1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - OT Far From Home (Cara Dune) DDC 2020

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by divapilot, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Title: Far from home
    Author: divapilot
    Character: Cara Dune
    Era: Saga OT (Post-ROTJ to pre-The Mandalorian)
    Genre: drama
    Summary: Rebel soldier Cara Dune finds herself adrift when the shooting stops. All she knows is fighting. What can peace offer her?

    Notes: Written for DDC 2020


    Forest Moon of Endor, southern quadrant
    Third day after the destruction of Imp battle station

    Dear Haralt,

    It’s quiet tonight. I have night watch along with West and Kolaxi, who are busy losing money they don’t actually have in an epic match of sabacc. They asked me to join them but I said maybe another time.

    There’s not much to do, to be honest. There were a dozen or so Imps in the forest that we flushed out the first day, and then a couple more the next day, but today we haven’t seen anyone. Betta took out the scanner and ran a sweep but there are so many living things out here in this wilderness that you can’t tell a surrendering Imp from a timber bear. Personally, I think we’ve pretty much rounded all the stormies up.

    Three days ago it was another story. Me and the rest of Assault Team Besh landed on Endor, not far from the southern relay station for the auxiliary defense shield. ATB was responsible for securing the station just as soon as the main station went down so that the Imperial military’s redundant systems couldn’t come on line as back-up to protect the battle station. Haralt, you should have seen that battle station. I wasn’t there when the Battle of Yavin took place, and I only heard about the Death Star. But that battle station was immense. It blotted out the karking sun.

    Sorry. I know you don’t like it when I swear.

    It was a terrifying thing to see. I can only imagine how horrifying it was back home, when the monster loomed in the sky, like some unholy thing spat up from Hades. But I don’t want to talk about home. All I knew as we flew in was that this battle station had to go. It was an abomination.

    My commander got us down and we were able to take the relay station without too much of a fight. Still, I got two kills and punched another stormtrooper unconscious. I like the sound their helmets make when they buckle. My knuckles were bleeding but it was worth it.

    I know you’ve never held an assault weapon. Let me tell you what it’s like. First of all, they are heavy. You will definitely build up your arm muscles lugging those around. There’s a charger that throws off heat as the gun blasts. The plasma unit holds the discharge cartridges. Aim, pull the trigger, hold on tight. You can feel the kickback when the plasma fires. There’s a smell, like hot metal. And when it’s all over, I feel euphoric. I’m sorry, Hal, but I do. I know Alderaan was a peaceful place, and I’m supposed to be a pacifist. I’m a rebel soldier, fighting for galactic freedom. But I’ll tell you, and you alone -- I feel like I’m getting revenge for everyone that lost their lives that day when Death came to our home. I scream when I fire that weapon. Nobody can hear me anyway, there’s so much going on during an assault. And when it’s over and the smoke clears, I feel like I’ve released all the pain and loss that I’ve had to keep under control, and I can start to try to live again.

    Anyway. We took over the relay station and waited for the signal from the primary assault team, the one that was taking over the main defense shield station. Took them long enough but they did it. Then, once they took down the defense shield, we hit our station so that the back-ups couldn’t go on line. That left everything above us defenseless. It was all up to the flyboys at that point.

    Most people will probably only hear about the heroic assault on the main defense shield station, because that’s the one where the Princess was. Nobody will ever know there were actually eight supporting relays and a power station that had to be taken out at the same time. But I don’t care if no one ever knows. I’m not here for the fame and glory.

    So here I am. I’m sitting up here in this glorified tree house, listening to my comrades argue over their cards, looking up at the night sky and wondering what comes next.


    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
    Ewok Poet, Kahara, Anedon and 4 others like this.
  2. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 4, 2017
    I loved Cara Dune in the Mandalorian, and I think you write her post-rotj very well! I'm excited to see where this goes. :)
    Kahara likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    A fascinating premise and context for a diary. [face_thinking]
    Kahara and BookExogorth like this.
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    And, just like that, I am hooked and my heart is fully invested. Dear goodness, but I am HOOKED!

    I don't have words for how much I adore the context for this diary: of Cara writing to her dead loved one, or so I presume. She instantly snagged me in The Mandalorian, and I was fascinated by the few lines of her backstory we glimpsed. I know that you will do her character all of the justice here, and I can't wait to see what you have planned next. for Cara. [face_love] =D=

    Gah! You are already developing a voice that's the perfect balance of softness and strength. This little bit just twisted at my heart. =((

    =((!! Something tells me that I am going to be using that emoji a fair bit throughout the course of this story. Oh Cara. Of course her pain for seeing the Death Star again has to be immense, unimaginably so. Of course she doesn't want to talk about home. She's fighting for all of the homes in the galaxy, for justice, but also for the memory of her home, which can no longer be saved. These few words packed so much of a punch. =D=

    There's our Cara. I adore what a force of nature she is, in more ways than one! These few lines were so, so satisfying to read. :p [face_mischief]

    I think that everyone who's watched Cara in action has wondered how she could go from an Alderaanian citizen to a shock trooper who clearly relishes the actual fight itself when necessary. I can't wait to see those gaps filled in, and, in the meantime, her quiet confessions to Hal just pulled at my heartstrings. :(

    Wow. Powerful and poignant. =D=

    There were so many unsung heroes in the Rebellion, it's so true! I appreciated this look at the bigger picture. [face_love]

    Just that easily, I am smitten. Smitten, I tell you! Again, I can't say enough about the tone you've managed to strike. It's just so perfectly Cara's voice as I like to imagine her, and I'm beyond thrilled to see you undertake this project. [face_love]

    I am eagerly awaiting more! Thanks for sharing! =D= [:D]
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  5. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Awesome! I love Cara Dune from The Mandalorian. I look forward to reading more!
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Thank you! I loved Cara right away. What a great character! I hope I can pull this together and do right by her...[face_hypnotized]

    Thanks! The Mandalorian is a terrific show, and Cara is one of the best things about it. She rocks.

    Thank you so much, Mira! Cara is such a complex character, and the more I think about her, the more baggage appears (which is great news for a writer ;)). Although we didn't learn that much about Carasynthia Dune, what we did find out about her was fascinating.

    That's the crux of her; she's as tough as can be but something in her is also incredibly fragile.

    We know she was on Endor, so seeing the same weapon that obliterated her homeworld must have been traumatic. There's no Alderaan left to fight for, so she fights for everyone else now.

    I'm hoping I can get it right. I think the letters to Hal are cathartic for her, just as the satisfying crunch of a stormtrooper helmet is cathartic. Alderaan is a famously peaceful world, but Cara relishes a good brawl. How did she get there? and how did she go from rebel soldier to shock trooper to renegade with a bounty on her?

    I always believed that those "easy to overtake" missions like the defense shield base were actually more complex than they looked. The way I perceive it here, since Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie were at one location, the other rebel soldiers at the auxiliary locations were overlooked and then forgotten. But Cara doesn't like the attention anyway.

    I'm rewatching The Mandalorian to hopefully get some clues as to what to write next. This is one of the cases where I am going to have to listen to what she tells me to write. :cool: Thank you so much for your amazing reply.

    Thank you! I'm glad you like it so far. I'm hoping I can write her well enough to do her justice.
  7. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Entry 2.

    Forest Moon of Endor, command station
    Two weeks after the destruction of Imp battle station

    Dear Haralt,

    It looks like we are moving out for good at last. This place has been getting on my nerves anyway.

    There’s been this issue of debris from the destroyed battle station raining down. After the battle, it broke apart and it’s been slowly drifting into orbit. Although it’s fascinating to watch the night sky light up with the streaks from the debris, it’s been setting fires and making a general mess of things, so Command made a decision to protect the species that lives here and their habitat. The plan seems to be to tractor-beam the biggest remnant chunks out of the orbit so they won’t fall on the forest moon and really cause a problem. My guess is they’ll probably tow it to one of the other closer moons like Korkar or Kef Bir and let it fall there since they’re more sparsely populated, then forget all about it and move on.

    They say the Emperor is dead and the Empire has fallen. I don’t know what to make of that. Living under imperial rule is all I’ve ever known. Of course, there was a time when I was really little when I lived during the Republic, but I can’t remember any of that. And it honestly didn’t seem to make that much of a difference when I was a kid. I had other things to worry about than galactic politics.

    Like you, for instance.

    I remember when you were a kid and the other kids picked on you. You were always the smarter one of the two of us, but you were so little and weak. I hated to see them bully you. I think the first fight I ever got in was with Wilfrida something. What was her last name, now? She was in my year, too, so I ought to remember. Anyway, she started something with you and I hit her. Got her good, too. The next day she was sitting in class, under the holoportrait of Queen Breha, with a big bruise on her face. She had it coming.

    I remember her name now. Wilfrida Aquaina. That’s it. Not that remembering it matters.

    Oh, Hal. Sometimes I remember too much. I remember the way the breeze felt on that first warm day of the season, the bright sun heating my skin after so many chilly days. I remember how the viranca trees smelled when the flowers finally opened and their scents filled the night air. I remember the rows and rows of grapes growing at the vineyard. I remember

    Betta got her combat tattoo yesterday. She’s really young, like 19 or 20, and this was her first combat, so she got her rebel mark. She had West apply it to her thigh, where she said she can show it to people if she wants them to see and keep it hidden otherwise. I got my first combat tattoo eight years ago, when I was 21. Got it on Dantooine. The sergeant asked me where I wanted her to apply my mark, and I said “Put it right on my face. That way when you look me in the eye, you know exactly what I am.” And that’s where it is. The tattoos don’t really hurt, and even if they did, I wouldn’t show it.

    In retrospect, it seems kind of pointless for anyone to get their rebel mark now. I’m not sure what they are going to use us for now that the fighting appears to be pretty much done. Maybe there are still some skirmishes out on the Rim, where the Imps are not so willing to give up. I can be useful there; I fight hard and I don’t ask questions. Whatever it turns out to be, though, I’ll do it. It’s best for me to keep moving anyway.

    Looking skyward and, as always, thinking of you, Hal.

    Ewok Poet, Anedon and Mira_Jade like this.
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Great mix of sweet and bitter memories. =D= There is such a nostalgic tone to her young girl memories, an innocence.

    There is a great and poignant truth to the fact that Cara doesn't quite believe the Empire is "gone." Fighting them is all she's ever known. It's persons like her that deserve a measure of peace and serenity, as well as a sense of genuine purpose. [face_thinking]
  9. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Okay, this isn't the most important thing by any means but, it's triggering my inner pendant really hard: it's sabacc, with one b, two c's. It's on line one, so it's super jarring.

    Now, with that out of the way. Cara Dune's voice is well established here, the combination of aggressive but vaguely tired fits with a combat veteran and her later Mandalorian portrayal - I can see the gradual slide into giving up that she'd reached by her first appearance there, while also the core convictions that allow her to come back.
  10. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    This was another wonderful update! I have to say again that I love the voice that you've developed for Cara: tired and grieving but wry and gritty and determined all at once! That sounds like the little we've been able to glimpse of her in canon down to a T. [face_love] =D=

    You know, I never really thought about the cleanup after the Death Star's destruction, but this is very feasible! I especially appreciated Cara finding beauty in the view; there was something poignantly fitting about that line.

    A great characterization. I can only imagine how - well, not empty, exactly, but different - it is to have everything you've fought against suddenly defeated. Especially since Alderaan is still gone and she still has her memories. :(

    Ha! [face_love] [face_rofl] Yep, there's our Cara! She's always had her fighting spirit. I love the image of bruised little Wilfrida sitting underneath Queen Breha's portrait - undoubtedly while Cara sat and glowered unrepentantly from the other side of the classroom! [face_mischief]

    Another poignant line. There's a burden in remembering so many who don't have anyone left to remember them. Her memories of Alderaan are bittersweet to have, undoubtedly!

    So, so fittingly Cara! I loved this bit! [face_love]

    Fantastic work with this, again! I look forward to reading more. =D=
  11. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Thank you for your comment! There is something really bittersweet about Cara. And you're right, she's defined herself as a fighter, so what will she do when the fighting stops? Who is she when she's not a soldier? She does deserve some serenity and purpose, as you put it. I think she eventually finds that with Din.

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad her voice is coming through here. She is tired, and but she still has a lot of fight in her. I am hoping to get her to that state of mind where we first see her, wary but still engaged with what's going on, in The Mandalorian.

    Thank you! I'm glad you're liking her, and I think you did a fantastic job with her in your own story. She's been through a lot, not just as a war veteran but as someone who has survived a genocide. She has a lot of rebuilding to do in her life.

    I wanted to figure out how part of the second Death Star wound up not on Endor but on Kef Bir in SW:ROS. I made a guess that they decided that since Endor was inhabited by the Ewoks, they moved the bigger, more damaging parts to a nearby uninhabited moon. I can imagine that leaving all that debris in the atmosphere would wreak havoc with the climate and even the gravity on Endor. (Imagine a second moon to Earth - the oceans would be completely disrupted and the climate would collapse!) Time for a clean-up.
    As for the artificially created meteor showers, I think as an Alderaanian, Cara has a natural eye for beauty and art. She appreciates what glimpses she can get in the ugliness of war.

    That's a good image! [face_laugh]

    I think it's definitely a burden. And I think she's probably got a lot of survivor guilt, which makes it hard for her to take a chance to get close to anyone again.
    Thank you! I kind of know where I want to go with this, but I really need to sit down and plot this out... :p
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005

    Forest Moon of Endor, command station
    Three weeks after the destruction of Imp battle station
    Reassignment day

    Dear Haralt,

    We get our new orders later today. Supposedly, we get new ranks in the New Republic army, too. We’ve been promised fresh uniforms, higher pay, better rations, weapons upgrades - everything nice and shiny and new. Some politician made some speech somewhere, probably dragged out some old trooper and pinned a trinket to his chest, and then promised to take care of our veterans. So that’s the word, anyway; new government, new equipment, brand-new and upgraded army.

    I mean, I won’t say no. I’ve been having trouble with this carbine since Ryloth so getting a new weapon works for me. And new uniforms would be a good thing. Honestly all they need to do is keep the original outfit and armor, and just switch the patch from Rebels to New Republic. It’s not like it’s going to be completely different anyway. But I think I will wait and see before I actually start depending on government promises.

    You probably don’t remember this because you were too young, but years and years ago, Mom’s brother, Dor, had a beautiful vineyard in our town. Not one of the bigger farms, but it was on land that was absolutely breathtaking. I can still see the rows of grapevines, the clear view to the mountains ahead, the purple and orange wildflowers growing between the plots. Uncle Dor and Auntie Sallia had a cute little home that they opened for visitors. I remember them and Mom and Dad sitting on the terrace while you slept in your little hovercot. I remember I used to walk along the top of the stone balcony and play on the tiled roof of the shed, much to Mom’s disapproval.

    Anyway, to get to my point: The Empire came to our province with big promises. They were going to bring lots of jobs, and everyone was going to get more benefits and more money. So everyone stood and applauded. I mean, it's a small agricultural town. Who doesn’t want more money? Well, you know what they did? They took over Uncle Dor’s vineyard and plowed it over. Turns out the regional Moff’s son had been one of their guests at the cottage, and he took a liking to the view. The son of a gundark claimed the half the town for government use, plowed over the vineyard and a few neighboring farms, and put a private resort there. Sure, the jobs came -- jobs as maids and cooks and gardeners, serving the people who now lived in their homes and slept in their beds. Those same townspeople who stood up and cheered were left to clean what used to be theirs, and then they were locked out when the workday was over. It broke Uncle Dor and Auntie Sallia’s hearts. So I don’t always believe the promises that governments make, regardless of how charming the speaker might be.

    Still, it would be nice to get a new carbine. We’ll see.

    In a way, I don’t want this afternoon to come. Assault Team Besh is a tight unit. I’ve worked with these people, fought beside them, buried a few of them who didn’t make it this far. We have memories together. If we all get split up (as we probably will), who will I have to share those memories with? What good’s a memory if nobody knows what you’re talking about?

    Kolaxi went off by himself yesterday to do some kind of Zabrak meditation thing. I think he’s feeling the same way, too. Betta is excited about the change; she’s so young and new that she doesn’t know that this is the beginning of an end.

    West came up to me last night after he got off duty. He asked me to go with him. The Lieutenant kind of knows about us so she looked the other way. It’s not like I’m in love with West or he’s in love with me, but sometimes you need to be with another person who understands you more than words can say. Sometimes you need to be held by, and to hold onto, someone who just gets you. We went to a clearing about half a span away; close enough that we could get back to the camp if we were needed. Last night, his caresses were different from the other times. His kisses lingered. His touch was less about eager exploring and more about savoring. We both were that way. It was our way of saying goodbye. I didn’t want the night to end, I didn’t want that sky full of stars to lighten toward the dawn. I wonder if our paths will cross again, but it’s okay if they don’t. We both know better than to make promises.

    Hal, remember when we went to religious school and they taught us the ancient prophecy of the endtimes? How the world would end someday? And we were taught that yes, even though all things end, and Alderaan and her people would die someday, it would be okay because they promised we would all be together in the Aftertimes?

    Another promise broken. I guess they didn’t plan on survivors.

    Betta’s sitting next to me, chattering away on a message to her parents on Kuat. I glance over and see West, standing with the Lieutenant. I can see his dark hands gesturing while he speaks. He keeps his back to me. We won’t speak about last night and goodbyes.

    Hal, I promised I would take care of you. I’m sorry. Say hi to Mom and Dad, and to Uncle Dor and Auntie. I hope you can see the view from the vineyard where you are. Missing you and looking skyward.


    Ewok Poet, Anedon and Mira_Jade like this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Very real-to-life unfortunately, all the Imperial/governmental promises which of course the townsfolk welcomed, little realizing it would relegate them to beneath second class citizenship. :eek: :rolleyes: Cara's family sound very endearing and caring, and it's heart-wrenching realizing all that happened to them. :( Leaving her comrades behind, saying one more goodbye - you can tell she's resigned to the entire thing and tries to be as nonchalant about it as you can ever be. It's a sad consequence of loss that you have to tell yourself to keep others at a distance.
    divapilot likes this.
  14. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Soooo . . . don't mind me taking forever and a day to reply to this! :p All my apologies, but please know that I have been enjoying every word and look forward to your muse hopefully catching steam with this diary again! Because it remains one of my favorites! =D= [:D]

    Oh ow ow ow - what a painful memory, even with interspersed with some tantalizing glimpses of how Cara's home-life used to be. How beautiful to grow up surrounded by Alderaanian vineyards! But of course the Empire couldn't let that beauty stand without tainting it. That was sadly an all too real and believable scenario. Cara has every right not to trust promises from the government, even when she wants the New Republic to be better. It's interesting to see that she's not as much of an idealist as others in the Rebellion - which is completely in character. She wanted to fight the Empire, first and foremost; and the Alliance was a means to that end. She wants to see better now, sure, but she's not exactly expecting it, sadly.

    Oh, ow - again! Watching Cara work through her grief - especially now that the fighting is ebbing and she has time for reflection - is so heavy hitting and hard to read. =((

    =(( I am glad that Cara had West in what small way she could, while she could. At the same time I can understand why she is only looking for so much and not anything more. Her heart is still too bruised from her grief for that. It's even harder now watching her at another crossroads in her life, trying to figure out her place and what comes next.

    I don't know if it was implicitly stated before and I just missed it, but having Hal as her brother is incredibly heavy hitting. Her little brother, at that! The glimpses we got of her family in this update were as bitter as they were sweet.

    Beautiful work, again! I can't wait to read what comes next for Cara! [face_love] =D=
    divapilot likes this.
  15. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    Nice diary, always cool to get a common soldiers perspective on things, wich tend to be a lot more cynical than those of the main characters. In this case even more so if we consider her background coming from Alderaan, having everything you hold dear being utterly annihalted will leave scars on the soul.
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.