Luke."

    "But--" says Leia.

    "I don't know what to tell you. They've got a real thing going on."

    Chewie surreptitiously types with his thumb-claws on a miniature keypad.

    "You know what?" says Luke; he gets to his feet and straightens up. Chin up, shoulders back. "He doesn't love her the way I do. I'm going to talk to her right now, and I'm going to tell her how I feel!"

    Leia pumps her fist; Han cringes.

    ["Let us know how it goes,"] says Chewie. Talon is expecting updates, and he has a lot of credits riding on this.



    Mara's door opens, and she and Luke stare dumbly at each other for a solid ten seconds.

    "We really miss you," Luke blurts.

    "What?"

    "At the academy," he quickly adds. "It's not the same without you."

    She still looks bewildered.

    "Okay, fine. Mara? I miss you. I miss you so much, and I think about you all the time--"

    She starts to zone out.

    "Mara?"

    "Uh-huh," she says absently.

    "I know you like Lando-- you might even love him, and he's a great guy, but... we have a connection." He waits for her to respond.

    "...Okay..."

    "The truth is, Mara, I love you. I know in my heart that we're meant to be together--"

    "I gotta barf."

    "Oh. Okay."

    "Okay."

    The door slides shut.



    Talon is in his quarters lifting free weights when his comm beeps.

    "Y'hello."

    "Karrde, I'm coming back." It is Mara's voice.

    "So you're not going to be a Jedi."

    "These people are insane, Talon."

    He mops his brow with his towel, and stretches his bicep. "So you're telling me... you're returning to smuggling... to escape drama."

    There is a pause. She sighs heavily.

    Talon chuckles. "Let's hear it, Jade."

    She groans.

    "You'll never learn those soft leadership skills if you can't talk about your feelings."

    "Kriffing hell."

    "I'm going to hear about it from my sources anyway. You might as well spill it."

    "Fine. Well first, I don't know what's up with Calrissian. He's insane, but I think he's actually a really decent guy."

    "You're blowing my mind, Jade!"

    "Yeah, yeah. Anyway, we went back to his yacht, because... I don't even know. I remember being motivated by spite. But he didn't want to do anything because I was too drunk--"

    "I'd call that the bare minimum of decency, myself."

    "Sure, but then I threw up half a gallon of cheap liquor and purple dye all over his rug and he was really nice about it. He let me stay over and offered to take the couch himself."


    "That's interesting. Which rug?"

    "Okay, it wasn't a rug, it was his carpet--"

    "Holy shavit!"

    "What?"

    "Nevermind. Continue."

    She takes a breath and lets it out slowly. "Anyway. When I sobered up, he told me I'm easy to love, and when I'm ready, he'll be waiting. I swear to kark, it's what he said. But I think he meant it." There is a pause. "Karrde? He's full of shavit, right?"

    "He's gonna buy you a ring, Jade."

    "Kark!"



    "But I don't understand," says Leia.

    "What's there to understand?" Luke grumbles. "Never tell people your feelings. Nothing good ever comes of it."

    Han and Leia share a piteous look.


    Thanks for reading! :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Mara and her discussions with Karrde. That's her with her snark and quirks.
    And Luke the farmboy
     
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  16. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    I'm glad to hear I've managed to convey a bit of Mara's snark and Luke's awkward farmboy-ness-- thank you so much for reading and reviewing!

    The next chapter will be up in a jiffy. :)
     
    earlybird-obi-wan likes this.
  17. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 6: What the Hell Is Wrong With Skywalker

    "Okay," says Karrde. "But you still haven't told me why you're not going to be a Jedi."

    Mara paces the tiny room. "Because Skywalker's a sleaze!"

    "What!"

    "He was flirting with me at the bar, and then, get this: he picked up some farmgirl right in front of me!"



    As Chewbacca reads his text-comm, his eyes widen.

    Luke's and Leia's attention snap to him.

    He looks up. ["What?"]



    Talon is typing on his comm-pad. "I wonder if that was Eliza Porkins..."

    "Porkins?"

    "No relation to the singer. You know that pic of drunk Leia with Skywalker doing the keg stand?"

    "What about it?"

    "Well, the original-- the one that isn't cropped-- let me send it to you."

    "Kark! That's her!"

    Talon opens his door and yells, "Hey Ghent! You got any vid-feed of last night's market?"

    "Look. Karrde, I don't really care-- it's not the important thing here."

    "How is this not the important thing?"



    Han frowns, and looks at Leia and Luke, and looks at Chewie. "What's going on?"

    ["I'm sorry. Where are my manners?"] Chewbacca puts his comm in his sash pocket and interlaces his fingers on the table. ["I'm listening."]

    Leia's eyes narrow.



    "Because this morning Skywalker showed up at my room, and he said all this weird shavit about how he loves me and we're meant to be together!"

    Talon frowns. "Does he know that you saw him--"

    "He made eye contact with me as he was leaving with her!"

    He pauses. "What the kriff!"

    "Is that a kriffed up power move or what?"

    Talon types furiously; his source is not responding. "Yeah, that's uhh... real classy."

    "Who does that?"

    "I don't know--"

    "Do you think Skywalker was trying to neg me and then changed his mind? Or is he gaslighting me--"

    "I've got to look into this, Jade." This is dangerously out of character. If Skywalker has fallen to the Dark side, they are all kriffed.



    Han's comm beeps. "Excuse me," he says, and walks down the corridor to answer it.

    "Solo, this is Karrde. What the hell is wrong with Skywalker?"

    Han chuckles. "His bad aura travels that far, does it?"

    "I'm going to level with you, Solo. I'm worried about him."

    Han smiles widely; who knew Karrde was such a softie? "We've got it under control. Leia can always talk some sense into him."

    "But is she as strong as him?"

    Han frowns. "You mean... emotionally?"



    "Karrde, are you there?" Mara stares frowning at her comm. "Really?"

    The silence in her room is so thick, she can hear her ears ringing. She spent good money for some peace and quiet. She had been looking forward to experiencing some serenity on this stopover.

    "Kark this." She packs her bag and hurries back to the Wild Karrde.



    Talon pauses; Solo clearly knows nothing about this. "Don't worry about it," he says. He tries to comm Leia. Nothing.



    "Do you know something?" Leia fixates on Chewbacca with a deep scowl. Her comm beeps; she ignores it.

    He freezes. ["Eliza Porkins is in town."]

    "Yeah? And?"

    Luke winces, sharply amplifying his emotions for anyone wielding the Force or possessing the capacity to smell pheromones.

    Leia focuses her attention on him.

    ["I gotta use the 'fresher,"] says Chewie. He walks hurriedly out of there, and takes out his comm as soon as it is safe to do so.



    ["I'm here, Karrde."]

    Talon exhales a huge sigh. "Is everything okay?"

    ["It's a shavit show. I'm starting to think Luke's trying to blow up his academy."]

    Talon gasps. "Oh, kark!"

    ["I'll keep you posted on how it goes down. I might have to go dark for a while."]

    "Understood." He rubs his brow slowly and takes a deep breath. "Hey Ghent?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Are we ready to embark?"

    "... No?"



    "What about Eliza?"

    Luke sucks in a long breath; he is finally seeing what leaving with her must have looked like to Mara. "I messed up."

    "Sure," says Leia, "but that was a long time ago, and I think she forgave you for that."

    "No, I messed up again."

    Leia looks alarmed. "She's not pregnant, is she?"

    "No!" Luke shakes his head. He frowns in thought. "At least I don't think so..."

    "Luke!"

    "That has nothing to do with me!"

    "Are you sure?"

    "Yes!"

    Leia regards him awhile with a hard stare. "You're radiating a lot of guilt, Luke!"

    "What's going on?"

    They both look up and see Lando.



    Thanks for reading! :)
     
  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    All worrying about Luke. Lando coming to help?
     
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  19. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Surely a man of Lando's character wouldn't hesitate to help...

    Thank you for reading and replying! :) The next chapter's coming up soon.
     
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  20. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 7: Congratulations!

    Ghent hears the sound of the airlock opening followed by quick footsteps; he looks over his shoulder and sees Jade approaching, looking haggard and agitated. This does not bode well for the day.

    "Are we ready to go?" she asks.

    "No!" he snaps. "Am I the only one who reads the schedule?"

    She scoffs. "Fine. I'll rent a shuttle and rendez-vous with you all in a few days, because--"

    "You can't leave," says Karrde, strangely haunted. "We need you now."

    Jade frowns.

    "Ghent, can we have the room?"

    He sighs. "Fine." He might as well put on another pot of caf, because his bosses clearly need it, which means everyone is going to need it.



    "Karrde, if Luke's really fallen, I need to be here--"

    "No, someone needs to protect the academy. Leia's a Skywalker; if anyone can stand up to him in terms of raw power, it's her. You need to protect his students, and in all likelihood, the twins."

    "Shavit, you're right."

    "We're heading out immediately-- I'm working on a pretext-- and we'll detour there. You can say you're resuming your training, so your presence at the academy won't be suspicious. If the shavit hits the turbine over here, we'll be ready to act. Chewie's keeping me posted--"

    "Alright," says Mara. "But if it's true that Han doesn't know anything--"

    "Chewie's handling the flow of information. This is a time to delegate, Jade."



    Han's comm beeps again. "Hey."

    "Solo, it's Jade."

    "Hey!"

    "Hey yourself. We're taking off early; your cargo's on the loading dock--"

    "Woah! We have a contract!"

    "We'll compensate you."

    "Our time's important, Mara!"

    "I know, I'm sorry-- Oh, and congrats on the babies'... second birthday?"

    "I wanna see my kids!"

    "You can pay someone to load it for you and invoice us. Han, I'm sorry, but--"

    "Is this about Luke?"

    There is a long silence. "....Why?"

    Han heaves a long sigh. "You know what? I don't care." He shuts off his comm.



    "Is everything okay?" asks Lando.

    "Oh, it's great," says Leia, with acid cheerfulness.

    Lando looks at her, looks at Luke, and looks at her again. He backs away slowly and into the corridor, where he runs into Chewbacca.

    "Hey, Chewie!"

    ["Hey Lando. Got any hot goss?"]

    A dreamy smiles spreads across his face. "I'm in love with Mara Jade."

    ["Congrats."]

    "Thanks!" He lowers his voice. "Do you know what's up with Luke and Leia? They're having a disagr--"

    ["You're right, they reek of conflict!"]

    Lando watches perplexed as Chewbacca speed-walks away, pumping his hairy arms; he continues on his way, and runs into Han, who looks easily as angry as Leia.

    "Lando, can you spare some people to help load up the Falcon? The Wild Karrde is leaving early--"

    "Mara's leaving! Now?"

    Han rolls his eyes and sighs. "Dammit. I'll ask someone else." He jogs away.



    Luke looks up as Chewbacca quickly approaches, radiating concern.

    "We're fine," Leia snaps.

    Luke gives Chewie a pleading look.

    "You know what?" says Leia. "Stay here, Chewie. You can hear this. You wanna know who's up to his old tricks?"

    ["That's a very broad question."]

    "I'll give you a hint. Ask Eliza Porkins. I'm so disappointed in you, Luke."

    Luke sighs and takes a breath. "Leia. Nothing happened, and she's not pregnant--"

    ["Yes, she is."]

    Luke is stunned.

    Leia's eyes widen and her jaw drops. She recovers herself and asks in a deadly quiet voice, "Are you sure?"

    ["She's only been fertilized a few days, but... yes, I'm sure."]

    "It's not mine!" cries Luke. "I swear it's not mine!"

    Leia cries, "What have you done?"

    ["Um. Guys? I'm sure everything's fine--"]

    "You think you're just going to roll with this kind of scandal? Eighty percent of your budget is publicly funded!"

    "What I did with her is not a scandal! Besides, she and her husband are separated or something--"

    Chewie facepalms. ["Oh, buddy..."]



    Thanks for reading! :)
     
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  21. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Uh oh what's with Eliza? Mara to the rescue?
     
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  22. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Surely, nothing nefarious... :D
    That's our Mara! ....As long as she knows who needs rescuing from what. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    The next chapter is coming up shortly. :)
     
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  23. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2022
    Chapter 8: An Embarrassing Waste of Everyone's Time

    Lando switches on his comm. "Mara?"

    "Jade here."

    Her coldness stuns him for a moment, but maybe she is just telling him that she is not alone. He plasters on his business smile. "Yeah, it's Calrissian. Is the Wild Karrde taking off?"

    "...Yes..."

    "Oh." He feels like he has been kicked in the stomach. "Well... I'll cancel our appointment, then."

    "... I don't know what to say..."

    "Oh, it's fine. It was nice doing business with you." He shuts off the comm, squeezes his fist and his eyes shut, leans into the wall, and shouts, "Mother kriffing--" He takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. His eyes are stinging and he wants a drink. He takes another deep breath and counts to ten.

    His comm beeps. "Hey Lando, it's Mara."

    His anger evapourates; he blinks rapidly to compose himself. "Hi..."

    "Hey... um... listen. I'm sorry I've been out of sorts--"

    "No... no, don't be."

    "Why do you have to be so kriffing sweet?"

    He chuckles ruefully. "Because I love you."

    "Oh, kark," she sighs.

    "I'm sorry, I'm coming on too strong."

    "I'm such a kriffing mess, Lando..."

    "You're perfect."

    "Ughhhhh..."

    He chuckles silently. "Sorry. I'll be good."

    "Lando, I care about you, and... I trust you."

    He closes his eyes and basks in this. "You can trust me, Mara."

    "Do you know what's up with Luke?"

    He frowns. "No...."

    "He's been acting... not like himself."

    "Yeah, Leia's really upset with him about something."

    "Shavit."

    "What's going on?"

    "I don't know. Chewie's looking into it--"

    "Does Han know?"

    There is silence.

    "Everyone's safe, right?"

    Mara sucks in a long breath.



    After making a complete circuit of the station to find no help available, Han runs into Lando again.

    "Han, I need to talk to you--"

    "I don't have time for this!" he snaps.

    "Mara told me about Luke--"

    "Yes, he's having a crisis, and it's everyone's problem. I know."

    "Can I help?"

    "Can you tell your crew to load up the Falcon?"

    "Unfortunately, I came here alone--"

    "Well then you can't help me, now can you?" Han stalks away, glowering.



    Lando hears heavy footsteps behind him. "Chewie!" He drops his voice. "How can I help you with Luke?"

    ["Proceed with whatever you've planned. I know how to reach you."]

    "I'm leaving the station--"

    ["That's fine."]

    "Are you sure?"

    ["Listen. I've been dealing with this kind of nonsense since the Clone Wars. The rules change, but Jedi don't."]

    Lando surprises him with a big hug. "I don't know what we'd do without you!"

    Chewie chuckles and pats his back. ["The feeling's mutual, friend."]



    Mara cradles a fresh cup of caf, inhibiting her urge to search for Skywalker in the Force and get a read on him. It feels unnatural to sit here waiting, and to zone out in order to be as insignificant and invisible in the Force as possible. Almost as unnatural as relying on all this intel without verifying it herself.

    "Karrde, this is Calrissian. I'm ready to launch."

    Mara closes her eyes and thanks the Force.

    "Glad to hear it," says Karrde. "We're breaking orbit now and will keep in touch."

    "Acknowledged."

    Mara watches the stars stretch out as the Wild Karrde jumps into hyperspace.

    "All of the players are set," Karrde murmurs, "and now we trust each other to play our parts."

    As much as Mara would hate for this all to be an embarrassing waste of everyone's time, she sincerely hopes that it is just a big, stupid misunderstanding. However, protecting the Jedi Academy requires her full attention, and she cannot afford the distraction of ruminating on what happened to Skywalker, let alone how she feels about it.

    Besides, figuring him out is Leia's role, and it is basically impossible for her to misread her own twin.



    Thank for reading! :)
     
  24. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Mara away on the Wild Karrde. Chewie with ideas and Lando too. What will Leia do with Luke?
     
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  25. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Chapter 1:

    Perfect title is perfect. [face_laugh]

    [face_rofl] Han really doesn't get paid enough to deal with this. Han doesn't get paid at all to deal with this. Han is a good friend.

    :_| Aww buddy, no. As hilarious as things are, I do feel bad for Luke assuming that Mara sees his feelings and isn't interested.

    [face_laugh] This is such a great bit of dialogue, and even funnier once we see what is actually going on with Mara... and it's pretty much what Han suggested.

    Oh Luke. [face_sigh]

    [face_laugh] I really like Luke's list of reasons why Lando is the Perfect Guy -- when we later see that Lando is just as lost at the whole relationships thing!

    [face_laugh] I really enjoy the conversations with these two.

    That would never be a thing, surely. [face_rofl] The whole setup of the cast is done so well here and I just enjoy how all of them are very much themselves but also determined to misunderstand EVERYTHING.