main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - OT Final Mission (a holiday gift-fic for Findswoman)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Seldes_Katne, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Title: Final Mission

    Author: Seldes Katne

    Era: Original Trilogy, set shortly after the events detailed in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

    Characters: Admiral Raddus, Corporal Paodok'Draba'Takat, Corporal Bistan, Lualani’Draba’Takiil (Drabatan OC borrowed with permission) assorted Rogue One background characters, Glockel (Human OC borrowed with permission).

    Genre: Drama, Introspection

    Summary: A member of the Rebel Alliance brings the final effects and posthumous Medals of Valor to the families of three non-human casualties in the Battle of Scarif.

    Notes: Gift-fic for @Findswoman. Her wish for this story: “An introspective story centering on one or more of the non-Human characters from Rogue One, such as Paodok’Draba’Takat, Weeteef Cyu-Bee, Benthic (“Two Tubes”), or Admiral Raddus. It’s OK for Human characters to appear or be mentioned, but the non-Human(s) have to be the main one(s).”



    Final Mission


    Despite an Imperial presence on Dac (known as Mon Cala to the rest of the galaxy), the traveler has made planetfall and located the family of the late Admiral Raddus. After introducing herself, she unwraps a metal disk with a ribbon attached – a Medal of Valor from the Rebel Alliance. She offers it to the Raddus family, along with a datastick. “I’m sorry that we have none of his personal effects to return to you,” she explains. “He kept it all aboard the Profundity, and we couldn’t retrieve any of it. I have a recording of his final message to you in case of his death, but it doesn’t include his thoughts during the battle itself. I can only imagine what those might have been.”

    “We were together for many years, so I can not only imagine them, I can almost hear them,” the late Admiral’s widow assures her.



    I have been asked about the Mon Calamari’s propensity for space navigation. It’s simple, really – we learned to move in water, and the deep ocean is similar enough to deep space, both with their currents, their eddies, their shores and shoals. We can learn much from the ocean and the creatures that live there.

    For example, our Rebel Alliance fights a greater, stronger foe. Yet there are creatures in the seas who must also survive against a larger predator. How do they do it? Some travel in great numbers, like the ghaleesit fish in their multitudinous schools – but that won’t work for our small Rebel cells. Some have developed camouflage; this works better for us, when we can disguise our ships, or better yet, acquire one of the Empire’s.

    As we have done now. A courageous band of mismatched adventurers have brought us a warning of doom and an Imperial shuttle from the research installation on Eadu. Yes. Yes, this has possibilities, if only the Senators will see it….

    And yet they argue. “Fight!” “Run!” “Go into hiding!” “Sue for peace!” (Peace! As if the Empire would grant us any such thing, or keep their word if promised. A fool’s belief, and we would end up like a drejil on a plate, set before the Emperor with a garnish of sea cabbage.)

    We cannot, we CANNOT continue on with these arguments. The Empire will always have more ships, more troops, more supplies, better equipment. Like a hunting pack of krakana, they will keep after us and after us, first one, then another, until they wear us down or devour us. If we continue to fight a defensive war, we will eventually lose.

    And STILL we argue….


    ~*~*~*~*~​


    At last! Our courageous band of mismatched heroes has once again shown us the way. Word has come that they’ve taken the Imperial shuttle and set out for Scarif, whose garrison houses the Imperial engineering plans for thousands of projects – including this horrifying weapon, this Death Star they warned us of.

    No more arguing. No more debate. Now we must act. Now we must push our advantage, our every advantage, to make this mission a success. I’m ordering the fleet to scramble ships and fighters – we must go NOW! (I can imagine the Senators arguing about how to discipline me when this is over….)


    ~*~*~*~*~​


    In the midst of battle. No time to think – only instinct, like the sea creatures of Dac. Fighting everywhere, Gold Squadron probing the planetary shield, Blue on Scarif protecting the landing party – no, Rogue One. A fitting name – I will make it official.

    The shield must come down. We have not the fire power – but perhaps the Empire does. There. “That Star Destroyer’s disabled.”

    To use the enemy’s power against him. Like the illikith, a small predator that is often targeted by a hunting pack of choarn. Sometimes a single illikith, brought to bay by the pack, will strike one of the choarn, wounding it and driving it against another and then flee as the choarn tangle with one another, disrupting the entire pack formation. This will be our tactic.

    “Call up a Hammerhead Corvette. I have an idea.”

    If you know the seas, you can often choose a current, or series of currents, to carry you to a chosen destination. But sometimes an intensely powerful current sweeps you up and you cannot break free – all you can do is ride it until it lets you go, as it has done in this time and place. We are committed now. We will ride this current to its end.

    Rogue One, may the Force be with you. May it be with us all.




    The traveler departs Mon Cala, taking a public flight to Sarka, then to Ubrikkia and its space routes to Nal Hutta. An odd place to find a Drabatan, the traveler muses, but then everything has turned upside down in the galaxy lately…. At any rate, her next stop will be the Nal Hutta town of Gebroila and a villa located just outside.

    Lualani’Draba’Takiil looks up to see the majordomo usher a Human woman into the library, then close the door behind her. The traveler lowers the hood of her coat. “Lualani’Draba’Takiil?” she asks.

    “Yes,” the Drabatan replies.

    The traveler bows her head. “I’ve come from the Alliance base on Yavin 4. I’m told General Draven has already contacted you about your son?”

    When Lua nods, the woman continues, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what your customs are for honoring the dead, but I will help with them if I can, and if you’ll allow it.” She reaches into a pocket and holds out a holodisk. “This is for you.”

    As Lua takes it, the woman says, “It belonged to Paodok'Draba'Takat.” The Drabatan female cradles it in her hands, then activates it. A series of pictures flow above it: Pao with a rifle, Pao with other members of the Alliance, shots of Pipada, a picture of Lua herself.

    “It was among his personal effects,” the woman continues. “We felt it should be returned. This is also for you.” She draws a bundle from the same pocket and unwraps a metal disk with a ribbon. “This is a Medal of Valor. It is awarded to your son in honor of his service and sacrifice on behalf of the Alliance.”

    “Did YOU know him?”

    “Not well – the other members of his commando team would be able to tell you more, but as far as we can tell, they were also killed during the Battle of Scarif. I can give you my impressions of him, if you would like.”



    I know I should NOT SHOUT at a COMMANDING officer, but I am tired of waiting, tired of people arguing! WHAT do they not UNDERSTAND? We must fight BACK! Otherwise, why are we HERE?

    The corporal is shouting back, but I am LOUDER. And a few minutes later, we BOTH HEAR running footsteps of MANY people – one of them is SERGEANT Melshi, who has been TRAINING me and the other recruits. He halts and stares at us. “Is that your melodious voice I hear, Recruit Pao?”

    “SIR, YES SIR!” I shout, remembering my training. Besides, I RESPECT Sergeant Melshi.

    “Sir, I’m sorry –” the corporal begins. Melshi raises a hand.

    “It’s all right, Corporal. I just wanted to see who was loud enough to be heard clear on the other side of this pyramid.” Melshi eyes me. “Are you this loud all the time, Recruit Pao, or just when you’re reaming someone out?”

    “ALL THE TIME, SIR!” I reply.

    A grin begins to spread across his face (although a Human’s mouth is too small for a REAL grin). “Good to know.” He nods at the corporal. “Thank you. I’ll take it from here.” The corporal salutes and walks away. Melshi turns back to me.

    “I hear you’re a fighter,” he says.

    “YES, SIR!”

    “We need fighters in this army, but I’d rather you didn’t fight with our own officers. I think I might be able to help with that. Do you know what a squad coordinator does, Recruit Pao?”

    “YES, SIR! A squad COORDINATOR relays order and information to troops in battle.”

    “Among other things, yes. Given the volume of sound I’ve been hearing, I think you can fulfill that particular duty. Do you agree, Recruit Pao?”

    “SIR, YES SIR!”

    “Good. I’m going to recommend you be promoted to corporal when your training is finished next week. I’m going to place you with one of our commando squads. No more fighting with our own troops, though. Save it for the Empire. We’ll be seeing plenty of action soon enough.”

    Melshi is RIGHT, of course. LESS than a month later, my squad is ordered to FOEROST. Part of the mission is to take out their COMMUNICATION tower. I VOLUNTEER to plan and lead that part. I know towers. I’ve DESGINED towers. If not for the [untranslatable Drabatan expletive] Empire, I would be ENGINEERING towers now. But this is the next BEST thing.

    I KNOW where to plant the explosives. And I know my TEAM. We MOVE in. We DESTROY the tower. We ELIMINATE Imperial troops. And we DISRUPT Imperial communications. Then we return to base to await the next assignment.

    We do MANY missions. My squad and I LEARN to work together, RESPECT each other. Some even learn Drabatan words, and one, Private Kappehl, even manages to tell a JOKE in my language. (The joke is TERRIBLE, of course, but that’s NOT the POINT.)

    Serving alongside these beings gives me HOPE that we will DEFEAT the Empire. But it does not DIMINISH my hatred, only FOCUS it. So when one of our Intelligence officers brings a girl, the daughter of an Imperial SCIENTIST, to our base and they CALL for a STRIKE on the Imperial base on SCARIF, I am ready. I want to go. Our ENTIRE squad volunteers to go.

    Yes! The main ASSAULT team! Finally we TAKE the fight to the Empire! ENOUGH of the politicians and their arguing.

    My squad will HIT the ground RUNNING! I will show them where to plant the EXPLOSIVE charges, to provide a DISTRACTION for the main mission, and will relay ORDERS as needed.

    AT LAST! We will HURT the Empire, STEAL their secrets, show the GALAXY that fighting WILL gain us victory!

    When this war is done, I HOPE that my mother and our people will again walk FREE on our world.

    Into battle! SA’KALLA! For FREEDOM!




    After her meeting with Lua, the traveler seeks out Captain Glockel and the Rose Evergreen. “I would like to commission your ship,” the traveler says.

    “What’s the destination and cargo?” asks Glockel.

    “Just a passenger and carry-on bag. To the Queyta system. From there, I will find transport to the planet Iakar. I have one more family to locate. It’s the last stop on my mission. It’s also the most challenging. The Empire has a strong presence on Iakar, and our information on Corporal Bistan’s family is sketchy….”



    The Humans (and many other species) only see my height – and frequently laugh. They stop laughing when I leap to the high places – a tree, a pole, a pile of boxes, the building’s wall, the ship’s wing. I owe the ground no allegiance. My body becomes the weapon as I use gravity and movement to strike hard and fast.

    When I came to Yavin 4, Sergeant Melshi pointed to a target and said, “Show me what you’ve got.” I think he meant for me to grab up a gun and start shooting. Instead, I kicked off the boots I’d been given and leaped into the trees. I yanked broken branches down and threw them. I grabbed vines and plunged toward the ground, snatching up stones and branches to use as projectiles. Using speed and momentum, I bodily attack the target and stop only when it is lying twisted and broken on the ground.

    Both of Melshi’s eyebrows had disappeared under his cap. He whistled. “Impressive. It’s almost an insult to ask you to try using a rifle….” But I want to learn to shoot, and by the end of my training, I can do even more damage to the target.

    On the first night that I was assigned watch tower duty, I bared my teeth in a smile, kicked off my boots, and scaled the tower’s exterior to the tiny, covered space at the top. I breathed the jungle air. I scanned the jungle canopy. Yes, this. This was home.

    The Human female within almost shot me before realizing I was her replacement. “Where did you come from?” she demanded.

    I jerked my head toward the ground. “Down there.”

    She peered over the windowsill, then scowled at me. “You do know there’s a ladder inside the tower, right?” She pointed to a circular door in the enclosure’s floor.

    “No,” I told her. “I didn’t. I though you all just climbed up the outside.”

    She later told me she couldn’t tell then whether I was joking or not. Finally, she answered, “Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I use the interior ladder.”

    Baring my teeth again, I said, “I can see where that would be useful if someone is shooting at you.”

    “Yeah. Okay. Well, since my shift’s over, I’ll be using it to climb back down the tower. Good night.” She opened the door, took two steps down, and stopped. “There won’t be anyone shooting at me when I get down there, right?”

    “There shouldn’t be.”

    “Good to know. Thanks!”

    Later, when I was formally introduced to her and discovered she was Laren Joma, pilot of a Blue Squadron U-Wing, she told me she’d requested me as a crew member. “Figured if you could climb the outside of the tower like that, a little thing like air flight wouldn’t faze you.”

    As it turned out, she was right.

    For the six months I’ve served here, I’ve felt at home. We Iakaru live in the canopy. We know the way of the trees, the birds, the weather, the winds. Here, as on Iakar, I can sense the winds with my fur, especially my brows and whiskers. If I feel the wind coming from the east, I know a storm is brewing. From the south is always a good sign. When a bird takes wing, a small mammal leaps, I can feel the light breeze of their movement. I know where they were, and the direction of their path. It gives me an edge as a hunter. When I am not learning the gunner’s skills or standing watch, I explore the surrounding jungle.

    The Humans running the Alliance are so concerned with supplies and shipping in food. The jungle could feed us all, even with the Rule of Fourth. On Iakar, whether we are hunting or harvesting, when we first encounter the thing we seek, we pass it by. We do the same with the Second and the Third. Once we have found a Fourth plant or animal, we can harvest it. This way, there will always be enough.

    That rule served us well for many lifetimes. It provided for my people for untold generations. It allowed us to trade supplies with the space-faring races that came seeking our plants for medical supplies. It kept us fed even when the companies came to Iakar to build the factories that made medicine for the rest of the galaxy.

    But our jungle harvests also brought the Empire. They didn’t want to trade, only to seize and plunder. Now they ravage the jungle, seeking only the medicinal plants and destroying everything else. They don’t care about having supplies for the future – when our planet is stripped bare, they will move on to their next conquest.

    Joining the Alliance was an easy decision when they offered me the chance. Now, what I want the most, is to become a scout or a sniper -- someone who moves unseen through the high places, where the Human soldiers of the Empire seldom look.

    Today, I took the first step into that future. We’ve gotten word that the Empire plans a massive weapon, that will destroy whole planets. I went to the briefing, climbing up into the support scaffolding inside the Yavin 4 temple, to see the ones who bring us the news and urge us to take action.

    I usually stay out of the inner temple. In the conference rooms especially, the air doesn’t move and my ability to sense the currents is blocked

    But as I heard the girl speak, even in that enclosed room where no breeze could blow, I could sense the change in the wind.
     
    Ewok Poet, TheRynJedi, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Seldes_Katne -- I love this ... even the shift in POV -- to first person and back -- it is brilliant. the personalities and emotions come through so vividly. :cool:
     
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK, so I am by no means exaggerating when I say that I am absolutely in awe of this piece. From the choice of characters, to their distinctive voices, to the very fact that this is a threefer (a threefer!), you hit this prompt (which I thought was likely to be my hardest prompt) out of the park in so many ways—and part of why it’s taken me so inexcusably long to comment properly is simply that I wanted to give it the time and attention it deserves. <3

    I love the frame you’ve set up, contrasting the Alliance contact’s mission to find the survivors of the three aliens with the aliens’ own accounts of the time just before they went on the fatal Rogue One mission. (I’m curious if that contact is anyone I know! [face_thinking] ) And wow, I’m just amazed by how much you’ve developed them and added to them and to the lore of their various species even in such a short space—though I know from your other work (especially in “The Mythologist” and “Out of the Mists”) that you have a real talent for that! I of course squeed extra squees for your portrayal of the scrappy, loud-mouthed Pao, how you too took (borrowed?) the “some WORDS LOUD” approach with him (and incorporated his engineer background, too; I loved that detail)—and of course the presence of Lua and Glockel! (Both of whom you did a great job with—thank you!) [face_love] [face_love] [face_love]

    But really, I loved what you did with all three of them. I have a new appreciation for Admiral Raddus and the Mon Calamari now; the way you’ve given him that sea-like perception of both space and time just fits, and it adds a new dimension to his sympathy for the Rogue One expedition when so many other Rebel leaders were the opposite, as if he (Raddus) was tuned in somehow to the effect their final mission would have on the Galaxy as a whole. (I wonder if the way his wife imagines his final words and actions is also from probing those currents—very thought-provoking detail, there! [face_thinking] )

    And BISTAN! [face_dancing] I confess I’d forgotten about him when I made the list of example aliens, but I am so glad you reminded me of him, because gosh he’s cool! And his way of perceiving air motion and currents is so cool and unique (right down to feeling stifled inside the temple where the air doesn’t move). I could imagine what it might be like for he and Raddus, or another Mon Calamari, to compare notes about the different types of currents their species experience. (Just as Raddus feels the Galaxy’s currents shifting as Rogue One go on their way, Bistan feels the wind shifting when he meets Jyn—similar impulse there, I’m sure.) I smiled at his incredible jumping ability—I think my cat might have spent some time on Iakar, too! :D The Rule of the Fourth is a very interesting and fitting touch, too; sounds like Bistan is right at home on Yavin. Though, as we know, not for long, given the way things are shifting...

    So yes, all this is to say a huge THANK YOU for a truly amazing story gift—such an honor to be the one who gets to be regaled with the trademark Seldes combination of storytelling and worldbuilding mastery! I shall cherish this, for sure! =D= =D= =D=
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  4. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you. I hoped that making a visual contrast between my "traveler" narrative and the non-humans' mental musings would make it easier for the reading to figure out what was happening, and I'm happy it worked.

    So of course this was the one I started writing first. :oops: “Droidsong” was intended as a sort of “stocking stuffer” extra. But I’m happy you liked that one, too.

    She might be. She might not. I deliberately avoided giving her a name or any real identity because I wanted the story to focus on the non-humans, not on “the traveler”. She’s just the catalyst and connection between their stories.

    Definitely borrowed. See? I really have been reading your stories! (And I’m even worse at getting reviews written and posted, so shame on me. [face_shame_on_you] ) I wondered if you had any kind of rules or guidelines for how the Drabatans stressed certain words, but I didn’t want to keep asking questions because 1) I didn’t want to have MavJade constantly contacting you for details, and 2) I seem to remember that Shulma remarked that she didn’t really see any rhyme or reason to the stressed words, so I figured I could plead ignorance if I was called out on it. [face_whistling]

    Raddus was one of my favorite characters in this movie (big surprise, right?) and I deliberately watched the last third of Rogue One twice to take notes on his exact words and other details. I also did two weeks of detailed research, and I’ll have everyone know that all those sea creatures mentioned in his thoughts? Those are all actual Mon Cala wildlife (each has its own Wookieepedia entry). (I’m not complaining about this – I actually enjoy research, and would have become a reference librarian if the youth services area hadn't been even more fun.)

    You know, I didn’t even think of that until you mentioned it, but it does fit with some of the work you’ve been doing on portraying how various beings perceive and use the Force. So that might be something to explore at a later date.

    I have a confession to make – I didn’t know he was even in the movie until I started research for this story. He’s got, like, eight seconds of screen time. We only seem to see him during the air support for the ground assault on Scarif. If anyone is interested, this article sums up my feelings on this subject:

    Where are the non-humans? [warning: some annoying pop-up ads, but worth the read]

    Presumably because your cat is an Olympics-worthy jumper and not because s/he leaves things twisted and broken behind him/her? I hope?

    You’re most welcome, and I’m pleased that you’re happy with my offerings. I’m amused by the similarities in our Wish Lists (I also requested a BB-8 story), and enjoyed this challenge very much, despite initially being hesitant to take it on. It all seems to have worked out (thank you for beta-reading the story written for me in this challenge), and I'm looking forward to doing it again in December if it runs.