Circumventing Calamity! by Nyota's Heart Characters: J/TK, Jaina, Raynar. Disclaimer: Borrowing the characters for fun and a challenge. ~~~~~!!!!!! Dare Received From: TrakNar I dare someone to write a complete story in 666 words. Not a vignette. Not a scene. A complete story. The word count must be exactly 666 words. I could care less what the story is about, who is in the story, when it takes place, where it takes place, etc. I don't care. The only stipulation is that it must be exactly 666 words. It was a cold and desolate place. Clouds scudded across the lowering sky not even letting a modest amount of daylight through. There was an eerie silence … Until … Suddenly, a low rumble pierced the complete quiet. Jacen Solo looked up as a Lambda-class shuttle dove through the cloudbank. Child’s play for a Force user, he thought with gladness, knowing his twin was at the nav controls. The ramp lowered and he climbed aboard, and it whirred shut behind him, and the shuttle lifted off. “Raynar didn’t find any underhanded piratical movement.” Tenel Ka informed him giving him a hug in greeting. “Neither did I. But those rumors and Intel tips had to have some truth behind them…” Jacen observed as they moved to the cockpit. Raynar, seated in the pilot’s seat, growned, hearing Jacen’s comment. “Unless it was a wild hawkbat chase.” He said dourly. “Getting us off the actual track of unwanted and illegal activity.” Jaina added. “I have to admit the same thought occurred to me.” “Someone wants to divide our attention.” Jacen said, with a scowl. “Who, and why?” ~~!! When they returned to Ossus, more clues surfaced. It appeared that an offshoot of Black Sun, known as the Purple Quasars, were wanting to start slave trafficking. This information was uncovered by Jysella and Valin, Lowbacca, and Saba Sebatyne. Danni Quee was their point of contact. She was putting her scientific skills to work in decryption and Galactic Security now. When Tenel Ka heard this, she felt a pang. There’d been a brief almost-romance between Jacen and Danni. It hadn’t picked up after the cessation of hostilities … but neither had Jacen warmed up to her as anything more than a friend/past Academy mate. She wanted to know if Jacen was still bent on going on that “grand quest” of his. “Let me meditate on it.” He told her, in all seriousness. He really did feel like he needed to take any next steps after long and careful consideration, not tear off impulsively. ~~~~~!!! “I hope Jacen makes a prudent decision.” Tenel Ka confided in Jaina. “I cannot begin to tell you what he might choose to do.” Jaina said, a frown creasing her brow. “I used to know Jacen inside out, almost as well as I knew myself. Now, there are times he seems like himself and other times he feels different somehow. I feel like I have to reach across a deep chasm just to connect.” Her tone was sad. “It’d be strange if he weren’t changed drastically by what he experienced during his captivity.” Tenel Ka answered. “I guess I hoped, that with time, some of the worst would fade or be healed …? If that’s the word I’m looking for …” Jaina sighed. “Force if I know.” ~~!! Visions swirled and coalesced: of battles between he and Jaina, which was extremely shocking and disturbing; of strange and esoteric teachings; of deceptions and secrets leading to schisms within the family; of horrific sacrifices and losses on a cosmic scale … The Force was like a river, converging and breaking off from a single estuary. As he traced back to the source, as a swimmer back to the river’s head, he found that it began with his ill-fated quest for arcane knowledge. Obviously, some things were better left untapped. Jacen released the Force currents and gathered his scattered wits and composure. One of the deepest-buried secrets eventually had to do with Tenel Ka. He decided then and there that the best way to circumvent that disaster was to bring his and her relationship out into the open as they explored just what they could mean to one another apart from close friends. The Hapan consortium was a knotty tangle, but he found he just might welcome that particular challenge, if Tenel Ka were willing. Jacen found Tenel Ka concluding her own period of reflection in a secluded copse. As it happened, they were ready to move ahead on a single path, together.