Beyond - Legends Empty Vessel (Mara, vignette)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Leia, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Leia

    Leia Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Aug 8, 1998
    Title: Empty Vessel
    Author(s): Leia
    Timeframe: post-TLC
    Characters: Mara Jade
    Summary: So this is freedom.

    * * *

    So this is freedom.

    Mara stares out the canopy of her Z-95 Headhunter, seeing nothing. The ship’s comm unit is silent, but at any moment she expects it to crackle to life and for Coruscant air control to give her clearance for lift off. The Wild Karrde is waiting to rendezvous in orbit before it jumps off elsewhere, leaving Mara to her new duties as the Smugglers’ Alliance liaison.

    Kicking off the Smugglers’ Alliance has kept her so busy that there’s been little time for introspection. But every now and then she has a moment to herself to realize just how quiet it is now. She’d heavily felt the silence following the Emperor’s death, but she’d still had the cycles of his command periodically interrupting it. And she’d clung to those, even though they disturbed her. Now, even the last vestiges of the Emperor are gone.

    The ship’s comm pops and Mara starts, but it makes no further sound so she settles back, eyes now focusing on the Palace that stands before her, beautiful and brooding.

    Once, she had known every hall, every back passage, of the Palace. She’d swept through ballrooms draped in finery. She’d skulked through hidden doorways into ambassadorial suites to arrange “accidental” deaths. She’d stood in shadows on the rooftop and looked out across the city, feeling powerful and fearless. She’d heard his strong, commanding voice from anywhere and was never truly alone—and yes, perhaps she had loved him.

    That life is gone now; worse, it never existed. All lies, so there is nothing to look back on with any sort of pleasure, even a bittersweet one. Instead, his betrayal is a cold star somewhere in her belly, flaring with dying light every time she walks through the Palace, when a stray memory surfaces and she must look at it with new eyes, reframe it as the dupe and not the agent. She’d been proud of her service, but in truth she had lived her life in a gilded cage.

    She has since broken her shackles, scraped and scrounged for every inch of her new freedom—but with this triumph, she has never felt so defeated.

    The comm unit snaps to life, and Mara has her clearance. She gives herself a small shake to rid the ghosts. Runs through her final systems checks, pulls back on the yoke, and heads for the nothingness of space.
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Mara, alone in space, away from the recent events (the TTT etc), finally having some time to *be herself*. You hit the home run again here. What is there not to like?

    She's a blank space. But just like the space itself, she is also EVERYTHING, and I hope that she is aware of that.
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Kessel Run Champion star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Feb 27, 2014
    Wonderful to see you back, and with such a lovely wee study of both this character and of the meaning of freedom. Especially when one has been enslaved and controlled as long as Mara has, freedom, when it comes, isn't going to come with fireworks or trumpet fanfares; most often it comes with profound silence and emptiness of the sort Mara is experiencing here. And it's not a sudden thing that happens all at once: it takes takes time and is often a "two steps forward, one step back"-type process, as we see in the time it takes for the Emperor's command cycles to fully peter out from Mara's mind (and in the way she almost, kinda-sorta holds onto them when they happen). Piggybacking on what EP says, the emptiness of space into which Mara's about to blast off is emblematic not only of the emptiness of her life as Emperor's Hand but also of her huge potential—there is so much more that awaits her out there. With time she'll become aware of it. :cool:

    Great work, once again. =D=
  4. Leia

    Leia Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Aug 8, 1998
    Ewok Poet Thank you for reading and commenting! :) You've hit the nail on the head. Space might look and feel like a whole lot of nothing, but there's actually so much out there. Even black holes, rather than being absence, are really everything crushed together under intense gravity.

    Findswoman Thank you! @};- Yeah, Mara is free now, but she's lost everything, including her past. Happily, we know she overcomes that, which is probably why she's one of my all-time favorite characters. What growth!
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Exquisite =D= =D= =D= I love introspective pieces, and this one of Mara at this point in time is especially spot-on and brilliant. @};-
    Ewok Poet likes this.
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Great introspective piece on the state of mind that Mara has as she embarks on her new life, her "after-life" - beyond the reach of the Emperor. It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, she is free to choose her own life, but freedom means acknowledging her own faults and weaknesses, and taking responsibility for her mistakes. By not having the Emperor anymore in her life, she lost her identity. She can define her own self, but who is she?

    There's so much interesting symbolism here. First of all, the idea of the "empty vessel." Literally, her ship is empty; but she's the pilot of that ship and she can determine how to use it. The ship is quiet, so quiet that a comm message seems harsh and intrusive. And of course, Mara herself is an empty vessel. Formerly, she was the vessel that was used by Palpatine to fulfill his will. Now she will follow her own will. The space she flies into is empty, but it's where her future lies. Back on Coruscant, that palace was itself an empty space; at first seeming to be filled with meaning and beauty but now she realizes it was all a facade. That's just like her life with Palpatine - it seemed to be meaningful and powerful, but in fact she was in thrall all the time to Palpatine.

    This line is so interesting. Mara knows that she has to earn her freedom because she understands now that what she once thought was freedom (her life as a Hand) was glorified slavery to Palpatine. And what she is discovering is that freedom is hard. It's going to take a lifetime to feel truly free of Palpatine's influence and to feel that she is in control of her life.

    She's managed to remove the poison and malignancy that filled her life and her heart before, but now, what does she do with the emptiness? How does she fill her heart now?

    Excellent look at this part of Mara's life.