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Chitterbug - OC Winter Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kit', Nov 14, 2020.

  1. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Title: Chitterbug

    Author: Kit'. Although T'lor belongs to the amazing @K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

    Characters: Padawan Kithera Rinani and Master Namia Zahalin

    Genre: Action, drama

    Summary: When you've been backed into a corner by a rampaging beastie, sometimes all you can do is skip rocks and talk about your future.


    *****


    “Well this is unexpected.” Kithera peered over the ledge again and then looked at her master and grinned.

    The two Jedi were perched precariously on the top of one of the many stalagmites that littered the cave floor. In the dank darkness of the cave, the only sound was the steady drip of water and the angry scritching thrum of the creature that glared at them from the depths below.

    “What’s your plan, padawan?”

    “Plan Master?”

    “Your plan to deal with this beastie?”

    Kit shrugged and shot her Master a rather perplexed look.

    “I don’t know. I’m not good with animals.”

    “It’s not an animal, it’s an insect.” Master Zahalin corrected. On the floor of the cave below them the insect chittered and lunged up the stalagmite, its long, thin claws scraping against the wet stone. Kithera grinned at her Master even as she warily eyed the movement of the bug.

    “Of course you would know that Master. Wasn’t paramour thirty-two some sort of bug professor?”

    “Doctor Cale Meriet is a Professor of Entomology at the Galactic Zoo. He’s certainly not a paramour of mine, padawan.” Namia’s eyebrows arched in annoyance but her padawan just grinned.

    “Not anymore. I think we’re up to forty-five by my last count.” Kithera shot back. Even in the half light she could see her Master’s scowl deepen. Teasing her Master about the number of lovers that she had taken during her life had become a running joke, especially in moments like now.

    “He has never been a paramor of mine.” Namia corrected brusquely.

    “Then remind me to get an eye-check when we get back to the Temple, because I distinctly remember interrupting something not that long ago that was very gross and not particularly Jedi like, Master.”

    “Maybe you should get a closer look at our guest then.” The music around Kithera suddenly changed. She gave a squeal of surprise as the trickle of brass and the undertones of udu wrapped themselves around her and lifted her off the edge of the rock.

    “Really Master?” She twisted in the air and stared at her where Master Zahalin sat, eyes closed, hands outstretched; making a show of being in deep meditation. After a moment Master Zahalin opened one eye and grinned.

    “We need to get out of here and we need to know what beastie it is. You seem to have enough time to be counting my apparent lovers that I figured you would be the best person to take a look at our fine friend.”

    The beast roared, reared up and struck the stalagmite hard enough to shake it. Suddenly the music cut out, sending Kithera into free-fall. For one terrifying second she could see the giant horn that sprouted, an iridescent black, from the beast’s head coming straight towards her.

    Desperately she reached out with the Force and felt her Master’s music intertwine with her own. She stopped just above the spiked horn and found herself staring into the many lenses of its giant, black eyes.

    The beast chittered again, tossing its head to try and reach her with the point of its horn.

    “You alright padawan?” Namia’s voice floated down from above.

    “Fine, fine.” Kithera said, trying to get her heartbeat back under control. “But can I go back up now please?” There was the deep thrum of the ubu again mixed with the lighter and breathier sounds of her own ability and suddenly she was moving back through the air and safely onto the top of the stalagmite.

    “What did you find out?” Namia asked as Kithera got her breath back.

    “It’s definitely an insect?”

    Namia frowned. Kithera grinned again, deliberately misinterpreting the look. “It’s got six legs. Hard carapace, big horn and it’s really, really angry with us.”

    “Could you feel why?”

    This time it was Kithera’s turn to frown. “I’m not really great at interpreting bug emotions.”

    “I thought you said it was a beetle?”

    “Bug. Beetle. What’s the difference?”

    “Well. If it was a bug we’d be safer.” Her Master must have seen the frown deepen, “they only eat plants.”

    “And beetles?” Kithera asked, her face screwing up as she guessed the answer.

    “Plants and animal parts.”

    “So you did learn something from paramour thirty-two.”

    The sound of the udu and brass swelled again and Kithera grinned and held up both hands in mock surrender.

    “I take it back Master, I swear.”

    “Glad to hear it.” The music calmed and went back to its normal steady beat. There was silence for several minutes as the two Jedi watched the gigantic beetle chitter and paw at the base of their stalagmite. Kithera felt herself steadying her breathing against the nerves that threatened to overwhelm her. It was easier to joke and tease than to face the reality that there was no way off this rock except to face the certain death below.

    “No signal, so we can’t exactly call for help against our foe.” Master Zahalin said quietly, fiddling with her comm pack and trying to get a signal. She shook her head and tapped it again. Kithera glanced at her master listening to the slightly worried, warbled edge of brass that signalled her Master was dealing with her own anxiety.

    Kithera raised her eyebrows in annoyance and flicked an errant piece of stone from the top of the stalagmite. The two Jedi watched in interest as the insect lumbered towards where the sound of the pebble bouncing against the other stalagmites echoed through the cave.

    “What are you going to do if your padawan loves animals?” Master Zahlin asked. At the sound the beetle charged back to its post beneath them.

    “I don’t know. Can you return padawans?” Kithera asked with a small smile. Silence stretched between the two of them, only filled with the chittering call of the insect. Eventually Kithera spoke, her normal smile gone, replaced by thoughtful consternation. “The idea of me ever having a padawan is a nice fantasy, Master” Kithera said quietly, hunting for another pebble. “It assumes I’m going to pass my trials. It assumes that the Council would ever let me take on a padawan. Most importantly of all, it assumes we are going to get off this rock.”

    “I’m sure you’ll find your trials far less stressful than you imagine.” Master Zahalin said watching Kithera pick up another rock and toss it in a different direction. The beetle, its carapace glittering iridescently in the light, lumbered off again, chittering angrily, before turning and charging back when it could not easily find the source of the sound. “And I think you’ll find you misconstrue the Council’s intentions when they chide you about your behaviour.”

    “It’s pretty hard to misconstrue Master Windu telling you that you’re a disgrace to the Order.” Kithera said a suddenly hard edge to her voice as she began to chip away at another piece of rock.

    “To be fair you had just gotten the entire program of exchange students quite drunk.”

    Kithera rolled her eyes. “It’s not like T’lor and I did that on purpose Master.” The stone came free and Kithera started working on another piece. “We had no idea what that herb would do.”

    “I think Master Windu was thinking of the fifteen or sixteen other incidents you were involved in earlier that year.”

    “And the fifteen or sixteen in the year before that. I’ve heard it lots of times Master.”

    “I think they just want you to live up to your potential. I can see it, they can see it. It’s just sometimes you make-”

    “Decisions that fall outside of the good order and management of the Jedi Temple.” Kithera said in the flat, toneless parrot of a line heard too many times. She didn’t have to look at her Master to see the annoyed glance, the Force held all the warning rubbles of udu and brass.

    Second stone free. Kithera placed the two stones together and started working on a third one.

    “I think sometimes people find it hard to see past your constant desire to move.” Master Zahalin reached out and grabbed one of Kit’s hands in her own. “I think if they could see past that they’d see what an amazing Jedi you will become. That you already are.”

    She didn’t reply. She had long ago worked out how much she didn’t quite fit Master Windu’s image of a perfect Jedi.

    Instead she slowly and gently untangled her hand then worked slowly, trying to find the weaknesses in the stone. She could hear the brass and udu of her Master and the strange metallic clink and whistle through the Force of the Beetle. She ignored them, shaping her own breathy woodwind notes to find the gaps in the bass echoes of the ancient stones.

    Third stone free.

    “Padawan, what are you doing?”

    Kithera glanced at her Master and frowned. “I’m not quite sure yet. At the moment I’m just gathering rocks. It's a nice diversion to keep myself occupied. Do you have a plan?”

    “I was going to slide down the rock to the front of the beastie.” Master Zahalin said, the corners of her mouth twitching. “Hold out my hand, palm flat and turn away. Then the beastie would push his head into the outstretched hand. We’d become life-long friends and he’d carry us out of here on wings of freedom.”

    Fourth rock free.

    “Sounds like a great way to lose an arm.”

    “Hmm, I thought so too.” The two Jedi looked at each other and grinned.

    Below them the beast chittered, reared up and struck the stalagmite which gave an alarming wobble. Kithera breathing quickened and she briefly closed her eyes, willing herself to calmness and releasing her emotions into the orchestral music of the Force.

    “So what’s your plan again?” Master Zahalin said quietly, “I think our friend is winning its battle against our rock.”

    Kithera sat back, pushing the pile of stones into a heap.

    “It’s very territorial and it’s far more interested in sound than movement. There's the exit." She said pointing to a slightly brighter path on the cave floor. "I figure if I can get the rocks to hit the opposite end of the cave and make a lot of sound, then our beetle friend will go and check it out.”

    “And what do we do?”

    “We run Master. We run as quietly but as fast as we can.”

    Master Zahalin didn’t say anything, just nodded her head. Kithera sorted the stones into a rough line and closed her eyes, hearing the beat of the music grow louder. She fashioned and shaped the song so that it carried the essence of the tiny rocks and melded together with her own music. She shifted and played with the melodies until the rocks were rattling on the rough surface of the stalagmite. The music swelled. The rocks hovered for a brief second before hurtling through the air into the dark recesses of the cave. The clatter and thuds as they hit the walls echoed around them.

    Below the beast’s head came up and it roared with anger. As it lumbered away, Kithera beamed at her Master and launched herself from the top of the stalagmite, throwing herself wholeheartedly into the swelling orchestra of the Force.


    *

    “I wonder if he’s still looking for whoever made those sounds?” Master Zahalin said, collapsing onto the thick leaf litter that cushioned the jungle floor. Next to her, Kithera was bent double, grinning and giggling as she got her breath back. Her heart was still hammering in her chest from their wild run through the cave.

    “I wonder if he’s won his battle against the stalagmite. He’s going to be mighty surprised when his snacks are no longer on top.”

    Master Zahalin sat up and pulled her commlink from her pocket. She tapped it twice and then grinned.

    “I have a signal again. We should get going. That was a good plan but rather too much of a close call for my liking.”

    Kithera grinned and reached a hand out to help her Master up.

    “So you don’t want to take beastie home and let me keep him as a pet?”

    Master Zahalin shook her head, eyebrows raised.

    “No thank you padawan. I think our lives are quite adventurous enough without adding an animal to the mix.”

    “Yep, and that’s why if my padawan likes animals, she’s going right back where she came from.”

    Master Zahalin smiled in return as she got to her feet. The two Jedi turned and began making their way through the thick jungle to the pick up zone. Master Zahalin reached out and gave Kithera’s hand a quick squeeze.

    “And when you’re knighted and get your first padawan, I’ll be there. I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.”
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  2. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    As an entomologist, this story makes me happy because giant space beetle OMG wheeeeee :D:cool: Love how Kithera and Master Zahalin tricked it with rocks....that's the way to go! Fun adventure. Thanks for sharing!

    There is a big difference. *proceeds with 5 hour powerpoint presentation with no bathroom breaks* wait...does this even apply to SW? Okay, shutting up now.
     
    Kahara, Findswoman, Kit' and 2 others like this.
  3. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    If it makes you feel better, I wrote that line and my science teacher husband saw it and was like 'well, actually...'. Followed by a conversation about categorisation of species, mouth parts and looking at species without looking at their behaviours. He pointed out that bugs aren't just herbivores either and that I was wrong but then also was like 'but it's star wars and yeah...write what you like. They literally have one world biomes..." [face_laugh]

    Thank you for reading it and I'm glad you liked the beetle. It was written after a little christmas beetle got stuck in our house and died before I could get it out. So it's kind of in it's honour as I love them.
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loved the teasing exchange. Kithera is candid with Namia about her misgivings and frustrations also. Ironic about the Padawan having a fondness for animals and "returning" him or her [face_laugh] ... As Zallie definitely has an affinity for critters [face_mischief]

    Wonderful inventive strategy Kithera had that got them out of there.

    =D=
     
  5. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Loved this! The beetle, the banter (and the more serious moments of discussion between Kit and her Master), Kit's solution to their situation - all great!

    I really love how Kit perceives the Force as music and how everyone and everything has their own 'song'. It's such a beautiful way of looking at it, and such a cool idea too!

    Famous last words. [face_mischief]:p

    Great work! =D=
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
  6. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Thank you! Those two do deeply care about each other... Also I think right in the middle of most of Zallie's hijinks, Kithera is secretly wondering if she can return her daughter somewhere.

    Z: Look mum, new pet!
    K: Really? Really? It's got twelve legs and its slobbering everywhere! Del! Help me.
    D: Nope, I'm out of here. She's your daughter!

    [face_rofl]

    Thank you. It's really fun to write and strangely peaceful and easy to make it musical rather than just this strange power no-one can really understand.

    Oh definitely! Aren't they all before someone becomes a parent?
     
  7. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    I take it that this little story takes place after the current USJS? :D
     
  8. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah...it takes place when she’s about 20 (so four years after). She does have a bad habit of getting other people extremely drunk though


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Kahara likes this.
  9. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    This was a fun story! Certainly a bit of a predicament, but it also allowed for Kit and Master Zahalin to talk through some things and understand each other better. It was good training for Kit to possibly help her with Zallie down the road as well, LOL.

    I'm gonna call the unicorn space beetle "Toothless" now. ;) :p

    I'm glad they were able to find a peaceful way out of there while also not becoming a meal for the beastie, despite his best efforts. Maybe on some level he was sensing Kit's musical perception of the Force and that "sound" was why he was so focused on them.

    Great work! =D=
     
    Kahara likes this.
  10. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Bugs, Beetles, whats the difference! LOL, I read that out and my son said 'One eats meat!' LOL

    Loving it, especially the teasing (good natured) its shows the depth of the friendship [face_love]
     
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  11. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    What a nice slice-of-life look into the Master-Padawan relationship! :) Even though they’re in a precarious position, Kit and Namia are still able to have a moment to connect with one another and reflect, which is a nice change of pace in the often hectic GFFA. I also was intrigued by Kit’s sense of the Force, how she hears different musical tones for different things and people. I don’t think I’ve seen this done elsewhere, and it’s a really interesting and creative way of interacting with the Force.

    As a mom to four young kids, one of whom always seems to be in motion, this really speaks to me. :p

    I’m not familiar with these OCs, but I gather that Kit will one day have a child or apprentice who likes animals? ;)

    A well done response to the challenge!
     
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  12. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Honestly I think most Jedi had a similar long list of lovers in their life... ;)
     
    Kahara likes this.
  13. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Decades later...

    "MOM! HE FOLLOWED ME HOME CAN I KEEP HIM?"

    Same giant beetle. [face_rofl]

    More seriously, I'm glad that we later get to know that
    she did indeed pass her trials in the end!
    And also that Kit and Namia did not become bug... I mean beetle... something chow. Namia is a really good teacher, knowing when Kit has the resources to figure out an escape for them and just getting her to approach things logically without putting pressure on it. Not sure if I've described that well, but you know the thing where someone tells you to just calm down and it makes it a thousand times worse? She avoids that, which goes to show so much about their friendship/mentorship. Seconding everyone who mentioned the description of how Kit experiences the Force as music; that has always been one of my favorite bits in this and other stories with her character as well.

    @Anedon , nah. That was mostly Obi-Wan. One for every EU book plus Satine in the Clone Wars cartoons. :p
     
    Findswoman likes this.
  14. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I think there will have to be at least one Snips and Snails where Kit's like "I really jinxed myself here...Why couldn't I have no wanted a padawan who liked tea parties and being quiet and demure?" :p


    Good. :p That was the plan. I always did wonder why Toothless didn't just rip his arm off and eat the rest of him...

    Thank you :) I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I think the beetle is going to have to make another reappearance sometime further down the line.



    HA! Your son is right. My husband was like "bugs have sucking mouth parts and the beetles have carapaces. They should have been able to tell!". I will tell him what your son said and it'll make the science teacher in him very happy.


    Aww, thank you. The music part was introduced in this round of USJS and kind of just grew from there. I liked having a way to describe the Force, and if lends itself beautifully to story telling as a whole because you can see/hear what the Force is doing. For Kit, all the people in her life have different instruments. When they work together it's a beautiful harmony. When it's not a harmony, then you can guess what's happening...


    Thank you :) As a parent of the kid who is very much the same, it's kind of nice being able to put it down into words. Also nice because Kit (if in the modern world) would probably be diagnosed with ADD, and this is a way of looking at how the Temple and Jedi deal with someone who is not the quiet, calm, demure Jedi that they so seem to prize.

    She has a child (Zallie), who loves animals. Like really, really loves them. Like lives and breathes them. Like crashed her parents' spaceship because of them... She's a terror. [face_love] If you want to read more, the link in my signature to a story called Snips and Snails and Bantha Tails has a lot more of the later lives of Kithera and her future children.

    They should! Although most of them are probably a bit more subtle about it than Namia... She really does believe in following the will of the Force, wherever it takes her. :p

    Ahh...stay tuned? You gave me the idea, so whatever happens I'm going to blame you. In a nice way of course...

    Uh...about that...:(=((? It's actually the focus on my long fic, which is still being written...

    Thank you so much. Namia does very much love and cherish Kit, even if she lets her get away with a bit too much stuff. I think she learnt right at the beginning that just letting Kit do things in her own time and own way was going to get much better results than trying to squish the square peg through the perfectly round hole.

    Thank you :) :D[face_love]

    True. Obi-wan needs a paramour list of his own really...

    Hmm......;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  15. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Whoops. I may be mixing up different fanfics I've read again. Very possible!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  16. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    It’s definitely implied and she does become a knight...just she doesn’t pass them in the way you would want to


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