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

Saga - Legends Change - Canon Characters & OCs multi-chapter AU

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Vek Talis , Mar 14, 2024.

  1. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Title: Change
    Author: Vek Talis
    Length: Multi Chapter Story (17 chapters)
    Timeframe: 4 ABY (Beginning 10 days after the 2nd Death Star is destroyed), cycling backwards, then forwards.
    Genre: Dramatis Personae/AU & then a teensy little Crossover at the end ;)
    Characters: Many and varied. OCs (Vek Talis mainly, but perhaps a surprise or two ;) ), Canon characters possibly including but not limited to: Luke, Leia, Han, Ackbar, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padmé, Admiral Piett, Established Characters (Battlefront 2: 2017): Garrick Versio, Iden Versio, Del Meeko
    Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars and never will.




    Prologue

    The ashes of Vader had not yet blown away on the soft breeze before the machinations of the dead Emperor became crystal clear. Vader, acting as puppet of Palpatine's will, extinguished thousands of lives as one might snuff out a Death Stick. But behind the mask he'd had no idea, no inkling, what his master wanted to unleash on the galaxy.

    Vader, saved and redeemed by a child. Not the hapless, nearly helpless Luke Skywalker, but by a boy, one who long ago dreamed of freedom for himself and his mother. The one who brought the Prophecy into being, brought balance to the Force. One Jedi - Luke Skywalker - one Sith - Darth Sidious, and between them a grown child who held the fate of the galaxy in the palm of his hand.

    Had Vader won out against Anakin, that hand would have clenched into a fist, shattering people and planets with equity. Instead, afraid and fragile, its palm rested gently across the shoulder of young Skywalker, turned away from its sinister master. As Anakin had turned into Vader all those years ago on Tatooine, so Vader acceded - receded - to Anakin and gave up the ghost so the wounds of the galaxy might heal.

    In this benevolent and selfless act, the former minion had been so lamentably late. Ever cunning, Sidious had already deduced his own death, ushering in a new phase of his terrible character. Operation Cinder was born of hatred for all - to burn away the chaff of the galaxy. It was in the seeds of Vader's creation that Sidious laid his most sinister plans.

    Many of the Emperor's minions would dare not dream of disobeying their fallen master. Fear of his wrath - even beyond the grave - drove the craven sycophants on to greater slaughter. Had Vader been more clever, perhaps he might have seen it, but alas, Sidious had chosen - created - the perfect apprentice. Where Sidious planned and plotted, Vader drunkenly stormed in, crass as a boulder crushing an ant, and with such tact he acted.

    In the act of saving the galaxy, Vader cast the die of Sidious' revenge.

    Little did Sidious know, despite his plots, that someone close to him was already sounding the alarm, who even now worked to stop the madness of wicked design.
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Hi Vek. @};- This looks to be great fun. I love the OT and a large cast of characters. =D=
     
  3. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Very intriguing AU setup here! What is Sidious cooking up here? And if it’s not Vader who has a hint that it’s coming, who is the person who does? [face_thinking] Definitely going to follow this; so good to see you back again, my friend! :cool:
     
  4. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    The narrator voice on this intro is really well-done; it definitely has an element of fairytale/myth to how the events are portrayed while still keeping them recognizable as what played out in ROTJ. @};-

    Really nifty way of retelling that pivotal moment. =D=

    And I too am curious to see who in Sidious's orbit is both knowledgeable enough and willing to try and interfere with his plans for galactic catastrophe. [face_thinking]

    Glad to see you're back to writing! :)
     
  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vader redeemed turning into Anakin again. But who is scheming and interfering? I like to see where this is going
     
  6. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Nyota! Hi, it's been a long time. :) I hope you'll enjoy this.


    Thank you, I'm glad to be here, friend.


    Thank you for all the kind comments. :) I've missed this place and all the supportive people. It's been rough, but happy to be back. :)

    Be prepared for a bumpy and snark-tastic ride! :)


    1.

    Coruscant 4 ABY (10 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    The room festered with stale air. It was warm. A hot light sat above Vek's head. The collar of his uniform felt as though it was steaming him from the inside out. The chair in which he sat was hard, rigid, unyielding. Two Rebel Alliance officers sat in the same type of chairs on the opposite side of the table, one, his head bowed, lost in thought. They seemed reticent to speak. He knew they had many questions: their auras practically screamed through the Force.

    The other of them, a foolish fellow, stared at Vek, as if daring him to meet the gaze of anyone in the room. Vek fixed his face into the neutral mask he'd learned over the centuries. He turned that look on the young... Lieutenant by his rank badges and stared, unblinking, down into his soul. It didn't take long before the kid decided he had better places to be, practically falling backward over the uncomfortable chair to escape the room.

    Another officer, an admiral, turned Vek's way, raising a smooth brow ridge, but remained silent and returned to his quiet conversation in the far corner.

    The other kid in the room, the one who still sat at the table, his head bowed, had a bit more humility, but then again, he would. As the spawn of Anakin/Vader, he was used to struggling under the heavy weight of expectation. His blue eyes were still cast balefully to the durasteel, distant from meandering thoughts, only occasionally gazing up. What must be going through his mind? His father, his nemesis, only dead ten days, dead largely at his own hand.

    Vek could have reached out with his mind, tried to grant some kind of comfort. He decided against it for so many reasons. It had been a long time since he'd tried to offer anyone comfort. Not since... well, that was neither here nor there. Not anymore.

    At last the kid glanced up, cerulean focus locked on Vek for the first time. Without preamble, he spoke, his voice soft and gentle. "Why?" It was a simple word, but it drew so many eyes toward the two of them - not just in the room, but all around the former empire.

    At least Vek assumed there would be cameras here, of all places. Multiple beings watching, weighing. Judging. Oh, yes, there would be judging. It wasn't even the best question the kid could have asked. By now, most everyone with authority had to know just who - and what - Vek was. There wasn't a precedent in this day and age for dealing with a FrAG. Long ago the Force stopped bringing sentients From Another Galaxy to fill necessary roles and the displaced persons had all died out after unnaturally long lives, or been killed. All except for Vek, of course.

    The admiral, Vek could now see - he'd already known from the Mon Calamari's Force signature - was Ackbar, as he stepped into the golden light, his junior officer being a good little sycophant and trailing behind. Yes, they were all looking forward to hearing Vek's story. And judging.

    Now Vek cast his neutral stare on the kid. He had to admit, the kid had spunk - call it a gift from the genes of his parents: nature over nurture - he barely flinched, fixed Vek with a stare all his own for being so focused, yet lacking animosity. Slowly, Vek nodded, barely perceptibly, in recognition to the boy turned man.

    "Why?" Vek asked the same in return, then paused for effect. He glared from one officer to the next until they averted eyes, but the kid - the young man - kept staring.

    "Why." Now, Vek turned the question into a statement, searched his own memories. How had it all happened? Most sentients would have thought ancient history. Since Vek had been here for over four millennia, twenty some years hardly qualified as 'history', let alone 'ancient'.

    "Do I dare tell you the obvious?" Vek looked around the room. Ackbar was still glancing his way, though he couldn't perfectly meet Vek's eyes. The other officers were finding something else to look at, yet Commander Skywalker kept staring, compassion and yearning for understanding sparkling in his baby blues.

    "Give me something." Now the Commander was almost pleading. It should have been beneath him, the man who nearly singlehandedly brought down the Emperor and his right hand, but somehow Skywalker pulled it off.

    "Someone had to." It was a simple statement of fact. Could he have stopped the madness before it had begun? Possibly. But unlikely. As helpful as the Unifying Force had often been in Vek's life, it had left him stranded and adrift for decades before the rise of Palpatine. After so long a life, he'd forgotten many of the future events he'd known when he arrived until they were right atop him. By then, Palpatine had gathered enough power around him to make it nearly impossible for Vek to influence events in a positive manner, when Anakin was a child and the galaxy still naïve.

    Before there was time to react to his words, other than the beginning of an eye roll by Ackbar, there was a twinge in the Force that raised the hairs on Vek's arm. The junior officer whispered in the admiral's ear; there was some kind of commotion just outside the doors. Commander Skywalker felt it through the Force at the same time Vek did.

    Skywalker wasn't likely to know the Force signature of the person making the commotion outside, but Vek was intimately familiar. "Why don't you go let Commander Versio in, Admiral? I feel certain she wishes to make her presence known." Vek eyed the Mon Calamari like a lobster in a boiling pot. All I need is a cup of melted butter and a bib...

    Vek shook his head - mentally, for he didn't dare show weakness at this point - to get that terrible image from his head. That was Palpatine, his, and the galaxy's, former master speaking.

    At last, Ackbar nodded to his subordinate, who had barely begun the motion of opening the door to the interrogation room when several people burst through it. Two were rebel soldiers, blaster pistols at their hips. The third was Iden Versio. Her shiny black hair was tied behind her head in a neat and proper bun. Her dark eyes burned, darting from soldier to soldier, then to Admiral Ackbar, defiance bare to the world around her.

    She was still dressed in her TIE fighter jumpers. Vek wasn't surprised. Action was what drove her; the desire to do what was right pulsed through her veins. That was the thing about the universe, it often played villain and hero, sometimes at the same time, within the same person or event. Versio had grown up an Imperial. It was no wonder she believed for the longest time that the 'right' thing was what the Emperor said.

    Most people, no matter their intentions, were unable to process cognitive dissonance, that sensation when what is believed comes into conflict with what is learned to be true, yet contrary. Versio seemed one of those who could grow and cast aside cognitive dissonance. That was why Vek had reached out while she was still in the academy, followed her career closely.

    When he came to talk with her, that first day on campus, they'd already known each other for most of her young life. Now, he sought to connect with her as an equal, instead of the child she'd been. It was funny to see her friends flee the 'old man' Grand Admiral. She'd quickly adjusted, even smiled as he attempted to not be taken with her - it had been a year since he'd seen her and she'd morphed from girl to woman in the interim. He'd inadvertently flirted - and failed even at that - and the two had bonded within hours.

    Her father, then Rear Admiral Versio, would always remain solidly behind the Empire. He could deal with cognitive dissonance - his ego fueled his actions, making him force situations into neat little packages he could digest. He had the power, as an admiral, to - for the most part - reshape reality to what suited his ego.

    Young Versio, thankfully, hadn't inherited that trait. What she got was the admiral's unwavering loyalty - but hers was a loyalty to the truth.

    "I demand to know why you are still holding Grand Admiral Talis." Versio was angry. Blood coursed through her veins, hotter than a supernova. She didn't flinch when the soldiers stood between her and Admiral Ackbar, their blasters trained on her midsection. Vek wouldn't have bet against her taking them both out before they could even blink.

    "We still have questions, Commander Versio," Ackbar said from between the soldiers. "I hadn't been informed that your own interrogation was at an end."

    "There's lots you don't know... Admiral," Versio said, somewhat respectfully. "If not for Grand Admiral Talis, my home world of Vardos would be a smoking crater right now. A lot of worlds would be suffering from Operation Cinder."

    "And yet a lot of worlds are suffering at the hands of the Empire." Ackbar was a realist, then. "Why didn't Mr. Talis save those worlds?"

    "Stop." All eyes turned to the blond haired youth, who'd risen from his seat and slammed his fists into the durasteel table when he shouted. Versio's heat was partially sucked from her by his power. As soon as Skywalker had quiet, he ignored the rest and bore down on Vek again. "I asked you why. Give me a better answer."

    Without missing a beat, Vek answered. "That, I fear, will be the clichéd 'long story'."

    The ghost of a smile threatened to crack Skywalker's stone face. He nodded to Ackbar, who stood back from Versio's way. The TIE Commander pulled up a chair at the table near Vek, though the soldiers kept eyeing her until the admiral shooed them away.

    Skywalker sat back in his chair, looking - and feeling through the Force - much calmer and in control. He glanced around the room as if it was the entire galaxy. "We seem to have plenty of time."

    "I must advise you, sir, not to admit to anything." Commander Versio's brown orbs burrowed into Vek, compassion driving them now, not animosity. "You have rights, and the Alliance would be stupid to deny them while championing freedom and justice and blah, blah, blah." Skywalker did then crack a small smile and chuckle under his breath at that.

    "It's Vek, Commander," Vek said, his gaze softening for a moment as it settled on her. "As Admiral Ackbar has so kindly pointed out in a passive way, I am a Grand Admiral of the past, not the present. You, as my friend, are entitled to my name, for what good it brings me now." Versio didn't seem to like that, but didn't raise her hackles too much. She still leaned forward, leaned toward Vek, softness for her friend overriding the anger she felt at his treatment.

    Vek heaved a sigh, one he didn't try to hide. What was another bunch of hours when he'd already lived so many countless, pointless centuries alone, at the behest of the Force - and been left wanting, confused and adrift. He'd stumbled through the last couple of decades, unsure if the Force even knew what it was doing anymore, or ever had known.
     
  7. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Very intriguing… like Luke, I am wondering “why”? But perhaps that’s what the next 16 chapters will answer. They’re all here interrogating Vek like a prisoner, but certainly they should at very least be grateful to him instead, for saving the worlds he did save, even if they wonder why he was selective about it. But I guess a lot of grows out of the fact they don’t know exactly how to deal with FRaGs, and I have a feeling that we may be learning things about FRaGs in this story that we haven’t in any previous one. Which will definitely be cool and exciting! Keep it up; looking forward to more. =D=
     
  8. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    What has Vek done in the past. Why? Which answers will he give to Luke?
    Living from the times of KotOR to the Saga and beyond, Vek must have seen a lot and done more.
     
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  9. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Mmmmm, could be? [face_dunno]

    You'd think, but then again, they are people, and most people are more concerned with what's gone wrong than what's gone right. Part of the survival mechanic of intelligent creature's nature. :D


    He has indeed. What has he done? Keep reading and you shall get the flashback versions. :D



    Note: Ok, this is going to get more AU. IMHO there's no WAY the Republic would have allowed Banking Clans and Trade Federations to gain a monopoly of power, so some semblance of a Republic Guard must have existed. Bureaucracies being what they are (welcome to Cynicism 101 ;) ), that Guard would likely have been underpowered, underfunded, understaffed and under-a-bunch-of-other-stuff. And so...


    2.

    Republic Guard Ship Ot Tel 32 BBY - Naboo system

    ==Bridge to Senior Captain Talis.==

    Vek stretched. He'd been meditating. The Unifying Force was trying to tell him something, but it was faint, like an echo. Really, he'd been ignoring the Force for... decades? Having been abandoned by it, he figured it was fair and proper that he should return the favor.

    The comm crackled again. ==Bridge to Captain Talis.==

    He rose swiftly from a seated position on the floor, clicked the button on the nearby console. "Yes, Lieutenant Commander Moffet?"

    ==Sir, I think you ought to see this for yourself.==

    Yes... something was going on out there. The Force had begun to swirl for the first time in... Vek had no idea. He'd been trying to keep a low profile. He grabbed his single breasted, light red uniform jacket, thrust his right arm through the sleeve. He'd just slipped his other arm in when the lights across the Ot Tel dimmed. In their place, red.

    Vek's eyes narrowed. Against his better judgement, he reached into the cabinet next to the door, hung his lightsaber on his belt. His senior officers knew he affected to carry one. Rumors that he was privy to said he'd taken one off a dead Jedi. Of course, he'd told them all the truth - from a certain point of view - that his father passed it down to him. But few believed him.

    Ensign Garrick Versio was in the lift as Vek stepped in. The young man stiffened to attention; he was a sycophant and a brown-noser of no little talent. He affected to appear taller and of better posture, even though Vek had his back turned.

    Despite this, the old, old man sensed it. "Relax, Ensign," Vek said casually and felt the tension in the lift ebb. A moment later, he cocked an eyebrow. "Why are you in this lift, Ensign?" Versio was an engineer; why was he headed to the bridge?

    "Lieutenant Commander Moffet requested my presence, sir," Versio said crisply.

    "Hmmm," was all Vek said until the lift doors opened. The main viewer showed a panorama of the Naboo system, with the placid, inhabited planet prominent. What Vek hadn't expected to see were dozens of battlecruisers in orbit. Trade Federation blockade ships was not typical by any stretch of the imagination.

    "What in the Sith hells?" With purpose, he strode to his place on the bridge.

    Properly, Lieutenant Commander Moffet, commanding night shift, stood aside and announced, "The Captain has the con." Then, the stolid officer turned to address his commander. "They began arriving several hours ago, sir," he said. "I imagine my cry of surprise was a bit more... colorful than yours, sir." A ghost of a smirk played upon his lips.

    "Did you summon all the command staff?" Vek asked. His eyes were transfixed on the viewer. What could the Trade Federation possibly have to gripe about with peaceful Naboo? Before Moffet could answer, Vek strode forward. "Magnify viewer, Lieutenant," he commanded his navigator.

    "Specific coordinates, sir?" The Mon Calamari officer asked.

    "Any one of those Trade Federation ships, Bluk," Vek said. "I need to see exactly what they're doing."

    Dutifully, the lieutenant zoomed in until they could all see what was going on. It was not a pleasant sight. Smaller ships were disembarking from the battlecruiser. "Landing craft," Vek said ominously. "Battle droids. Most likely... an invasion." He heard the awe in his own voice.

    "Sir," Lieutenant jg Xare Musee called from the communication hub. Her tan headtails waggled as she whipped back to the console. "Commander Ath'ey'ro is contacting you, sir."

    "Of course she is," Vek said. "Put her up on the screen, but picture in picture image. I need to see what the Federation is doing." Unless he missed his guess, they were headed to Theed in force. It's what he would do, were the roles reversed. You take the capital first, cut off the head, so to speak, and the response from the provinces would be confused and lackluster at best. What had Queen Amidala done to deserve this?

    Before he had another moment to contemplate that, red eyes set deeply in a blue face popped up on the viewer. "Commander." Vek greeted the Chiss woman with a curt nod.

    "We need to develop a strategy for this situation, sir." Commander Ath'ey'ro was always business. "We can't hope to defend the Naboo system from that many battlecruisers unless we have a proper strategy. The Orlen Mollo stands ready to assist as necessary, sir."

    The Republic Guard was arranged so that the commander of a battle group tasked with protecting a system was a native. For generations, Vek claimed his family had been from Naboo. Every forty years or so he needed to invent a descendent of him - himself. It had been confusing at first to get it right, but necessary. In the Old Republic, they'd known about FrAGs and understood that one lived an unnaturally long life.

    Well, the galaxy had forgotten about them during the Interregnum. Besides, Master Vandar couldn't possibly have predicted that he'd live this bloody long. Even their revelation that FrAGs had, in some capacity, been coming to this galaxy for far longer than they'd originally suspected, hadn't prepared Vek for forty-two hundred years of life. Forty-two hundred years of making friends, watching them age and die, then making new friends, loved ones, only to watch them perish as well. It was beyond depressing. After a while he'd mostly given up. No sense making new friends if they would only die again.

    "Shall I connect you with Republic Guard HQ, Senior Captain?" Lieutenant jg Musee asked.

    Vek was busy studying the Trade Federation fleet and didn't hear the Togruta for a moment. Ultimately his duty was to Queen Amidala. That was the way the Guard worked. There was a command structure of course, but in practice, it acted more like a private militia for each individual system.

    "Captain?" Lieutenant jg Musee was standing next to him now, reaching out to place a hand on his shoulder.

    Instinctively, Vek rolled away from the hand - the touch - of another, trying to make it look smooth. "Get me the Veruna, and put Commander Bessick on opposite Ath'ey'ro."

    Musee hurried back to her console. Before long, the two commanders of the other two ships in Vek's battle group were staring his way. "Looks like you've already figured out what to do, Cap'n," Commander Bessick said when he got a good look at Vek's face.

    "My mandate is clear," Vek said, glancing between the commanders and the Federation ships. "It's our responsibility to defend this system and my personal responsibility to defend the rightful ruler.

    "Therefore, I'm taking the captain's boat out for a little excursion." He let that sink in for a moment before continuing. "Ath'ey'ro, while I'm gone, you will command the battle group. Don't provoke the Federation ships. You don't have the firepower to defeat them and I'm sure Admiral Trus doesn't have reinforcements to send, nor is he likely to want to send whatever he might scrape together without more information."

    "But how will dividing our forces and having you go it alone help our cause?" Ath'ey'ro asked.

    "Just bide your time, Commander," Vek ordered. "Our top priority is getting the queen out of danger. I can do that better than a battle group. Wait for further instructions once I'm planet-side."

    Before he left the bridge, Lieutenant Commander Moffet called him. He and Ensign Versio were grinning from ear to ear, a likely pair, Vek thought as he approached. "Yes, Lieutenant Commander?"

    "When I first laid eyes on those Federation battlecruisers, I guessed you'd come up with a daring plan." Was Moffet still grinning? What a tool. He cleared his throat when Vek remained mute. "So, I called Ensign Versio up here to discuss something with him."

    Vek raised an eyebrow and looked at Versio. "And?"

    "There's a new cloaking device installed in the captain's boat, sir," Versio said.

    ~ * ~ * ~ * ~​

    Coruscant 4 ABY (10 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation cell

    "So you're saying you've known Admiral Versio since before the Clone Wars?" Admiral Ackbar broke into the story to cross his arms over his chest.

    Iden was looking at him through new eyes. They were... hurt. "Why didn't you tell me the truth, sir?" Her voice was a whisper. The betrayal she felt oozed from every pore.

    Vek softly placed a hand atop hers, fearful she would pull it away. Thankfully she didn't. "Would you have believed that I'm over four thousand years old?" He asked the question gently, softly, then turned hard eyes on the Mon Calamari. "A case of guilt by ancient association, eh, Admiral? I'll have you know that that Versio, young Ensign Garrick would never have dreamed in his worst nightmares about turning a planet's own defenses against itself to murder its inhabitants. He was young and naïve and eager to protect and serve. Like most everyone around him, Palpatine twisted that youth into tired, vile old Admiral Versio, Emperor's lapdog."

    At that, Iden did take her hand out from under Vek's. He didn't blame her. Even though she turned her back on him when she left the Empire, he was still her father. She held him, urged him to evacuate the Eviscerator as it burned above her home planet of Vardos, but he refused, told her to save herself and leave him to die with the empire he'd so loyally served. That was only days ago, when Vek's fleet prevented the orbital bombardment of Vardos and cost Admiral Versio his life. Only hours after that battle, Vek turned himself in to the Rebel Alliance.

    Her eyes still blazed, though. They looked into him. She has the same intensity, Vek thought as he met her gaze. Siwsan, oh Siwsan melys...

    "Yes, how did you manage to keep your real identity hidden for so long?" Admiral Ackbar was ready to pronounce sentence, by his tone. And said sentence involved a stake and fire. Vek highly approved.

    "I'm not sure that's so important, Admiral," Skywalker said. "He's been around long enough to be clever about hiding the fact, and I'm more interested in how he became twisted up in the Emperor's schemes."

    This was the first time in a long while Vek had seen an Admiral defer to a Commander. Ackbar retreated to his corner of the room again. Of course, the Jedi of old hadn't held military rank, but Skywalker threw around his weight with the Force. "Please continue."
     
  10. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek and the invasion on Naboo. Nice what will happen to him?
    And in the interrogation room with Iden/Siwsan
     
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  11. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    It only gets better from here. And not in a good way.


    3.

    Theed 32BBY

    Ensign Garrick Versio's cloaking device allowed Vek to get to the outskirts of the capital. He would have to remember to give the young officer a commendation, providing he survived this mission. Versio would go far in the Guard, if he chose to remain.

    It had been several months since his last briefing in Theed. The newly crowned Amidala looked so young, he was more than a little worried she wouldn't be up to the task. His first impressions were swept away in the Force that swirled around her. Though she didn't have enough midichlorians to command the energy field, he could tell the Unifying Force was identifying her to him for some reason. After four thousand years, he'd forgotten he'd seen her before.

    Now, the city teemed with battle droids. Most of the civilians were being forcibly kept off the streets. Enough were out, though, being rounded up, that Vek was able to move about relatively safely, so long as he kept to the back alleyways. Though he hadn't called on the Force in a long time, he felt it wrap around him like a cloak. No doubt it helped disguise him from the computerized droids, because several times he thought he'd been caught, only to have the droids randomly go chasing after something else that may or may not have even been there.

    At last, he caught sight of a procession. A very regal procession, battle droids and Super battle droids all around. There were many. He grasped the lightsaber hilt on his belt. Now he was glad he'd brought it.

    As he stepped from cover, ignited his saber, he noticed movement in an upper level. Robed men and a Gungan who... nearly fell. Jedi. That's going to get complicated, Vek thought. Well, there's nothing for it; I'm already here.

    He rushed forward, blocking a few blaster bolts. On the opposite side of the procession, the Jedi were doing much the same thing. They made short work of the enemy, as Vek finished off the stragglers, hurried up to the Queen, bowed from the hip.

    "Captain Talis, we are glad to see you," the decoy Sabé said, masquerading as Amidala. Vek was quick to recognize her as the granddaughter of a once ally who'd helped him establish a Nabooian lineage.

    "We must get you off the streets quickly, Your Highness," the tall Jedi said, glancing only momentarily at Vek.

    He'll mention the lightsaber at some point, Vek thought. But he knew the Jedi was being practical. "I'm coming along too; Her Highness is my responsibility." He discreetly glanced over the other handmaidens until he was certain he knew which one was really Amidala.

    The taller of the two - the master - looked him up and down, nodded to himself. "I'm Qui-Gon Jinn and this is my padawan, Obi-wan. We would be grateful for any help the Guard can provide."

    He briefly considered navigating them to his ship's boat, but Amidala's entourage alone held more people than would fit, so he accepted Sabé's suggestion they go to the royal spaceport. As they headed in that direction, Obi-wan - why did that name sound so vaguely familiar? - turned to regard Vek. "Did I hear the queen call you Captain Talis?" he asked.

    Vek heaved a silent sigh. Any time he encountered a Jedi, things got... sticky. And not in the good way. "Vek Talis, at your service young padawan," he said and bowed as best he could as they loped quietly to the port. It wasn't likely the youngster would know the name, but his master... might.

    Once aboard the ship, Vek discreetly took Padmé aside. Before speaking, he slipped a device from his pocket, activated it. "Your Highness, I will do my best to protect you; I recommend you stay near me as best you can."

    The 'handmaiden's' protest died before it breached her lips. Instead, she fixed him with a stare that would have melted butter, if any had been around. "How did you know?"

    "Worry not, Your Highness, I doubt anyone else has the kind of... relations with Sabé's family as I do," Vek said and did not elaborate. "Just... if ever the need comes up, your safety is my top priority." He didn't bow because though his device made sure no ears were listening, it was possible someone could observe the action.

    After she hurried away to join the fake queen, he grabbed his comm. "Commander Ath'ey'ro, acknowledge." When the Commander checked in, Vek told her what he needed of the Guard. Then he headed for the bridge as he felt the engines growl to life.

    He was familiar with the royal pilot, who was more than capable. However, the battlecruiser in orbit just over Theed intended to make their escape dangerous. "I hope your ships are going to attack that battlecruiser, or this will be a short trip," the pilot said as they climbed higher in the atmosphere.

    "I don't have the authority to start a war with the Trade Federation," Vek said. "And my superiors would need to grow a collective spine to author such orders. But I have an idea," he said and pointed out the viewer.

    The Orlen Mollo, Veruna, and his own ship, the Ot Tel were much smaller than one Federation battlecruiser - more like large frigates in size - but they were more maneuverable. They were doing their best to come between the battlecruiser's turbo-laser cannons and the Queen's transport.

    "We can't return fire, but the Trade Federation rep would have to answer some tricky questions if they destroyed a Republic Guard vessel," Vek explained. A few turbo-lasers struck home on his battle group, but thankfully screens were up.

    He was more worried about the few errant shots that kept sneaking through the spaces between his ships. One of them caught the Queen's transport a strong blow that struck near the hyperdrive. Fortunately, an astromech got the screens back up. Unfortunately, the hyperdrive was damaged. They would have to divert to Tatooine.

    "Thanks Ath'ey'ro," Vek whispered into his comm. "Head back to previous positions and don't provoke the Federation. We may need your assistance at a later date."

    "We could escort you to Coruscant," the Chiss Commander responded. "The Federation wouldn't dare fire on us directly."

    When Vek explained their trouble, the Chiss hissed into her comm before replying, "Stay safe, Senior Captain. We'll be here waiting for your return; I'll see to it."

    After setting course, the tall one - Jinn - pulled Vek aside. He felt the Jedi's presence searching his own, trying to find a link to the Force. Vek had closed that off a long time ago. He used to allow others to sense his connection, but it became more trouble than it was worth. He knew how to hide it from even the most concentrated search.

    "Vek Talis." Jinn tasted the name on his lips. He was wise, this Jedi. He said no more, trying to lull Vek into saying something that might give up the game.

    Yet Vek hadn't been born yesterday. Or the day before, for that matter. When the Jedi said nothing, Vek attempted to return to his duties.

    Jinn sighed, then said, "Am I to understand you are related to the Vek Talis, from the Old Republic?"

    Vek stopped, turned to regard the Jedi Master. "You use the word 'the' as if my distant relative is some sort of legend. As far as I'm concerned, he is, but not in the same way you used that word in his regard."

    "The Jedi Archives chronicled a few of his adventures, yes," the Master said.

    Blasted archives, Vek thought. Why can't you leave the dead... dead?

    "You use a lightsaber and I felt you use the Force to push one of those droids away. Yet you're hiding from it now." This Jedi was wise indeed, and starting to get on Vek's nerves.

    Rather than deny it, Vek charged forward. "I can, from time to time, move things with my mind," he said. When he shrugged his shoulders, he hid weariness from centuries of explanations and suspicions. "And the lightsaber is said to go all the way back to the first Vek, yes. It's been passed down from generation to generation. Nothing more to it."



    Coruscant 4 ABY (10 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    "I want his hide!"

    This interruption involved blasters and rebel soldiers... rebelling? Luke's face had turned ashen in the moments leading up to the scream. Vek knew something was going on... and then he saw Princess Leia - Luke's sister - and knew what had happened.

    "You hid him from me, Luke! How could you? He's responsible for my parents' death!" Leia had two soldiers and the rogue Han Solo, blaster pistols in their hands, at her flanks. Solo was aiming for Vek, a fierce grin on his face. The guards from the door were inside, holding their blasters at the other rebels. Vek felt the tension grow as Luke declined to deny what he'd done.

    Iden carefully sidled her chair until she was between Solo and Vek. "Uh-uh, not a chance, sister," Solo said and took a few steps to the side to aim at Vek again. "How'd you like an angry Wookiee to tear off your arms for protecting that guy?"

    Now it was Iden on the offensive. She stood from the chair, Solo's blaster at her chest. "Bring on the walking carpet," she said, glaring a hole through the scoundrel.

    "Leia, we've been over this." Skywalker's voice was calm, gentle. "Grand Moff Tarkin was responsible for destroying Alderaan, not Grand Admiral Talis," he said.

    Leia stepped into her brother's face and ground down on the words. "His fleet was there, or part of it at any rate. He could have ordered them to attack the Death Star. But he didn't."

    "And he didn't attack the fighters who attacked the Death Star," Luke countered. "And he left the Yavin system after the Death Star was destroyed." Leia took a step back, but glared at Vek. "And, it appears that Mr. Talis has been aiding the Rebellion in secret since before the Rebellion was even formed."

    "What?!" Now Leia took a couple of steps back, casting about for something to mentally hold on to.

    "Now c'mon, Kid," Solo said, wrapping his free arm around Leia. "This guy" - he shoved his blaster toward Vek - "tell you that? You can't believe him. He was His Creepiness's lapdog since before the Empire got started. Everyone knows that."

    "And yet we've uncovered evidence to suggest otherwise, General Solo." Admiral Ackbar had stepped forward during the exchange. "I expect you to refrain from doing anything hasty; we are examining all the evidence and will give Mr. Talis a fair trial, when the time comes."

    "What are you talking about?" Iden Versio turned her venom on Ackbar. "While he worked for Palpatine, he was following the Emperor's orders, who was the legal authority. The Emperor is responsible for what his minions did. And if Grand Admiral Talis" - she emphasized the words aggressively - "hadn't done what he was told, he would have become another victim of the Emperor's wrath. Do you deny that? What could you possibly be thinking of charging him with?"

    Oh, here it comes, Vek thought. I'm sure they know, the documentation was completed by me, after all. Hopefully they will make an exception to their no capital punishment rule.

    "How does the Massacre at Ot Tel sound for starters?" Skywalker asked casually, quietly.

    Iden turned to face Vek. In fact, everyone was staring at him now. But he didn't care about that. He only cared when she cast her eyes down to the floor and turned her back, slowly and deliberately. If an action could be turned into a weapon, it would have slain him a billion times over. But he wouldn't dare acknowledge the hit. Maybe to her in private - if that was ever possible again - but not here, not now. As she stalked from the room, each plodding boot step was a jab in the heart which no longer beat in his chest. He hadn't felt much of anything for a long time, but he felt every echoing step she took... away from him.

    And when the door slammed, his façade slipped for but a moment as he took in a silent gasp. Fortunately, no one was paying attention to him by that point. Except... Skywalker glanced his way and slightly raised an eyebrow for an instant before lowering it, right after Vek got his guard back up. Maybe the young Jedi had managed to breach his defenses. He needed to be more vigilant.
     
  12. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek sure is in deep trouble. First with Jinn and now with Luke
     
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  13. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    And the hits will just keep on coming. :p


    4.

    Coruscant 4 ABY (10 days after the Battle of Endor) - Detention Center

    "What happened in there?" Del Meeko asked as Iden stormed past him.

    Her friend and comrade had waited behind in the lobby of the prison where they'd detained Vek - former Grand Admiral Talis, she reminded herself coldly. Now, he pushed himself up from the cold durasteel bench to catch up with her. When... the admiral had sent her proof irrefutable of the massacres and mass jailings perpetrated by the Emperor and the fact, now that he was dead, that Palpatine intended to take out his wrath on her homeworld, she'd been unsurprised when Del, dear, sweet Del, had decided to defect with her.

    "How's the Grand Admiral? Are they treating him well? Commander, will you slow down?"

    Iden spun on her heel, her index finger sticking up and out at Del and the galaxy at large. "Do not mention the... admiral again, by name or rank." She launched words at him as if they were proton torpedos and as if Del was Vek Talis, the man she thought she'd loved like a brother. And Vek Talis, the man she thought she'd loved like a father. To find out they were one and the same man was... disconcerting.

    But she would have dealt with that in time. In his place, she would likely have developed the same strategy. But all... this, his age - his incredible age - and Ot Tel... that was unforgivable. Even if he was innocent, just to link his name with the massacre on her home world, almost fifteen years ago, was enough to set her hackles ablaze.

    Del was left breathless and deflated. He blinked several times, gathered his face up as though words would issue forth, but said nothing.

    "We should go and see if Alliance leadership needs us for any more Imperial hunting," Iden said. She needed to kill something at the moment. Since Admiral Ackbar would probably frown if she went back in there and pulled Talis's head right off his shoulders, she needed to find a more acceptable target. She shook her head. That sarcasm belonged to Vek. He'd taught her to be cynical and sarcastic.

    A memory flashed through her mind. The day she met him - or the first day she remembered knowing him. He'd probably forgotten, but she was just a girl, not yet seven, and he a dashing Grand Admiral in full dress uniform, come to collect her father, then Captain Versio, to some Imperial function or other. He was handsome, cool and radiated an aura of calm that pierced her to the bone. The uprisings against the empire in Ot Tel - a second city of Vardos, where discontent had burgeoned in the first few years of the empire - weren't quite two years gone, and some citizens, though thoroughly loyal to the Emperor, were still a bit anxious.

    Kestro, the city Iden was born in, wasn't far from Ot Tel. In fact, as a girl, Iden had often visited her aunt and favorite cousin there. She'd been on her way to Kestro when the uprising occurred and the subsequent put down of the riots which ensued. Tens of thousands of civilians, her aunt and cousin among them, were slaughtered mercilessly by the Empire. No one knew who commanded the massacre and the Emperor seemed reticent to congratulate whoever presided over it, because by and large, Vardos was loyal to the Emperor. Iden was certain her aunt was loyal and her cousin, just a five year old girl, couldn't have been an insurrectionist.

    When Del didn't move immediately, Iden glared at him. There was something on his mind. "What?"

    Reluctantly, he brought out his comm unit. "I intercepted this while you were... inside," he said, holding up the unit. "I think the message was meant for... that person I can't mention, sent from Admiral Sloane. I had to decrypt and unscramble it, top level clearance and all that, but..."

    "But what?" Iden knew something big was going on. "Well, spit it out," she demanded when he didn't start talking fast enough to suit her. When he still didn't go on, she grabbed the comm from his hands.

    "They're targeting Naboo next." Operation Cinder was going after peaceful Naboo? Why? Because it suited the Emperor. The dead Emperor.

    "Sloane was sending out a plea to the Grand Admiral to stop Gallius Rax so she could be the one to put Cinder into effect and get one step closer to the throne. We can't get enough traction on this to raise a defense," Del said sadly. Then, his brows lifted and he inclined his head toward the prison. "But he could."

    She shook her head. Hard. "I can go back in there, tell Princess Leia. She can get traction."

    "And she'll believe you... why?" Del could be so annoying when he was right.

    "I don't have to deal with this, not right now." Iden threw up her hands as Del took his comm back. The attack wouldn't happen for five days. She needed to think. She needed time.



    Coruscant - Interrogation Cell

    "Just so long as this... man gets what's coming to him." Leia was calming down, at last. After Commander Versio stormed out, she'd continued her tirade. She wanted to have Vek executed. And she had the clout to make it happen.

    Vek wasn't convinced they could kill him. But, at this point in his never ending existence, he was willing to give just about anything a try. He'd been killed before, or at least, should have been. Even at the height of his prowess as a Jedi he'd been lackluster with the lightsaber. Several times, foes had gotten the better of him. But he hadn't died.

    "I'm eager to get back to Mr. Talis's story," Luke said, when it appeared Leia was willing to listen for a bit.

    "Yeah, well I gotta see to a few things." General Solo reluctantly holstered his blaster. He pointed an accusing finger, first at Leia, then at Skywalker. "The both of you made me into a responsible man and I won't forget that." It sounded more like a threat than thanks. He gathered the rebel soldiers with his eyes and they followed him out the door.

    For the first time, Vek realized that he was the only one who couldn't just leave that room whenever he felt like it. It was a humbling thought. He eased himself back into his seat without visible protest. "May I ask a question in return?" he asked Skywalker. Based on what he'd seen, the Commander held the most authority in the room, despite Leia's standing and Ackbar's rank.

    Skywalker nodded in response.

    "Oh, this ought to be good," Leia said, but at a glance from her brother, she made no further protest.

    "What will you recommend at my trial for punishment?"

    Skywalker studied him for a few moments as Leia scoffed quietly, then fumed silently. At last he cracked another ghostly smile. "That depends on how entertaining your story is, of course."



    Tatooine - 32 BBY

    And so Vek returned to Tatooine. The youth Anakin had secured his freedom using the Force without even knowing it. Vek felt the Unifying and Living Force wrapping tightly around the boy during the entire Boonta Eve race. Both sides of the energy field rarely co-mingled for very long in the same space at the same time.

    He glanced over at Qui-Gon, who had been holding onto the boy's mother during that race. To the untrained eye, it may have appeared the Jedi was becoming close with the Skywalker mother, but Vek realized, as the Living Force swirled around them, that Master Jinn was using the energy to ease a mother's suffering. She was going to lose her child, the only sentient she'd ever bonded with. And Jinn was merely showing compassion.

    Vek had only come along because Padmé wanted to go. She was quickly warming to the boy in a way beyond both their years.

    "What's so special about this boy, Master Jinn?" Vek asked when they were alone for a moment. He made sure to keep a discreet eye on the queen, of course.

    Jinn answered by showing Vek a datapad. The captain masked his feelings when he saw the numbers on the screen; he knew Jinn would be watching for a reaction. "Is that one of those fabled midichlorian counts you Jedi are so fond of?" Vek asked placidly.

    "Yes," the Jedi replied. "He has an incredibly high count. He will have to come with us to the Jedi Temple for training."

    When they went back to pick up young Skywalker, Vek felt a twinge through the Unifying Force. Oddly, Jinn had asked for his company. The Living Force seemed quiet, and Vek knew this Jedi relied on it. Was it speaking to Jinn secretly? Did he have reason to bring Vek and not his own padawan?

    Just for a moment, as Anakin turned away from his mother who'd hugged him tightly, the shadow he cast against the adobe huts of the neighborhood morphed into something ominous. Large, looming, dark, gloomy, it sent a small chill down Vek's spine. And then it was gone so fast he wondered if it had ever been.

    A foul wind blew in across them in that moment as well. Vek caught just the whiff of... Sith. Like a hand was closing around them from out in the wastes. He wondered if Jinn felt it, too. By the expression on his face, there was definitely something on his mind.

    They were nearing the Queen's transport when they saw something approaching rapidly from the west, into the afternoon suns. Vek looked to Jinn who glanced back for a moment. "Go Anakin," Jinn said. "Run to the ship."

    Vek had barely reached for his lightsaber - reflexes, or lack thereof - when the Sith surged toward the boy. "Anakin, duck!" Jinn shouted and he obeyed.

    The Jedi had his saber out in the next instant. "Get to the ship; tell them to take off," Jinn commanded.

    Vek struck at the Sith who blocked it, sneered, and knocked him back with a blast from the Force. Then the red faced creature took the fight to Jinn. They moved faster than Vek had in centuries. Turning his back on the energy field that had turned its proverbial back on him had cost Vek quickness.

    Nonetheless, if the Sith got the better of the Jedi, no one on that ship would have been able to stop him. Vek rushed forward, calling on the Force for strength and speed. Since he'd been gone for so long, the action was lacking. He traded a few slashes with the Sith, Jinn beside him, complementing his old, old version of Shii-cho, but the Sith kicked the Jedi, flicked his wrist, and Vek staggered back with a gash across his chest that splayed open his uniform jacket, then kicked him in the leg, sending him sprawling.

    By then, however, the ship was flying low, heading their way. "Go," Jinn commanded and Vek obeyed, leaping up to the lowered platform a moment before the Jedi followed. The Sith extinguished his saber, glaring at them as they escaped.

    "What was that, Master?" Obi-Wan asked as they both lay in the ship, gasping for air.

    "I don't know," Jinn answered.

    Of course you know, Vek thought. It's what Jedi are for. To smite the Sith, yes? Ah, but you haven't seen a Sith before, have you, Jinn? You have little idea what you're dealing with.

    But Vek knew. At last, everything was starting to click into place. The Sith weren't skulking around in the shadows any longer. There was a plan, a purpose. They wouldn't act openly unless they felt assured of victory.

    And Vek had no allies. He couldn't very well go to the Jedi. Not after this long. Even Yoda would scoff, and he hadn't been in touch with himself for so long that he might not be able to show them what he was through the Force. He would have to train quietly on his own and try to gather as much information as he could. Who was leading the Sith? It couldn't have been that red-faced fop back there. He was clearly the apprentice, not the master. The master would be cunning enough to send a sycophant in his place, to retain anonymity if the apprentice failed.

    Since Darth Bane, that had been the way of the Sith.

    Vek sighed heavily. Now, he'd have to get to the bottom of this Trade Federation attack and try to identify who the Sith Lord was when there might still be a chance at stopping him or her. Perhaps the two are related? Vek thought. This is too unusual for coincidence. Unlike some Jedi, Vek certainly believed in coincidence, but not here, not when they'd just discovered a boy with the highest midichlorian count he'd ever seen.

    What was that prophecy I'd heard? Someone to bring balance to the Force. That was it. Maybe 'balance' wasn't something the Jedi would approve of, if they wanted to know Vek's opinion on the matter. They probably wouldn't.

    "You've been wounded." Obi-Wan's voice pulled Vek back to the moment.

    He glanced down at his chest. It had indeed been laid open by the Sith's saber. There was no blood, but Vek had expected that. After so many decades of not aging, he'd started losing needs, one by one. There was no heart in his chest that beat. Blood sat in his veins. He could make it bleed if he needed to be seen to be human. He didn't need to eat or drink or sleep, but could affect to do those things as necessary, as well.

    "It's just a scratch," Vek said and immediately hurried away. A fresh uniform jacket and no one would question why he wasn't soaked in blood. In truth, the Sith's blade had bitten deeply enough to have killed him, were he mortal. Try explaining that, though. He didn't like having to explain anything to anyone; that usually meant something had gone wrong somewhere along the way.
     
  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek there to save things and investigate. Interesting. What will he discover?
     
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  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    So. I've been reading along since you started posting, but of course I had to take my sweet time coming here for a review. But I'm here at long last!

    I absolutely loved the prologue and your musings on Vader, especially this bit:
    This is just so nicely written, as was the entire sequence examining how Vader's choice in that moment may have determined the future of the galaxy – except that, not really, and that mention of "someone close to Sidious" who could actually effect change came with all sorts of alarm bells, and I didn't want to believe it...

    ... until I did.

    I love this idea of a "zombie" Vek, who cannot die, who doesn't have the normal needs of a living being, but who has to pretend being a normal living being because the GFFA has all but forgotten about FrAGs. He has to reinvent a life and a past for himself every few decades, but, after all this time in the GFFA, he has forgotten what happens or what is supposed to happen, and in that sense, he's lost his edge. As he said himself, he never was a particularly powerful Jedi (except, of course, when it comes to the Snark Side of the Force) but he was strong enough in the Living Force and most importantly he could also anticipate events because he knew they were due to happen. But now, having cut himself off from the Force, and having forgotten what he knew, he's much more vulnerable, both in the flashbacks and in the present of this narrative.

    I'm very curious to find out how Vek ended up an Imperial Grand Admiral, but more than that I'm curious to know his connection to Ot Tel. Ot Tel is both the name of his ship in 32 BBY and the place where he is said to have committed a massacre in the name of the Empire some decades later, and I'm sure that this isn't a coincidence.

    I'm also curious to find out more about his backstory with the Versios, both the father and the daughter, and I wonder if we'll get to see Garrick Versio's transition from promising Republic Guard engineer to hardened Imperial in parallel with Vek's "recruitment" by the Empire. Another character that caught my interest is Ath'ey'ro and I'm wondering what contacts there are between the Chiss and the Old Republic/Empire in this 'verse.

    I loved the bits and pieces of Vek reconnecting with the Force in the flashbacks. It's interesting that he doesn't seem to be reconnecting deliberately, but he is very deliberate in hiding his Force-sensitivity from Qui-Gon. This paragraph:
    ... was a great way to sum up his situation at this point, both in terms of his relationship to the Force and to his fading memory.

    Lastly, I loved how you portrayed the collapsing Empire after Endor as still being mired in endless squabbles and infighting, with Sloane trying to stop Gallius Rax – not because Operation Cinder shouldn't happen, but because she wants to be the boss. Iden says that there are five days to go until the attack on Naboo, and she seems to think that it's plenty of time to figure things out, but she's going to have to get her act together real fast!
     
  16. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    'Save' may be a little strong of a word. You have met Vek, right? He doesn't so much as save as... make things not quite as bad as they were when he arrived. :p


    Haha, the surprise twist ending... there in the first chapter. :p All shall be revealed by his twisting, sordid tale of daring do and snark.

    A zombie in many respects, yes, but oh so world weary. People write and talk about immortality a lot in modern culture, and I guess it's fine for some people and fine if others are also immortal, but I can't imagine being immortal when everyone around you keeps dying as anything but unceasing torture. Apparently my muse agrees. :D


    You know I'm stealing that one! :D


    That is coming soon, more or less. I've skipped more than a little of the stuff you get in the movies as much of it isn't relevant to Vek, in that it doesn't really change.


    I reckon perhaps she's a unique character to this universe. I don't know much of Thrawn, as I haven't read those SW books, but I wanted to have a more diverse cast than just humans so I tried. You'll get another surprise later that I know you'll like. :D


    Thanks to all my readers. :) And now, another chapter.


    5.

    Coruscant - Jedi Temple 32 BBY

    Vek was reticent to walk into the Jedi Temple. Too many ghosts were likely to be there. Not a diaphanous form, floating around moaning or giving out obvious advice, but simple memories of old faces, lost friends, old loves gone forever. Only alive in his memory.

    Of course, if he'd had the choice, he wouldn't have gone at all. Once Jinn got done on the comm, as they'd landed on Coruscant, it hadn't taken long before Admiral Trus had comm'd Vek, told him in no uncertain terms that he was to do as the Jedi requested. Queen Amidala would be safe enough on Coruscant, and Sabé was taking her place, at any rate.

    As soon as he walked into the great hall, he knew he should have resigned his commission in the Republic Guard and told the admiral where to head in, walked away from everything and tried his best to disappear into the depths of the galaxy. For standing right there at the entrance was one of those ghosts of the past. Except, instead of a memory, it was a genuine Force ghost.

    Fy nghalon. Her formless head, bowed. Ghostly, shimmering tears at the corners of her eyes glistening.

    It was all Vek could do to not run screaming from the Temple. Surely Master Jinn, Padawan Kenobi and little Anakin couldn't see her. Could they? They walked right past her, stopped, looked back to Vek.

    He steeled himself, forced one foot in front of the other. Anwybyddwch fi os oes rhaid, fy nghalon. Rwi'n dal yn wir, she said sadly. The language she'd shared with him. Now the words bled back into his empty heart, solemn, noble. Ignore me if you must, my heart. I am still true, is what she'd said.

    That spot, where she stood. It was where she must have died. Siwsan, by the Force, I wanted to stop you, he thought bitterly.

    Ond gwnaethoch chi, fy nghalon, she answered quietly. Each word was a sharp stiletto piercing his spine. But you didn't, my heart, she'd said. There was no accusation in her voice, no hatred, no bile. Why couldn't she hate him? It gnawed at him.

    As if she could read his thoughts - or the facial expressions he tried hard to hide - she added, A fyddai'n well gennych i mi eich casáu, fy nghalon? Vehemently he shook his head. Would you prefer I hate you, my heart?

    No, he thought. Never.

    Steadily, he pushed his way past it - past her - and followed the Jedi to the lift. Jinn glanced his way a couple of times on the ride up, maybe wondering if he could get Vek to enunciate what had happened in the great hall. There was no force in the entire universe which could have plucked the words from his tongue. He would have slaughtered the entire Temple, shaken the stone and metal down to its foundations with his bare hands before utter a single word of it.

    Vek cooled his heels in the lift as the Council dealt with Anakin. When the door opened with a swoosh, Jinn nodded to him, even as Anakin and Kenobi strode into the lift. "Where are they going?" Vek asked as he walked into the presence of the Council. Immediately, he felt the entire august body attempt to break past his walls. Good luck, he thought with an internal chuckle. I've had plenty of practice hiding myself since long before any of you were even born.

    He emptied his mind and stared back at the Jedi as they tried to stare through him. "Know your thoughts, we do." So smug, was Master Yoda. Did he really think he knew what was going on in Vek's head? Maybe he did; Vek had to admit he didn't have all the answers, but it seemed very unlikely when the diminutive master didn't follow up his accusation with any proof.

    "We have searched the archives and discovered that Vek Talis never died, at least according to Jedi authorities." The intense Jedi was unfamiliar to Vek. He seemed most perturbed when Vek didn't rise to the bait.

    "Archives are the work of sentient beings, are they not?" Vek asked casually. When no one answered, he went on, "And sentients, all of us, are imperfect. We make mistakes, yes?" Again, no one spoke. "Give me your tests, then. See if I am my very distant ancestor."

    "Why, if you are not yourself, do you retain your ancestor's name?" The Cerean male thought he had Vek in an obvious conundrum. He seemed self assured as well.

    It's good the Jedi are predictably arrogant whatever era I end up in, Vek thought. "Call it a family joke, if you will, Master Jedi," he said. "Or a trick of the Force. My entire ancestry includes one male child in each generation, always named Vek. I have a little one of my own. Well, he's not exactly little - they grow up so fast - back on Naboo." He'd already set that up, with help from an ally - a false record of childbirth.

    "And your lightsaber?"

    "Passed down to me by my father." Vek shrugged his shoulders. "You could say what little connection I have to the Force is passed from him as well." And then, Jinn jabbed him. Vek had to will some blood to flow into the needle.

    "See through you, we do," Yoda said. Did the little gob of goo not remember the first time they'd met? What was it, almost seven hundred years ago, Vek thought. I remember thinking the Force was purposely clouding his mind. Maybe he doesn't remember.

    "I do not think this is the same man who helped redeem Revan," the angry Jedi said. "This... officer is much more at home in mundane affairs."

    Oh, no one 'redeemed' Revan, but Revan, Vek thought, internally rolling his eyes at the ignorance of history to even get its own story right. She redeemed everyone around her from the arrogance and self-righteousness of the fool Jedi and the nihilistic Sith. He hadn't been in love with Revan, but no one with an ounce of sense could have looked into that soul and found fault, even when she directed her inner fire against the Old Republic.

    "Master Qui-Gon, more have you to say?"

    "His midichlorian count is... unusual, Master," Jinn said, casting a slanted gaze on Vek. He pushed forward, handed the datapad to Yoda, who hrumphed when he looked at it. If he'd managed to fake it well enough, it should have said something on the order of...

    "Less than six thousand," Jinn said. Then he folded his arms across his chest. "Still, I'm not convinced."

    "Well, I am." The angry Jedi was getting more perturbed. "It is doubtful he could fool this entire Council as to his origins, as well as a midichlorian count. I say we have spent enough time on this matter."

    And like that, he was dismissed. From long practice, Vek took a different route that didn't take him past where Siwsan might still be... hovering, for want of a better term. Unfortunately, Jinn stood there by the doors, his arms once again folded across his chest.

    "Interesting that you knew of this alternate route out of the Temple," he said casually.

    "Hardly," Vek countered quickly. "I'm in the Republic Guard. I travel here several times each year for conferences. I've toured the Temple on numerous occasions, Master Jinn." He bowed from the waist to see the Master non-plussed. "I'm afraid I must now leave you and see to my Queen."



    Senator Palpatine's office - 32 BBY

    "I'm afraid we may have to accept occupation, for the time being," Senator Palpatine said fecklessly. He was a giant tool. So ineffectual as to be knocked over by an Antarian flea. And yet, for some unexplained reason, he seemed to affect an air of authority. Vek couldn't quite put his finger on why - or how.

    "I'm afraid that is something I cannot do," Queen Amidala - the real Queen - said.

    Inside, Vek rolled his eyes back into his head. She's planning something, he thought. What good will it do her people for her to go back home and get killed? But it wasn't his duty to do anything but obey.

    "This is your arena, Senator. I pray you will bring sanity back to the Senate, but I must return to my people for better or worse." Amidala stood regally and Vek stiffened to attention.

    When Master Jinn returned, Obi-Wan and Anakin in tow, the Queen, without preamble said, "I must return home." She glanced over at Jar-Jar Binks. "But I have an idea."

    Vek's eyes narrowed. The Gungans had an army. Of sorts. If they could delay, and distract... "The Republic Guard stands ready to assist, Your Highness," Vek offered. "And may I say, that I personally will remain at Your side to assist as I can." She might just have a plan, after all.
     
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  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek and the important events of TPM. Nice to see him going against the council. And Siwsan she is there as a ghost. What will happen next?
     
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  18. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    This next post things gets a little... difficult. A bit of drama ahead.




    6.

    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Iden Versio's quarters

    Alone in the dark, Iden tried to picture her aunt's face. Her cousin's. They were both murdered at Ot Tel, eighteen years ago. No one was identified as the perpetrator, the one who gave the order. The Emperor later declared it a disaster and a mistake, publicly condemning the unknown perpetrators, hinting it might have been the insurrectionist leaders themselves, to make it seem as though the Empire was as terrible as they said. She'd always accepted that explanation. After all, since birth she'd been taught to revere and obey. The Emperor could do no wrong.

    Her thoughts swung to Vek. Eight years ago, she was fifteen, just starting at the academy. He was an old family friend, but she never expected the Grand Admiral of the entire fleet would come see her, especially at the academy, especially in an official capacity. Her scores and aptitude tests indicated she was 'exceptional', he'd said. He was 'fast tracking' her, he said, while making a hash of trying to flirt abstractly with her, in a cute way. It scared her - not the flirting - and excited her all at the same time. She suddenly became the envy of her friends and fellow students.

    He'd looked old, tired. Said he was going to retire soon. How long had he been playing that game; what kind of makeup had he worn to look old? She was well into her second year at the academy before she got to meet Vek, the 'old' admiral's son, newly promoted into his father's place. It was unusual - military nepotism - but she had her studies to keep her busy.

    This new man seemed... similar, but not identical. He had a facial tick, where old Uncle Vek, as Iden had called him since she could remember, had a tick where his thumb would twitch every now and then. And yet the Alliance had evidence he was one and the same man. Princess Leia was even kind enough to allow her access. Old Jedi records. New DNA readings. How could this man be trusted to tell anyone the truth about anything if he hid something like that?

    "That's stupid, Iden," she said and shook her head. "Most anyone would do the same damn thing, given his circumstances." She was angry because he hadn't told her. She knew it. It was selfish and she tried to dismiss the thought.

    There was a soft knock at the door. "It's open, Del," she said.

    He stepped in, closing the door behind him. He was cute in a puppy dog way. Good thing I like hounds, Iden thought with an internal chuckle. He was sweet, too, and wise beyond his years.

    But he could be damned annoying, too. "Have you thought more about Naboo, Commander?" he asked. "Four days."

    "I'm not an idiot like you," she said savagely, then immediately checked herself. "Sorry," she added softly.

    "I know this is difficult," Del said, also quietly. After a little pause to rummage through his pocket, he pulled out his datapad. "I reviewed the Alliance's 'evidence'. It certainly seems as though the Grand Admiral was in Ot Tel eighteen years ago, but I don't think he was there precisely when the uprising occurred."

    He sat down beside her, showed her the datapad. "See? He was at an audience with the Emperor only hours after reports of the massacre came in, a briefing about the massacre. It's right there in the Imperial record; I don't know how the Alliance missed it."

    That raised Iden's spirits, if only a little. "They're the victors; even if it isn't true, they'll try to make him a scapegoat all the same."

    "Not if he's a hero in the eyes of the people," Del said, a knowing smirk lifting the left side of his face.

    Only a moment of thought was needed. Iden stood from her chair, walked purposefully to the door, turned back to her friend. "What are we waiting for? I think it's time to see a princess."



    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    "You were telling us about the Battle of Naboo and your part in it," Luke reminded Vek as he sat down for day two of the fun. They still hadn't asked him to confess to the Massacre at Ot Tel. Did they think they were toying with him? Or was Skywalker suicidal and thought Vek could bore him to death?

    "As you say, Master Skywalker," Vek said. It was just the two of them this morning.



    Naboo 32BBY - Palace

    The blast doors opened, and there stood the same red faced Sith Jinn and Vek had fought on Tatooine. He activated both blades of his lightsaber, beckoning the Jedi forward. Briefly, Vek thought about helping the Jedi. The Unifying Force cast a brief shadow across Jinn's face, and Vek knew it would be the last time he'd see the Master drawing breath.

    The Unifying Force had given him a choice, he realized later. It was possible he could have helped Jinn. But only possible, and he might have failed in his duty to the Queen in the process. Even the Force had limited access to all the answers. It was possible the Force had reached across galaxies to drag him here because of a confused vision of its own future. In other words: a giant misunderstanding that had trapped him in this form far longer than nature intended.

    Instead, he stayed by the Queen's side. The Trade Federation was ready for their attack, however. Battle droids patrolled the hallways of the Palace. Padmé split up her forces to draw them away, but more appeared, attacked.

    "Out on the ledge," Padmé ordered. They attached grapples to their blasters, scaled the side of the Palace. Vek did his best not to look down.

    As they approached the Trade Federation's command center, the Force tugged at Vek's sleeve. "Your Highness," he whispered in her ear. "There's something amiss." The Force gathered around a human. An angry human. "May I suggest something, Your Highness?"

    Vek concentrated on the human in the command center. The Force spread out from him, tendrils reaching, grasping. Red rage fought back against the tendrils. It was raw, powerful, but unfocused, undisciplined. Young.

    Vek did his best to seem weak, vulnerable. The red rage pounced, sent the Force to smash, to rend. He fed it fear, anguish, terror. Whoever was on the other end was hungry.

    "On my mark, Your Highness," Vek whispered into his comm. The Force presence flashed bright red: it had found a target. "Get into position and wait for the human in the room to leave, Your Highness."

    "Stay safe, Captain," Padmé said.

    He played up the fright, encouraging the hunter to seek its prey. Suddenly, it surged toward him, red rage pulsing. He grasped the hilt of his lightsaber, waiting, peaceful.

    The door to the ballroom opened on silent hinges. White light seeped into the dark room, casting long the shadows of chairs, tables, musical instruments across the floor. A figure, darkened in the white light rushed in. It panted and snarled like a wild animal, ignited a deep purple blade.

    Vek felt the terror, rage and horror it felt. Visceral wasn't enough of a word. Whatever was done to this... child, to make it so mad with wrath, was beyond torture. Regardless, it would attempt to kill him if it got the chance, and then it might go after the Queen. That was something Vek couldn't allow.

    He ignited his own yellow blade. The fiend immediately sprang, roaring. Vek was prepared. Using the Force, he flipped the light switch on the far wall and now could see a furious and terrified girl rushing toward him. She broadcast every move she intended to make through the Force, her youth and naïvety clear. She was strong, but strength didn't mean much when you gave so much away.

    With ease, Vek blocked her furious and clumsy strike, twisted just enough to loosen her grip, then sent a surge of the Force at her. She countered, lunged forward as she lost control of her blade. Vek grabbed the hilt of her saber with his left hand, as his blade penetrated her midsection.

    He reached out with the Force to Padmé; she was safe, and the battle was over. Jinn, however, was fading into the Force.



    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    Skywalker was staring at him, deeply engaged. "One of Palpatine's Hands, that early?" he asked, but didn't wait for Vek to answer. "How old do you think she was?"

    "Thirteen, fourteen?" Vek guessed. Absently, he ran his tongue across his upper teeth as he sucked in a breath. "Her eyes were green as crystal. I saw the tortures Sidious inflicted on her, reflected in those young, perfect orbs. A window to her abused soul, as the cliché goes." He chuckled ruefully.

    "I watched the pain and anger recede," he went on, still lost in that sight, a sight, among many others - too many - that he couldn't excise no matter how often he died inside. "To be replaced with calm, even a sense of gratitude. She was thanking me for killing her."

    "You were doing her a favor from what Mara Jade tells me," Skywalker said.

    Vek barely heard him. He saw those green orbs again, watched the blood as it drained from her innocent face, at the carmine that stained his hands and soul. Darkly, he continued, "All I could feel was jealousy. Jealous that she was dying. If I could have, I would have torn her solace from her, hoarded that death for myself."

    And then he was light, almost flippant when he declared, "Ah, another penance I must pay."

    "I beg pardon?" Skywalker asked.

    "Never mind," Vek said, slowly shaking his head.
     
  19. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Already an other Sith in training. But Vek could stop her. Vek surely has gone through a lot
     
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  20. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    With Palpatine, there's always another Sith in training. :emperor: [face_devil] That's what makes him such a formidable villain. :D




    7.

    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Imperial Senate

    The Imperial Senate chambers was immense. Iden mentally checked herself: soon enough it would be known as the Republic Senate again, or some other designation. The Empire was done. The more she learned about it, the happier she was to dance on its grave, too. Humans were fine enough people, but to gear it all toward humans, and push down other sentients based on what they looked like? That was stupid.

    The hover platform designated Alderaan was where she guessed she'd find Princess Leia. After all, it had once been her seat, and her father's before her. No, she checked herself again: Bail Organa was the man who adopted her. Anakin Skywalker was Leia's father. It was kind of like a sudsy-holo-vid, overly dramatic and complicated.

    "She's there all right," Del said. Maybe he'd doubted. Really, she could have been anywhere in the immense chamber, so maybe he had.

    "Of course she's there." Iden had few doubts. Or at least, she had had few doubts until the Emperor died and all his dirty little secrets started airing out and then she found out Vek wasn't even the person she'd thought he was. The past eleven days were a whirlwind in her mind.

    "My assistant said you needed to see me?" Leia didn't seem as beautiful when she wasn't angry. Iden was into men, but there was no denying a woman had a specific kind of beauty when mad about something.

    "I need some time alone with Grand Admiral Talis," Iden said without preamble.

    A perfectly crafted eyebrow rose. "That's a bold request. What makes you think I'd let that happen - or even that I could make it happen?"

    Iden stood to rigid attention, her hands clasped behind her back. "Your Highness, I'm not the most eloquent speaker. I know I charge ahead without much thought. There's a time and place for that. This isn't one of them.

    "There is... an urgent matter that you will dismiss if I bring it up with you directly. I trust - I know - the admiral will find a way to convince you and your brother to action. I just need to get the information to him."

    Slowly, Leia looked her up and down. "You have the bearing of one of those damn fool Imperial officers, all right," she said. "And their arrogance," she said quieter, perhaps to herself. Iden felt it best to pretend she hadn't heard.

    "Alliance Command has been intercepting some strange messages lately," Leia said eventually. "Maybe you have something and maybe you don't." She punched a few buttons on her comm unit, waited a moment until a voice - her assistant? - answered. "Let's get Commander Versio the proper credentials to see Grand Admiral Talis." Another pause. "Yes, she won't punch anyone else to gain entrance with the clearance, isn't that right, Commander?"

    "Aye aye, ma'am," Iden replied and Leia smirked.



    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    Skywalker had left the room shortly after Vek was done talking about the Battle of Theed. They brought him some field rations to eat, but the former admiral kindly refused. He hadn't needed to eat or drink in millennia. He could if he needed to, to keep up appearances, but it was no longer necessary for his body to function. He couldn't even starve himself to death.

    In the Jedi Master's wake, Admiral Ackbar arrived less than an hour later. When were they going to get down to it? The Mon Calamari sat opposite Vek for a while, contemplating what to say. Vek could almost see some of the questions floating around in his head. It was nearly comical.

    At last, he leaned forward, waited until Vek obligingly leaned a bit forward as well. "Tell me about the Incident at Alderaan, if you would. I have always wondered if it was what was reported and if that was when the Supreme Chancellor decided you were the man he wanted leading his entire forces."

    "Incident," Vek scoffed at the word. "It was a full scale battle, no way other way to describe it."



    Republic Guard frigate Ot Tel - 24 BBY

    Commodore Talis preferred to remain aboard his old ship. He could have had a cruiser - the Guard was just beginning to build a few and the prototype was already in space - but he knew the Ot Tel and her crew.

    Tensions were rising between political rivals in the Republic. Some systems were claiming human favoritism. Trade disputes were breaking out in numerous systems and it was rumored Count Vlad Dooku, once a Jedi Master, was gathering allies. It was even rumored he would give some fancy speech somewhere and attempt to usurp the Supreme Chancellor's position.

    Admiral Kravan Trus, living up to his name, was firmly sequestered in his offices on Coruscant, affecting to be 'too busy' to deal with the Trade Federation and Banking Clan and their increasing demands. That left the Commodores, Vek among them, to do the best they could, and to expect their Admiral to stab them in the back at a moment's notice.

    All in all, Vek would rather have been sleeping - if only he could sleep.

    Commander Visas Underil, Captain of the Ot Tel - as Commodore, Vek had higher responsibilities than a single ship - stalked toward him, a few flimsies in her hands. She was very capable, and very redheaded, complete with freckles that had never faded from her angular face.

    Smiling slightly, she held out the flimsies. "Take a look at something for me, Commodore?" she asked.

    He accepted them with a nod, perused them briefly. "Tell me what you've got."

    "We've been intercepting strange coded and heavily encrypted messages lately, sir," she said seriously. "Some systems that make ships for the Banking Clan have stepped up production, as well, though for some reason, the Clan is keeping which systems a secret."

    "How do you know they're ramping up production then, Commander?" The reports she was passing along involved massive amounts of resources suddenly missing from hub worlds with falsified reports on when they moved and where. The Unifying Force began to reshape the data for him, slipping them into alarming patterns.

    Now, Visas gazed down to the durasteel hull, took in a few breaths before speaking. "We've been getting reports from RCI, sir. Do you remember the memorandum from Admiral Trus?"

    Vek tried very hard to forget there was an Admiral Trus. Republic Central Intelligence was a serious misnomer. It was ostensibly a branch of the Republic Guard, but Vek regarded them as vipers lying in wait. Anything that needed to be kept secret was something dangerous. Yes, even himself, so he knew from experience the dangers of hiding things.

    "How long have these excessive productions been going on?"

    "At least four months, sir."

    Four months, that would put it... Vek ran his tongue across the inside of his mouth. "Stellar," he whispered under his breath.

    "Sir?" Commander Underil asked.

    "Four months puts it at the beginning of the arbitration between the Banking Clan and Alderaan," Vek said. He glanced at the flimsies again. The pattern the Force showed him was... disturbing. "I need a secure link to Admiral Trus. Now." Whoever was responsible would pay for making Vek talk to the craven admiral.

    Moments later, he watched the image of his superior form before him. "Yes, Commodore?" His voice was a whine that had nothing to do with mode of transmission.

    "Sir, are you aware that today the Arbitration Board should have the results of the Banking Clan versus the people of Alderaan?" Vek asked nonchalantly.

    "Why should that concern us, Commodore Talis?" Kravan Trus asked peevishly.

    "Because, based on these reports I'm seeing, it's likely the Banking Clan is preparing to lose their dispute." Sometimes, it felt as though he was a babysitter with a gaggle of stubborn, unruly children to bring to heel.

    "I've read those reports," Trus replied. "I'm not worried."

    No, of course you're not worried; you're safely ensconced on Coruscant, you petty, feckless bureaucrat in admiral's braids. Vek closed his eyes for a moment. Tell me how you really feel, Vek? he asked himself before sighing. "Would it at least be prudent to watch the coverage of the proceeding?" It was like showing a youth just starting school that if he had one toy, then received another, he would have two toys, or twice the amount of toys he'd had to begin with.

    "It is not our concern, Commodore." Trus broke the link.

    Vek found a pocket of air with his tongue. Clack.

    He strode from the secure comm station, emerged on the bridge. "Commander, is there anything on the news holos?"

    "Lieutenant, put the news channels on screen," Underil ordered. Several reporters appeared, all standing in front of a giant building in the same district as the Senate. "Activate audio for Slev Tyden," Underil said. Turning to Vek with a sheepish grin she added, "He has a sexy voice."

    Vek smirked at her for a moment, then paid attention to what the stuffed shirt was saying. "In a stunning reversal, the Arbitration Board has ruled the one hundred billion credit loan Alderaan received from the Banking Clan was appropriated properly. Meaning, the increase to eighty percent interest the Clan demanded - and even the current schedule of repayments on the loan itself - are null and void. Representative Thx Beynard of the-"

    "Off screen," Vek ordered. It wasn't usual procedure for a Commodore to give a direct order, but many of the officers had served under him previously. Commander Underil didn't seem to mind, either, so long as he didn't overuse the privilege. He'd asked specifically for her to command the ship, as he was impressed with her command style and aptitude tests.

    "We need to raise a fleet and head to Alderaan," Vek said. Everything stopped. Silence buzzed louder than the usual noises. Into that deafening roar, he heard someone clear their throat. "If that's the response I get everywhere I turn, we're in an awful lot of trouble."

    "Sir, I think I speak for my crew when I say that we're behind you, one hundred percent," Underil said heavily. "The silence, I think, was due to the ominous portents this brings to mind. Civil war, sir."

    "I know," Vek said. "But we are charged with ensuring that the systems under our protection stay safe from invasion. Regardless of where that invasion comes from. The Arbitration Board made a decision the Banking Clan will not like. We've already seen the evidence that they are raising a fleet in strategic systems near Alderaan. It stands to reason they will attempt what the Trade Federation tried eight years ago."

    "Then lead, sir. We will follow," Underil said.

    Vek nodded, a small smile threatening to become a larger one until he got it under control. "Thank you, Commander, and thank you all. If you would please, get me Lieutenant Commander Olep Bluk on Tython."

    When the Mon Calamari appeared on the screen, his eyes went wide. "Commodore Talis, most pleasurable to see you again, most pleasurable indeed. How may I serve, sir?"

    Vek knew the quartermaster well - Bluk had been a junior officer serving under Vek during the Battle of Naboo. "Seems as though there's some trouble brewing in the galaxy, Bluk," he said casually.

    "There's always trouble brewing, Commodore," the Mon Calamari answered with a wink. "What do you plan to do about it? That's the pertinent question. You know I am limited in supplies and Admiral Trus is reticent to add to our fleet, sir."

    "How fast can you retrofit some of our ships for me," Vek asked. His own datapad held a design he'd created on the spot. The pad beeped when he sent it over.

    Bluk blinked once, twice. "Er, how many are we talking here, sir?"

    Vek held up his index finger. "One moment, if you please." Turning to Commander Underil, he said, "Do you think you might be so kind as to comm Commodore Su and ask if she would be up to a little... escapade?"

    Underil raised a finely crafted ginger eyebrow, then stepped lively to the comm center. Vek grasped the comm officer in front of him by the shoulders. "See if you can raise Captain Ath'ey'ro and ask her to hold; I'll need to confer with her as well."

    At last he returned his attention to Lieutenant Commander Bluk. "Better question: how many can you outfit thusly in say..." - the Unifying Force swirled around in his brain; a Sith's hand was involved in this: it left distinct marks the energy field focused on, marks he could follow, after a fashion - "six days?"

    Now the Mon Calamari's eyes went wide. "You don't ask for little, do you, sir?" he asked.

    "That's why I call on you, Lieutenant Commander," Vek said around a grin.
     
  21. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek preparing for trouble. I like it that he has found out about Count Vlad Dooku and the Banking clan
     
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  22. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK, I think I’m caught up now! What a wild ride this has been—though I totally sympathize with Vek’s wish for an end to his own four-millennium-plus wild ride. The Rebels of the “now” 4ABY timeframe seem on the verge of figuring out what he is: if they did, wouldn’t that potentially bring him one step closer to granting his wish? Siwsan’s appearance a few chapters ago definitely raises a lot of questions, too. I have a feeling that won’t be the last time we see her, and I’m curious what role she will play. (Especially since there is at least a quasi-romantic dynamic already at work between Vek and Iden Versio!) It definitely has been interesting and exciting to see Vek playing a role in the events of what we know of as TPM and (so far part of) AOTC; I’m guessing you plan to go through the whole PT and OT in this story, given that the “now” is set right after the Battle of Endor? I will say I like TPM a whole lot better with Vek in it! :D Keep up the great work, and I’ll do my best to follow this better! =D=
     
  23. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Mods' Dare Challenge 1st Place Winner star 3 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    We're about to cross the line into AOTC territory, but first, a giant space battle!


    Immortality sounds great until you're the only one, eh?


    [face_thinking] [face_dunno] who knows with those crazy, kooky rebels with their fantastical ideas about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


    You're right, it won't be the last time, for sure. ;)


    Hee hee, thanks, Master. :) It was fun seeing Jinn all nonplussed. :p



    8.

    24 BBY - Incident at Alderaan

    ==I never dreamed Moffet would have more allies than I.== It was a private - and indignant - message from Captain Ath'ey'ro, heavily encrypted and in a code only she and Vek knew. Call it a deep friendship forged in fire. The Chiss had boasted so much about her prowess at Tactics, an antiquated board game, that one day Vek challenged her, back when she was just an Ensign and he a Lieutenant-Commander. Eight hours and four handkerchiefs full of sweat later, she'd finally won, but he'd won a good deal of respect from her in the process.

    ==He's always been a schmoozer,== Vek replied in the same code. Of course, Moffet brought almost as many ships to the fight as Vek, so he could hardly complain.

    The fleet waited in the Caamas system, right next door to Alderaan, galactically speaking. Out at the edge of the system there were few sensor buoys, and one of Vek's technicians was a skilled hacker who put them into a loop where they continued to repeat old data that things were 'all clear'.

    "Commodore Su is calling for Commodore Talis," the comm officer said. Su commanded the Balosar, largest and best armed - and newest - vessel in the fleet, the prototype cruiser Vek had been offered. It sported twelve Mega laser cannon on each broadside and two at the front.

    "Put her on screen," Commander Underil said.

    The Cathar Commodore quickly appeared. "I have just been pinged by long rrange buoy, Commodorre," she purred. "It is as you say, Vek, and now ourr hunt may begin." She was hungry, but she was also senior to Vek.

    "Any orders, Commodore?" Vek asked.

    "I know you have yourr own plans, Vek," she said. "You arrre the one who brrought this off," she bowed her head to him, "and thus I will follow yourrr lead. I will enjoy my prrey, rregardless."

    In turn, Vek bowed to her at the waist. "Then concentrate your forces on the troop carriers and we shall strike the capital ships."

    "It shall be as you say, orr I shall have answerrs vhy," the Cathar said before cutting off communication.

    "You heard the lady," Vek said to Commander Underil. "Let's go raise some hell."

    "Aye aye, sir," the redhead replied, turned to her comm officer. "Give the word."

    The entire fleet slipped into hyperspace as silently as they'd arrived at Caamas. The journey was short and Vek had chosen to arrive near Alderaan, to set off planetary alarms. Commodore Su came in behind the array of Banking Clan vessels. Unlike the Trade Federation, the Clan created a variety of sized and armed vessels. It was a bold move to split their already weaker forces, but immediately began to pay dividends - something any banker might have appreciated, if they hadn't been on the opposing side, of course.

    The Banking Clan fleet began to break up, not running, but confused at seeing two different enemies from two different sides. If they'd been more cohesive, they might have detached a smaller guard force to delay either Vek or Su while the bulk of their forces dealt with the other.

    "Let's target that big mother, right in the center," Vek said, pointing to a heavy cruiser. The faster and more maneuverable Ot Tel ran rings around the bulky cruiser, firing off shot after shot that struck home while evading most of the incoming fire. "We need some assistance," Vek said and several other ships joined his assault.

    A few Clan ships turned toward a small fleet of Guard frigates that were separate from Vek and Su's fleets, but didn't advance. These Guard ships also hung back, awaiting orders.

    Surprise and Vek, Su and Ath'ey'ro's strategy disorganized the Banking Clan fleet at first, giving them an early advantage, but the Clan had many ships with a lot of firepower. The frigates were harder to hit and slightly more numerous, but were easily destroyed once targeted and their firepower was limited.

    "The tide is turning, sir," Underil said as the Ot Tel rocked to starboard. The ship hadn't taken a direct hit, fortunately, but even a near miss gave off enough energy to hurt the ship if screens went down. "They're recovering well."

    Vek had wandered over to tactical. The Force was calling him. He'd heard Underil, but passively. "Now, Lieutenant, target there." He pointed. The weapons officer fired. A power conduit beneath the hull of the Clan ship exploded, sending up sparks and a small fire that quickly died once the oxygen dissipated into the void of space.

    Vek turned back to the redhead. "I think it's time for our extra surprise, then, Commander," he said when he focused on what she'd told him.

    Underil beamed, then stabbed a well manicured finger onto the console in front of her. "Put them on screen," she called to the navigator. A small explosion rocked the Ot Tel as it skimmed the surface of a much larger Banking Clan cruiser.

    The small fleet led by Captain Moffet began moving. Before they got up to speed, however, in unison they opened their bay doors. Dozens of smaller ships, modified shuttles with heavy screens, surged from the converted cargo bays. The large power core that served the screens in the frigates had to be removed to make room for the shuttles, so these frigates were more vulnerable as screen power had to be drawn from other sources. But, the reduced bulk made them a bit more maneuverable. Moffet's fleet leaped forward, easily disabling the small contingent of Clan ships that were posted to watch them.

    Vek stood before the comm, his right hand absently squeezing into a fist, then relaxing. "Put me on with Moffet," he told the comm officer who punched a button, nodded slightly to the Commodore. "Give Commodore Su's wing support, try to take out those smaller ships first," he ordered. The shuttles neatly turned, zipped forward, easily some of the fastest vessels in the makeshift fleet, the frigates close on their tails.

    A blast rocked the Ot Tel. Alarms blazed. Sparks rained from one of the nearby consoles. Almost immediately another blast shook the ship. "Front screens down, sir," the tactical officer shouted. They were headed directly toward a small cluster of Clan ships, their Mega lasers pivoting to target them.

    "Shall we change course, sir?" The navigation officer asked. Commander Underil hurried forward to assess the situation.

    "No need," Vek said. He'd moved to an auxiliary power console at one side of the bridge. Quickly, he opened the hilt of his lightsaber, took out the small crystal that powered it. He punched a few buttons on the console - he'd captained this vessel for years, knew what she was capable of - to direct the flow of energy he was about to unleash to the forward screens. Then, he closed his eyes and focused on the Force. His body no longer worked - his heart didn't beat, none of the internal organs functioned. Oh, they would show up on scans as fully functional and healthy - no need to worry some bored Healer out of her morning vid-stories - but they hadn't really been needed in millennia.

    Through the Force, he cut off the electrical current heading to the rest of his body from his brain, sealed off the grey matter from the outside world. Then, he stuck his finger into the external port of the auxiliary power console. The receptacle wouldn't hold the crystal so he had to improvise. Immediately, power transferred across his flesh and soft tissue into the console. It was... shocking, to put it mildly. He felt his muscles tense and relax, tense and relax in rapid succession, let it all dissolve from his body, gently into the Force.

    "Forward screens one hundred percent," he heard the tactical officer say, his voice full of surprise. He was a new man.

    "Engines and weapons full," Commander Underil said heavily. "Target their weapons first."

    It took a few moments, but Vek was able to break the connection with the auxiliary port when he felt the power module fill. It was hard to do, since he was literally tied to the power flow with electric current, but the Force provided. It had been a long time since he'd had to provide emergency power to a ship, but was glad the trick still worked.

    "I feel like a lightning rod," he said, rubbing his hands together. A Healer stood by, bacta lotion at the ready. Gratefully, he rubbed some into his aching hands. "Four thousand years of galactic civilization and they haven't found a cure for arthritis yet," he complained as he rubbed his aching fingers. The Healer smirked slightly before erasing the expression from her face.

    After half an hour, the armed shuttles and Moffet's wing were slicing through the Banking Clan's ships like butter. A few were beginning to turn from the fight. One of the largest, most heavily armed ships was trying to flee as well. Moffet's ship and several others were trailing, trying to bring her down.

    "How's our wing, Commander?" Vek asked. The enemies in front of him were moving off, ceding the field to the Republic Guard. Energy was building in that big cruiser, though. Vek didn't like the waves it was sending out through the Force.

    He went to the comm officer. "Warn Moffet that cruiser is charging weapons. They may not have sensors; they've taken a lot of damage."

    "They're not responding, sir," the comm officer said. "I think their transceiver is down."

    "Can we get there to assist, Commander?" Vek asked Underil.

    "All engines full," was the Commander's answer. "Forward screens full."

    "Let's stay in touch with the rest of my wing, shall we?" Vek said to the comm officer. "Ask Commander Shepard to lead a team to make sure the Banking Clan get lost, and have Commander Trask's team lead a search and recovery of any escape pods that might have been jettisoned during the fighting."

    "Aye aye, sir."

    As they neared Moffet's ship, the Banking Clan cruiser let loose with an intense blast from their Mega laser cannon. It cut across the bow of Moffet's ship, shearing the nose - where the bridge was - clean off, slicing right through the screens. There were too many souls on that bridge for Vek to pick out and grab hold of his old colleague. Two thousand years ago, I would have been able to plug that hole with the Force, save most of them, Vek thought bitterly. I'm getting old.

    Bodies slipped from the wreckage of the bridge, disintegrating in the continuing fire or floating aimlessly off in different directions. Both the navigator and tactical officer turned their heads away from the grisly sight. Vek stared, counted each man and woman, gathered their names from the winds of the Force to honor their sacrifice; they were his responsibility, after all.

    "Save the rest of the lives aboard that ship, Commander," Vek demanded.

    "Full screens, put us in line of that laser, Navigator," Underil ordered. When he wasn't fast enough, the Commander stepped to his console, completed the order herself.

    "I'm sorry, Commander," he said sheepishly.

    "Never mind, Lieutenant," Visas Underil replied as the Banking Clan laser was absorbed by the Ot Tel's screens. "It was a gruesome sight," she added, patting the man on the shoulder. "More power to the screens, if you please."

    "Aye aye, sir," the navigator said and pushed a button.

    After that, the Banking Clan cruiser jumped into hyperspace, leaving the field to the Republic Guard.



    Coruscant 4 ABY (11 days after the Battle of Endor) - Interrogation Cell

    Ackbar was staring at Vek. "You mean to tell me you stuck your hand in a power supply console? I find that highly dubious, Talis."

    Skywalker, who had returned at some point during Vek's tale shook his head. "I've felt the energy of the Force flowing through me. I can believe it. Considering Mr. Talis's physical conditioning, that is."

    "What's that supposed to mean?" the rebel Admiral asked suspiciously.

    "He means I'm pretty useful for a dead guy," Vek supplied helpfully, making the Mon Calamari do a double take in his direction. Vek shrugged. "How else do you explain not having any blood flow or heartbeat?"

    There was a knock at the door, but then it opened on squeaky hinges. Princess Leia, wearing a formal business gown fit for the Senate floor, walked partially in, beckoned to her brother who got up and walked over to her.

    Vek leaned forward, steepled his fingers and concentrated. There was a familiar presence beyond that door. One he hadn't expected now, or perhaps ever again. If the heart in his chest had beaten, it would have sped up. Could it be? He couldn't quite hear what they were whispering.

    Soon, Ackbar joined them. He shook his head vehemently. Once again, however, the Commander - or perhaps the Princess - overruled him. He turned toward Vek, sighed and dropped his arms to his sides in defeat. He and Skywalker stepped toward the opening of the door, disappeared with Leia.

    In their wake stepped Iden Versio. Both of Vek's eyebrows lifted slightly. He nodded, leaned back in his chair. "It has been too long."

    Versio closed the door behind her. She blushed slightly, gazed down to her feet for a moment before propelling herself toward the table. "It was only yesterday I... left." At the last word, her voice dropped, became mousy. Did she regret the way she'd gone?

    "An eternity, I assure you," Vek said, relief gushing from his lips, despite his best efforts. "Given the way you departed."

    She blushed slightly again, brushed some of her - for once - unencumbered black hair into her face to hide the umber coloring, then sat down at the table. Her aura practically buzzed. Agitation - not directed at him - spread concern across her concave cheeks up to her brown, brown eyes. "There's a serious issue, Grand Admiral," she said in conspiratorial tones.

    Vek steepled his fingers again, stared at her over the tips. "You'd better tell me, then," he said. If whatever it was had brought her back to him, he would almost want to thank it. And yet it was likely not to be good.
     
  24. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Whoof, a giant space battle that definitely was! :eek: If I have it correctly, Vek managed to use his Mad FrAG abilities to pretty much turn the tide in said battle and save his ship and most of the others in the fleet? He's hard on himself about it, and understandably, but that seems to be pretty much what he did, without exaggeration. I see that his interrogators in the "now" portion of the story are incredulous, though good on Luke for advocating for Vek once again. And now Iden is back—with some dire news, I see, and a little bit of a cliffhanger! What is this "serious issue" that will soon need dealing with? Guess we'll see soon; don't keep us waiting too long! =D=
     
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Vek and his powers turning the tide in that large battle. He sure has a lot to explain and discuss. What is Iden up to?
     
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