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Saga - Legends From Ruins to Rebellion -- Alderaanian OCs, Concurrent-post ROTS.

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by whiskers, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    TITLE: From Ruins to Rebellion
    AUTHOR: whiskers
    TIMELINE: Shortly before the end of Revenge of the Sith
    CHARACTERS: Anya Reiher and family, Palpatine cameo.
    SUMMARY: After the majority of the Clone War is over, an Alderaanian servicemember returns to her home, but the state of her home and upcoming events leads her to a difficult decision...

    ***

    “Mistress Reiher, we’re about to arrive at your destination.” The cold, mechanical voice of the droid porter shook Anya from her nap. She yawned heavily and wiped the sleep from her dark brown eyes.

    “Already?” she murmured.

    The droid nodded its spherical head. Tracked and with a thin body, it was only vaguely humanoid in appearance. “Two hours, seven minutes out from our last stop at Juranno, fourteen minutes away from Isregren.” The droid pointed towards the ticket-card hanging out from Anya’s breast pocket, the beep of the scanner inside of its “fingers” sounding. “Thank you,” it called out as it rolled away.

    Anya shook her head in disbelief and chuckled. “You’re welcome...” she said. She noticed the stares from the few other passengers aboard the hovertrain gave it. Droids were a sore spot to beings at the moment, she thought, even the simple servant ones, due to the Clone War. Too many lives had been snuffed out by droids for anyone to feel entirely comfortable being around one despite how prevalent they had been. She looked around the cabin, seeing only other human faces with her. The same was beginning to be true for aliens, even on Alderaan.

    The war was all but over though, she thought and allowed herself a slight grin. Three years of service in the Alderaanian Royal Defense Fleet had come to an end shortly after the Coruscant had withstood the desperate attack of Count Dooku and General Grievous. A chill made its way down her spine at the thought of Grievous. The droid general’s reputation as a butcher and war criminal was know throughout the galaxy and even peaceful Alderaan had not been spared from his wroth. Now, with Dooku dead, the butcher had no leash. Though the rumors that she had been hearing throughout the trip brought a small sense of relief to her mind.

    The closed shade on the window beckoned her, the faintest hint of light of the midday sun shining through the seams. She’d heard reports from the news and her family about just how much Isregren had suffered during the attack, but the majority of it had been censored. Text letters from her family were missing whole paragraphs and the news broadcasts never showed any images of the planet. It was to prevent morale from sinking, she had heard from her friend Alexis Sajem—a communications officer in the service with her, but even the knowledge that all of her family was safe did nothing to stop the silence from making her stomach churn.

    The press of a button opened the shade, the light shining through momentarily blinding Anya as it entered the cabin. Outside of the hovertrain was grassland that stretched as far as she could see. She had played in the vast plains as a child, running through the tall grass and laughing as her cousins searched in vain for her. Most of the tall grass remained, but large swathes of the grasslands were pockmarked with the black ashes of old fires. The clawed wings of vulture droid starfighters stuck out from the land like misshapen fingers reaching toward the blue sky while the mangled fuselages of Z-95 Headhunters lay crumpled next to them. Large divots from bombs and rocket artillery had spewed dark topsoil up.

    Anya gasped at the sight but forced herself to keep looking. It was like something out of a nightmare, she thought. All part of some horrible dream that she couldn’t wake herself from. Isregen itself was equal parts rubble and order. Duracrete buildings around the small city’s square had crumbled like a sweet-biscuit, huge chunks lay toppled in the streets. All around the hovertrain, the other passengers murmured. Aldera hadn’t been hit nearly as hard as Isregen had been, Anya knew, and from what she had gathered from the reactions of the others, none of the other stops had seen such devastation.

    “They’re fine, though,” she whispered as the hovertrain began to slow. “They’re all fine.”

    Anya grabbed her two bags from the overhead cargo compartment as the hovertrain crawled to a stop. She ignored the stares of the other passengers as she made her way down the aisle and shut her ears to their whispers. Heading back to a hometown in its current condition was bad enough without being a spectacle.

    Five others stepped onto the train as she stepped off, each of them with tired eyes and carrying all they could in their hands. A black-haired man, a couple of years older than her, stood next to a dusty bench. He smiled and headed towards her and wrapped her up in a quick hug. Though he was only a cousin, he had practically been the brother that she had never had.

    “Daro!”Anya handed him one of her bags, which he took. “How’s everyone doing? Mom and dad? What about Kara and the baby? And...”

    “We’re doing as well as we can be,” he said. “All of us stayed at Uncle Kham’s and Aunt Sella’s house during the attack. When we weren’t huddled in one of the shelters.”

    Anya nodded. Her parents’s house was the largest out of all of their family’s, and close enough to one of the city’s many weather shelters. “How was it, I haven’t been able to hear much.”

    Daro motioned around the dust-covered station and towards the departing hovertrain with his free hand. “We were hit hard, but not as hard as some cities. The town hall is mostly gone, and so is one of the schools.”

    A knot of dread formed in Anya’s stomach. “Not the one that was a shelter...”

    Daro remained silent and looked away. “The speeder’s out in the lot,” he finally said.

    Anya’s body followed him.

    “Kara had our baby in a shelter,” Daro said as they drove down the desolate road, passing small construction droids and humanoid workers along the way. “We knew it was the closest place where a doctor would be, and Uncle Kham all but forbade us from going to the hospital.”

    She remained silent, looking out of the window.

    “Hey, it’s not as bad as it looks,” Daro said.

    Anya flashed him a skeptical look.

    “Okay, okay, it’s bad, but the way you’re acting is that we took the full brunt of a Base Delta Zero!”

    “How many?”

    “Mayor Illian said around 250,” Daro replied.

    Anya cupped her face with her hand. “By the Force...” she muttered.

    “Most of them were in the school shelter,” Daro said.

    Anya paused, the guilt of the question to come already choking her. “Anyone we know?”

    “Tanna and her husband were in there,” Daro said. “I know you used to be friends with her.”

    She sat in her seat in numbed silence. “We kind of drifted apart before secondary school, but...”

    “I know,” Daro said. “A guy I worked with at the office was killed, too. I didn’t know him, but I feel like...” he trailed off and hit the steering column of the landspeeder hard. “Kriffing war.”

    “Kriffing war,” Anya wearily repeated.

    ***

    Home was a two story building in the middle of a long road. Teal paint on the plasteel walls were unmarred compared to the devastation that was Istregan’s central district. Any thoughts of the war and what she had seen so far were pushed to the back of her mind as relief flooded into her mind.

    It had been four years since she had seen her home in person. The exterior had hardly changed save for extra planters of blue and yellow flowers hanging from the walls. A large red landspeeder was parked outside of a speederport that had been far too full of junk to be used for its intended purpose.

    “I thought you said that everyone was here,” Anya asked.

    Daro pulled his landspeeder into the driveway. “Dad and Uncle Kham thought that too many speeders here would be too appetizing for the vulture droids,” he said. “Unfortunately, the other people around here had the same idea…” He pointed towards a field to the west and shrugged. “What’s a couple of slagged speeders compared to our lives, though, right?”

    A middle-aged woman walked out of the door, followed by a fair-skinned woman slightly younger. Mom and Aunt Tana were followed by Kara, holding a blanketed bundle in her arms. Her father and her uncle Rodric were last to step out, though Anya could see the hoverchaired form of her grandmother behind the door.

    Anya’s mother rushed towards her as she stepped out of the car and wrapped her up in a hug so tight that she could barely breathe. Anya returned the hug and blinked the tears out of her eyes.

    “I was so worried about you,” Sella cried.

    You were worried about me?” Anya said. “When I heard that Grievous was attacking Alderaan, I could barely sleep.”

    “You were out there for the whole war,” Sella choked out.

    Anya wanted to reassure her mother that she had remained relatively safe during her deployments, but the echoes of rocket artillery attacks on bases still rang in her ears. She patted her mother on the back to break the hug before she moved on to her father.

    “Welcome home,” he said with a hug.

    “It’s good to be home,” she replied. She had felt safe in his arms when she had been a young girl and she lapsed into that comfort for a second.

    Kara moved a bundled-up newborn into Anya’s sight. “This is Liora,” she said. The newborn squirmed in her swaddling, brown eyes blinking in the light.

    “She’s beautiful,” Anya said. She looked into her young cousin’s eyes. “It can only get better from here, Little Li.”

    “That’s not what T’iana said,” Kara said. She grinned and looked over to the elderly woman in the hoverchair.

    T’ianna rolled her dark gray eyes as she piloted her seat towards them all. “It’s just what I’ve always heard,” she said. “‘Babies born around death will be surrounded by it.’” She chuckled along with the rest of the family. “But that’s just something my own grandma said.”

    Minutes later, the greetings were finished and they had all retreated back into the house. Bags full of clothing and supplies lay littered on the floor in front of the door, a few bunched up shirts sticking out of one. Eight beings living under a single roof that had been furnished for only four at the most had made its standard messes.

    “We’ve had to put Rodric and Tana in your room during all of this,” Sella said. “I’m sorry, but it’ll be a little cramped.”

    “I’m used to sharing a room with three other people,” Anya said. “I think I’ll be fine.”

    Cramped it was, however. Though her parents had left her room almost as it had been when she left, it it still felt alien to her. The bunks aboard the cruisers, corvettes, bunkers, and bases that she had served in during the war had no room for such decoration or so many personal items. A bookshelf stood next to a dresser while a workbench now covered with sewing supplies sat in the far corner, stacks of datapads containing the then latest technical journals still in their places. The unfinished projects that she had tried so desperately to complete before she had shipped out were gone now, but the Jawa-rigged audio transceiver that had been her first project still sat on the top of the workbench’s shelves like it always had been.

    Anya smiled at the device. It had seemed so difficult when she had first set down the cracked husk that she had found in the garbage on the dining table but years of practice and instruction led to the point where she could probably reassemble it in her sleep. She sat her bags down upon her bed and began to change into her civilian clothes. Fatigue overwhelmed her as she stretched the long hovertrain ride from her legs. Her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep.

    She awoke to darkness. The moon of Alderaan shone fully through the open shades of her window and a thin strip of light stole into the room through the crack underneath her door. “Four hours, are you kidding?” she mumbled as she looked at the chronometer next to her bed. She stood from her bed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes before she finished dressing.

    The house was silent as she walked from her room back into the living room. The smell of half-cooked food wafted in from the kitchen and a small, hoarse voice sounded from the opening.

    “Our loyal clone troopers contained the insurrection within the Jedi Temple and quelled uprisings on a thousand worlds.” There was a pause and the sound of boisterous applause.

    Anya looked at the HoloNet news channel playing on the flat-vid in the room, staring at a shriveled looking old man in red robes gesturing to the crowd. A scrolling text crawl on the bottom of the screen announced that the shrunken man was Chancellor Palpatine and that he was addressing the Galactic Senate.

    “What?” It was the only thing that she could think to say.

    “They’re saying that the Jedi tried to kill Palpatine,” Anya’s father said.

    “And that they were behind the whole war,” Daro added.

    She chuckled from nervousness and the absurdity of the entire idea. The Jedi had been quite vocal against joining the war, she remembered, and the one that she had actually met had been pushing for peace talks constantly.

    “We stand on the threshold of a new beginning,” Palpatine continued.

    Anya’s stomach dropped. He had done so much already to the Republic’s constitution—stretched to the breaking point so far that it was barely recognizable at times—but even he couldn’t go this far, she thought.

    “The Republic will be organized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society.” Palpatine continued on and on but Anya barely heard him. A thousand years of a stable democracy was gone and the hundreds of millennia of relative stability and peace with it.

    The speech was over and Palpatine’s pod had descended back down into one of the Supreme Chancellor’s many offices before she could finally find the strength to speak. “He finally did it...” The rest of her family sat in stunned silence, each one looking to the others for any hint at guidance.

    “Anya,” T’iana said. The aged woman moved her hoverchair closer to her granddaughter. “There were a few things I learned about tyrants when I went to school a long time ago—and I didn’t almost become a History teacher for nothing. The first thing is that they always have a way of listening...”

    Anya sighed and watched on the holoscreen as a pundit looked down at the desk in front of him and then launched into a praise-filled commentary of Palpatine’s speech. “I can’t just stay silent,” she said.

    Her grandmother gave her an understanding pat upon her shoulder. “There’s another thing I learned: tyrants always fall. It may not be soon, but they all do.”

    She had meant it to be reassuring, but Anya just wanted to pull her aside and tell her grandmother everything. Everything that she had seen in the war just to have the Republic that she had served fall away gradually and yet so very suddenly at the same time.

    T’iana looked over her shoulder to the others in the living room, all of them turning their attention back to the news commentary. “But I know you,” she whispered. “I know that you’re going to do what you feel is right no matter what an old woman like me says.” She chuckled slightly before she lowered her voice. The light from the kitchen made her wrinkles stand out in shadows. “But whatever you do,” she whispered, “be careful.”

    Liora cried out and her mother quickly exited the room to take care of the infant. Anya watched as they left and sighed. She didn’t know what she could do, she thought, but she had to do something.


    Anya plopped down on her bed with exhaustion. A month after she had returned home and the room was all hers again, her aunt and uncle returning to their own home. There was now rest for her, though, most of her waking hours had been spent trying to rebuild her town from the Separatist attack. The computer systems and infrastructure had taken a major hit during the battle when a vulture droid had strafed the central hub, and it was her job to try and piece it back together along with a small team.

    “A couple more days...” she groaned as she removed her boots and rubbed her aching feet. “Then what?” she scoffed. A private firm, perhaps, or even taking on an Alderaanian government job. The last option filled her with a slight unease. As peaceful and committed to democracy as Alderaan had been, they had still all but rolled over and accepted Palpatine’s new rule.

    Anya massaged her temples. Could she even indirectly take a job with the Empire?

    “Anya, someone’s on the comm for you!”

    Her mother’s voice broke her from her questioning. “Coming,” she called out.

    The caller on the other end was blonde and fair-skinned with a face that betrayed the slightest hint of apprehension.

    “Alexis,” Anya said with a slight grin. Since her deployment ended, her contact with any of her former comrades had been limited to small text missives and the occasional post on one of the HoloNet’s many social sites. “How have you been?”

    “Still enlisted,” she said, “and finding it boring as all hells. I’m a glorified switchboard operator right now at Aldera.”

    They spoke for several minutes, catching up with each others’ families and mutual friends before Alexis’s face turned serious. “Transfer this call to your private comm,” she said.

    Anya’s brows dropped in confusion. “What?”

    “Just do it.”

    The transfer took less than a minute and soon Anya was in her room, the handheld comm next to her. “Okay, I’m alone… What’s this about?”

    “Give me another second,” Alexis said. There was a small burst of static from the other end. “Okay, I set up a little encryption and a program where if anyone else tries to patch in, this call will drop.”

    Anya scoffed, hints of fear and worry building in her gut. “Listen, what’s this about?”

    “Look,” Alexis began. “I know how you were never the biggest fan of anything Palpatine, is that still the case?”

    “You called me for this?” Anya said.

    “Please, Anya, answer the question. It’s serious. And if you don’t want anything to do with this, just hang up and—for the sake of our friendship—forget this conversation ever happened.”

    Bile rose up in Anya’s throat. “Alexis, are you in some sort of trouble?”

    “Not at the moment,” she said. “Well?”

    “You know I’m not, you said it yourself.”

    Alexis’s voice steadied. “What about the Empire?”

    “It’s horrible,” Anya finally allowed herself to say.

    “Do you want to do something about it?”

    Anya dropped the comm in shock.

    “Are you still there, Anya?”

    She picked up the comm and spat out the first words that came to her mind. “What?”

    “There’s some of us here in the Fleet,” Alexis said. “We’re going to keep fighting for the Republic. We’ve got some well-connected friends, too.”

    A shimmer of hope raised Anya’s voice. “How well-connected?”

    “Some of our captains,” Alexis said, “and enough crew so far. That’s all I’m allowed to say.”

    Anya paused and thought for what felt like an hour. It would be dangerous, she thought, a real war against a despot that would do whatever he deemed necessary to keep the power that he had usurped. But it was still wrong. “I’m in,” she said. She drew in a larger breath and repeated her words again. “I’m in.”

    Author's Notes

    * This is a story that I've wanted to tell for a while, but I haven't had the real urge to do so until now. This was intended to be a companion piece to two other works of mine, and part of a much larger tale. In both Empire Day and Dawn of Defection, I followed Anya's future husband--Galen Wentlas--and his decision to fight against the Empire. Now, two years after publishing Empire Day, I've finally done it.
    * There's not a whole lot of information on Grievous's attack on Alderaan, but I've always imagined it as being horrific, enough to scare a populace into all but abandoning war all together. I've also made, as a bit of an homage, some of the damage reminiscent to the damage shown to Coruscant in Dawn of Defection.
    * I've also decided on having a lot of the main information about the actual destruction to be censored by the Republic, as I felt that it would both add to Anya's growing dread but also show where the galaxy's going at the time.
    * I added the "rumors that she'd been hearing" relatively late into the writing process. I'd realized that I hadn't put down when Grievous was actually killed. Being a large part of galactic history, I just decided to have her miss most of it due to travel and damaged infrastructure.
    * Looking back through various, various works involving the family, I'd realized that none of them had been named and there were very few references to them. One of the perils of being Alderaanians when most of the works focus on after Alderaan was destroyed.
    * The line about bags of clothing littering the front entrance is from personal experience, when my family had 10 people under the same roof this summer.
    * With Anya returning to her childhood room, I wanted to capture the "lost in transition" phase between childhood and adulthood. Most of her stuff is still there, but some of it has already been packed up and the room is already being converted into a hobby room, etc.
    * Picking what parts of Palpatine's speech was hard to do. Obviously, the actual declaration of the Empire had to be included, but I had to comb through the sources and find out which lines would really impact Anya emotionally.
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D=
    Bravo on the tumult of feelings, the relief and joy of reunion mixed with the shock of the devastation of Istregan coupled with the knowledge that it could have been much worse.

    T'iana is wise and full of good advice.

    Liora is a breath of sweet air in all the chaos. [face_thinking]

    The ending where Anya joins the nascent Rebellion [face_shhh] -- you knew she would, she has too many principles/scruples to even serve the Empire indirectly.

    If more continues in this timeline, let me know. [face_batting]
     
    whiskers likes this.
  3. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Thank you. I wanted to make it look bad, especially to someone who hadn't lived through it, but still not as bad as it could have been. I was kind of inspired by seeing some of the hurricane damage from this summer's storms as well as the stock images of destroyed towns in WWII.

    I originally envisioned her as a bit more superstitious, as hinted at in previous works, but I decided to ground her a bit more when I actually got to writing this.

    It was certainly bittersweet writing this entire family, to be honest, knowing Alderaan's eventual fate. None, however, were as hard to write as the newborn Liora knowing that. Yet, at the same time, she fulfills her duty in this story: providing hope for the future after the war.


    She's not a fighter, but she's also not the person that who would just stand by and let all of this happen without fighting. As for more in the timeline, Anya's actually a relatively old character of mine, primarily playing a secondary protagonist role in the works featuring her future husband, Galen Wentlas, as well as their daughter, Alexis Wentlas. And yes, the latter is named for the friend shown at the end of this fic.

    Thank you for reading, Nyota!
     
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A great beginning. Like your characters. And I hope they will escape the terrible fate of Alderaan
     
  5. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I really liked writing them, too, especially Anya. As for the latter, well... It doesn't look good for anyone other than Anya.

    Thanks for reading!