Title: I Rise Author: Shira A'dola Characters: All OC's Timeframe: OT Timeline Rating: G Genre: One-Shot Length: 1,527 words Summary: Entry for the Poetry Inspiration Challenge. Jaye finally gets his own ship. Note: Done for the Poetry Inspiration Challenge by Findswoman. Sorry this took so long! I've been traveling and dealing with medical issues. But I finally got around to posting it! The poem was "I Rise" by Maya Angelou. This is Part 3 of Jay's story. Part 1: Mondo Part 2: "Here's How It Started" You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. “Admiral Tatsu, the ISD Victorious is now yours. Treat her well and glory to the Empire!” “Glory to the Empire,” Jaye repeated, bowing to the Fleet Admiral. “Thank you.” The superior officer nodded and walked away, leaving Jaye to follow his new captain to the bridge. He took a second to let it fully sink in: he was an admiral with his own ship. This is a historic day, he thought to himself. After all this time, after all he had gone through, he was finally here. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. A small, sly grin lit upon his face as he looked down the grey corridor. Memories of his childhood came to mind, memories of playing Admiral as a young boy. He had ached for his own ship since before he could remember. Desire had led to intense schooling. Years upon years of mathematics, engineering, strategy, sociology. The classes had gone on and on. But he’d put all of his effort and hard work into his studies, both the lectures and the practical classes. He’d exceeded every expectation. “Admiral?” The captain next to him spoke up tentatively. “If you’ll follow me, the bridge is this way.” He started off down on end of the corridor, Jaye walking next to him. He didn’t need a guide; he knew every inch of this ship. But he was going to savour every bit of this moment. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Jaye looked sideways at the captain striding beside him. What was his name? Something along the lines of Dewan. He remembered being a captain. The awful impatience, the need for promotion. But he had kept the impatience locked away. It was all strategy, after all. Strategy aches for patience, for the ability to wait until the key moment to strike. When it came to working the people around him, Jaye had honed his strategy to perfection. See how far I’ve risen. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. It had been hard,let no one say otherwise. He recalled something his mother had said when he was in his teenage years, about his mixed heritage not giving him any advantage or disadvantage to his chances. But as he’d grown older and gotten through increasingly competitive classes and studies, he’d learned that wasn’t quite true. Xenophobia was real -- and it was ugly. They had seen that he was human. Worse, they had seen that he wasn’t entirely human. He was a mixed-breed. Mud. They had tried so hard to wear him down, to make him quit. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own back yard. But try as they might, no matter how many times he had gone home in a fury, discouraged and disheartened, he’d only had to look at the holos of his father in the front room to remember why he was doing this. He wasn’t doing this for others. He wasn’t doing it for the fame and pride. He was doing it for himself. He was pursuing this course of action as proof to himself that he wasn’t less than anyone else. That he could serve the Empire just as well, or better, than anyone in that classroom. And so, every morning, he’d waltzed back into the lessons with a grin and a wink at anyone who dared try to knock him down. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. That’s not to say that their words hadn’t hurt. It was common practice at the military academies to expel any student who initiated violence, so physical attacks had been rare. But the barbed and poisonous words they had shot in his direction had always been calculated and efficient. He was an oddity, a halfling. The other students had made it very clear that they had no place for him in the classroom, and no place in the Empire. The nights he had gone home in anguish and depression, convincing himself that this wasn’t worth it anymore, counted in the thousands. But from those attacks, he had learned perseverance, patience and strategic retribution. Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Jaye stepped into the lift and turned to face the doors. The captain, close behind him, fidgeted slightly as they began to rise. Jaye didn’t know what he’d heard, but it was obviously making the man uncomfortable. He silently shrugged it off. He was an admiral now. Whatever shame he had endured in the past didn’t matter now. What the lower-ranked officers thought of him didn’t matter. All that mattered now was the application of all he’d learned, everything he had absorbed and taken in. Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise All of his suffering, all of his abuse and torment at the hands of his fellow students could all be justified in this moment. If he was being honest with himself, Jaye was still having a difficult time believing that this was all real. It seemed too good to be true at this point. Elation filled his chest and he had to keep a triumphant smirk off of his face. You’ve got to keep it together, Jaye. You’re one of the big boys now. You’re an admiral! I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise No more would he pay heed to the insidious thoughts that had invaded his mind as a result of what he’d been forced to listen to. No more would the lies and cruel criticism be given any attention. He’d shown them all up now. He’d proven to himself and his family that his all of hard work had paid off. He’d proven that his parents had been right all along; species didn’t matter. Race, species, wealth, position, gender, talent, nothing mattered in this game but hard work. And he’d worked hard than all of them. Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Jaye’s eyes snapped forward as the soft hiss of the lift door opened. He kept all his excitement in his mind, adopting a cool, stoic mask that gave away nothing. He stepped onto the bridge and strode down the walkway, noting the two sunken areas of workspace and navigational desks on either side. He walked down to the end of the durasteel path and took a quick look out of the triangular windows, his wide, dark eyes the only feature betraying his awe. He turned his eyes quickly to the systems desktop in front of him, swiftly looking over charts and data. He wanted to make sure his ship (My ship! he thought, excitedly) was in perfect condition before taking her out anywhere. He didn’t want anything to go wrong. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise “Sir?” Jaye turned around to face the captain. Drexel, that was his name. “What is it, Captain?” “Is everything to your satisfaction?” Jaye gave the bridge a secondary glance, taking in all the detail. “Yes, Captain. Everything seems to be in order.” Drexel nodded. “Good. Then we have received instruction to fly to Ord Mantell. There’s a growing rumor about a rebel cell located there. We’ve been ordered to check it out and, if necessary, destroy the cell.” He handed Jaye a datapad containing a brief log of information and orders, which Jaye looked over before nodding. “Noted, Captain. Get ready to enter light-speed then. We head for Ord Mantell immediately.” The captain nodded and walked away. Jaye went back to his desktop and began reading through a more thorough analysis of their mission. He wondered, idly, if his father had felt this way upon his first mission: excitement and victory along with a mix of nerves and doubt. He shook the doubt away. He had no time for it anymore. This was his time to shine, to contribute, to show everyone what he could do. One of the technicians began speaking, inputting the coordinates dictated by the orders. “Setting course for hyperspace, sir. In three…two…one…” He pulled the lever slowly and the crew braced themselves for the sudden jump. Jaye watched, with awed, determination, as the stars began to lengthen and the Victorious jumped into hyperspace. The rich blue light reflected onto his face as they gained speed. His back to his new crew, Jaye allowed a slow, determined grin cross his face. This is where he belonged. I rise.