Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok_Slayer, Jan 9, 2015.
Oh boy. Things never go as planned on missions like this.
Thanks. It is a little cliffhanger there, that is why I am updating a little earlier.
Thanks. That last scene was a bit of a information dump with the three men going over what was going on. I just thought that was the easiest way to explain.
Nope, not for these guys.
Thanks for reading.
Journal side note: Before I recount these next journal entries I want to point out I suffered a second injury that further confused my memory and brain function. I was hesitant to record what happened next because my actions were somewhat embarrassing, but I decided all events should be chronicled as they occurred.
I remained unconscious for an unspecified amount of time. Eventually Den’s voice pierced the black haze.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be alright. He’s seen worse.”
I heard sniffling and then a young voice racked with grief. “It’s my fault he was hurt.”
“Don’t say that Norro. It was an accident.” It was Magash’s voice that replied, but it sounded different…strained and sad. “Besides I must shoulder most of the blame. He was nervous about doing this mission. He feared for his safety and mental wellbeing, but I reassured him and encouraged him to go.” Her voice faltered before I heard a strange weeping sound. Magash was crying! I have never seen her cry. I wanted to reach out and comfort her but I was blind and paralyzed.
I heard somebody shuffling about to my right. “Norro, why don’t we go to the galley and give them some privacy.” It was Sacha’s voice. I heard two sets of footsteps moving down the corridor and away from my location. Another pair of boots moved closer to me before I heard Jax speak. “Magash, you heard the reasons he gave that night he decided to go. He didn’t want Sondra to lose her memories. He didn’t want her to suffer. It had nothing to do with what you said.”
Her soft cries stopped as I heard her struggle to find her voice. “I think he wanted to change his mind, but after we talked he felt he couldn’t.”
“Why couldn’t he?” Jax asked.
“You know why,” was her heartbroken response.
“No, really, why?” Jax persisted sounding confused.
It was Den that answered. “Because of I-Five’s feeling for Magash. He doesn’t want to look bad in her eyes.”
I wish I could wake up and tell Magash whatever happened to me was not her fault.
“I’m almost done,” Den said. “If this latest injury affected his brain, whatever you do don’t upset him like we did the last time he had this type of injury. If things are a little quirky, remember he will heal over time. I don’t want to see another one of those seizures.”
Slowly my senses returned. I could feel pressure on the back of my head and I assumed I had a head injury and Den was patching me up. The pressure continued until suddenly my body regained all sensations. My eyes popped open as I pulled in a deep breath. I looked around and realized I was in the cargo bay of the Laranth. I turned to the direction that Magash’s voice had come from and spied her sitting on a chair across from me, her eyes bloodshot and with tears rolling down her cheeks and dampening her tunic. “Magash,” I managed to whisper. My thoughts were jumbled and confused, but I slowly stood and put my arms out to her. “Please don’t cry.”
She rose from her seat and embraced me, giving me a fierce hug. “Don’t scare me like that. I thought we lost you.”
I smiled sadly as I reached up and brushed the tears from her face. “I’m fine.” I then leaned down and captured her lips in mine. It was supposed to be a tender, reassuring kiss, but I could feel her stiffen in my arms. I pulled away thinking her dislike for public displays of affection was the problem. Magash stepped back, her fingers touching her lips, a puzzled look on her face. I turned to Den and Jax who looked equally perplexed.
I gestured toward them. “What? Can’t a man kiss his wife?”
Their reaction to that statement was mystifying. Den slapped his palm to his forehead and muttered. “Not again.”
“Oh great,” Jax moaned.
I looked back and forth between the two. “What’s wrong?”
It looked like Jax was going to explain, but Magash threw up her hand in a halting motion. “Stop. We can discuss this later. We do not want a repeat of what happened last time.” She moved to the door to the cargo area and motioned for Jax and Den to leave. “It’s very late. We’ll work this out in the morning.”
Den quickly left, looking relieved to get back to his cabin, but Jax remained. He gazed at Magash for a long moment. “Are you sure you can handle this.”
She waved him off looking a bit confused by his comment. “What is there to handle? We will wait until the morning to discuss matters.”
“Okay,” Jax said slowly before he chuckled. “Good night.” He walked out of the cargo area closing the door behind him.
“What is going on?” I asked more forcefully. I don’t like my friends talking in riddles.
Magash turned and smiled at me weakly. “You don’t look or sound well. They worry about your health. You should get some sleep. We will see how you feel in the morning.”
I reached to the back of my head expecting to feel a lump but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. “Did I hit my head? I can’t remember the accident. What happened?”
“You bumped your head and have temporary amnesia.” She gazed at me sadly. “Please. You need your rest. Den believes your memories will return, but you must relax and allow yourself time to recover. Please.” The last word was almost pleading.
“Sure. It can wait until morning.”
She smiled in relief before she turned and entered the large storage room she had commandeered as a cabin. When I followed on her heels she stopped and gazed at me in surprise before she pushed me back out the cabin door and pointed over to a makeshift cot resting on a couple cargo containers. “That is where you sleep.”
I looked to the cot and back to her. “Why?”
She closed her eyes and shook her head as if she just remembered something important. “Just sleep there.”
I gazed at her sadly. “Did we have a fight? I don’t remember. Whatever I did to upset you, I’m sorry.”
“That is not the case.” She averted her eyes. “Can we discuss this tomorrow?”
“I can’t sleep knowing you’re mad at me.” I reached up and cupped her cheek with my palm. “Magash, tell me.”
She shook her head. “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? I don’t know what is going on, but I do know we shouldn’t leave a problem to fester.” I ran a hand over my face and let out a sigh. “Doesn’t your clan have some sage adage about never going to bed angry?”
She smirked slightly before nodding. “We do. The old Dathomiri saying is ‘Never go to bed angry; stay awake and plot revenge.’”
I would have laughed, but I wasn’t sure if that is exactly what she intended to do. Whatever I did to upset her, it must have been bad. “Please tell me what I did so I can make things right.” I stepped closer and wrapped my arms around her waist, gently pulling her into a warm hug. “Please.”
“It doesn’t have anything to do with us.”
“Then why am I sleeping out in a cargo area?” I looked at the makeshift cot and frowned. There wasn’t even a pillow or blanket for me. It was just a foam sleeping-pad sitting on some cargo boxes.
She refused to look me in the eye. “I…um…Den may want to check on you in the night. I do not wish for him to enter my cabin.”
“You mean our cabin?”
I could see she was getting frustrated and I was fairly certain she was lying about something. I pulled her closer and whispered in her ear. “I did something, didn’t I? Something bad? Did I betray our wedding vows? Are we divorcing?”
“No, no, no,” she said emphatically as she pulled away slightly. “You would never betray me. You are an honorable man…a man I trust with my life. Den may want to check on you in the night, that is all.”
My eyes narrowed as I tried to determine the veracity of her statement. “Den is not a doctor.”
“You and him worked with medics,” she countered.
I thought back, concentrating feverishly. “True. I sort of remember something about that.” I shook my head in frustration. I looked down at my hand and noticed it was trembling. Magash followed my gaze and frowned deeply. She reached out and took my hands in hers, her face softening as she gave my palms a gentle squeeze. “I do not wish to fight with you. If you come into the cabin, will you sleep and not ask further questions?”
I thought about it for a second. I wanted to know if something was wrong, but if she refused to talk about it this was the next best thing. “Yes.”
“Fine.” She released my hands and stepped back, motioning me to follow her inside. She went to a small portable dresser and pulled out some loose exercise pants and a sleepshirt. “I need to use the ‘fresher.”
She left leaving me to find my sleepwear. I looked through the small dresser and inside a few boxes searching for my clothing, but found none. I assumed everything was in the wash. On the top of the dresser I noticed an official looking document. I picked it up and realized it was our wedding license. That brought a smile to my face until I realize I couldn’t remember the wedding. I could only hope my memory returned soon. That is a day I wish to remember. ‘Along with our honeymoon,’ I thought with a grin. I kicked off my shoes and removed and folded my trousers and tunic. I had boxer-briefs on, I could sleep in that.
Magash returned to the cabin in her modest sleep outfit. She stopped at the door with a surprised expression on her face as she watched me prepare for bed.
“What?” I looked down at my underwear and then back to her. “I couldn’t find pajamas.”
She blew out a breath before gesturing toward the bed. “Let us sleep.”
I climbed onto the narrow bed and scooted over as far as I could until my back was nearly hanging over the edge. Magash hesitated before crawling in next to me. I am not sure why she is acting so distant and aloof, but I decided to not push my luck and try to snuggle in next to her. I pulled the covers over both of us and went to sleep.
I'm not sure what this implies, exactly, but I almost wish Five stays amnesic. He's absorbed the cover story too well looks like of him and Magash being married or is it a lingering facet of an unconscious wish?
The others have a lot to explain with Five amnesic like this
Oh boy. those Human feelings again. Five is just bouncing all over the place! He is going to be in an awkward state when he comes around again. It looks like their cover has become real to him, compounded with his actual affection for Magash. At least he is out of the sewers!
Aw, no, it's worse!
I think it is wishful thinking on his part. I believes she occupies his mind.
As Ricky Ricardo would say, "Somebody has some 'splaining to do".
He is out of the sewer and in a bigger mess. I think all these quirks in his memory stem back from the first accident. Maybe there is a wire loose somewhere.
Yep, but I will give the guy a break soon.
This is a short little post. I will post a longer update after the 15th.
I was awakened last night by movement next to me. My eyes fluttered opened and I realized I had no idea where I was. The last thing I remembered was escaping from the basement of the Drogan Medical Building.
I was lying on my side with my arm slung over something soft. My initial thought was I was hugging a pillow, but as my hand searched in the darkness I realized this pillow had odd curves…and was breathing. I drew back so quickly I tumbled out of bed.
“Lights!” I yelled activating the automated illumination system. I got up to my knees and looked around in total confusion realizing I was in Magash’s room. My attention quickly went to the bed where I saw movement under a blanket followed by my friend turning around to look at me, blinking at the harsh light. “Magash, what am I doing here?” I looked down at my clothing or lack of. “And why am I in my underwear?”
A wide smile crossed her face. “Your memory has returned.”
I shook my head. “No, I don’t remember coming in here. Why am I in your room?”
She gazed at me sadly. “You, my friend, experienced another brain injury and this time you were not only convinced you were human, but that we were married. You insisted on sleeping with your wife.”
“What!” That revelation was shocking…and I don’t I don’t mean that metaphorically. I literally experienced a destabilization of my mental and physical faculties resulting in me falling onto my backside. “I don’t remember any of this.” I looked up at her in a panic. “Did I…did we…," I sputtered, unable to say the words.
She pulled the covers away, swinging her legs over the side of the bed so she could sit up. I was relieved to see her fully clothed. “Did we make love? No. When I said sleep, I meant sleep.”
“Even if I thought you were my wife, you know we’re not married. Why did you go along with my delusion?”
“I did not wish to upset you.”
“So you invited me into your bed?” I realized I was practically yelling at this point. I lowered my voice and continued. “Why?”
“That wasn’t my initial intent,” she said with a sigh. “I was willing to go along with your belief that we were married, but I forgot bonded men and women in your culture sleep together. That is not the custom on Dathomir.” She gave a delicate shrug of a shoulder. “Once I realized my mistake I was fearful of telling you the truth. You know what happened the last time you were told your beliefs were untrue. I did not want you to have another seizure and possibly cause further injury to your brain.”
“I can’t believe this.” I looked down at the deck as I ran a frustrated hand though my hair. “Why is this happening to me? First I think I’m human and then I think I am married.”
She gestured to the document sitting on her dresser. “We do have forged papers stating we are a married couple. Perhaps you remembered the documents and not the fact they are counterfeits.”
I didn’t argue against her theory. “Does the rest of the crew know I’m here?”
“No, but they know you believe we are married.”
“Great. Den will never stop teasing me.” I gazed up at my friend. “I am so sorry to put you in this terribly compromising position. Please forgive me.”
She stood and stretched her arms out to me. I took her hands and allowed her to pull me to my feet. She stared at our clasped hands before gazing into my eyes. “There is nothing to forgive. Your mental confusion was a result of an injury that occurred while trying to save two women. Your actions were courageous and selfless.”
My eyes went wide. I had momentarily forgot about the women. “That’s right. What happened? Is Sondra alright? How about the other girl?”
“You made your escape only a few hours ago. We have not received any updated information as yet. Get some sleep and we should know something in the morning.” She put a hand on my shoulder. “You and Norro did an amazing job. You are a hero.”
I blushed slightly. “Not that anybody will know. We are keeping our names away from the media.”
She smiled softly. “I’ll know.”
We stood there for an awkward moment before I stepped back and moved to the door. “Good Night.”
"I-Five," she said softly, her exotic Dathomiri accent giving her voice a warm, seductive tone.
I turned to her, nervous that she might ask me to stay (I still don't know why that bizarre and exceedingly implausible idea flashed through my droid brain). Instead, she picked up my trousers and tunic off her dresser and tossed them to me. “Perhaps it is best that the others find you fully clothed in the morning.”
I let out a relieved breath as I grabbed the garments out of the air. “That probably would be best. We don’t want to start any rumors.”
Magash laughed. “I think it is too late for that.”
"You're probably right." I flashed a warm smile. “Have a nice night.” I flicked off the lights and softly closed the door.
Fun update! I-Five seems to be accepting things with more calmness than the last time. Love to bits the undertones with Magash--the warmth and friendship.
Huh, he got his memory back! That was fast.
The first time he experienced memory problems his friends thrust the truth upon him. I think the shock of the revelation made matters worse. This time his brain was allowed to recover naturally and that seemed to help.
Well, the gang was going to tell him in the morning and I didn't want the poor droid to suffer more than he already has. I just wanted to put him in another embarrassing situation.
Thanks everybody for reading.
Den came into the cargo area early the next morning. I could tell by his cryptic questions he was trying to figure out if I still believed I was a married man. I guess he didn’t want to say anything to upset my mental balance.
“Soooo,” Den said slowly. “How do you feel?”
Since I usually am the brunt of Den’s teasing I decided to be a bit mischievous today. “Great why?”
He looked at the door of Magash’s cabin and then to my cot obviously trying to figure out where I slept the night before. “How did you sleep? Was your cot comfortable?”
I gave him a mock look of confusion as I pointed to the cot behind me. “That cot? Why would I sleep on that cot?”
Den’s jaw dropped as he stood there trying to formulate a question. “Where did you sleep then?”
“Why, with my wife, of course.” I grinned and gave Den a wink. “Although not much sleeping was going on, if you know what I mean.”
I could see a blush crawl across Den’s dewflaps as he struggled to find his voice. “Oh, no.” He walked over to a small packing crate and sat down on it. “Oh kriff. Magash said she could handle it.”
A wide grin crossed my face. “Oh she handled it alright.”
My friend suddenly became speechless. I was able to keep a straight face for only a few seconds before I burst out laughing. “I’m joking. I must have rebooted after I went into sleep mode. I still retain the memories of a fabricated human past, but I believe my recollections from the time of my first brain injury until my most recent damage is intact and accurate. The only missing time I am experiencing now starts right after I escaped from the medical facility and until the time I rebooted during sleep.”
A slight smile tugged on the corners of Den’s mouth. “So, you don’t remember what you did from the time you received your second brain injury and when you woke up last night?”
I shook my head. “No, but after my memory returned Magash told me I had been under the misconception that we were married.”
“Is that all she told you?” Now it was Den’s turn to grin widely.
I nodded. “Yes.”
“You don’t remember grabbing Magash up in your arms and giving her a long, passionate kiss before announcing that she was your wife?”
I frowned. Magash didn’t mention that fact. “Now you are joking with me.”
Den laughed louder. “No, ask Jax or Magash. You kissed her soundly…and I think it was an open mouth kiss.”
“Stop it. I did not.”
I sat down my cot and dropped my head into my hands. “How could I do that? Magash must have been horrified.”
“Oh, I don’t know. She looked surprised but she didn’t struggle.”
I groaned in embarrassment. At that moment I heard the door to Magash’s cabin open and the sound of her stepping outside. “What is wrong?”
Den smirked. “He’s just embarrassed about last night.”
I looked over at Magash. She was still wearing her sleep outfit, but now a blush accessorized her nightwear darkening her light red skin to a deep maroon color. “There is no reason for him to be embarrassed. Nothing happened,” she said adamantly. “We only slept together. We slept. Nothing of a sexual nature happened.”
“What?!” Den exclaimed. He looked at me wide-eyed. “You two slept together?”
I laid down on my cot and groaned. “Magash. He was telling me about the kiss. Something you forgot to mention. Thanks for letting him know we ended up in bed together.”
Den doubled over in laughter. “This story is getting better and better by the moment.”
“Don’t tell Jax or Sacha,” I begged him.
It took him a few minutes to stop laughing. “But it is such a good story.”
Magash walked over to Den and placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a beseeching gaze. “A true friend keeps confidences.”
“Arrggghhh,” Den groaned. “I don’t know if I can hold in such hilarious secret.”
Magash crossed her arms across her chest and scowled. “I will make a deal with you. If you keep this secret from Jax, Sacha and Norro I will tell you how I-Five ended up in my room and how he reacted when he woke up next to me confused as to why he was there.”
“Ohh ho ho,” Den gave a toothy grin. “I like that deal.”
I waved my hands at Magash. “Wait. Why would you make such an agreement?”
She grinned mischievously. “Because I don’t know if I can hold in such a hilarious secret.”
I threw up my hands in defeat. At least I only had to deal with Den knowing all the details.
We spent the day watching news reports and waiting for Sondra’s father to contact us.
The initial newscasts said there was a fire at the Drogan Medical Building. A second report mentioned two people were removed from the building in an ambulance. About an hour later Ralf Soren, Sondra’s father, contacted us elated that his daughter had been found. He thanked us and promised to wire us the full payment for our services.
Sacha had done some research on the other women and was able to ascertain their locations based on their new identities. She contacted the various people searching for their relatives and provided them the information on their whereabouts and where to wire the reward money if our information lead to the discovery of their lost loved ones. She had set up an untraceable shell company to funnel monetary transactions. She said she called the business Confidential Security Services.
The news of a possible slavery ring caused a major uproar on the planet. When a reporter commented that the Empire was looking into the matter and was sending an Inquisitor to investigate, we decided it was best to watch this story unfold somewhere other than on Phindar. Ralf Soren had provided us with enough money for fuel, food and other supplies to last at least a month. If any of the other reward money came in we might be set for two or three months…long enough for us to find other employment.
We are currently on our way to Yavin IV, a forested moon orbiting an orange gas giant called Yavin. The habitable moon is on our short list of possible worlds to settle down on. To ensure we are not followed we have taken the precaution of making a number of short hyperspace jumps on the way to Yavin IV. Whenever we exited hyperspace we downloaded as much information about the ongoing investigation on Phindar. The news reports were difficult to watch. There was a lot of finger pointing, crying relatives and confused victims. When I found Sacha on the flight deck gazing at her datapad and crying I knew something bad had transpired.
I put my hand on her shoulder and looked over to the datapad. “Sacha, what happened?”
She pulled back a wayward wisp of her black hair as she wiped tears from her eyes. She gazed up at me with a heartbroken expression as she struggled to regain her voice. “I know none of this is our fault, but some of these women that were given new memories married and are either currently pregnant or already had a baby with their new husband.”
“Oh," I whispered sadly. "Well, their husbands didn’t know about their wives’ backgrounds did they? If the men are innocent and the women truly love them, they could stay married.”
Sacha ran a hand over her face in frustration. “Two of the women were previously married and had children with their original husbands. They now face the fact that they have two families and they are torn as to what to do. They don’t remember their past life or children…but their kids remember their mother.”
My shoulders slumped at the news. We thought it would be all happy reunions, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the exception of maybe the last two women kidnapped. “How about the others?”
Sacha shook her head. “Two of them were legitimate patients of the clinic. One was trying to forget a decade of child abuse and the other was trying to escape the memories of years of domestic violence perpetrated against her by a possessive and psychotic ex-husband. Now that their families know where they live the women are vulnerable to future harassment.”
I dropped down into the copilot seat next to her. “I’m sorry Sacha.”
She nodded sadly. “At least the kidnapping ring was uncovered and I heard three men are in custody.”
I gave a weak smile. “That’s something good.”
“Yeah, but the Drogan Medical facility is under attack and being sued by the victims. It doesn’t look like they knew about the criminal activities, but they own the building and the equipment used to erase the memories. They are temporarily closed and may never reopen. It is just another victim of this crime ring.”
I reached over and put a reassuring hand on her arm. “Sacha, I feel bad for the two women who went to the clinic for help on their own. Hopefully they can get personal protection orders to keep their dysfunctional family members and ex-husband away from them, but the other cases should have come to light. I know it is difficult for the women, but they have a right to know and their families deserve to know the truth. The children from their previous lives must have been suffering. They probably thought their mother was dead or she abandoned them. This is a very bad situation...and it was not created by us.”
She looked down and rubbed her hand over her baby bump. “It must be awful having a baby and then losing the memory of his existence and now you are torn between two families…two lives. Maybe it would have been better if they remained oblivious.”
I sighed deeply realizing her pregnancy was making this situation so much harder for her to handle. “Sacha, the problem was escalating. You heard what the kidnapper said. He wanted the women’s memories erased quicker and he was willing to risk damage to their brains thinking he could sell them to brothels. He didn’t care if the machine left them as empty shells. The situation was devolving into something beyond depraved and cruel. You have to think of all the potential future victims we saved.”
She nodded sadly as she turned off her datapad. “You’re right.”
We both sat quietly for some time before she spoke again. “With all that has been happening I never got the chance to say how proud I am of you…overcoming your fears and switching bodies just to help strangers.” She gave me a furtive glance. “How are you holding up…emotionally?”
I gave a faint smile. “I’m doing better. I still have memories of growing up human, but I know the truth. It is hard to not accept reality when your brain is put into a servo droid. I’m a droid. I know it. I accept it. Hopefully one day I will self-repair and I will stop having these false memories.”
She stared at me for a long moment before tentatively broaching a sensitive subject. “Is that what you want? To regain your droid memories and give up your belief that you are human?”
I nodded. “I want to remember what I am...to remember my true life experiences because those events created who I am today.”
She reached over and gave me a friendly pat on my arm. “I can understand that because who you are today is a truly remarkable person.”
I simply nodded as we fell back into companionable silence.
Brilliant resolution of the kidnapping situation. Definitely a mixed bag of good/bad for the victims but it did have to be stopped. Five was right about that. Great stuff with the humorous teasing at the start and I am glad he wants his "real" memories back.
Five is such a sweet person. He really understands that Sacha is struggling because she can emphathize with these wives and mothers. The parallel between the women's lost memories and Five's confused memories really shines here.
Plus I love Magash - she is a sweetheart to be so patient with Five!.
I'm back And it seems that I came back at the right time, because the memory clinic story arc is wrapping up and it was amazing. Fantastic character development for I-Five, both on the hilarity front (that scene when he believes that he's Magash's husband was priceless) and on the empathy front, in how he understands what the kidnapped women went and are still going through.
Now I'm curious to know what they'll find on Yavin IV. Given everything that happens there in the Legends EU, the possibilities are pretty much endless...
Thanks. I thought that was a good way to end that particular storyline. They are heroes, but they feel terrible about the situation. It isn't a clear cut victory.
Thank you. Five was always a nice guy in the books. He is stubborn and sarcastic, but he values his friends over his own life. He has shown that in the profics many times.
Welcome back. I'm glad you are enjoying this story. My belief is a sentient droid would be conscious of his limitations. He is a real person, but only his friends see him that way. I would say he was treated by the government as a second-class citizen...but he isn't even that high up in the hierarchy. He is not a citizen and has no rights like other sentients. Perhaps that is why his damaged brain keeps trying to convince him he is a real person. It has to be very confusing for the droid. I just watched the movie Ex Machina where a computer mogul is attempting to create an artificial human that is sentient. I don't want to give away spoilers, but at the end of the movie I was convinced that if the machine was sentient then it lacked some key components of humanity. I-Five does not have this problem. In a way I think he is the best of mankind. He doesn't have the bad qualities of man. He doesn't get drunk and beat up women, he doesn't stab his friends in the back for financial gain, he doesn't gamble away all his rent money...he doesn't do any of these things that people often do. He is a good guy.
Thanks for reading. I have been busy at work and haven't had time to write. I want to get in at least the minimum amount of posts this month.
We arrived at Yavin IV later the next day and, I must admit, I was fairly disappointed with the planet. As far as I could tell it was devoid of a human population although sensors indicate there was an abundance of animal life. The moon was covered with thick rainforest and it took a while for Den and Sacha to locate a clearing in the jungle big enough to land our ship.
As we approached the landing area we saw what looked like a stone structure poking out from the forest canopy. Since it was approximately five kilometers from our landing site, we decided to investigate upon landfall. We dressed in camouflaged jumpsuits infused with an insect repellant called Prokillian that claims to repel most blood-sucking and biting insects. I don’t put much stock in that boast, especially when I know there are some insects in this galaxy big enough to bite a man’s head off.
All of us wore blasters, even Norro, who was thrilled to carry a small holdout blaster. Sacha, Magash and Jax also carried their lightsabers. Of course, Den insisted on lugging the largest blaster rifle we have—which gave Norro a severe case of blaster envy. I, ironically, carried an ion blaster. It was a weapon used to disable battlefield technology, including war droids…or any droid for that matter. I also shouldered a large pack with food and a ten-liter water bladder. It was enough supplies to get us to the structure we saw and back.
As the loading ramp lowered and I immediately sensed this world’s high humidity and brutal heat. I wasn’t affected by the weather but I could see my companions flinch at the oppressive temperatures.
The next thing I noticed was the reason there was a clearing in a huge jungle—Farmer Antz. They are relatively harmless to people, but they can devastate flora.
Magash noticed the antz and turned to me. “Are they dangerous?”
“No, but we should close up the ship after we debark so we don’t pick up any stowaways.”
We walked to the bottom of the ramp and then ran to the edge of the clearing while Sacha used a remote to close up the ship. Because the planet did not have a global positioning system and a compass was useless due to the moon’s weak and mutable magnetic field my friends looked to me to find the stone structure. Of course I don’t remember how to use my droid brain to calculate a path to the buildings, but Den assured me I could do it naturally—he called it ‘dead-reckoning’. In other words I could use visual clues such as the position of the sun, the gas giant looming in the sky, and distance computations to find the way…even if I didn’t know how my brain is doing it.
I readjusted my pack as I stepped out into the forest. I really hope Den is right.
After about thirty meters I had to give up the lead position to Jax and Sacha who used their lightsabers to hack a way through the dense underbrush. Magash and I followed our lightsaber-wielding friends at a safe distance. I had no desire for a third decapitation. Norro and Den were taking up the rear. I haven’t spoken much with Magash since that awkward night that I woke up in her bed. I think both of us would rather not discuss that embarrassing situation. Still, I should broach the subject. The longer we avoid each other the more difficult it will be to rekindle our easygoing friendship.
“I meant to ask you,” I whispered to Magash. “Has Jax or Sacha mentioned anything about that night I was in your room?”
She shook her head. “Sacha only asked me about your mental condition and if you still thought we were married.”
I chuckled. “Did you tell her I no longer have delusions of things that can never be?”
Magash frowned. “Are you still obsessing over your assumed limitations as a droid?”
I blew out a breath. I forgot she momentarily was privy to my despondent thoughts while I occupied the servo droid body. “No. I’m not obsessing. I have come to terms with my condition…and legally I do have limitations. I am a droid. I cannot become a citizen in this galaxy, nor can I legitimately marry. This is a fact. I have accepted it and I am no longer troubled by the thought. I believe my brain is self-healing and the false memories of being a human are slowly fading. I suspect the aberrations within my consciousness will disappear soon.”
She gave a curt nod. “That is good.”
“Yes, it is.” I said the words, but didn’t entirely believe them. I was fearful that my relationship with the others would be diminished once my memories completely returned. Would I continue to act as I have in the last few weeks or would I suddenly behave as an impassive protocol droid?
“Magash…you remember me before my first accident. Do I act more human now or am I about the same?”
She glanced over to me and grinned. “You are less sarcastic. I believe you used sarcasm to avoid dealing with the various emotions you were experiencing. It is my belief that after your accident—when you became convinced you were human—you gave yourself permission to express emotions you've always possessed. Now that you are dealing with your emotional side, I doubt any of us will notice a difference in your personality once your brain is completely healed.”
“That is good to know.” I pushed aside some low-lying branches so Magash and I could proceed through the heavy forest. “I apologize for ignoring you. I felt it was best to let things die down before we are seen together…interacting.”
Her lips twitched into smile. “Understandable. Our friends enjoy teasing one another.”
“That’s an understatement.”
As we moved deeper and deeper into the jungle I came to the conclusion that this was not an acceptable world to settle on. Without towns or a docking port we would be forced to purchase all of our supplies off world or find a way to survive in the wild. I know Magash and possibly Norro are quite capable of doing so, but the rest of us are accustomed to civilization.
“Jax,” I called out to my friend. “I don’t think this planet will suit our needs. The jungle is too dense to farm, I can hear a number of large, possibly dangerous, animals in this forest and we don’t have a spaceport to refuel and get repairs done. If our ship breaks down on this planet we are trapped. We could use the transponder to call for help, but we won’t know who will show up to rescue us.”
Jax wiped a hand across his brow as sweat poured down his face and drenched the top of his jumpsuit. I looked around to my friends and it appeared I was the only person not suffering from the heat. I guess there are some benefits to being a droid.
“I came to that conclusion also, but I’d like to see the stone structures. They look like old pyramids or temples. This is the location where Anakin Skywalker crashed his custom Starfighter and fought against Asajj Ventress. He told me he had knocked her off one of the pyramids and left her for dead.” Jax turned to Magash. “Ventress was supposedly a Dathomiri Nightsister that trained to be Sith.”
I shook my head. “In other words, morbid curiosity is driving us forward at this point.”
Jax gave an apologetic shrug of the shoulder. “I guess so. You all can go back to the ship if you want.”
We all looked to each other knowing nobody was going to leave Jax in the jungle alone. “We have about another kilometer to go.” I pointed to the distance. “That way.”
We arrived at the stone pyramid about an hour later. The structure was massive and constructed out of huge megalithic stones, some as large as fifty meters in length. The pyramid rose above the jungle floor by at least two hundred meters and towered over the surrounding forest. Cut into the base of the pyramid were cavernous chambers large enough to house starships.
Den gave a disbelieving whistle. “This might not be a good place for us, but the Antarian Rangers could definitely use this pyramid as a base of operations.”
“I agree.” I turned to Jax. “Perhaps we should attempt to contact the Rangers and inform them of this world’s potential as a secret base.”
Jax didn’t respond right away. He stared blankly at the temple apparently deep in thought. “I don’t know. Something doesn’t feel right.” He looked to Sacha and Magash. “Do you feel it?”
Both women gazed at the pyramid for a long pause before nodding. “I barely feel it,” Magash admitted. “But my Force abilities are not as strong as a trained Jedi.”
“What is it?” I asked. I realize they were probably sensing something in the Force but I wanted to know what they were feeling.
“The darkside,” Jax whispered.
I looked to Jax and then back to the pyramid. “You said Anakin and Ventress fought here. Could you be sensing some residual darkside forces from them? They were both Sith.”
Jax shook his head. “I am sure Anakin was not dark at that time and I doubt Ventress, even if she died here, had a darkside presence this strong.”
I pulled out my ion blaster. It was made to disable droids, but it would also work on a person’s neurological system. “Could it be an Inquisitor?”
Jax took a step backwards away from the pyramid. “It may be. Something very dark is inside.” He looked to all of us. “I think we should leave.”
There was no argument. Seeing Jax spooked got everybody on edge. We turned and start backtracking to the ship. Jax motioned to Norro and Den. “Take the lead. Magash, Sacha and I will pull rear guard just in case we're being followed.”
Den nodded as he hefted his large blaster up into the port arms position and followed the trail of slashed vegetation back to the ship. Norro was next to him nervously pointing his blaster at every snap of a twig and chirp of an insect.
“Norro, I will take point if you like,” I offered.
Norro frowned as he gave me a backwards glance. “Don’t worry. Den and I will protect everybody.”
Den chuckled under his breath. “Yeah, we’ll make sure our three lightsaber wielding, Force strong friends remain safe.” He gave me a wink. “We’ll also protect our droid friend who has the strength of ten men.”
“I believe I have the strength of twenty men,” I said matter-of-factly.
Den gave an amused snort. “Twenty? Wow, who are you trying to impress?” He gave Magash, walking a few meters behind me, a furtive glance. “Never mind. I know the answer to that.”
I frowned. “Norro has never fired a weapon. I have. I should be leading with you.”
The young man’s face fell and I realized I had offended him. “I can do this,” he insisted.
Before I could respond there was a snap of branches to our left and I noticed movement. Norro panned his blaster toward the noise and started shooting. This caused Den to startle and he started unloading blaster bolts from his oversized weapon in the direction Norro was firing. Trees and bushes burst into smoking fragments, birds flew away in all directions and a group of unidentified primates screamed from the treetops.
“Cease fire!” Jax screamed at my jittery friends. It took a few more shots but eventually Den and Norro lowered the weapons and peered into the smoking remains of a dozen trees. There was a second of silence before the loud clamoring of birds and insects sounded throughout the jungle. “What were you shooting at?” Jax asked Norro.
The young man pointed toward a large tree. "I saw movement. Something white…maybe a clonetrooper.”
Jax turned to Den. “What were you shooting at?”
Den looked embarrassed. “I was shooting at whatever he was shooting at.”
Jax took a deep breath and blew it out. “Everybody stay here. I-Five and I will check it out.” He motioned to me to follow and we slowly moved forward to the smoldering stumps and burning underbrush. I had my blaster out and my friend activated his lightsaber. When we got closer I spotted Norro’s white intruder. I reached down and pulled up a silvery, long eared creature…or what was left of the poor animal. “It appears to be a species of Lagomorph.”
“Lagomorph?” Jax asked.
I smiled slightly. “A bunny.”
Jax looked around and closed his eyes for a moment. I assume he was reaching out in the Force looking for the enemy. Eventually he opened his eyes and shook his head. “I don’t sense anything else around here.”
I tossed the rabbit back to the ground and wiped my hand on my trousers. “Is there any chance that what you sensed at the pyramid was actually a cute and furry darkside Sith rabbit?”
“No, but if it was an Inquisitor there is no way he couldn’t notice the racket we just created. Let’s get out of here.”
We turned and ran back to our friends. “False alarm. It was just an animal.” Jax looked to Norro. “Don’t shoot at anything else.” At that point we all practically ran back to the ship. If we have an Inquisitor on our trail we were in big trouble.
Nice conversations and conclusions about settling in there, definitely not ideal. I agree with Magash and think Five will be more balanced once the self-healing has completed.
Thank you. I figure that Luke Skywalker didn't sense the evil in the place when he moved his Academy there because he was not a trained Jedi. Jax went to the Jedi Temple when he was a very young boy and was fully trained Jedi at the time of the purge. He probably could sense Exar Kun's dark spirit. Also the Jax being there could explain how the Rebels ended up on the planet. I know a scout is credited for discovering the planet for the rebels, but maybe that scout got a heads up from Jax's group or the rangers 10 to 15 years from now.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to review. I really appreciate it.
This is a short little post before I go off on my next story arc.
As we left Yavin IV we scanned for other ships, but didn’t find any indications that anyone else recently travelled to the planet. Still Jax was agitated. For the last year we’ve had an inordinate amount of run-ins with Inquisitors and other Imperial nasties. He was sure the Empire had a discovered a way to track Force-users.
We did multiple short jumps until we came to a major trade route. At that time we decided to check out the next world on our list of possible planets to relocate—Myrkr. There wasn’t much information on the planet, but there was a one major population center named Hyllyard City. Humans immigrated to the planet thousands of years ago, but the forest-covered world was still sparsely populated. It did have a small spaceport and there was no reports of an Imperial garrison in the area. It was worth a look.
Currently I was on the flight deck with Den. It was late in the sleep cycle and the remainder of the crew was resting. I decided to keep my friend company since slumber was not a necessity for me.
“Do you really think an Inquisitor was on the planet?” I asked Den.
My friend shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t think so, but they felt something in the Force…something dark…so it is best that we left.”
We sat in silence for about thirty minutes before Den looked over to me with a look of concern. “How are you holding up since our mission on Phindar?”
“I am fine.” I looked away from Den. “I look forward to regaining my memories and letting things return to normal.”
“It’ll happen. You regained all you memories once before and that was after a memory wipe.”
“You said that took years.”
He nodded. “It did.”
I thought about that for a long moment before deciding to change the subject. “I guess I can move back into the cabin. I am not averse to sitting in a chair as you said I did before my accident.”
Den looked a little surprised. “Are you sure?”
“There is no reason for me to stay in the cargo area.”
Den shrugged. “I don’t know. Magash lives in that large storage room in the cargo area. She probably feels less lonely knowing you’re outside.”
I closed my eyes in frustration. “Are you going to continue to tease me about my friendship with Magash?”
He turned in his seat to face me fully. “I’m not teasing. She might find it depressing that everyone on the ship can actually live in the nice crew quarters and she is relegated to an area that is not as noise-insulated or as comfortable as the rest of the ship. I also think she may feel isolated after living decades in close proximity with her clan sisters.”
“We have offered to give her the cabin,” I reminded him.
Den shook his head. “And she refused because she doesn’t want to displace me and Norro.”
I wasn’t sure if Den’s notion had any merit or not, but I thought there was something else going on. “I doubt Magash feels lonely or uncomfortable with her living situation. Tell me, is there a reason you don’t want me back in the room?”
He chuckled. “I didn’t want to tell you, but when you did stay in there, Norro would wake up and find you staring at him. He doesn’t like the idea that of you watch him sleep.”
I shook my head. “I don’t remember doing that, but if I did it is more likely I looked toward him when I heard him stirring in bed.”
“That’s what I told him.”
I thought the situation over and decided to remain in the storage area. “I’ll keep things as they are for now.”
Den dipped his head in acknowledgement. “Hopefully Myrkr doesn’t give Jax and the ladies the darkside jitters.”
“And that we can find employment.”
Den nodded. “Yeah, that too.”
We arrived to Myrkr late the next day. It is a beautiful green world with lush forests punctuated with freshwater lakes and rivers. Hyllyard city is larger than I expected. I guess it grew in population since the last census. That’s a good thing because a healthy population often requires traders to provide them with items not manufactured in the area. Food, drink, furniture, repair parts, electronics and jewelry are often traded from planet to planet. Hopefully we can establish a trade business on this world.
The Laranth is a Helix-class light interceptor, which is basically an armed freighter. We have the capacity to haul up to thirty-five metric tons of cargo. Depending on what we transported we should easily be able to make a living as traders. We could make more money if one or two of us held jobs planetside. I don’t know if I am employable. Unless I can convincingly portray myself as human, I doubt anybody would hire me. Instead an employer would expect Jax to lease me out for money…after all, who has heard of a sentient droid? I doubt Norro will be able to hold a job. He is still learning basic and his grasp of the written language is tentative at best.
We received docking instructions and landed our ship at Hyllyard’s large spaceport. Upon landfall we prepared to explore this new world. Jax took all the lightsabers and locked them away in a secret compartment in his cabin. The last thing we needed was custom agents inspecting the ship and finding such incriminating evidence.
It turned out to be an unnecessary precaution. We met the custom agent near the building exit and all he asked us was if we were transporting any Hanava fruit. Supposedly there has been a problem with greddleback termites infesting the fruit and later wiping out any forest they came in contact with. Shockingly, that was the only thing he was interested in. We could have had a bay full of spice and thermal detonators and he probably wouldn’t care.
We passed through customs and split up so we could cover more ground. We had downloaded from the holonet a list of import-export businesses in the area. Hopefully one of the establishments would have a need for honest cargo haulers. Jax and Sacha went one way and Magash, Norro and I went in the opposite direction.
The first business owner we talked to said he would be interested, but we would have to pay for the cargo upfront because too many of his pilots take his money and are never seen again. We took down the owner’s contact information and went to the next establishment on the list. As we moved down the bustling street we passed a number of diners and quick food establishment. I noticed Norro was looking at the shops and I could hear his stomach rumbling. I stopped and looked at the boy. “Norro are you hungry?”
He grinned. “When am I not hungry?”
I laughed as I pulled some credits out of my trouser pockets. “Here’s some money. Go and get something to eat.” I pointed to a warehouse across the street. “Magash and I will be in that building over there.”
“Thanks!” he said as he rushed to diner called The Bantha Grill. Above the door was a logo of a cartoonish smiling bantha holding a knife and fork and hungrily gazing at a plate of thick bantha steaks.
Magash looked to where I was staring and laughed. “I can’t wait to see the logo for the butcher shop.”
I snickered as we made our way to the next business. Unfortunately the owner had the same policy as the last. We would have to pay for the cargo he needed up front. At least this owner said after we became established traders with a good reputation he would consider changing that policy. It was a bit disappointing because we don’t have large amounts of credits to purchase cargo upfront. Still, it was better than nothing. We spent about a half hour with the man and got a list of items he purchases regularly, a list of off world suppliers and what he usually pays for the goods. We thanked him and walked over to the diner. Norro was sitting at a table finishing up a sandwich when we entered. He waved to us excitedly as he threw away his trash and ran up to us. “I got a job!”
I was taken aback by this information. “Where? Here?”
He nodded animatedly. “Yeah, they need line cooks and people to work the register.”
Magash looked to me and then to the boy. “Did you tell them you were learning to read and write Basic?”
He grinned. “Yeah, they told me it was no problem. The register has little drawings of the items on the buttons and all the instructions in the cooking areas have little drawings to go along with the text.” He handed me a flimsiplast form and ink stylus. “I do have to put in an official application. Can you help me with that?”
“Umm…sure.” We all sat down and I filled out the form. “Norro Pavan. Date of birth.” I wrote down the fake birthdate Norro had on his official Phindar identification. “We’ll have to put down the ship’s docking bay as your home for now. Tell the manager you will give him a permanent address soon.”
As I filled out the remainder of the application Norro continued to chatter happily. “They said they would train me to cook? Can you believe that? I don’t have to pay them to train me. They will do it for free. And I get free lunch and dinner here. Also, if there is any prepared food at the end of my shift that has been sitting around for five minutes or longer I can take it…for free! Isn’t this amazing? I also get a uniform and a disposable chef hat. They said they would work around my school hours. Does that mean I can go to a real school with other kids? Oh, and I get paid five credits an hour, but after two months I can get a raise if I’m a good worker!”
Magash was having trouble keeping a straight face and I broke out in a wide grin. Norro’s excitement was contagious.
I am happy that at least one crew member is gainfully employed.
Great talk about living arrangements and yay for Norro getting a job. Myrkr huh?
Thanks for reading and taking the time to review. I wish I had more time to write this story, but school started again and I have been busy trying to get back into my routine. Hopefully things will even out soon.
We have been on Myrkr for a week and so far things have gone very well. We received more reward money for locating the missing women we identified on Phindar. It is enough to purchase cargo upfront for a trade run. Den got a part time job writing stories for the local Holonet news broadcasts. Norro has his part time job at the diner and we recently enrolled him in a public secondary school in Hyllyard City. Sacha and I have continued tutoring him how to read and write Basic. He is a quick and eager learner and I have no doubt he will do well in school. Since two in our group have planetside jobs we are looking to rent a house. We have been living in our ship, but now Den and Norro will need a place to sleep when we go on our cargo runs.
The first apartment we looked at was within the city limits. Unfortunately it was infested with vermin. The second home was just outside the city limits on the edge of the forest. Den and I liked the home but the others said something about it just didn’t feel right. As my friends toured the home I found Jax standing in the backyard staring blankly at the thick, green forest adjacent to the back property line.
“Do you sense something dark?” I asked him.
He shook his head. “No, I don’t sense much and that is odd because there should be an abundance of life in such a big forested area.”
My continued memory loss precludes me from utilizing my infrared optical sensors, but I still have acute hearing. I cocked my ear toward the forest and could distinctly perceive the chatter of birds. “I hear wildlife.”
My friend continued to gaze at the trees. “I can sense some life, but there should be much, much more.”
I made a step toward the treeline. “Should we investigate?”
Jax grabbed my arm holding me back. “No, it could be some sort of contamination killing or frightening off the animals.” His jaw tightened as he closed his eyes in deep concentration. I assumed he was reaching out with the Force. After a long moment he sighed and opened his eyes. “I really don’t understand this. I have felt the Force muted this way on worlds with limited plant and animal life…deserts or frozen worlds…but even if the animals were not present, I should sense the Force flowing through the trees and other vegetation.” He looked back to the rental home and then to the treeline. “Until we figure out what is going on we might want to avoid the forest. With my luck there might be a midichlorian killing fungus living out there.”
We turned and walked around the perimeter of the home. “Midichlorians give a Jedi his power, correct?”
“One does not need to have midichlorians to create the Force…just to sense it. In that case it is doubtful your hypothesis is correct, unless the local fauna and flora possess midichlorians and they are blocking their Force signature.”
Jax gave me a weak shrug. “There are some Force sensitive trees and plants, but they are rare.”
We came around to the front yard just as our friends were exiting the main entrance. Although Norro didn’t look very perturbed, Magash and Sacha carried expressions similar to the one Jax had while staring at the forest. We told the homeowner we wished to discuss the home in private. We all walked to the backyard where the women and Jax once again became transfixed with the surrounding forest.
“It’s like it is devoid of life,” Magash muttered.
Sacha gave a visible shutter before turning to Jax. “I don’t want to raise a baby around the forest until we figure out what is going on.”
Jax nodded his head. “I agree.” He turned to Den and me, “I know you can’t feel what’s out there, but it is like a dead zone. It is an absence in the Force that shouldn't exist. There is obviously plenty of life to fuel a Force energy field. I think we should continue looking at houses.”
We all agreed to continue our house-hunting search.
We finally found a three-bedroom rental home on the edge of the city and butting up against farmland and hundreds of acres of wheat crop. Jax did not feel an absence of the Force at this location. He suspects the trees or the ground in the forest might contain some type of chemical or mineral that disrupts and dampens the flow of the Force.
I asked him if he has ever experienced such a thing. He said not personally, but he has heard of some stones and crystals that could radiate a Force barrier.
The home is in good repair and affordable. Jax and Sacha share a room. Den and Norro room together and the smallest room went to Magash. Den and Norro invited me to share their room, but I don’t see the need. I will be perfectly comfortable on the sitting room couch.
Jax, Sacha, Magash and I are currently on shipment run to Zeltros. Sacha is excited at the chance to visit a planet known for its extravagant wealth and beauty, but I can tell Jax is uneasy about this trip...and I can understand his reluctance. A Zeltron named Dejah Duare—a woman he considered a friend and comrade—betrayed him to Darth Vader. Jax believes she used her potent pheromones to cloud his judgment. I do not completely agree with his hypothesis. My protocol droid body was immune to any exuded mind-altering chemicals, but I was also blindsided by her duplicity. Her treacherous actions have colored the way Jax now perceives Zeltrons. I don’t believe he sees the species as innately devious; he simply doesn’t have faith in his ability to ward off their pheromones. Jax is a trained Jedi; he likes being in full control of his mind and body. He has asked me to do the haggling for the consumables and luxury goods on our acquisition list just incase a scheming merchant decided to use his pheromones to get the best price out of us.
While on this supply run Den remained on Myrkr watching over Norro, although I don’t believe the boy will have much time to get in trouble. He is now enrolled in the local secondary school and is working at the restaurant after school. He enjoys both activities very much. He often comes home with excited stories about his classes, his work and the friends he has made.
Norro is a great inspiration to me. He faced overwhelming adversity and suffering on Despayre, but instead of wallowing in the depths of depression and hopelessness, he overcame his hardships and truly appreciates the simple things in life.
I am thankful that Jax freed him from the prison planet.
Our visit to Zeltros went exceptionally well. I negotiated with a number of merchants for various goods and was able to purchase items at a fair price. Jax, Sacha and Magash accompanied me to the negotiations but they stayed at the back of the room and remained silent. At one point they excused themselves and left me alone with the proprietor. Later I was informed that the merchant was exuding so many pheromones that they didn’t trust themselves not to interfere with the transaction. Their account explains why the Zeltron I was negotiating with appeared so flustered and confused. He obviously was not aware he was dealing with a droid.
After we had the cargo loaded on the ship we took some time to visit some of the local tourist attractions. We toured a number of ancient buildings, museums and a highly impressive public garden with hundreds of species of flowers in bloom.
At one point Jax purchased a small bouquet of flowers for Sacha. Upon receiving the gift Sacha smiled widely and kissed Jax ardently. At that moment I was unsure if this is something women expect from their male companions. I looked over to Magash who was observing the exchange with a dejected expression on her face. I put a hand on her shoulder and smiled. “You look sad. Do you desire a bouquet?”
She smiled softly and shook her head. “No, it’s not that.”
“What is it then?
She waved me off with a laugh. “It’s nothing.”
She appeared normal after that, but I had the distinct impression that the 'nothing' was definitely a ‘something’. I decided to continue our discussion once we returned to the privacy of our ship.
Nice catalogue of events and observations. Looking forward to the talk with Magash.
I'm catching up on this! All very good.
Caught up with reading the hilarious and often funny account of I-five. Great writing
Thanks. I realized I am getting close to the end of the year. I should start wrapping this up.
Thanks! I'm glad you like it.
Thanks! I have been so busy with school that I haven't been able to write much. I wrote this next entry today. I would edit it more, but I know that will result in me not getting anything done.
Thanks everybody for reading.
We left Zeltros today. The trip was a success, providing enough profit to support us for at least two weeks. If we can acquire weekly cargo runs we should have no difficulty paying rent and purchasing groceries. This type of life is not as dangerous as fighting Sith Lords, but the pay is much better.
I thought this mundane existence would bore Jax, but he appears to be overly occupied with Sacha and the pending birth of his first child. It is Magash that seems restless and unfulfilled by our new occupation.
Once we were in hyperspace and our course set for Myrkr I decided to discuss my observations with my friend. Although Magash was offered the empty cabin that Den and Norro usually occupied, she demurred and opted to stay in her large utility room in the cargo space. It was there I found her after dinner.
She answered my knock on her quarter’s door and smiled widely while ushering me inside. “Please come in.” She gestured to a chair near her bed. “Sit down.” She sat at the edge of her bed and looked at me expectantly. “I thought you might want to talk.”
I gave a confused expression as I took a seat. “Really? I didn’t realize I was projecting my intentions in any way.”
She gave a slight shrug of her shoulders. “You looked concerned since we left Zeltros.” She gazed at me intently. “Are you well?”
I chuckled as I gazed at the deck. “To be honest, I thought you were upset about something. When Sacha and Jax are in a playful mood your normally upbeat disposition appears to falter.”
Her face turned a dark red as she looked away. “I wasn’t aware I was giving that impression.” She gazed back looking flustered. “I’m not interested in Jax, if that’s what you think. Jealously is not a factor.”
I sat back in my chair perplexed. Never did I believe Magash coveted Jax for herself…at least not since he started dating Sacha. “I didn’t think that. You simply looked sad.”
She heaved a deep sigh and remained silent for such a long pause that I assumed I overstepped some human or Zabrak social boundary by discussing this topic. I stood and motioned toward the door. “I do not wish to pry into a sensitive topic.” I took a step toward the exit. “I’m sorry if I offended you in anyway.”
“No, stay.” She stood and put a hand on my shoulder and guided me back to my seat. “Perhaps I should talk to a friend about this.” She sat down on the bed facing me as she drew in a slow, calming breath. “I am thinking about returning to Dathomir.”
“What?” I exclaimed in a near panic. I have grown very fond of Magash and I did not like the idea of her leaving. “Why?”
She chewed on her bottom lip while contemplating her answer. “When I see Sacha and Jax together and so much in love I realize I will never have that. I am torn by conflicting emotions. I wish to fit into a society where men and women bond and raise a family, but I have found it impossible to break through my early conditioning. On Dathomir women do not live and raise children with their breeding male.” She frowned deeply and she blew out a breath. “I would like to have a daughter one day, but I do not wish to raise her alone. It is best that I return to my clan, have a child there, and raise her among my sisters.”
This was all a little overwhelming, but I was especially caught off guard by her reference to only a female child. “What if you have a boy?”
Her face saddened. “If I am on Dathomir, once weaned, a son would be raised in the men’s encampment.” She gestured toward the front of the ship. “I could not raise a son like Jax and Sacha can. That is not an option in my society.”
I was a little confused as to what the problem was. She was a beautiful woman who could easily find a willing male to assist in the conception of a child and she would not be alone—Jax, Sacha, Den, Norro and I would all be there to assist in child rearing duties. “You could have a baby on Myrkr and all of us would help you raise the child,” I pointed out the obvious.
She shook her head. “I would always feel like an outsider.” She gazed at me with sad eyes. “On most worlds in this galaxy, men and women form lasting bonds. If I stay I will always be confronted with something I cannot have. I have considered the possibility of finding a mate like Sacha has, but I have found it impossible to break free from of my social upbringing. It is better that I return.”
“No,” I said emphatically as I frantically tried to come up with a rational reason for her to stay. “If you want to overcome your childhood conditioning you can. You can have a life like Sacha and Jax have.”
She shook her head, unconvinced. “How?”
I thought about it and an idea came to me. I leaned forward in my chair and stared deeply into her eyes. “Have you ever heard of exposure therapy?”
Her brow furrowed as she contemplated the question. “No, what is it?”
“It is when a person is exposed to an object or situation that gives them discomfort. They are exposed in a way that there is no danger and these exposures increase in duration until the person no longer experiences anxiety.”
She looked completely confused. “You wish to expose men to me?”
I laughed as I leaned back in my chair. “That is not exactly what I have in mind, but it is close. Being around men regularly can change your perception of them. Already your contact with Jax has made you want to change your Dathomiri ways. This shows you are receptive to exposure therapy.”
“But not in a bonding way,” she pointed out. “Friends is one thing, but entering a romantic relationship and becoming a monogamous mate to a man is another thing entirely.”
“True,” I said with a nod. “But if you are slowly introduced to associating with a male, doing pre-mating rituals such as dancing, dinner…hugging, kissing…maybe you can overcome your aversion to bonding with a male.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Where would I find a male for such an experiment?”
My droid brain is obviously still malfunctioning because the next thought that popped into my mind was outlandish. “I’d volunteer to help.”
She gave me an incredulous expression. “What?”
I felt a sickening sense of panic settle over me as I fully realized what I had just suggested. “I’m not propositioning you!” I asserted. “The therapy has two main aspects to it. There is imagined exposure, which you can do on your own. You envision yourself in a bonded union with a male. The second part of the therapy is physical exposure. This means the repeated confrontation of situations that cause you distress…but in a way that they are not perceived as inherently dangerous or as objectionable.” I put my hand to my chest and gave a weak smile. “You have told me you don’t see me as an inferior male, but at the same time, I am an exact duplicate of a functional male and I am sentient. I believe I would make an adequate substitute for a male for this type of therapy.”
“No,” she whispered hoarsely, full of emotion. “I absolutely won’t do that.”
The smile slipped from my face as I averted my eyes in embarrassment. Eventually, I gave a slow, dejected nod of my head. “I apologize for making such a suggestion. I’m a droid. I can understand how an organic being might find that type of close interaction with a droid somewhat odious.”
“Odious?” she said confused.
“Repugnant, disgusting,” I clarified.
Her eyes went wide. “That is not the reason for my objection.” She rung her hands nervously as a sad smile tugged at her lips. "I will not do it because I see you as a person. I do not wish to toy with your emotions. I will not allow you to perform the function as a mate-substitute so I can one day find a companion on Myrkr to procreate and bond with. You have feelings. I sense them. Why would you wish to put yourself in such an emotionally compromising position? You would gain nothing from the therapy but heartache.”
I shook my head. “That’s not true. I would gain a better understanding of human nature.” I paused for a moment, not sure if I wanted to say exactly what was on my mind. After a moment of hesitation I continued. “Magash, I am sentient. I want the same thing you do. I wish to have a bonded mate. I know I cannot father children, but I would like to form a life-long relationship with someone. My relationship with my friends and their children might be enough for me, but lately I am not sure. I want what Sacha and Jax have also…but to do that I would need to act and behave more human. I would have to win over a woman’s heart with her knowing my inability to procreate. She would also have to overcome a innate aversion to forming a romantic bond with a machine, albeit a sentient machine.” I needlessly took a deep breath and let it out. It was a human gesture apparently written into my HRD programing. “I’m not asking you to be that woman, I simply wish to practice being a more convincing human. I want to learn how to make a companion happy. This therapy would benefit both of us. We could learn much together, if you are willing.”
Her expression was unreadable as I sat nervously awaiting her answer. Finally she responded.
“When do we start?”
Wow! That certainly didn't disappoint in the amazing department! Great "suggestion" and strategy which will help each of them.
Great to see them willing to help and benefit both.
Thanks. I'm glad you liked that update.
I think it will work out for them.
Thanks everybody for reading. I have started back up with college and don't have as much time to write. I am supposed to be studying for a physics exam and instead I am procrastinating and writing fanfic.
To avoid any confusion Magash and I decided to inform our friends of our plans. We asked Sacha and Jax to join us at the galley dining table where we detailed the course of action we decided upon.
Jax at first smiled with a look of incredulity, but his grin quickly faded and was replaced by a perplexed expression.
“Let me see if I understand you.” He gestured toward Magash and me. “You two decided to start dating and be a couple.”
I thoroughly explained our plan to conduct exposure therapy with Magash and my need to practice being human, but my explanation was obviously lacking either clarity or substance, otherwise Jax would not have such difficulty grasping the concept. “On the surface it will look as if we are dating,” I clarified. “But we will not be in a romantic relationship. We are approaching this in a clinical manner. What we plan is more analogous to conducting scientific trials.”
“Scientific trials?” A wide grin crossed Jax’s face. “Tell me, do these experiments involve osculation of the oral apertures?”
Sacha made an unladylike snort before she buried her head in her hands to stifle her laughter. Magash crossed her arms over her chest and simply glared at our friends. I gave Jax a forced smile before answering. “I suppose that might occur in the second or third phase of the experiment, but we have agreed to remain neutral and dispassionate throughout the process.”
I have no idea why my comment prompted a second outburst of laughter from Sacha. “Good luck with that,” she muttered under her breath.
“I do not understand your reaction to what I consider a well thought out plan of action.”
Jax shook his head while chewing on his bottom lip in an effort to maintain his composure. “It’s just…” He stopped for a second considering his words. “I don’t think you’ve thought this out completely. Or maybe I just don’t understand. ” He leaned forward in his seat and gestured toward me. “You have agreed to practice having a romantic relationship with Magash so she might one day have a chance at a normal monogamous sexual relationship with a man instead of putting a rope around his neck and leading him to a Dathomiri grass hut to mate. Is that general concept?”
“No,” Magash interrupted. “We do not use grass huts in our clan. We occupy the caverns within the Singing Mountain.”
I experienced an involuntary roll of my eyes. “Thanks for clearing that up Magash.”
She gave me a sideways glance. “Nightsisters live in huts. We are not that primitive.” I believe she then realized she had commented on the wrong part of Jax’s statement. She gave an embarrassed shrug of her shoulder and a faint smile. “But yes, we do place a symbolic rope around the neck of the selected breeding male before leading him to our living quarters.”
Sacha dropped her head down to the table and crossed her arms over her head, but that did little to hide her amusement.
Jax continued. “And you wish to practice your courting technique because you decided you wish to attract a life companion.”
I nodded my head. “I believe you understand. What I do not comprehend is your apparent objection to this endeavor.”
Jax brought his hands up in a halting gesture. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for this. I want Magash to stay with us and find a mate. I want you to find a companion, but I have to warn you, it is almost impossible to completely control your emotions.” He gazed to Magash and then to me. “What if one of you falls in love with the other and the feelings are unrequited? This is a dangerous game you’re playing.”
Magash sighed deeply as she turned to face me. “I have expressed the same concerns to I-Five.”
I lowered my head in thought. “There is nothing to worry about. I am a droid. I am certain I can control my HRD preprogramed emotions.” I looked up to Magash and grinned. “Unless you fear becoming enamored with me.”
To my delight she didn’t argue the impossibility of that scenario. She returned my grin and said, “That is a chance I will have to take.”
Jax threw his hands up in a mock gesture of surrender. “Hey, I hope everything works out for you two.”
Sacha looked up at me and smiled. “I wish you two the best of luck also. You make a great team…and a cute couple.”
I considered responding to that comment but then realized Sacha’s made a very accurate and astute assessment of the situation. One cannot argue with the truth.
We returned to Myrkr and I discovered breaking the news to Den and Norro was far less challenging. Den grinned mischievously and requested daily updates on any scientific progress. Norro gave a puzzled expression and said, “I thought you two were already dating”.
The decision was made, our friends were told of our plans…and I suddenly found myself bereft of any ideas as to how to proceed. How can a Dathomiri witch and a droid teach each other about romantic relationships? Neither of us have any experience.
Sacha suggested we watch her favorite romantic holovid with her and Jax. It was a romantic thriller called Gorgeous Vixen. Magash and I sat down next to each other on the couch while Jax and Sacha shared a recliner. The chair was not meant to seat two people but Jax seemed perfectly content to have Sacha sitting on his lap.
I have a hard time believing this holovid is Sacha’s favorite. She barely glanced over to the holoprojector but instead kissed and whispered to Jax for the duration of the holo.
The Republic era holovid was about a young Jedi Knight who enlists the help of a high-class prostitute to infiltrate the Black Nebula crime syndicate. While working together they fall in love and have sexual relations at the most inopportune moments and in what I consider the most unsavory locations.
I looked over to Magash who appeared as confused with the plot as I was. She turned in her seat and looked over to Sacha who was snuggling up to Jax.
“I do not understand why, when being chased by killers, they decided to take off their clothing and have intercourse. They are now vulnerable to attack.” Magash turned back to the vid and glared at the fornicating couple. “No Witch would allow a man to distract her in such a manner. She would be crouching with a knife and prepared to decapitate the men who are trying to capture her.”
Sacha laughed. “That’s not very romantic.”
“Maybe not for you,” Magash said softly. When I gave her a confused glance she clarified. “A Dathomiri warrior that has killed or driven off the enemy is rewarded with the best of the breeding stock.”
I smiled with a nod. “That’s good to know. Instead of a roses, I should instead provide a dozen bloodthirsty mercenaries for you to dispatch before feeding them to your ferocious Rancor.”
She gave me a playful nudge with her elbow. “You are starting to understand Dathomiri women.”
I chuckled and turned my attention to Jax. “I thought the Jedi were forbidden to form any romantic attachments.”
Jax pulled his attention from Sacha long enough to answer. “It was forbidden, but it did happen. Usually the Jedi would be given the choice to leave his lover or leave the Jedi Order.”
“Did Jedi get a formal education at the Temple?”
Jax’s brow furrowed. “Of course they did.”
I pointed to the holo where the young couple had just completed their mating ritual and were now redressing while frantically whispering to each other the need to hurry. “If this Jedi was given a proper education wouldn’t he have realize having sexual relations with a prostitute would put him at a high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.” I turned to him. “You did receive reproduction education, did you not?”
Jax started to look a little perturbed. “I took a biology class, but since we were expected to stay abstinent they didn’t really get into the details concerning prophylactics or repress meds.”
Sacha grinned while rubbing her belly. “Which explains why I got pregnant the first time we were together.”
Jax made a humphing sound. “That’s not true.” He looked over to me. “Sacha and I were both on repress meds at the time of conception.” He smiled at his lover “I think this baby was the will of the Force.”
I was pulled away from our conversation when Magash made a frustrated sound. “They have twenty-seconds to disarm a bomb and now they are gazing into each other’s eyes before kissing.”
“Jax, do humans always act so irrational and reckless when in love?” I posed that question just as the Jedi rendered the bomb inert with a half second to spare.
Jax gave a shrug of his shoulders. “I think love brings out self sacrifice. We all have risked our lives to save each other.”
I gazed at the man who I consider a brother and smirked. “Jax are you saying you love me.”
He picked up the Holo remote and tossed it at my head. “Just watch the holo and learn something.”
I caught the device easily and put it aside. “I have already learned much. To romance a Dathomiri witch I must put her into a situation where she can demonstrate her amazing hunting and slaying skills. When being pursued by assassins I should always take the time to indulge in carnal activities. In addition, I must wait until the last nanosecond to deactivate any explosive device because danger is an aphrodisiac to human females.”
Jax gave me a thumbs-up. “I think you got it.”
Sacha shook her head and rolled her eyes, letting me know that I most certainly did not ‘get it’.